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The medium- to long-term consequences of COVID-19 are not yet known, though an increase in mental health problems are predicted. Multidisciplinary strategies across socio-economic and psychological levels may be needed to mitigate the mental health burden of COVID-19. Preliminary evidence from the rapidly progressing field of psychedelic science shows that psilocybin therapy offers a promising transdiagnostic treatment strategy for a range of disorders with restricted and maladaptive habitual patterns of cognition and behaviour, notably depression, addiction and obsessive compulsive disorder. The COMPASS Pathways (COMPASS) phase 2b double-blind trial of psilocybin therapy in antidepressant-free, treatment-resistant depression (TRD) is underway to determine the safety, efficacy and optimal dose of psilocybin. Results from the Imperial College London Psilodep-RCT comparing the efficacy and mechanisms of action of psilocybin therapy to the selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor (SSRI) escitalopram will soon be published. However, the efficacy and safety of psilocybin therapy in conjunction with SSRIs in TRD is not yet known. An additional COMPASS study, with a centre in Dublin, will begin to address this question, with potential implications for the future delivery of psilocybin therapy. While at a relatively early stage of clinical development, and notwithstanding the immense challenges of COVID-19, psilocybin therapy has the potential to play an important therapeutic role for various psychiatric disorders in post-COVID-19 clinical psychiatry.
Magnetic field-assisted freeze-casting of porous alumina structures is reported. Different freeze-casting parameters were investigated and include the composition of the original slurry (Fe3O4 and PVA content) and the control of temperature during the free casting process. The optimum content of the additives in the slurry were 3 and 6 wt% for PVA and Fe3O4, respectively. These conditions provided the most unidirectional porous structures throughout the length of the sample. The sintering temperature was maintained at 1500 °C for 3 h. The application of a vertical magnetic field (parallel to ice growth direction) with using a cooling rate mode technique was found to enhance the homogeneity of the porous structure across the sample. The current study suggests that magnetic field-assisted freeze-casting is a viable method to create highly anisotropic porous ceramic structures.
South Texas is home to a high diversity of species due to its location at the confluence of subtropical, desert, and coastal ecoregions. Historical overgrazing of South Texas rangelands transformed the savanna and prairie to a landscape dominated by woody plants and shrubs interspersed with low seral grass species and bare ground. During the first half of the 20th century, exotic grass species, coupled with the application of industrial agricultural practices appeared to be the future of forage production in South Texas and elsewhere. Several of these exotic species, namely King Ranch bluestem [Bothriochloa ischaemum (L.) Keng], Kleberg bluestem [Dichanthium annulatum (Forssk.) Stapf], Angelton bluestem [Dichanthium aristatum (Poir.) C.E. Hubbard], buffelgrass [Pennisetum ciliare (L.) Link], guineagrass [Urochloa maxima (Jacq.) R. Webster], Lehmann lovegrass (Eragrostis lehmanniana Nees), and Bermudagrass [Cynodon dactylon (L.) Pers.], have escaped pasture cultivation. Additionally, the native grass tanglehead [Heteropogon contortus (L.) P. Beauv. ex Roem. & Schult.] has begun displaying invasive behaviors. The monoculture growth habit of these species simplifies vegetation structure, reduces biodiversity, and decreases habitat for many species of wildlife. These grasses also alter natural fire regimes and nutrient cycling. This landscape-level transformation of vegetation composition and structure requires monitoring to quantify and assess the spatial and temporal distributions of invasive species as a basis to inform management practices. Current advances in remote sensing technologies, such as very high spatial resolution coupled with daily satellite imagery and unmanned aerial vehicles, are providing tools for invasive vegetation monitoring. We provide a synthesis of the natural history of these grasses, including their introductions, an overview of remote sensing applications in South Texas, and recommendations for future management practices.
