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The Apolipoprotein (APOE) ε4 allele increases the risk for mild cognitive impairment (MCI) and dementia, but not all carriers develop MCI/dementia. The purpose of this exploratory study was to determine if early and subtle preclinical signs of cognitive dysfunction and medial temporal lobe atrophy are observed in cognitively intact ε4 carriers who subsequently develop MCI.
Twenty-nine healthy, cognitively intact ε4 carriers (ε3/ε4 heterozygotes; ages 65–85) underwent neuropsychological testing and MRI-based measurements of medial temporal volumes over a 5-year follow-up interval; data were converted to z-scores based on a non-carrier group consisting of 17 ε3/ε3 homozygotes.
At follow-up, 11 ε4 carriers (38%) converted to a diagnosis of MCI. At study entry, the MCI converters had significantly lower scores on the Mini-Mental State Examination, Rey Auditory Verbal Learning Test (RAVLT) Trials 1–5, and RAVLT Immediate Recall compared to non-converters. MCI converters also had smaller MRI volumes in the left subiculum than non-converters. Follow-up logistic regressions revealed that left subiculum volumes and RAVLT Trials 1–5 scores were significant predictors of MCI conversion.
Results from this exploratory study suggest that ε4 carriers who convert to MCI exhibit subtle cognitive and volumetric differences years prior to diagnosis.
Studies suggest that alcohol consumption and alcohol use disorders have distinct genetic backgrounds.
We examined whether polygenic risk scores (PRS) for consumption and problem subscales of the Alcohol Use Disorders Identification Test (AUDIT-C, AUDIT-P) in the UK Biobank (UKB; N = 121 630) correlate with alcohol outcomes in four independent samples: an ascertained cohort, the Collaborative Study on the Genetics of Alcoholism (COGA; N = 6850), and population-based cohorts: Avon Longitudinal Study of Parents and Children (ALSPAC; N = 5911), Generation Scotland (GS; N = 17 461), and an independent subset of UKB (N = 245 947). Regression models and survival analyses tested whether the PRS were associated with the alcohol-related outcomes.
In COGA, AUDIT-P PRS was associated with alcohol dependence, AUD symptom count, maximum drinks (R2 = 0.47–0.68%, p = 2.0 × 10−8–1.0 × 10−10), and increased likelihood of onset of alcohol dependence (hazard ratio = 1.15, p = 4.7 × 10−8); AUDIT-C PRS was not an independent predictor of any phenotype. In ALSPAC, the AUDIT-C PRS was associated with alcohol dependence (R2 = 0.96%, p = 4.8 × 10−6). In GS, AUDIT-C PRS was a better predictor of weekly alcohol use (R2 = 0.27%, p = 5.5 × 10−11), while AUDIT-P PRS was more associated with problem drinking (R2 = 0.40%, p = 9.0 × 10−7). Lastly, AUDIT-P PRS was associated with ICD-based alcohol-related disorders in the UKB subset (R2 = 0.18%, p < 2.0 × 10−16).
AUDIT-P PRS was associated with a range of alcohol-related phenotypes across population-based and ascertained cohorts, while AUDIT-C PRS showed less utility in the ascertained cohort. We show that AUDIT-P is genetically correlated with both use and misuse and demonstrate the influence of ascertainment schemes on PRS analyses.
The present study investigated the structure of the Spanish version of the Iowa-Netherlands Comparison Orientation Measure (INCOM-E), an 11-item measure that assesses individual differences in social comparison orientation (SCO), i.e., the extent to which people compare themselves with others. Data came from samples from Spain (n = 1,133) and Chile (n = 2,757). Confirmatory Factor Analyses and Mokken Scale Analyses supported in both samples not the assumed two-factor structure, but a single factor structure, consisting of eight items. The resulting eight-item version of the INCOM-E was reliable in both samples, according the Gutmann’s lambda–2 (.82 in Spain and .83 in Chile), and correlated very strongly with the full-length INCOM-E (.93 in Spain and .97 in Chile). In both samples, there were significant sex differences, ps < .001 with small effect sizes, ƞ2 in both samples = .01,but in the Spanish sample women scored higher, and in the Chilean sample men scored higher in SCO. The relationship with age was negative and significant (ps < .001) in both samples, albeit small (r = .22 in Spain and .13 in Chile) Based on the present research, it is advised to use the shortened eight-item version of the INCOM-E in Spanish speaking countries.
