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Cigarette smoking is strongly associated with major depressive disorder (MDD). However, any genetic etiology of such comorbidity and causal relations is poorly understood, especially at the genome-wide level.
In the present in silico research, we analyzed summary data from the genome-wide association study of the Psychiatric Genetic Consortium for MDD (n = 191 005) and UK Biobank for smoking (n = 337 030) by using various biostatistical methods including Bayesian colocalization analysis, LD score regression, variant effect size correlation analysis, and Mendelian randomization (MR).
By adopting a gene prioritization approach, we identified 43 genes shared by MDD and smoking, which were significantly enriched in membrane potential, gamma-aminobutyric acid receptor activity, and retrograde endocannabinoid signaling pathways, indicating that the comorbid mechanisms are involved in the neurotransmitter system. According to linkage disequilibrium score regression, we found a strong positive correlation between MDD and current smoking (rg = 0.365; p = 7.23 × 10−25) and a negative correlation between MDD and former smoking (rg = −0.298; p = 1.59 × 10−24). MR analysis suggested that genetic liability for depression increased smoking.
These findings inform the concomitant conditions of MDD and smoking and support the use of self-medication with smoking to counteract depression.
Poor motivation to engage in goal-oriented behavior has been recognized as a hallmark feature of schizophrenia spectrum disorders (SZ). Low drive in SZ may be related to anticipating rewards as well as to poor working memory. However, few studies to date have examined beliefs about self-efficacy and satisfaction for future rewards (anticipatory pleasure). Additionally, few studies to date have examined how these deficits may impact SZ patients’ real world functioning.
The present study examined SZ patients’ (n = 57) anticipatory pleasure, working memory, self-efficacy and real world functioning in relation to their negative symptom severity.
Results revealed that SZ patients’ negative symptom severity was related to decisions in effort allocation and reward probability, working memory deficits, self-efficacy and anticipatory pleasure for future reward. Effort allocation deficits also predicted patients’ daily functioning skills.
SZ patients with high levels of negative symptoms are not merely effort averse, but have more difficulty effectively allocating effort and anticipating pleasure engaging in effortful activities. It may be the case that continuously failing to achieve reinforcement from engagement and participation may lead SZ patients to form certain negative beliefs about their abilities which contributes to amotivation and cognitive deficits. Lastly, our findings provide further support for a link between SZ patients functional daily living skills their effort allocation.
A total of 592 people reported gastrointestinal illness following attendance at Street Spice, a food festival held in Newcastle-upon-Tyne, North East England in February/March 2013. Epidemiological, microbiological and environmental investigations were undertaken to identify the source and prevent further cases. Several epidemiological analyses were conducted; a cohort study; a follow-up survey of cases and capture re-capture to estimate the true burden of cases. Indistinguishable isolates of Salmonella Agona phage type 40 were identified in cases and on fresh curry leaves used in one of the accompaniments served at the event. Molecular testing indicated entero-aggregative Escherichia coli and Shigella also contributed to the burden of illness. Analytical studies found strong associations between illness and eating food from a particular stall and with food items including coconut chutney which contained fresh curry leaves. Further investigation of the food supply chain and food preparation techniques identified a lack of clear instruction on the use of fresh uncooked curry leaves in finished dishes and uncertainty about their status as a ready-to-eat product. We describe the investigation of one of the largest outbreaks of food poisoning in England, involving several gastrointestinal pathogens including a strain of Salmonella Agona not previously seen in the UK.
Capsular type K54 of Klebsiella pneumoniae is associated with hypervirulence and we sought to discover the basis for this among isolates submitted to the UK reference laboratory between 2012 and 2017. Isolates were typed by variable number tandem repeat analysis, and capsular type and virulence elements sought by PCR. The most prevalent type found (15/31 isolates) corresponded to clonal group (CG) 29 and included five representatives carrying rmpA, rmpA2 (regulators of mucoid phenotype), iutA and iroD (from the aerobactin and salmochelin siderophore clusters) associated with virulence plasmids. These included isolate KpvK54, recovered from pus. The remaining isolates did not carry a virulence plasmid. We also noted 11 further related isolates, including NCTC 9159, not of capsular type K54, but nevertheless sometimes associated with sepsis and abscesses. Whole-genome sequencing showed that KpvK54 carried a large virulence plasmid and an ICEKp3-like structure carrying the yersiniabactin cluster, absent in NCTC 9159. Comparative chromosomal analysis with an additional four genomes showed that KpvK54 shared further genes with K1-ST23 hypervirulent isolates, and with LS358, a K54-ST29 isolate from liver abscess puncture fluid. While CG29 isolates displayed varying degrees of virulence, some, especially those with the virulence plasmid (all K54), were clearly associated with hypervirulence.
