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Brain imaging studies have shown altered amygdala activity during emotion processing in children and adolescents with oppositional defiant disorder (ODD) and conduct disorder (CD) compared to typically developing children and adolescents (TD). Here we aimed to assess whether aggression-related subtypes (reactive and proactive aggression) and callous-unemotional (CU) traits predicted variation in amygdala activity and skin conductance (SC) response during emotion processing.
We included 177 participants (n = 108 cases with disruptive behaviour and/or ODD/CD and n = 69 TD), aged 8–18 years, across nine sites in Europe, as part of the EU Aggressotype and MATRICS projects. All participants performed an emotional face-matching functional magnetic resonance imaging task.
Differences between cases and TD in affective processing, as well as specificity of activation patterns for aggression subtypes and CU traits, were assessed. Simultaneous SC recordings were acquired in a subsample (n = 63). Cases compared to TDs showed higher amygdala activity in response to negative faces (fearful and angry) v. shapes. Subtyping cases according to aggression-related subtypes did not significantly influence on amygdala activity; while stratification based on CU traits was more sensitive and revealed decreased amygdala activity in the high CU group. SC responses were significantly lower in cases and negatively correlated with CU traits, reactive and proactive aggression.
Our results showed differences in amygdala activity and SC responses to emotional faces between cases with ODD/CD and TD, while CU traits moderate both central (amygdala) and peripheral (SC) responses. Our insights regarding subtypes and trait-specific aggression could be used for improved diagnostics and personalized treatment.
Spinal muscular atrophy (SMA) is a devastating rare disease that affects individuals regardless of ethnicity, gender, and age. The first-approved disease-modifying therapy for SMA, nusinursen, was approved by Health Canada, as well as by American and European regulatory agencies following positive clinical trial outcomes. The trials were conducted in a narrow pediatric population defined by age, severity, and genotype. Broad approval of therapy necessitates close follow-up of potential rare adverse events and effectiveness in the larger real-world population.
The Canadian Neuromuscular Disease Registry (CNDR) undertook an iterative multi-stakeholder process to expand the existing SMA dataset to capture items relevant to patient outcomes in a post-marketing environment. The CNDR SMA expanded registry is a longitudinal, prospective, observational study of patients with SMA in Canada designed to evaluate the safety and effectiveness of novel therapies and provide practical information unattainable in trials.
The consensus expanded dataset includes items that address therapy effectiveness and safety and is collected in a multicenter, prospective, observational study, including SMA patients regardless of therapeutic status. The expanded dataset is aligned with global datasets to facilitate collaboration. Additionally, consensus dataset development aimed to standardize appropriate outcome measures across the network and broader Canadian community. Prospective outcome studies, data use, and analyses are independent of the funding partner.
Prospective outcome data collected will provide results on safety and effectiveness in a post-therapy approval era. These data are essential to inform improvements in care and access to therapy for all SMA patients.
It remains poorly understood how negative symptoms are experienced in the daily lives of individuals in the early stages of psychosis. We aimed to investigate whether altered affective experience, anhedonia, social anhedonia, and asociality were more pronounced in individuals with an at-risk mental state for psychosis (ARMS) and individuals with first-episode psychosis (FEP) than in controls.
We used the experience sampling methodology (ESM) to assess negative symptoms, as they occurred in the daily life of 51 individuals with FEP and 46 ARMS, compared with 53 controls.
Multilevel linear regression analyses showed no overall evidence for a blunting of affective experience. There was some evidence for anhedonia in FEP but not in ARMS, as shown by a smaller increase of positive affect (BΔat−risk v. FEP = 0.08, p = 0.006) as the pleasantness of activities increased. Against our expectations, no evidence was found for greater social anhedonia in any group. FEP were more often alone (57%) than ARMS (38%) and controls (35%) but appraisals of the social situation did not point to asociality.
