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Though theory suggests that individual differences in neuroticism (a tendency to experience negative emotions) would be associated with altered functioning of the amygdala (which has been linked with emotionality and emotion dysregulation in childhood, adolescence, and adulthood), results of functional neuroimaging studies have been contradictory and inconclusive. We aimed to clarify the relationship between neuroticism and three hypothesized neural markers derived from functional magnetic resonance imaging during negative emotion face processing: amygdala activation, amygdala habituation, and amygdala-prefrontal connectivity, each of which plays an important role in the experience and regulation of emotions. We used general linear models to examine the relationship between trait neuroticism and the hypothesized neural markers in a large sample of over 500 young adults. Although neuroticism was not significantly associated with magnitude of amygdala activation or amygdala habituation, it was associated with amygdala–ventromedial prefrontal cortex connectivity, which has been implicated in emotion regulation. Results suggest that trait neuroticism may represent a failure in top-down control and regulation of emotional reactions, rather than overactive emotion generation processes, per se. These findings suggest that neuroticism, which has been associated with increased rates of transdiagnostic psychopathology, may represent a failure in the inhibitory neurocircuitry associated with emotion regulation.
Consumers’ demand of leaner meat products is a challenge. Although betaine and conjugated linoleic acid (CLA) have the potential to decrease porcine adipose tissue, their mode of action is poorly understood. The aim of the study was to determine the lipolytic effect of betaine and CLA in the adipose tissue of Iberian pigs. Adipose tissue explants from five pigs (38 kg BW) were prepared from dorsal subcutaneous adipose tissue samples and cultivated for 2 h (acute experiments) or 72 h (chronic experiments). Treatments included 100 µM linoleic acid (control), 100 µM trans-10, cis-12 CLA, 100 µM linoleic acid + 1 mM betaine and 100 µM trans-10, cis-12 CLA + 1 mM betaine (CLABET). To examine the ability of betaine or CLA to inhibit insulin’s suppression of isoproterenol-stimulated lipolysis, test medium was amended with 1 µM isoproterenol ±10 nM insulin. Media glycerol was measured at the end of the incubations. Acute lipolysis (2 h) was increased by CLA and CLABET (85% to 121%; P < 0.05) under basal conditions. When lipolysis was stimulated with isoproterenol (1090%), acute exposure to betaine tended to increase (13%; P = 0.071), while CLA and CLABET increased (14% to 18%; P < 0.05) isoproterenol-stimulated lipolysis compared with control. When insulin was added to isoproterenol-stimulated explants, lipolytic rate was decreased by 50% (P < 0.001). However, supplementation of betaine to the insulin + isoproterenol-containing medium tended to increase (P = 0.07), while CLABET increased (45%; P < 0.05) lipolysis, partly counteracting insulin inhibition. When culture was extended for 72 h, CLA decreased lipolysis under basal conditions (18%; P < 0.05) with no effect of betaine and CLABET (P > 0.10). When lipolysis was stimulated by isoproterenol (125% increase in rate compared with basal), CLA and CLABET decreased glycerol release (27%; P < 0.001) compared with control (isoproterenol alone). When insulin was added to isoproterenol-stimulated explants, isoproterenol stimulation of lipolysis was completely blunted and neither betaine nor CLA altered the inhibitory effect of insulin on lipolysis. Isoproterenol, and especially isoproterenol + insulin, stimulated leptin secretion compared with basal conditions (68% and 464%, respectively; P < 0.001), with no effect of CLA or betaine (P > 0.10). CLA decreased leptin release (25%; P < 0.001) when insulin was present in the media, partially inhibiting insulin stimulation of leptin release. In conclusion, betaine and CLA produced a biphasic response regarding lipolysis so that glycerol release was increased in acute conditions, while CLA decreased glycerol release and betaine had no effect in chronic conditions. Furthermore, CLA and CLABET indirectly increased lipolysis by reducing insulin-mediated inhibition of lipolysis during acute conditions.
