To send content items to your account,
please confirm that you agree to abide by our usage policies.
If this is the first time you use this feature, you will be asked to authorise Cambridge Core to connect with your account.
Find out more about sending content to .
To send content items to your Kindle, first ensure firstname.lastname@example.org
is added to your Approved Personal Document E-mail List under your Personal Document Settings
on the Manage Your Content and Devices page of your Amazon account. Then enter the ‘name’ part
of your Kindle email address below.
Find out more about sending to your Kindle.
Note you can select to send to either the @free.kindle.com or @kindle.com variations.
‘@free.kindle.com’ emails are free but can only be sent to your device when it is connected to wi-fi.
‘@kindle.com’ emails can be delivered even when you are not connected to wi-fi, but note that service fees apply.
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.
The second Singapore Mental Health Study (SMHS) – a nationwide, cross-sectional, epidemiological survey - was initiated in 2016 with the intent of tracking the state of mental health of the general population in Singapore. The study employed the same methodology as the first survey initiated in 2010. The SMHS 2016 aimed to (i) establish the 12-month and lifetime prevalence and correlates of major depressive disorder (MDD), dysthymia, bipolar disorder, generalised anxiety disorder (GAD), obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD) and alcohol use disorder (AUD) (which included alcohol abuse and dependence) and (ii) compare the prevalence of these disorders with reference to data from the SMHS 2010.
Door-to-door household surveys were conducted with adult Singapore residents aged 18 years and above from 2016 to 2018 (n = 6126) which yielded a response rate of 69.0%. The subjects were randomly selected using a disproportionate stratified sampling method and assessed using World Health Organization Composite International Diagnostic Interview version 3.0 (WHO-CIDI 3.0). The diagnoses of lifetime and 12-month selected mental disorders including MDD, dysthymia, bipolar disorder, GAD, OCD, and AUD (alcohol abuse and alcohol dependence), were based on the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, Fourth Edition (DSM-IV) criteria.
The lifetime prevalence of at least one mood, anxiety or alcohol use disorder was 13.9% in the adult population. MDD had the highest lifetime prevalence (6.3%) followed by alcohol abuse (4.1%). The 12-month prevalence of any DSM-IV mental disorders was 6.5%. OCD had the highest 12-month prevalence (2.9%) followed by MDD (2.3%). Lifetime and 12-month prevalence of mental disorders assessed in SMHS 2016 (13.8% and 6.4%) was significantly higher than that in SMHS 2010 (12.0% and 4.4%). A significant increase was observed in the prevalence of lifetime GAD (0.9% to 1.6%) and alcohol abuse (3.1% to 4.1%). The 12-month prevalence of GAD (0.8% vs. 0.4%) and OCD (2.9% vs. 1.1%) was significantly higher in SMHS 2016 as compared to SMHS 2010.
The high prevalence of OCD and the increase across the two surveys needs to be tackled at a population level both in terms of creating awareness of the disorder and the need for early treatment. Youth emerge as a vulnerable group who are more likely to be associated with mental disorders and thus targeted interventions in this group with a focus on youth friendly and accessible care centres may lead to earlier detection and treatment of mental disorders.
Simulation models are used widely in pharmacology, epidemiology and health economics (HEs). However, there have been no attempts to incorporate models from these disciplines into a single integrated model. Accordingly, we explored this linkage to evaluate the epidemiological and economic impact of oseltamivir dose optimisation in supporting pandemic influenza planning in the USA. An HE decision analytic model was linked to a pharmacokinetic/pharmacodynamics (PK/PD) – dynamic transmission model simulating the impact of pandemic influenza with low virulence and low transmissibility and, high virulence and high transmissibility. The cost-utility analysis was from the payer and societal perspectives, comparing oseltamivir 75 and 150 mg twice daily (BID) to no treatment over a 1-year time horizon. Model parameters were derived from published studies. Outcomes were measured as cost per quality-adjusted life year (QALY) gained. Sensitivity analyses were performed to examine the integrated model's robustness. Under both pandemic scenarios, compared to no treatment, the use of oseltamivir 75 or 150 mg BID led to a significant reduction of influenza episodes and influenza-related deaths, translating to substantial savings of QALYs. Overall drug costs were offset by the reduction of both direct and indirect costs, making these two interventions cost-saving from both perspectives. The results were sensitive to the proportion of inpatient presentation at the emergency visit and patients’ quality of life. Integrating PK/PD–EPI/HE models is achievable. Whilst further refinement of this novel linkage model to more closely mimic the reality is needed, the current study has generated useful insights to support influenza pandemic planning.
