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Minor motor and sensory deficits or neurological soft signs (NSS) are frequently found in individuals suffering from schizophrenia at any stage of their illness. The basal ganglia and the thalamus are accepted as being important for both motor control and integration of sensory input. However, whether NSS are related to structural alterations of these brain regions remains controversial.
20 patients with a first-episode psychosis were investigated using high-resolution magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) at 3 Tesla. NSS were examined on the Heidelberg Scale after remission of acute symptoms and correlated with volume and shape of striatum, pallidum and thalamus by using sophisticated MRI analyses, namely VBM-DARTEL (volume) and FSL-FIRST (shape).
Results NSS scores in patients with schizophrenia were significantly associated with volumetric changes and surface alterations in all investigated areas. Associations remained significant when controlling for age, gender, education, medication and intracranial volume.
Our findings lend further support for an involvement of the basal ganglia and the thalamus in NSS.
Minor motor and sensory deficits or neurological soft signs (NSS) are frequently found in patients with schizophrenia at any stage of their illness. Numerous structural magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) studies repeatedly revealed accentuated thinning of cortical mantle in schizophrenia. However, whether NSS are related to alterations of cortical thickness has so far remained mostly unexplored.
Whole brain high-resolution MRI at 3 Tesla was used to investigate cortical thickness in twenty five patients with recent-onset schizophrenia. Cortical reconstruction was performed with the Freesurfer image analysis suite. NSS were examined on the Heidelberg Scale after remission of acute symptoms and related to cortical thickness. Age, education, medication and duration of illness were considered as potential confounders.
Higher NSS scores were associated with decreased cortical thickness in multiple areas. Significant correlations were found in somatosensory and primary motor cortex, pre-motor area and temporal lobe. Our results confirm the hypothesis of significant relationship between alterations of cortical thickness and the extent of NSS in schizophrenia.
Our findings provide new insights into the association of NSS with brain morphometric alterations and an involvement of cortical thickness in schizophrenia.
With the introduction of antiretroviral treatment, the survival rates of Human Immunodeficiency virus (HIV) patients have improved significantly. However, the incidence of HIV- associated neurocognitive disorders (HAND) gained importance and represents actually a significant public health problem.
Neurological soft signs (NSS) refers to subtle neurological abnormalities in motor and sensory performance. The presence of these symptoms has been widely described in patients with mental diseases like Schizophrenia or Alzheimer’s Disease, but have not been studied in HAND despite its known subcortical physiopathology.
To study the prevalence HAND in a Chilean cohort of HIV patients and describe its association to NSS.
HIV patients without history of head injury trauma or opportunistic infections of the CNS were recruited from the HIV clinic, underwent a thorough clinical interview and neuropsychological testing. Healthy controls were recruited from the community. All participants were assessed with the Heidelberger NSS scale. HAND was diagnosed using NIMH and NINDS criteria.
Until now, 35 HIV+ patients and 18 controls completed the described assessment. 11 patients were cognitive healthy, 11 with Asymptomatic Neurocognitive Impairment (ANI) and 13 with Mild Neurocognitive Disorder (MND). NSS total score differed significantly between groups (F= 2,92 (DF=3), p<0.05), with MND and ANI patients showing the highest score. Duncan post hoc test showed group differences in NSS total scores with Controls >ANI, MND and Cognitive healthy HIV>MND.
Our data supports the use of NSS as a marker of HAND. It should be considered in the clinical examination of HIV patients.
Little is known about potential harmful effects as a consequence of self-guided internet-based cognitive behaviour therapy (iCBT), such as symptom deterioration rates. Thus, safety concerns remain and hamper the implementation of self-guided iCBT into clinical practice. We aimed to conduct an individual participant data (IPD) meta-analysis to determine the prevalence of clinically significant deterioration (symptom worsening) in adults with depressive symptoms who received self-guided iCBT compared with control conditions. Several socio-demographic, clinical and study-level variables were tested as potential moderators of deterioration.
Randomised controlled trials that reported results of self-guided iCBT compared with control conditions in adults with symptoms of depression were selected. Mixed effects models with participants nested within studies were used to examine possible clinically significant deterioration rates.
