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There is ongoing debate regarding the relationship between clinical symptoms and cognition in schizophrenia spectrum disorders (SSD). The present study aimed to explore the potential relationships between symptoms, with an emphasis on negative symptoms, and social and non-social cognition.
Hierarchical cluster analysis with k-means optimisation was conducted to characterise clinical subgroups using the Scale for the Assessment of Negative Symptoms and Scale for the Assessment of Positive Symptoms in n = 130 SSD participants. Emergent clusters were compared on the MATRICS Consensus Cognitive Battery, which measures non-social cognition and emotion management as well as demographic and clinical variables. Spearman’s correlations were then used to investigate potential relationships between specific negative symptoms and emotion management and non-social cognition.
Four distinct clinical subgroups were identified: 1. high hallucinations, 2. mixed symptoms, 3. high negative symptoms, and 4. relatively asymptomatic. The high negative symptom subgroup was found to have significantly poorer emotion management than the high hallucination and relatively asymptomatic subgroups. No further differences between subgroups were observed. Correlation analyses revealed avolition-apathy and anhedonia-asociality were negatively correlated with emotion management, but not non-social cognition. Affective flattening and alogia were not associated with either emotion management or non-social cognition.
The present study identified associations between negative symptoms and emotion management within social cognition, but no domains of non-social cognition. This relationship may be specific to motivation, anhedonia and apathy, but not expressive deficits. This suggests that targeted interventions for social cognition may also result in parallel improvement in some specific negative symptoms.
The diatomic free radical methylidyne (CH) is an important tracer of the interstellar medium, and the study of it was critical to our earliest understanding of star formation. Although it is detectable across the electromagnetic spectrum, observations at radio frequencies allow for a study of the kinematics of the diffuse and dense gas in regions of new star formation. There is only two published (single-dish) detections of the low-frequency hyperfine transitions between 700 and 725 MHz, despite the precise frequencies being known. These low-frequency transitions are of particular interest as they are shown in laboratory experiments to be more sensitive to magnetic fields than their high-frequency counterparts (with more pronounced Zeeman splitting). In this work, we take advantage of the radio quiet environment and increased resolution of the Australian Square Kilometre Array Pathfinder (ASKAP) over previous searches to make a pilot interferometric search for CH at 724.7883 MHz (the strongest of the hyperfine transitions) in RCW 38. We found the band is clean of radio frequency interference, but we did not detect the signal from this transition to a five-sigma sensitivity limit of 0.09 Jy, which corresponds to a total column density upper limit of 1.9
cm–2 for emission and 1.3
cm–2 for absorption with an optical depth limit of 0.95. Achieved within 5 h of integration, this column density sensitivity should have been adequate to detect the emission or absorption in RCW 38, if it had similar properties to the only previous reported detections in W51.
Nature has developed myriad ways for organisms to interact with their environment using light and electronic signals. Optical and electronic properties can be observed macroscopically by measuring light emission or electrical current, but are conferred at the molecular level by the arrangement of small biological molecules, specifically proteins. Here, we present a brief overview of the current uses of proteins for applications in optical and electronic materials. We provide the natural context for a range of light-emitting, light-receiving, and electronically conductive proteins, as well as demonstrate uses in biomaterials. Examples of how genetic engineering has been used to expand the range of functional properties of naturally occurring proteins are provided. We touch on how approaches to patterning and scaffolding optical and electronic proteins can be achieved using proteins with this inherent capability. While much research is still required to bring their use into the mainstream, optical and electronic proteins have the potential to create biomaterials with properties unmatched using conventional chemical synthesis.
The Rapid ASKAP Continuum Survey (RACS) is the first large-area survey to be conducted with the full 36-antenna Australian Square Kilometre Array Pathfinder (ASKAP) telescope. RACS will provide a shallow model of the ASKAP sky that will aid the calibration of future deep ASKAP surveys. RACS will cover the whole sky visible from the ASKAP site in Western Australia and will cover the full ASKAP band of 700–1800 MHz. The RACS images are generally deeper than the existing NRAO VLA Sky Survey and Sydney University Molonglo Sky Survey radio surveys and have better spatial resolution. All RACS survey products will be public, including radio images (with
15 arcsec resolution) and catalogues of about three million source components with spectral index and polarisation information. In this paper, we present a description of the RACS survey and the first data release of 903 images covering the sky south of declination
made over a 288-MHz band centred at 887.5 MHz.
