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Acute stress affects interoception, but it remains unclear if this is due to activation of the sympatho-adreno-medullary (SAM) or hypothalamic–pituitary–adrenocortical axis. This study aimed to investigate the effect of SAM axis activation on interoceptive accuracy (IAcc). Central alpha2-adrenergic receptors represent a negative feedback mechanism of the SAM axis. Major depressive disorder and adverse childhood experiences (ACE) are associated with alterations in the biological stress systems, including central alpha2-adrenergic receptors. Here, healthy individuals with and without ACE as well as depressive patients with and without ACE (n = 114; all without antidepressant medication) were tested after yohimbine (alpha2-adrenergic antagonist) and placebo. We assessed IAcc and sensibility in a heartbeat counting task. Increases in systolic and diastolic blood pressure after yohimbine confirmed successful SAM axis activation. IAcc decreased after yohimbine only in the healthy group with ACE, but remained unchanged in all other groups (Group × Drug interaction). This effect may be due to selective upregulation of alpha2-adrenergic receptors after childhood trauma, which reduces capacity for attention focus on heartbeats. The sympathetic neural pathway including alpha2-adrenergic circuitries may be essential for mediating interoceptive signal transmission. Suppressed processing of physical sensations in stressful situations may represent an adaptive response in healthy individuals who experienced ACE.
Determination of antibodies against ToRCH antigens at the beginning of pregnancy allows assessment of both the maternal immune status and the risks to an adverse pregnancy outcome. Age-standardised seroprevalences were determined in sera from 1009 women of childbearing age residing in Mexico, Brazil, Germany, Poland, Turkey or China using a multiparametric immunoblot containing antigen substrates for antibodies against Toxoplasma gondii, rubella virus, cytomegalovirus (CMV), herpes simplex viruses (HSV-1, HSV-2), Bordetella pertussis, Chlamydia trachomatis, parvovirus B19, Treponema pallidum and varicella zoster virus (VZV). Seroprevalences for antibodies against HSV-1 were >90% in samples from Brazil and Turkey, whereas the other four countries showed lower mean age-adjusted seroprevalences (range: 62.5–87.9%). Samples from Brazilian women showed elevated seroprevalences of antibodies against HSV-2 (40.1%), C. trachomatis (46.8%) and B. pertussis (56.6%) compared to the other five countries. Seroprevalences of anti-T. gondii antibodies (0.5%) and anti-parvovirus B19 antibodies (7.5%) were low in samples from Chinese women, compared to the other five countries. Samples from German women revealed a low age-standardised seroprevalence of anti-CMV antibodies (28.8%) compared to the other five countries. These global differences in immune status of women in childbearing age advocate country-specific prophylaxis strategies to avoid infection with ToRCH pathogens.
This case report describes a patient on tranylcypromine who erroneously received a single dose of imipramine and subsequently developed a fatal serotonin syndrome. Both the clinical features and the pathophysiology of the serotonin syndrome are discussed.
Stress and its associations with psychopathic traits have been widely studied. However, recent research suggests the distinction between psychological and physiological symptoms of subclinical stress experience. Possible differences regarding these two dimensions of stress and their relations to psychopathy factors have not been investigated yet. Hence, this is the first study on psychological and physiological subclinical stress levels of forensic patients with psychopathic personality traits. We expected to find distinct associations between stress dimensions and psychopathy factors. Therefore, we examined 164 forensic patients with a substance use disorder regarding their psychopathy scores and current stress levels, using the Psychopathy Personality Inventory (PPI) and the Subclinical Stress Questionnaire (SSQ). Our results indicate that only the experience of psychological stress and not physiological stress is predicted by psychopathy. More precisely, the psychopathy factor “Impulsive Antisociality” is a positive predictor of subclinical psychological stress symptoms, while the factor “Fearless Dominance” is a negative predictor. Thereby, gender has an influence as females are more likely to experience psychological and physiological stress. In conclusion, these results imply that forensic patients scoring high on the psychopathy factor “Impulsive Antisociality” experience high levels of psychological distress. This is in line with previous findings describing Impulsive Antisociality as a generally maladaptive trait manifesting in low adaptability and insufficient coping strategies.
