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ISO Prolog provides catch and throw to realize the control flow of exception handling. This pearl demonstrates that catch and throw are inconspicuously amenable to the implementation of backjumping. In fact, they have precisely the semantics required: rewinding the search to a specific point and carrying of a preserved term to that point. The utility of these properties is demonstrated through an implementation of graph coloring with backjumping and a backjumping SAT solver that applies conflict-driven clause learning.
Many cognitive functions are under strong genetic control and twin studies have demonstrated genetic overlap between some aspects of cognition and schizophrenia. How the genetic relationship between specific cognitive functions and schizophrenia is influenced by IQ is currently unknown.
We applied selected tests from the Cambridge Neuropsychological Test Automated Battery (CANTAB) to examine the heritability of specific cognitive functions and associations with schizophrenia liability. Verbal and performance IQ were estimated using The Wechsler Adult Intelligence Scale-III and the Danish Adult Reading Test. In total, 214 twins including monozygotic (MZ = 32) and dizygotic (DZ = 22) pairs concordant or discordant for a schizophrenia spectrum disorder, and healthy control pairs (MZ = 29, DZ = 20) were recruited through the Danish national registers. Additionally, eight twins from affected pairs participated without their sibling.
Significant heritability was observed for planning/spatial span (h2 = 25%), self-ordered spatial working memory (h2 = 64%), sustained attention (h2 = 56%), and movement time (h2 = 47%), whereas only unique environmental factors contributed to set-shifting, reflection impulsivity, and thinking time. Schizophrenia liability was associated with planning/spatial span (rph = −0.34), self-ordered spatial working memory (rph = −0.24), sustained attention (rph = −0.23), and set-shifting (rph = −0.21). The association with planning/spatial span was not driven by either performance or verbal IQ. The remaining associations were shared with performance, but not verbal IQ.
This study provides further evidence that some cognitive functions are heritable and associated with schizophrenia, suggesting a partially shared genetic etiology. These functions may constitute endophenotypes for the disorder and provide a basis to explore genes common to cognition and schizophrenia.
Although neuroimaging studies suggest brain regional abnormalities in depressive disorders, it remains unclear whether abnormalities are present at illness onset or reflect disease progression.
We hypothesized that cerebral variations were present in adolescents with subthreshold depression known to be at high risk for later full-blown depression.
We examined brain structural and diffusion-weighted magnetic resonance images of adolescents with subthreshold depression.
The participants were extracted from the European IMAGEN study cohort of healthy adolescents recruited at age 14. Subthreshold depression was defined as a distinct period of abnormally depressed or irritable mood, or loss of interest, plus two or more depressive symptoms but without diagnosis of Major Depressive Episode. Comparisons were performed between adolescents meeting these criteria and control adolescents within the T1-weighted imaging modality (118 and 475 adolescents respectively) using voxel-based morphometry and the diffusion tensor imaging modality (89 ad 422 adolescents respectively) using tract-based spatial statistics. Whole brain analyses were performed with a statistical threshold set to p< 0.05 corrected for multiple comparisons.
Compared with controls, adolescents with subthreshold depression had smaller gray matter volume in caudate nuclei, medial frontal and cingulate cortices; smaller white matter volume in anterior limb of internal capsules, left forceps minor and right cingulum; and lower fractional anisotropy and higher radial diffusivity in the genu of corpus callosum.
The findings suggest that adolescents with subthreshold depression have volumetric and microstructural gray and white matter changes in the emotion regulation frontal-striatal-limbic network.
Goal-directed control guides optimal decision-making and it is an important cognitive faculty that protects against developing habits. Previous studies have found some evidence of goal-directed deficits when healthy individuals are stressed, and in psychiatric conditions characterised by compulsive behaviours and anxiety. Here, we tested if goal-directed control is affected by state anxiety, which might explain the former results.
We carried out a causal test of this hypothesis in two experiments (between-subject N = 88; within-subject N = 50) that used the inhalation of hypercapnic gas (7.5% CO2) to induce an acute state of anxiety in healthy volunteers. In a third experiment (N = 1413), we used a correlational design to test if real-life anxiety-provoking events (panic attacks, stressful events) are associated with impaired goal-directed control.
In the former two causal experiments, we induced a profoundly anxious state, both physiologically and psychologically, but this did not affect goal-directed performance. In the third, correlational, study, we found no evidence for an association between goal-directed control, panic attacks or stressful life eventsover and above variance accounted for by trait differences in compulsivity.
In sum, three complementary experiments found no evidence that anxiety impairs goal-directed control in human subjects.
