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There is evidence that autism spectrum disorders (ASDs) co-occur with bipolar disorder (BD) relatively frequently. Individuals with BD often report symptoms of mania and hypomania during adolescence, prior to the age of onset for BD. It is unknown whether these symptoms are associated with ASDs. We examined whether diagnoses of ASDs and autistic traits were associated with hypomania in a large, population-based Swedish twin sample.
Parental structured interviews assessed autistic traits, and were used to assign screening diagnoses of ASDs, when twins were aged 9 or 12 (N = 13 533 pairs). Parents then completed questionnaires assessing hypomania when the twins were aged 15 and 18 (N = 3852 pairs at age 15, and 3013 pairs at age 18). After investigating the phenotypic associations between these measures, we used the classical twin design to test whether genetic and environmental influences on autistic traits influence variation in adolescent hypomania.
Autistic traits and ASD diagnoses in childhood were associated with elevated scores on the measures of adolescent hypomania. Twin analyses indicated that 6–9% of the variance in hypomania was explained by genetic influences that were shared with autistic traits in childhood. When repeating these analyses for specific autistic trait domains, we found a stronger association between social interaction difficulties and hypomania than for other autistic trait domains.
These results indicate a genetic link between autistic traits and hypomania in adolescence. This adds to the growing evidence base of genetic factors associated with ASDs showing links with psychiatric outcomes across childhood and into adulthood.
The first demonstration of laser action in ruby was made in 1960 by T. H. Maiman of Hughes Research Laboratories, USA. Many laboratories worldwide began the search for lasers using different materials, operating at different wavelengths. In the UK, academia, industry and the central laboratories took up the challenge from the earliest days to develop these systems for a broad range of applications. This historical review looks at the contribution the UK has made to the advancement of the technology, the development of systems and components and their exploitation over the last 60 years.
While neurodevelopmental disorders (NDDs) are highly heritable, several environmental risk factors have also been suggested. However, the role of familial confounding is unclear. To shed more light on this, we reviewed the evidence from twin and sibling studies. A systematic review was performed on case control and cohort studies including a twin or sibling within-pair comparison of neurodevelopmental outcomes, with environmental exposures until the sixth birthday. From 7,315 screened abstracts, 140 eligible articles were identified. After adjustment for familial confounding advanced paternal age, low birth weight, birth defects, and perinatal hypoxia and respiratory stress were associated with autism spectrum disorder (ASD), and low birth weight, gestational age and family income were associated with attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), categorically and dimensionally. Several previously suspected factors, including pregnancy-related factors, were deemed due to familial confounding. Most studies were conducted in North America and Scandinavia, pointing to a global research bias. Moreover, most studies focused on ASD and ADHD. This genetically informed review showed evidence for a range of environmental factors of potential casual significance in NDDs, but also points to a critical need of more genetically informed studies of good quality in the quest of the environmental causes of NDDs.
Many psychiatric disorders show gender differences in prevalence. Recent studies suggest that female patients diagnosed with anxiety and depression carry more genetic risks related to attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) compared with affected males.
In this register-based study, we aimed to test whether female patients who received clinical diagnoses of anxiety, depressive, bipolar and eating disorders are at higher familial risk for ADHD and other neurodevelopmental disorders, compared with diagnosed male patients.
We analysed data from a record-linkage of several Swedish national registers, including 151 025 sibling pairs from 103 941 unique index individuals diagnosed with anxiety, depressive, bipolar or eating disorders, as well as data from 646 948 cousin pairs. We compared the likelihood of having a relative diagnosed with ADHD/neurodevelopmental disorders in index males and females.
Female patients with anxiety disorders were more likely than affected males to have a brother with ADHD (odd ratio (OR) = 1.13, 95% CI 1.05–1.22). Results for broader neurodevelopmental disorders were similar and were driven by ADHD diagnoses. Follow-up analyses revealed similar point estimates for several categories of anxiety disorders, with the strongest effect observed for agoraphobia (OR = 1.64, 95% CI 1.12–2.39). No significant associations were found in individuals with depressive, bipolar or eating disorders, or in cousins.
These results provide modest support for the possibility that familial/genetic risks for ADHD may show gender-specific phenotypic expression. Alternatively, there could be gender-specific biases in diagnoses of anxiety and ADHD. These factors could play a small role in the observed gender differences in prevalence of ADHD and anxiety.