Disclosure of interest
The authors have not supplied their declaration of competing interest.
Impaired cognitive functioning constitutes an important symptom of major depressive disorder (MDD), potentially associated with elevated cortisol levels. Adverse childhood experiences (ACE) enhance the risk for MDD and can contribute to disturbances in the stress systems, including cortisol and cognitive functions. In healthy participants, cortisol administration as well as acute stress can affect cognitive performance. In the current study, we tested cognitive performance in MDD patients with (N = 32) and without (N = 52) ACE and healthy participants with (N = 22) and without (N = 37) ACE after psychosocial stress induction (Trier Social Stress Test, TSST) and a control condition (Placebo-TSST). MDD predicted lower performance in verbal learning and both selective and sustained attention, while ACE predicted lower performance in psychomotoric speed and working memory. There were no interaction effects of MDD and ACE. After stress, MDD patients were more likely to show lower performance in working memory as well as in selective and sustained attention compared with participants without MDD. Individuals with ACE were more likely to show lower performance in verbal memory after stress compared with individuals without ACE. Our results indicate negative effects of MDD and ACE on distinct cognitive domains. Furthermore, MDD and/or ACE seem to enhance susceptibility for stress-related cognitive impairments.
Objectives: Patients with Alzheimer’s disease (AD) demonstrate deficits in cross-cortical feature binding distinct from age-related changes in selective attention. This may have consequences for driving performance given its demands on multisensory integration. We examined the relationship of visuospatial search and binding to driving in patients with early AD and elderly controls (EC). Methods: Participants (42 AD; 37 EC) completed search tasks requiring either luminance-motion (L-M) or color-motion (C-M) binding, analogs of within and across visual processing stream binding, respectively. Standardized road test (RIRT) and naturalistic driving data (CDAS) were collected alongside clinical screening measures. Results: Patients performed worse than controls on most cognitive and driving indices. Visual search and clinical measures were differentially related to driving behavior across groups. L-M search and Trail Making Test (TMT-B) were associated with RIRT performance in controls, while C-M binding, TMT-B errors, and Clock Drawing correlated with CDAS performance in patients. After controlling for demographic and clinical predictors, L-M reaction time significantly predicted RIRT performance in controls. In patients, C-M binding made significant contributions to CDAS above and beyond demographic and clinical predictors. RIRT and C-M binding measures accounted for 51% of variance in CDAS performance in patients. Conclusions: Whereas selective attention is associated with driving behavior in EC, cross-cortical binding appears most sensitive to driving in AD. This latter relationship may emerge only in naturalistic settings, which better reflect patients’ driving behavior. Visual integration may offer distinct insights into driving behavior, and thus has important implications for assessing driving competency in early AD. (JINS, 2018, 24, 486–497)
Leucopis argenticollis (Zetterstedt) and Leucopis piniperda (Malloch) are known to feed on the lineage of Adelges tsugae Annand that is native to western North America, but it is not known if they will survive on the lineage that was introduced from Japan to the eastern USA. In 2014, western Leucopis spp. larvae were brought to the laboratory and placed on A. tsugae collected in either Washington (North American A. tsugae lineage) or Connecticut (Japanese lineage). There were no significant differences in survival or developmental times between flies reared on the two different adelgid lineages. In 2015 and 2016, western Leucopis spp. adults were released at two different densities onto enclosed branches of A. tsugae infested eastern hemlock (Tsuga canadensis (L.) Carr.) in Tennessee and New York. Cages were recovered and their contents examined 4 weeks after release at each location. Leucopis spp. larvae and puparia of the F1 generation were recovered at both release locations and adults of the F1 generation were collected at the Tennessee location. The number of Leucopis spp. offspring collected increased with increasing adelgid density, but did not differ by the number of adult flies released. Flies recovered from cages and flies collected from the source colony were identified as L.argenticollis and L. piniperda using DNA barcoding. These results demonstrate that Leucopis spp. from the Pacific Northwest are capable of feeding and developing to the adult stage on A. tsugae in the eastern USA and they are able to tolerate environmental conditions during late spring and early summer at the southern and northern extent of the area invaded by A. tsugae in the eastern USA.
