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Mass asymptomatic SARS-CoV-2 nucleic acid amplified testing of healthcare personnel (HCP) was performed at a large tertiary health system. A low period-prevalence of positive HCP was observed. Of those who tested positive, half had mild symptoms in retrospect. HCP with even mild symptoms should be isolated and tested.
The COVID-19 pandemic has seen an increase in depression and anxiety among those with and without a history of mental illness. Commonly used forms of psychological therapy improve mental health by teaching psychotherapeutic strategies that assist people to better manage their symptoms and cope with life stressors. Minimal research to date has explored their application or value in managing mental health during significant broad-scale public health crises.
To determine which psychotherapeutic strategies people who have previously received therapy use to manage their distress during the COVID-19 pandemic, and whether the use and perceived helpfulness of these strategies has an effect on symptoms of depression and anxiety.
Data (N = 857) was drawn from multiple waves of a representative longitudinal study of the effects of COVID-19 on the mental health of Australian adults, which includes measures of anxiety, depression and experiences with psychotherapy and psychotherapeutic strategies.
Previous engagement in therapy with psychotherapeutic strategies had a protective effect on depressive but not anxiety symptoms. Common and helpful strategies used by respondents were exercise, mindfulness and breathing exercises. Using mindfulness and perceiving it to be helpful was associated with lower levels of depression and anxiety symptoms. No other strategies were associated with improved mental health.
Prior knowledge of psychotherapeutic strategies may play a role in managing mental health during unprecedented public health events such as a global pandemic. There may be value in promoting these techniques more widely in the community to manage general distress during such times.
Precise instrumental calibration is of crucial importance to 21-cm cosmology experiments. The Murchison Widefield Array’s (MWA) Phase II compact configuration offers us opportunities for both redundant calibration and sky-based calibration algorithms; using the two in tandem is a potential approach to mitigate calibration errors caused by inaccurate sky models. The MWA Epoch of Reionization (EoR) experiment targets three patches of the sky (dubbed EoR0, EoR1, and EoR2) with deep observations. Previous work in Li et al. (2018) and (2019) studied the effect of tandem calibration on the EoR0 field and found that it yielded no significant improvement in the power spectrum (PS) over sky-based calibration alone. In this work, we apply similar techniques to the EoR1 field and find a distinct result: the improvements in the PS from tandem calibration are significant. To understand this result, we analyse both the calibration solutions themselves and the effects on the PS over three nights of EoR1 observations. We conclude that the presence of the bright radio galaxy Fornax A in EoR1 degrades the performance of sky-based calibration, which in turn enables redundant calibration to have a larger impact. These results suggest that redundant calibration can indeed mitigate some level of model incompleteness error.
A growing body of research suggests that childhood adversities are associated with later psychosis, broadly defined. However, there remain several gaps and unanswered questions. Most studies are of low-level psychotic experiences and findings cannot necessarily be extrapolated to psychotic disorders. Further, few studies have examined the effects of more fine-grained dimensions of adversity such as type, timing and severity.
Using detailed data from the Childhood Adversity and Psychosis (CAPsy) study, we sought to address these gaps and examine in detail associations between a range of childhood adversities and psychotic disorder.
CAPsy is population-based first-episode psychosis case–control study in the UK. In a sample of 374 cases and 301 controls, we collected extensive data on childhood adversities, in particular household discord, various forms of abuse and bullying, and putative confounders, including family history of psychotic disorder, using validated, semi-structured instruments.
We found strong evidence that all forms of childhood adversity were associated with around a two- to fourfold increased odds of psychotic disorder and that exposure to multiple adversities was associated with a linear increase in odds. We further found that severe forms of adversity, i.e. involving threat, hostility and violence, were most strongly associated with increased odds of disorder. More tentatively, we found that some adversities (e.g. bullying, sexual abuse) were more strongly associated with psychotic disorder if first occurrence was in adolescence.
Our findings extend previous research on childhood adversity and suggest a degree of specificity for severe adversities involving threat, hostility and violence.
To disrupt cycles of health inequity, traceable to dietary inequities in the earliest stages of life, public health interventions should target improving nutritional wellbeing in preconception/pregnancy environments. This requires a deep engagement with pregnant/postpartum people (PPP) and their communities (including their health and social care providers, HSCP). We sought to understand the factors that influence diet during pregnancy from the perspectives of PPP and HSCP, and to outline intervention priorities.