Youths with obsessive–compulsive disorder (OCD) experience severe distress and impaired functioning at school and at home. Critical cognitive domains for daily functioning and academic success are learning, memory, cognitive flexibility and goal-directed behavioural control. Performance in these important domains among teenagers with OCD was therefore investigated in this study.
A total of 36 youths with OCD and 36 healthy comparison subjects completed two memory tasks: Pattern Recognition Memory (PRM) and Paired Associates Learning (PAL); as well as the Intra-Extra Dimensional Set Shift (IED) task to quantitatively gauge learning as well as cognitive flexibility. A subset of 30 participants of each group also completed a Differential-Outcome Effect (DOE) task followed by a Slips-of-Action Task, designed to assess the balance of goal-directed and habitual behavioural control.
Adolescent OCD patients showed a significant learning and memory impairment. Compared with healthy comparison subjects, they made more errors on PRM and PAL and in the first stages of IED involving discrimination and reversal learning. Patients were also slower to learn about contingencies in the DOE task and were less sensitive to outcome devaluation, suggesting an impairment in goal-directed control.
This study advances the characterization of juvenile OCD. Patients demonstrated impairments in all learning and memory tasks. We also provide the first experimental evidence of impaired goal-directed control and lack of cognitive plasticity early in the development of OCD. The extent to which the impairments in these cognitive domains impact academic performance and symptom development warrants further investigation.
We study the dynamics of a domain wall under the influence of applied magnetic fields in a one-dimensional ferromagnetic nanowire, governed by the Landau–Lifshitz–Gilbert equation. Existence of travelling-wave solutions close to two known static solutions is proven using implicit-function-theorem-type arguments.
Progress in understanding the underlying neurobiology of obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) has stalled in part because of the considerable problem of heterogeneity within this diagnostic category, and homogeneity across other putatively discrete, diagnostic categories. As psychiatry begins to recognize the shortcomings of a purely symptom-based psychiatric nosology, new data-driven approaches have begun to be utilized with the goal of solving these problems: specifically, identifying trans-diagnostic aspects of clinical phenomenology based on their association with neurobiological processes. In this review, we describe key methodological approaches to understanding OCD from this perspective and highlight the candidate traits that have already been identified as a result of these early endeavours. We discuss how important inferences can be made from pre-existing case-control studies as well as showcasing newer methods that rely on large general population datasets to refine and validate psychiatric phenotypes. As exemplars, we take ‘compulsivity’ and ‘anxiety’, putatively trans-diagnostic symptom dimensions that are linked to well-defined neurobiological mechanisms, goal-directed learning and error-related negativity, respectively. We argue that the identification of biologically valid, more homogeneous, dimensions such as these provides renewed optimism for identifying reliable genetic contributions to OCD and other disorders, improving animal models and critically, provides a path towards a future of more targeted psychiatric treatments.
Choosing appropriate management strategies and effective conservation actions requires information about the future consequences of current conservation actions; however, this crucial information is rarely available to conservation planners. This study applies scenario planning and agent-based modelling (ABM) to assess the potential impact of alternative management strategies on future suitability and functional connectivity of Cross River gorilla (CRG) habitat in the Nigeria–Cameroon border region. The CRG population is small and fragmented, with many subpopulations and migration corridors located outside protected areas. This study used ABM to simulate human land use in the study area over a period of 15 years under different management scenarios and assessed the impact on future suitability and functional connectivity of CRG habitat. The simulations showed that a landscape approach with greater focus on interventions to change human behaviour towards conserving gorillas and sustainable forest use would result in greater improvement in habitat suitability and functional connectivity compared to focusing on improving law enforcement within existing protected areas. However, the best scenarios were when both law enforcement and behaviour change increased. The results highlight the importance of human behaviour change to conservation in human-dominated landscapes and can inform conservation planning and management of other species and in similar landscapes.
Arboviruses are pathogens that widely affect the health of people in different communities around the world. Recently, a few successful approaches toward production of effective vaccines against some of these pathogens have been developed, but treatment and prevention of the resulting diseases remain a major health and research concern. The arbovirus infection and replication processes are complex, and many factors are involved in their regulation. Apoptosis, autophagy and the unfolded protein response (UPR) are three mechanisms that are involved in pathogenesis of many viruses. In this review, we focus on the importance of these pathways in the arbovirus replication and infection processes. We provide a brief introduction on how apoptosis, autophagy and the UPR are initiated and regulated, and then discuss the involvement of these pathways in regulation of arbovirus pathogenesis.
There is evidence of executive function impairment in obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD) that potentially contributes to symptom development and maintenance. Nevertheless, the precise nature of these executive impairments and their neural basis remains to be defined.