Intrusive memories of traumatic events are a core feature of post-traumatic stress disorder but little is known about the neurobiological formation of intrusions. The aim of this study was to determine whether the activity of the noradrenergic system during an intrusion-inducing stressor would influence subsequent intrusive memories.
We conducted an experimental, double-blind, placebo-controlled study in 118 healthy women. Participants received a single dose of either 10 mg yohimbine, stimulating noradrenergic activity, or 0.15 mg clonidine, inhibiting noradrenergic activity, or placebo. Subsequently, they watched an established trauma film which induced intrusions. The number of consecutive intrusions resulting from the trauma film, the vividness of the intrusions, and the degree of distress evoked by the intrusions were assessed during the following 4 days. Salivary cortisol and α-amylase were collected before and after the trauma film.
A significant time × treatment interaction for the number of intrusions and the vividness of intrusions indicated a different time course of intrusions depending on treatment. Post-hoc tests revealed a delayed decrease of intrusions and a delayed decrease of intrusion vividness after the trauma film in the yohimbine group compared with the clonidine and placebo groups. Furthermore, after yohimbine administration, a significant increase in salivary cortisol levels was observed during the trauma film.
Our findings indicate that pharmacological activation of the noradrenergic system during an emotionally negative event makes an impact on consecutive intrusive memories and their vividness in healthy women. The noradrenergic system seems to be involved in the formation of intrusive memories.
Neurological soft signs (NSS) have long been considered potential endophenotypes for schizophrenia. However, few studies have investigated the heritability and familiality of NSS. The present study examined the heritability and familiality of NSS in healthy twins and patient–relative pairs.
The abridged version of the Cambridge Neurological Inventory was administered to 267 pairs of monozygotic twins, 124 pairs of dizygotic twins, and 75 pairs of patients with schizophrenia and their non-psychotic first-degree relatives.
NSS were found to have moderate but significant heritability in the healthy twin sample. Moreover, patients with schizophrenia correlated closely with their first-degree relatives on NSS.
Taken together, the findings provide evidence on the heritability and familiality of NSS in the Han Chinese population.
Antidepressants reduce depressive symptoms in patients with coronary heart disease, but they may be associated with increased mortality. This study aimed to examine whether the use of tricyclic antidepressants (TCA) or selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRI) is associated with mortality in patients with coronary heart disease, and to determine whether this association is mediated by autonomic function.
A total of 956 patients with coronary heart disease were followed for a mean duration of 7.2 years. Autonomic function was assessed as heart rate variability, and plasma and 24-h urinary norepinephrine.
Of 956 patients, 44 (4.6%) used TCA, 89 (9.3%) used SSRI, and 823 (86.1%) did not use antidepressants. At baseline, TCA users exhibited lower heart rate variability and higher norepinephrine levels compared with SSRI users and antidepressant non-users. At the end of the observational period, 52.3% of the TCA users had died compared with 38.2% in the SSRI group and 37.3% in the control group. The adjusted hazard ratio (HR) for TCA use compared with non-use was 1.74 [95% confidence interval (CI) 1.12–2.69, p = 0.01]. Further adjustment for measures of autonomic function reduced the association between TCA use and mortality (HR = 1.27, 95% CI 0.67–2.43, p = 0.47). SSRI use was not associated with mortality (HR = 1.15, 95% CI 0.81–1.64, p = 0.44).
The use of TCA was associated with increased mortality. This association was at least partially mediated by differences in autonomic function. Our findings suggest that TCA should be avoided in patients with coronary heart disease.