Little is known about the combined use of benzodiazepines and antidepressants in older psychiatric patients. This study examined the prescription pattern of concurrent benzodiazepines in older adults treated with antidepressants in Asia, and explored its demographic and clinical correlates.
The data of 955 older adults with any type of psychiatric disorders were extracted from the database of the Research on Asian Psychotropic Prescription Patterns for Antidepressants (REAP-AD) project. Demographic and clinical characteristics were recorded using a standardized protocol and data collection procedure. Both univariate and multiple logistic regression analyses were performed.
The proportion of benzodiazepine and antidepressant combination in this cohort was 44.3%. Multiple logistic regression analysis revealed that higher doses of antidepressants, younger age (<65 years), inpatients, public hospital, major comorbid medical conditions, antidepressant types, and country/territory were significantly associated with more frequent co-prescription of benzodiazepines and antidepressants.
Nearly, half of the older adults treated with antidepressants in Asia are prescribed concurrent benzodiazepines. Given the potentially adverse effects of benzodiazepines, the rationale of benzodiazepines and antidepressants co-prescription needs to be revisited.
The current study aimed to: (i) describe the extent of overall stigma as well as the differences in stigma towards people with alcohol abuse, dementia, depression, schizophrenia and obsessive compulsive disorder, as well as (ii) establish the dimensions of stigma and examine its correlates, in the general population of Singapore, using a vignette approach.
Data for the current study came from a larger nation-wide cross-sectional study of mental health literacy conducted in Singapore. The study population comprised Singapore Residents (Singapore Citizens and Permanent Residents) aged 18–65 years who were living in Singapore at the time of the survey. All respondents were administered the Personal and Perceived scales of the Depression Stigma scale and the Social Distance scale to measure personal stigma and social distance, respectively. Weighted mean and standard error of the mean were calculated for continuous variables, and frequencies and percentages for categorical variables. Exploratory structural equation modelling and confirmatory factor analysis were used to establish the dimensions of stigma. Multivariable linear regressions were conducted to examine factors associated with each of the stigma scale scores.
The mean age of the respondents was 40.9 years and gender was equally represented (50.9% were males). The findings from the factor analysis revealed that personal stigma formed two distinct dimensions comprising ‘weak-not-sick’ and ‘dangerous/unpredictable’ while social distance stigma items loaded strongly into a single factor. Those of Malay and Indian ethnicity, lower education, lower income status and those who were administered the depression and alcohol abuse vignette were significantly associated with higher weak-not-sick scores. Those of Indian ethnicity, 6 years of education and below, lower income status and those who were administered the alcohol abuse vignette were significantly associated with higher dangerous/unpredictable scores. Those administered the alcohol abuse vignette were associated with higher social distance scores.
This population-wide study found significant stigma towards people with mental illness and identified specific groups who have more stigmatising attitudes. The study also found that having a friend or family member with similar problems was associated with having lower personal as well as social distance stigma. There is a need for well-planned and culturally relevant anti-stigma campaigns in this population that take into consideration the findings of this study.
Toxoplasmosis affects a third of the global population and is of particular concern for immunologically compromised individuals. Toxoplasmosis induces host physiological events ranging from immunological to metabolic responses across multiple biological compartments. To understand the sequence of host responses during acute and chronic Toxoplasma gondii infection, eight male BALB/c mice were infected with 2000 T. gondii ME49 tachyzoites with a further eight uninfected mice used as controls. Plasma cytokines status, urinary metabolic profiling and fecal microbial profiles were characterized to monitor temporal variation related to T. gondii infection. The results showed elevated serum interferon-γ (IFN-γ), interleukin-12p40 and necrosis factor-α during acute phase of infection with concomitant perturbation in host energy metabolism and host-gut microbiome co-metabolism of phenolics and a shift in microbial composition. However, the differences were less pronounced during the putative chronic phase of infection with elevated IFN-γ, differences in urinary N-acetyls and O-acetyls of glycoproteins with no shift in gut microbial composition. Structural equation modelling on the current data showed host immune responses as the main driver for changes observed in urinary metabolites and gut microbial composition. Such an approach can be applied to other models of infectious diseases to aid understanding of host–pathogen interactions and potential biomarker discovery.