Overall, altered affective experience, anhedonia, social anhedonia and asociality seem to play less of a role in the daily life of individuals in the early stages of psychosis than previously assumed. With the experience of affect and pleasure in daily life being largely intact, changing social situations and appraisals thereof should be further investigated to prevent development or deterioration of negative symptoms.
Rates of common mental health problems (depression/anxiety) rise sharply in adolescence and peak in young adulthood, often coinciding with the transition to parenthood. Little is known regarding the persistence of common mental health problems from adolescence to the perinatal period in both mothers and fathers.
A total of 393 mothers (686 pregnancies) and 257 fathers (357 pregnancies) from the intergenerational Australian Temperament Project Generation 3 Study completed self-report assessments of depression and anxiety in adolescence (ages 13–14, 15–16, 17–18 years) and young adulthood (ages 19–20, 23–24, 27–28 years). The Edinburgh Postnatal Depression Scale was used to assess depressive symptoms at 32 weeks pregnancy and 12 months postpartum in mothers, and at 12 months postpartum in fathers.
Most pregnancies (81%) in which mothers reported perinatal depression were preceded by a history of mental health problems in adolescence or young adulthood. Similarly, most pregnancies (83%) in which fathers reported postnatal depression were preceded by a preconception history of mental health problems. After adjustment for potential confounders, the odds of self-reporting perinatal depression in both women and men were consistently higher in those with a history of persistent mental health problems across adolescence and young adulthood than those without (ORwomen 5.7, 95% CI 2.9–10.9; ORmen 5.5, 95% CI 1.03–29.70).
Perinatal depression, for the majority of parents, is a continuation of mental health problems with onsets well before pregnancy. Strategies to promote good perinatal mental health should start before parenthood and include both men and women.
Around a quarter of people suffering from psychotic conditions, like schizophrenia, continue to experience auditory hallucinations despite adequate drug treatment. In addition to medication, some help is also provided by psychological interventions, particularly cognitive behavioural therapy for psychosis (CBTp). AVATAR therapy is based on computer technology which enables each patient to create an avatar of the entity (human or non-human) that they believe is talking to them. The therapist promotes a dialogue between the patient and the avatar in which the avatar progressively comes under the patient's control. These sessions are audio recorded and provided to the patient on an MP3 player for continued use at home. In an initial pilot study, a maximum of 7 sessions lasting 30 minutes resulted in highly significant reductions in the patients’ hallucinations and the associated distress, enhancing the quality of their life (Leff et al., 2013). Our objective is to replicate the findings of this pilot study of the AVATAR therapy. We will carry out a randomised controlled evaluation of computer assisted voice therapy compared to supportive counselling to determine preliminary estimates of both effectiveness and cost-effectiveness. The study aims to recruit 142 people who have suffered from auditory hallucinations for at least 12 months despite taking medication regularly. Participants will complete a number of selfcompleted and interview based measures (on four assessment points: pre-treatment, post treatment, and then at 12 and 24 weeks follow-up) to assess the impact of interventions on outcomes and to explore potential mediators and modifiers of therapy.
Twins Research Australia (TRA) is a community of twins and researchers working on health research to benefit everyone, including twins. TRA leads multidisciplinary research through the application of twin and family study designs, with the aim of sustaining long-term twin research that, both now and in the future, gives back to the community. This article summarizes TRA’s recent achievements and future directions, including new methodologies addressing causation, linkage to health, economic and educational administrative datasets and to geospatial data to provide insight into health and disease. We also explain how TRA’s knowledge translation and exchange activities are key to communicating the impact of twin studies to twins and the wider community. Building researcher capability, providing registry resources and partnering with all key stakeholders, particularly the participants, are important for how TRA is advancing twin research to improve health outcomes for society. TRA provides researchers with open access to its vibrant volunteer membership of twins, higher order multiples (multiples) and families who are willing to consider participation in research. Established four decades ago, this resource facilitates and supports research across multiple stages and a breadth of health domains.