In 2011, we discovered a compact gas cloud (“G2”) with roughly three Earth masses that is falling on a near-radial orbit toward the massive black hole in the Galactic center. The orbit is well constrained and pericenter passage is predicted for early 2014. Our data beautifully show that G2 gets tidally sheared apart due to the massive black hole's force. During the next months, we expect that in addition to the tidal effects, hydrodynamics get important, when G2 collides with the hot ambient gas around Sgr A*. Simulations show that ultimately, the cloud's material might fall into the massive black hole. Predictions for the accretion rate and luminosity evolution, however, are very difficult due to the many unknowns. Nevertheless, this might be a unique opportunity in the next years to observe how gas feeds a massive black hole in a galactic nucleus.
The origin of the dense gas cloud “G2” discovered in the Galactic center (Gillessen et al. 2012) is still a debated puzzle. G2 might be a diffuse cloud or the result of an outflow from an invisible star embedded in it. We present here detailed simulations of the evolution of winds on G2's orbit. We find that the hydrodynamic interaction with the hot atmosphere present in the Galactic center and the extreme gravitational field of the supermassive black hole must be taken into account when modeling such a source scenario. We also find that in this scenario most of the Brγ luminosity is expected to come from the highly filamentary densest shocked wind material. G2's observational properties can be used to constrain the properties of the outflow and our best model has a mass outflow rate of Ṁw=8.8 × 10−8 M⊙ yr−1 and a wind velocity of vw = 50 km s−1. These values are compatible with those of a young TTauri star wind, as already suggested by Scoville & Burkert (2013).
Here we present the fundamental properties of the nuclear cluster of the Milky Way. First, we derive its structural properties by constructing a density map of the central 1000″ using extinction-corrected star counts. We can describe the data with a two-component model built from Sersic profiles. The inner nearly spherical component is the nuclear cluster. The outer, strongly flattened component can be identified with the stellar component of the circumnuclear zone. Second, we enlarge the radius inside which detailed dynamics are available from 1 pc to 4 pc. We use more than 10000 individual proper motions and more than 2700 radial velocities. We determine the cluster mass by means of isotropic spherical Jeans modeling. We get a nuclear cluster mass within 100″ of M100″=(6.11 ± 0.52|fix R0±0.97|R0) × 106 M⊙, which corresponds to a total cluster mass of MNC=(13.08 ± 2.51|fix R0± 2.08|R0) × 106 M⊙. By combination of our mass with the flux we calculate M/L=0.50 ± 0.12 M⊙/L⊙,Ks for the central 100″. That is broadly consistent with a Chabrier IMF. With its mass and a luminosity of MKs=−15.30±0.26 the nuclear cluster is a bright and massive specimen with a typical size.
While impaired memory and altered cortisol secretion are characteristic features of major depression, much less is known regarding the impact of antidepressant medication. We examined whether the cortisol awakening response (CAR) is increased in depressed patients with and without medication compared with healthy controls (HC) and whether CAR is associated with memory function in each group.
We examined 21 patients with major depression without medication, 20 depressed patients on antidepressant treatment, and 41 age-, sex- and education-matched healthy subjects. We tested verbal (Auditory Verbal Learning Task) and visuospatial (Rey figure) memory and measured CAR on two consecutive days.
Patient groups did not differ in severity of depression. We found a significant effect of group (p = 0.03) for CAR. Unmedicated patients exhibited a greater CAR compared with medicated patients (p = 0.04) with no differences between patient groups and HC. We found a significant effect of group for verbal (p = 0.03) and non-verbal memory (p = 0.04). Unmedicated patients performed worse compared with medicated patients and HC in both memory domains. Medicated patients and HC did not differ. Regression analyses revealed a negative association between CAR and memory function in depressed patients, but not in HC.
While in unmedicated depressed patients the magnitude of CAR is associated with impaired memory, medicated patients showed a smaller CAR and unimpaired cognitive function compared with HC. Our findings are compatible with the idea that antidepressants reduce CAR and partially restore memory function even if depressive psychopathology is still present.
