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The Minnesota Center for Twin and Family Research (MCTFR) comprises multiple longitudinal, community-representative investigations of twin and adoptive families that focus on psychological adjustment, personality, cognitive ability and brain function, with a special emphasis on substance use and related psychopathology. The MCTFR includes the Minnesota Twin Registry (MTR), a cohort of twins who have completed assessments in middle and older adulthood; the Minnesota Twin Family Study (MTFS) of twins assessed from childhood and adolescence into middle adulthood; the Enrichment Study (ES) of twins oversampled for high risk for substance-use disorders assessed from childhood into young adulthood; the Adolescent Brain (AdBrain) study, a neuroimaging study of adolescent twins; and the Siblings Interaction and Behavior Study (SIBS), a study of adoptive and nonadoptive families assessed from adolescence into young adulthood. Here we provide a brief overview of key features of these established studies and describe new MCTFR investigations that follow up and expand upon existing studies or recruit and assess new samples, including the MTR Study of Relationships, Personality, and Health (MTR-RPH); the Colorado-Minnesota (COMN) Marijuana Study; the Adolescent Brain Cognitive Development (ABCD) study; the Colorado Online Twins (CoTwins) study and the Children of Twins (CoT) study.
There is now a strong body of literature showing that bullying victimisation during childhood and adolescence precedes the later development of anxiety and depressive disorders. This study aimed to quantify the burden of anxiety and depressive disorders attributable to experiences of bullying victimisation for the Australian population.
This study updated a previous systematic review summarising the longitudinal association between bullying victimisation and anxiety and depressive disorders. Estimates from eligible studies published from inception until 18 August 2018 were included and meta-analyses were based on quality-effects models. Pooled relative risks were combined with a contemporary prevalence estimate for bullying victimisation for Australia in order to calculate population attributable fractions (PAFs) for the two mental disorder outcomes. PAFs were then applied to estimates of the burden of anxiety and depressive disorders in Australia expressed as disability-adjusted life years (DALYs).
The findings from this study suggest 7.8% of the burden of anxiety disorders and 10.8% of the burden of depressive disorders are attributable to bullying victimisation in Australia. An estimated 30 656 DALYs or 0.52% (95% uncertainty interval 0.33–0.72%) of all DALYs in both sexes and all ages in Australia were attributable to experiences of bullying victimisation in childhood or adolescence.
There is convincing evidence to demonstrate a causal relationship between bullying victimisation and mental disorders. This study showed that bullying victimisation contributes a significant proportion of the burden of anxiety and depressive disorders. The investment and implementation of evidence-based intervention programmes that reduce bullying victimisation in schools could reduce the burden of disease arising from common mental disorders and improve the health of Australians.
Hypertensive disorders of pregnancy (HDP) may increase the risk of offspring depression in childhood. Low birth weight is also associated with increased risk of mental health problems, including depression. This study sought to investigate (a) whether there is an association between HDP and the risk of depression in childhood and (b) whether low birth weight mediates this association. The current study is based on the Avon Longitudinal Study of Parents and Children (ALSPAC), a prospective, population-based study that has followed a cohort of offspring since their mothers were pregnant (n = 6,739). Depression at the age of 7 years was diagnosed using parent reports via the Development and Well-Being Assessment (DAWBA). Log-binomial regression and mediation analyses were used. Children exposed to HDP were 2.3 times more likely to have a depression diagnosis compared with nonexposed children, adjusted Risk Ratio [RR], 2.31; 95% CI, [1.20, 4.47]. Low birth weight was a weak mediator of this association. Results were adjusted for confounding variables including antenatal depression and anxiety during pregnancy.This study suggests that fetal exposure to maternal hypertensive disorders of pregnancy increased the risk of childhood depression. The study adds to the evidence suggesting that the uterine environment is a critical determinant of neurodevelopmental and psychiatric outcomes.
Antineuronal antibodies are associated with psychosis, although their clinical significance in first episode of psychosis (FEP) is undetermined.
To examine all patients admitted for treatment of FEP for antineuronal antibodies and describe clinical presentations and treatment outcomes in those who were antibody positive.
Individuals admitted for FEP to six mental health units in Queensland, Australia, were prospectively tested for serum antineuronal antibodies. Antibody-positive patients were referred for neurological and immunological assessment and therapy.