A higher incidence of psychotic disorders has been consistently reported among black and other minority ethnic groups, particularly in northern Europe. It is unclear whether these rates have changed over time.
We identified all individuals with a first episode psychosis who presented to adult mental health services between 1 May 2010 and 30 April 2012 and who were resident in London boroughs of Lambeth and Southwark. We estimated age-and-gender standardised incidence rates overall and by ethnic group, then compared our findings to those reported in the Aetiology and Ethnicity of Schizophrenia and Other Psychoses (ÆSOP) study that we carried out in the same catchment area around 10 years earlier.
From 9109 clinical records we identified 558 patients with first episode psychosis. Compared with ÆSOP, the overall incidence rates of psychotic disorder in southeast London have increased from 49.4 (95% confidence interval (CI) 43.6–55.3) to 63.1 (95% CI 57.3–69.0) per 100 000 person-years at risk. However, the overall incidence rate ratios (IRR) were reduced in some ethnic groups: for example, IRR (95% CI) for the black Caribbean group reduced from 6.7 (5.4–8.3) to 2.8 (2.1–3.6) and the ‘mixed’ group from 2.7 (1.8–4.2) to 1.4 (0.9–2.1). In the black African group, there was a negligible difference from 4.1 (3.2–5.3) to 3.5 (2.8–4.5).
We found that incidence rates of psychosis have increased over time, and the IRR varied by the ethnic group. Future studies are needed to investigate more changes over time and determinants of change.
The COllaborative project of Development of Anthropometrical measures in Twins (CODATwins) project is a large international collaborative effort to analyze individual-level phenotype data from twins in multiple cohorts from different environments. The main objective is to study factors that modify genetic and environmental variation of height, body mass index (BMI, kg/m2) and size at birth, and additionally to address other research questions such as long-term consequences of birth size. The project started in 2013 and is open to all twin projects in the world having height and weight measures on twins with information on zygosity. Thus far, 54 twin projects from 24 countries have provided individual-level data. The CODATwins database includes 489,981 twin individuals (228,635 complete twin pairs). Since many twin cohorts have collected longitudinal data, there is a total of 1,049,785 height and weight observations. For many cohorts, we also have information on birth weight and length, own smoking behavior and own or parental education. We found that the heritability estimates of height and BMI systematically changed from infancy to old age. Remarkably, only minor differences in the heritability estimates were found across cultural–geographic regions, measurement time and birth cohort for height and BMI. In addition to genetic epidemiological studies, we looked at associations of height and BMI with education, birth weight and smoking status. Within-family analyses examined differences within same-sex and opposite-sex dizygotic twins in birth size and later development. The CODATwins project demonstrates the feasibility and value of international collaboration to address gene-by-exposure interactions that require large sample sizes and address the effects of different exposures across time, geographical regions and socioeconomic status.
Overweight and obesity may increase risk of disease progression in men with prostate cancer, but there have been few studies of weight loss interventions in this patient group. In this study overweight or obese men treated for prostate cancer were randomised to a self-help diet and activity intervention with telephone-based dietitian support or a wait-list mini-intervention group. The intervention group had an initial group meeting, a supporting letter from their urological consultant, three telephone dietitian consultations at 4-week intervals, a pedometer and access to web-based diet and physical activity resources. At 12 weeks, men in both groups were given digital scales for providing follow-up weight measurements, and the wait-list group received a mini-intervention of the supporting letter, a pedometer and access to the web-based resources. Sixty-two men were randomised; fifty-four completed baseline and 12-week measurements, and fifty-one and twenty-seven provided measurements at 6 and 12 months, respectively. In a repeated-measures model, mean difference in weight change between groups (wait-list mini-intervention minus intervention) at 12 weeks was −2·13 (95 % CI −3·44, −0·82) kg (P = 0·002). At 12 months the corresponding value was −2·43 (95 % CI −4·50, −0·37) kg (P = 0·022). Mean difference in global quality of life score change between groups at 12 weeks was 12·3 (95 % CI 4·93, 19·7) (P = 0·002); at 12 months there were no significant differences between groups. Results suggest the potential of self-help diet and physical activity intervention with trained support for modest but sustained weight loss in this patient group.