We report on a concerted effort aimed at understanding the origin and history of the pre-solar nanodiamonds in meteorites including the astrophysical sources of the observed isotopic abundance signatures. This includes measurement of light elements by secondary ion mass spectrometry (SIMS), analysis of additional heavy trace elements by accelerator mass spectrometry (AMS) and dynamic calculations of r-process nucleosynthesis with updated nuclear properties. Results obtained indicate that: (i) there is no evidence for the former presence of now-extinct 26Al and 44Ti in our diamond samples other than what can be attributed to silicon carbide and other ‘impurities’, and this does not offer support for a supernova (SN) origin but neither does it negate it; (ii) analysis by AMS of platinum in ‘bulk diamond’ yields an overabundance of r-only 198Pt that at face value seems more consistent with the neutron burst than with the separation model for the origin of heavy trace elements in the diamonds, although this conclusion is not firm given analytical uncertainties; (iii) if the Xe–H pattern was established by an unadulterated r-process, it must have been a strong variant of the main r-process, which possibly could also account for the new observations in platinum.
The technique of accelerator mass spectrometry (AMS) offers a complementary tool for studying long-lived radionuclides in nuclear astrophysics: (1) as a tool for investigating nucleosynthesis in the laboratory; and (2) via a direct search of live long-lived radionuclides in terrestrial archives as signatures of recent nearby supernova-events. A key ingredient to our understanding of nucleosynthesis is accurate cross-section data. AMS was applied for measurements of the neutron-induced cross sections 13C(n,γ) and 14N(n,p), both leading to the long-lived radionuclide 14C. Solid samples were irradiated at Karlsruhe Institute of Technology with neutrons closely resembling a Maxwell–Boltzmann distribution for kT = 25 keV, and with neutrons of energies between 123 and 178 keV. After neutron activation the amount of 14C nuclides in the samples was measured by AMS at the VERA (Vienna Environmental Research Accelerator) facility. Both reactions, 13C(n,γ)14C and 14N(n,p)14C, act as neutron poisons in s-process nucleosynthesis. However, previous experimental data are discordant. The new data for both reactions tend to be slightly lower than previous measurements for the 25 keV Maxwell–Boltzmann energy distribution. For the higher neutron energies no previous data did exist for 13C(n,γ), but model calculations indicated a strong resonance structure between 100 and 300 keV which is confirmed by our results. Very limited information is available for 14N(n,p) at these energies. Our new data at 123 and 178 keV suggest lower cross sections than expected from previous experiments and data evaluations.
This work clearly demonstrates that the X Ray Reflectometry technique (XRR), extensively used to assess the quality of microelectronic devices can be a useful tool to study the first stages of ion beam mixing. This technique allows measuring the evolution of the Si concentration profile in irradiated Cr/Si layers. From the analysis of the XRR profiles, it clearly appears that the Si profile cannot be described by a simple error function.
Stress and cortisol administration are known to have impairing effects on memory retrieval in healthy humans. These effects are reported to be altered in patients with major depressive disorder (MDD) and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) but they have not yet been investigated in borderline personality disorder (BPD).
In a placebo-controlled cross-over study, 71 women with BPD and 40 healthy controls received either placebo or 10 mg of hydrocortisone orally before undertaking a declarative memory retrieval task (word list learning) and an autobiographical memory test (AMT). A working memory test was also applied.
Overall, opposing effects of cortisol on memory were observed when comparing patients with controls. In controls, cortisol had impairing effects on memory retrieval whereas in BPD patients cortisol had enhancing effects on memory retrieval of words, autobiographical memory and working memory. These effects were most pronounced for specificity of autobiographical memory retrieval. Patients with BPD alone and those with co-morbid PTSD showed this effect. We also found that co-morbid MDD influenced the cortisol effects: in this subgroup (BPD + MDD) the effects of cortisol on memory were absent.
The present results demonstrate beneficial effects of acute cortisol elevations on hippocampal-mediated memory processes in BPD. The absence of these effects in patients with co-morbid MDD suggests that these patients differ from other BPD patients in terms of their sensitivity to glucocorticoids (GCs).