The updated common rule, for human subjects research, requires that consents “begin with a ‘concise and focused’ presentation of the key information that will most likely help someone make a decision about whether to participate in a study” (Menikoff, Kaneshiro, Pritchard. The New England Journal of Medicine. 2017; 376(7): 613–615.). We utilized a community-engaged technology development approach to inform feature options within the REDCap software platform centered around collection and storage of electronic consent (eConsent) to address issues of transparency, clinical trial efficiency, and regulatory compliance for informed consent (Harris, et al. Journal of Biomedical Informatics 2009; 42(2): 377–381.). eConsent may also improve recruitment and retention in clinical research studies by addressing: (1) barriers for accessing rural populations by facilitating remote consent and (2) cultural and literacy barriers by including optional explanatory material (e.g., defining terms by hovering over them with the cursor) or the choice of displaying different videos/images based on participant’s race, ethnicity, or educational level (Phillippi, et al. Journal of Obstetric, Gynecologic, & Neonatal Nursing. 2018; 47(4): 529–534.).
We developed and pilot tested our eConsent framework to provide a personalized consent experience whereby users are guided through a consent document that utilizes avatars, contextual glossary information supplements, and videos, to facilitate communication of information.
The eConsent framework includes a portfolio of eight features, reviewed by community stakeholders, and tested at two academic medical centers.
Early adoption and utilization of this eConsent framework have demonstrated acceptability. Next steps will emphasize testing efficacy of features to improve participant engagement with the consent process.
Accumulating evidence suggests that many psychiatric disorders etiologically represent the extreme end of dimensionally distributed features rather than distinct entities. The extent to which this applies to eating disorders (EDs) is unknown.
We investigated if there is similar etiology in (a) the continuous distribution of the Eating Disorder Inventory-2 (EDI-2), (b) the extremes of EDI-2 score, and (c) registered ED diagnoses, in 1481 female twin pairs at age 18 years (born 1992–1999). EDI-2 scores were self-reported at age 18. ED diagnoses were identified through the Swedish National Patient Register, parent-reported treatment and/or self-reported purging behavior of a frequency and duration consistent with DSM-IV criteria. We differentiated between anorexia nervosa (AN) and other EDs.
The heritability of the EDI-2 score was 0.65 (95% CI 0.61–0.68). The group heritabilities in DeFries–Fulker extremes analyses were consistent over different percentile-based extreme groups [0.59 (95% CI 0.37–0.81) to 0.65 (95% CI 0.55–0.75)]. Similarly, the heritabilities in liability threshold models were consistent over different levels of severity. In joint categorical-continuous models, the twin-based genetic correlation was 0.52 (95% CI 0.39–0.65) between EDI-2 score and diagnoses of other EDs, and 0.26 (95% CI 0.08–0.42) between EDI-2 score and diagnoses of AN. The non-shared environmental correlations were 0.52 (95% CI 0.32–0.70) and 0.60 (95% CI 0.38–0.79), respectively.
Our findings suggest that some EDs can partly be conceptualized as the extreme manifestation of continuously distributed ED features. AN, however, might be more distinctly genetically demarcated from ED features in the general population than other EDs.
Performing an extended Focused Assessment with Sonography in Trauma (eFAST) exam is common practice in the initial assessment of trauma patients. The objective of this study was to systematically review the published literature on diagnostic accuracy of all components of the eFAST exam.
We searched Medline and Embase from inception through October 2018, for diagnostic studies examining the sensitivity and specificity of the eFAST exam. After removal of duplicates, 767 records remained for screening, of which 119 underwent full text review. Meta-DiSc™ software was used to create pooled sensitivities and specificities for included studies. Study quality was assessed using the Quality in Prognostic Studies (QUADAS-2) tool.
Seventy-five studies representing 24,350 patients satisfied our selection criteria. Studies were published between 1989 and 2017. Pooled sensitivities and specificities were calculated for the detection of pneumothorax (69% and 99% respectively), pericardial effusion (91% and 94% respectively), and intra-abdominal free fluid (74% and 98% respectively). Sub-group analysis was completed for detection of intra-abdominal free fluid in hypotensive (sensitivity 74% and specificity 95%), adult normotensive (sensitivity 76% and specificity 98%) and pediatric patients (sensitivity 71% and specificity 95%).
Our systematic review and meta-analysis suggests that e-FAST is a useful bedside tool for ruling in pneumothorax, pericardial effusion, and intra-abdominal free fluid in the trauma setting. Its usefulness as a rule-out tool is not supported by these results.