Critical shortages of personal protective equipment, especially N95 respirators, during the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic continues to be a source of concern. Novel methods of N95 filtering face-piece respirator decontamination that can be scaled-up for in-hospital use can help address this concern and keep healthcare workers (HCWs) safe.
A multidisciplinary pragmatic study was conducted to evaluate the use of an ultrasonic room high-level disinfection system (HLDS) that generates aerosolized peracetic acid (PAA) and hydrogen peroxide for decontamination of large numbers of N95 respirators. A cycle duration that consistently achieved disinfection of N95 respirators (defined as ≥6 log10 reductions in bacteriophage MS2 and Geobacillus stearothermophilus spores inoculated onto respirators) was identified. The treated masks were assessed for changes to their hydrophobicity, material structure, strap elasticity, and filtration efficiency. PAA and hydrogen peroxide off-gassing from treated masks were also assessed.
The PAA room HLDS was effective for disinfection of bacteriophage MS2 and G. stearothermophilus spores on respirators in a 2,447 cubic-foot (69.6 cubic-meter) room with an aerosol deployment time of 16 minutes and a dwell time of 32 minutes. The total cycle time was 1 hour and 16 minutes. After 5 treatment cycles, no adverse effects were detected on filtration efficiency, structural integrity, or strap elasticity. There was no detectable off-gassing of PAA and hydrogen peroxide from the treated masks at 20 and 60 minutes after the disinfection cycle, respectively.
The PAA room disinfection system provides a rapidly scalable solution for in-hospital decontamination of large numbers of N95 respirators during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Dietary protein is a pre-requisite for the maintenance of skeletal muscle mass; stimulating increases in muscle protein synthesis (MPS), via essential amino acids (EAA), and attenuating muscle protein breakdown, via insulin. Muscles are receptive to the anabolic effects of dietary protein, and in particular the EAA leucine, for only a short period (i.e. about 2–3 h) in the rested state. Thereafter, MPS exhibits tachyphylaxis despite continued EAA availability and sustained mechanistic target of rapamycin complex 1 signalling. Other notable characteristics of this ‘muscle full’ phenomenon include: (i) it cannot be overcome by proximal intake of additional nutrient signals/substrates regulating MPS; meaning a refractory period exists before a next stimulation is possible, (ii) it is refractory to pharmacological/nutraceutical enhancement of muscle blood flow and thus is not induced by muscle hypo-perfusion, (iii) it manifests independently of whether protein intake occurs in a bolus or intermittent feeding pattern, and (iv) it does not appear to be dependent on protein dose per se. Instead, the main factor associated with altering muscle full is physical activity. For instance, when coupled to protein intake, resistance exercise delays the muscle full set-point to permit additional use of available EAA for MPS to promote muscle remodelling/growth. In contrast, ageing is associated with blunted MPS responses to protein/exercise (anabolic resistance), while physical inactivity (e.g. immobilisation) induces a premature muscle full, promoting muscle atrophy. It is crucial that in catabolic scenarios, anabolic strategies are sought to mitigate muscle decline. This review highlights regulatory protein turnover interactions by dietary protein, exercise, ageing and physical inactivity.
Serous otitis media is a recognised presentation of Eustachian tube dysfunction secondary to post-nasal space pathology. Post-nasal space biopsies are commonly taken in patients with isolated serous otitis media, despite normal nasendoscopy findings, without robust evidence for doing so. This study examined cases of unilateral serous otitis media with effusion in adults. It is the largest known retrospective study to investigate whether post-nasal space biopsies are indicated in non-endemic regions.