Although roads are often assumed to be barriers to the dispersal of arboreal species, there has been little empirical testing of this assumption. If arboreal animals are unable to cross roads, population subdivision may occur, or resources may become inaccessible. We tested the hypothesis that Route Nationale 4 (RN4), a paved highway, was a barrier to movement and dispersal of the Endangered golden-brown mouse lemur Microcebus ravelobensis in Ankarafantsika National Park, in north-west Madagascar. During June–August 2015 we conducted a capture–mark–recapture study at three sites: two adjacent to RN4 and one within intact forest without a potential barrier. During 2,294 trap nights we captured 120 golden-brown mouse lemurs 1,032 times. In roadside habitats we captured significantly more males than females, whereas the opposite was the case in interior forest habitat. We detected eighteen crossings of highway transects by nine individuals; however, all potential dispersal events involved males. In roadside habitat, movement was significantly inhibited in both males and females. We present some of the first data on the effects of roads on movement patterns in arboreal Malagasy mammals, showing species- and sex-biased effects of roads as dispersal barriers. Our findings indicate that roads may not be complete barriers to dispersal in lemurs. We recommend that conservation managers and scientists examine explicitly the effects of roads and natural arboreal bridges in Madagascar in future studies.
The 9th meeting of the African Society of Human Genetics, in partnership with the Senegalese Cancer Research and Study Group and the Human Heredity and Health in Africa (H3Africa) Consortium, was held in Dakar, Senegal. The theme was Strengthening Human Genetics Research in Africa. The 210 delegates came from 21 African countries and from France, Switzerland, UK, UAE, Canada and the USA. The goal was to highlight genetic and genomic science across the African continent with the ultimate goal of improving the health of Africans and those across the globe, and to promote the careers of young African scientists in the field. A session on the sustainability of genomic research in Africa brought to light innovative and practical approaches to supporting research in resource-limited settings and the importance of promoting genetics in academic, research funding, governmental and private sectors. This meeting led to the formation of the Senegalese Society for Human Genetics.
Fetuin A (also known as α2-Heremans–Schmid glycoprotein) is a protein primarily expressed by the liver and secreted into the blood. Previous studies have suggested that plasma concentrations of fetuin A are elevated with impaired growth rate in swine. The present study was designed to examine the relationship of porcine fetuin A with growth rate in the pig and to also elucidate the regulation of fetuin A expression by examining the hormonal and cytokine regulation of fetuin A mRNA abundance in hepatocytes prepared from suckling piglets. Quantitative real-time PCR assay was used to quantify the number of fetuin A mRNA molecules/molecule cyclophilin mRNA. Total RNA was isolated from liver of three different groups of pigs to assess changes in mRNA abundance of fetuin A: normal piglets at day 1, day 7 day 21 or 6 months of age (n=6 for each age); runt and control piglets at day 1 of age (n=4); slow growing and normal growing piglets at 21 days of age (n=8). Following birth, fetuin A gene expression increased from day 1 and 7 of age (P<0.05), and then declined at 21 days of age (P<0.05), with a much greater decline to 6 months of age (P<0.01). Fetuin A mRNA abundance was higher in runt pigs v. their normal birth weight littermates (P<0.05). Similarly, fetuin A gene expression was higher in livers of pigs that were born at a normal weight but that grew much slower than littermates with the same birth weight (P<0.05). Hepatocytes were isolated from preweaned piglets and maintained in serum-free monolayer culture for up to 72 h to permit examination of the influences of hormones, cytokines and redox modifiers on fetuin A mRNA abundance. Fetuin A gene expression was enhanced by glucagon, T3 and resveratrol (P<0.05). Growth hormone, cytokines (interleukin6, tumor necrosis factor-α) and antioxidants (N-acetylcysteine, quercertin) reduced fetuin A mRNA abundance (P<0.05). A role for fetuin A in postnatal development is suggested by the differences in fetuin A mRNA abundance between runt piglets or slow growing piglets and their normal growing sized littermates. The hepatocyte experiments suggest multiple hormones and cytokines may contribute to the regulation of fetuin A during early growth of the pig.
Patients with schizophrenia have shown cognitive improvements following
cognitive remediation, but the neuroplastic changes that support these
processes are not fully understood.
To use a triple-blind, placebo-controlled trial to examine neural
activation before and after cognitive remediation or a computer skills
training (CST) placebo (trial registration: NCT00995553)).
Twenty-seven participants underwent functional magnetic resonance imaging
before and after being randomised to either cognitive remediation
intervention or CST. Participants completed two variants of the N-back
task during scanning and were assessed on measures of cognition,
functional capacity, community functioning and symptoms.
We observed a group × time interaction in the left prefrontal cortex,
wherein the cognitive remediation group showed increased activation.
