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The onset of unsteadiness in a boundary-layer flow past a cylindrical roughness element is investigated for three flow configurations at subcritical Reynolds numbers, both experimentally and numerically. On the one hand, a quasi-periodic shedding of hairpin vortices is observed for all configurations in the experiment. On the other hand, global stability analyses have revealed the existence of a varicose isolated mode, as well as of a sinuous one, both being linearly stable. Nonetheless, the isolated stable varicose modes are highly sensitive, as ascertained by pseudospectrum analysis. To investigate how these modes might influence the dynamics of the flow, an optimal forcing analysis is performed. The optimal response consists of a varicose perturbation closely related to the least stable varicose isolated eigenmode and induces dynamics similar to that observed experimentally. The quasi-resonance of such a global mode to external forcing might thus be responsible for the onset of unsteadiness at subcritical Reynolds numbers, hence providing a simple explanation for the experimental observations.
The increased use of the MATRICS Consensus Cognitive Battery (MCCB) to investigate cognitive dysfunctions in schizophrenia fostered interest in its sensitivity in the context of family studies. As various measures of the same cognitive domains may have different power to distinguish between unaffected relatives of patients and controls, the relative sensitivity of MCCB tests for relative–control differences has to be established. We compared MCCB scores of 852 outpatients with schizophrenia (SCZ) with those of 342 unaffected relatives (REL) and a normative Italian sample of 774 healthy subjects (HCS). We examined familial aggregation of cognitive impairment by investigating within-family prediction of MCCB scores based on probands’ scores.
Multivariate analysis of variance was used to analyze group differences in adjusted MCCB scores. Weighted least-squares analysis was used to investigate whether probands’ MCCB scores predicted REL neurocognitive performance.
SCZ were significantly impaired on all MCCB domains. REL had intermediate scores between SCZ and HCS, showing a similar pattern of impairment, except for social cognition. Proband's scores significantly predicted REL MCCB scores on all domains except for visual learning.
In a large sample of stable patients with schizophrenia, living in the community, and in their unaffected relatives, MCCB demonstrated sensitivity to cognitive deficits in both groups. Our findings of significant within-family prediction of MCCB scores might reflect disease-related genetic or environmental factors.
The study aimed to subtype patients with schizophrenia on the basis of social cognition (SC), and to identify cut-offs that best discriminate among subtypes in 809 out-patients recruited in the context of the Italian Network for Research on Psychoses.
A two-step cluster analysis of The Awareness of Social Inference Test (TASIT), the Facial Emotion Identification Test and Mayer–Salovey–Caruso Emotional Intelligence Test scores was performed. Classification and regression tree analysis was used to identify the cut-offs of variables that best discriminated among clusters.
We identified three clusters, characterized by unimpaired (42%), impaired (50.4%) and very impaired (7.5%) SC. Three theory-of-mind domains were more important for the cluster definition as compared with emotion perception and emotional intelligence. Patients more able to understand simple sarcasm (⩾14 for TASIT-SS) were very likely to belong to the unimpaired SC cluster. Compared with patients in the impaired SC cluster, those in the very impaired SC cluster performed significantly worse in lie scenes (TASIT-LI <10), but not in simple sarcasm. Moreover, functioning, neurocognition, disorganization and SC had a linear relationship across the three clusters, while positive symptoms were significantly lower in patients with unimpaired SC as compared with patients with impaired and very impaired SC. On the other hand, negative symptoms were highest in patients with impaired levels of SC.
If replicated, the identification of such subtypes in clinical practice may help in tailoring rehabilitation efforts to the person's strengths to gain more benefit to the person.
The neurobiological underpinnings of avolition in schizophrenia remain unclear. Most brain imaging research has focused on reward prediction deficit and on ventral striatum dysfunction, but findings are not consistent. In the light of accumulating evidence that both ventral striatum and dorsal caudate play a key role in motivation, we investigated ventral striatum and dorsal caudate activation during processing of reward or loss in patients with schizophrenia.
We used functional magnetic resonance imaging to study brain activation during a Monetary Incentive Delay task in patients with schizophrenia, treated with second-generation antipsychotics only, and in healthy controls (HC). We also assessed the relationships of ventral striatum and dorsal caudate activation with measures of hedonic experience and motivation.
The whole patient group had lower motivation but comparable hedonic experience and striatal activation than HC. Patients with high avolition scores showed lower dorsal caudate activation than both HC and patients with low avolition scores. A lower dorsal caudate activation was also observed in patients with deficit schizophrenia compared to HC and patients with non-deficit schizophrenia. Dorsal caudate activity during reward anticipation was significantly associated with avolition, but not with anhedonia in the patient group.