A retrospective analysis was performed of 119 patients who underwent post-nasal space biopsy because of isolated serous otitis media, in a tertiary referral centre, from 2007 to 2017. Endoscopic examination and final histological report findings were reviewed.
Of the 119 patients identified, 6 (5.0 per cent) were found to have abnormal histology. In all six cases, suspicious clinical findings had been noted on nasendoscopic examination prior to biopsy.
Suspicious findings pre-operatively predict sinister pathology. Biopsies are not recommended in cases of adult serous otitis media with normal nasendoscopy findings if no other risk factors exist. A UK-wide retrospective study or prospective study over the next 10 years will help provide the evidence necessary to support this guidance.
Schizotypy is a putative risk phenotype for psychosis liability, but the overlap of its genetic architecture with schizophrenia is poorly understood.
We tested the hypothesis that dimensions of schizotypy (assessed with the SPQ-B) are associated with a polygenic risk score (PRS) for schizophrenia in a sample of 623 psychiatrically healthy, non-clinical subjects from the FOR2107 multi-centre study and a second sample of 1133 blood donors.
We did not find correlations of schizophrenia PRS with either overall SPQ or specific dimension scores, nor with adjusted schizotypy scores derived from the SPQ (addressing inter-scale variance). Also, PRS for affective disorders (bipolar disorder and major depression) were not significantly associated with schizotypy.
This important negative finding demonstrates that despite the hypothesised continuum of schizotypy and schizophrenia, schizotypy might share less genetic risk with schizophrenia than previously assumed (and possibly less compared to psychotic-like experiences).
The association between surgery with general anesthesia (exposure) and cognition (outcome) among older adults has been studied with mixed conclusions. We revisited a recent analysis to provide missing data education and discuss implications of biostatistical methodology for informative dropout following dementia diagnosis.
We used data from the Mayo Clinic Study of Aging, a longitudinal study of prevalence, incidence, and risk factors for mild cognitive impairment (MCI) and dementia. We fit linear mixed effects models (LMMs) to assess the association between anesthesia exposure and subsequent trajectories of cognitive z-scores assuming data missing at random, hypothesizing that exposure is associated with greater decline in cognitive function. Additionally, we used shared parameter models for informative dropout assuming data missing not at random.
A total of 1948 non-demented participants were included. Median age was 79 years, 49% were female, and 16% had MCI at enrollment. Among median follow-up of 4 study visits over 6.6 years, 172 subjects developed dementia, 270 died, and 594 participants underwent anesthesia. In LMMs, exposure to anesthesia was associated with decline in cognitive function over time (change in annual cognitive z-score slope = −0.063, 95% CI: (−0.080, −0.046), p < 0.001). Accounting for informative dropout using shared parameter models, exposure was associated with greater cognitive decline (change in annual slope = −0.081, 95% CI: (−0.137, −0.026), p = 0.004).
We revisited prior work by our group with a focus on informative dropout. Although the conclusions are similar, we demonstrated the potential impact of novel biostatistics methodology in longitudinal clinical research.
Although several initiatives have produced core competency domains for training the translational science workforce, training resources to help clinical research professionals advance these skills reside primarily within local departments or institutions. The Development, Implementation, and AssessMent of Novel Training in Domain (DIAMOND) project was designed to make this training more readily and publicly available. DIAMOND includes a digital portal to catalog publicly available educational resources and an ePortfolio to document professional development. DIAMOND is a nationally crowdsourced, federated, online catalog providing a platform for practitioners to find and share training and assessment materials. Contributors can share their own educational materials using a simple intake form that creates an electronic record; the portal enables users to browse or search this catalog of digital records and access the resources. Since September 2018, the portal has been visited more than 5,700 times and received over 280 contributions from professionals. The portal facilitates opportunities to connect and collaborate regarding future applications of these resources. Consequently, growing the collection and increasing numbers of both contributors and users remains a priority. Results from a small subset of users indicated over half accomplished their purpose for visiting the site, while qualitative results showed that users identified several benefits and helpful features of the ePortfolio.
