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Rates of common mental health problems (depression/anxiety) rise sharply in adolescence and peak in young adulthood, often coinciding with the transition to parenthood. Little is known regarding the persistence of common mental health problems from adolescence to the perinatal period in both mothers and fathers.
A total of 393 mothers (686 pregnancies) and 257 fathers (357 pregnancies) from the intergenerational Australian Temperament Project Generation 3 Study completed self-report assessments of depression and anxiety in adolescence (ages 13–14, 15–16, 17–18 years) and young adulthood (ages 19–20, 23–24, 27–28 years). The Edinburgh Postnatal Depression Scale was used to assess depressive symptoms at 32 weeks pregnancy and 12 months postpartum in mothers, and at 12 months postpartum in fathers.
Most pregnancies (81%) in which mothers reported perinatal depression were preceded by a history of mental health problems in adolescence or young adulthood. Similarly, most pregnancies (83%) in which fathers reported postnatal depression were preceded by a preconception history of mental health problems. After adjustment for potential confounders, the odds of self-reporting perinatal depression in both women and men were consistently higher in those with a history of persistent mental health problems across adolescence and young adulthood than those without (ORwomen 5.7, 95% CI 2.9–10.9; ORmen 5.5, 95% CI 1.03–29.70).
Perinatal depression, for the majority of parents, is a continuation of mental health problems with onsets well before pregnancy. Strategies to promote good perinatal mental health should start before parenthood and include both men and women.
To explore if better diet quality scores as a measure of adherence to the Australian Dietary Guidelines (ADG) and the Mediterranean diet (MedDiet) are associated with a lower incidence of hypertension and non-fatal CVD.
Prospective analysis of the 1946–1951 cohort of the Australian Longitudinal Study on Women’s Health (ALSWH). The Australian Recommended Foods Score (ARFS) was calculated as an indicator of adherence to the ADG; the Mediterranean Diet Score (MDS) measured adherence to the MedDiet. Outcomes included hypertension and non-fatal CVD. Generalised estimating equations estimated OR and 95 % CI across quartiles of diet quality scores.
1946–1951 cohort of the ALSWH (n 5324), without CVD, hypertension and diabetes at baseline (2001), with complete FFQ data.
There were 1342 new cases of hypertension and 629 new cases of non-fatal CVD over 15 years of follow-up. Multivariate analysis indicated that women reporting better adherence to the ARFS (≥38/74) had 15 % (95 % CI 1, 28 %; P = 0·05) lower odds of hypertension and 46 % (95 % CI 6, 66 %; P = 0·1) lower odds of non-fatal CVD. Women reporting better adherence to the MDS (≥8/17) had 27 % (95 % CI 15, 47 %; P = 0·0006) lower odds of hypertension and 30 % (95 % CI 2, 50 %; P = 0·03) lower odds of non-fatal CVD.
Better adherence to diet quality scores is associated with lower risk of hypertension and non-fatal CVD. These results support the need for updated evidenced based on the ADG as well as public health nutrition policies in Australia.
Whole-grain cereal breakfast consumption has been associated with beneficial effects on glucose and insulin metabolism as well as satiety. Pearl millet is a popular ancient grain variety that can be grown in hot, dry regions. However, little is known about its health effects. The present study investigated the effect of a pearl millet porridge (PMP) compared with a well-known Scottish oats porridge (SOP) on glycaemic, gastrointestinal, hormonal and appetitive responses. In a randomised, two-way crossover trial, twenty-six healthy participants consumed two isoenergetic/isovolumetric PMP or SOP breakfast meals, served with a drink of water. Blood samples for glucose, insulin, glucagon-like peptide 1, glucose-dependent insulinotropic polypeptide (GIP), peptide YY, gastric volumes and appetite ratings were collected 2 h postprandially, followed by an ad libitum meal and food intake records for the remainder of the day. The incremental AUC (iAUC2h) for blood glucose was not significantly different between the porridges (P > 0·05). The iAUC2h for gastric volume was larger for PMP compared with SOP (P = 0·045). The iAUC2h for GIP concentration was significantly lower for PMP compared with SOP (P = 0·001). Other hormones and appetite responses were similar between meals. In conclusion, the present study reports, for the first time, data on glycaemic and physiological responses to a pearl millet breakfast, showing that this ancient grain could represent a sustainable alternative with health-promoting characteristics comparable with oats. GIP is an incretin hormone linked to TAG absorption in adipose tissue; therefore, the lower GIP response for PMP may be an added health benefit.
