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Psychological interventions that are brief, acceptable, effective and can be delivered by non-specialists are especially necessary in low- and middle-income countries, where mental health systems are unable to address the high level of psychosocial needs. Problem Management Plus (PM+) is a five-session intervention designed for those impaired by psychological distress while living in communities affected by adversity. Individual PM+ has demonstrated effectiveness in reducing distress in Kenya and Pakistan, and a group version of PM+ (Group PM+) was effective for conflict-affected women in Pakistan. This paper describes a feasibility and acceptability trial of locally adapted Group PM+ for women and men in an earthquake-affected region of rural Nepal.
In this feasibility cluster randomised controlled trial, participants in the experimental arm were offered five sessions of Group PM+ and participants in the control arm received enhanced usual care (EUC), which entailed brief psycho-education and providing referral options to primary care services with health workers trained in the mental health Gap Action Programme Intervention Guide (mhGAP-IG). A mixed-methods design was used to assess the feasibility and acceptability of Group PM+. Feasibility was assessed with criteria including fidelity and retention of participants. Acceptability was assessed through in-depth interviews with participants, family members, programme staff and other stakeholders. The primary clinical outcome was depression symptoms assessed using the Patient Health Questionnaire (PHQ-9) administered at baseline and 8–8.5 weeks post-baseline (i.e. after completion of Group PM+ or EUC).
We recruited 121 participants (83% women and 17% men), with equal allocation to the Group PM+ and EUC arms (1:1). Group PM+ was delivered over five 2.5–3 hour sessions by trained and supervised gender-matched local non-specialists, with an average attendance of four out of five sessions. The quantitative and qualitative results demonstrated feasibility and acceptability for non-specialists to deliver Group PM+. Though the study was not powered to assess for effectiveness, for all five key outcome measures, including the primary clinical outcome, the estimated mean improvement was larger in the Group PM+ arm than the EUC arm.
The intervention and trial procedures were acceptable to participants, family members, and programme staff. The communities and participants found the intervention to be beneficial. Because feasibility and acceptability were established in this trial, a fully powered randomised controlled trial will be conducted for larger scale implementation to determine the effectiveness of the intervention in Nepal.
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.
Field studies were conducted in 2016 and 2017 in Clinton, NC, to determine the interspecific and intraspecific interference of Palmer amaranth (Amaranthus palmeri S. Watson) or large crabgrass [Digitaria sanguinalis (L.) Scop.] in ‘Covington’ sweetpotato [Ipomoea batatas (L.) Lam.]. Amaranthus palmeri and D. sanguinalis were established 1 d after sweetpotato transplanting and maintained season-long at 0, 1, 2, 4, 8 and 0, 1, 2, 4, 16 plants m−1 of row in the presence and absence of sweetpotato, respectively. Predicted yield loss for sweetpotato was 35% to 76% for D. sanguinalis at 1 to 16 plants m−1 of row and 50% to 79% for A. palmeri at 1 to 8 plants m−1 of row. Weed dry biomass per meter of row increased linearly with increasing weed density. Individual dry biomass of A. palmeri and D. sanguinalis was not affected by weed density when grown in the presence of sweetpotato. When grown without sweetpotato, individual weed dry biomass decreased 71% and 62% from 1 to 4 plants m−1 row for A. palmeri and D. sanguinalis, respectively. Individual weed dry biomass was not affected above 4 plants m−1 row to the highest densities of 8 and 16 plants m−1 row for A. palmeri and D. sanguinalis, respectively.