Little is known about who would benefit from Internet-based personalised nutrition (PN) interventions. This study aimed to evaluate the characteristics of participants who achieved greatest improvements (i.e. benefit) in diet, adiposity and biomarkers following an Internet-based PN intervention. Adults (n 1607) from seven European countries were recruited into a 6-month, randomised controlled trial (Food4Me) and randomised to receive conventional dietary advice (control) or PN advice. Information on dietary intake, adiposity, physical activity (PA), blood biomarkers and participant characteristics was collected at baseline and month 6. Benefit from the intervention was defined as ≥5 % change in the primary outcome (Healthy Eating Index) and secondary outcomes (waist circumference and BMI, PA, sedentary time and plasma concentrations of cholesterol, carotenoids and omega-3 index) at month 6. For our primary outcome, benefit from the intervention was greater in older participants, women and participants with lower HEI scores at baseline. Benefit was greater for individuals reporting greater self-efficacy for ‘sticking to healthful foods’ and who ‘felt weird if [they] didn’t eat healthily’. Participants benefited more if they reported wanting to improve their health and well-being. The characteristics of individuals benefiting did not differ by other demographic, health-related, anthropometric or genotypic characteristics. Findings were similar for secondary outcomes. These findings have implications for the design of more effective future PN intervention studies and for tailored nutritional advice in public health and clinical settings.
The psychedelic research renaissance is gaining traction. Preliminary clinical studies of the hallucinogenic fungi, psilocybin, with psychological support, have indicated improvements in mood, anxiety and quality of life. A seminal, open-label study demonstrated marked reductions in depression symptoms in participants with treatment-resistant depression (TRD). The associated neurobiological processes involve alterations in brain connectivity, together with altered amygdala and default mode network activity. At the cellular level, psychedelics promote synaptogenesis and neural plasticity. Prompted by the promising preliminary studies, a randomized, double-blind trial has recently been launched across Europe and North America to investigate the efficacy of psilocybin in TRD. One of these centres is based in Ireland – CHO Area 7 and Tallaght University Hospital. The outcome of this trial will determine whether psilocybin with psychological support will successfully translate into the psychiatric clinic for the benefit of patients.
Clinical Enterobacteriacae isolates with a colistin minimum inhibitory concentration (MIC) ≥4 mg/L from a United States hospital were screened for the mcr-1 gene using real-time polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR) and confirmed by whole-genome sequencing. Four colistin-resistant Escherichia coli isolates contained mcr-1. Two isolates belonged to the same sequence type (ST-632). All subjects had prior international travel and antimicrobial exposure.
Studies examining associations between fetal serotonin reuptake inhibitor (SRI) exposure and child autism spectrum disorder (ASD) diagnoses or delayed language remain mixed and rarely prospectively follow children or employ gold-standard assessments. We prospectively followed a cohort of mother–child dyads from pregnancy through early elementary school (N = 178), and obtained maternal and alternate–caregiver ratings of behaviors related to ASD (N = 137), as well as direct, gold-standard assessments of child ASD symptoms and pragmatic language among dyads who experienced prenatal depression and either took SRIs or were medication free during pregnancy (N = 44). Prenatal SRI exposure was related to maternal ratings of ASD-related behaviors (β = 0.24 95% confidence interval; CI [0.07, 0.48]), and, among boys, alternative caregiver ratings (males-only β = 0.28 95% CI [0.02, 0.55], females-only β = −0.21 95% CI [–0.63, 0.08]). However, results of our direct assessments suggest an association between SRI exposure and reduced pragmatic language scores (β = –0.27, 95% CI [–0.53, –0.01], but not ASD (Autism Diagnostic Observation Schedule β = 0.14 95% CI [–0.15, 0.41]; Social Responsiveness Scale β = 0.08 95% CI [–0.25, 0.40]). These discrepancies point to issues regarding how ASD is assessed, and the possibility that SRIs may be more strongly associated with language or other broader behaviors that coincide with ASD. Larger prospective studies that incorporate thorough, gold-standard assessments of ASD, language, and other ASD-related behaviors are needed.
The detection and monitoring of meltwater within firn presents a significant monitoring challenge. We explore the potential of small wireless sensors (ETracer+, ET+) to measure temperature, pressure, electrical conductivity and thus the presence or absence of meltwater within firn, through tests in the dry snow zone at the East Greenland Ice Core Project site. The tested sensor platforms are small, robust and low cost, and communicate data via a VHF radio link to surface receivers. The sensors were deployed in low-temperature firn at the centre and shear margins of an ice stream for 4 weeks, and a ‘bucket experiment’ was used to test the detection of water within otherwise dry firn. The tests showed the ET+ could log subsurface temperatures and transmit the recorded data through up to 150 m dry firn. Two VHF receivers were tested: an autonomous phase-sensitive radio-echo sounder (ApRES) and a WinRadio. The ApRES can combine high-resolution imaging of the firn layers (by radio-echo sounding) with in situ measurements from the sensors, to build up a high spatial and temporal resolution picture of the subsurface. These results indicate that wireless sensors have great potential for long-term monitoring of firn processes.
