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Longitudinal studies of first episode of psychosis (FEP) patients are critical to understanding the dynamic clinical factors influencing functional outcomes; negative symptoms and verbal memory (VM) deficits are two such factors that remain a therapeutic challenge. This study uses white-gray matter contrast at the inner edge of the cortex, in addition to cortical thickness, to probe changes in microstructure and their relation with negative symptoms and possible intersections with verbal memory.
T1-weighted images and clinical data were collected longitudinally for patients (N = 88) over a two-year period. Cognitive data were also collected at baseline. Relationships between baseline VM (immediate/delayed recall) and rate of change in two negative symptom dimensions, amotivation and expressivity, were assessed at the behavioral level, as well as at the level of brain structure.
VM, particularly immediate recall, was significantly and positively associated with a steeper rate of expressivity symptom decline (r = 0.32, q = 0.012). Significant interaction effects between baseline delayed recall and change in expressivity were uncovered in somatomotor regions bilaterally for both white-gray matter contrast and cortical thickness. Furthermore, interaction effects between immediate recall and change in expressivity on cortical thickness rates were uncovered across higher-order regions of the language processing network.
This study shows common neural correlates of language-related brain areas underlying expressivity and VM in FEP, suggesting deficits in these domains may be more linked to speech production rather than general cognitive capacity. Together, white-gray matter contrast and cortical thickness may optimally inform clinical investigations aiming to capture peri-cortical microstructural changes.
The long-term cholesterol-lowering effect of replacing intake of SFA with PUFA is well established, but has not been fully explained mechanistically. We examined the postprandial response of meals with different fat quality on expression of lipid genes in peripheral blood mononuclear cells (PBMC) in subjects with and without familial hypercholesterolaemia (FH). Thirteen subjects with FH (who had discontinued lipid-lowering treatment ≥4 weeks prior to both test days) and fourteen normolipidaemic controls were included in a randomised controlled double-blind crossover study with two meals, each with 60 g of fat either mainly SFA (about 40% energy) or n-6 PUFA (about 40% energy). PBMC were isolated in fasting, and 4 and 6 h postprandial blood samples. Expression of thirty-three lipid genes was analysed by reverse transcription quantitative PCR. A linear mixed model was used to assess postprandial effects between meals and groups. There was a significant interaction between meal and group for MSR1 (P = 0·03), where intake of SFA compared with n-6 PUFA induced a larger reduction in gene expression in controls only (P = 0·01). Intake of SFA compared with n-6 PUFA induced larger reductions in gene expression levels of LDLR and FADS1/2, smaller increases of INSIG1 and FASN, and larger increases of ABCA1 and ABCG1 (P = 0·01 for all, no group interaction). Intake of SFA compared with n-6 PUFA induced changes in gene expression of cholesterol influx and efflux mediators in PBMC including lower LDLR and higher ABCA1/G1, potentially explaining the long-term cholesterol-raising effect of a high SFA intake.
Noninvasive brain stimulation methods, including high-definition transcranial direct current stimulation (HD-tDCS) and theta burst stimulation (TBS) have emerged as novel tools to modulate and explore brain function. However, the relative efficacy of these newer stimulation approaches for modulating cognitive functioning remains unclear. This study investigated the cognitive effects of HD-tDCS, intermittent TBS (iTBS) and prolonged continuous TBS (ProcTBS) and explored the potential of these approaches for modulating hypothesized functions of the left posterior parietal cortex (PPC).
Twenty-two healthy volunteers attended four experimental sessions in a cross-over experimental design. In each session, participants either received HD-tDCS, iTBS, ProcTBS or sham, and completed cognitive tasks, including a divided attention task, a working memory maintenance task and an attention task (emotional Stroop test).