Field studies were conducted to determine watermelon tolerance and yield response when treated with bicyclopyrone preplant (PREPLANT), POST, and POST-directed (POST-DIR). Treatments consisted of two rates of bicyclopyrone (37.5 and 50 g ai ha–1), fomesafen (175 g ai ha–1), S-metolachlor (802 g ai ha–1), and a nontreated check. Preplant treatments were applied to formed beds 1 d prior to transplanting and included bicyclopyrone (37.5 and 50 g ha–1) and fomesafen (175 g ha–1), and new polyethylene mulch was subsequently laid above treated beds. POST and POST-DIR treatments were applied 14 ± 1 d after watermelon transplanting and included bicyclopyrone (37.5 and 50 g ha–1) POST and POST-DIR, and S-metolachlor (802 g ai ha–1) POST-DIR. POST-DIR treatments were applied to row middles, ensuring that no herbicide contacted watermelon vines or polyethylene mulch. At 2 wk after transplanting (WAT), 15% foliar bleaching was observed in watermelon treated with bicyclopyrone (50 g ha–1) PRE. At 3 WAT, bicyclopyrone (37.5 and 50 g ha–1) POST caused 16% and 17% foliar bleaching and 8% and 9% crop stunting, respectively. At 4 WAT, initial injury had subsided and bicyclopyrone (37.5 and 50 g ha–1) POST caused 4% and 4% foliar bleaching and 4% and 8% crop stunting, respectively. No symptoms of bleaching or stunting were observed at 6- and 8-WAT ratings. Watermelon total yield, marketable yield, total fruit number, marketable fruit number, and average fruit size were unaffected by herbicide treatments. Therefore, registration of bicyclopyrone (37.5 and 50 g ha–1) PREPLANT, POST, and POST-DIR would offer watermelon producers a safe herbicide option and a novel mode of action for weed management.
We present a multi-frequency study of the intermediate spiral SAB(r)bc type galaxy NGC 6744, using available data from the Chandra X-Ray telescope, radio continuum data from the Australia Telescope Compact Array and Murchison Widefield Array, and Wide-field Infrared Survey Explorer infrared observations. We identify 117 X-ray sources and 280 radio sources. Of these, we find nine sources in common between the X-ray and radio catalogues, one of which is a faint central black hole with a bolometric radio luminosity similar to the Milky Way’s central black hole. We classify 5 objects as supernova remnant (SNR) candidates, 2 objects as likely SNRs, 17 as H ii regions, 1 source as an AGN; the remaining 255 radio sources are categorised as background objects and one X-ray source is classified as a foreground star. We find the star-formation rate (SFR) of NGC 6744 to be in the range 2.8–4.7 M⊙~yr − 1 signifying the galaxy is still actively forming stars. The specific SFR of NGC 6744 is greater than that of late-type spirals such as the Milky Way, but considerably less that that of a typical starburst galaxy.
As reported from studies conducted in Nepal, between 15% and 57% of adults had ever consumed alcohol and between 1.5% and 25% of adults have alcohol use disorders (AUD). Few studies in Nepal have identified the correlates of consumption or described the help-seeking patterns and stigma among those affected with AUD.
Interviewers administered the Alcohol Use Disorders Identification Test (AUDIT) as part of population-based surveys of adults in Chitwan District between 2013 and 2017. We conducted a secondary analysis to identify sociodemographic and health-related correlates of recent alcohol consumption using the χ2 test, to identify correlates of total AUDIT scores among men who drink using negative binomial regression, and to describe the treatment-seeking and stigma beliefs of men with AUD.
Over half (53.7%, 95% CI 50.4–57.0) of men (n = 1130) recently consumed alcohol, and there were associations between being a drinker with age, religion, caste, education, occupation and tobacco use. Nearly one in four (23.8%, 95% CI 20.2–27.8%) male drinkers screened positive for AUD, and AUDIT scores were associated with age, caste, marital status, occupation, tobacco use, depression, functional status and suicidal ideation. Few (13.3%, 95% CI 11.7–15.0) women (n = 2352) recently consumed alcohol, and 5.3% (95% CI 3.0–9.1) of female drinkers screened positive for AUD. Among AUDIT-positive men, 38% spoke to another person about their problems and 80% had internalized stigma.
This study revealed that nearly one in four men who drink likely have AUD. Higher AUDIT scores were associated with depression, suicidality, dysfunctionality and internalized stigma.
Multi-decade observing campaigns of the globular clusters 47 Tucanae and M15 have led to an outstanding number of discoveries. Here, we report on the latest results of the long-term observations of the pulsars in these two clusters. For most of the pulsars in 47 Tucanae we have measured, among other things, their higher-order spin period derivatives, which have in turn provided stringent constraints on the physical parameters of the cluster, such as its distance and gravitational potential. For M15, we have studied the relativistic spin precession effect in PSR B2127+11C. We have used full-Stokes observations to model the precession effect, and to constrain the system geometry. We find that the visible beam of the pulsar is swiftly moving away from our line of sight and may very soon become undetectable. On the other hand, we expect to see the opposite emission beam sometime between 2041 and 2053.
