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This report covers the period July 1996 to June 1999. It has been prepared by the President of the Commission with contributions from the members of the Organizing Committee and Dr. E.M. Corsini. As discussed in Kyoto and decided by the Organizing Committee, the report is meant to be in the “short” version.
This report coveres the period 1 July 1993 to 30 June 1996. In contrast to reports from previous triennia, which were written by commission officers, committee members, and chairs of working groups, all members of the comission were invited, through a newsletter, to volunteer to write sections on topics that interested them. About a dozen people volunteered, not all of whom were able to complete the reports they had suggested.
The Supernova Working Group was re-established at the IAU XXV General Assembly in Sydney, 21 July 2003, sponsored by Commissions 28 (Galaxies) and 47 (Cosmology). Here we report on some of its activities since 2005.
Vagus nerve stimulation (VNS) therapy is associated with a decrease in seizure frequency in partial-onset seizure patients. Initial trials suggest that it may be an effective treatment, with few side-effects, for intractable depression.
An open, uncontrolled European multi-centre study (D03) of VNS therapy was conducted, in addition to stable pharmacotherapy, in 74 patients with treatment-resistant depression (TRD). Treatment remained unchanged for the first 3 months; in the subsequent 9 months, medications and VNS dosing parameters were altered as indicated clinically.
The baseline 28-item Hamilton Depression Rating Scale (HAMD-28) score averaged 34. After 3 months of VNS, response rates (⩾50% reduction in baseline scores) reached 37% and remission rates (HAMD-28 score <10) 17%. Response rates increased to 53% after 1 year of VNS, and remission rates reached 33%. Response was defined as sustained if no relapse occurred during the first year of VNS after response onset; 44% of patients met these criteria. Median time to response was 9 months. Most frequent side-effects were voice alteration (63% at 3 months of stimulation) and coughing (23%).
VNS therapy was effective in reducing severity of depression; efficacy increased over time. Efficacy ratings were in the same range as those previously reported from a USA study using a similar protocol; at 12 months, reduction of symptom severity was significantly higher in the European sample. This might be explained by a small but significant difference in the baseline HAMD-28 score and the lower number of treatments in the current episode in the European study.
As documented by the reports of the Presidents of Commission 28 and Commission 47 the fields of extra-galactic research and cosmology have experienced a higher and higher development leading to a vast harvest of results and discoveries. They range from the description of the overall structure of the universe to that of the individual properties of galaxies. The availability of very large telescopes and the coverage of regions of the sky with deep surveys, on the observational side, and the wide use of sophisticated numerical simulations on the theoretical one are starting to produce a satisfactory understanding of the physical processes taking place during the evolution of galaxies. Very often there is an profitable interplay between the subjects of the two Commissions without clearcut boundaries. This makes Division VIII, which is one of the largest of the IAU, counting 1373 members, very well balanced and deserving to remain without modifications for the future.
A simple model was presented for intrinsic stress generation in thin films resulting from surface stress effects. This mechanism can explain the origin of compressive stresses often observed during island growth prior to coalescence, as well as intrinsic compressive stresses reported for certain continuous, fully grown films. In some cases, surface stress effects may contribute to a sudden change in the intrinsic stress during island coalescence.
Previous work suggests neurological disease commonly supervenes in cases of conversion disorder but has not identified clear predisposing factors. Patients' subsequent use of services has been neglected.
Clinical outcomes for 73 patients investigated for pseudoneurological symptoms at a neurological hospital 10 years earlier were compared with findings on presentation. Fifty-six patients complied with a structured interview concerning use of services.
Thirty patients had no relief from their original symptom at follow-up. They had been older, with more chronic symptoms, and different auxiliary psychiatric diagnoses. In 11 patients a clear neurological diagnosis was subsequently made for the original symptom. Provisional neurological diagnoses at presentation had been disproportionately common among these 11. Small numbers of patients with poor outcomes made most use of hospital and community services. High attenders met screening criteria for somatisation disorder at follow-up.