Understanding the long-term ecological dynamics of boreal forests is essential for assessment of the possible responses and feedbacks of forest ecosystems to climate change. New data on past forest dynamics and peatland development were obtained from a peat sequence in the southern Valdai Hills (European Russia) based on pollen, plant macrofossil, micro-charcoal, peat humification, and testate amoeba analyses. The results demonstrate a dominance of broadleaved forests in the study area from 7000–4000 cal yr BP. Picea was initially a minor component of this forest but increased in cover rapidly with climatic cooling beginning at 4000 cal yr BP, becoming the dominant species. Broadleaved species persisted until 900 cal yr BP, with evidence for intensified felling and forest management over recent centuries. Over the last four hundred years there is evidence for widespread paludification and the establishment of Picea-Sphagnum forests. These data demonstrate how modern wet woodlands have been shaped by a combination of climatic and anthropogenic factors over several millennia. The results also demonstrate the value of a multiproxy approach in understanding long-term forest ecology.
Universal screening for postpartum depression is recommended in many countries. Knowledge of whether the disclosure of depressive symptoms in the postpartum period differs across cultures could improve detection and provide new insights into the pathogenesis. Moreover, it is a necessary step to evaluate the universal use of screening instruments in research and clinical practice. In the current study we sought to assess whether the Edinburgh Postnatal Depression Scale (EPDS), the most widely used screening tool for postpartum depression, measures the same underlying construct across cultural groups in a large international dataset.
Ordinal regression and measurement invariance were used to explore the association between culture, operationalized as education, ethnicity/race and continent, and endorsement of depressive symptoms using the EPDS on 8209 new mothers from Europe and the USA.
Education, but not ethnicity/race, influenced the reporting of postpartum depression [difference between robust comparative fit indexes (∆*CFI) < 0.01]. The structure of EPDS responses significantly differed between Europe and the USA (∆*CFI > 0.01), but not between European countries (∆*CFI < 0.01).
Investigators and clinicians should be aware of the potential differences in expression of phenotype of postpartum depression that women of different educational backgrounds may manifest. The increasing cultural heterogeneity of societies together with the tendency towards globalization requires a culturally sensitive approach to patients, research and policies, that takes into account, beyond rhetoric, the context of a person's experiences and the context in which the research is conducted.
Low mass, main sequence stars like our Sun exhibit a wide variety of rotational and magnetic states. Observational and theoretical advances have led to a renewed emphasis on understanding the rotational and magnetic evolution of sun-like stars has become a pressing problem in stellar physics. We use global 3D convection and convective dynamo simulations in rotating spherical shells and with realistic stellar stratification to explore the behavior of “middle-aged” stars. We show that for stars with slightly less rotational influence than our Sun a transition occurs from solar-like (fast equator, slow poles) to anti-solar (slow equator, fast poles) differential rotation. We investigate this transition using two different treatments for the upper boundary of our simulations and we hypothesize that this transition from solar-like to anti-solar differential rotation may be responsible for observations of anomalously rapid rotation for stars older than our Sun.
Mongolia's Gobi Desert ecosystem, a stronghold for populations of the Asiatic wild ass (khulan) Equus hemionus and the goitered gazelle Gazella subgutturosa, faces conservation challenges as a result of rapid economic development, including mining-related infrastructure projects. There is a paucity of reliable data on population abundance for these ungulates in the region, which makes it difficult to assess how they are responding to increasing anthropogenic pressure. Our aim was to obtain abundance estimates for khulan and goitered gazelles to inform their management and form the basis of a long-term monitoring programme. Each year during 2012–2015 we surveyed a total of 64 line transects spaced 20 km apart, with a total of 3,464 km of survey effort across 78,717 km2. Distance sampling analysis provided annual estimates of density and abundance, which were cross-referenced with the results of an aerial survey conducted in 2013. Overall, we observed 784 groups (14,608 individuals) of khulan and 1,033 groups (3,955 individuals) of goitered gazelles during the four surveys. The abundance estimates for 2013 were 35,899 (95% CI 22,680–40,537) khulan and 28,462 (95% CI 21,326–37,987) goitered gazelles. These estimates were congruent with the results from the aerial survey, which overlapped spatially and temporally with our ground-based survey. Our findings confirm that Mongolia's Gobi Desert supports the largest population of khulan and goitered gazelles in the world, and we provide a critical update on the status of the two species.
At least in conventional hydrostatic ice-sheet models, the numerical error associated with grounding line dynamics can be reduced by modifications to the discretization scheme. These involve altering the integration formulae for the basal traction and/or driving stress close to the grounding line and exhibit lower – if still first-order – error in the MISMIP3d experiments. MISMIP3d may not represent the variety of real ice streams, in that it lacks strong lateral stresses, and imposes a large basal traction at the grounding line. We study resolution sensitivity in the context of extreme forcing simulations of the entire Antarctic ice sheet, using the BISICLES adaptive mesh ice-sheet model with two schemes: the original treatment, and a scheme, which modifies the discretization of the basal traction. The second scheme does indeed improve accuracy – by around a factor of two – for a given mesh spacing, but
km resolution is still necessary. For example, in coarser resolution simulations Thwaites Glacier retreats so slowly that other ice streams divert its trunk. In contrast, with
km meshes, the same glacier retreats far more quickly and triggers the final phase of West Antarctic collapse a century before any such diversion can take place.