Two large earthquakes in 2015 caused widespread destruction in Nepal. This study aimed to examine frequency of common mental health and psychosocial problems and their correlates following the earthquakes.
A stratified multi-stage cluster sampling design was employed to randomly select 513 participants (aged 16 and above) from three earthquake-affected districts in Nepal: Kathmandu, Gorkha and Sindhupalchowk, 4 months after the second earthquake. Outcomes were selected based on qualitative preparatory research and included symptoms of depression and anxiety (Hopkins Symptom Checklist-25); post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD Checklist-Civilian); hazardous alcohol use (AUDIT-C); symptoms indicating severe psychological distress (WHO-UNHCR Assessment Schedule of Serious Symptoms in Humanitarian Settings (WASSS)); suicidal ideation (Composite International Diagnostic Interview); perceived needs (Humanitarian Emergency Settings Perceived Needs Scale (HESPER)); and functional impairment (locally developed scale).
A substantial percentage of participants scored above validated cut-off scores for depression (34.3%, 95% CI 28.4–40.4) and anxiety (33.8%, 95% CI 27.6–40.6). Hazardous alcohol use was reported by 20.4% (95% CI 17.1–24.3) and 10.9% (95% CI 8.8–13.5) reported suicidal ideation. Forty-two percent reported that ‘distress’ was a serious problem in their community. Anger that was out of control (symptom from the WASSS) was reported by 33.7% (95% CI 29.5–38.2). Fewer people had elevated rates of PTSD symptoms above a validated cut-off score (5.2%, 95% CI 3.9–6.8), and levels of functional impairment were also relatively low. Correlates of elevated symptom scores were female gender, lower caste and greater number of perceived needs. Residing in Gorkha and Sindhupalchowk districts and lower caste were also associated with greater perceived needs. Higher levels of impaired functioning were associated with greater odds of depression and anxiety symptoms; impaired functioning was less strongly associated with PTSD symptoms.
Four months after the earthquakes in Nepal, one out of three adults experienced symptoms of depression and distressing levels of anger, one out of five engaged in hazardous drinking, and one out of ten had suicidal thoughts. However, posttraumatic stress symptoms and functional impairment were comparatively less frequent. Taken together, the findings suggest that there were significant levels of psychological distress but likely low levels of disorder. The findings highlight the importance of indicated prevention strategies to reduce the risk of distress progressing to disorder within post-disaster mental health systems of care.
Although financing represents a critical component of health system strengthening and also a defining concern of efforts to move towards universal health coverage, many countries lack the tools and capacity to plan effectively for service scale-up. As part of a multi-country collaborative study (the Emerald project), we set out to develop, test and apply a fully integrated health systems resource planning and health impact tool for mental, neurological and substance use (MNS) disorders.
A new module of the existing UN strategic planning OneHealth Tool was developed, which identifies health system resources required to scale-up a range of specified interventions for MNS disorders and also projects expected health gains at the population level. We conducted local capacity-building in its use, as well as stakeholder consultations, then tested and calibrated all model parameters, and applied the tool to three priority mental and neurological disorders (psychosis, depression and epilepsy) in six low- and middle-income countries.
Resource needs for scaling-up mental health services to reach desired coverage goals are substantial compared with the current allocation of resources in the six represented countries but are not large in absolute terms. In four of the Emerald study countries (Ethiopia, India, Nepal and Uganda), the cost of delivering key interventions for psychosis, depression and epilepsy at existing treatment coverage is estimated at US$ 0.06–0.33 per capita of total population per year (in Nigeria and South Africa it is US$ 1.36–1.92). By comparison, the projected cost per capita at target levels of coverage approaches US$ 5 per capita in Nigeria and South Africa, and ranges from US$ 0.14–1.27 in the other four countries. Implementation of such a package of care at target levels of coverage is expected to yield between 291 and 947 healthy life years per one million populations, which represents a substantial health gain for the currently neglected and underserved sub-populations suffering from psychosis, depression and epilepsy.
This newly developed and validated module of OneHealth tool can be used, especially within the context of integrated health planning at the national level, to generate contextualised estimates of the resource needs, costs and health impacts of scaled-up mental health service delivery.