Maternal mental health during pregnancy and postpartum predicts later emotional and behavioural problems in children. Even though most perinatal mental health problems begin before pregnancy, the consequences of preconception maternal mental health for children's early emotional development have not been prospectively studied.
We used data from two prospective Australian intergenerational cohorts, with 756 women assessed repeatedly for mental health problems before pregnancy between age 13 and 29 years, and during pregnancy and at 1 year postpartum for 1231 subsequent pregnancies. Offspring infant emotional reactivity, an early indicator of differential sensitivity denoting increased risk of emotional problems under adversity, was assessed at 1 year postpartum.
Thirty-seven percent of infants born to mothers with persistent preconception mental health problems were categorised as high in emotional reactivity, compared to 23% born to mothers without preconception history (adjusted OR 2.1, 95% CI 1.4–3.1). Ante- and postnatal maternal depressive symptoms were similarly associated with infant emotional reactivity, but these perinatal associations reduced somewhat after adjustment for prior exposure. Causal mediation analysis further showed that 88% of the preconception risk was a direct effect, not mediated by perinatal exposure.
Maternal preconception mental health problems predict infant emotional reactivity, independently of maternal perinatal mental health; while associations between perinatal depressive symptoms and infant reactivity are partially explained by prior exposure. Findings suggest that processes shaping early vulnerability for later mental disorders arise well before conception. There is an emerging case for expanding developmental theories and trialling preventive interventions in the years before pregnancy.
Shunt-related adverse events are frequent in infants after modified Blalock–Taussig despite use of acetylsalicylic acid prophylaxis. A higher incidence of acetylsalicylic acid-resistance and sub-therapeutic acetylsalicylic acid levels has been reported in infants. We evaluated whether using high-dose acetylsalicylic acid can decrease shunt-related adverse events in infants after modified Blalock–Taussig.
In this single-centre retrospective cohort study, we included infants ⩽1-year-old who underwent modified Blalock–Taussig placement and received acetylsalicylic acid in the ICU. We defined acetylsalicylic acid treatment groups as standard dose (⩽7 mg/kg/day) and high dose (⩾8 mg/kg/day) based on the initiating dose.
There were 34 infants in each group. Both groups were similar in age, gender, cardiac defect type, ICU length of stay, and time interval to second stage or definitive repair. Shunt interventions (18 versus 32%, p=0.16), shunt thrombosis (14 versus 17%, p=0.74), and mortality (9 versus 12%, p=0.65) were not significantly different between groups. On multiple logistic regression analysis, single-ventricle morphology (odds ratio 5.2, 95% confidence interval of 1.2–23, p=0.03) and post-operative red blood cells transfusion ⩾24 hours [odds ratio 15, confidence interval of (3–71), p<0.01] were associated with shunt-related adverse events. High-dose acetylsalicylic acid treatment [odds ratio 2.6, confidence interval of (0.7–10), p=0.16] was not associated with decrease in these events.
High-dose acetylsalicylic acid may not be sufficient in reducing shunt-related adverse events in infants after modified Blalock–Taussig. Post-operative red blood cells transfusion may be a modifiable risk factor for these events. A randomised trial is needed to determine appropriate acetylsalicylic acid dosing in infants with modified Blalock–Taussig.
