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As demonstrated by neuroimaging data, the human brain contains systems that control responses to threat. The revised Reinforcement Sensitivity Theory of personality predicts that individual differences in the reactivity of these brain systems produce anxiety and fear-related personality traits. Here we discuss some of the challenges in testing this theory and, as an example, present a pilot study that aimed to dissociate brain activity during pursuit by threat and goal conflict. We did this by translating the Mouse Defense Test Battery for human fMRI use. In this version, dubbed the Joystick Operated Runway Task (JORT), we repeatedly exposed 24 participants to pursuit and goal conflict, with and without threat of electric shock. The runway design of JORT allowed the effect of threat distance on brain activation to be evaluated independently of context. Goal conflict plus threat of electric shock caused deactivation in a network of brain areas that included the fusiform and middle temporal gyri, as well as the default mode network core, including medial frontal regions, precuneus and posterior cingulate gyrus, and laterally the inferior parietal and angular gyri. Consistent with earlier research, we also found that imminent threat activated the midbrain and that this effect was significantly stronger during the simple pursuit condition than during goal conflict. Also consistent with earlier research, we found significantly greater hippocampal activation during goal conflict than pursuit by imminent threat. In conclusion, our results contribute knowledge to theories linking anxiety disorders to altered functioning in defensive brain systems and also highlight challenges in this research domain.
Molecular dynamics simulations were utilized to determine the oxygen anion diffusivity in pure ceria (CeO2) and doped ceria MxCe1-xO2-0.5x (M=Gd, Sm and Pr) with varying level of dopant concentration from 5-30% (x = 0.05-0.3). Doping with Gd showed an improvement in oxygen anion diffusivity value by two order of magnitude (D = 4.67x10-8 cm2/s at 1173 K) as compared to the undoped ceria (D = 1.33x10-10 cm2/s at 1173 K). 10% of doping level was estimated as the optimum concentration of all the dopants at which all of the doped ceria materials showed maximum diffusivity of oxygen anion. Among the three dopants studied, Pr was observed to show maximum diffusivity of oxygen anion in the temperature range of 773-1173 K of simulations.
CVD are the leading cause of death in women globally, with ageing associated with progressive endothelial dysfunction and increased CVD risk. Natural menopause is characterised by raised non-fasting TAG concentrations and impairment of vascular function compared with premenopausal women. However, the mechanisms underlying the increased CVD risk after women have transitioned through the menopause are unclear. Dietary fat is an important modifiable risk factor relating to both postprandial lipaemia and vascular reactivity. Meals rich in SFA and MUFA are often associated with greater postprandial TAG responses compared with those containing n-6 PUFA, but studies comparing their effects on vascular function during the postprandial phase are limited, particularly in postmenopausal women. The present review aimed to evaluate the acute effects of test meals rich in SFA, MUFA and n-6 PUFA on postprandial lipaemia, vascular reactivity and other CVD risk factors in postmenopausal women. The systematic search of the literature identified 778 publications. The impact of fat-rich meals on postprandial lipaemia was reported in seven relevant studies, of which meal fat composition was compared in one study described in three papers. An additional study determined the impact of a high-fat meal on vascular reactivity. Although moderately consistent evidence suggests detrimental effects of high-fat meals on postprandial lipaemia in postmenopausal (than premenopausal) women, there is insufficient evidence to establish the impact of meals of differing fat composition. Furthermore, there is no robust evidence to conclude the effect of meal fatty acids on vascular function or blood pressure. In conclusion, there is an urgent requirement for suitably powered robust randomised controlled trials to investigate the impact of meal fat composition on postprandial novel and established CVD risk markers in postmenopausal women, an understudied population at increased cardiometabolic risk.
Systemic inflammation may play a role in the development of idiopathic fatigue, that is, fatigue not explained by infections or diagnosed chronic illness, but this relationship has never been investigated in community studies including the entire adult age span. We examine the association of the inflammatory marker C-reactive protein (CRP) and fatigue assessed annually in a 3-year outcome period for UK adults aged 16–98.
Multilevel models were used to track fatigue 7, 19, and 31 months after CRP measurement, in 10 606 UK individuals. Models accounted for baseline fatigue, demographics, health conditions diagnosed at baseline and during follow-up, adiposity, and psychological distress. Sensitivity analyses considered factors including smoking, sub-clinical disease (blood pressure, anaemia, glycated haemoglobin), medications, ethnicity, and alcohol consumption.
Fatigue and CRP increased with age, and women had higher values than men. CRP was associated with future self-reported fatigue, but only for the oldest participants. Thus, in those aged 61–98 years, high CRP (>3 mg/L) independently predicted greater fatigue 7, 19, and 31 months after CRP measurement [odds ratio for new-onset fatigue after 7 months: 1.88, 95% confidence interval (CI) 1.21–2.92; 19 months: 2.25, CI 1.46–3.49; 31 months: 1.65, CI 1.07–2.54]. No significant longitudinal associations were seen for younger participants.