We compared stopping and shifting, two key executive functions previously implicated in OCD, in the same task using functional magnetic resonance imaging, in patients with virtually no co-morbidities and age-, verbal IQ- and gender-matched healthy volunteers. The combined task allowed direct comparison of neural activity in stopping and shifting independent of patient sample characteristics and state variables such as arousal, learning, or current symptom expression.
Both OCD patients and controls exhibited right inferior frontal cortex activation during stopping, and left inferior parietal cortex activation during shifting. However, widespread under-activation across frontal-parietal areas was found in OCD patients compared to controls for shifting but not stopping. Conservative, whole-brain analyses also indicated marked divergent abnormal activation in OCD in the caudate and thalamus for these two cognitive functions, with stopping-related over-activation contrasting with shift-related under-activation.
OCD is associated with selective components of executive function, which engage similar common elements of cortico-striatal regions in different abnormal ways. The results implicate altered neural activation of subcortical origin in executive function abnormalities in OCD that are dependent on the precise cognitive and contextual requirements, informing current theories of symptom expression.
Resilience is the capacity of individuals to resist mental disorders despite exposure to stress. Little is known about its neural underpinnings. The putative variation of white-matter microstructure with resilience in adolescence, a critical period for brain maturation and onset of high-prevalence mental disorders, has not been assessed by diffusion tensor imaging (DTI). Lower fractional anisotropy (FA) though, has been reported in the corpus callosum (CC), the brain's largest white-matter structure, in psychiatric and stress-related conditions. We hypothesized that higher FA in the CC would characterize stress-resilient adolescents.
Three groups of adolescents recruited from the community were compared: resilient with low risk of mental disorder despite high exposure to lifetime stress (n = 55), at-risk of mental disorder exposed to the same level of stress (n = 68), and controls (n = 123). Personality was assessed by the NEO-Five Factor Inventory (NEO-FFI). Voxelwise statistics of DTI values in CC were obtained using tract-based spatial statistics. Regional projections were identified by probabilistic tractography.
Higher FA values were detected in the anterior CC of resilient compared to both non-resilient and control adolescents. FA values varied according to resilience capacity. Seed regional changes in anterior CC projected onto anterior cingulate and frontal cortex. Neuroticism and three other NEO-FFI factor scores differentiated non-resilient participants from the other two groups.
High FA was detected in resilient adolescents in an anterior CC region projecting to frontal areas subserving cognitive resources. Psychiatric risk was associated with personality characteristics. Resilience in adolescence may be related to white-matter microstructure.
Evidence suggests some overlap between the pathological use of food and drugs, yet how impulsivity compares across these different clinical disorders remains unclear. Substance use disorders are commonly characterized by elevated impulsivity, and impulsivity subtypes may show commonalities and differences in various conditions. We hypothesized that obese subjects with binge-eating disorder (BED) and abstinent alcohol-dependent cohorts would have relatively more impulsive profiles compared to obese subjects without BED. We also predicted decision impulsivity impairment in obesity with and without BED.
Thirty obese subjects with BED, 30 without BED and 30 abstinent alcohol-dependent subjects and age- and gender-matched controls were tested on delay discounting (preference for a smaller immediate reward over a larger delayed reward), reflection impulsivity (rapid decision making prior to evidence accumulation) and motor response inhibition (action cancellation of a prepotent response).
All three groups had greater delay discounting relative to healthy volunteers. Both obese subjects without BED and alcohol-dependent subjects had impaired motor response inhibition. Only obese subjects without BED had impaired integration of available information to optimize outcomes over later trials with a cost condition.
Delay discounting appears to be a common core impairment across disorders of food and drug intake. Unexpectedly, obese subjects without BED showed greater impulsivity than obese subjects with BED. We highlight the dissociability and heterogeneity of impulsivity subtypes and add to the understanding of neurocognitive profiles across disorders involving food and drugs. Our results have therapeutic implications suggesting that disorder-specific patterns of impulsivity could be targeted.
High post-release survival, low dispersal and the recruitment of captive-reared individuals into the wild population are critical to the success of any reintroduction programme. Reintroducing a migratory species poses an additional challenge as success also depends on the return of captive-reared individuals to breeding grounds in subsequent years. We investigated the effects of seven husbandry and management factors on the return rate of captive-reared eastern loggerhead shrikes Lanius ludovicianus migrans and documented the recruitment of returning individuals. During 2004–2010, 564 juveniles were released in Ontario, Canada, as part of a field propagation and release programme and there were 27 confirmed sightings of returning birds during 2005–2011. Returning birds were significantly more likely to have been released in large groups of juveniles (9–10 birds) at 5.5 weeks post-fledging from the Carden field propagation site. Comparisons of the number of young fledged and survival to 2 weeks post-fledging revealed similar results for pairs comprising one captive-reared and one wild-reared individual and pairs comprising two wild individuals. These results highlight the contribution of captive-reared shrikes to the recovery of the wild population and the importance of monitoring outcomes and evaluating techniques.
