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Brain imaging studies have shown altered amygdala activity during emotion processing in children and adolescents with oppositional defiant disorder (ODD) and conduct disorder (CD) compared to typically developing children and adolescents (TD). Here we aimed to assess whether aggression-related subtypes (reactive and proactive aggression) and callous-unemotional (CU) traits predicted variation in amygdala activity and skin conductance (SC) response during emotion processing.
We included 177 participants (n = 108 cases with disruptive behaviour and/or ODD/CD and n = 69 TD), aged 8–18 years, across nine sites in Europe, as part of the EU Aggressotype and MATRICS projects. All participants performed an emotional face-matching functional magnetic resonance imaging task.
Differences between cases and TD in affective processing, as well as specificity of activation patterns for aggression subtypes and CU traits, were assessed. Simultaneous SC recordings were acquired in a subsample (n = 63). Cases compared to TDs showed higher amygdala activity in response to negative faces (fearful and angry) v. shapes. Subtyping cases according to aggression-related subtypes did not significantly influence on amygdala activity; while stratification based on CU traits was more sensitive and revealed decreased amygdala activity in the high CU group. SC responses were significantly lower in cases and negatively correlated with CU traits, reactive and proactive aggression.
Our results showed differences in amygdala activity and SC responses to emotional faces between cases with ODD/CD and TD, while CU traits moderate both central (amygdala) and peripheral (SC) responses. Our insights regarding subtypes and trait-specific aggression could be used for improved diagnostics and personalized treatment.
Previous studies have reported that the menopause is associated with deterioration in memory and mood in some women. Also, a significant body of research suggests that hormone ‘replacement’ therapy (HRT) – now referred to as menopausal hormone therapy (MHT) – specifically with estrogen, may act as a prophylaxis against the risk for developing Alzheimer’s disease (AD) and a treatment for perimenopausal depression. The precise nature, and biological basis, of this relationship is still not fully understood. However, it probably involves a complex interaction between genes, the environment and the mode and timing of MHT prescription. Increasing our understanding of the interplay between these factors during the menopause may permit us to target more specific treatments to vulnerable individuals. Furthermore, it offers a window of opportunity to understand the putative role of estrogen in psychiatric disorders at other times of the reproductive cycle. The current chapter will focus on the role of estrogen on Alzheimer’s disease and depression during the menopause.
The ‘jumping to conclusions’ (JTC) bias is associated with both psychosis and general cognition but their relationship is unclear. In this study, we set out to clarify the relationship between the JTC bias, IQ, psychosis and polygenic liability to schizophrenia and IQ.
A total of 817 first episode psychosis patients and 1294 population-based controls completed assessments of general intelligence (IQ), and JTC, and provided blood or saliva samples from which we extracted DNA and computed polygenic risk scores for IQ and schizophrenia.
The estimated proportion of the total effect of case/control differences on JTC mediated by IQ was 79%. Schizophrenia polygenic risk score was non-significantly associated with a higher number of beads drawn (B = 0.47, 95% CI −0.21 to 1.16, p = 0.17); whereas IQ PRS (B = 0.51, 95% CI 0.25–0.76, p < 0.001) significantly predicted the number of beads drawn, and was thus associated with reduced JTC bias. The JTC was more strongly associated with the higher level of psychotic-like experiences (PLEs) in controls, including after controlling for IQ (B = −1.7, 95% CI −2.8 to −0.5, p = 0.006), but did not relate to delusions in patients.
Our findings suggest that the JTC reasoning bias in psychosis might not be a specific cognitive deficit but rather a manifestation or consequence, of general cognitive impairment. Whereas, in the general population, the JTC bias is related to PLEs, independent of IQ. The work has the potential to inform interventions targeting cognitive biases in early psychosis.
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.
Daily use of high-potency cannabis has been reported to carry a high risk for developing a psychotic disorder. However, the evidence is mixed on whether any pattern of cannabis use is associated with a particular symptomatology in first-episode psychosis (FEP) patients.
We analysed data from 901 FEP patients and 1235 controls recruited across six countries, as part of the European Network of National Schizophrenia Networks Studying Gene-Environment Interactions (EU-GEI) study. We used item response modelling to estimate two bifactor models, which included general and specific dimensions of psychotic symptoms in patients and psychotic experiences in controls. The associations between these dimensions and cannabis use were evaluated using linear mixed-effects models analyses.