We carried out thematic network analyses of transcripts from ten focus group discussions (FGD) and one stakeholder engagement meeting with PPP and HSCP in a Canadian city. Identified themes were developed into conceptual maps, highlighting local priorities for pregnancy nutrition and intervention development.
FGD and the stakeholder meeting were run in predominantly lower socioeconomic position (SEP) neighbourhoods in the sociodemographically diverse city of Hamilton, Canada.
All local, comprising twenty-two lower SEP PPP and forty-three HSCP.
Salient themes were resilience, resources, relationships and the embodied experience of pregnancy. Both PPP and HSCP underscored that socioeconomic-political forces operating at multiple levels largely determined the availability of individual and relational resources constraining diet during pregnancy. Intervention proposals focused on cultivating individual and community resilience to improve early-life nutritional environments. Participants called for better-integrated services, greater income supports and strengthened support programmes.
Hamilton stakeholders foregrounded social determinants of inequity as main factors influencing pregnancy diet. They further indicated a need to develop interventions that build resilience and redistribute resources at multiple levels, from the household to the state.
There is a need to develop feeding strategies to prevent the adverse effect of concentrate feeding in high-performance horses fed energy-dense diets aiming to maintain their health and welfare. The objective of this study is to determine the effect of a VistaEQ product containing 4% live yeast Saccharomyces cerevisiae (S. cerevisiae), with activity 5 × 108 colony-forming unit/g and fed 2 g/pony per day, on faecal microbial populations when supplemented with high-starch and high-fibre diets using Illumina next generation sequencing of the V3-V4 region of the 16S ribosomal RNA gene. The four treatments were allocated to eight mature Welsh section A pony geldings enrolled in a 4-period × 8 animal crossover design. Each 19-day experimental period consisted of an 18-day adaptation phase and a single collection day, followed by a 7-day wash out period. After DNA extraction from faeces and library preparation, α-diversity and linear discriminant analysis effect size were performed using 16S metagenomics pipeline in Quantitative Insights Into Microbial Ecology (QIIME™) and Galaxy/Hutlab. Differences between the groups were considered significant when linear discriminant analysis score was >2 corresponding to P < 0.05. The present study showed that S. cerevisiae used was able to induce positive changes in the equine microbiota when supplemented to a high-fibre diet: it increased relative abundance (RA) of Lachnospiraceae and Dehalobacteriaceae family members associated with a healthy core microbiome. Yeast supplementation also increased the RA of fibrolytic bacteria (Ruminococcus) when fed with a high-fibre diet and reduced the RA of lactate producing bacteria (Streptococcus) when a high-starch diet was fed. In addition, yeast increased the RA of acetic, succinic acid producing bacterial family (Succinivibrionaceae) and butyrate producing bacterial genus (Roseburia) when fed with high-starch and high-fibre diets, respectively. VistaEQ supplementation to equine diets can be potentially used to prevent acidosis and increase fibre digestibility. It may help to meet the energy requirements of performance horses while maintaining gut health.