A 2018 workshop on the White Mountain Apache Tribe lands in Arizona examined ways to enhance investigations into cultural property crime (CPC) through applications of rapidly evolving methods from archaeological science. CPC (also looting, graverobbing) refers to unauthorized damage, removal, or trafficking in materials possessing blends of communal, aesthetic, and scientific values. The Fort Apache workshop integrated four generally partitioned domains of CPC expertise: (1) theories of perpetrators’ motivations and methods; (2) recommended practice in sustaining public and community opposition to CPC; (3) tactics and strategies for documenting, investigating, and prosecuting CPC; and (4) forensic sedimentology—uses of biophysical sciences to link sediments from implicated persons and objects to crime scenes. Forensic sedimentology served as the touchstone for dialogues among experts in criminology, archaeological sciences, law enforcement, and heritage stewardship. Field visits to CPC crime scenes and workshop deliberations identified pathways toward integrating CPC theory and practice with forensic sedimentology’s potent battery of analytic methods.
Introduction: Although acute gastroenteritis is an extremely common childhood illness, there is a paucity of literature characterizing the associated pain and its management. Our primary objective was to quantify the pain experienced by children with acute gastroenteritis in the 24-hours prior to emergency department (ED) presentation. Secondary objectives included describing maximum pain, analgesic use, discharge recommendations, and factors that influenced analgesic use in the ED. Methods: Study participants were recruited into this prospective cohort study by the Alberta Provincial Pediatric EnTeric Infection TEam between January 2014 and September 2017. This study was conducted at two Canadian pediatric EDs; the Alberta Children's Hospital (Calgary) and the Stollery Children's Hospital (Edmonton). Eligibility criteria included < 18 years of age, acute gastroenteritis (□ 3 episodes of diarrhea or vomiting in the previous 24 hours), and symptom duration □ 7 days. The primary study outcome, caregiver-reported maximum pain in the 24-hours prior to presentation, was assessed using the 11-point Verbal Numerical Rating Scale. Results: We recruited 2136 patients, median age 20.8 months (IQR 10.4, 47.4); 45.8% (979/2136) female. In the 24-hours prior to enrolment, 28.6% (610/2136) of caregivers reported that their child experienced moderate (4-6) and 46.2% (986/2136) severe (7-10) pain in the preceding 24-hours. During the emergency visit, 31.1% (664/2136) described pain as moderate and 26.7% (571/2136) as severe. In the ED, analgesia was provided to 21.2% (452/2131) of children. The most commonly administered analgesics in the ED were ibuprofen (68.1%, 308/452) and acetaminophen (43.4%, 196/452); at home, acetaminophen was most commonly administered (77.7%, 700/901), followed by ibuprofen (37.5%, 338/901). Factors associated with analgesia use in the ED were greater pain scores during the visit, having a primary-care physician, shorter illness duration, fewer diarrheal episodes, presence of fever and hospitalization. Conclusion: Although children presenting to the ED with acute gastroenteritis experience moderate to severe pain, both prior to and during their emergency visit, analgesic use is limited. Future research should focus on appropriate pain management through the development of effective and safe pain treatment plans.
Maternal mental health during pregnancy and postpartum predicts later emotional and behavioural problems in children. Even though most perinatal mental health problems begin before pregnancy, the consequences of preconception maternal mental health for children's early emotional development have not been prospectively studied.
We used data from two prospective Australian intergenerational cohorts, with 756 women assessed repeatedly for mental health problems before pregnancy between age 13 and 29 years, and during pregnancy and at 1 year postpartum for 1231 subsequent pregnancies. Offspring infant emotional reactivity, an early indicator of differential sensitivity denoting increased risk of emotional problems under adversity, was assessed at 1 year postpartum.
Thirty-seven percent of infants born to mothers with persistent preconception mental health problems were categorised as high in emotional reactivity, compared to 23% born to mothers without preconception history (adjusted OR 2.1, 95% CI 1.4–3.1). Ante- and postnatal maternal depressive symptoms were similarly associated with infant emotional reactivity, but these perinatal associations reduced somewhat after adjustment for prior exposure. Causal mediation analysis further showed that 88% of the preconception risk was a direct effect, not mediated by perinatal exposure.
Maternal preconception mental health problems predict infant emotional reactivity, independently of maternal perinatal mental health; while associations between perinatal depressive symptoms and infant reactivity are partially explained by prior exposure. Findings suggest that processes shaping early vulnerability for later mental disorders arise well before conception. There is an emerging case for expanding developmental theories and trialling preventive interventions in the years before pregnancy.
