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The quality of prenatal maternal mental health, from psychological stress and depressive symptoms to anxiety and other nonpsychotic mental disorders, profoundly affects fetal neurodevelopment. Despite the evidence for the influence of positive mental well-being on health, there is, to our knowledge, no research examining the possible effects of positive antenatal mental health on the development of the offspring. Using exploratory bifactor analysis, this prospective study (n = 1,066) demonstrated the feasibility of using common psychiatric screening tools to examine the effect of positive maternal mental health. Antenatal mental health was assessed during 26th week of pregnancy. The effects on offspring were assessed when the child was 12, 18, and 24 months old. Results showed that positive antenatal mental health was uniquely associated with the offspring's cognitive, language and parentally rated competences. This study shows that the effects of positive maternal mental health are likely to be specific and distinct from the sheer absence of symptoms of depression or anxiety.
Dietary intake of PUFA has been associated with colorectal neoplasm risk; however, results from observational studies have been inconsistent. Most prior studies have utilised self-reported dietary measures to assess fatty acid exposure which might be more susceptible to measurement error and biases compared with biomarkers. The purpose of this study was to determine whether erythrocyte phospholipid membrane PUFA percentages are associated with colorectal adenoma risk. We included data from 904 adenoma cases and 835 polyp-free controls who participated in the Tennessee Colorectal Polyp Study, a large colonoscopy-based case–control study. Erythrocyte membrane PUFA percentages were measured using GC. Conditional logistic regression was used to calculate adjusted OR for risk of colorectal adenomas with erythrocyte membrane PUFA. Higher erythrocyte membrane percentages of arachidonic acid was associated with an increased risk of colorectal adenomas (adjusted OR 1·66; 95 % CI 1·05, 2·62, Ptrend=0·02) comparing the highest tertile to the lowest tertile. The effect size for arachidonic acid was more pronounced when restricting the analysis to advanced adenomas only. Higher erythrocyte membrane EPA percentages were associated with a trend towards a reduced risk of advanced colorectal adenomas (Ptrend=0·05). Erythrocyte membrane arachidonic acid percentages are associated with an increased risk of colorectal adenomas.
Early life environments interact with genotype to determine stable phenotypic outcomes. Here we examined the influence of a variant in the brain-derived neurotropic factor (BDNF) gene (Val66Met), which underlies synaptic plasticity throughout the central nervous system, on the degree to which antenatal maternal anxiety associated with neonatal DNA methylation. We also examined the association between neonatal DNA methylation and brain substructure volume, as a function of BDNF genotype. Infant, but not maternal, BDNF genotype dramatically influences the association of antenatal anxiety on the epigenome at birth as well as that between the epigenome and neonatal brain structure. There was a greater impact of antenatal maternal anxiety on the DNA methylation of infants with the methionine (Met)/Met compared to both Met/valine (Val) and Val/Val genotypes. There were significantly more cytosine–phosphate–guanine sites where methylation levels covaried with right amygdala volume among Met/Met compared with both Met/Val and Val/Val carriers. In contrast, more cytosine–phosphate–guanine sites covaried with left hippocampus volume in Val/Val infants compared with infants of the Met/Val or Met/Met genotype. Thus, antenatal Maternal Anxiety × BDNF Val66Met Polymorphism interactions at the level of the epigenome are reflected differently in the structure of the amygdala and the hippocampus. These findings suggest that BDNF genotype regulates the sensitivity of the methylome to early environment and that differential susceptibility to specific environmental conditions may be both tissue and function specific.
In molecular dynamics studies of 10,000 atom arrays of stoichiometric B2 NiAl containing a crack under external stress in Mode I loading, it has been observed that a martensitic transformation generally occurs (starting in the vicinity of the crack tip) prior to the generation of dislocations and/or the propagation of the crack. The martensitic phase appears to be 2H, in agreement with experimental observations of SIM at higher Ni compositions (62 at % Ni). The interatomic interactions used in the simulations were the Embedded Atom Method (EAM) potentials developed by Voter and Chen  for the Ni-Al alloy system.