Prior research has shown that sipping of alcohol begins to emerge during childhood and is potentially etiologically significant for later substance use problems. Using a large, community sample of 9- and 10-year-olds (N = 11,872; 53% female), we examined individual differences in precocious alcohol use in the form of alcohol sipping. We focused explicitly on features that are robust and well-demonstrated correlates of, and antecedents to, alcohol excess and related problems later in the lifespan, including youth- and parent-reported externalizing traits (i.e., impulsivity, behavioral inhibition and activation) and psychopathology. Seventeen percent of the sample reported sipping alcohol outside of a religiously sanctioned activity by age 9 or 10. Several aspects of psychopathology and personality emerged as small but reliable correlates of sipping. Nonreligious sipping was related to youth-reported impulsigenic traits, aspects of behavioral activation, prodromal psychotic-like symptoms, and mood disorder diagnoses, as well as parent-reported externalizing disorder diagnoses. Religious sipping was unexpectedly associated with certain aspects of impulsivity. Together, our findings point to the potential importance of impulsivity and other transdiagnostic indicators of psychopathology (e.g., emotion dysregulation, novelty seeking) in the earliest forms of drinking behavior.
Obtaining objective, dietary exposure information from individuals is challenging because of the complexity of food consumption patterns and the limitations of self-reporting tools (e.g., FFQ and diet diaries). This hinders research efforts to associate intakes of specific foods or eating patterns with population health outcomes.
Dietary exposure can be assessed by the measurement of food-derived chemicals in urine samples. We aimed to develop methodologies for urine collection that minimised impact on the day-to-day activities of participants but also yielded samples that were data-rich in terms of targeted biomarker measurements.
Urine collection methodologies were developed within home settings.
Different cohorts of free-living volunteers.
Home collection of urine samples using vacuum transfer technology was deemed highly acceptable by volunteers. Statistical analysis of both metabolome and selected dietary exposure biomarkers in spot urine collected and stored using this method showed that they were compositionally similar to urine collected using a standard method with immediate sample freezing. Even without chemical preservatives, samples can be stored under different temperature regimes without any significant impact on the overall urine composition or concentration of forty-six exemplar dietary exposure biomarkers. Importantly, the samples could be posted directly to analytical facilities, without the need for refrigerated transport and involvement of clinical professionals.
This urine sampling methodology appears to be suitable for routine use and may provide a scalable, cost-effective means to collect urine samples and to assess diet in epidemiological studies.
Subjective measures (SMs) of awareness assume (a) participants can accurately report the implicit/explicit status of their knowledge and (b) the act of reporting does not change that knowledge. However, SMs suffer from nonveridicality (e.g., overreporting of “guess” responses) and reactivity (e.g., prompting rule search). Attempting to improve the validity of “guess” responses, we conducted an exploratory mixed-methods replication of Rebuschat et al. (2013). Participants (N = 30) were randomly assigned to Traditional, True Guess, and NoSMs conditions. True Guess participants were led to believe the computer would replace “guess” responses with random answers. Confirming that SMs are reactive, Traditional and True Guess participants responded more slowly and accurately, with greater awareness of the linguistic target. Moreover, although True Guess participants responded “guess” less frequently, interviews revealed this was due not to greater veridicality, but rather to additional reactivity. We conclude with directions for further research to enhance the validity of SMs.
