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Social cognition has been associated with functional outcome in patients with first episode psychosis (FEP). Social cognition has also been associated with neurocognition and cognitive reserve. Although cognitive reserve, neurocognitive functioning, social cognition, and functional outcome are related, the direction of their associations is not clear. Therefore, the main aim of this study was to analyze the influence of social cognition as a mediator between cognitive reserve and cognitive domains on functioning in FEP both at baseline and at 2 years.
The sample of the study was composed of 282 FEP patients followed up for 2 years. To analyze whether social cognition mediates the influence of cognitive reserve and cognitive domains on functioning, a path analysis was performed. The statistical significance of any mediation effects was evaluated by bootstrap analysis.
At baseline, as neither cognitive reserve nor the cognitive domains studied were related to functioning, the conditions for mediation were not satisfied. Nevertheless, at 2 years of follow-up, social cognition acted as a mediator between cognitive reserve and functioning. Likewise, social cognition was a mediator between verbal memory and functional outcome. The results of the bootstrap analysis confirmed these significant mediations (95% bootstrapped CI (−10.215 to −0.337) and (−4.731 to −0.605) respectively).
Cognitive reserve and neurocognition are related to functioning, and social cognition mediates in this relationship.
First-degree relatives of patients with psychotic disorder have higher levels of polygenic risk (PRS) for schizophrenia and higher levels of intermediate phenotypes.
We conducted, using two different samples for discovery (n = 336 controls and 649 siblings of patients with psychotic disorder) and replication (n = 1208 controls and 1106 siblings), an analysis of association between PRS on the one hand and psychopathological and cognitive intermediate phenotypes of schizophrenia on the other in a sample at average genetic risk (healthy controls) and a sample at higher than average risk (healthy siblings of patients). Two subthreshold psychosis phenotypes, as well as a standardised measure of cognitive ability, based on a short version of the WAIS-III short form, were used. In addition, a measure of jumping to conclusion bias (replication sample only) was tested for association with PRS.
In both discovery and replication sample, evidence for an association between PRS and subthreshold psychosis phenotypes was observed in the relatives of patients, whereas in the controls no association was observed. Jumping to conclusion bias was similarly only associated with PRS in the sibling group. Cognitive ability was weakly negatively and non-significantly associated with PRS in both the sibling and the control group.
The degree of endophenotypic expression of schizophrenia polygenic risk depends on having a sibling with psychotic disorder, suggestive of underlying gene–environment interaction. Cognitive biases may better index genetic risk of disorder than traditional measures of neurocognition, which instead may reflect the population distribution of cognitive ability impacting the prognosis of psychotic disorder.
Bipolar disorder (BD) and obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD) are prevalent, comorbid, and disabling conditions, often characterized by early onset and chronic course. When comorbid, OCD and BD can determine a more pernicious course of illness, posing therapeutic challenges for clinicians. Available reports on prevalence and clinical characteristics of comorbidity between BD and OCD showed mixed results, likely depending on the primary diagnosis of analyzed samples.
We assessed prevalence and clinical characteristics of BD comorbidity in a large international sample of patients with primary OCD (n = 401), through the International College of Obsessive–Compulsive Spectrum Disorders (ICOCS) snapshot database, by comparing OCD subjects with vs without BD comorbidity.
Among primary OCD patients, 6.2% showed comorbidity with BD. OCD patients with vs without BD comorbidity more frequently had a previous hospitalization (p < 0.001) and current augmentation therapies (p < 0.001). They also showed greater severity of OCD (p < 0.001), as measured by the Yale–Brown Obsessive Compulsive Scale (Y-BOCS).
These findings from a large international sample indicate that approximately 1 out of 16 patients with primary OCD may additionally have BD comorbidity along with other specific clinical characteristics, including more frequent previous hospitalizations, more complex therapeutic regimens, and a greater severity of OCD. Prospective international studies are needed to confirm our findings.
The rate of deforestation in the Amazon is increasing. Predictive models estimate that as a result of agricultural expansion 40% of these forests will be lost by 2050. As a consequence the habitat of forest-dwelling species such as the Endangered black-faced black spider monkey Ateles chamek is being lost, particularly along the arc of deforestation in the Brazilian Amazon. We used species distribution modelling to (1) define the distribution of this spider monkey, using environmental predictors, (2) calculate the area of this distribution covered by the protected area network, and (3) calculate the expected loss of the species’ habitat under future scenarios of deforestation. We found that the species occupies only c. 28% of its extent of occurrence. Only 32% of the species’ area of occupancy is legally protected, and the modelling suggests that 31–40% of the species’ habitat will be lost by 2050. We highlight three unprotected regions with extensive forest cover that are predicted to become severely deforested by 2050 as priority regions for expanding the protected area network. We also propose landscape management and restoration in three human-modified regions. Our study provides an example of how species distribution modelling can be applied to assess threats to species and support decision makers in implementing conservation actions.