Fibre is essential to maintain healthy gut; however, energy demands of performance horses can be too high to be met by forages alone. Yeast may support the function of cellulolytic bacteria to digest fibre. The aim of this work was to determine the effect of an oral supplement (VistaEQ) containing 4% live yeast on the in vitro and in vivo digestibility of high-starch (HS) and high-fibre diets (HF). Eight ponies were used in a 4 × 4 Latin square design consisting of 4- × 19-day periods and four diets: HF, HF + yeast (HFY), HS and HS + yeast (HSY). In vivo apparent digestibility (AD) was estimated using total collection technique, and faecal particle size was measured using NASCO digestive analyser. Faeces from the ponies were subsequently used as an inoculum in ANKOM RF gas production system to assess fermentation kinetics in vitro. Each module contained 1 g of feed substrate DM in the following combinations: 50% grass hay and 50% alfalfa (HF_50 : 50) or concentrate (HS_50 : 50), and 75% grass hay and 25% alfalfa (HF_75 : 25) or concentrate (HS_75 : 25) with or without yeast. Yeast was able to induce more gas production from HF_75 : 25, HS_75 : 25 and HF_50 : 50 feed substrates incubated with respective faecal inoculum base. Yeast did not affect pH in vitro when the substrates were incubated in 50 : 50 ratio, while the pH was higher for HF_75 : 25 incubated with correspondent faecal inoculum compared to HS_75 : 25 and HSY_75 : 25. Yeast had no effects on ADF and CP AD of either diet. Yeast addition increased DM (HF: 0.2%, HS: 0.4%), organic matter (HF: 0.7%, HS: 1.3%), NDF (HF: 0.5%, HS: 1.5%), total detergent fibre (HF: 0.7%; HS: 0.4%) (P < 0.05) and also tended to increase hemicellulose AD (HF: 0.9%, HS: 1.2%) (P < 0.10). Faecal pH in vivo was higher for both HF diets compared to HS diet without yeast supplementation (P < 0.001, HF and HFY: 6.8; HS: 6.6, HSY: 6.7). However, no difference was observed in faecal pH when HSY was compared to both HF diets. Yeast had no effect on the size of the faecal particles (P > 0.05). Yeast increased in vitro gas production, suggesting more energy could be extracted from the feed, and the in vivo AD of some of the nutrients when HF and HS diets were fed.
Tuberculosis (TB) in children is a critical public health issue. In Bohol, Philippines, we found a high tuberculin skin test (TST)-positive prevalence (weighted prevalence = 6.4%) among 5476 children (<15 years) from 184 villages, with geographically isolated communities having prevalence as high as 29%. Therefore, we conducted a geospatial and hot spot analysis to examine the association between villages with high TST-positive prevalence (⩾6.5%) and access to medical care (distance (in kilometres and minutes of travel time) to the municipal Rural Health Units (RHU)), access to healthcare resources (distance to Provincial Health Office (PHO)) and socioeconomic determinants of health. Hot spot analysis revealed significant clusters of TST-positive prevalence in villages farthest from the PHO. Based on univariate analysis, the following variables associated with high prevalence were included in the multivariate model: minutes of travel time to the PHO, distance to the PHO, island villages and total deprivation based on socioeconomic indicators. In the final model, only distance to PHO in minutes was significant (P = 0.005). When evaluated further, greater than 1-hour drive significantly increased risk for TST-positivity (P = 0.003). Distance to healthcare resources likely increases the risk of TB transmission within the community. Expanding TB control efforts to geographically isolated areas is critical.
To describe symptom expression and functional outcome in psychotic disorders in relation with temperament traits assessed with the Temperament and Character Inventory (TCI) in a population-based sample.
As part of the 31-year follow-up survey of the Northern Finland 1966 Birth Cohort, TCI temperament items were filled in by 4349 members of the cohort. In individuals with psychotic disorders, also positive and negative symptoms and outcome variables were assessed in a 35-year follow-up. Information of TCI and outcomes were available for altogether 41 individuals with psychosis.
Reward dependence (RD) (rho = −0.45) and Persistence (P) (rho = −0.52) were significantly correlated with Positive and Negative Syndrome Scale (PANSS) negative symptoms. Higher P scores predicted higher social and occupational functioning (as measured by Social and Occupational Functioning Assessment Scale [SOFAS]), and higher Harm avoidance (HA) predicted a higher likelihood of being on a disability pension.
Results indicate that understanding of personality dimensions support better understanding of outcome and symptom expressions in psychotic disorders.
Epidemiological studies have reported that the increased risk of developing psychosis in cannabis users is dose related. In addition, experimental research has shown that the active constituent of cannabis responsible for its psychotogenic effect is Delta-9-Tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) (Murray et al, 2007). Recent evidence has suggested an increased in potency (% TCH) in the cannabis seized in the UK (Potter et al, 2007).
We predicted that first episode psychosis patients are more likely to use higher potency cannabis and more frequently than controls.
We collected information concerning socio-demographic, clinical characteristics and cannabis use (age at first use, frequency, length of use, type of cannabis used) from a sample of 191 first-episode psychosis patients and 120 matched healthy volunteers. All were recruited as part of the Genetic and Psychosis (GAP) study which studied all patients who presented to the South London and Maudsley Trust.
