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The incidence of dementia in Black, Asian and minority ethnic (BAME) groups is increasing in the UK, with concern about underdiagnosis and late presentation.
By reviewing referrals to memory clinics from Leicester City we examined whether the following differed by ethnicity: the proportion with a diagnosis of dementia, type of dementia and severity at presentation.
We examined referrals between 2010 and 2017: all those whose ethnicity was recorded as Black (n = 131) and a random sample of 260 Asian and 259 White British referrals. Severity of dementia was assessed by record review. Odds ratios (ORs) were adjusted for general practice, age, gender and year of referral.
A diagnosis of dementia was recorded in 193 (74.5%) White British, 96 (73.3%) Black and 160 (61.5%) Asian referrals. Compared with Asians, White British had twice the adjusted odds of a dementia diagnosis (OR = 1.99 (1.23–3.22). Of those with dementia, Alzheimer's disease was more common in White British (57.0%) than in Asian (43.8%) and Black referrals (51.0%): adjusted OR White British versus Asian 1.76 (1.11–2.77). Of those with dementia, the proportion with moderate/severe disease was highest in White British (66.8%), compared with 61.9% in Asian and 45.8% in Black groups. The adjusted OR for the White versus Black groups was 2.03 (1.10–3.72), with no significant difference between Asian and White British groups.
Differences in confirmed dementia suggest general practitioners have a lower threshold for referral for possible dementia in some BAME groups. Unlike other centres, we found no evidence of greater severity at presentation in Asian and Black groups.
There is evidence that depression can be prevented; however, traditional approaches face significant scalability issues. Digital technologies provide a potential solution, although this has not been adequately tested. The aim of this study was to evaluate the effectiveness of a new smartphone app designed to reduce depression symptoms and subsequent incident depression amongst a large group of Australian workers.
A randomized controlled trial was conducted with follow-up assessments at 5 weeks and 3 and 12 months post-baseline. Participants were employed Australians reporting no clinically significant depression. The intervention group (N = 1128) was allocated to use HeadGear, a smartphone app which included a 30-day behavioural activation and mindfulness intervention. The attention-control group (N = 1143) used an app which included a 30-day mood monitoring component. The primary outcome was the level of depressive symptomatology (PHQ-9) at 3-month follow-up. Analyses were conducted within an intention-to-treat framework using mixed modelling.
Those assigned to the HeadGear arm had fewer depressive symptoms over the course of the trial compared to those assigned to the control (F3,734.7 = 2.98, p = 0.031). Prevalence of depression over the 12-month period was 8.0% and 3.5% for controls and HeadGear recipients, respectively, with odds of depression caseness amongst the intervention group of 0.43 (p = 0.001, 95% CI 0.26–0.70).
This trial demonstrates that a smartphone app can reduce depression symptoms and potentially prevent incident depression caseness and such interventions may have a role in improving working population mental health. Some caution in interpretation is needed regarding the clinical significance due to small effect size and trial attrition.
Trial Registration Australian and New Zealand Clinical Trials Registry (www.anzctr.org.au/) ACTRN12617000548336
Reconstructing routes of ancient long-distance voyaging, long a topic of speculation, has become possible thanks to advances in the geochemical sourcing of archaeological artifacts. Of particular interest are islands classified as Polynesian Outliers, where people speak Polynesian languages and have distinctly Polynesian cultural traits, but are located within the Melanesian or Micronesian cultural areas. While the classification of these groups as Polynesian is not in dispute, the material evidence for the movement between Polynesia and the Polynesian Outliers is exceedingly rare, unconfirmed, and in most cases, nonexistent. We report on the first comprehensive sourcing (using a portable X-ray fluorescence spectrometer) of obsidian and volcanic glass artifacts recovered from excavations on the Polynesian Outlier island of Tikopia. We find evidence for: (1) initial settlement followed by continued voyages between Tikopia and an island Melanesian homeland; (2) long-distance voyaging becoming much less frequent and continuing to decline; and (3) later voyaging from Polynesia marked by imports of volcanic glass from Tonga beginning at 765 cal yr BP (±54 yr). Later long-distance voyages from Polynesia were surprisingly rare, given the strong cultural and linguistic influences of Polynesia, and we suggest, may indicate that Tikopia was targeted by Tongans for political expansion.