FFQ, food diaries and 24 h recall methods represent the most commonly used dietary assessment tools in human studies on nutrition and health, but food intake biomarkers are assumed to provide a more objective reflection of intake. Unfortunately, very few of these biomarkers are sufficiently validated. This review provides an overview of food intake biomarker research and highlights present research efforts of the Joint Programming Initiative ‘A Healthy Diet for a Healthy Life’ (JPI-HDHL) Food Biomarkers Alliance (FoodBAll). In order to identify novel food intake biomarkers, the focus is on new food metabolomics techniques that allow the quantification of up to thousands of metabolites simultaneously, which may be applied in intervention and observational studies. As biomarkers are often influenced by various other factors than the food under investigation, FoodBAll developed a food intake biomarker quality and validity score aiming to assist the systematic evaluation of novel biomarkers. Moreover, to evaluate the applicability of nutritional biomarkers, studies are presently also focusing on associations between food intake biomarkers and diet-related disease risk. In order to be successful in these metabolomics studies, knowledge about available electronic metabolomics resources is necessary and further developments of these resources are essential. Ultimately, present efforts in this research area aim to advance quality control of traditional dietary assessment methods, advance compliance evaluation in nutritional intervention studies, and increase the significance of observational studies by investigating associations between nutrition and health.
Traditionally, personalised nutrition was delivered at an individual level. However, the concept of delivering tailored dietary advice at a group level through the identification of metabotypes or groups of metabolically similar individuals has emerged. Although this approach to personalised nutrition looks promising, further work is needed to examine this concept across a wider population group. Therefore, the objectives of this study are to: (1) identify metabotypes in a European population and (2) develop targeted dietary advice solutions for these metabotypes. Using data from the Food4Me study (n 1607), k-means cluster analysis revealed the presence of three metabolically distinct clusters based on twenty-seven metabolic markers including cholesterol, individual fatty acids and carotenoids. Cluster 2 was identified as a metabolically healthy metabotype as these individuals had the highest Omega-3 Index (6·56 (sd 1·29) %), carotenoids (2·15 (sd 0·71) µm) and lowest total saturated fat levels. On the basis of its fatty acid profile, cluster 1 was characterised as a metabolically unhealthy cluster. Targeted dietary advice solutions were developed per cluster using a decision tree approach. Testing of the approach was performed by comparison with the personalised dietary advice, delivered by nutritionists to Food4Me study participants (n 180). Excellent agreement was observed between the targeted and individualised approaches with an average match of 82 % at the level of delivery of the same dietary message. Future work should ascertain whether this proposed method could be utilised in a healthcare setting, for the rapid and efficient delivery of tailored dietary advice solutions.
A growing number of research studies have examined the intradyadic coregulation (or attunement) of hypothalamus–pituitary–adrenal axis functioning in mothers and their children. However, it is unclear how early this coregulation may be present in dyads at clinical high risk and whether certain factors, such as maternal depression or positive parenting, are associated with the strength of this coregulation. The present study examined cortisol attunement within mother–infant dyads in a high-risk sample of 233 mothers who received treatment for psychiatric illness during pregnancy and whose infants were 6 months old at the study visit. Results showed that maternal and infant cortisol covaried across four time points that included a stressor paradigm and a mother–infant interaction task. Greater maternal positive affect, but not depression, predicted stronger cortisol attunement. In addition, infants’ cortisol level following separation from the mother predicted mothers’ cortisol level at the next time point. Mothers’ cortisol level following the separation and the laboratory stress paradigm predicted infants’ cortisol levels at each successive time point, over and above infants’ own cortisol at the previous time point. These findings suggest that maternal and infant cortisol levels influence one another in a bidirectional fashion that may be temporally and context dependent.