There was no significant difference in the life-time prevalence of cannabis use or age at first use between cases and controls. However, cases were more likely to be regular users (p=0.05), to be current users (p=0.04) and to have smoked cannabis for longer (p=0.01). Among cannabis users, 86.8% of 1st Episode Psychosis Patients preferentially used Skunk/Sinsemilla compared to 27.7% of Controls. Only 13.2 % of 1st Episode psychosis Patients chose to use Resin/Hash compared to 76.3% of controls. The concentration of TCH in these in South East London, ranges between 8.5 and 14 % (Potter et al, 2007). Controls (47%) were more likely to use Hash (Resin) whose average TCH concentration is 3.4% (Potter et al, 2007).
Patients with first episode psychosis have smoked higher potency cannabis, for longer and with greater frequency, than healthy controls.
The effects of long-term antipsychotic medication use on structural brain changes in psychoses are still unknown. Severity and duration of illness are key confounders when evaluating antipsychotic effects on brain morphology.
Understanding the role of antipsychotic medication on brain morphology in psychoses.
To analyze whether cumulative lifetime or current antipsychotic medication dose relates to brain morphology in schizophrenia and other psychoses at age of 43 years.
Forty-four schizophrenia cases and 35 with other psychoses from the Northern Finland Birth Cohort 1966 were scanned on a 1.5T GE Signa scanner and brain structures were extracted using volBrain automated volumetry system (http://volbrain.upv.es). Data of antipsychotic medication were collected from medical records and interviews. We used linear regression model to analyze the effect of antipsychotic medication on brain volumes and used intracranial volume and onset age as covariates. We also performed additional analyses adding psychotic symptoms (PANSS Total score) as a covariate.
Higher lifetime and current dose associated to left lateral ventricle increase (b = 0.33, P = 0.033; b = 0.307, P = 0.042, respectively) and right and left accumbens decrease (b = −0.405, P = 0.013, b = −0.404, P = 0.010; b = −0.302, P = 0.027, b = −0.282, P = 0.036, respectively) in schizophrenia but not in other psychoses. When PANSS was added to the model, the findings remained regarding right and left accumbens, but not regarding left lateral ventricle.
It seems that antipsychotic medication affects the brain in schizophrenia, but not in the heterogeneous group of other psychoses. In schizophrenia, brain changes associated to antipsychotic medication cannot be explained by illness duration or symptom severity.
Disclosure of interest
The authors have not supplied their declaration of competing interest.
The Square Kilometre Array (SKA) is a planned large radio interferometer designed to operate over a wide range of frequencies, and with an order of magnitude greater sensitivity and survey speed than any current radio telescope. The SKA will address many important topics in astronomy, ranging from planet formation to distant galaxies. However, in this work, we consider the perspective of the SKA as a facility for studying physics. We review four areas in which the SKA is expected to make major contributions to our understanding of fundamental physics: cosmic dawn and reionisation; gravity and gravitational radiation; cosmology and dark energy; and dark matter and astroparticle physics. These discussions demonstrate that the SKA will be a spectacular physics machine, which will provide many new breakthroughs and novel insights on matter, energy, and spacetime.
Pelvic internal organs change in volume and position during radiotherapy. This may compromise the efficacy of treatment or worsen its toxicity. There may be limitations to fully correcting these changes using online image guidance; therefore, effective and consistent patient preparation and positioning remain important. This review aims to provide an overview of the extent of pelvic organ motion and strategies to manage this motion.
Methods and Materials:
Given the breadth of this topic, a systematic review was not undertaken. Instead, existing systematic reviews and individual high-quality studies addressing strategies to manage pelvic organ motion have been discussed. Suggested levels of evidence and grades of recommendation for each strategy have been applied.
Various strategies to manage rectal changes have been investigated including diet and laxatives, enemas and rectal emptying tubes and rectal displacement with endorectal balloons (ERBs) and rectal spacers. Bladder-filling protocols and bladder ultrasound have been used to try to standardise bladder volume. Positioning the patient supine, using a full bladder and positioning prone with or without a belly board, has been examined in an attempt to reduce the volume of irradiated small bowel. Some randomised trials have been performed, with evidence to support the use of ERBs, rectal spacers, bladder-filling protocols and the supine over prone position in prostate radiotherapy. However, there was a lack of consistent high-quality evidence that would be applicable to different disease sites within the pelvis. Many studies included small numbers of patients were non-randomised, used less conformal radiotherapy techniques or did not report clinical outcomes such as toxicity.