Research was conducted from 2011 to 2014 to determine weed population
dynamics and frequency of glyphosate-resistant (GR) Palmer amaranth with
herbicide programs consisting of glyphosate, dicamba, and residual
herbicides in dicamba-tolerant cotton. Five treatments were maintained in
the same plots over the duration of the experiment: three sequential POST
applications of glyphosate with or without pendimethalin plus diuron PRE;
three sequential POST applications of glyphosate plus dicamba with and
without the PRE herbicides; and a POST application of glyphosate plus
dicamba plus acetochlor followed by one or two POST applications of
glyphosate plus dicamba without PRE herbicides. Additional treatments
included alternating years with three sequential POST applications of
glyphosate only and glyphosate plus dicamba POST with and without PRE
herbicides. The greatest population of Palmer amaranth was observed when
glyphosate was the only POST herbicide throughout the experiment. Although
diuron plus pendimethalin PRE in a program with only glyphosate POST
improved control during the first 2 yr, these herbicides were ineffective by
the final 2 yr on the basis of weed counts from soil cores. The lowest
population of Palmer amaranth was observed when glyphosate plus dicamba were
applied regardless of PRE herbicides or inclusion of acetochlor POST.
Frequency of GR Palmer amaranth was 8% or less when the experiment was
initiated. Frequency of GR Palmer amaranth varied by herbicide program
during 2012 but was similar among all herbicide programs in 2013 and 2014.
Similar frequency of GR Palmer amaranth across all treatments at the end of
the experiment most likely resulted from pollen movement from Palmer
amaranth treated with glyphosate only to any surviving female plants
regardless of PRE or POST treatment. These data suggest that GR Palmer
amaranth can be controlled by dicamba and that dicamba is an effective
alternative mode of action to glyphosate in fields where GR Palmer amaranth
Mental health service delivery models that are grounded in the local context are needed to address the substantial treatment gap in low- and middle-income countries.
To present the development, and content, of a mental healthcare plan (MHCP) in Nepal and assess initial feasibility.
A mixed methods formative study was conducted. Routine monitoring and evaluation data, including client flow and reports of satisfaction, were obtained from patients (n = 135) during the pilot-testing phase in two health facilities.
The resulting MHCP consists of 12 packages, divided over community, health facility and organisation platforms. Service implementation data support the real-life applicability of the MHCP, with reasonable treatment uptake. Key barriers were identified and addressed, namely dissatisfaction with privacy, perceived burden among health workers and high drop-out rates.
The MHCP follows a collaborative care model encompassing community and primary healthcare interventions.
The development and spread of glyphosate-resistant (GR) horseweed has increased the use of dicamba as an alternative herbicide treatment. Research evaluated suspected glyphosate-resistant horseweed populations from DeKalb (GR-1) and Cherokee (GR-2) counties, Alabama, for response to glyphosate, dicamba, and glyphosate + dicamba. Populations used for resistance determination were tested at rosette and bolt growth stages. Glyphosate resistance evaluation treatments ranged from 0 to 36.0 kg ae ha−1. Data confirmed that GR-1 and GR-2 horseweed populations were 3.0 to 38 times more resistant to glyphosate than the susceptible population, according to population, data type, and growth stage at treatment. GR-1 and GR-2 populations were further evaluated for response to dicamba. Dicamba was applied at 0 to 1.12 kg ai ha−1, both with and without the addition of glyphosate at 1.12 kg ae ha−1. All populations had similar tolerance to dicamba, with the exception of GR-2 treated at the rosette growth stage, which had ~2-fold greater tolerance. When glyphosate was tank-mixed with dicamba, the response of GR populations was similar to that of dicamba alone. Therefore, any potential resistance-management benefit of tank-mixing dicamba with glyphosate may be negated when one is attempting to control GR horseweed. Conversely, adding glyphosate to dicamba drastically enhanced control of the susceptible population at both growth stages.
Impaired neuropsychological functioning is a feature of major depression. Previous studies have suggested that at least some aspects of neuropsychological functioning improve with successful treatment of major depression. The extent to which medications may affect the degree of normalization of these functions is unclear. The aim of the current study was to examine the course of neuropsychological functioning during treatment of major depression with cognitive–behaviour therapy (CBT) or schema therapy (ST).
A total of 69 out-patients with a primary diagnosis of major depression and 58 healthy controls completed mood ratings, neuropsychological measures, and measures of emotional processing at baseline and after 16 weeks. Participants were randomized after baseline assessment to a year-long course of CBT or ST. Patients reassessed at 16 weeks were medication-free throughout the study.