Traits of attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) and autism spectrum disorder (ASD) are strongly associated in children and adolescents, largely due to genetic factors. Less is known about the phenotypic and aetiological overlap between ADHD and ASD traits in adults.
We studied 6866 individuals aged 20–28 years from the Swedish Study of Young Adult Twins. Inattention (IA) and hyperactivity/impulsivity (HI) were assessed using the WHO Adult ADHD Self-Report Scale-V1.1. Repetitive and restricted behaviours (RRB) and social interaction and communication (SIC) were assessed using the Autism-Tics, ADHD, and other Comorbidities inventory. We used structural equation modelling to decompose covariance between these ADHD and ASD trait dimensions into genetic and shared/non-shared environmental components.
At the phenotypic level, IA was similarly correlated with RRB (r = 0.33; 95% Confidence Interval (CI) 0.31–0.36) and with SIC (r = 0.32; 95% CI 0.29–0.34), whereas HI was more strongly associated with RRB (r = 0.38; 95% CI 0.35–0.40) than with SIC (r = 0.24; 95% CI 0.21–0.26). Genetic and non-shared environmental effects accounted for similar proportions of the phenotypic correlations, whereas shared environmental effects were of minimal importance. The highest genetic correlation was between HI and RRB (r = 0.56; 95% 0.46–0.65), and the lowest was between HI and SIC (r = 0.33; 95% CI 0.23–0.43).
We found evidence for dimension-specific phenotypic and aetiological overlap between ADHD and ASD traits in adults. Future studies investigating mechanisms underlying comorbidity between ADHD and ASD may benefit from exploring several symptom-dimensions, rather than considering only broad diagnostic categories.
Genetic influences play a significant role in risk for psychiatric disorders, prompting numerous endeavors to further understand their underlying genetic architecture. In this paper, we summarize and review evidence from traditional twin studies and more recent genome-wide molecular genetic analyses regarding two important issues that have proven particularly informative for psychiatric genetic research. First, emerging results are beginning to suggest that genetic risk factors for some (but not all) clinically diagnosed psychiatric disorders or extreme manifestations of psychiatric traits in the population share genetic risks with quantitative variation in milder traits of the same disorder throughout the general population. Second, there is now evidence for substantial sharing of genetic risks across different psychiatric disorders. This extends to the level of characteristic traits throughout the population, with which some clinical disorders also share genetic risks. In this review, we summarize and evaluate the evidence for these two issues, for a range of psychiatric disorders. We then critically appraise putative interpretations regarding the potential meaning of genetic correlation across psychiatric phenotypes. We highlight several new methods and studies which are already using these insights into the genetic architecture of psychiatric disorders to gain additional understanding regarding the underlying biology of these disorders. We conclude by outlining opportunities for future research in this area.
Driving in persons with dementia poses risks that must be counterbalanced with the importance of the care for autonomy and mobility. Physicians often find substantial challenges in the assessment and reporting of driving safety for persons with dementia. This paper describes a driving in dementia decision tool (DD-DT) developed to aid physicians in deciding when to report older drivers with either mild dementia or mild cognitive impairment to local transportation administrators.
A multi-faceted, computerized decision support tool was developed, using a systematic literature and guideline review, expert opinion from an earlier Delphi study, as well as qualitative interviews and focus groups with physicians, caregivers of former drivers with dementia, and transportation administrators. The tool integrates inputs from the physician-user about the patient's clinical and driving history as well as cognitive findings, and it produces a recommendation for reporting to transportation administrators. This recommendation is translated into a customized reporting form for the transportation authority, if applicable, and additional resources are provided for the patient and caregiver.
An innovative approach was needed to develop the DD-DT. The literature and guideline review confirmed the algorithm derived from the earlier Delphi study, and barriers identified in the qualitative research were incorporated into the design of the tool.
Improving children's learning and development in conflict-affected countries is critically important for breaking the intergenerational transmission of violence and poverty. Yet there is currently a stunning lack of rigorous evidence as to whether and how programs to improve learning and development in conflict-affected countries actually work to bolster children's academic learning and socioemotional development. This study tests a theory of change derived from the fields of developmental psychopathology and social ecology about how a school-based universal socioemotional learning program, the International Rescue Committee's Learning to Read in a Healing Classroom (LRHC), impacts children's learning and development. The study was implemented in three conflict-affected provinces of the Democratic Republic of the Congo and employed a cluster-randomized waitlist control design to estimate impact. Using multilevel structural equation modeling techniques, we found support for the central pathways in the LRHC theory of change. Specifically, we found that LRHC differentially impacted dimensions of the quality of the school and classroom environment at the end of the first year of the intervention, and that in turn these dimensions of quality were differentially associated with child academic and socioemotional outcomes. Future implications and directions are discussed.