The results showed that compared to sham, HD-tDCS, iTBS and ProcTBS caused significantly faster response times on the emotional Stroop task. The effect size (Cohen’s d) was d = .32 for iTBS (p < .001), .21 for ProcTBS (p = .01) and .15 for HD-tDCS (p = .044). However, for the performance on the divided attention and working memory maintenance tasks, no significant effect of stimulation was found.
The results suggest that repetitive transcranial magnetic stimulation techniques, including TBS, may have greater efficacy for modulating cognition compared with HD-tDCS, and extend existing knowledge about specific functions of the left PPC.
The COllaborative project of Development of Anthropometrical measures in Twins (CODATwins) project is a large international collaborative effort to analyze individual-level phenotype data from twins in multiple cohorts from different environments. The main objective is to study factors that modify genetic and environmental variation of height, body mass index (BMI, kg/m2) and size at birth, and additionally to address other research questions such as long-term consequences of birth size. The project started in 2013 and is open to all twin projects in the world having height and weight measures on twins with information on zygosity. Thus far, 54 twin projects from 24 countries have provided individual-level data. The CODATwins database includes 489,981 twin individuals (228,635 complete twin pairs). Since many twin cohorts have collected longitudinal data, there is a total of 1,049,785 height and weight observations. For many cohorts, we also have information on birth weight and length, own smoking behavior and own or parental education. We found that the heritability estimates of height and BMI systematically changed from infancy to old age. Remarkably, only minor differences in the heritability estimates were found across cultural–geographic regions, measurement time and birth cohort for height and BMI. In addition to genetic epidemiological studies, we looked at associations of height and BMI with education, birth weight and smoking status. Within-family analyses examined differences within same-sex and opposite-sex dizygotic twins in birth size and later development. The CODATwins project demonstrates the feasibility and value of international collaboration to address gene-by-exposure interactions that require large sample sizes and address the effects of different exposures across time, geographical regions and socioeconomic status.
The use of additives such as ractopamine (Rac) in pregnant sows during early-mid pregnancy is an alternative to increase foetal and progeny growth and development. However, Rac supplementation in finishing pigs can lead to behavioural and physiological changes similar to the typical stress responses. The objective of this study was to evaluate the effects of dietary supplementation with Rac in pregnant sows from day 25 to 50 of gestation (pre-hyperplastic stage) on piglet’s vitality, blood parameters, number, diameter and perimeter of muscle fibres in semitendinosus muscle and developmental characteristics of piglets at birth to weaning. Forty-one hybrid sows were divided into three dietary treatments: (1) control diet without Rac (control), (2) addition of 10 mg/kg of Rac (Rac10) and (3) addition of 20 mg/kg of Rac (Rac20). Higher numbers of low-vitality piglets (P<0.05) were observed in Rac-fed sows, regardless of dose, compared with the control group. Very low-density lipoprotein levels were lower in the Rac10 group when compared with the Rac20 group at day 21. Haematocrit was greater, and the mean corpuscular haemoglobin concentration was lower in piglets from Rac-fed sows. No significant statistical differences were detected regarding piglets body weight, average daily gain, blood gasometry, complete blood count and muscle fibre measurements in semitendinosus muscle. The use of Rac in pregnant sows reduced the vitality parameters of piglets but did not improve the performance from birth until weaning and did not negatively influence the haematological parameter and lipid metabolism.