Self-harm in young people is associated with later problems in social and emotional development. However, it is unknown whether self-harm in young women continues to be a marker of vulnerability on becoming a parent. This study prospectively describes the associations between pre-conception self-harm, maternal depressive symptoms and mother–infant bonding problems.
The Victorian Intergenerational Health Cohort Study (VIHCS) is a follow-up to the Victorian Adolescent Health Cohort Study (VAHCS) in Australia. Socio-demographic and health variables were assessed at 10 time-points (waves) from ages 14 to 35, including self-reported self-harm at waves 3–9. VIHCS enrolment began in 2006 (when participants were aged 28–29 years), by contacting VAHCS women every 6 months to identify pregnancies over a 7-year period. Perinatal depressive symptoms were assessed with the Edinburgh Postnatal Depression Scale during the third trimester, and 2 and 12 months postpartum. Mother–infant bonding problems were assessed with the Postpartum Bonding Questionnaire at 2 and 12 months postpartum.
Five hundred sixty-four pregnancies from 384 women were included. One in 10 women (9.7%) reported pre-conception self-harm. Women who reported self-harming in young adulthood (ages 20–29) reported higher levels of perinatal depressive symptoms and mother–infant bonding problems at all perinatal time points [perinatal depressive symptoms adjusted β = 5.40, 95% confidence interval (CI) 3.42–7.39; mother–infant bonding problems adjusted β = 7.51, 95% CI 3.09–11.92]. There was no evidence that self-harm in adolescence (ages 15–17) was associated with either perinatal outcome.
Self-harm during young adulthood may be an indicator of future vulnerability to perinatal mental health and mother–infant bonding problems.
Although food from grazed animals is increasingly sought by consumers because of perceived animal welfare advantages, grazing systems provide the farmer and the animal with unique challenges. The system is dependent almost daily on the climate for feed supply, with the importation of large amounts of feed from off farm, and associated labour and mechanisation costs, sometimes reducing economic viability. Furthermore, the cow may have to walk long distances and be able to harvest feed efficiently in a highly competitive environment because of the need for high levels of pasture utilisation. She must, also, be: (1) highly fertile, with a requirement for pregnancy within ~80 days post-calving; (2) ‘easy care’, because of the need for the management of large herds with limited labour; (3) able to walk long distances; and (4) robust to changes in feed supply and quality, so that short-term nutritional insults do not unduly influence her production and reproduction cycles. These are very different and are in addition to demands placed on cows in housed systems offered pre-made mixed rations. Furthermore, additional demands in environmental sustainability and animal welfare, in conjunction with the need for greater system-level biological efficiency (i.e. ‘sustainable intensification’), will add to the ‘robustness’ requirements of cows in the future. Increasingly, there is evidence that certain genotypes of cows perform better or worse in grazing systems, indicating a genotype×environment interaction. This has led to the development of tailored breeding objectives within countries for important heritable traits to maximise the profitability and sustainability of their production system. To date, these breeding objectives have focussed on the more easily measured traits and those of highest relative economic importance. In the future, there will be greater emphasis on more difficult to measure traits that are important to the quality of life of the animal in each production system and to reduce the system’s environmental footprint.
Broadleaf species escape current integrated weed management strategies in strawberry [Fragaria×ananassa (Weston) Duchesne ex Rozier (pro sp.) [chiloensis×virginiana]] production. Clopyralid is a registered POST control option, but current application timings provide suppression of only some species. Earlier clopyralid application timings may increase spray coverage to weeds at the planting hole, but strawberry plant tolerance to applications shortly after transplant is unknown. The objectives of the study were to determine the degree of clopyralid tolerance when applied to mature strawberry plants according to current management strategies, whether clopyralid absorption and translocation were involved in the tolerance response demonstrated by mature strawberry plants, and whether clopyralid could be safely applied to immature strawberry plants shortly after transplant. Clopyralid caused no damage when applied to mature strawberry plants and did not affect crop height, number of crowns, flowers, immature berries, or yield. Maximal strawberry absorption of radiolabeled clopyralid was 82% of the recovered radioactivity and reached peak (90%) absorption at 15 h. Maximal total translocation of radioactivity from the treated leaf was 17% and reached peak translocation at 52 h. Translocation was primarily to the new leaves and reproductive structures. In the early-application experiment, damage induced by clopyralid for all application timings reached 0 by 8 wk after treatment. Across all timings, maximal damage at 140 g ha−1 was 17% when applied 14 d after transplant (DATr) and 56% at 28 g ha−1 when applied at 21 DATr. Clopyralid dose did not affect the number of crowns, aboveground biomass, or yield. There was some stunting in plant height (3%) by the high labeled dose of clopyralid. Labeled dose clopyralid applications appear safe for application timings closer to strawberry transplant, though considerations of leaf cupping should be taken under consideration for label changes.
