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Abnormal effort-based decision-making represents a potential mechanism underlying motivational deficits (amotivation) in psychotic disorders. Previous research identified effort allocation impairment in chronic schizophrenia and focused mostly on physical effort modality. No study has investigated cognitive effort allocation in first-episode psychosis (FEP).
Cognitive effort allocation was examined in 40 FEP patients and 44 demographically-matched healthy controls, using Cognitive Effort-Discounting (COGED) paradigm which quantified participants’ willingness to expend cognitive effort in terms of explicit, continuous discounting of monetary rewards based on parametrically-varied cognitive demands (levels N of N-back task). Relationship between reward-discounting and amotivation was investigated. Group differences in reward-magnitude and effort-cost sensitivity, and differential associations of these sensitivity indices with amotivation were explored.
Patients displayed significantly greater reward-discounting than controls. In particular, such discounting was most pronounced in patients with high levels of amotivation even when N-back performance and reward base amount were taken into consideration. Moreover, patients exhibited reduced reward-benefit sensitivity and effort-cost sensitivity relative to controls, and that decreased sensitivity to reward-benefit but not effort-cost was correlated with diminished motivation. Reward-discounting and sensitivity indices were generally unrelated to other symptom dimensions, antipsychotic dose and cognitive deficits.
This study provides the first evidence of cognitive effort-based decision-making impairment in FEP, and indicates that decreased effort expenditure is associated with amotivation. Our findings further suggest that abnormal effort allocation and amotivation might primarily be related to blunted reward valuation. Prospective research is required to clarify the utility of effort-based measures in predicting amotivation and functional outcome in FEP.
Better understanding of interplay among symptoms, cognition and functioning in first-episode psychosis (FEP) is crucial to promoting functional recovery. Network analysis is a promising data-driven approach to elucidating complex interactions among psychopathological variables in psychosis, but has not been applied in FEP.
This study employed network analysis to examine inter-relationships among a wide array of variables encompassing psychopathology, premorbid and onset characteristics, cognition, subjective quality-of-life and psychosocial functioning in 323 adult FEP patients in Hong Kong. Graphical Least Absolute Shrinkage and Selection Operator (LASSO) combined with extended Bayesian information criterion (BIC) model selection was used for network construction. Importance of individual nodes in a generated network was quantified by centrality analyses.
Our results showed that amotivation played the most central role and had the strongest associations with other variables in the network, as indexed by node strength. Amotivation and diminished expression displayed differential relationships with other nodes, supporting the validity of two-factor negative symptom structure. Psychosocial functioning was most strongly connected with amotivation and was weakly linked to several other variables. Within cognitive domain, digit span demonstrated the highest centrality and was connected with most of the other cognitive variables. Exploratory analysis revealed no significant gender differences in network structure and global strength.
Our results suggest the pivotal role of amotivation in psychopathology network of FEP and indicate its critical association with psychosocial functioning. Further research is required to verify the clinical significance of diminished motivation on functional outcome in the early course of psychotic illness.
Family-based strategies to reduce the risk of overweight in childhood are needed in the Caribbean.
To investigate the associations between parental characteristics and risk of overweight and explore possible mechanisms.
Data from a parenting intervention were analysed. Parental characteristics were obtained by questionnaire at enrolment. At 18 months, 501 infants (82.9% of cohort) had weight and length measured using standardized methods. The association of parents’ characteristics with risk of infant overweight was assessed using random-effects logistic regression. Four focus groups among mothers in Jamaica were conducted to explore mechanisms.
Overall, 20.6% of infants were ‘at risk of overweight’. Fathers were present in 52% of households. Fathers’ presence [OR (95% CI) 0.60 (0.37–0.96)] was associated with reduced risk of overweight independent of socioeconomic status. Mothers reported that fathers encouraged healthier practices.
Fathers may be important agents of change in intervention strategies to prevent childhood overweight.
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.
Knowledge, attitudes and practices (KAP) of the population regarding severe fever with thrombocytopenia syndrome (SFTS) in endemic areas of Lu'an in China were assessed before and after an intervention programme. The pre-intervention phase was conducted using a sample of 425 participants from the 12 selected villages with the highest rates of endemic SFTS infection. A predesigned interview questionnaire was used to assess KAP. Subsequently, an intervention programme was designed and applied in the selected villages. KAP was re-assessed for each population in the selected villages using the same interview questionnaire. Following 2 months of the programme, 339 participants had completed the re-assessed survey. The impact of the intervention programme was evaluated using suitable statistical methods. A significant increase in the KAP and total KAP scores was noted following the intervention programme, whereas the proportion of correct knowledge, the positive attitudes and the effective practices toward SFTS of respondents increased significantly. The intervention programme was effective in improving KAP level of SFTS in populations that were resident in endemic areas.