In patients, there was a linear relationship between the positive symptom dimension and the extent of lifetime exposure to cannabis, with daily users of high-potency cannabis having the highest score (B = 0.35; 95% CI 0.14–0.56). Moreover, negative symptoms were more common among patients who never used cannabis compared with those with any pattern of use (B = −0.22; 95% CI −0.37 to −0.07). In controls, psychotic experiences were associated with current use of cannabis but not with the extent of lifetime use. Neither patients nor controls presented differences in depressive dimension related to cannabis use.
Our findings provide the first large-scale evidence that FEP patients with a history of daily use of high-potency cannabis present with more positive and less negative symptoms, compared with those who never used cannabis or used low-potency types.
Posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) is often complicated by the after-effects of mild traumatic brain injury (mTBI). The mixture of brain conditions results in abnormal affective and cognitive functioning, as well as maladaptive behavior. To better understand how brain activity explains cognitive and emotional processes in these conditions, we used an emotional N-back task and functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) to study neural responses in US military veterans after deployments to Iraq and Afghanistan. Additionally, we sought to examine whether hierarchical dimensional models of maladaptive personality could account for the relationship between combat-related brain conditions and fMRI responses under cognitive and affective challenge. FMRI data, measures of PTSD symptomatology (PTSS), blast-induced mTBI (bmTBI) severity, and maladaptive personality (MMPI-2-RF) were gathered from 93 veterans. Brain regions central to emotion regulation were selected for analysis, and consisted of bilateral amygdala, bilateral dorsolateral prefrontal (dlPFC), and ventromedial prefrontal/subgenual anterior cingulate (vmPFC-sgACC). Cognitive load increased activity in dlPFC and reduced activity in emotional responding brain regions. However, individuals with greater PTSS showed blunted deactivations in bilateral amygdala and vmPFC-sgACC, and weaker responses in right dlPFC. Additionally, we found that elevated emotional/internalizing dysfunction (EID), specifically low positive emotionality (RC2), accounted for PTSS-related changes in bilateral amygdala under increased cognitive load. Findings suggest that PTSS might result in amygdala and vmPFC-sgACC activity resistant to moderation by cognitive demands, reflecting emotion dysregulation despite a need to marshal cognitive resources. Anhedonia may be an important target for interventions that improve the affective and cognitive functioning of individuals with PTSD.
The value of the nosological distinction between non-affective and affective psychosis has frequently been challenged. We aimed to investigate the transdiagnostic dimensional structure and associated characteristics of psychopathology at First Episode Psychosis (FEP). Regardless of diagnostic categories, we expected that positive symptoms occurred more frequently in ethnic minority groups and in more densely populated environments, and that negative symptoms were associated with indices of neurodevelopmental impairment.
This study included 2182 FEP individuals recruited across six countries, as part of the EUropean network of national schizophrenia networks studying Gene–Environment Interactions (EU-GEI) study. Symptom ratings were analysed using multidimensional item response modelling in Mplus to estimate five theory-based models of psychosis. We used multiple regression models to examine demographic and context factors associated with symptom dimensions.
A bifactor model, composed of one general factor and five specific dimensions of positive, negative, disorganization, manic and depressive symptoms, best-represented associations among ratings of psychotic symptoms. Positive symptoms were more common in ethnic minority groups. Urbanicity was associated with a higher score on the general factor. Men presented with more negative and less depressive symptoms than women. Early age-at-first-contact with psychiatric services was associated with higher scores on negative, disorganized, and manic symptom dimensions.
Our results suggest that the bifactor model of psychopathology holds across diagnostic categories of non-affective and affective psychosis at FEP, and demographic and context determinants map onto general and specific symptom dimensions. These findings have implications for tailoring symptom-specific treatments and inform research into the mood-psychosis spectrum.
The US Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ) Evidence-based Practice Center (EPC) program sponsors the development of systematic reviews to inform clinical policy and practice. The EPC program sought to better understand how health systems identify and use this evidence.
Representatives from eleven EPCs, the EPC Scientific Resource Center, and AHRQ developed a semi-structured interview script to query a diverse group of nine Key Informants (KIs) involved in health system quality, safety and process improvement about how they identify and use evidence. Interviews were transcribed and qualitatively summarized into key themes.