The COVID-19 global crisis is reshaping Canadian society in unexpected and profound ways. The significantly higher morbidity and mortality risks by age suggest that this is largely a “gero-pandemic,” which has thrust the field of aging onto center stage. This editorial emphasizes that vulnerable older adults are also those most affected by COVID-19 in terms of infection risk, negative health effects, and the potential deleterious outcomes on a range of social, psychological, and economic contexts – from ageism to social isolation. We also contend that the pathogenic analysis of this pandemic needs to be balanced with a salutogenic approach that examines the positive adaptation of people, systems and society, termed COVID-19 resilience. This begs the question: how and why do some older adults and communities adapt and thrive better than others? This examination will lead to the identification and response to research and data gaps, challenges, and innovative opportunities as we plan for a future in which COVID-19 has become another endemic infection in the growing list of emerging and re-emerging pathogens.
We discuss the factors influencing the relationship between government policy-makers and scientists and how they affect the use of science in policy. We highlight issues related to context, values, culture, timeframes, communication and interpersonal relationships, providing insights from policy-makers and scientists. A spectrum of working strategies is given with examples of practical mechanisms that improve the effective use of science in policy. The shared governance model is a relatively mature approach with the potential to overcome many of the barriers discussed. At its core, shared governance, or co-production, invites policy-makers and scientists to develop and manage research priorities collaboratively. We explore the primary features of a successful shared governance arrangement, exemplified by the collaborative working model between the Australian Government Department of Agriculture and the Centre of Excellence for Biosecurity Risk Analysis. We conclude by outlining the advantages and disadvantages of the co-production of research priorities by scientists and policy-makers and present the learnings from its implementation in the biosecurity sector in Australia.
We describe an ultra-wide-bandwidth, low-frequency receiver recently installed on the Parkes radio telescope. The receiver system provides continuous frequency coverage from 704 to 4032 MHz. For much of the band (
), the system temperature is approximately 22 K and the receiver system remains in a linear regime even in the presence of strong mobile phone transmissions. We discuss the scientific and technical aspects of the new receiver, including its astronomical objectives, as well as the feed, receiver, digitiser, and signal processor design. We describe the pipeline routines that form the archive-ready data products and how those data files can be accessed from the archives. The system performance is quantified, including the system noise and linearity, beam shape, antenna efficiency, polarisation calibration, and timing stability.
Cognitive impairment associated with lifetime major depressive disorder (MDD) is well-supported by meta-analytic studies, but population-based estimates remain scarce. Previous UK Biobank studies have only shown limited evidence of cognitive differences related to probable MDD. Using updated cognitive and clinical assessments in UK Biobank, this study investigated population-level differences in cognitive functioning associated with lifetime MDD.
Associations between lifetime MDD and cognition (performance on six tasks and general cognitive functioning [g-factor]) were investigated in UK Biobank (N-range 7,457–14,836, age 45–81 years, 52% female), adjusting for demographics, education, and lifestyle. Lifetime MDD classifications were based on the Composite International Diagnostic Interview. Within the lifetime MDD group, we additionally investigated relationships between cognition and (a) recurrence, (b) current symptoms, (c) severity of psychosocial impairment (while symptomatic), and (d) concurrent psychotropic medication use.
Lifetime MDD was robustly associated with a lower g-factor (β = −0.10, PFDR = 4.7 × 10−5), with impairments in attention, processing speed, and executive functioning (β ≥ 0.06). Clinical characteristics revealed differential profiles of cognitive impairment among case individuals; those who reported severe psychosocial impairment and use of psychotropic medication performed worse on cognitive tests. Severe psychosocial impairment and reasoning showed the strongest association (β = −0.18, PFDR = 7.5 × 10−5).
Findings describe small but robust associations between lifetime MDD and lower cognitive performance within a population-based sample. Overall effects were of modest effect size, suggesting limited clinical relevance. However, deficits within specific cognitive domains were more pronounced in relation to clinical characteristics, particularly severe psychosocial impairment.
UK Biobank is a well-characterised cohort of over 500 000 participants including genetics, environmental data and imaging. An online mental health questionnaire was designed for UK Biobank participants to expand its potential.
Describe the development, implementation and results of this questionnaire.
An expert working group designed the questionnaire, using established measures where possible, and consulting a patient group. Operational criteria were agreed for defining likely disorder and risk states, including lifetime depression, mania/hypomania, generalised anxiety disorder, unusual experiences and self-harm, and current post-traumatic stress and hazardous/harmful alcohol use.