In the 2015 review paper ‘Petawatt Class Lasers Worldwide’ a comprehensive overview of the current status of high-power facilities of
was presented. This was largely based on facility specifications, with some description of their uses, for instance in fundamental ultra-high-intensity interactions, secondary source generation, and inertial confinement fusion (ICF). With the 2018 Nobel Prize in Physics being awarded to Professors Donna Strickland and Gerard Mourou for the development of the technique of chirped pulse amplification (CPA), which made these lasers possible, we celebrate by providing a comprehensive update of the current status of ultra-high-power lasers and demonstrate how the technology has developed. We are now in the era of multi-petawatt facilities coming online, with 100 PW lasers being proposed and even under construction. In addition to this there is a pull towards development of industrial and multi-disciplinary applications, which demands much higher repetition rates, delivering high-average powers with higher efficiencies and the use of alternative wavelengths: mid-IR facilities. So apart from a comprehensive update of the current global status, we want to look at what technologies are to be deployed to get to these new regimes, and some of the critical issues facing their development.
Self-harm in young people is associated with later problems in social and emotional development. However, it is unknown whether self-harm in young women continues to be a marker of vulnerability on becoming a parent. This study prospectively describes the associations between pre-conception self-harm, maternal depressive symptoms and mother–infant bonding problems.
The Victorian Intergenerational Health Cohort Study (VIHCS) is a follow-up to the Victorian Adolescent Health Cohort Study (VAHCS) in Australia. Socio-demographic and health variables were assessed at 10 time-points (waves) from ages 14 to 35, including self-reported self-harm at waves 3–9. VIHCS enrolment began in 2006 (when participants were aged 28–29 years), by contacting VAHCS women every 6 months to identify pregnancies over a 7-year period. Perinatal depressive symptoms were assessed with the Edinburgh Postnatal Depression Scale during the third trimester, and 2 and 12 months postpartum. Mother–infant bonding problems were assessed with the Postpartum Bonding Questionnaire at 2 and 12 months postpartum.
Five hundred sixty-four pregnancies from 384 women were included. One in 10 women (9.7%) reported pre-conception self-harm. Women who reported self-harming in young adulthood (ages 20–29) reported higher levels of perinatal depressive symptoms and mother–infant bonding problems at all perinatal time points [perinatal depressive symptoms adjusted β = 5.40, 95% confidence interval (CI) 3.42–7.39; mother–infant bonding problems adjusted β = 7.51, 95% CI 3.09–11.92]. There was no evidence that self-harm in adolescence (ages 15–17) was associated with either perinatal outcome.
Self-harm during young adulthood may be an indicator of future vulnerability to perinatal mental health and mother–infant bonding problems.
The “Stop the Bleed” campaign advocates for non-medical personnel to be trained in basic hemorrhage control. However, it is not clear what type of education or the duration of instruction needed to meet that requirement. The objective of this study was to determine the impact of a brief hemorrhage control educational curriculum on the willingness of laypersons to respond during a traumatic emergency.
This “Stop the Bleed” education initiative was conducted by the University of Texas Health San Antonio Office of the Medical Director (San Antonio, Texas USA) between September 2016 and March 2017. Individuals with formal medical certification were excluded from this analysis. Trainers used a pre-event questionnaire to assess participants knowledge and attitudes about tourniquets and responding to traumatic emergencies. Each training course included an individual evaluation of tourniquet placement, 20 minutes of didactic instruction on hemorrhage control techniques, and hands-on instruction with tourniquet application on both adult and child mannequins. The primary outcome in this study was the willingness to use a tourniquet in response to a traumatic medical emergency.
Of 236 participants, 218 met the eligibility criteria. When initially asked if they would use a tourniquet in real life, 64.2% (140/218) responded “Yes.” Following training, 95.6% (194/203) of participants responded that they would use a tourniquet in real life. When participants were asked about their comfort level with using a tourniquet in real life, there was a statistically significant improvement between their initial response and their response post training (2.5 versus 4.0, based on 5-point Likert scale; P<.001).
In this hemorrhage control education study, it was found that a short educational intervention can improve laypersons’ self-efficacy and reported willingness to use a tourniquet in an emergency. Identified barriers to act should be addressed when designing future hemorrhage control public health education campaigns. Community education should continue to be a priority of the “Stop the Bleed” campaign.