Stictococcus vayssierei is a major pest of root and tuber crops in central Africa. However, data on its ecology are lacking. Here we provide an updated estimate of its distribution with the aim of facilitating the sustainable control of its populations. Surveys conducted in nine countries encompassing 13 ecological regions around the Congo basin showed that African root and tuber scale was present in Cameroon, Central African Republic, Congo, Democratic Republic of Congo, Equatorial Guinea, Gabon and Uganda. It was not found on the sites surveyed in Chad and Nigeria. The pest occurred in the forest and the forest-savannah mosaic as well as in the savannah where it was never recorded before. However, prevalence was higher in the forest (43.1%) where cassava was the most infested crop, compared to the savannah (9.2%) where aroids (cocoyam and taro) were the most infested crops. In the forest habitat, the pest was prevalent in all but two ecological regions: the Congolian swamp forests and the Southern Congolian forest-savanna mosaic. In the savannah habitat, it was restricted to the moist savannah highlands and absent from dry savannahs. The scale was not observed below 277 m asl. Where present, the scale was frequently (87.1% of the sites) attended by the ant Anoplolepis tenella. High densities (>1000 scales per plant) were recorded along the Cameroon–Gabon border. Good regulatory measures within and between countries are required to control the exchange of plant materials and limit its spread. The study provides information for niche modeling and risk mapping.
Maternal polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) has been proposed as a model for investigating the role of prenatal androgen exposure in the development of neuropsychiatric disorders. However, women with PCOS are at higher risk of developing psychiatric conditions and previous studies are likely confounded by genetic influences.
A Swedish nationwide register-based cohort study was conducted to disentangle the influence of prenatal androgen exposure from familial confounding in the association between maternal PCOS and offspring attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), autism spectrum disorders (ASD), and Tourette's disorder and chronic tic disorders (TD/CTD). PCOS-exposed offspring (n = 21 280) were compared with unrelated PCOS-unexposed offspring (n = 200 816) and PCOS-unexposed cousins (n = 17 295). Associations were estimated with stratified Cox regression models.
PCOS-exposed offspring had increased risk of being diagnosed with ADHD, ASD, and TD/CTD compared with unrelated PCOS-unexposed offspring. Associations were stronger in girls for ADHD and ASD but not TD/CTD [ADHD: adjusted hazard ratio (aHR) = 1.61 (95% confidence interval (CI) 1.31–1.99), ASD: aHR = 2.02 (95% CI 1.45–2.82)] than boys [ADHD: aHR = 1.37 (95% CI 1.19–1.57), ASD: aHR = 1.46 (95% CI 1.21–1.76)]. For ADHD and ASD, aHRs for girls were stronger when compared with PCOS-unexposed cousins, but slightly attenuated for boys.
Estimates were similar when accounting for familial confounding (i.e. genetics and environmental factors shared by cousins) and stronger in girls for ADHD and ASD, potentially indicating a differential influence of prenatal androgen exposure v. genetic factors. These results strengthen evidence for a potential causal influence of prenatal androgen exposure on the development of male-predominant neuropsychiatric disorders in female offspring of women with PCOS.
Cognitive impairment is a core feature of psychotic disorders, but the profile of impairment across adulthood, particularly in African-American populations, remains unclear.
Using cross-sectional data from a case–control study of African-American adults with affective (n = 59) and nonaffective (n = 68) psychotic disorders, we examined cognitive functioning between early and middle adulthood (ages 20–60) on measures of general cognitive ability, language, abstract reasoning, processing speed, executive function, verbal memory, and working memory.
Both affective and nonaffective psychosis patients showed substantial and widespread cognitive impairments. However, comparison of cognitive functioning between controls and psychosis groups throughout early (ages 20–40) and middle (ages 40–60) adulthood also revealed age-associated group differences. During early adulthood, the nonaffective psychosis group showed increasing impairments with age on measures of general cognitive ability and executive function, while the affective psychosis group showed increasing impairment on a measure of language ability. Impairments on other cognitive measures remained mostly stable, although decreasing impairments on measures of processing speed, memory and working memory were also observed.
These findings suggest similarities, but also differences in the profile of cognitive dysfunction in adults with affective and nonaffective psychotic disorders. Both affective and nonaffective patients showed substantial and relatively stable impairments across adulthood. The nonaffective group also showed increasing impairments with age in general and executive functions, and the affective group showed an increasing impairment in verbal functions, possibly suggesting different underlying etiopathogenic mechanisms.