Elevated lipoprotein(a) (Lp(a)) is associated with CVD and is mainly genetically determined. Studies suggest a role of dietary fatty acids (FA) in the regulation of Lp(a); however, no studies have investigated the association between plasma Lp(a) concentration and n-6 FA. We aimed to investigate whether plasma Lp(a) concentration was associated with dietary n-6 FA intake and plasma levels of arachidonic acid (AA) in subjects with familial hypercholesterolaemia (FH). We included FH subjects with (n 68) and without (n 77) elevated Lp(a) defined as ≥75 nmol/l and healthy subjects (n 14). Total FA profile was analysed by GC–flame ionisation detector analysis, and the daily intake of macronutrients (including the sum of n-6 FA: 18 : 2n-6, 20 : 2n-6, 20 : 3n-6 and 20 : 4n-6) were computed from completed FFQ. FH subjects with elevated Lp(a) had higher plasma levels of AA compared with FH subjects without elevated Lp(a) (P = 0·03). Furthermore, both FH subjects with and without elevated Lp(a) had higher plasma levels of AA compared with controls (P < 0·001). The multivariable analyses showed associations between dietary n-6 FA intake and plasma levels of AA (P = 0·02) and between plasma levels of Lp(a) and AA (P = 0·006). Our data suggest a novel link between plasma Lp(a) concentration, dietary n-6 FA and plasma AA concentration, which may explain the small diet-induced increase in Lp(a) levels associated with lifestyle changes. Although the increase may not be clinically relevant, this association may be mechanistically interesting in understanding more of the role and regulation of Lp(a).
To sustainably improve cleaning of high-touch surfaces (HTSs) in acute-care hospitals using a multimodal approach to education, reduction of barriers to cleaning, and culture change for environmental services workers.
The study was conducted in 2 academic acute-care hospitals, 2 community hospitals, and an academic pediatric and women’s hospital.
Frontline environmental services workers.
A 5-module educational program, using principles of adult learning theory, was developed and presented to environmental services workers. Audience response system (ARS), videos, demonstrations, role playing, and graphics were used to illustrate concepts of and the rationale for infection prevention strategies. Topics included hand hygiene, isolation precautions, personal protective equipment (PPE), cleaning protocols, and strategies to overcome barriers. Program evaluation included ARS questions, written evaluations, and objective assessments of occupied patient room cleaning. Changes in hospital-onset C. difficile infection (CDI) and methicillin-resistant S. aureus (MRSA) bacteremia were evaluated.
On average, 357 environmental service workers participated in each module. Most (93%) rated the presentations as ‘excellent’ or ‘very good’ and agreed that they were useful (95%), reported that they were more comfortable donning/doffing PPE (91%) and performing hand hygiene (96%) and better understood the importance of disinfecting HTSs (96%) after the program. The frequency of cleaning individual HTSs in occupied rooms increased from 26% to 62% (P < .001) following the intervention. Improvement was sustained 1-year post intervention (P < .001). A significant decrease in CDI was associated with the program.
A novel program that addressed environmental services workers’ knowledge gaps, challenges, and barriers was well received and appeared to result in learning, behavior change, and sustained improvements in cleaning.
Background: Previous post-hoc analysis of three 12-week, double-blind, placebo-controlled trials of adjunctive brivaracetam (BRV) in patients with focal seizures demonstrated similar efficacy over placebo regardless of previous carbamazepine (CBZ), lamotrigine (LTG), levetiracetam (LEV), or topiramate (TPM) failure. This analysis explored long-term retention of adjunctive BRV in patients with previous CBZ/LTG/LEV/TPM. Methods: Post-hoc analysis of double-blind, placebo-controlled trial (N01358 [NCT01261325]) and open-label extension (N01379 [NCT01339559]; cut-off 15-March-2017) of adjunctive BRV in patients (≥16 years) with focal seizures. Outcomes were assessed in patients randomized to BRV (100 or 200 mg/day) who had previous CBZ/LTG/LEV/TPM (stopped ≥90 days before BRV initiation). Results: 503 patients were analyzed. Baseline characteristics were generally similar in subgroups with previous CBZ/LTG/LEV/TPM (n=209/162/256/182). Overall, Kaplan-Meier-estimated BRV retention at 1-, 3-, and 5-years was 71.0%, 50.9%, and 32.4%. Across previous antiepileptic drug (AED) subgroups, Kaplan-Meier-estimated BRV retention (1-year: 64.8%–73.2%; 3-year: 41.9%–49.9%; 5-year: 31.5%–35.7%), BRV discontinuations (58.4%–63.0%), and most common reasons for discontinuation (lack of efficacy: 23.0%–25.3%; adverse event: 16.7%–22.2%) were generally similar. Conclusions: Post-hoc analysis demonstrated similar long-term retention rates and discontinuation reasons with adjunctive BRV in adults previously treated with CBZ/LTG/LEV/TPM. Adjunctive BRV provides long-term effectiveness in patients who failed common AED treatments, including LEV.