A total of 157 366 completed online questionnaires were available by August 2017. Participants were aged 45–82 (53% were ≥65 years) and 57% women. Comparison of self-reported diagnosed mental disorder with a contemporary study shows a similar prevalence, despite respondents being of higher average socioeconomic status. Lifetime depression was a common finding, with 24% (37 434) of participants meeting criteria and current hazardous/harmful alcohol use criteria were met by 21% (32 602), whereas other criteria were met by less than 8% of the participants. There was extensive comorbidity among the syndromes. Mental disorders were associated with a high neuroticism score, adverse life events and long-term illness; addiction and bipolar affective disorder in particular were associated with measures of deprivation.
The UK Biobank questionnaire represents a very large mental health survey in itself, and the results presented here show high face validity, although caution is needed because of selection bias. Built into UK Biobank, these data intersect with other health data to offer unparalleled potential for crosscutting biomedical research involving mental health.
Studies suggest that alcohol consumption and alcohol use disorders have distinct genetic backgrounds.
We examined whether polygenic risk scores (PRS) for consumption and problem subscales of the Alcohol Use Disorders Identification Test (AUDIT-C, AUDIT-P) in the UK Biobank (UKB; N = 121 630) correlate with alcohol outcomes in four independent samples: an ascertained cohort, the Collaborative Study on the Genetics of Alcoholism (COGA; N = 6850), and population-based cohorts: Avon Longitudinal Study of Parents and Children (ALSPAC; N = 5911), Generation Scotland (GS; N = 17 461), and an independent subset of UKB (N = 245 947). Regression models and survival analyses tested whether the PRS were associated with the alcohol-related outcomes.
In COGA, AUDIT-P PRS was associated with alcohol dependence, AUD symptom count, maximum drinks (R2 = 0.47–0.68%, p = 2.0 × 10−8–1.0 × 10−10), and increased likelihood of onset of alcohol dependence (hazard ratio = 1.15, p = 4.7 × 10−8); AUDIT-C PRS was not an independent predictor of any phenotype. In ALSPAC, the AUDIT-C PRS was associated with alcohol dependence (R2 = 0.96%, p = 4.8 × 10−6). In GS, AUDIT-C PRS was a better predictor of weekly alcohol use (R2 = 0.27%, p = 5.5 × 10−11), while AUDIT-P PRS was more associated with problem drinking (R2 = 0.40%, p = 9.0 × 10−7). Lastly, AUDIT-P PRS was associated with ICD-based alcohol-related disorders in the UKB subset (R2 = 0.18%, p < 2.0 × 10−16).
AUDIT-P PRS was associated with a range of alcohol-related phenotypes across population-based and ascertained cohorts, while AUDIT-C PRS showed less utility in the ascertained cohort. We show that AUDIT-P is genetically correlated with both use and misuse and demonstrate the influence of ascertainment schemes on PRS analyses.
An abstract system of congruences describes a way of partitioning a space into finitely many pieces satisfying certain congruence relations. Examples of abstract systems of congruences include paradoxical decompositions and
-divisibility of actions. We consider the general question of when there are realizations of abstract systems of congruences satisfying various measurability constraints. We completely characterize which abstract systems of congruences can be realized by nonmeager Baire measurable pieces of the sphere under the action of rotations on the
-sphere. This answers a question by Wagon. We also construct Borel realizations of abstract systems of congruences for the action of
. The combinatorial underpinnings of our proof are certain types of decomposition of Borel graphs into paths. We also use these decompositions to obtain some results about measurable unfriendly colorings.
Background: Adults are at risk of being exposed to influenza from many sources. Healthcare personnel (HCP) have the additional risk of being exposed to ill patients.
To determine whether HCP were at higher risk than adults working in nonhealthcare roles (non-HCP).
Prospective cohort study.
Acute-care hospitals and other businesses in Toronto, Ontario, Canada.
Adults aged 18–69 years were enrolled for 1 or more of the 2010/2011, 2011/2012, and 2012/2013 influenza seasons. Swabs collected during acute respiratory illnesses were tested for influenza and pre- and postseason blood samples were tested for influenza-specific immune response.
The adjusted odds of influenza were similar for HCP and non-HCP (odds ratio [OR], 1.29; 95% confidence interval [CI], 0.63–2.63). Older adults and those vaccinated against influenza had lower odds, and those who shared their workspace and who used corrective eyewear had higher odds of influenza.
HCP and other working adults are at similar risk of influenza infection.