Digitaria exilis is an important indigenous cereal in West Africa. The first fonio reference transcriptome was released and became a key tool for developing new molecular markers contributing to a better understanding of its genetic diversity. A total of 126 new putative primer pairs were successfully designed in 37,327 unigenes from the D. exilis transcriptome. Thirty-seven primer pairs were randomly selected and tested for their ability to cross-amplify to related species. Clear amplification patterns were observed on 24 primer pairs. Of these, 71, 74 and 35% showed polymorphism in three species: D. exilis, D. longiflora and D. iburua. The transferability from D. exilis was 96% to D. longiflora and 71% to D. iburua. The new SSR markers confirmed the close genetic proximity of D. exilis with D. longiflora and its stronger genetic difference of D. exilis from D. iburua. These markers will be valuable for completing future knowledge on Digitaria evolutionary history, and for testing gene flows between related species.
Neuropsychological investigations can help untangle the aetiological and phenomenological heterogeneity of schizophrenia but have scarcely been employed in the context of treatment-resistant (TR) schizophrenia. No population-based study has examined neuropsychological function in the first-episode of TR psychosis.
We report baseline neuropsychological findings from a longitudinal, population-based study of first-episode psychosis, which followed up cases from index admission to 10 years. At the 10-year follow up patients were classified as treatment responsive or TR after reconstructing their entire case histories. Of 145 cases with neuropsychological data at baseline, 113 were classified as treatment responsive, and 32 as TR at the 10-year follow-up.
Compared with 257 community controls, both case groups showed baseline deficits in three composite neuropsychological scores, derived from principal component analysis: verbal intelligence and fluency, visuospatial ability and executive function, and verbal memory and learning (p values⩽0.001). Compared with treatment responders, TR cases showed deficits in verbal intelligence and fluency, both in the extended psychosis sample (t = −2.32; p = 0.022) and in the schizophrenia diagnostic subgroup (t = −2.49; p = 0.017). Similar relative deficits in the TR cases emerged in sub-/sensitivity analyses excluding patients with delayed-onset treatment resistance (p values<0.01–0.001) and those born outside the UK (p values<0.05).
Verbal intelligence and fluency are impaired in patients with TR psychosis compared with those who respond to treatment. This differential is already detectable – at a group level – at the first illness episode, supporting the conceptualisation of TR psychosis as a severe, pathogenically distinct variant, embedded in aberrant neurodevelopmental processes.
Our aim is to present a new and so far most complete catalog of optically selected young stars. The basis of this work is an extensive literature search for young stars in all the known nearby (< 2 kpc) star forming regions, included in the Handbook of Star Forming Regions [4, 5], and in 67 additional catalogs. We collected data on known young, pre-main-sequence stars detected in optical bands. The catalog contains the celestial coordinates, object names, names of the enclosing star forming region, identification methods, distances, and other information (e.g., references, binarity) for 15208 young stellar objects. It is already in use by the Gaia Photometric Science Alerts Team to identify variable young stars in the Gaia data. Our catalog was cross-correlated with the Gaia DR2 and we obtained flux and distance estimations for 86% of the stars.
The earliest phases of star formation are characterised by intense mass accretion from the circumstellar disk to the central star. One group of young stellar objects, the FU Orionis-type stars exhibit accretion rate peaks accompanied by bright eruptions. The occurance of these outbursts might solve the luminosity problem of protostars, play a key role in accumulating the final star mass, and have a significant effect on the parameters of the envelope and the disk. In the framework of the Structured Accretion Disks ERC project, we are conducting a systematic investigation of these sources with millimeter interferometry to examine whether they represent normal young stars in exceptional times or they are unusual objects. Our results show that FU Orionis-type stars can be similar to both Class I and Class II systems and may be in a special evolutionary phase between the two classes with their infall-driven episodic eruptions being the main driving force of the transition.
The early evolution of Sun-like stars may be interspersed by energetic FU Orionis (FUor) type accretion outbursts. We analysed eight years of photometric and spectroscopic variability of V582 Aur, a bona fide FUor, in outburst. While the accretion rate derived from near-infrared measurements was constant, radical brightness changes occurred due to dust clumps crossing the line of sight. The brightness minima resemble the variability patterns of the UXor phenomenon. Orbiting density enhancements or short-lived clumps moving in and out of the line-of-sight may explain these observations. Our message is that during FUor outbursts the inner disk is a dynamically active place, affecting the initial conditions for planet formation.