Strawberry is an important horticultural crop in Florida. The long growing season and escapes from fumigation and PRE herbicides necessitate POST weed management to maximize harvest potential and efficiency. Alternatives to hand-weeding are desirable, but clopyralid is the only broadleaf herbicide registered for use. Weed control may be improved by early-season clopyralid applications, but at risk of high temperature and increased strawberry injury. The effect of temperature on clopyralid safety on strawberry is unknown. We undertook a growth chamber experiment using a completely randomized design to determine crop safety under various temperature conditions across acclimation, herbicide application, and post-application periods. There was no effect of clopyralid on the number of strawberry leaves across all temperatures. Damage to the strawberry manifested as leaf malformations. Acclimation temperatures affected clopyralid-associated injury (p=0.0309), with increased leaf malformations at higher temperatures (27 C) compared to lower (18 C) temperatures. Pre-treatment temperatures did not affect clopyralid injury. Post-application temperature also affected clopyralid injury (p=0.0161), with increased leaf malformations at higher temperatures compared to lower ones. Clopyralid application did not reduce flowering or biomass production in the growth chamber. If leaf malformations are to be avoided, consideration to growing conditions prior to application is advisable, especially if applying clopyralid early in the season.
A novel laboratory experimental design is described that will investigate the processing of dust grains in astrophysical shocks. Dust is a ubiquitous ingredient in the interstellar medium (ISM) of galaxies; however, its evolutionary cycle is still poorly understood. Especially shrouded in mystery is the efficiency of grain destruction by astrophysical shocks generated by expanding supernova remnants. While the evolution of these remnants is fairly well understood, the grain destruction efficiency in these shocks is largely unknown. The experiments described herein will fill this knowledge gap by studying the dust destruction efficiencies for shock velocities in the range
), at which most of the grain destruction and processing in the ISM takes place. The experiments focus on the study of grain–grain collisions by accelerating small (
) dust particles into a large (
diameter) population; this simulates the astrophysical system well in that the more numerous, small grains impact and collide with the large population. Facilities that combine the versatility of high-power optical lasers with the diagnostic capabilities of X-ray free-electron lasers, e.g., the Matter in Extreme Conditions instrument at the SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory, provide an ideal laboratory environment to create and diagnose dust destruction by astrophysically relevant shocks at the micron scale.
X-ray micro-computed tomography (μCT) is a technique which can obtain three-dimensional images of a sample, including its internal structure, without the need for destructive sectioning. Here, we review the capability of the technique and examine its potential to provide novel insights into the lifestyles of parasites embedded within host tissue. The current capabilities and limitations of the technology in producing contrast in soft tissues are discussed, as well as the potential solutions for parasitologists looking to apply this technique. We present example images of the mouse whipworm Trichuris muris and discuss the application of μCT to provide unique insights into parasite behaviour and pathology, which are inaccessible to other imaging modalities.
Strawberries, an important Florida crop, are grown on raised beds covered with plastic mulch. The plastic mulch provides good control of many weeds, but some problem species can emerge from the transplant hole during crop establishment. POST herbicide options for broadleaf weed control within the strawberry bed is limited to clopyralid, which only provides suppression. Strawberry canopy shielding may be responsible for the observed incomplete control with clopyralid application for problematic broadleaf weed species such as black medic and Carolina geranium. Two field experiments were established on mature strawberries to evaluate spray penetration through the canopy. The first examined spray penetration through the canopy of multiple strawberry cultivars at various distances from the crown. The second examined the effects of application volumes and nozzle selection on spray penetration. Cultivar selection had no effect on spray penetration through the canopy. In the first study, when applying at 281 L ha−1, the area around the planting hole (0 to 5 cm from the crown) had 8% coverage below the canopy while the area below the canopy edge (10 to 15 cm from the crown) had 27% coverage. In the second study, increasing the application volume from 187 to 375 L ha−1 increased coverage by 81%. Increasing the application volume from 375 to 740 L ha−1 increased coverage 33% with maximal coverage of 53% at 740 L ha−1. Nozzle type (standard even flat spray tip, Drift Guard, or TwinJet nozzles) did not affect coverage or deposition volume below the canopy. Overall, mature strawberry canopies demonstrated similar spray droplet penetration across cultivars with increased penetration with increased distance from the crown. Penetration increased with increasing application volume, but the nozzle types used in this experiment did not affect penetration. Additional research is needed to better define the effect of application volume on herbicide efficacy.