These changes correlated with improved task accuracy within the cognitive
remediation group, whereas there was no relationship between changes in
activation in untrained cognitive measures. Significant changes were not
observed in other hypothesised areas for the cognitive remediation
We replicated the finding that cognitive remediation increases left
lateral prefrontal activation during a working memory task in patients
with schizophrenia, suggesting this may be an important neural target for
these types of interventions.
An Ice Tracking System (ITS) is under development which will automatically extract ice kinematic information from time sequential imagery over Canadian waterways. NOAA AVHRR data are routinely collected at the Ice Centre Environment Canada (ICEC) and are a valuable data source for operational ice analysis and forecasting. For this study AVHRR data were collected between January and February 1992 over the Grand Banks of Newfoundland. The requirement for cloud-free data limited its use. Multiple images over short time intervals were available for a one to two day period, however these were followed by gaps of three to four days. On days when imagery was available synoptic conditions were always similar favouring a southeasterly ice drift. The east coast of Canada is a very difficult ice environment in which to extract accurate ice motion. The ice regime consists mainly of young ice types exhibiting very dynamic behaviour. To the NOAA sensor the ice cover can appear viscous and featureless. The inaccuracies in the extracted ice kinematic information was attributed to positional errors with the input data and the inability of the tracking algorithm to identify correctly the same features on time sequential images. Geocoding inaccuracies, a result of the systematic geocoding process, had an average error of 2.7 km. Algorithm inaccuracies, a result of incorrect matching, had an average error of 2.45 km.
Cerebral blood volume and metabolism of oxygen decline as part of human ageing, and this has been previously shown to be related to cognitive decline. There is some evidence to suggest that polyphenol-rich foods can play an important role in delaying the onset or halting the progression of age-related health disorders such as CVD and Alzheimer’s disease and to improve cognitive function. In the present study, an acute, placebo-controlled, double-blinded, cross-over, randomised Latin-square design study with a washout period of at least 14 d was conducted on twenty-seven, middle-aged (defined as 45–60 years) volunteers. Participants received either a 60 ml dose of Montmorency tart cherry concentrate (MC), which contained 68·0 (sd 0·26) mg cyanidin-3-glucoside/l, 160·75 (sd 0·55) mean gallic acid equivalent/l and 0·59 (sd 0·02) mean Trolox equivalent/l, respectively, or a placebo. Cerebrovascular responses, cognitive performance and blood pressure were assessed at baseline and 1, 2, 3 and 5 h following consumption. There were significant differences in concentrations of total Hb and oxygenated Hb during the task period 1 h after MC consumption (P≤0·05). Furthermore, MC consumption significantly lowered systolic blood pressure (P≤0·05) over a period of 3 h, with peak reductions of 6±2 mmHg at 1 h after MC consumption relative to the placebo. Cognitive function and mood were not affected. These results show that a single dose of MC concentrate can modulate certain variables of vascular function; however, this does not translate to improvements in cognition or mood.
Africa is experiencing a rapid increase in adult obesity and associated cardiometabolic diseases (CMDs). The H3Africa AWI-Gen Collaborative Centre was established to examine genomic and environmental factors that influence body composition, body fat distribution and CMD risk, with the aim to provide insights towards effective treatment and intervention strategies. It provides a research platform of over 10 500 participants, 40–60 years old, from Burkina Faso, Ghana, Kenya and South Africa. Following a process that involved community engagement, training of project staff and participant informed consent, participants were administered detailed questionnaires, anthropometric measurements were taken and biospecimens collected. This generated a wealth of demographic, health history, environmental, behavioural and biomarker data. The H3Africa SNP array will be used for genome-wide association studies. AWI-Gen is building capacity to perform large epidemiological, genomic and epigenomic studies across several African counties and strives to become a valuable resource for research collaborations in Africa.