Objectives: Careful characterization of how functional decline co-evolves with cognitive decline in older adults has yet to be well described. Most models of neurodegenerative disease postulate that cognitive decline predates and potentially leads to declines in everyday functional abilities; however, there is mounting evidence that subtle decline in instrumental activities of daily living (IADLs) may be detectable in older individuals who are still cognitively normal. Methods: The present study examines how the relationship between change in cognition and change in IADLs are best characterized among older adults who participated in the ACTIVE trial. Neuropsychological and IADL data were analyzed for 2802 older adults who were cognitively normal at study baseline and followed for up to 10 years. Results: Findings demonstrate that subtle, self-perceived difficulties in performing IADLs preceded and predicted subsequent declines on cognitive tests of memory, reasoning, and speed of processing. Conclusions: Findings are consistent with a growing body of literature suggesting that subjective changes in everyday abilities can be associated with more precipitous decline on objective cognitive measures and the development of mild cognitive impairment and dementia. (JINS, 2018, 24, 104–112)
Traditional methods for the assessment of dietary intake are prone to error; in order to improve and enhance these methods increasing interest in the identification of dietary biomarkers has materialised. Metabolomics has emerged as a key tool in the area of dietary biomarker discovery and to date the use of metabolomics has identified a number of putative biomarkers. Applications to identify novel biomarkers of intake have in general taken three approaches: (1) specific acute intervention studies to identify specific biomarkers of intake; (2) searching for biomarkers in cohort studies by correlating to self-reported intake of a specific food/food group(s); (3) analysing dietary patterns in conjunction with metabolomic profiles to identify biomarkers and nutritypes. A number of analytical technologies are employed in metabolomics as currently there is no single technique capable of measuring the entire metabolome. These approaches each have their own advantages and disadvantages. The present review will provide an overview of current technologies and applications of metabolomics in the determination of new dietary biomarkers. In addition, it will address some of the current challenges in the field and future outlooks.
This Survey gathered information from a representative sample of the Australian child population aged 5–14 years to describe the oral health status of the population and factors related to use of dental services and dental behaviours, as well as associated individual, family, and community factors such as the sociodemographic characteristics of the child's household.
Surveys provide a means of measuring a population's characteristics, self-reported and observed behaviour, and needs. Unlike a census, where all members of a population are studied, sample surveys gather information from only a portion of a population of interest. In a statistically valid survey, the sample is objectively chosen so that each member of the population will have a known non-zero chance of selection. Only then can the results be reliably projected from the sample to the population.
Surveys, however, are not exempt of errors (or bias), which can occur when some segments of the population do not participate in the survey. As not all Australian children were included in this Survey, there is potential that the sample does not accurately represent the population of interest.
Errors due to sampling depend on the sample selection strategy and can be measured statistically. Variability inherent to the sampling process is expressed using the 95% confidence interval. On the other hand, non-sampling error or bias is more problematic because it is more difficult to measure and control. Bias due to non-participation occurs when the participants differ from the non-participants or the targeted population in one or more characteristics. The potential for bias due to non-participation or non-response can be explored by examining key sociodemographic characteristics of the Survey sample, and comparing them with known characteristics of the target population.
As outlined in Chapter 3, this Survey employed rigorous sampling procedures to achieve a representative sample of the Australian child population aged 5–14 years. The procedures used to derive survey weights for this Survey reflect the standards of best practice for weighting complex survey data, and are procedures used by leading statistical agencies. Procedures used to derive survey weights ensure valid estimates and inferences of the target child population can be made. The methodologies employed in the Survey will minimise any potential bias, which will be assessed in this chapter.
This study explored how coping with war-related traumatic events in Sierra Leone impacted mental health outcomes among 529 youth (aged 10–17 at baseline; 25% female) using longitudinal data from three time points (Time 1 in 2002, Time 2 in 2004, and Time 3 in 2008). We examined two types of coping items (approach and avoidance); used multiple regression models to test their relations with long-term mental health outcomes (internalizing behaviors, externalizing behaviors, adaptive/prosocial behaviors, and posttraumatic stress symptoms); and used mediation analyses to test whether coping explained the relation between previous war exposures (being raped, death of parent(s), or killing/injuring someone during the war) and those outcomes. We found that avoidance coping items were associated with lower internalizing and posttraumatic stress behaviors at Time 3, and provided some evidence of mediating the relation between death of parent(s) during the war and the two outcomes mentioned above. Approach coping was associated with higher Time 3 adaptive/prosocial behaviors, whereas avoidance coping was associated with lower Time 3 adaptive/prosocial behaviors. Avoidance coping may be a protective factor against mental illness, whereas approach coping may be a promotive factor for adaptive/prosocial behaviors in war-affected societies. This study has important implications for designing and implementing mental health interventions for youth in postconflict settings.