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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.
Little is known about long-term employment outcomes for patients with first-episode schizophrenia-spectrum (FES) disorders who received early intervention services.
We compared the 10-year employment trajectory of patients with FES who received early intervention services with those who received standard care. Factors differentiating the employment trajectories were explored.
Patients with FES (N = 145) who received early intervention services in Hong Kong between 1 July 2001 and 30 June 2002 were matched with those who entered standard care 1 year previously. We used hierarchical clustering analysis to explore the 10-year employment clusters for both groups. We used the mixed model test to compare cluster memberships and piecewise regression analysis to compare the employment trajectories of the two groups.
There were significantly more patients who received the early intervention service in the good employment cluster (early intervention: N = 98 [67.6%]; standard care: N = 76 [52.4%]; P = 0.009). In the poor employment cluster, there was a significant difference in the longitudinal pattern between early intervention and standard care for years 1–5 (P < 0.0001). The number of relapses during the first 3 years, months of full-time employment during the first year and years of education were significant in differentiating the clusters of the early intervention group.
Results suggest there was an overall long-term benefit of early intervention services on employment. However, the benefit was not sustained for all patients. Personalisation of the duration of the early intervention service with a focus on relapse prevention and early vocational reintegration should be considered for service enhancement.
Declaration of interests
No relevant conflicts of interests reported by C.L.M.H., Y.N.S., P.S., H.H.P. and K.K.Y. S.K.W.C., W.C.C. and E.H.M.L. report that they are members of the working group of the Early Assessment Service for Young People with Psychosis (EASY) programme of the Hospital Authority in Hong Kong. E.Y.H.C. is the convener of the working group of the EASY programme of the Hospital Authority in Hong Kong.
The aim of the study was to investigate any association between extrauterine growth restriction (EUGR) and intestinal flora of <30-week-old preterm infants. A total of 59 preterm infants were assigned to EUGR (n=23) and non-EUGR (n=36) groups. Intestinal bacteria were compared by using high-throughput sequencing of bacterial rRNA. The total abundance of bacteria in 344 genera (7568 v. 13,760; P<0.0001) and 456 species (10,032 v. 18,240; P<0.0001) was significantly decreased in the EUGR group compared with the non-EUGR group. After application of a multivariate logistic model and adjusting for potential confounding factors, as well as false-discovery rate corrections, we found four bacterial genera with higher and one bacterial genus with lower abundance in the EUGR group compared with the control group. In addition, the EUGR group showed significantly increased abundances of six species (Streptococcus parasanguinis, Bacterium RB5FF6, two Klebsiella species and Microbacterium), but decreased frequencies of three species (one Acinetobacter species, Endosymbiont_of_Sphenophorus_lev and one Enterobacter_species) compared with the non-EUGR group. Taken together, there were significant changes in the intestinal microflora of preterm infants with EUGR compared to preterm infants without EUGR.
The aim of this study was to perform a systematic review and meta-analysis of the diagnostic accuracy of a point-of-care ultrasound exam for undifferentiated shock in patients presenting to the emergency department.
Ovid MEDLINE, Scopus, Cochrane Central Register of Controlled Trials, and research meeting abstracts were searched from 1966 to June 2018 for relevant studies. QUADAS-2 was used to assess study quality, and meta-analysis was conducted to pool performance data of individual categories of shock.
A total of 5,097 non-duplicated studies were identified, of which 58 underwent full-text review; 4 were included for analysis. Study quality by QUADAS-2 was considered overall a low risk of bias. Pooled positive likelihood ratio values ranged from 8.25 (95% CI 3.29 to 20.69) for hypovolemic shock to 40.54 (95% CI 12.06 to 136.28) for obstructive shock. Pooled negative likelihood ratio values ranged from 0.13 (95% CI 0.04 to 0.48) for obstructive shock to 0.32 (95% CI 0.16 to 0.62) for mixed-etiology shock.
The rapid ultrasound for shock and hypotension (RUSH) exam performs better when used to rule in causes of shock, rather than to definitively exclude specific etiologies. The negative likelihood ratios of the exam by subtype suggest that it most accurately rules out obstructive shock.