The value of the nosological distinction between non-affective and affective psychosis has frequently been challenged. We aimed to investigate the transdiagnostic dimensional structure and associated characteristics of psychopathology at First Episode Psychosis (FEP). Regardless of diagnostic categories, we expected that positive symptoms occurred more frequently in ethnic minority groups and in more densely populated environments, and that negative symptoms were associated with indices of neurodevelopmental impairment.
This study included 2182 FEP individuals recruited across six countries, as part of the EUropean network of national schizophrenia networks studying Gene–Environment Interactions (EU-GEI) study. Symptom ratings were analysed using multidimensional item response modelling in Mplus to estimate five theory-based models of psychosis. We used multiple regression models to examine demographic and context factors associated with symptom dimensions.
A bifactor model, composed of one general factor and five specific dimensions of positive, negative, disorganization, manic and depressive symptoms, best-represented associations among ratings of psychotic symptoms. Positive symptoms were more common in ethnic minority groups. Urbanicity was associated with a higher score on the general factor. Men presented with more negative and less depressive symptoms than women. Early age-at-first-contact with psychiatric services was associated with higher scores on negative, disorganized, and manic symptom dimensions.
Our results suggest that the bifactor model of psychopathology holds across diagnostic categories of non-affective and affective psychosis at FEP, and demographic and context determinants map onto general and specific symptom dimensions. These findings have implications for tailoring symptom-specific treatments and inform research into the mood-psychosis spectrum.
To evaluate cross-sectional and longitudinal associations of consumption of dairy products and physical activity (PA) with bone mineral density (BMD).
Cohort study with children from the 2004 Pelotas (Brazil) Birth Cohort.
Pelotas, a medium-sized Brazilian city.
The study started in 2004 and mothers/children were interviewed/measured periodically from birth to age 6 years. PA was measured by maternal proxy at 4 and 6 years and by accelerometry at 6 years. Consumption of dairy products was measured using 24 h food recall (at 4 years) and FFQ (at 6 years). Total-body and lumbar-spine BMD (g/cm2) were measured by dual-energy X-ray absorptiometry.
At 6 years, BMD was measured in 3444 children and 2636 children provided data on objectively measured PA by accelerometry. Consumption of dairy products at 4 years was associated with higher lumbar-spine BMD at 6 years in boys, while current consumption was positively associated with BMD in both sexes (P < 0·001). PA assessed by maternal report at 4 and 6 years of age was associated with higher BMD at 6 years in boys. PA assessed by accelerometry was positively related to total-body and lumbar-spine BMD in boys and lumbar-spine BMD in girls. We did not find evidence for an interaction between PA and consumption of dairy products on BMD.
We observed positive and independent longitudinal and cross-sectional associations between consumption of dairy products and PA with BMD in the total body and at the lumbar spine in young children.
Cognitive deficits are a core feature of early stages in schizophrenia. However, the extent to which antipsychotic (AP) have a deleterious effect on cognitive performance remains under debate. We aim to investigate whether anticholinergic loadings and dose of AP drugs in first episode of psychosis (FEP) in advanced phase of remission are associated with cognitive impairment and the differences between premorbid intellectual quotient (IQ) subgroups.
Two hundred and sixty-six patients participated. The primary outcomes were cognitive dimensions, dopaminergic/anticholinergic load of AP [in chlorpromazine equivalents (Eq-CPZ) and the Anticholinergic Risk Scale (ARS), respectively].
Impairments in processing speed, verbal memory and global cognition were significantly associated with high Eq-CPZ and verbal impairment with high ARS score. Moreover, this effect was higher in the low IQ subgroup.
Clinicians should be aware of the potential cognitive impairment associated with AP in advanced remission FEP, particularly in lower premorbid IQ patients.