The paper is related to an adaptive satellite communication system for data transmission from small, low cost, low Earth orbit satellites. Tests run in a set-up consisting of a number of software-defined radio (SDR) modules operating as a satellite, a ground station, and a satellite channel simulator, have shown that by changing modulation scheme and code rate one can obtain increase of amount of data which can be downloaded from a satellite during a single pass over a ground station approximately by a factor of 2. To determine data rates obtainable in an SDR system using a common personal computer as a digital signal processing device, execution times of particular processing steps involved in the reception process were measured.
This study tested whether the association between interparental conflict and adolescent externalizing symptoms was moderated by a polygenic composite indexing low dopamine activity (i.e., 7-repeat allele of DRD4; Val alleles of COMT; 10-repeat variants of DAT1) in a sample of seventh-grade adolescents (Mean age = 13.0 years) and their parents. Using a longitudinal, autoregressive design, observational assessments of interparental conflict at Wave 1 predicted increases in a multi-informant measurement of youth externalizing symptoms 2 years later at Wave 3 only for children who were high on the hypodopaminergic composite. Moderation was expressed in a “for better” or “for worse” form hypothesized by differential susceptibility theory. Thus, children high on the dopaminergic composite experienced more externalizing problems than their peers when faced with more destructive conflicts but also fewer externalizing problems when exposed to more constructive interparental conflicts. Mediated moderation findings indicated that adolescent reports of their emotional insecurity in the interparental relationship partially explained the greater genetic susceptibility experienced by these children. More specifically, the dopamine composite moderated the association between Wave 1 interparental conflict and emotional insecurity 1 year later at Wave 2 in the same “for better” or “for worse” pattern as externalizing symptoms. Adolescent insecurity at Wave 2, in turn, predicted their greater externalizing symptoms 1 year later at Wave 3. Post hoc analyses further revealed that the 7-repeat allele of the dopamine receptor D4 (DRD4) gene was the primary source of plasticity in the polygenic composite. Results are discussed as to how they advance process-oriented Gene x Environment models of emotion regulation.
Introduction: September 2017 saw the launch of the British Columbia (BC) Emergency Medicine Network (EM Network), an innovative clinical network established to improve emergency care across the province. The intent of the EM Network is to support the delivery of evidence-informed, patient-centered care in all 108 Emergency Departments and Diagnostic & Treatment Centres in BC. After one year, the Network undertook a formative evaluation to guide its growth. Our objective is to describe the evaluation approach and early findings. Methods: The EM Network was evaluated on three levels: member demographics, online engagement and member perceptions of value and progress. For member demographics and online engagement, data were captured from member registration information on the Network's website, Google Analytics and Twitter Analytics. Membership feedback was sought through an online survey using a social network analysis tool, PARTNER (Program to Analyze, Record, and Track Networks to Enhance Relationships), and semi-structured individual interviews. This framework was developed based on literature recommendations in collaboration with Network members, including patient representatives. Results: There are currently 622 EM Network members from an eligible denominator of approximately 1400 physicians (44%). Seventy-three percent of the Emergency Departments and Diagnostic and Treatment Centres in BC currently have Network members, and since launch, the EM Network website has been accessed by 11,154 unique IP addresses. Online discussion forum use is low but growing, and Twitter following is high. There are currently 550 Twitter followers and an average of 27 ‘mentions’ of the Network by Twitter users per month. Member feedback through the survey and individual interviews indicates that the Network is respected and credible, but many remain unaware of its purpose and offerings. Conclusion: Our findings underscore that early evaluation is useful to identify development needs, and for the Network this includes increasing awareness and online dialogue. However, our results must be interpreted cautiously in such a young Network, and thus, we intend to re-evaluate regularly. Specific action recommendations from this baseline evaluation include: increasing face-to-face visits of targeted communities; maintaining or accelerating communication strategies to increase engagement; and providing new techniques that encourage member contributions in order to grow and improve content.