RossEM, RedmanTT, MappJG, BrownDJ, TanakaK, CooleyCW, KharodCU, WamplerDA. Stop the Bleed: The Effect of Hemorrhage Control Education on Laypersons’ Willingness to Respond During a Traumatic Medical Emergency. Prehosp Disaster Med. 2018;33(2):127–132.
As chemical management options for weeds become increasingly limited due to selection for herbicide resistance, investigation of additional nonchemical tools becomes necessary. Harvest weed seed control (HWSC) is a methodology of weed management that targets and destroys weed seeds that are otherwise dispersed by harvesters following threshing. It is not known whether problem weeds in western Canada retain their seeds in sufficient quantities until harvest at a height suitable for collection. A study was conducted at three sites over 2 yr to determine whether retention and height criteria were met by wild oat, false cleavers, and volunteer canola. Wild oat consistently shed seeds early, but seed retention was variable, averaging 56% at the time of wheat swathing, with continued losses until direct harvest of wheat and fababean. The majority of retained seeds were >45 cm above ground level, suitable for collection. Cleavers seed retention was highly variable by site-year, but generally greater than wild oat. The majority of seed was retained >15 cm above ground level and would be considered collectable. Canola seed typically had >95% retention, with the majority of seed retained >15 cm above ground level. The suitability ranking of the species for management with HWSC was canola>cleavers>wild oat. Efficacy of HWSC systems in western Canada will depend on the target species and site- and year-specific environmental conditions.
Developmental origins of health and disease (DOHaD) is the study of how the early life environment can impact the risk of chronic diseases from childhood to adulthood and the mechanisms involved. Epigenetic modifications such as DNA methylation, histone modifications and non-coding RNAs are involved in mediating how early life environment impacts later health. This review is a summary of the Epigenetics and DOHaD workshop held at the 2016 DOHaD Society of Australia and New Zealand Conference. Our extensive knowledge of how the early life environment impacts later risk for chronic disease would not have been possible without animal models. In this review we highlight some animal model examples that demonstrate how an adverse early life exposure results in epigenetic and gene expression changes that may contribute to increased risk of chronic disease later in life. Type 2 diabetes and cardiovascular disease are chronic diseases with an increasing incidence due to the increased number of children and adults that are obese. Epigenetic changes such as DNA methylation have been shown to be associated with metabolic health measures and potentially predict future metabolic health status. Although more difficult to elucidate in humans, recent studies suggest that DNA methylation may be one of the epigenetic mechanisms that mediates the effects of early life exposures on later life risk of obesity and obesity related diseases. Finally, we discuss the role of the microbiome and how it is a new player in developmental programming and mediating early life exposures on later risk of chronic disease.
Accurate weed emergence models are valuable tools for scheduling planting, cultivation, and herbicide applications. Multiple models predicting giant ragweed emergence have been developed, but none have been validated in diverse crop rotation and tillage systems, which have the potential to influence weed emergence patterns. This study evaluated the performance of published giant ragweed emergence models across various crop rotations and spring tillage dates in southern Minnesota. Across experiments, the most robust model was a mixed-effects Weibull (flexible sigmoidal function) model predicting emergence in relation to hydrothermal time accumulation with a base temperature of 4.4 C, a base soil matric potential of −2.5 MPa, and two random effects determined by overwinter growing degree days (GDD) (10 C) and precipitation accumulated during seedling recruitment. The deviations in emergence between individual plots and the fixed-effects model were distinguished by the positive association between the lower horizontal asymptote (Drop) and maximum daily soil temperature during seedling recruitment. This finding indicates that crops and management practices that increase soil temperature will have a shorter lag phase at the start of giant ragweed emergence compared with practices promoting cool soil temperatures. Thus, crops with early-season crop canopies such as perennial crops and crops planted in early spring and in narrow rows will likely have a slower progression of giant ragweed emergence. This research provides a valuable assessment of published giant ragweed emergence models and illustrates that accurate emergence models can be used to time field operations and improve giant ragweed control across diverse cropping systems.