The current study aimed to evaluate breeding effect on nitrogen use efficiency (NUE), its components and some agronomic traits and disease resistance in barley by using extensive germplasm covering 72 landraces and 123 cultivars released since 1910. Trials were established in southern Finland with a modified strip-plot experimental design. Prior to sowing, blocks were placement fertilized with compound nitrogen : phosphorus : potassium (NPK) fertilizer (N-P-K: 20–3–8) at the rate of 35 and 70 kg N/ha and unfertilized plots were placed at the other end of the fertilization block. The germplasm collection was genotyped with 1536 single nucleotide polymorphism (SNP) markers and phenotyped during a 2-year field experiment in 2011/12. Independent of row type, a positive breeding effect was evident in NUE and for other plant N traits, except that grain N slightly decreased. Breeding has improved NUE by 0·08 kg/year (26% over the century). Nitrogen utilization and N uptake efficiencies were also improved by breeding as were straw length, lodging tolerance, grain yield and yield components, without any sign of levelling-off. Bred cultivars were more resistant to leaf-damaging diseases, especially to net blotch. The SNP data indicated no reduction in overall genetic diversity. However, genetic diversity differed along the barley chromosomes showing either reduced or increased diversity in certain regions when landraces were compared with modern varieties.
Public Health England conducts enhanced national surveillance of tetanus, a potentially life-threatening vaccine-preventable disease. A standardized questionnaire was used to ascertain clinical and demographic details of individuals reported with clinically suspected tetanus. The 96 cases identified between 2001 and 2014 were analysed. The average annual incidence was 0·13/million (95% confidence interval 0·10–0·16) of which 50·0% were male. Where reported, 70·3% of injuries occurred in the home/garden (45/64). Overall, 40·3% (31/77) cases were in people who inject drugs (PWID), including a cluster of 22 cases during 2003–2004. Where known (n = 68), only 8·8% were age-appropriately immunized. The overall case-fatality rate was 11·0% (9/82). All tetanus-associated deaths occurred in adults aged >45 years, none of whom were fully immunized. Due to the success of the childhood immunization programme, tetanus remains a rare disease in England with the majority of cases occurring in older unimmunized or partially immunized adults. Minor injuries in the home/garden were the most commonly reported likely sources of infection, although cases in PWID increased during this period. It is essential that high routine vaccine coverage is maintained and that susceptible individuals, particularly older adults, are protected through vaccination and are offered timely post-exposure management following a tetanus-prone wound.
We apply a new method of eclipse mapping to the light curves of eclipsing polars. The technique aims to locate the bright emission associated with the accretion stream, using a technique that makes the fewest prior assumptions about the location of the accretion stream material. We have obtained data of EP Dra and HU Aqr with the S-Cam 2 superconducting tunnel junction camera using the William Herschel Telescope. The location of emission regions in both systems show that previously assumed trajectories are consistent with those found using our technique. Most of the emission is located in a region where we expect material to be confined to magnetic field lines, particularly for HU Aqr, while there appears to be a lack of emission from where we conventionally expect material to follow a ballistic trajectory from the L1 point.
A basic underlying assumption of the psychological contract is that both parties come to a mutual agreement about the expectations and obligations of a contract of employment. Recent research provides evidence of the potential for employees to develop unrealistic expectations from this contract and this has been described as a sense of entitlement. In this article, we outline two studies. In the first study, we test the internal structure and reliability of a scale we developed and named the Measure of Employee Entitlement. In the second study, we test the predictive validity of the Measure of Employee Entitlement against a measure of reciprocity. The development and validation of the Measure of Employee Entitlement extends our knowledge of sense of entitlement in the workplace and situates entitlement as a factor that may impact on the development of psychological contracts. This research provides a platform from which researchers and practitioners can continue to coherently and consistently investigate the phenomenon of employee entitlement.
Despite national guidance recommending testing and vaccination of household contacts of hepatitis B-infected pregnant women, provision and uptake of this is sub-optimal. The aim of this study was to evaluate the use of in-home dried blood spot (DBS) testing to increase testing and vaccination of household contacts of hepatitis B-infected pregnant women as an alternative approach to conventional primary-care follow-up. The study was conducted across two London maternity trusts (North Middlesex and Newham). All hepatitis B surface antigen-positive pregnant women identified through these trusts were eligible for inclusion. The intervention of in-home DBS testing for household contacts was introduced at North Middlesex Trust from November 2010 to December 2011. Data on testing and vaccination uptake from GP records across the two trusts were compared between baseline (2009) and intervention (2010–2011) periods. In-home DBS service increased testing uptake for all ages (P < 0·001) with the biggest impact seen in partners, where testing increased from 30·3% during the baseline period to 96·6% during the intervention period in North Middlesex Trust. Although impact on vaccine uptake was less marked, improvements were observed for adults. The provision of nurse-led home-based DBS may be useful in areas of high prevalence.