Having disk-to-star accretion rates on the order of 10-4M⊙/yr, FU Orionis-type stars (FUors) are thought to be the visible examples for episodic accretion. FUors are often surrounded by massive envelopes, which replenish the disk material and enable the disk to produce accretion outbursts. We observed the FUor-type star V346 Nor with ALMA at 1.3 mm continuum and in different CO rotational lines. We mapped the density and velocity structure of its envelope and analyzed the results using channel maps, position-velocity diagrams, and spectro-astrometric methods. We discovered a pseudo-disk and a Keplerian disk around a 0.1 M⊙ central star. We determined an infall rate from the envelope onto the disk of 6×10-6M⊙/yr, a factor of few higher than the quiescent accretion rate from the disk onto the star. This hints for a mismatch between the infall and accretion rates as the cause of the eruption.
Diagnosing streptococcal pharyngitis in children on the basis of clinical appearance and throat culture is complicated by high colonisation rates and by the ability of other pathogens to cause clinically similar disease. To characterise the epidemiology of Lancefield Group A, C and G β-haemolytic streptococcus (GAS, GCS and GGS, respectively) in children, we conducted a 2-year prospective study of 307 school children between 7 and 11 years old. GGS and GAS were commonly identified organisms both for silent streptococcal colonisation and symptomatic sore throat, while GCS was uncommonly found. Streptococcal culture positivity at the time of clinical pharyngitis was estimated to reflect true streptococcal pharyngitis in only 26% of instances, with the frequency varying from 54% for children rarely colonised to 1% for children frequently colonised. Numerous GAS emm types were identified, including several types previously associated with severe pharyngitis (e.g. emm types 1, 3 and 28). No severe complications were seen in any child. These data suggest that the clinical diagnosis of streptococcal pharyngitis is likely to remain difficult and that treatment decisions will remain clouded by uncertainty. There remains a need for organism-specific rapid point-of-care streptococcal diagnostic tests and tests that can distinguish between streptococcal colonisation and disease.
Pixelated vision or visual snow has been associated with schizophrenia (Silverstein 2011). The impact of viewing a 3D motion picture on such a visualphenomenon has not heretofore been described.
Case Study: A 28 year old right handed single male three years prior to presentation noticed that all his vision was pixelated. The pixelated vision is panoramic, involving the entire visual field. The pixels are characterized by 10,000 flat white and gray dots measuring 1mm x 1mm. No changes in color, shape, or size were noted in high and low intensity light. White, dark, gray, or multicolored backgrounds had no effect on his vision. The visual distortions are not impacted by head movements, emotions, degree of tiredness, driving, or his hedonic perception of the object being visualized. The pixels were noted to disappear upon closure of both eyes but persisted during monocular vision with either eye. These visual hallucinations were sporadic during the first year and became continuous over the following two years. Two weeks after onset ofpixelated vision he developed auditory hallucinations and hyperacusis. These increased in intensity and frequency to 500-600 times per day. He denied palinopsia, migraines, tinnitus, and photophobia. These hallucinations persisted despite treatment with aripiprazole, paliperidone, lurasidone, olanzapine, clozapine, ziprasidone, benztropine, bupropion, lamotrigine, modafinil, trazodone, atomoxetine, and amphetamine.
Abnormalities in Examination: Hypoverbal, blunted affect, impaired concentration, preoccupied with racing thoughts. Admitted to actively having auditory and visualhallucinations, without suicidal or homicidal ideations. Memory testing: Able to recall 2 out of 4 objects in 3 minutes and 3 out of 4 with reinforcement. Similarities interpreted concretely. Visual Acuity: 20/20 OU. Retinal examination: Normal. Intraocular Pressure: 19 mm OD, 20 mm OS (normal). Automotive Perimetry Testing: Normal. Cover/Uncover: Normal. Near Convergence: 3 inches (normal). Lens or filtered prism have no effect on visual snow. MRI of his brain, EEG, BAER, liver function tests, CBC, vitamin B12, folate, and thyroid function tests were normal. MRA: mild hypoplasia of distal right vertebral artery.
Visual snow has been anecdotally described as static, continuous, and independent of the specific visual environment (McKendrick, 2017). However, thepersistence of visual snow in the presence of 3D movies has never been reported. The visual snow paralleled auditory hallucinations and hyperacusis in frequency and intensity, which suggests there may be generalized hyperexcitability of the brain inducing both auditory and visual hallucinations. Agents that reduce cortical hyperexcitability (i.e., anticonvulsants, anxiolytics) may have efficacy. Treatment with these agents has been described (Ghannam, 2017), warrants further investigation.