Introduction: Intoxicated patients with decreased Glasgow Coma Scale (GCS) are common presentations to emergency departments. These patients are often intubated due to presumed full stomachs and perceived aspiration risk. Gastric ultrasound (GUS) -- a simple, non-invasive and objective option -- could be applied to this problem. This pilot study uses GUS alongside usual care at a music festival; a bounded, intoxication-dense environment where airways are often managed using non-invasive airway strategies. We aim to (1) clarify the gastric contents of any intubated patients, and (2) assess if patients managed without intubation go on to have a lack of aspiration sequelae because of empty stomachs or in spite of full stomachs. Methods: A prospective cohort study was conducted at a multi-day music festival. Patients presenting to on-site medical services with GCS ≤ 13 and known or suspected substance use were included. Patients with trauma, instability, metabolic derangements or additional aspiration risk factors (eg morbid obesity, pregnancy) were excluded. Standard GUS was performed by a trained provider and results were categorized according to convention as FS (full stomach, ie solids or liquids >1.5mL/kg) or ES (empty stomach, ie empty or liquids <1.5mL/kg). Additional patient data were extracted from linked medical records post event. Results: 33 patients met inclusion criteria and 27 remained after exclusions were applied and consent obtained. 25 patients reported substance use and 19 polysubstance use. The FS group had 15 patients (7 solid & 8 liquid > 1.5), and the ES group had 12 patients (5 empty & 12 liquid < 1.5). The median low GCS documented for FS and ES was 7 and 11 respectively, and 10 patients total had a GCS of 8 or less (6 FS & 4 ES). No patients were intubated and all were managed conservatively according to usual care. 3 patients (2 FS, 1 ES) were transferred to hospital. No patients re-registered at medical for clinically significant aspiration. Conclusion: This pilot study demonstrates the potential utility of GUS in stratifying aspiration risk in intoxicated patients with decreased GCS. “Empty” stomachs might avoid intubation, while the implications and true risks of “full” stomachs for aspiration sequelae in the absence of intubation remain unclear. Due to the small numbers in this pilot study and the quoted GUS sensitivity (only 95%), further research is needed to evaluate the safe application of this modality to clinical decision-making in intoxicated patients.
The widespread evolution of herbicide resistance in weed populations has become an increasing concern for no-tillage (NT) growers in semiarid regions of the U.S. Great Plains. Lack of cost-effective and alternative new herbicide sites of action further exacerbates the problem of herbicide-resistant (HR) weeds and threatens the long-term sustainability of prevailing cropping systems in the region. A recent decline in commodity prices and increasing herbicide costs to manage HR weeds has spurred research efforts to build a strong rationale for developing ecologically based integrated weed management (IWM) strategies in the U.S. Great Plains. Integration of cover crops (CCs) in NT dryland production systems potentially offers several ecosystem services, including weed control, soil health improvement, decline in selective pest pressure, and overall reduction in pest management inputs. This review article aims to document the role of CCs for IWM, with emphasis on exploring emerging weed issues; ecological, economic, and agronomic benefits of growing CCs; and constraints preventing adoption of CCs in NT cropping systems in the semiarid Great Plains. We attempt to focus on changes in weed management practices, their long-term impacts on weed seedbanks, weed shifts, and herbicide-resistance evolution in the most common weed species in the region. We also highlight current knowledge gaps and propose new research priorities based on an improved understanding of CC management strategies that will ultimately aid in achieving sustainable weed management goals and preserving natural resources in water-limited environments.
Efficacy of conventional repetitive transcranial magnetic stimulation (rTMS) in major depressive disorder (MDD) is limited. The authors report here on an alternative treatment using low energy synchronized TMS (sTMS) at the intrinsic frequency of subjects’ alpha electroencephalogram (EEG).
Establish efficacy and safety profile of sTMS in MDD.
(1) Examine the clinical effectiveness of sTMS.
(2) Identify adverse effects associated with sTMS.
Fifty-two MDD subjects with 17-item Hamilton Depression Rating Scale (HAMD17) scores >17 were enrolled into a randomized, sham controlled, double-blind trial. Current medication remained unchanged during the trial. Depressive symptoms were evaluated by HAMD17 administered weekly.
EEGs were recorded at baseline to determine the stimulus frequency and at week 4 to evaluate the physiological effect. sTMS was delivered through three 6000-G cylindrical neodymium magnets synchronously rotating at a rate equal to the subject's intrinsic alpha frequency.
Forty-five subjects completed at least 1 week of treatment and were evaluable. Those who received active treatment had superior clinical response to sham (t = 2.54, P = 0.01), where 55.2% in the active treatment group were clinical responders versus 12.5% in sham (X2 = 7.82, P = 0.005). No significant side effects were reported. The clinical improvement was correlated with the degree of EEG improvement (r = .46, P = 0.009).