An updated compilation of published and new data of major-ion (Ca, Cl, K, Mg, Na, NO3, SO4) and methylsulfonate (MS) concentrations in snow from 520 Antarctic sites is provided by the national ITASE (International Trans-Antarctic Scientific Expedition) programmes of Australia, Brazil, China, Germany, Italy, Japan, Korea, New Zealand, Norway, the United Kingdom, the United States and the national Antarctic programme of Finland. The comparison shows that snow chemistry concentrations vary by up to four orders of magnitude across Antarctica and exhibit distinct geographical patterns. The Antarctic-wide comparison of glaciochemical records provides a unique opportunity to improve our understanding of the fundamental factors that ultimately control the chemistry of snow or ice samples. This paper aims to initiate data compilation and administration in order to provide a framework for facilitation of Antarctic-wide snow chemistry discussions across all ITASE nations and other contributing groups. The data are made available through the ITASE web page (http://www2.umaine.edu/itase/content/syngroups/snowchem.html) and will be updated with new data as they are provided. In addition, recommendations for future research efforts are summarized.
Despite significant advances in therapies against Trypanosoma evansi, its effective elimination from the central nervous system (CNS) remains a difficult task. The incapacity of trypanocidal drugs to cross the blood–brain barrier (BBB) after systemic administrations makes the brain the main refuge area for T. evansi. Nanotechnology is showing great potential to improve drug efficacy, such as nerolidol-loaded nanospheres (N-NS). Thus, the aim of this study was to investigate whether the treatment with N-NS was able to cross the BBB and to eliminate T. evansi from the CNS. High-performance liquid chromatography revealed that N-NS can cross the BBB of T. evansi-infected mice, while free nerolidol (F-N) neither the trypanocidal drug diminazene aceturate (D.A.) were not detected in the brain tissue. Polymerase chain reaction revealed that 100% of the animals treated with N-NS were negatives for T. evansi in the brain tissue, while all infected animals treated with F-N or D.A. were positives. Thus, we concluded that nanotechnology improves the therapeutic efficacy of nerolidol, and enables the transport of its active principle through the BBB. In summary, N-NS treatment can eliminate the parasite from the CNS, and possesses potential to treat infected animals.
Since 2008, a massive shift has occurred from active toward passive investment strategies. The passive index fund industry is dominated by BlackRock, Vanguard, and State Street, which we call the “Big Three.” We comprehensively map the ownership of the Big Three in the United States and find that together they constitute the largest shareholder in 88 percent of the S&P 500 firms. In contrast to active funds, the Big Three hold relatively illiquid and permanent ownership positions. This has led to opposing views on incentives and possibilities to actively exert shareholder power. Some argue passive investors have little shareholder power because they cannot “exit,” while others point out this gives them stronger incentives to actively influence corporations. Through an analysis of proxy vote records we find that the Big Three do utilize coordinated voting strategies and hence follow a centralized corporate governance strategy. However, they generally vote with management, except at director (re-)elections. Moreover, the Big Three may exert “hidden power” through two channels: First, via private engagements with management of invested companies; and second, because company executives could be prone to internalizing the objectives of the Big Three. We discuss how this development entails new forms of financial risk.
Obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) is associated with variable risk of suicide and prevalence of suicide attempt (SA). The present study aimed to assess the prevalence of SA and associated sociodemographic and clinical features in a large international sample of OCD patients.
A total of 425 OCD outpatients, recruited through the International College of Obsessive-Compulsive Spectrum Disorders (ICOCS) network, were assessed and categorized in groups with or without a history of SA, and their sociodemographic and clinical features compared through Pearson’s chi-squared and t tests. Logistic regression was performed to assess the impact of the collected data on the SA variable.
14.6% of our sample reported at least one SA during their lifetime. Patients with an SA had significantly higher rates of comorbid psychiatric disorders (60 vs. 17%, p<0.001; particularly tic disorder), medical disorders (51 vs. 15%, p<0.001), and previous hospitalizations (62 vs. 11%, p<0.001) than patients with no history of SA. With respect to geographical differences, European and South African patients showed significantly higher rates of SA history (40 and 39%, respectively) compared to North American and Middle-Eastern individuals (13 and 8%, respectively) (χ2=11.4, p<0.001). The logistic regression did not show any statistically significant predictor of SA among selected independent variables.
Our international study found a history of SA prevalence of ~15% in OCD patients, with higher rates of psychiatric and medical comorbidities and previous hospitalizations in patients with a previous SA. Along with potential geographical influences, the presence of the abovementioned features should recommend additional caution in the assessment of suicide risk in OCD patients.