Of 113 consenting participants, six had antineuronal antibodies (anti-N-methyl-D-aspartate receptor antibodies [n = 4], voltage-gated potassium channel antibodies [n = 1] and antibodies against uncharacterised antigen [n = 1]). Five received immunotherapy, which prompted resolution of psychosis in four.
A small subgroup of patients admitted to hospital with FEP have antineuronal antibodies detectable in serum and are responsive to immunotherapy. Early diagnosis and treatment is critical to optimise recovery.
Objectives: To evaluate prospective and retrospective memory abilities in Operation Enduring Freedom (OEF), Operation Iraqi Freedom (OIF), and Operation New Dawn (OND) Veterans with and without a self-reported history of blast-related mild traumatic brain injury (mTBI). Methods: Sixty-one OEF/OIF/OND Veterans, including Veterans with a self-reported history of blast-related mTBI (mTBI group; n=42) and Veterans without a self-reported history of TBI (control group; n=19) completed the Memory for Intentions Test, a measure of prospective memory (PM), and two measures of retrospective memory (RM), the California Verbal Learning Test-II and the Brief Visuospatial Memory Test-Revised. Results: Veterans in the mTBI group exhibited significantly lower PM performance than the control group, but the groups did not differ in their performance on RM measures. Further analysis revealed that Veterans in the mTBI group with current PTSD (mTBI/PTSD+) demonstrated significantly lower performance on the PM measure than Veterans in the control group. PM performance by Veterans in the mTBI group without current PTSD (mTBI/PTSD-) was intermediate between the mTBI/PTSD+ and control groups, and results for the mTBI/PTSD- group were not significantly different from either of the other two groups. Conclusions: Results suggest that PM performance may be a sensitive marker of cognitive dysfunction among OEF/OIF/OND Veterans with a history of self-reported blast-related mTBI and comorbid PTSD. Reduced PM may account, in part, for complaints of cognitive difficulties in this Veteran cohort, even years post-injury. (JINS, 2018, 24, 324–334)
The discovery of the first electromagnetic counterpart to a gravitational wave signal has generated follow-up observations by over 50 facilities world-wide, ushering in the new era of multi-messenger astronomy. In this paper, we present follow-up observations of the gravitational wave event GW170817 and its electromagnetic counterpart SSS17a/DLT17ck (IAU label AT2017gfo) by 14 Australian telescopes and partner observatories as part of Australian-based and Australian-led research programs. We report early- to late-time multi-wavelength observations, including optical imaging and spectroscopy, mid-infrared imaging, radio imaging, and searches for fast radio bursts. Our optical spectra reveal that the transient source emission cooled from approximately 6 400 K to 2 100 K over a 7-d period and produced no significant optical emission lines. The spectral profiles, cooling rate, and photometric light curves are consistent with the expected outburst and subsequent processes of a binary neutron star merger. Star formation in the host galaxy probably ceased at least a Gyr ago, although there is evidence for a galaxy merger. Binary pulsars with short (100 Myr) decay times are therefore unlikely progenitors, but pulsars like PSR B1534+12 with its 2.7 Gyr coalescence time could produce such a merger. The displacement (~2.2 kpc) of the binary star system from the centre of the main galaxy is not unusual for stars in the host galaxy or stars originating in the merging galaxy, and therefore any constraints on the kick velocity imparted to the progenitor are poor.
Credibility and trustworthiness are the bedrock upon which any science is built. The strength of these foundations has been increasingly questioned across the sciences as instances of research misconduct and mounting concerns over the prevalence of detrimental research practices have been identified. Consequently, the purpose of this article is to encourage our scientific community to positively and proactively engage in efforts that foster a healthy and robust industrial and organizational (I-O) psychology. We begin by advancing six defining principles that we believe reflect the values of robust science and offer criteria for evaluating proposed efforts to change scientific practices. Recognizing that the contemporary scientific enterprise is a complex and diverse network of actors and institutions, we then conclude by identifying 12 stakeholders who play important roles in achieving a culture of robust science in I-O psychology and offer recommendations for actions we can take as members of these groups to strengthen our science.