Thirteen out of 16 eligible trials were included in the present IPD meta-analysis. Of the 3805 participants analysed, 7.2% showed clinically significant deterioration (5.8% and 9.1% of participants in the intervention and control groups, respectively). Participants in self-guided iCBT were less likely to deteriorate (OR 0.62, p < 0.001) compared with control conditions. None of the examined participant- and study-level moderators were significantly associated with deterioration rates.
Self-guided iCBT has a lower rate of negative outcomes on symptoms than control conditions and could be a first step treatment approach for adult depression as well as an alternative to watchful waiting in general practice.
U–Pb ages of zircon from bentonites within the upper Cretaceous Bastion Ridge and Kanguk formations, Sverdrup Basin, provide constraints on sedimentation rates, biostratigraphic correlations, timing of Oceanic Anoxic Event 2 (OAE2) in the High Arctic, and the late magmatic history of the High Arctic Large Igneous Province (HALIP). A late Cenomanian to early Turonian age for the base of the Kanguk Formation is confirmed that supports correlations of the global OAE2 in the High Arctic. Sedimentation rates varied from 19 m Ma−1 between 93 and 91 Ma to 26 m Ma−1 between 91 and 83 Ma at Axel Heiberg Island. At Ellef Ringnes Island, the lower Kanguk Formation records high rates of ~70 m Ma−1 between 94 and 93 Ma, which decrease to rates comparable to those of the upper Axel Heiberg section. Differences in sedimentation rates may reflect differences in setting prior to the major transgression in the latest Cenomanian to early Turonian. The timing of Arctic occurrences of the Scaphites nigricollensis and Scaphites depressus ammonite zones is shown to be broadly comparable to that of lower-latitude occurrences within the Western Interior Seaway. An eruption frequency of 0.5–2.5 Ma characterizes the late alkaline phase of HALIP magmatism. Volcanic bed thicknesses of 10–50 cm suggest ash transport distances of less than 1000 km. Long-lived volcanic centres, in the area of the Alpha Ridge, northern Ellesmere Island or northern Greenland, were the likely source of volcanic ash over a period of 10–15 Ma.
Impairments in facial emotion recognition (FER) have been detected in patients with Parkinson disease (PD). Presently, we aim at assessing differences in emotion recognition performance in PD patient groups with and without mild forms of cognitive impairment (MCI) compared to healthy controls.
Performance on a concise emotion recognition test battery (VERT-K) of three groups of 97 PD patients was compared with an age-equivalent sample of 168 healthy controls. Patients were categorized into groups according to two well-established classifications of MCI according to Petersen's (cognitively intact vs. amnestic MCI, aMCI, vs. non-amnestic MCI, non-aMCI) and Litvan's (cognitively intact vs. single-domain MCI, sMCI, vs. multi-domain MCI, mMCI) criteria. Patients and controls underwent individual assessments using a comprehensive neuropsychological test battery examining attention, executive functioning, language, and memory (Neuropsychological Test Battery Vienna, NTBV), the Beck Depression Inventory, and a measure of premorbid IQ (WST).
Cognitively intact PD patients and patients with MCI in PD (PD-MCI) showed significantly worse emotion recognition performance when compared to healthy controls. Between-groups effect sizes were substantial, showing non-trivial effects in all comparisons (Cohen's ds from 0.31 to 1.22). Moreover, emotion recognition performance was higher in women, positively associated with premorbid IQ and negatively associated with age. Depressive symptoms were not related to FER.
The present investigation yields further evidence for impaired FER in PD. Interestingly, our data suggest FER deficits even in cognitively intact PD patients indicating FER dysfunction prior to the development of overt cognitive dysfunction. Age showed a negative association whereas IQ showed a positive association with FER.
We propose that the collision rates of non-spherical particles settling in a turbulent environment are significantly higher than those of spherical particles of the same mass and volume. The theoretical argument is based on the dependence of the particle drag force on the particle orientation, thus varying gravitational settling velocities, which can remain different until contact due to the particle inertia. Therefore, non-spherical particles can collide with large relative velocities. Direct numerical simulations (DNS) of streamwise decaying isotropic turbulence seeded with small, heavy, rotationally symmetric ellipsoids of five different aspect ratios are performed to confirm these arguments. The motion of 21 million ellipsoids is tracked by a Lagrangian particle solver assuming creeping flow conditions and neglecting the influence of the particles on the flow. We find that ellipsoids collide considerably more often than spherical particles of the same volume and mass due to a drastically increased mean relative velocity at contact.