Our findings support previously described CRP–fatigue associations in older individuals. However, there are clear age modifications in these associations, which may reflect a contribution of unmeasured sub-clinical disease of limited relevance to younger individuals. Further work is necessary to clarify intervening processes linking CRP and fatigue in older individuals.
Major depressive disorder and subthreshold depression have been associated with premature mortality. We investigated the association between depressive symptoms and mortality across the full continuum of severity.
We used Cox proportional hazards models to examine the association between depressive symptom severity, assessed using the eight-item Center for Epidemiological Studies Depression Scale (CES-D; range 0–8), and the risk of all-cause mortality over a 9-year follow-up, in 11 104 members of the English Longitudinal Study of Ageing.
During follow-up, one fifth of study members died (N = 2267). Depressive symptoms were associated with increased mortality across the full range of severity (ptrend < 0.001). Relative to study members with no symptoms, an increased risk of mortality was found in people with depressive symptoms of a low [hazard ratio (HR) for a score of 2 was 1.59, 95% confidence interval (CI) 1.40–1.82], moderate (score of 4: HR 1.80, 95% CI 1.52–2.13) and high (score of 8: HR 2.27, 95% CI 1.69–3.04) severity, suggesting risk emerges at low levels but plateaus thereafter. A third of participants (36.4%, 95% CI 35.5–37.3) reported depressive symptoms associated with an increased mortality risk. Adjustment for physical activity, physical illnesses, and impairments in physical and cognitive functioning attenuated this association (ptrend = 0.25).
Depressive symptoms are associated with an increased mortality risk even at low levels of symptom severity. This association is explained by physical activity, physical illnesses, and impairments in physical and cognitive functioning.
The present study aimed to assess nutritional status, dietary diversity and lifestyle risk factors associated with undernutrition in an institutionalised Sri Lankan elderly population.
The study was of cross-sectional design followed by a stratified sampling method.
Twelve homes for the elderly recruited from six provinces in Sri Lanka.
A total of 311 institutionalised elderly aged ≥60 years.
The mean age of the study population was 75 (sd 8) years. Prevalence of undernutrition was 30 %. Mean food variety score, dietary diversity score and dietary serving score of the study population were 8·7 (sd 1·5), 7·3 (sd 1·2) and 10·9 (sd 2·0), respectively. Mean daily intakes of fruit, vegetables, meat, fish, eggs and pulses and dairy portions were below the national recommendations, whereas the mean consumption of sugar exceeded the national recommendation. Only the mean intake of starch was within the recommendation. Food allergies (OR=8·0; 95 % CI 3·9, 16·2), skipping meals (OR=3·8; 95 % CI 2·0, 7·5) and lack of leisure activities (OR=3·1; 95 % CI 1·5, 6·7) significantly increased the risk of undernutrition, whereas the use of dentures decreased the risk (OR=0·20; 95 % CI 0·06, 0·69).
High prevalence of undernutrition and low dietary diversity were observed in an institutionalised elderly Sri Lankan population. Therefore, there is an urgent need to implement nutrition interventions as part of geriatric care to reduce undernutrition and improve the diets of the institutionalised elderly population in Sri Lanka.
The opisthobranch gastropod Hydatina physis (Linnaeus, 1758) is recorded from the north-west coast of India, off Veraval, Gujarat. A literature review on the distribution of this species revealed that this is the first report of H. physis from Indian waters since 1877 when a specimen collected from Chennai along the east coast of India and deposited in the Australian Museum was later identified to be H. physis. A note on the morphological features of this specimen is detailed in the present paper.
Animal studies suggest that maternal separation is associated with alterations in the hypothalamic–pituitary–adrenal (HPA) axis through effects that occur in a critical period following birth. Evidence for an association of the diurnal cortisol rhythm with maternal separation in humans is equivocal.
We examined whether maternal separation in childhood is associated with diurnal cortisol pattern in 3712 middle-aged men and women. Two aspects of cortisol release were examined: the cortisol awakening response (CAR) and the diurnal slope in cortisol throughout the day.
Maternal separation in childhood was reported by 12% of participants. Those participants who reported maternal separation had a larger CAR and flatter slopes in cortisol levels compared to those who did not report maternal separation [adjusted mean CAR in those reporting no separation versus separation: 7.1, 95% confidence interval (CI) 6.7–7.5 v. 8.4, 95% CI 7.3–9.5, p = 0.02, corresponding to adjusted mean diurnal slope: −0.129 (95% CI −0.130 to −0.128) v. −0.126 (95% CI −0.128 to −0.124), p = 0.01]. In participants who reported maternal separation, the age of separation was not associated with either cortisol measure (p = 0.11). The association between maternal separation and slope in cortisol secretion was largely explained by smoking behaviour and marital status at the time of sample collection whereas that of the CAR was explained by childhood psychosocial, material factors and adult health behaviours.
Our findings suggest that maternal separation in childhood is associated with alterations in the diurnal cortisol pattern in middle age. These associations are predominantly accounted for by adult circumstances and behaviours.