The reader might get the impression that the four projects described in this Special Section proceeded in a systematic and predictable way. Of course, those of us engaged in each research project encountered pitfalls and challenges along the way. A main goal of this Special Section is to provide pathways and encouragement for those who may be interested in advancing high-quality research on this topic. In this paper, we describe a set of practical and ethical challenges that we encountered in conducting our longitudinal, process-oriented, and translational research with conflict-affected youth, and we illustrate how problems can be solved with the goal of maintaining the internal and external validity of the research designs. We are hopeful that by describing the challenges of our work, and how we overcame them, which are seldom treated in this or any other literature on research on child development in high-risk contexts, we can offer a realistic and encouraging picture of conducting methodologically sound research in conflict-affected contexts.
Giant ragweed has been increasing as a major weed of row crops in the last
30 yr, but quantitative data regarding its pattern and mechanisms of spread
in crop fields are lacking. To address this gap, we conducted a Web-based
survey of certified crop advisors in the U.S. Corn Belt and Ontario, Canada.
Participants were asked questions regarding giant ragweed and crop
production practices for the county of their choice. Responses were mapped
and correlation analyses were conducted among the responses to determine
factors associated with giant ragweed populations. Respondents rated giant
ragweed as the most or one of the most difficult weeds to manage in 45% of
421 U.S. counties responding, and 57% of responding counties reported giant
ragweed populations with herbicide resistance to acetolactate synthase
inhibitors, glyphosate, or both herbicides. Results suggest that giant
ragweed is increasing in crop fields outward from the east-central U.S. Corn
Belt in most directions. Crop production practices associated with giant
ragweed populations included minimum tillage, continuous soybean, and
multiple-application herbicide programs; ecological factors included giant
ragweed presence in noncrop edge habitats, early and prolonged emergence,
and presence of the seed-burying common earthworm in crop fields. Managing
giant ragweed in noncrop areas could reduce giant ragweed migration from
noncrop habitats into crop fields and slow its spread. Where giant ragweed
is already established in crop fields, including a more diverse combination
of crop species, tillage practices, and herbicide sites of action will be
critical to reduce populations, disrupt emergence patterns, and select
against herbicide-resistant giant ragweed genotypes. Incorporation of a
cereal grain into the crop rotation may help suppress early giant ragweed
emergence and provide chemical or mechanical control options for
late-emerging giant ragweed.
Peer drinking norms are arguably one of the strongest correlates of adolescent drinking. Prospective studies indicate that adolescents tend to select peers based on drinking (peer selection) and their peers' drinking is associated with changes in adolescent drinking over time (peer socialization). The present study investigated whether the peer selection and socialization processes in adolescent drinking differed as a function of the dopamine receptor D4 (DRD4) variable number tandem repeat genotype in two independent prospective data sets. The first sample was 174 high school students drawn from a two-wave 6-month prospective study. The second sample was 237 college students drawn from a three-wave annual prospective study. Multigroup cross-lagged panel analyses of the high school student sample indicated stronger socialization via peer drinking norms among carriers, whereas analyses of the college student sample indicated stronger drinking-based peer selection in the junior year among carriers, compared to noncarriers. Although replication and meta-analytic synthesis are needed, these findings suggest that in part genetically determined peer selection (carriers of the DRD4 seven-repeat allele tend to associate with peers who have more favorable attitudes toward drinking and greater alcohol use) and peer socialization (carriers' subsequent drinking behaviors are more strongly associated with their peer drinking norms) may differ across adolescent developmental stages.