It is well documented that global warming is unequivocal. Dairy production systems are considered as important sources of greenhouse gas emissions; however, little is known about the sensitivity and vulnerability of these production systems themselves to climate warming. This review brings different aspects of dairy cow production in Central Europe into focus, with a holistic approach to emphasize potential future consequences and challenges arising from climate change. With the current understanding of the effects of climate change, it is expected that yield of forage per hectare will be influenced positively, whereas quality will mainly depend on water availability and soil characteristics. Thus, the botanical composition of future grassland should include species that are able to withstand the changing conditions (e.g. lucerne and bird's foot trefoil). Changes in nutrient concentration of forage plants, elevated heat loads and altered feeding patterns of animals may influence rumen physiology. Several promising nutritional strategies are available to lower potential negative impacts of climate change on dairy cow nutrition and performance. Adjustment of feeding and drinking regimes, diet composition and additive supplementation can contribute to the maintenance of adequate dairy cow nutrition and performance. Provision of adequate shade and cooling will reduce the direct effects of heat stress. As estimated genetic parameters are promising, heat stress tolerance as a functional trait may be included into breeding programmes. Indirect effects of global warming on the health and welfare of animals seem to be more complicated and thus are less predictable. As the epidemiology of certain gastrointestinal nematodes and liver fluke is favourably influenced by increased temperature and humidity, relations between climate change and disease dynamics should be followed closely. Under current conditions, climate change associated economic impacts are estimated to be neutral if some form of adaptation is integrated. Therefore, it is essential to establish and adopt mitigation strategies covering available tools from management, nutrition, health and plant and animal breeding to cope with the future consequences of climate change on dairy farming.
The effects of bread consumption change over time on anthropometric measures have been scarcely studied. We analysed 2213 participants at high risk for CVD from the PREvención con DIeta MEDiterránea (PREDIMED) trial to assess the association between changes in the consumption of bread and weight and waist circumference gain over time. Dietary habits were assessed with validated FFQ at baseline and repeatedly every year during 4 years of follow-up. Using multivariate models to adjust for covariates, long-term weight and waist circumference changes according to quartiles of change in energy-adjusted white and whole-grain bread consumption were calculated. The present results showed that over 4 years, participants in the highest quartile of change in white bread intake gained 0·76 kg more than those in the lowest quartile (P for trend = 0·003) and 1·28 cm more than those in the lowest quartile (P for trend < 0·001). No significant dose–response relationships were observed for change in whole-bread consumption and anthropometric measures. Gaining weight (>2 kg) and gaining waist circumference (>2 cm) during follow-up was not associated with increase in bread consumption, but participants in the highest quartile of changes in white bread intake had a reduction of 33 % in the odds of losing weight (>2 kg) and a reduction of 36 % in the odds of losing waist circumference (>2 cm). The present results suggest that reducing white bread, but not whole-grain bread consumption, within a Mediterranean-style food pattern setting is associated with lower gains in weight and abdominal fat.
The Dawn spacecraft orbited Asteroid (4) Vesta for a year, and returned disk-resolved images and spectra covering visible and near-infrared wavelengths at scales as high as 20 m/pix. The visible geometric albedo of Vesta is ~ 0.36. The disk-integrated phase function of Vesta in the visible wavelengths derived from Dawn approach data, previous ground-based observations, and Rosetta OSIRIS observations is consistent with an IAU H-G phase law with H=3.2 mag and G=0.28. Hapke's modeling yields a disk-averaged single-scattering albedo of 0.50, an asymmetry factor of -0.25, and a roughness parameter of ~20 deg at 700 nm wavelength. Vesta's surface displays the largest albedo variations observed so far on asteroids, ranging from ~0.10 to ~0.76 in geometric albedo in the visible wavelengths. The phase function of Vesta displays obvious systematic variations with respect to wavelength, with steeper slopes within the 1- and 2-micron pyroxene bands, consistent with previous ground-based observations and laboratory measurement of HED meteorites showing deeper bands at higher phase angles. The relatively high albedo of Vesta suggests significant contribution of multiple scattering. The non-linear effect of multiple scattering and the possible systematic variations of phase function with albedo across the surface of Vesta may invalidate the traditional algorithm of applying photometric correction on airless planetary surfaces.