A simple, portable capillary refill time (CRT) simulator is not commercially available. This device would be useful in mass-casualty simulations with multiple volunteers or mannequins depicting a variety of clinical findings and CRTs. The objective of this study was to develop and evaluate a prototype CRT simulator in a disaster simulation context.
A CRT prototype simulator was developed by embedding a pressure-sensitive piezo crystal, and a single red light-emitting diode (LED) light was embedded, within a flesh-toned resin. The LED light was programmed to turn white proportionate to the pressure applied, and gradually to return to red on release. The time to color return was adjustable with an external dial. The prototype was tested for feasibility among two cohorts: emergency medicine physicians in a tabletop exercise and second year medical students within an actual disaster triage drill. The realism of the simulator was compared to video-based CRT, and participants used a Visual Analog Scale (VAS) ranging from “completely artificial” to “as if on a real patient.” The VAS evaluated both the visual realism and the functional (eg, tactile) realism. Accuracy of CRT was evaluated only by the physician cohort. Data were analyzed using parametric and non-parametric statistics, and mean Cohen’s Kappas were used to describe inter-rater reliability.
The CRT simulator was generally well received by the participants. The simulator was perceived to have slightly higher functional realism (P=.06, P=.01) but lower visual realism (P=.002, P=.11) than the video-based CRT. Emergency medicine physicians had higher accuracy on portrayed CRT on the simulator than the videos (92.6% versus 71.1%; P<.001). Inter-rater reliability was higher for the simulator (0.78 versus 0.27; P<.001).
A simple, LED-based CRT simulator was well received in both settings. Prior to widespread use for disaster triage training, validation on participants’ ability to accurately triage disaster victims using CRT simulators and video-based CRT simulations should be performed.
ChangTP, SantillanesG, Claudius I, PhamPK, KovedJ, CheyneJ, Gausche-HillM, KajiAH, SrinivasanS, DonofrioJJ, BirC. Use of a Novel, Portable, LED-Based Capillary Refill Time Simulator within a Disaster Triage Context. Prehosp Disaster Med. 2017;32(4):451–456.
An MP tandem Van de Graaff accelerator at the University of Rochester has been employed since May 1977 to detect 14C in various terrestrial samples. The carbon sample sizes required are 1mg or less. Dating accuracies based on reproducibility now approach (± 80 years). Measurements have been made on 1850 wood, Australian sucrose, a carbon sample from Mt Shasta, a baby woolly mammoth, and an Egyptian bull mummy wrapping.
Relapse is distressingly common after the first episode of psychosis, yet it is poorly understood and difficult to predict. Investigating changes in cognitive function preceding relapse may provide new insights into the underlying mechanism of relapse in psychosis. We hypothesized that relapse in fully remitted first-episode psychosis patients was preceded by working memory deterioration.
Visual memory and verbal working memory were monitored prospectively in a 1-year randomized controlled trial of remitted first-episode psychosis patients assigned to medication continuation (quetiapine 400 mg/day) or discontinuation (placebo). Relapse (recurrence of positive symptoms of psychosis), visual (Visual Patterns Test) and verbal (Letter–Number span test) working memory and stressful life events were assessed monthly.
Remitted first-episode patients (n = 102) participated in the study. Relapsers (n = 53) and non-relapsers (n = 49) had similar baseline demographic and clinical profiles. Logistic regression analyses indicated relapse was associated with visual working memory deterioration 2 months before relapse [odds ratio (OR) 3.07, 95% confidence interval (CI) 1.19–7.92, P = 0.02], more stressful life events 1 month before relapse (OR 2.11, 95% CI 1.20–3.72, P = 0.01) and medication discontinuation (OR 5.52, 95% CI 2.08–14.62, P = 0.001).
Visual working memory deterioration beginning 2 months before relapse in remitted first-episode psychosis patients (not baseline predictor) may reflect early brain dysfunction that heralds a psychotic relapse. The deterioration was found to be unrelated to a worsening of psychotic symptoms preceding relapse. Testable predictors offer insight into the brain processes underlying relapse in psychosis.
A nationwide population-based cohort was used to examine the severity of liver cirrhosis and risk of mortality from oral cancer.
The cohort consisted of 3583 patients with oral cancer treated by surgery between 2008 and 2011 in Taiwan. They were grouped on the basis of normal liver function (n = 3471), cirrhosis without decompensation (n = 72) and cirrhosis with decompensation (n = 40). The primary endpoint was mortality. Hazard ratios of death were also determined.