The structure of the lowest energy interface between an hcp austeidte phase and an foc martensite phase of similar atomic volumes has been simulated by annealing a disordered region between the two perfect lattices until semi-coberent intergrowth occurred. The two structures were oriented so that the closepacked planes were parallel, and closepacked directions were aligned. The dynamics of this interface and the structure which it evolved as it moved was then studied by applying a transformation driving force through the use of an Embedded Atar Method potential. Initially the interface moved in a reconstructive, diffusive manner but eventually it developed a highly mobile, diffusionless form which moved at about one third of the shear sound velocity. The structure of this rapidly moving interface could be analyzed in terms of three different types of Shockley partials arranged in sequence, but passing at slightly different times. This structure agrees with some elements of a model previously proposed by Christian to describe the transformation in pure Co, and agrees with other elements of a proposal of Mcbreer, Lunggren and Franck to explain their observations of the transformation in 4He. Neither fully explain our observations.
Reduced posterior corpus callosum (CC) area has been consistently observed in children and adolescents born very preterm (VPT). CC structural differences are also observed in people diagnosed with empathy disorders. This study examined empathy in relation to CC size in VPT adults and controls. CC area was manually measured for 17 VPT adults and 9 controls. Participants completed the Interpersonal Reactivity Index (Davis, 1980) and the Empathy Quotient (Baron-Cohen & Wheelwright, 2004). VPT adults had reduced posterior CC area in contrast to controls, and a positive linear trend was observed between posterior CC size and gestational age. No between-group empathy differences were observed, although self-reported personal distress in response to social situations was higher in VPT adults, and negatively associated with anterior CC area. We conclude that VPT adults have a smaller posterior CC, which is associated with gestational age, and elevated social distress, which may be mediated by anterior CC size. (JINS, 2010, 16, 716–720.)
Very-low-birthweight (VLBW) individuals are at high risk of brain injury in the perinatal period. We wished to determine how such early brain lesions affect brain structure in adulthood. Thirty-two VLBW adults (20 female, 12 male) and 18 term, normal birthweight sibling control individuals (nine female, nine male) underwent structural MRI at a mean age of 23 years 4 months (range 17 to 33 years; SD 3.4). Images were analyzed using an automated tissue segmentation algorithm in order to estimate whole brain tissue class volumes in native space. Images were then warped to a template image in standard space. There was no significant between-group difference in whole brain, grey matter, white matter, or total cerebral spinal fluid (CSF) volumes. However, lateral ventricular volume was significantly increased by 41% in those with VLBW. The ratio of grey to white matter was also significantly increased (by 10%) in those with VLBW. Group comparison maps showed widespread changes in the distribution of grey and white matter, and relative excess of ventricular CSF, in the brains of VLBW individuals. Increased ventricular volume predicted decreased grey matter in subcortical nuclei and limbic cortical structures, and decreased periventricular white matter. We conclude that these diffuse abnormalities of grey and white matter are a consequence of the interaction of perinatal brain injury and ongoing neurodevelopmental processes.
Neuropsychological outcome at 14 to 15 years of age of a cohort of 75 participants(39 male, 36 female) born at <33 weeks' gestation was investigated. Research was conducted parallel to a recent MRI study by Stewart and colleagues which reported that 55% of this cohort had evidence of brain abnormality. One aim of the study was to compare neuropsychological function in those very preterm children with and without MRI abnormality. Compared to a control sample of term adolescents, very preterm participants had impairment only on a measure of word production. On measures of attention, memory, perceptual skill, and visuomotor and executive function, the adolescents born very preterm performed in the normal range, whether or not they had evidence of MRI abnormality. Our findings are encouraging as the neuropsychological consequences of damage to the very preterm brain, still evident on MRI at 14 to 15 years of age, appear to be minor.
An excess of non-right-handedness has been shown among patients with schizophrenia. However it is not clear whether this finding can be accounted for by an increase in left-handedness, mixed-handedness or both. It is not known whether atypical patterns of hand preferences occur in other functional psychotic illnesses.
The Annett hand preference questionnaire was administered to patients with schizophrenia (n=120); affective psychosis (n=55); schizoaffective psychosis (n=41), and control subjects (n=86). Handedness was classified into three categories: right, mixed and left-handedness.
The hand preference patterns of patients with functional psychotic illnesses were not significantly different from controls. Patients with schizophrenia showed a non-significant excess of mixed-handedness compared with controls. Patients with schizophrenia and affective psychosis showed a non-significant decrease in left-handedness compared with controls.
Although our results showed a trend in the hypothesised direction, we failed to demonstrate that patients with psychotic illness differed from controls on self-reported hand preference patterns.