Strawberries are an important horticultural crop in Florida. Black medic is among the most problematic weeds within the production system. To better coordinate control measures, black medic growth and development while in competition with strawberry was studied. Twelve plants were randomly selected at each of four field sites in Hillsborough County, FL, in 2014. Plants were repeatedly measured over the growing season for stem length and number of primary branches, flower buds, flowers, and seed clusters. Growing degree days (GDD) were calculated (Tbase=0 C) starting from the hole-punch application of the plastic mulch (October 8, 2014, to October 10, 2014) from weather station data generated from the Florida Automated Weather Network. Strawberry height and width increased consistently across all sites, but black medic growth and development varied considerably. Strawberry suppressed black medic growth up to 1,805 cumulative GDD at three of four sites where black medic remained beneath the strawberry canopy. After 1,805 GDD, the black medic stems still remained below but experienced exponential growth for total stem length and, in turn, flower buds, inflorescence, and immature seed clusters. Ideal clopyralid spray timing based on susceptible plant size was 890 to 1,152 GDD. Optimal hand-weeding time frames would likely occur as the plant stems expand beyond the strawberry canopy (to improve visibility) and before flower production to prevent seed return to the seedbank. First seed production was observed at 1,200 GDD at the earliest site and between 1,966 to 2,365 GDD across all the other sites. Overall, consistent trends were observed across sites, but between-site variability was observed that could not be accounted for by differences in temperature.
Objectives: We sought to clarify the nature of self-reported cognitive function among healthy older adults by considering the short-term, within-person association (coupling) of subjective cognitive function with objective cognitive performance. We expected this within-person coupling to differ between persons as a function of self-perceived global cognitive decline and depression, anxiety, or neuroticism. Methods: This was an intensive measurement (short-term longitudinal) study of 29 older adult volunteers between the ages of 65 and 80 years without an existing diagnosis of dementia or mild cognitive impairment. Baseline assessment included neuropsychological testing and self-reported depression, anxiety, and neuroticism, as well as self- and informant-reported cognitive decline (relative to 10 years previously). Intensive within-person measurement occasions included subjective ratings of cognitive function paired with performance on a computerized working memory (n-back) task; each participant attended four or five assessments separated by intervals of at least one day. Statistical analysis was comprised of multilevel linear regression. Results: Comparison of models suggested that both neuroticism and self-rated cognitive decline explained unique variance in the within-person, across-occasion coupling of subjective cognitive function with objective working memory performance. Conclusions: Self-ratings of cognition may accurately reflect day-to-day variations in objective cognitive performance among older adults, especially for individuals lower in neuroticism and higher in self-reported cognitive decline. Clinicians should consider these individual differences when determining the validity of complaints about perceived cognitive declines in the context of otherwise healthy aging. (JINS, 2018, 24, 57–66)
Characterising the three-dimensional (3D) distribution of hydraulic conductivity and its variability in the shallow subsurface is fundamental to understanding groundwater behaviour and to developing conceptual and numerical groundwater models to manage the subsurface. However, directly measuring in situ hydraulic conductivity can be difficult and expensive and is rarely carried out with sufficient density in urban environments. In this study we model hydraulic conductivity for 603 sites in the unconsolidated Quaternary deposits underlying Glasgow using particle size distribution and density description widely available from geotechnical investigations. Six different models were applied and the MacDonald formula was found to be most applicable in this heterogeneous environment, comparing well with the few available in situ hydraulic conductivity data. The range of the calculated hydraulic conductivity values between the 5th and 95th percentile was 1.56×10–2–4.38mday–1 with a median of 2.26×10–1 mday–1. These modelled hydraulic conductivity data were used to develop a suite of stochastic 3D simulations conditioned to existing 3D representations of lithology. Ten per cent of the input data were excluded from the modelling process for use in a split-sample validation test, which demonstrated the effectiveness of this approach compared with non-spatial or lithologically unconstrained models. Our spatial model reduces the mean squared error between the estimated and observed values at the excluded data locations over those predicted using a simple homogeneous model by 73 %. The resulting 3D hydraulic conductivity model is of a much higher resolution than would have been possible from using only direct measurements, and will improve understanding of groundwater flow in Glasgow and reduce the spatial uncertainty of hydraulic parameters in groundwater process models. The methodology employed could be replicated in other regions where significant volumes of suitable geotechnical and site investigation data are available to predict ground conditions in areas with complex superficial deposits.