Impulsivity and compulsivity represent useful conceptualizations that involve dissociable cognitive functions, which are mediated by neuroanatomically and neurochemically distinct components of cortico-subcortical circuitry. The constructs were historically viewed as diametrically opposed, with impulsivity being associated with risk-seeking and compulsivity with harm-avoidance. However, they are increasingly recognized to be linked by shared neuropsychological mechanisms involving dysfunctional inhibition of thoughts and behaviors. In this article, we selectively review new developments in the investigation of the neurocognition of impulsivity and compulsivity in humans, in order to advance our understanding of the pathophysiology of impulsive, compulsive, and addictive disorders and indicate new directions for research.
Obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) and related conditions (trichotillomania, pathological skin-picking, pathological nail-biting) are common and disabling. Current treatment approaches fail to help a significant proportion of patients. Multiple tiers of evidence link these conditions with underlying dysregulation of particular cortico-subcortical circuitry and monoamine systems, which represent targets for treatment. Animal models designed to capture aspects of these conditions are critical for several reasons. First, they help in furthering our understanding of neuroanatomical and neurochemical underpinnings of the obsessive-compulsive (OC) spectrum. Second, they help to account for the brain mechanisms by which existing treatments (pharmacotherapy, psychotherapy, deep brain stimulation) exert their beneficial effects on patients. Third, they inform the search for novel treatments. This article provides a critique of key animal models for selected OC spectrum disorders, beginning with initial work relating to anxiety, but moving on to recent developments in domains of genetic, pharmacological, cognitive, and ethological models. We find that there is a burgeoning literature in these areas with important ramifications, which are considered, along with salient future lines of research.
Species commonly exist in sympatry, yet ecological studies are often based on a single species approach while ignoring the impact of sympatric competitors. Over 13 mo we used 24 remote video-camera traps to monitor habitat use of sympatric chimpanzee, gorilla and elephant in four different habitat types in Loango National Park, Gabon. Habitat use by each species was predicted to vary according to seasonal changes in food availability and precipitation. Increased interspecific competition between the three species was expected at times of reduced resource availability, leading to exclusion of the inferior competitor. Supporting the predictions, species abundance per habitat showed seasonal variation: all three species responded positively to increased fruit availability in all habitats, but the response was only significant for gorilla in mature forest and elephant in coastal forest. Responses to rainfall varied, with the chimpanzee responding negatively to rainfall in swamp forest, the gorilla responding positively to rainfall in coastal and secondary forest, and the elephant responding positively to rainfall in mature forest. Elephant presence resulted in competitive exclusion of the apes under certain conditions: the chimpanzee was excluded by the elephant where fruit availability was low, whereas the gorilla was excluded by the elephant in areas of low herb density despite high fruit availability. Our results emphasize the value of applying a multi-species, longer-term approach to studying variation in habitat use among sympatric species and highlight the impact competitors can exert on one another's distribution.
Obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) has been associated with response inhibition deficits under motivationally neutral contingencies. We examined response inhibition performance in the presence of reward and punishment. We further investigated whether the hypothesized difficulties in flexibly updating behaviour based on external feedback in OCD would also lead to a reduced ability to adjust to changes in the reward and punishment contingencies.
Participants completed a go/no-go task that used punishments or rewards to promote response activation or suppression. The task was administered to OCD patients free of current Axis-I co-morbidities including major depression (n = 20) and a group of healthy controls (n = 32).
Compared with controls, patients with OCD had increased commission errors in punishment conditions, and failed to slow down immediately after receiving punishment. The punishment-induced increase in commission errors correlated with self-report measures of OCD symptom severity. Additionally, patients did not differ from controls in adapting their overall response style to the changes in task contingencies.
Individuals with OCD showed reduced response control selectively under punishment conditions, manifesting in an impulsive response style that was related to their current symptom severity. This stresses failures of cognitive control in OCD, particularly under negative motivational contingencies.
The new Core-XAS (X-ray absorption spectroscopy) beamline (B18) at Diamond aims to provide a reliable spectrometer for a broad scientific community. With this in mind, B18 has been built as a general-purpose beamline and offers to users a variety of sample environments and detection methods. Here we will present the first commissioning results and some of the capabilities of this versatile instrument.