In battery systems, a solid electrolyte interphase (SEI) is formed through electrolyte reaction on an electrode surface. The formation of SEI can have both positive and negative effects on electrochemistry. The initial formation of the layer protects the electrode from further reactivity, which can improve both shelf and cycle life. However, if the layer continues to form, it can impede charge transfer, which increases cell resistance and limits cycle life. The role of SEI is particularly important when studying conversion electrodes, since phase transformations which unveil new electroactive surfaces during reduction/oxidation can facilitate electrolyte decomposition. This manuscript highlights recent developments in the understanding and control of SEI formation for magnetite (Fe3O4) conversion electrodes through electrolyte and electrode modification.
We conducted a hospital-based cross-sectional study among children aged <5 years in Thi-Qar Governorate, south-eastern Iraq, in order to examine the prevalence, risk factors and antimicrobial resistance associated with gastroenteritis caused by Salmonella infection. From 320 diarrhoea cases enrolled between March and August 2016, 33 (10·3%, 95% confidence interval (CI) 8·4–12·4) cases were stool culture-positive for non-typhoidal Salmonella enterica. The most commonly identified serovar was Typhimurium (54%). Multivariable logistic regression analysis indicated that the odds of Salmonella infection in children from households supplied by pipe water was 4·7 (95% CI 1·6–13·9) times higher compared with those supplied with reverse osmosis treated water. Similarly, children from households with domestic animals were found to have a higher odds (OR 10·5; 95% CI 3·8–28·4) of being Salmonella stool culture-positive. The likelihood of Salmonella infection was higher (OR 3·9; 95% CI 1·0–6·4) among children belonging to caregiver with primary vs. tertiary education levels. Lower odds (OR 0·4; 95% CI 0·1–0·9) of Salmonella infection were associated with children exclusively breast fed as compared with those exclusively bottle fed. Salmonella infection was three times lower (95% CI 0·1–0·7) in children belonging to caregiver who reported always washing hands after cleaning children following defecation, vs. those belonging to caregivers who did not wash hands. The antimicrobial resistance profile by disc diffusion revealed that non-susceptibility to tetracycline (78·8%), azithromycin (66·7%) and ciprofloxacin (57·6%) were the most commonly seen, and 84·9% of Salmonella isolates were classified as multi-drug resistant. This is the first study on prevalence and antimicrobial resistance of Salmonella infection among children in this setting. This work provides specific epidemiological data which are crucial to understand and combat paediatric diarrhoea in Iraq.
Emerging developmental perspectives suggest that adverse rearing environments promote neurocognitive adaptations that heighten impulsivity and increase vulnerability to risky behavior. Although studies document links between harsh rearing environments and impulsive behavior on substance use, the developmental hypothesis that impulsivity acts as mechanism linking adverse rearing environments to downstream substance use remains to be investigated. The present study investigated the role of impulsivity in linking child abuse and neglect with adult substance use using data from (a) a longitudinal sample of youth (Study 1, N = 9,421) and (b) a cross-sectional sample of adults (Study 2, N = 1,011). In Study 1, the links between child abuse and neglect and young adult smoking and marijuana use were mediated by increases in adolescent impulsivity. In Study 2, indirect links between child abuse and neglect and substance use were evidenced via delayed reward discounting and impulsivity traits. Among impulsivity subcomponents, robust indirect effects connecting childhood experiences to cigarette use emerged for negative urgency. Negative urgency, positive urgency, and sensation seeking mediated the effect of child abuse and neglect on cannabis and alcohol use. Results suggest that child abuse and neglect increases risk for substance use in part, due to effects on impulsivity. Individuals with adverse childhood experiences may benefit from substance use preventive intervention programs that target impulsive behaviors.
Jones, Arena, Nittrouer, Alonso, and Lindsey (2017) present an expansive overview of microaggressive behaviors, with specific emphasis on the work place. Their overview includes the dimensionality of microaggressions (subtlety, formality, and intentionality), the dynamic and cyclical nature of a microaggressive culture, and the multitude of perspectives from which to view microaggressions (target, perpetrator, bystander, and ally). For any empirical study, researchers are faced with the challenge that microaggressions are subtle forms of discrimination often motivated by unconscious biases. As a result of this lack of personal insight, perpetrators and bystanders are likely to attribute microaggressive behaviors to nondiscriminatory reasons (i.e., defensive rationalizations). Furthermore, even if perpetrators and bystanders have insights into their bigotry, they are most likely socially astute enough to deny their bigotry through defensive rationalizations. Jones et al. (2017) provided many examples of microaggression research but did not directly address the methodological challenges. The purpose of the current commentary is to argue that situational judgment tests (SJTs) have great potential for the study of microaggressions within the Jones et al. (2017) framework.