In this article, an extremely wideband, isolation-enhanced, low-profile “Multiple-Input-Multiple-Output” (MIMO) antenna along with dual-band-notched features has been investigated. The antenna proposed herein, possesses two mutually orthogonal staircase-etched radiators for achieving a wide bandwidth. The radiating elements are placed mutually perpendicular in order to achieve polarization diversity and high isolation, i.e. for minimization of mutual coupling effect between adjacent radiating elements. The antenna exhibits an extremely wide frequency bandwidth covering 1.2–19.4 GHz except two frequency band notches centered at 3.5 and 5.5 GHz, respectively, originated due to the incorporation of a “Rectangular Complementary Split Ring Resonator (RCSRR)” structure and by etching dual “L-shaped” slits in the ground plane. The center frequency of the notched bands is adjusted by fine tuning of the dimensions of the incorporated band-notching structures. Isolation level (S21) better than −20 dB has been obtained due to the insertion of a “T-shaped” parasitic element as a decoupling structure. A prototype of the proposed antenna having dimension of 20 mm × 20 mm (0.08 λo × 0.08 λo) is fabricated and the antenna responses have been measured. Obtained results show that the miniaturized MIMO diversity antenna is undoubtedly a capable contender for communications supporting an extremely wide impedance bandwidth along with band-notched features for WLAN and WiMAX.
The increased use of insecticide seed treatments in rice has raised many questions about the potential benefits of these products. In 2014 and 2015, a field experiment was conducted near Stuttgart and Lonoke, AR, to evaluate whether an insecticide seed treatment could possibly lessen injury from acetolactate synthase (ALS)–inhibiting herbicides in imidazolinone-resistant (IR) rice. Two IR cultivars were tested (a hybrid, ‘CLXL745’, and an inbred, ‘CL152’), with and without an insecticide seed treatment (thiamethoxam). Four different herbicide combinations were evaluated: a nontreated control, two applications of bispyribac-sodium (hereafter bispyribac), two applications of imazethapyr, and two applications of imazethapyr plus bispyribac. The first herbicide application was to two- to three-leaf rice, and the second immediately prior to flooding (one- to two-tiller). At both 2 and 4 wk after final treatment (WAFT), the sequential applications of imazethapyr or bispyribac plus imazethapyr were more injurious to CLXL745 than CL152. This increased injury led to decreased groundcover 3 WAFT. Rice treated with thiamethoxam was less injured than nontreated rice and had improved groundcover and greater canopy heights. Even with up to 32% injury, the rice plants recovered by the end of the growing season, and yields within a cultivar were similar with and without a thiamethoxam seed treatment across all herbicide treatments. Based on these results, thiamethoxam can partially protect rice from injury caused by ALS-inhibiting herbicides as well as increase groundcover and canopy height; that is, the injury to rice never negatively affected yield.
Procedures and tools for evaluation of reference x-ray powder patterns in the JCPDSICDD Powder Diffraction File are illustrated by a review of air-stable binary oxides. The reference patterns are evaluated using an available microcomputer version of the NBS*A1DS83 editorial program and PDF patterns retrieved directly from the CD-ROM in the program's input format. The patterns are compared to calculated and experimental diffractograms. The majority of the oxide patterns have been found to be in good agreement with the calculated and observed diffractograms, but are often missing some weak reflections routinely observed with a modern diffractometer. These weak reflections are added to the PDF pattern. For the remainder of the phases, patterns are redetermined.