Three epidemic waves of human influenza A(H7N9) were documented in several different provinces in China between 2013 and 2015. With limited understanding of the potential for human-to-human transmission, it was difficult to implement control measures efficiently or to inform the public adequately about the application of interventions. In this study, the human-to-human transmission rate for the epidemics that occurred between 2013 and 2015 in Zhejiang Province, China, was analysed. The reproduction number (R), a key indicator of transmission intensity, was estimated by fitting the number of infections from poultry to humans and from humans to humans into a mathematical model. The posterior mean R for human-to-human transmission was estimated to be 0·27, with a 95% credible interval of 0·14–0·44 for the first wave, whereas the posterior mean Rs decreased to 0·15 in the second and third waves. Overall, these estimates indicate that a human H7N9 pandemic is unlikely to occur in Zhejiang. The reductions in the viral transmissibility and the number of poultry-transmitted infections after the first epidemic may be attributable to the various intervention measures taken, including changes in the extent of closures of live poultry markets.
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.
Elucidating the cognitive architecture of schizophrenia promises to advance understanding of the clinical and biological substrates of the illness. Traditional cross-sectional neuropsychological approaches differentiate impaired from normal cognitive abilities but are limited in their ability to determine latent substructure. The current study examined the latent architecture of abnormal cognition in schizophrenia via a systematic approach.
Exploratory factor analysis (EFA) and confirmatory factor analysis (CFA) were carried out on a large neuropsychological dataset including the Brief Assessment of Cognition in Schizophrenia, Continuous Performance Test, Wisconsin Card Sorting Test, Benton Judgment of Line Orientation Test, and Wechsler Abbreviated Scale of Intelligence matrix reasoning derived from 1012 English-speaking ethnic Chinese healthy controls and 707 schizophrenia cases recruited from in- and out-patient clinics.
An initial six-factor model fit cognitive data in healthy and schizophrenia subjects. Further modeling, which accounted for methodological variance between tests, resulted in a three-factor model of executive functioning, vigilance/speed of processing and memory that appeared to best discriminate schizophrenia cases from controls. Factor analytic-derived g estimands and conventionally calculated g showed similar case–control discrimination. However, agreement analysis suggested systematic differences between both g indices.
Factor structures derived in the current study were broadly similar to those reported previously. However, factor structures between schizophrenia subjects and healthy controls were different. Roles of factor analytic-derived g estimands and conventional composite score g were further discussed. Cognitive structures underlying cognitive deficits in schizophrenia may prove useful for interrogating biological substrates and enriching effect sizes for subsequent work.
To evaluate the efficacy of low-dose intratympanic dexamethasone therapy in patients with idiopathic sudden sensorineural hearing loss whose hearing in the affected ear had failed to improve following a course of oral steroid therapy.
A prospective pilot study was undertaken of eight patients with idiopathic sudden sensorineural hearing loss whose hearing had failed to improve after a course of prednisolone. These patients subsequently received 8 mg intratympanic dexamethasone therapy, delivered via a ventilation tube on a weekly basis for 1 month. Clinical outcome was assessed weekly with pure tone audiography.
At the end of the 1-month treatment period, no significant hearing improvement was observed on pure tone audiography in any of the patients (i.e. improvements were all less than 10 dB).
The response to 8 mg of intratympanic dexamethasone used as a salvage therapy for idiopathic sudden sensorineural hearing loss was inadequate. A higher dosage of intratympanic dexamethasone might be required to achieve better outcomes.
To report an unusual case of a primary mastoid cyst (congenital or developmental) in a patient without otological symptoms.
Case report and review of the English language literature.
Primary mastoid cyst is a newly reported and very rare pathological entity. Mastoid cysts usually occur secondary to chronic infection, inflammation or trauma. Review of the medical literature highlights the rarity of this condition.
This report describes the experience gained by the diagnosis and management of this patient. It emphasises the importance of clinical vigilance so that proper treatment may be instituted in a timely manner.
Background: This study examined the use of low doses of antipsychotic medications (300 mg/day CPZeq or less) in older Asian patients with schizophrenia and its demographic and clinical correlates.