The importance of PRE herbicide applications in cotton has increased since the evolution of glyphosate-resistant (GR) Palmer amaranth. Cotton producers are relying on residual herbicides for control of Palmer amaranth, as POST options are limited or ineffective. S-Metolachlor, acetochlor, fomesafen, and dicamba all provide PRE control of Palmer amaranth; however, little is known about the effect of irrigation rate on incorporation and herbicidal efficacy. In 2015, an experiment was conducted on fine sand and loamy sand soils to evaluate the influence of irrigation volume (0.0 to 12.7 mm ha−1) on Palmer amaranth control with PRE herbicides. Irrigation volume after herbicide application was significant for both S-metolachlor and acetochlor. Efficacy of S-metolachlor was greatest in plots receiving 6.4 and 12.7 mm of irrigation where Palmer amaranth biomass was reduced to 4 and 2% of a nontreated control (NTC), respectively, compared with 61% in plots with the 0-mm irrigation treatment. Palmer amaranth control by acetochlor incorporated at 3.2- to 12.7-mm irrigation did not differ but did reduce Palmer amaranth biomass compared with the 1.6-mm irrigation rate. Irrigation volume was not significant for the soil incorporation of fomesafen or dicamba. Across all herbicides, fomesafen-treated plots provided the most consistent control of Palmer amaranth, reducing its biomass to < 3% of NTC at all irrigation rates. Dicamba provided the least and most inconsistent control of Palmer amaranth, producing 17 to 51% of NTC biomass.
Virkisjökull is a rapidly retreating outlet glacier draining the western flanks of Öræfajökull in SE Iceland. Since 2011 there have been continuous measurements of flow in the proglacial meltwater channel and regular campaigns to sample stable isotopes δ2H and δ18O from the river, ice, moraine springs and groundwater. The stable isotopes provide reliable end members for glacial ice and shallow groundwater. Analysis of data from 2011 to 2014 indicates that although ice and snowmelt dominate summer riverflow (mean 5.3–7.9 m3 s−1), significant flow is also observed in winter (mean 1.6–2.4 m3 s−1) due primarily to ongoing glacier icemelt. The stable isotope data demonstrate that the influence of groundwater discharge from moraines and the sandur aquifer increases during winter and forms a small (15–20%) consistent source of baseflow to the river. The similarity of hydrological response across seasons reflects a highly efficient glacial drainage system, which makes use of a series of permanent englacial channels within active and buried ice throughout the year. The study has shown that the development of an efficient year round drainage network within the lower part of the glacier has been coincident with the stagnation and subsequent rapid retreat of the glacier.
Previous neuroimaging studies indicate abnormalities in cortico-limbic circuitry in mood disorder. Here we employ prospective longitudinal voxel-based morphometry to examine the trajectory of these abnormalities during early stages of illness development.
Unaffected individuals (16–25 years) at high and low familial risk of mood disorder underwent structural brain imaging on two occasions 2 years apart. Further clinical assessment was conducted 2 years after the second scan (time 3). Clinical outcome data at time 3 was used to categorize individuals: (i) healthy controls (‘low risk’, n = 48); (ii) high-risk individuals who remained well (HR well, n = 53); and (iii) high-risk individuals who developed a major depressive disorder (HR MDD, n = 30). Groups were compared using longitudinal voxel-based morphometry. We also examined whether progress to illness was associated with changes in other potential risk markers (personality traits, symptoms scores and baseline measures of childhood trauma), and whether any changes in brain structure could be indexed using these measures.
Significant decreases in right amygdala grey matter were found in HR MDD v. controls (p = 0.001) and v. HR well (p = 0.005). This structural change was not related to measures of childhood trauma, symptom severity or measures of sub-diagnostic anxiety, neuroticism or extraversion, although cross-sectionally these measures significantly differentiated the groups at baseline.
These longitudinal findings implicate structural amygdala changes in the neurobiology of mood disorder. They also provide a potential biomarker for risk stratification capturing additional information beyond clinically ascertained measures.