There is uncertainty as to the clinical benefit of many of the commonly adopted interventions to minimise pelvic organ motion. Given this and the limitations in online image guidance compensation, further investigation of adaptive radiotherapy strategies is required.
We apply two methods to estimate the 21-cm bispectrum from data taken within the Epoch of Reionisation (EoR) project of the Murchison Widefield Array (MWA). Using data acquired with the Phase II compact array allows a direct bispectrum estimate to be undertaken on the multiple redundantly spaced triangles of antenna tiles, as well as an estimate based on data gridded to the uv-plane. The direct and gridded bispectrum estimators are applied to 21 h of high-band (167–197 MHz; z = 6.2–7.5) data from the 2016 and 2017 observing seasons. Analytic predictions for the bispectrum bias and variance for point-source foregrounds are derived. We compare the output of these approaches, the foreground contribution to the signal, and future prospects for measuring the bispectra with redundant and non-redundant arrays. We find that some triangle configurations yield bispectrum estimates that are consistent with the expected noise level after 10 h, while equilateral configurations are strongly foreground-dominated. Careful choice of triangle configurations may be made to reduce foreground bias that hinders power spectrum estimators, and the 21-cm bispectrum may be accessible in less time than the 21-cm power spectrum for some wave modes, with detections in hundreds of hours.
Item 9 of the Patient Health Questionnaire-9 (PHQ-9) queries about thoughts of death and self-harm, but not suicidality. Although it is sometimes used to assess suicide risk, most positive responses are not associated with suicidality. The PHQ-8, which omits Item 9, is thus increasingly used in research. We assessed equivalency of total score correlations and the diagnostic accuracy to detect major depression of the PHQ-8 and PHQ-9.
We conducted an individual patient data meta-analysis. We fit bivariate random-effects models to assess diagnostic accuracy.
16 742 participants (2097 major depression cases) from 54 studies were included. The correlation between PHQ-8 and PHQ-9 scores was 0.996 (95% confidence interval 0.996 to 0.996). The standard cutoff score of 10 for the PHQ-9 maximized sensitivity + specificity for the PHQ-8 among studies that used a semi-structured diagnostic interview reference standard (N = 27). At cutoff 10, the PHQ-8 was less sensitive by 0.02 (−0.06 to 0.00) and more specific by 0.01 (0.00 to 0.01) among those studies (N = 27), with similar results for studies that used other types of interviews (N = 27). For all 54 primary studies combined, across all cutoffs, the PHQ-8 was less sensitive than the PHQ-9 by 0.00 to 0.05 (0.03 at cutoff 10), and specificity was within 0.01 for all cutoffs (0.00 to 0.01).
PHQ-8 and PHQ-9 total scores were similar. Sensitivity may be minimally reduced with the PHQ-8, but specificity is similar.
Background: Spinal muscular atrophy (SMA) is a children’s neuromuscular disorder. Although motor neuron loss is a major feature of the disease, we have identified fatty acid abnormalities in SMA patients and in preclinical animal models, suggesting metabolic perturbation is also an important component of SMA. Methods: Biochemical, histological, proteomic, and high resolution respirometry were used. Results: SMA patients are more susceptible to dyslipidemia than the average population as determined by a standard lipid profile in a cohort of 72 pediatric patients. As well, we observed a non-alcoholic liver disease phenotype in apreclinical mouse model. Denervation alone was not sufficient to induce liver steatosis, as a mouse model of ALS, did not develop fatty liver. Hyperglucagonemia in Smn2B/-mice could explain the hepatic steatosis by increasing plasma substrate availability via glycogen depletion and peripheral lipolysis. Proteomic analysis identified mitochondrion and lipid metabolism as major clusters. Alterations in mitochondrial function were revealed by high-resolution respirometry. Finally, low-fat diets led to increased survival in Smn2B/-mice. Conclusions: These results provide strong evidence for lipid metabolism defects in SMA. Further investigation will be required to establish the primary mechanism of these alterations and understand how they lead to additional co-morbidities in SMA patients.