A therapeutic effect in MDD subjects can be achieved through administration of sTMS at the subject's alpha EEG frequency. Because of minimal side effects, this appears to be a safe and effective treatment option.
It has been previously shown that genes implicated in psychiatric disorders modulated Blood oxygenation level dependent (BOLD) effect in brain regions. These studies add to the knowledge of vulnerability to disorders.
This study has investigated genetic modulation of brain networks associated with emotion processing.
Aim of this study was to examine the effect of two genetic markers (5HTTLPR and COMT) on BOLD effect connectivity in healthy individuals.
Ninety-one participants participated in four fMRI experiments (at 3T), with dynamic facial expressions of fear, anger, sadness or happiness. We explored the effect of genetic polymorphisms on empirically defined brain network commonly associated with the responses to any emotional expressions. Connectivity was examined by means of Granger analysis allowing to estimate the directionality of information flow between the defined brain regions.
Perception of dynamic emotional facial expressions was commonly associated with activation of the bilateral fusiform gyrus, right superior temporal sulcus, bilateral dorso-lateral prefrontal cortex and right amygdala. The genetic modulation of this network was observed only in experiments with fearful facial expressions. There was an interaction between the effects of genetic polymorphisms and the measures of connectivity: (p = 0.0002, adjusted R2 = 18%). This was accounted for by lower connectivity in individuals lacking both copies of COMT Val polymorphism who at the same time lacked both copies of L polymorphism of 5HTTLPR gene.
Our results clarify the mechanism of brain network reactivity to emotional signals that is associated with genetic polymorphisms.
Investigating genetic modulation of emotion processing may contribute to the understanding of heritable mechanisms of emotional disorders. The aim of the present study was to test the effects of catechol-O-methyltransferase (COMT) val158met and serotonin-transporter-linked promoter region (5-HTTLPR) polymorphisms on facial emotion processing in healthy individuals.
Two hundred and seventy five (167 female) participants were asked to complete a computerized facial affect recognition task, which involved four experimental conditions, each containing one type of emotional face (fearful, angry, sad or happy) intermixed with neutral faces. Participants were asked to indicate whether the face displayed an emotion or was neutral. The COMT-val158met and 5-HTTLPR polymorphisms were genotyped.
Met homozygotes (COMT) showed a stronger bias to perceive neutral faces as expressions of anger, compared with val homozygotes. However, the S-homozygotes (5-HTTLPR) showed a reduced bias to perceive neutral faces as expressions of happiness, compared to L-homozygotes. No interaction between 5-HTTLPR and COMT was found.
These results add to the knowledge of individual differences in social cognition that are modulated via serotonergic and dopaminergic systems. This potentially could contribute to the understanding of the mechanisms of susceptibility to emotional disorders.
To identify from the literature, and to critically evaluate, all validated instruments currently available to measure self-harming behaviour in adults.
Materials and methods
Medline, Embase, PsycInfo, Health and Psychosocial Instruments and Google scholar were searched, grey literature was sought and the reference lists of relevant articles were checked to identify instruments.
A total of seven validated instruments which met our inclusion criteria were identified and data were extracted regarding each instrument's format, administration method, psychometric properties and number of items and domains included. Considerable variation was observed in the overall quality of these instruments. Fourteen other instruments were identified which did not describe their psychometric properties or had not been published and were subsequently excluded from our review.
Although many instruments were identified in our search, only a small number had been validated with published psychometric properties. Of the identified instruments, the Suicide Attempt Self-Injury Interview (SASII) appears to be the most robust and comprehensive instrument currently available. Despite the absence of psychometric data, numerous other instruments have been used in published studies, including clinical trials.
Our results highlight the pressing need for a standardized, empirically validated and versatile measure of intentional self-harming behaviour for use in both clinical and research settings. The optimum characteristics of such an instrument are discussed.