Identifying the relative importance of urban and non-urban land-use types for potential denitrification derived N2O at a regional scale is critical for quantifying the impacts of human activities on nitrous oxide (N2O) emission under changing environments. In this study we used a regional dataset from China including 197 soil samples and six land-use types to evaluate the main predictors (land use, heavy metals, soil pH, soil moisture, substrate availability, functional and broad microbial abundances) of potential denitrification using multivariate and pathway analysis. Our results provide empirical evidence that soils on farms have the greatest potential denitrifying ability (PDA) (10.92±6.08ng N2O-N·g–1 dry soil·min–1) followed by urban soil (6.80±5.35ng N2O-N·g–1 dry soil·min–1). Our models indicate that land use (low vs. high human activity), followed by total nitrogen (TN) and heavy metals (Cu, Zn, Pb, Cd) was the most important driver of PDA. In addition, our path analysis suggests that at least part of the impacts of land use on potential denitrification were mediated via microbial abundance, soil pH and substrates including TN, dissolved organic carbon and nitrate. This study identifies the main predictors of denitrification at a regional scale which is needed to quantify the impact of human activities on ecosystem functionality under changing conditions.
Environment can impact the wear behavior of metals and alloys substantially. The tribological properties of Al0.6CoCrFeNi high-entropy alloys (HEAs) were investigated in ambient air, deionized water, simulated acid rain, and simulated seawater conditions at frequencies of 2–5 Hz. The as-cast alloy was composed of simple face-centered cubic and body-centered cubic phases. The wear rate of the as-cast HEA in the ambient air condition was significantly higher than that in the liquid environment. The wear resistance in seawater was superior to that in ambient air, deionized water, and acid rain. Both the friction coefficient and wear rate in seawater were the lowest due to the formation of oxidation film, lubrication, and corrosion action in solution. The dominant wear mechanism in the ambient air condition and deionized water was abrasive wear, delamination wear, and oxidative wear. By contrast, the wear mechanism in acid rain and seawater was mainly corrosion wear, adhesive wear, abrasive wear, and oxidative wear.
Zika virus infection in humans has been linked to severe neurological sequels and foetal malformations. The rapidly evolving epidemics and serious complications made the frequent updates of Zika virus mandatory. Web search query has emerged as a low-cost real-time surveillance system to anticipate infectious diseases’ outbreaks. Hence, we developed a prediction model that could predict Zika-confirmed cases based on Zika search volume in Google Trends. We extracted weekly confirmed Zika cases of two epidemic countries, Brazil and Colombia. We got the weekly Zika search volume in the two countries from Google Trends. We used standard time-series regression (TSR) to predict the weekly confirmed Zika cases based on the Zika search volume (Zika query). The basis TSR model – using 1-week lag of Zika query and using 1-week lag of Zika cases as a control for autocorrelation – was the best for predicting Zika cases in Brazil and Colombia because it balanced the performance of the model and the advance time in the prediction. Our results showed that we could use Google search queries to predict Zika cases 1 week earlier before the outbreak. These findings are important to help healthcare authorities evaluate the outbreak and take necessary precautions.
The pathophysiology of cognitive impairment in patients with the major depressive disorder (MDD) may involve neuroinflammation mediated by cytokines.
The aim of this study was to examine the serum interleukin-6 (IL-6) levels, sustained attention, and their association in patients with MDD.
Thirty patients with MDD and 30 healthy controls were enrolled in this case-control study. Sustained attention was measured using the Rapid Visual Information Processing (RVP) task in the Cambridge Neuropsychological Tests Automated Battery. The serum IL-6 levels of all subjects were assessed by sandwich enzyme-linked immunosorbent assays.
There were significant differences in the log10RVP total hits, log10RVP total misses, and log10RVP mean latency between patients with MDD and healthy controls (F = 6.04, p = 0.017; F = 19.77, p < 0.0001; F = 14.42, p < 0.0001, respectively). The serum levels of Log10IL-6 were significantly higher in patients with MDD than in healthy controls (F = 192.27, p < 0.0001). The log10IL-6 levels were also positively correlated with the log10RVP mean latency in patients with MDD (r = 0.45, p = 0.013). A further stepwise multivariate regression analysis indicated that the log10IL-6 levels were significantly associated with the log10RVP mean latency in patients with MDD (β = 0.31, t = 2.41, p = 0.025).