The prognosis for chronic symptoms remains poor, but subsequent rediagnosis of neurological disease is less frequent than commonly supposed. Somatisation disorder may develop if hospital contact does not lead to diagnosis of another disease.
Functional brain imaging with technetium-99m d,l-hexamethyl propyleneamine oxime (HMPAO) Single Photon Emission Tomography (SPET) allows us to explore the cerebral pathophysiology of Gilles de la Tourette's Syndrome (GTS).
Fifty patients and 20 controls were examined. Patients were rated for tic severity and mood. Scans were analysed quantitatively using internal ratios to the occipital cortex.
Patients differed from controls on measures of relative blood flow to the left caudate, anterior cingulate cortex and the left dorsolateral prefrontal cortex. Severity of tics was related to hypoperfusion of the left caudate and cingulate and a left medial temporal region. Hypoperfusion in the left dorsolateral prefrontal region was related to mood.
The areas found to be hypoperfused in this study are consistent with known functions of fronto-striatal circuits. A wide range of perfusion patterns is seen, however, and no characteristic patterns for behavioural subgroups has been documented with this technique.
This study investigated biological correlates of depression in patients with idiopathic Parkinson's disease (PD). We tested the hypothesis that in patients with PD and depression, there was regional dysfunction involving brain areas previously implicated in functional imaging studies of patients with primary depression.
Using positron emission tomographic measurements of regional cerebral blood flow (rCBF), patterns of resting rCBF were measured in ten patiens with PD and major depression, and ten patients with PD alone. The results were compared with findings from ten patients with primary depression and ten normal controls, scanned using identical methods as part of an earlier study. Groups were matched for age, sex and symptom severity.
Bilateral decreases in rCBF were observed in anteromedial regions of the medial frontal cortex and the cingulate cortex (Brodmann's areas (BA) 9 and 32) in the depressed PD group, compared with those with PD alone and compared with normal controls. This regional disturbance overlapped that observed in patients with primary depression.
The findings indicate that the medial prefrontal cortex is a common area of neural dysfunction in the manifestation of both primary depression and depression in PD.
In a cohort of five patients from the Middle East with the Gilles de la Tourette syndrome, family history of a tic disorder or the Gilles de la Tourette syndrome was positive in three cases. In one of these there was a multiply affected pedigree spanning six generations. The phenomenology of the syndrome is the same as that described in Western reports. The familial pattern of inheritance and cross-cultural similarity emphasise the biological factors in the aetiology of the syndrome.
The MRI T1 proton relaxation values were assessed in 14 patients with bipolar affective disorder and 10 with a unipolar disorder and a matched normal control group. The T1 values in the frontal white matter of patients significantly exceeded those of the controls. This difference was accounted for by an increase in T1 values in the frontal white matter of unipolar patients: the values for bipolar patients alone did not differ from those for controls. These preliminary findings support a hypothesis of frontal lobe dysfunction mediating pathological changes in mood.
Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) was used in patients with epilepsy and psychosis. From 50 patients with epilepsy, a subgroup of 12 patients were categorised by the Present State Examination (PSE) as having nuclear schizophrenia (NS) and then compared with an epileptic control group with no psychiatric history. Further, patients with hallucinations were compared with patients without hallucinations. No differences in T1 relaxation times in any regions of interest were noted in the NS group compared with the other group. However, patients with hallucinations had a significantly higher T1 value in the left temporal lobe. These findings support the concept that specific abnormalities in limbic system structures relate to the phenomenology of the psychoses of epilepsy, especially left temporal lobe epilepsy.
Thirty (33%) of 90 patients with the Gilles de la Tourette syndrome exhibited selfinjurious behaviour. Fourteen were head bangers, of whom two had cavum septum pellucidum. Clinical correlates of self-injury were the severity of Gilles de la Tourette syndrome symptoms and psychopathology, with special reference to obsessionality and hostility. We discuss an additional patient who died from a subdural haematoma as a result of head banging, and three who had permanent vision impairment from self inflicted eye injuries.