Untouchability forbids the very presence of fellow humans. It is banned in the constitution of India. But it is prevalent in every village of 700,000 villages in India. In 1991 there were 160 million Dalits in number. At present there are more than 200 million Dalits in India. Untouchables (Dalits) are third-rate citizens, who reside on the outskirts of the villages. They are not allowed to draw water from village wells. They are not allowed to walk in the village main streets; they are not allowed to wear shoes and neat and decent dresses. Separate glasses greet them in hotels and restaurants. Their entry into temples, parks, recreation centers and other public places is banned. Inter-dining and inter-caste marriages are strictly prohibited. Menial jobs are allotted them. The Indian Hindu religious caste system is the root cause for this Untouchability.
The Indian Caste System
Castes are the building blocks of the Hindu religious social order in India. The caste system contains three important characteristics: (1) Mutual repulsion; (2) Hierarchical unequal socioeconomic organization; and (3) Heredity (descent based discrimination). The Hindu society recognizes the caste hierarchy of four classes (Chaturvarnas): (1) Brahmins (Priests), (2) Kshatriyas (Kings), (3) Vaishyas (Merchants), and (4) Shudras (Servants). Those who are outside of this caste system are “Out Castes” or untouchables (i.e., Dalits or Scheduled Castes); the Brahman Hindu scriptures, Gods, and Law givers have always accepted and maintained caste inequality. Hatred is inbuilt in the very social stratification of caste.
Gender is known to modulate the clinical course and severity of bipolar disorder (BD). Although cognitive abnormalities are an established feature of BD, there is limited information regarding whether gender also influences the pattern and severity of cognitive impairment.
We evaluated the performance of 86 remitted patients with BD, type 1, (BD-I) (36 male and 50 female) and 46 healthy participants (21 male and 25 female) on tasks of general intellectual ability, memory encoding, recognition and retrieval, response inhibition and executive function (abstraction and perseveration). The impact of illness severity in patients was assessed using the global assessment of functioning (GAF).
We found a gender effect and an interaction between diagnosis and gender on immediate memory, implicating encoding and retrieval processes, both showing male BD-I patients being disadvantaged compared with female patients and healthy controls. Immediate memory correlated with GAF scores and this association was statistically significant for male BD-I patients.
Our findings suggest that gender differences in BD-I are associated with memory function, particularly processes relating to encoding and retrieval, and may contribute to poor functional outcome particularly in men.
A lack of longitudinal studies has made it difficult to establish the direction of associations between circulating concentrations of low-grade chronic inflammatory markers, such as C-reactive protein and interleukin-6, and cognitive symptoms of depression. The present study sought to assess whether C-reactive protein and interleukin-6 predict cognitive symptoms of depression or whether these symptoms predict inflammatory markers.
In a prospective occupational cohort study of British white-collar civil servants (the Whitehall II study), serum C-reactive protein, interleukin-6 and cognitive symptoms of depression were measured at baseline in 1991–1993 and at follow-up in 2002–2004, an average follow-up of 11.8 years. Symptoms of depression were measured with four items describing cognitive symptoms of depression from the General Health Questionnaire. The number of participants varied between 3339 and 3070 (mean age 50 years, 30% women) depending on the analysis.
Baseline C-reactive protein (β=0.046, p=0.004) and interleukin-6 (β=0.046, p=0.005) predicted cognitive symptoms of depression at follow-up, while baseline symptoms of depression did not predict inflammatory markers at follow-up. After full adjustment for sociodemographic, behavioural and biological risk factors, health conditions, medication use and baseline cognitive systems of depression, baseline C-reactive protein (β=0.038, p=0.036) and interleukin-6 (β=0.041, p=0.018) remained predictive of cognitive symptoms of depression at follow-up.
These findings suggest that inflammation precedes depression at least with regard to the cognitive symptoms of depression.
The study was carried out in symptomatic and asymptomatic women attending peripheral health centres to determine the laboratory prevalence of sexually transmitted infection (STI), reproductive tract infection (RTI) and HIV. A total of 4090 women in four study groups were subjected to general and speculum examination and screened for aetiological agents of RTI/STI by standard laboratory techniques. The main complaint was vaginal discharge, singly (11·2%) or along with other symptoms (49·0%). Prevalence of RTI/STI/HIV infection was 36·8%. Agents of RTIs were harboured by 24·3% and that of STIs by 12·5%. HIV seroprevalence was very low (0·1%). HSV-2 represented the commonest aetiological agent of STIs, suggesting the necessity of including anti-HSV treatment in the national syndromic management guidelines. The present study highlights the importance of routine RTI/STI screening of antenatal mothers to avoid adverse consequences to the unborn child, and periodic surveys to detect the infection pattern in symptomatic and asymptomatic women, in order to control HIV infection.
Unsteady laminar compressible boundary-layer flow with variable properties at a three-dimensional stagnation point for both cold and hot walls has been studied for the case when the velocity of the incident stream varies arbitrarily with time. The partial differential equations governing the flow have been solved numerically using an implicit finite-difference scheme. Computations have been carried out for two particular unsteady free-stream velocity distributions: (i) an accelerating stream and (ii) a fluctuating stream. The results indicate that the variation of the density-viscosity product across the boundary layer, the wall temperature and the nature of stagnation point significantly affect the skin friction and heat transfer.