The extent to which indices of maternal physiological arousal (skin conductance augmentation) and regulation (vagal withdrawal) while parenting predict infant attachment disorganization and behavior problems directly or indirectly via maternal sensitivity was examined in a sample of 259 mothers and their infants. Two covariates, maternal self-reported emotional risk and Adult Attachment Interview attachment coherence were assessed prenatally. Mothers' physiological arousal and regulation were measured during parenting tasks when infants were 6 months old. Maternal sensitivity was observed during distress-eliciting tasks when infants were 6 and 14 months old, and an average sensitivity score was calculated. Attachment disorganization was observed during the Strange Situation when infants were 14 months old, and mothers reported on infants' behavior problems when infants were 27 months old. Over and above covariates, mothers' arousal and regulation while parenting interacted to predict infant attachment disorganization and behavior problems such that maternal arousal was associated with higher attachment disorganization and behavior problems when maternal regulation was low but not when maternal regulation was high. This effect was direct and not explained by maternal sensitivity. The results suggest that maternal physiological dysregulation while parenting places infants at risk for psychopathology.
This longitudinal study of affluent suburban youth (N = 319) tracked from 6th to 12th grade is parsed into two segments examining prospective associations concerning emotional–behavioral difficulties and academic achievement. In Part 1 of the investigation, markers of emotional–behavioral difficulty were used to cluster participants during 6th grade. Generalized estimating equations were then used to document between-cluster differences in academic competence from 6th to 12th grade. In Part 2 of the study, indicators of academic competence were used to cluster the same students during 6th grade, and generalized estimating equations were used to document between-cluster differences in emotional–behavioral difficulty from 6th to 12th grade. The results from Part 1 indicated that patterns of emotional–behavioral difficulty during 6th grade were concurrently associated with poorer grades and classroom adjustment with some group differences in the rate of change in classroom adjustment over time. In Part 2, patterns of academic competence during 6th grade were concurrently associated with less emotional–behavioral difficulty and some group differences in the rate of change in specific forms of emotional–behavioral difficulty over time. These results suggest that the youth sampled appeared relatively well adjusted and any emotional–behavioral–achievement difficulty that was evident at the start of middle school was sustained through the end of high school.
We investigate the role of distal, proximal, and child risk factors as predictors of reading readiness and attention and behavior in children at risk of dyslexia. The parents of a longitudinal sample of 251 preschool children, including children at family risk of dyslexia and children with preschool language difficulties, provided measures of socioeconomic status, home literacy environment, family stresses, and child health via interviews and questionnaires. Assessments of children's reading-related skills, behavior, and attention were used to define their readiness for learning at school entry. Children at family risk of dyslexia and children with preschool language difficulties experienced more environmental adversities and health risks than controls. The risks associated with family risk of dyslexia and with language status were additive. Both home literacy environment and child health predicted reading readiness while home literacy environment and family stresses predicted attention and behavior. Family risk of dyslexia did not predict readiness to learn once other risks were controlled and so seems likely to be best conceptualized as representing gene–environment correlations. Pooling across risks defined a cumulative risk index, which was a significant predictor of reading readiness and, together with nonverbal ability, accounted for 31% of the variance between children.
This study aimed to specify the neural mechanisms underlying the link between low household income and diminished executive control in the preschool period. Specifically, we examined whether individual differences in the neural processes associated with executive attention and inhibitory control accounted for income differences observed in performance on a neuropsychological battery of executive control tasks. The study utilized a sample of preschool-aged children (N = 118) whose families represented the full range of income, with 32% of families at/near poverty, 32% lower income, and 36% middle to upper income. Children completed a neuropsychological battery of executive control tasks and then completed two computerized executive control tasks while EEG data were collected. We predicted that differences in the event-related potential (ERP) correlates of executive attention and inhibitory control would account for income differences observed on the executive control battery. Income and ERP measures were related to performance on the executive control battery. However, income was unrelated to ERP measures. The findings suggest that income differences observed in executive control during the preschool period might relate to processes other than executive attention and inhibitory control.
To investigate whether socioeconomic status influenced rates of depot medication prescribing, polypharmacy (more than two psychotropic medications), newer (second-generation) antipsychotic prescribing and clozapine therapy. Postcodes, Scottish Index of Multiple Deprivation (SIMD) categories and current medication status were ascertained. Patients in the most deprived SIMD groups (8–10 combined) were compared with those in the most affluent SIMD groups (1–3 combined).
Overall, 3200 patients with ICD-10 schizophrenia were identified. No clear relationship between socioeconomic status and any of the four prescribing areas was identified, although rates of depot medication use in deprived areas were slightly higher.
Contrary to our hypothesis, there was no evidence that patients with schizophrenia within NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde who live in more deprived communities had different prescribing experiences from patients living in more affluent areas.