A compact planar ultra-wideband (UWB) antenna with WiMAX and WLAN notched band is presented in this paper. The presented antenna consists of a rectangular patch and slotted partial ground plane and fed by a microstrip feed line. The volumetric size of the antenna is 30 mm × 22 mm × 1.6 mm. Method of moment-based simulation technology is used to simulate and analyze the characteristics of the antenna. To generate two notch bands at WiMAX and WLAN, a pair of parasitic resonator is placed beneath the radiating patch. The presented antenna achieves an operating band (VSWR ≤2) ranging from 2.98 to 12 GHz with an average gain of 3.95 dBi along with considerable efficiency and symmetric radiation patterns. Moreover, the antenna exhibits two notch bands at 3.5 and 5.45 GHz and is able to avoid possible interference with pre-existing narrow band services. The proposed antenna is low cost and low profile and is modeled to be used as a transceiver in UWB communication applications.
We evaluated whether a diagnostic stewardship initiative consisting of ASP preauthorization paired with education could reduce false-positive hospital-onset (HO) Clostridioides difficile infection (CDI).
Single center, quasi-experimental study.
Tertiary academic medical center in Chicago, Illinois.
Adult inpatients were included in the intervention if they were admitted between October 1, 2016, and April 30, 2018, and were eligible for C. difficile preauthorization review. Patients admitted to the stem cell transplant (SCT) unit were not included in the intervention and were therefore considered a contemporaneous noninterventional control group.
The intervention consisted of requiring prescriber attestation that diarrhea has met CDI clinical criteria, ASP preauthorization, and verbal clinician feedback. Data were compared 33 months before and 19 months after implementation. Facility-wide HO-CDI incidence rates (IR) per 10,000 patient days (PD) and standardized infection ratios (SIR) were extracted from hospital infection prevention reports.
During the entire 52 month period, the mean facility-wide HO-CDI-IR was 7.8 per 10,000 PD and the SIR was 0.9 overall. The mean ± SD HO-CDI-IR (8.5 ± 2.0 vs 6.5 ± 2.3; P < .001) and SIR (0.97 ± 0.23 vs 0.78 ± 0.26; P = .015) decreased from baseline during the intervention. Segmented regression models identified significant decreases in HO-CDI-IR (Pstep = .06; Ptrend = .008) and SIR (Pstep = .1; Ptrend = .017) trends concurrent with decreases in oral vancomycin (Pstep < .001; Ptrend < .001). HO-CDI-IR within a noninterventional control unit did not change (Pstep = .125; Ptrend = .115).
A multidisciplinary, multifaceted intervention leveraging clinician education and feedback reduced the HO-CDI-IR and the SIR in select populations. Institutions may consider interventions like ours to reduce false-positive C. difficile NAAT tests.
The present paper presents a fundamentally novel approach to model individual differences of persons with the same biologically heterogeneous mental disorder. Unlike prevalent case-control analyses, that assume a clear distinction between patient and control groups and thereby introducing the concept of an ‘average patient’, we describe each patient's biology individually, gaining insights into the different facets that characterize persistent attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD).
Using a normative modeling approach, we mapped inter-individual differences in reference to normative structural brain changes across the lifespan to examine the degree to which case-control analyses disguise differences between individuals.
At the level of the individual, deviations from the normative model were frequent in persistent ADHD. However, the overlap of more than 2% between participants with ADHD was only observed in few brain loci. On average, participants with ADHD showed significantly reduced gray matter in the cerebellum and hippocampus compared to healthy individuals. While the case-control differences were in line with the literature on ADHD, individuals with ADHD only marginally reflected these group differences.
Case-control comparisons, disguise inter-individual differences in brain biology in individuals with persistent ADHD. The present results show that the ‘average ADHD patient’ has limited informative value, providing the first evidence for the necessity to explore different biological facets of ADHD at the level of the individual and practical means to achieve this end.