Our data suggested that increased IL-6 levels were associated with the psychopathology of MDD, and that abnormal IL-6 levels were implicated in the impairment of sustained attention in patients with MDD.
We revisit regularity of SLE trace, for all
, and establish Besov regularity under the usual half-space capacity parametrization. With an embedding theorem of Garsia–Rodemich–Rumsey type, we obtain finite moments (and hence almost surely) optimal variation regularity with index
, improving on previous works of Werness, and also (optimal) Hölder regularity à la Johansson Viklund and Lawler.
Disturbances in Pavlovian valuation systems are reported to follow traumatic stress exposure. However, motivated decisions are also guided by instrumental mechanisms, but to date the effect of traumatic stress on these instrumental systems remain poorly investigated. Here, we examine whether a single episode of severe traumatic stress influences flexible instrumental decisions through an impact on a Pavlovian system.
Twenty-six survivors of the 2011 Norwegian terror attack and 30 matched control subjects performed an instrumental learning task in which Pavlovian and instrumental associations promoted congruent or conflicting responses. We used reinforcement learning models to infer how traumatic stress affected learning and decision-making. Based on the importance of dorsal anterior cingulate cortex (dACC) for cognitive control, we also investigated if individual concentrations of Glx (=glutamate + glutamine) in dACC predicted the Pavlovian bias of choice.
Survivors of traumatic stress expressed a greater Pavlovian interference with instrumental action selection and had significantly lower levels of Glx in the dACC. Across subjects, the degree of Pavlovian interference was negatively associated with dACC Glx concentrations.
Experiencing traumatic stress appears to render instrumental decisions less flexible by increasing the susceptibility to Pavlovian influences. An observed association between prefrontal glutamatergic levels and this Pavlovian bias provides novel insight into the neurochemical basis of decision-making, and suggests a mechanism by which traumatic stress can impair flexible instrumental behaviours.
Brief cognitive–behavioural therapy (CBT) is an emerging treatment for
schizophrenia in community settings; however, further trials are needed,
especially in non-Western countries.
To test the effects of brief CBT for Chinese patients with schizophrenia
in the community (trial registration: ChiCTR-TRC-13003709).
A total of 220 patients with schizophrenia from four districts of Beijing
were randomly assigned to either brief CBT plus treatment as usual (TAU)
or TAU alone. Patients were assessed at baseline, post-treatment and at
6- and 12-month follow-ups by raters masked to group allocation.
At the post-treatment assessment and the 12-month follow-up, patients who
received brief CBT showed greater improvement in overall symptoms,
general psychopathology, insight and social functioning. In total, 37.3%
of those in the brief CBT plus TAU group experienced a clinically
significant response, compared with only 19.1% of those in the TAU alone
group (P = 0.003).
Brief CBT has a positive effect on Chinese patients with schizophrenia in
Better understanding of the complex interplay among key determinants of functional outcome is crucial to promoting recovery in psychotic disorders. However, this is understudied in the early course of illness. We aimed to examine the relationships among negative symptoms, neurocognition, general self-efficacy and global functioning in first-episode psychosis (FEP) patients using structural equation modeling (SEM).
Three hundred and twenty-one Chinese patients aged 26–55 years presenting with FEP to an early intervention program in Hong Kong were recruited. Assessments encompassing symptom profiles, functioning, perceived general self-efficacy and a battery of neurocognitive tests were conducted. Negative symptom measurement was subdivided into amotivation and diminished expression (DE) domain scores based on the ratings in the Scale for the Assessment of Negative Symptoms.
An initial SEM model showed no significant association between functioning and DE which was removed from further analysis. A final trimmed model yielded very good model fit (χ2 = 15.48, p = 0.63; comparative fit index = 1.00; root mean square error of approximation <0.001) and demonstrated that amotivation, neurocognition and general self-efficacy had a direct effect on global functioning. Amotivation was also found to mediate a significant indirect effect of neurocognition and general self-efficacy on functioning. Neurocognition was not significantly related to general self-efficacy.