Parasitism can affect every aspect of wildlife ecology, from predator avoidance and competition for food to migrations and reproduction. In the wild, these ecological effects can have implications for host fitness and parasite dynamics. In contrast, domestic environments are typically characterised by high host densities, low host diversity, and veterinary interventions, and are not subject to processes like predation, competition, and migration. When wild and domesticated hosts interact via shared parasite populations, understanding and predicting the outcomes of parasite ecology and evolution for wildlife conservation and sustainable farming can be a challenge. We describe the ecology and evolution of ectoparasitic sea lice that are shared by farmed and wild salmon and the insights that experiments, fieldwork, and mathematical modelling have generated for theory and applied problems of host–parasite interactions over the course of a long-term study in Pacific Canada. The salmon–sea lice host–parasite system provides a rich case study to examine the ecological context of host–parasite interactions and to shed light on the principal challenges of parasite management for wildlife health and conservation.
Major depressive disorder and neuroticism (Neu) share a large genetic basis. We sought to determine whether this shared basis could be decomposed to identify genetic factors that are specific to depression.
We analysed summary statistics from genome-wide association studies (GWAS) of depression (from the Psychiatric Genomics Consortium, 23andMe and UK Biobank) and compared them with GWAS of Neu (from UK Biobank). First, we used a pairwise GWAS analysis to classify variants as associated with only depression, with only Neu or with both. Second, we estimated partial genetic correlations to test whether the depression's genetic link with other phenotypes was explained by shared overlap with Neu.
We found evidence that most genomic regions (25/37) associated with depression are likely to be shared with Neu. The overlapping common genetic variance of depression and Neu was genetically correlated primarily with psychiatric disorders. We found that the genetic contributions to depression, that were not shared with Neu, were positively correlated with metabolic phenotypes and cardiovascular disease, and negatively correlated with the personality trait conscientiousness. After removing shared genetic overlap with Neu, depression still had a specific association with schizophrenia, bipolar disorder, coronary artery disease and age of first birth. Independent of depression, Neu had specific genetic correlates in ulcerative colitis, pubertal growth, anorexia and education.
Our findings demonstrate that, while genetic risk factors for depression are largely shared with Neu, there are also non-Neu-related features of depression that may be useful for further patient or phenotypic stratification.
While echocardiographic parameters are used to quantify ventricular function in infants with single ventricle physiology, there are few data comparing these to invasive measurements. This study correlates echocardiographic measures of diastolic function with ventricular end-diastolic pressure in infants with single ventricle physiology prior to superior cavopulmonary anastomosis.
Data from 173 patients enrolled in the Pediatric Heart Network Infant Single Ventricle enalapril trial were analysed. Those with mixed ventricular types (n = 17) and one outlier (end-diastolic pressure = 32 mmHg) were excluded from the analysis, leaving a total sample size of 155 patients. Echocardiographic measurements were correlated to end-diastolic pressure using Spearman’s test.
Median age at echocardiogram was 4.6 (range 2.5–7.4) months. Median ventricular end-diastolic pressure was 7 (range 3–19) mmHg. Median time difference between the echocardiogram and catheterisation was 0 days (range −35 to 59 days). Examining the entire cohort of 155 patients, no echocardiographic diastolic function variable correlated with ventricular end-diastolic pressure. When the analysis was limited to the 86 patients who had similar sedation for both studies, the systolic:diastolic duration ratio had a significant but weak negative correlation with end-diastolic pressure (r = −0.3, p = 0.004). The remaining echocardiographic variables did not correlate with ventricular end-diastolic pressure.
In this cohort of infants with single ventricle physiology prior to superior cavopulmonary anastomosis, most conventional echocardiographic measures of diastolic function did not correlate with ventricular end-diastolic pressure at cardiac catheterisation. These limitations should be factored into the interpretation of quantitative echo data in this patient population.
Use of the herbicide atrazine (ATR) is banned in the European Union; yet, it is still widely used in the USA and Australia. ATR is known to alter testosterone and oestrogen production and thus reproductive characteristics in numerous species. In this proof of concept study, we examined the effect of ATR exposure, at a supra-environmental dose (5 mg/kg bw/day), beginning on E9.5 in utero, prior to sexual differentiation of the reproductive tissues, until 26 weeks of age, on the development of the mouse penis. Notably, this is the first study to specifically investigate whether ATR can affect penis characteristics. We show that ATR exposure, beginning in utero, causes a shortening (demasculinisation) of penis structures and increases the incidence of hypospadias in mice. These data indicate the need for further studies of ATR on human reproductive development and fertility, especially considering its continued and widespread use.