Methods: Information on hospitalized patients with schizophrenia, aged 55 years or older, was extracted from the database of the Research on Asian Psychotropic Prescription Patterns (REAP) study (2001–2009). Data on 1,452 patients in eight Asian countries and territories including China, Hong Kong, Japan, Korea, Singapore, Taiwan, India, and Malaysia were analyzed. Sociodemographic and clinical characteristics and antipsychotic prescriptions were recorded using a standardized protocol and data collection procedure.
Results: The prescription frequency for low doses of antipsychotic medications was 40.9% in the pooled sample. Multiple logistic regression analysis of the whole sample showed that patients on low doses of antipsychotic medications were more likely to be female, have an older age, a shorter length of illness, and less positive symptoms. Of patients in the six countries and territories that participated in all the surveys between 2001 and 2009, those in Japan were less likely to receive low doses of antipsychotics.
Conclusion: Low doses of antipsychotic medications were only applied in less than half of older Asian patients with schizophrenia.
In Southeast Asian tropical rainforests, two events, severe droughts associated with the El Niño-Southern Oscillation and general flowering, a type of community-wide mass flowering, occur at irregular, supra-annual intervals. The relationship between these two supra-annual events and patterns of insect population fluctuations has yet to be clearly elucidated. Leaf beetles (Chrysomelidae) are major herbivores and flower-visitors of canopy trees, affecting their growth and reproduction and, in turn, affected by tree phenology; but their population fluctuations in the Southeast Asian tropics have not been extensively investigated. We examined population fluctuation patterns of the 34 most dominant chrysomelid species in relation to the two supra-annual events by conducting monthly light-trapping over seven years in a lowland dipterocarp forest in Borneo. Our results showed large community variation in population fluctuation patterns and a supra-annual (between-year) variation in abundance for most of the dominant chrysomelids that was significantly larger than the annual (within-year) variation. Specifically, in response to a severe drought in 1998, chrysomelid species exhibited different population responses. These results show that population fluctuations of individual species, rather than the entire assemblage, must be analyzed to determine the effects of changes in environmental conditions on the structure of insect assemblages in the tropics, especially in regions where supra-annual environmental changes are relatively more important than seasonal changes.
The growth temperature and properties of Ge4Sb3Te3 thin films are presented in this paper. The critical growth temperature of Ge4Sb3Te3 is between 300 and 340 °C. The Ge4Sb3Te3 films can only be grown on a substrate below the critical growth temperature. The typical resistivity and carrier density are in the order of 10-4 Ωcm and 1021 cm-3 for crystalline phase. It has a rock salt crystal structure with a lattice constant of 0.602 nm. Ge4Sb3Te3 has a better thermal stability but a lower crystallization speed than Ge2Sb2Te5.
A high-throughput screening technique has been developed and was utilized in the discovery of a new n-type oxide possessing good thermoelectric properties. Screening of metal binary systems consisting of 3d transition metals using this technique showed LaNiO3 to possess the desired n-type properties. Electrical resistivity (ρ) of this oxide is favorably quite low, however, the Seebeck coefficient (S) is as small as –25 μV/K. To enhance the thermoelectric properties of LaNiO3, high-throughput screening was employed to examine candidates from the metal ternary La1–xMxNiO3 and LaNi1–xNxO3 systems. Bi substitution in the La1–xMxNiO3 systems and Cu substitution in the LaNi1–xNxO3 systems were found to be effective for improvement of S and ρ respectively.
Extent of Mn diffusion to the plasma-oxidized AlOx tunnel barrier of magnetic tunnel junction was examined using Auger Electron Spectroscopy (AES) and X-Ray Photoelectron Spectroscopy (XPS). A magnetic film stack consisting of Ta/AlOx/CoFe/IrMn/NiFe/Ta was deposited with the AlOx layer treated under different plasma oxidation durations. AES depth profiles showed that Mn diffusion to the AlOx/CoFe interface increased with increasing oxidation after annealing at 300°C. XPS analysis indicated that Mn found at the CoFe/AlOx interface in the over-oxidized electrode was in the form of MnO2. Our research suggests that Mn diffusion was accelerated by preferential oxidation of Mn at the CoFe/AlOx interface.
A simple asymmetric random walk on the integers is stopped when its range is of a given length. When and where is it stopped? Analogous questions can be stated for a Brownian motion. Such problems are studied using results for the classical ruin problem, yielding results for the cover time and the range, both for asymmetric random walks and Brownian motion with drift.