Present-day mass loss from the West Antarctic ice sheet is centred on the Amundsen Sea Embayment (ASE), primarily through ice streams, including Pine Island, Thwaites and Smith glaciers. To understand the differences in response of these ice streams, we ran a perturbed parameter ensemble, using a vertically-integrated ice flow model with adaptive mesh refinement. We generated 71 sets of three physical parameters (basal traction coefficient, ice viscosity stiffening factor and sub-shelf melt rate), which we used to simulate the ASE for 50 years. We also explored the effects of different bed geometries and basal sliding laws. The mean rate of sea-level rise across the ensemble of simulations is comparable with current observed rates for the ASE. We found evidence that grounding line dynamics are sensitive to features in the bed geometry: simulations using BedMap2 geometry resulted in a higher rate of sea-level rise than simulations using a rougher geometry, created using mass conservation. Modelled grounding-line retreat of all the three ice streams was sensitive to viscosity and basal traction, while the melt rate was more important in Pine Island and Smith glaciers, which flow through more confined ice shelves than Thwaites, which has a relatively unconfined shelf.
Large quantities of irradiated graphite will arise from the decommissioning of the UK's Magnox power stations. Irradiated graphite contains 14C as well as other longer lived radionuclides (e.g. 36Cl). The potential use of magnetic sector secondary ion mass spectrometry (MS-SIMS) to examine the distribution of the 14C within trepanned graphite samples from a Magnox nuclear power station has been investigated. This work indicates that the methodology proposed has the potential to be used to analyse irradiated graphite samples with preliminary results highlighting a possible 14C enrichment in the carbonaceous deposit found on a channel wall sample. 14C concentrations in samples without this deposit were below the limits of detection of the instrument. The methodology used for these determinations ensured that possible mass interferences between 14C species and oxygen-bearing or nitrogen-bearing species were eliminated from the analysis. Future work will utilize the methodology proposed in this work on a larger number of samples.
Holocene climatic variability and human impact on vegetation are reconstructed from a region in central European Russia, which lies at an important ecotone between broadleaf forest and steppe. For the first time in this region we adopt a multi-proxy approach that combines analysis of local mire conditions from plant macrofossil and testate amoeba analyses with pollen-based quantitative climate reconstruction. The proxies indicate a long-term warming trend from 9700 to 7500 cal yr BP, interrupted by a series of short-term cold events. From 7500 to 5000 cal yr BP the results imply a relatively stable climate, warmer and drier than present, spanning the Holocene Thermal Maximum. Since 5000 cal yr BP the data suggest a change to cooler climate, but with centennial-scale variability. This shift at around 5000 cal yr BP is supported by extensive evidence from other sites. In the early Holocene, the region was occupied mainly by pine and birch forests. Broad-leafed forests of oak, lime and elm expanded after 7800 cal yr BP and remained dominant until the last few centuries. During the historical period, vegetation changes have been driven mainly by human activities.
Early investigation of travel-related cases in an outbreak of an emerging infectious disease can provide useful information to epidemiologists to characterize the exposure, while they may differ in demographic profiles from cases reported in the country where the outbreak has occurred. During the spring 2011 E. coli outbreak in Germany, we proposed a methodological approach to collect a minimal set of demographic and clinical data that are relatively easy to obtain and available at an early stage of an outbreak investigation. Ninety-eight STEC O104 travel-related cases were reported in a survey by seven EU countries, Switzerland, Canada and the USA. We found a mean incubation period (n = 50) of 8·5 days, which confirmed previous estimations communicated by the Robert Koch Institute. No significant association was found between the duration of the incubation period and possible demographic and clinical factors, although the older the age, the shorter the incubation period that was observed. Such approach and observations are informative for further investigations of outbreaks of enterohaemorrhagic E. coli or other emerging infectious diseases.
We construct initial conditions for an ice flow model of the Greenland ice sheet (GrIS). GrIS has been losing mass at an increasing rate over the past two decades, and a significant proportion of this loss is due to dynamic thinning of narrow outlet glaciers. We solve an inverse problem to estimate poorly known basal and englacial parameters given observed geometry and surface velocities. A weighted cost function, resolved to 4 km in the interior of the ice sheet and 1 km in regions of fast-flowing ice at the margin, is minimized to find two-dimensional fields for a stiffness factor, which is a coefficient of the effective viscosity, and basal traction coefficient. Using these fields, we run the model under present-day climate to damp large-amplitude, short-wavelength fluctuations in the flux divergence. The time-dependent model uses an adaptive mesh with resolution ranging from 8 km of the base grid to 500 m in areas of fast-flowing ice to capture the behaviour of the main outlet glaciers. The ice discharge calculated from the initial conditions for GrIS and individual glaciers compares well with values calculated from observations.