Background: Anti-N-methyl-D-aspartate receptor (NMDAR) encephalitis is a recently described life-threatening autoimmune disorder associated with a characteristic multi-stage neuropsychiatric syndrome. Although it is known that the majority of patients experience neuropsychological disturbance post-treatment, some aspects of the cognitive profile remain unclear. Methods: This study sought to investigate patterns of cognitive functioning in a sample of anti-NMDAR encephalitis patients. Seven (6F:1M; mean age, 26.4 years; range, 16–37 years) treated patients completed a comprehensive set of neurocognitive and social functioning measures. Performance was analyzed using normative data (where available), and comparison with matched controls (10F:4M; mean age, 25.8 years; range, 16–38 years). Results: Individual cognitive profiles ranged from within normal limits to extensive dysfunction. Relative to controls, the patient group’s performance was affected in the domains of verbal/ visual memory, working memory, attention, processing speed, executive functioning, and social cognition. The patient group also reported significantly higher levels of anxiety compared to controls. Conclusions: These results add to the accumulating evidence that neurocognitive deficits, consistent with the distribution and functions of the NMDAR system can persist during recovery from anti-NMDAR encephalitis. This is the first study to provide evidence of performance decrements on measures of social cognition, including some involving theory of mind. (JINS, 2016, 22, 828–838)
The collective response of electrons in an ultrathin foil target irradiated by an ultraintense (
) laser pulse is investigated experimentally and via 3D particle-in-cell simulations. It is shown that if the target is sufficiently thin that the laser induces significant radiation pressure, but not thin enough to become relativistically transparent to the laser light, the resulting relativistic electron beam is elliptical, with the major axis of the ellipse directed along the laser polarization axis. When the target thickness is decreased such that it becomes relativistically transparent early in the interaction with the laser pulse, diffraction of the transmitted laser light occurs through a so called ‘relativistic plasma aperture’, inducing structure in the spatial-intensity profile of the beam of energetic electrons. It is shown that the electron beam profile can be modified by variation of the target thickness and degree of ellipticity in the laser polarization.
Cytokines and vitamin D both have a role in modulating the immune system, and are also potentially useful biomarkers in mental illnesses such as major depressive disorder (MDD) and schizophrenia. Studying the variability of cytokines and vitamin D in a healthy population sample may add to understanding the association between these biomarkers and mental illness. To assess genetic and environmental contributions to variation in circulating levels of cytokines and vitamin D (25-hydroxy vitamin D: 25(OH)D3), we analyzed data from a healthy adolescent twin cohort (mean age 16.2 years; standard deviation 0.25). Plasma cytokine measures were available for 400 individuals (85 MZ, 115 DZ pairs), dried blood spot sample vitamin D measures were available for 378 individuals (70 MZ, 118 DZ pairs). Heritability estimates were moderate but significant for the cytokines transforming growth factor-β1 (TGF-β1), 0.57 (95% CI 0.26–0.80) and tumor necrosis factor-receptor type 1 (TNFR1), 0.50 (95% CI 0.11–0.63) respectively. Measures of 25(OH)D3 were within normal range and heritability was estimated to be high (0.86, 95% CI 0.61–0.94). Assays of other cytokines did not generate meaningful results. These potential biomarkers may be useful in mental illness, with further research warranted in larger sample sizes. They may be particularly important in adolescents with mental illness where diagnostic uncertainty poses a significant clinical challenge.
In North America, terrestrial records of biodiversity and climate change that span Marine Oxygen Isotope Stage (MIS) 5 are rare. Where found, they provide insight into how the coupling of the ocean–atmosphere system is manifested in biotic and environmental records and how the biosphere responds to climate change. In 2010–2011, construction at Ziegler Reservoir near Snowmass Village, Colorado (USA) revealed a nearly continuous, lacustrine/wetland sedimentary sequence that preserved evidence of past plant communities between ~140 and 55 ka, including all of MIS 5. At an elevation of 2705 m, the Ziegler Reservoir fossil site also contained thousands of well-preserved bones of late Pleistocene megafauna, including mastodons, mammoths, ground sloths, horses, camels, deer, bison, black bear, coyotes, and bighorn sheep. In addition, the site contained more than 26,000 bones from at least 30 species of small animals including salamanders, otters, muskrats, minks, rabbits, beavers, frogs, lizards, snakes, fish, and birds. The combination of macro- and micro-vertebrates, invertebrates, terrestrial and aquatic plant macrofossils, a detailed pollen record, and a robust, directly dated stratigraphic framework shows that high-elevation ecosystems in the Rocky Mountains of Colorado are climatically sensitive and varied dramatically throughout MIS 5.