These findings suggest that avolition in schizophrenia is linked to dorsal caudate hypoactivation.
Studies investigating neurocognitive impairment in subjects with eating disorders (EDs) have reported heterogeneous patterns of impairment and, in some instances, no dysfunction. The present study aimed to define the pattern of neurocognitive impairment in a large sample of bulimia nervosa (BN) patients and to demonstrate that neuroendocrine, personality and clinical characteristics influence neurocognitive performance in BN.
Attention/immediate memory, set shifting, perseveration, conditional and implicit learning were evaluated in 83 untreated female patients with BN and 77 healthy controls (HC). Cortisol and 17β-estradiol plasma levels were assessed. Cloninger's Temperament and Character Inventory – Revised (TCI-R), the Bulimic Investigation Test Edinburgh (BITE) and the Montgomery–Asberg Depression Rating Scale (MADRS) were administered.
No impairment of cognitive performance was found in subjects with BN compared with HC. Cortisol and ‘Self-directedness’ were associated with better performance on conditional learning whereas 17β-estradiol had a negative influence on this domain; ‘Reward dependence’ was associated with worse performance on implicit learning; and depressive symptomatology influenced performance on the Wisconsin Card Sorting Test (WCST) negatively.
No cognitive impairment was found in untreated patients with BN. Neuroendocrine, personality and clinical variables do influence neurocognitive functioning and might explain discrepancies in literature findings.
An outbreak of gastroenteritis occurred in Italy among 39 persons who had attended a private supper. All guests were previously healthy, young, non-pregnant adults; 18 (46%) had symptoms, mostly gastrointestinal (78%), with a short incubation period. Four were hospitalized with acute febrile gastroenteritis, two of whom had blood cultures positive for Listeria monocytogenes. No other microorganisms were recovered from the hospitalized patients' specimens. Epidemiological investigation identified rice salad as the most likely vehicle of the food-borne outbreak. L. monocytogenes was isolated from three leftover foods, the kitchen freezer and blender. Isolates from the patients, the foods and the freezer were indistinguishable: serotype l/2b, same phage type and multilocus enzyme electrophoretic type. Eight (36%) of 22 guests tested were found to have antibodies against L. monocytogenes, compared with none of 11 controls from the general population. This point source outbreak was probably caused by infection with L. monocytogenes. Unusual features included the high attack rate among immunocompetent adults and the predominance of gastrointestinal symptoms.
The CRESST-II direct Dark Matter search is located in the Gran Sasso underground laboratories, Italy. CaWO4 crystals are used as scintillating targets for WIMP (weakly interacting massive particle) interactions. They are operated as cryogenic calorimeters in combination with a second cryogenic detector used to measure the scintillation light produced in the target crystal. For each particle interaction, the combination of phonon and light signals provides an event by event discrimination which allows to distinguish known particles (alphas, betas, gammas, neutrons) from the expected signal of WIMPs. A major upgrade of the setup comprises modifications of the shielding, installation of a muon-veto, and new read out electronics, as well as a new detector-support structure to accommodate up to 33 detector modules, i.e. 10 kg of target mass. The experiment was thereafter successfully commissioned in 2007. Data obtained during this commissioning phase from 2 detector modules are presented here. Combining the data collected with these two detector modules with data from one single module obtained during the CRESST-I phase, the experiment could already place a limit of ~6 × 10-7 pb for the spin independent WIMP-nucleon scattering cross section at a WIMP mass of ~60 GeV/c2.
Few randomised controlled trials have been aimed specifically at substance use reduction among people with psychotic disorders.
To investigate whether a 10-session intervention consisting of motivational interviewing and cognitive-behavioural therapy (CBT) was more efficacious than routine treatment in reducing substance use and improving symptomatology and general functioning.
A community sample of people with a psychotic disorder and who reported hazardous alcohol, cannabis and/or amphetamine use during the preceding month was recruited. Participants were randomly allocated to motivational interviewing/CBT (n=65) or treatment as usual (n=65), and were assessed on multiple outcomes at baseline, 15 weeks, 6 months and 12 months.
There was a short-term improvement in depression and a similar trend with regard to cannabis use among participants who received the motivational interviewing/CBT intervention, together with effects on general functioning at 12 months. There was no differential benefit of the intervention on substance use at 12 months, except for a potentially clinically important effect on amphetamine use.
The motivational interviewing/CBT intervention was associated with modest improvements.