Significant neuropsychological impairment was evident at baseline in depressed participants compared with healthy controls. After 16 weeks of psychotherapy, mean depression rating scores fell more than 50%. However, no neuropsychological measures showed convincing evidence of significant improvement and emotional processing did not change.
Persisting impairment in neuropsychological functioning after the first 16 weeks of CBT or ST suggests a need to modify psychological treatments to include components targeting cognitive functioning.
This paper focuses on the question of whether separate attention to children who have faced specific conflict-related events is justified, or whether the scarce resources for mental health should be spent on the development of services for children more broadly in low- and middle-income countries (where most contemporary armed conflicts are taking place). It is argued that a systems approach to mental health and psychosocial support for children is warranted.
A segment of the debate surrounding the commercialization and use of glyphosate-resistant (GR) crops focuses on the theory that the implementation of these traits is an extension of the intensification of agriculture that will further erode the biodiversity of agricultural landscapes. A large field-scale study was initiated in 2006 in the United States on 156 different field sites with a minimum 3-yr history of GR-corn, -cotton or -soybean in the cropping system. The impact of cropping system, crop rotation, frequency of using the GR crop trait, and several categorical variables on seedbank weed population density and diversity was analyzed. The parameters of total weed population density of all species in the seedbank, species richness, Shannon's H′ and evenness were not affected by any management treatment. The similarity between the seedbank and aboveground weed community was more strongly related to location than management; previous year's crops and cropping systems were also important while GR trait rotation was not. The composition of the weed flora was more strongly related to location (geography) than any other parameter. The diversity of weed flora in agricultural sites with a history of GR crop production can be influenced by several factors relating to the specific method in which the GR trait is integrated (cropping system, crop rotation, GR trait rotation), the specific weed species, and the geographical location. Continuous GR crop, compared to fields with other cropping systems, only had greater species diversity (species richness) of some life forms, i.e., biennials, winter annuals, and prostrate weeds. Overall diversity was related to geography and not cropping system. These results justify further research to clarify the complexities of crops grown with herbicide-resistance traits to provide a more complete characterization of their culture and local adaptation to the weed seedbank.
This study aims to describe in detail the temporal dynamics of E. coli O157 shedding and risk factors for shedding in a grass-fed beef herd. During a 9-month period, 23 beef cows were sampled twice a week (58 sampling points) and E. coli O157 was enumerated from faecal samples. Isolates were screened by PCR for presence of rfbE, stx1 and stx2. The prevalence per sampling day ranged from 0% to 57%. This study demonstrates that many members of the herd were concurrently shedding E. coli O157. Occurrence of rainfall (P < 0·01), feeding silage (P < 0·01) and lactating (P < 0·01) were found to be predictors of shedding. Moving cattle to a new paddock had a negative effect on shedding. This approach, based on short-interval sampling, confirms the known variability of shedding within a herd and highlights that high shedding events are rare.
Task-sharing is the involvement of non-specialist providers to deliver mental health services. A challenge for task-sharing programs is to achieve and maintain clinical competence of non-specialists, including primary care workers, paraprofessionals, and lay providers. We developed a tool for non-specialist peer ratings of common factors clinical competency to evaluate and optimize competence during training and supervision in global mental health task-sharing initiatives.
The 18-item ENhancing Assessment of Common Therapeutic factors (ENACT) tool was pilot-tested with non-specialists participating in mental health Gap Action Programme trainings in Nepal. Qualitative process evaluation was used to document development of the peer rating scoring system. Qualitative data included interviews with trainers and raters as well as transcripts of pre- and post-training observed structured clinical evaluations.
Five challenges for non-specialist peer ratings were identified through the process evaluation: (1) balance of training and supervision objectives with research objectives; (2) burden for peer raters due to number of scale items, number of response options, and use of behavioral counts; (3) capturing hierarchy of clinical skills; (4) objective v. subjective aspects of rating; and (5) social desirability when rating peers.
The process culminated in five recommendations based on the key findings for the development of scales to be used by non-specialists for peer ratings in low-resource settings. Further research is needed to determine the ability of ENACT to capture the relationship of clinical competence with client outcomes and to explore the relevance of these recommendations for non-specialist peer ratings in high-resource settings.