Our results indicate a critical intermediary role of amotivation in linking neurocognitive impairment to functioning in FEP. General self-efficacy may represent a promising treatment target for improvement of motivational deficits and functional outcome in the early illness stage.
We have observed SgrA at 332 MHz (92 cm) with a resolution of 12 arcsec (0.6 pc) using the four configurations of the VIA. These results illustrate the dramatic and almost unique variation of radio spectral index within the central 3–4 arcmin of the galactic center. SgrA East is a non-thermal shell source that could be a supernova remnant or a very low-luminosity example of a radio component associated with the active nucleus of a spiral galaxy. The most dramatic aspect of the new 332 MHz observations is the appearance of the the SgrA West spiral features in absorption against SgrA East. Based on these results, SgrA East is situated behind SgrA West, the center of the galaxy. The halo is in front of or surrounds the former sources. The HII regions to the east of SgrA East (1 = −0°.02, b = −0°.07) are probably associated with the 50 km/s molecular cloud. The 7 arcmin halo (20 pc) has a non-thermal spectrum with turn-over below 1 GHz.
We investigate the long-term flux density variations of the compact radio source Sgr A∗ at the galactic center by combining recent VLA observations with previous Green Bank interferometer data. We present radio flux density light-curves for Sgr A∗ at 20, 11, 6 and 3.7 cm from 1974 to 1987. Long-term variability with a timescale of at least 5 years is seen at 20 cm and there is evidence for more rapid variations at the shorter wavelengths. The variability timescales at 20, 11 and 6 cm fit the λ2 scaling predicted by the theory of refractive scintillation suggesting that the variability could be due to this cause. However, the timescales are relatively short, implying an unusually high velocity in the scattering screen. The modulation index of the variability is large and relatively independent of wavelength.
A yellow nutsedge biotype (Res) from an Arkansas rice field
has evolved resistance to acetolactate synthase (ALS)-inhibiting herbicides.
The Res biotype previously exhibited cross-resistance to
ALS inhibitors from four chemical families (imidazolinone, pyrimidinyl
benzoate, sulfonylurea, and triazolopyrimidine). Experiments were conducted
to evaluate alternative herbicides (i.e., glyphosate, bentazon, propanil,
quinclorac, and 2,4-D) currently labeled in Arkansas rice–soybean production
systems. Based on the percentage of aboveground dry weight reduction,
control of the yellow nutsedge biotypes with the labeled rate of bentazon,
propanil, quinclorac, and 2,4-D was < 44%. Glyphosate (867 g ae
ha−1) resulted in 68 and > 94% control of the
Res and susceptible yellow nutsedge biotypes,
respectively, at 28 d after treatment. Dose-response studies were conducted
to estimate the efficacy of glyphosate on the Res biotype,
three susceptible yellow nutsedge biotypes, and purple nutsedge. Based on
the dry weights, the Res biotype was ≥ 5- and ≥ 1.3-fold
less responsive to glyphosate compared to the susceptible biotypes and
purple nutsedge, respectively. Differences in absorption and translocation
of radiolabeled glyphosate were observed among the yellow nutsedge biotypes
and purple nutsedge. The susceptible biotype had less
14C-glyphosate radioactivity in the tissues above the treated
leaf and greater radioactivity in tissues below the treated leaf compared to
the Res biotype and purple nutsedge. Reduced translocation
of glyphosate in tissues below the treated leaf of the Res
biotype could be a reason for the lower glyphosate efficacy in the
Res biotype. No amino acid substitution that would
correspond to glyphosate resistance was found in the
5-enolpyruvylshikimate-3-phosphate synthase (EPSPS) gene of the
Res biotype. However, an amino acid (serine) addition
was detected in the EPSPS gene of the Res biotype; albeit,
it is not believed that this addition contributes to lower efficacy of
glyphosate in this biotype.
We have developed the anisotropic heat transport equation for rotating neutron stars. With a simple model of neutron star, we also model the propagation of heat pulses resulting from transient energy releases inside the star. Even in the slow rotation limit, the results with rotational effects involved could differ significantly from those obtained with a spherically symmetric metric in the timescale of the thermal afterglow.