The mortality rates in the respective groups were 14.8 per cent, 20.8 per cent and 37.5 per cent at one year (p < 0.001). The adjusted hazard ratios of death at one year for each group compared to the normal group were 2.01 (p = 0.021) for cirrhotic patients without decompensation, 4.84 (p < 0.001) for those with decompensation and 2.65 (p < 0.001) for those receiving chemotherapy.
Liver cirrhosis can be used to predict one-year mortality in oral cancer patients. Chemotherapy should be used with caution and underlying co-morbidities should be managed in cirrhotic patients to reduce mortality risk.
A history of self-injurious thoughts and behaviors (SITBs) is consistently cited as one of the strongest predictors of future suicidal behavior. However, stark discrepancies in the literature raise questions about the true magnitude of these associations. The objective of this study is to examine the magnitude and clinical utility of the associations between SITBs and subsequent suicide ideation, attempts, and death.
We searched PubMed, PsycInfo, and Google Scholar for papers published through December 2014. Inclusion required that studies include at least one longitudinal analysis predicting suicide ideation, attempts, or death using any SITB variable. We identified 2179 longitudinal studies; 172 met inclusion criteria.
The most common outcome was suicide attempt (47.80%), followed by death (40.50%) and ideation (11.60%). Median follow-up was 52 months (mean = 82.52, s.d. = 102.29). Overall prediction was weak, with weighted mean odds ratios (ORs) of 2.07 [95% confidence interval (CI) 1.76–2.43] for ideation, 2.14 (95% CI 2.00–2.30) for attempts, and 1.54 (95% CI 1.39–1.71) for death. Adjusting for publication bias further reduced estimates. Diagnostic accuracy analyses indicated acceptable specificity (86–87%) and poor sensitivity (10–26%), with areas under the curve marginally above chance (0.60–0.62). Most risk factors generated OR estimates of <2.0 and no risk factor exceeded 4.5. Effects were consistent regardless of sample severity, sample age groups, or follow-up length.
Prior SITBs confer risk for later suicidal thoughts and behaviors. However, they only provide a marginal improvement in diagnostic accuracy above chance. Addressing gaps in study design, assessment, and underlying mechanisms may prove useful in improving prediction and prevention of suicidal thoughts and behaviors.
A trend toward greater body size in dizygotic (DZ) than in monozygotic (MZ) twins has been suggested by some but not all studies, and this difference may also vary by age. We analyzed zygosity differences in mean values and variances of height and body mass index (BMI) among male and female twins from infancy to old age. Data were derived from an international database of 54 twin cohorts participating in the COllaborative project of Development of Anthropometrical measures in Twins (CODATwins), and included 842,951 height and BMI measurements from twins aged 1 to 102 years. The results showed that DZ twins were consistently taller than MZ twins, with differences of up to 2.0 cm in childhood and adolescence and up to 0.9 cm in adulthood. Similarly, a greater mean BMI of up to 0.3 kg/m2 in childhood and adolescence and up to 0.2 kg/m2 in adulthood was observed in DZ twins, although the pattern was less consistent. DZ twins presented up to 1.7% greater height and 1.9% greater BMI than MZ twins; these percentage differences were largest in middle and late childhood and decreased with age in both sexes. The variance of height was similar in MZ and DZ twins at most ages. In contrast, the variance of BMI was significantly higher in DZ than in MZ twins, particularly in childhood. In conclusion, DZ twins were generally taller and had greater BMI than MZ twins, but the differences decreased with age in both sexes.
For over 100 years, the genetics of human anthropometric traits has attracted scientific interest. In particular, height and body mass index (BMI, calculated as kg/m2) have been under intensive genetic research. However, it is still largely unknown whether and how heritability estimates vary between human populations. Opportunities to address this question have increased recently because of the establishment of many new twin cohorts and the increasing accumulation of data in established twin cohorts. We started a new research project to analyze systematically (1) the variation of heritability estimates of height, BMI and their trajectories over the life course between birth cohorts, ethnicities and countries, and (2) to study the effects of birth-related factors, education and smoking on these anthropometric traits and whether these effects vary between twin cohorts. We identified 67 twin projects, including both monozygotic (MZ) and dizygotic (DZ) twins, using various sources. We asked for individual level data on height and weight including repeated measurements, birth related traits, background variables, education and smoking. By the end of 2014, 48 projects participated. Together, we have 893,458 height and weight measures (52% females) from 434,723 twin individuals, including 201,192 complete twin pairs (40% monozygotic, 40% same-sex dizygotic and 20% opposite-sex dizygotic) representing 22 countries. This project demonstrates that large-scale international twin studies are feasible and can promote the use of existing data for novel research purposes.