Achromobacter spp. are opportunistic pathogens increasingly recovered from adult patients with cystic fibrosis (CF). We report the characterization of 122 Achromobacter spp. isolates recovered from 39 CF patients by multilocus sequence typing, virulence traits, and susceptibility to antimicrobials. Two species, A. xylosoxidans (77%) and A. ruhlandii (23%) were identified. All isolates showed a similar biofilm formation ability, and a positive swimming phenotype. By contrast, 4·3% and 44·4% of A. xylosoxidans and A. ruhlandii, respectively, exhibited a negative swarming phenotype, making the swimming and swarming abilities of A. xylosoxidans significantly higher than those of A. ruhlandii. A. xylosoxidans isolates from an outbreak clone also exhibited significantly higher motility. Both species were generally susceptible to ceftazidime, ciprofloxacin, imipenem and trimethoprim/sulphamethoxazole and there was no significant difference in susceptibility between isolates from chronic or sporadic infection. However, A. xylosoxidans isolates from chronic and sporadic cases were significantly more resistant to imipenem and ceftazidime than isolates of the outbreak clone.
Aware of the possibility that astronomy in the Philippines will remain as lethargic as it has been for a hundred years if drastic changes are not made, various revitalizing activities were planned in 1997 and some have been implemented. These activities were divided into five categories and included the promotion of astronomy throughout the country and the attendance of some personnel of the Atmospheric, Geophysical and Space-Sciences Branch at various international meetings. Project proposals were also prepared and submitted to various local and foreign institutions in order to acquire astronomical equipment. The Philippines also applied for, and received, associate mebership of the International Astronomical Union.
Cognitive deficits are present from the onset of psychosis and are considered a core feature of the disorder. Increasing evidence suggests that cognitive function is associated with inflammatory processes. This study evaluated the association between cognition and inflammatory biomarkers in first-episode psychosis (FEP), in order to identify cognitive phenotypes from inflammatory expression profiles.
A case-control study of 92 FEP patients and 80 matched controls was used. Neurocognitive assessment, including verbal ability, sustained attention, verbal memory, working memory and executive function, was performed. The expression of pro- and anti-inflammatory mediators of the main intracellular inflammatory pathway was measured in peripheral blood mononuclear cells and plasma.
FEP patients performed worse in all cognitive domains compared to controls and had higher expression of pro-inflammatory mediators and lower expression of anti-inflammatory mediators. In the FEP group, cognition and psychopathology were associated with inflammation. Hierarchical regression analysis showed that association between the anti-inflammatory prostaglandin 15d-PGJ2 and sustained attention on one hand, and COX-2 expression and executive function on the other, were statistically significant.
Our study provides evidence for an association between anti-inflammatory biomarkers and cognition in FEP. The identification of a subgroup of patients based on these measures could be useful to guide treatment programmes by providing tools to select a personalized treatment approach, but longitudinal studies are needed before. In the future, establishment of biomarkers linked to cognition would be useful to monitor the course of cognitive impairment, but substantially more data will be required. Determination of IκBα, the inhibitory protein of the pro-inflammatory transcription factor NFκB, could be useful in early phases to assess clinical severity.
We demonstrate a compact tunable photonic modulator driven by surface acoustic waves (SAWs) in the low GHz frequency range. The device follows a well-known Mach-Zehnder interferometer (MZI) structure with three output channels, built upon multi-mode interference (MMI) couplers. The light continuously switches paths between the central and the side channels, avoiding losses and granting a 180◦-dephasing synchronization between them. The modulator was monolithically fabricated on (Al,Ga)As, and can be used as a building block for more complex photonic functionalities. It can also be implemented in other material platforms such as Silicon or (In,Ga)P. Light modulated at multiples of the fundamental acoustic frequency can be accomplished by adjusting the applied acoustic power. An excellent agreement between theory and experiment is achieved.
Genotype G12 strains are now considered to be the sixth most prevalent human rotaviruses worldwide. In two Sicilian cities, Palermo and Messina, surveillance of rotavirus circulation performed since 1985 and 2009, respectively, did not detect G12 strains until 2012. From 2012 to 2014 rotavirus infection was detected in 29·7% of 1647 stool samples collected from children admitted for acute gastroenteritis to three Sicilian hospitals in Palermo, Messina and Ragusa. In 2012, G12P was first detected in Palermo and then in Messina where it represented the second most frequent genotype (20% prevalence) after G1P. Thereafter, G12 strains continued to circulate in Sicily, showing a marked prevalence in Ragusa (27·8%) in 2013 and in Palermo (21%) and Messina (16·6%) in 2014. All but one of the Sicilian G12 strains carried a P VP4 genotype, whereas the single non-P rotavirus strain was genotyped as G12P. Phylogenetic analysis of the VP7 and VP4 sequences allowed distinction of several genetic lineages and separation of the G12P strains into three cluster combinations. These findings indicate independent introductions of G12 rotavirus strains in Sicily in recent years.
Obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD) showed a lower prevalence of cigarette smoking compared to other psychiatric disorders in previous and recent reports. We assessed the prevalence and clinical correlates of the phenomenon in an international sample of 504 OCD patients recruited through the International College of Obsessive Compulsive Spectrum Disorders (ICOCS) network.
Cigarette smoking showed a cross-sectional prevalence of 24.4% in the sample, with significant differences across countries. Females were more represented among smoking patients (16% vs 7%; p<.001). Patients with comorbid Tourette’s syndrome (p<.05) and tic disorder (p<.05) were also more represented among smoking subjects. Former smokers reported a higher number of suicide attempts (p<.05).
We found a lower cross-sectional prevalence of smoking among OCD patients compared to findings from previous studies in patients with other psychiatric disorders but higher compared to previous and more recent OCD studies. Geographic differences were found and smoking was more common in females and comorbid Tourette’s syndrome/tic disorder.
Objectives: The Carpentier-Edwards pericardial (CEP) prostheses are the type of bioprostheses most used worldwide. Although they were designed to minimize the rate of valve deterioration and reoperation, their clinical superiority over other prostheses models still lacks confirmation. The objective of this study was to evaluate its effectiveness.
Methods: We performed a systematic review and meta-analysis in the PubMed, Embase, Cochrane, and Lilacs databases. Operative mortality, overall mortality and reoperation rates after heart valve surgery were compared between the use of CEP and other cardiac prostheses. Two independent reviewers screened studies for inclusion and extracted the data. Disagreements were resolved by consensus. The GRADE criterion was used to assess the evidence quality.
Results: A total of twenty-eight studies were selected, including 19,615 individuals. The studies presented a high heterogeneity and low quality of evidence what limited the reliability of the results. The pooled data from the selected studies did not demonstrate significant differences between CEP and porcine, pericardial or stentless prostheses regarding operative mortality, overall mortality and reoperation rates. However, the pooled data from 3 observational trials pointed out a higher risk for reoperation after valve replacement using CEP prostheses against mechanical prostheses (OR 4.92 [95 percent confidence interval 2.43–9.96]).
Conclusions: The current data present in the literature still does not support a clinical advantage for the use of CEP prostheses over other bioprostheses. The quality of the studies in the literature is limited and further studies are needed to address if CEP prostheses will have a clinical advantage over other prostheses.
The leafminer Coptodisca sp. (Lepidoptera: Heliozelidae), recently recorded for the first time in Europe on Italian black and common walnut trees, is shown to be the North-American Coptodisca lucifluella (Clemens) based on morphological (forewing pattern) and molecular (cytochrome oxidase c subunit I sequence) evidence. The phylogenetic relatedness of three species feeding on Juglandaceae suggests that C. lucifluella has likely shifted, within the same host plant family, from its original North-American hosts Carya spp. to Juglans spp. Over the few years since its detection, it has established in many regions in Italy and has become a widespread and dominant invasive species. The leafminer completes three to four generations per year, with the first adults emerging in April–May and mature larvae of the last generation starting hibernation in September–October. Although a high larval mortality was recorded in field observations (up to 74%), the impact of the pest was substantial with all leaves infested at the end of the last generation in all 3 years tested. The distribution of the leafminer in the canopy was homogeneous. The species is redescribed and illustrated, a lectotype is designated and a new synonymy is established.
Hippocampal abnormalities have been demonstrated in schizophrenia. It is
unclear whether these abnormalities worsen with age, and whether they
affect cognition and function.
To determine whether hippocampal abnormalities in chronic schizophrenia
are associated with age, cognition and socio-occupational function.
Using 3 T magnetic resonance imaging we scanned 100 persons aged 19–82
years: 51 were out-patients with stable schizophrenia at least 2 years
after diagnosis and 49 were healthy volunteers matched for age and
gender. Automated analysis was used to determine hippocampal volume and
There were differential effects of age in the schizophrenia and control
samples on total hippocampal volume (group×age interaction:
F(1,95) = 6.57, P = 0.012), with steeper
age-related reduction in the schizophrenia group. Three-dimensional shape
analysis located the age-related deformations predominantly in the
mid-body of the hippocampus. In the schizophrenia group similar patterns
of morphometric abnormalities were correlated with impaired cognition and
poorer socio-occupational function.
Hippocampal abnormalities are associated with age in people with chronic
schizophrenia, with a steeper decline than in healthy individuals. These
abnormalities are associated with cognitive and functional deficits,
suggesting that hippocampal morphometry may be a biomarker for cognitive
decline in older patients with schizophrenia.