All KIs reported that their organizations have either centralized quality, safety, and process improvement functions within their system, or they have partnerships with other organizations to conduct this work. There was variation in how evidence was identified, with larger health systems having medical librarians and central bureaus to gather and disseminate information and smaller systems having local chief medical officers or individual clinicians do this work. KIs generally prefer guidelines, especially those with treatment algorithms, because they are actionable. They like systematic reviews because they efficiently condense study results and reconcile conflicting data. They prefer information from systematic reviews to be presented as short digestible summaries with the full report available on demand. KIs preferred systematic reviews from reputable entities and those without commercial bias. Some of the challenges KIs reported include how to resolve conflicting evidence, the generalizability of evidence to local needs, determining whether the evidence is up-to-date, and the length of time required to generate reviews. The topics of greatest interest included predictive analytics, high-value care, advance care planning, and care coordination. To increase awareness of AHRQ EPC reviews, KIs suggest alerting people at multiple levels in a health-system when new evidence reports are available and making reports easier to find in common search engines.
Systematic reviews are valued by health system leaders. To be most useful they should be easy to locate and available in different formats targeted to the needs of different audiences.
Diurnal preference is an individual's preference for daily activities and sleep timing and is strongly correlated with the underlying circadian clock and the sleep-wake cycle validating its use as an indirect circadian measure in humans. Recent research has implicated DNA methylation as a mechanism involved in the regulation of the circadian clock system in humans and other mammals. In order to evaluate the extent of epigenetic differences associated with diurnal preference, we examined genome-wide patterns of DNA methylation in DNA from monozygotic (MZ) twin-pairs discordant for diurnal preference. MZ twins were selected from a longitudinal twin study designed to investigate the interplay of genetic and environmental factors in the development of emotional and behavioral difficulties. Fifteen pairs of MZ twins were identified in which one member scored considerably higher on the Horne–Ostberg Morningness–Eveningness Questionnaire (MEQ) than the other. Genome-wide DNA methylation patterns were assessed in twins’ buccal cell DNA using the Illumina Infinium HumanMethylation450 BeadChips. Quality control and data pre-processing was undertaken using the wateRmelon package. Differentially methylated probes (DMPs) were identified using an analysis strategy taking into account both the significance and the magnitude of DNA methylation differences. Our data indicate that DNA methylation differences are detectable in MZ twins discordant for diurnal preference. Moreover, downstream gene ontology (GO) enrichment analysis on the top-ranked diurnal preference associated DMPs revealed significant enrichment of pathways that have been previously associated with circadian rhythm regulation, including cell adhesion processes and calcium ion binding.
A trend toward greater body size in dizygotic (DZ) than in monozygotic (MZ) twins has been suggested by some but not all studies, and this difference may also vary by age. We analyzed zygosity differences in mean values and variances of height and body mass index (BMI) among male and female twins from infancy to old age. Data were derived from an international database of 54 twin cohorts participating in the COllaborative project of Development of Anthropometrical measures in Twins (CODATwins), and included 842,951 height and BMI measurements from twins aged 1 to 102 years. The results showed that DZ twins were consistently taller than MZ twins, with differences of up to 2.0 cm in childhood and adolescence and up to 0.9 cm in adulthood. Similarly, a greater mean BMI of up to 0.3 kg/m2 in childhood and adolescence and up to 0.2 kg/m2 in adulthood was observed in DZ twins, although the pattern was less consistent. DZ twins presented up to 1.7% greater height and 1.9% greater BMI than MZ twins; these percentage differences were largest in middle and late childhood and decreased with age in both sexes. The variance of height was similar in MZ and DZ twins at most ages. In contrast, the variance of BMI was significantly higher in DZ than in MZ twins, particularly in childhood. In conclusion, DZ twins were generally taller and had greater BMI than MZ twins, but the differences decreased with age in both sexes.
Tomato product consumption and estimated lycopene intake are hypothesised to reduce the risk of prostate cancer. To define the impact of typical servings of commercially available tomato products on resultant plasma and prostate lycopene concentrations, men scheduled to undergo prostatectomy (n 33) were randomised either to a lycopene-restricted control group ( < 5 mg lycopene/d) or to a tomato soup (2–2¾ cups prepared/d), tomato sauce (142–198 g/d or 5–7 ounces/d) or vegetable juice (325–488 ml/d or 11–16·5 fluid ounces/d) intervention providing 25–35 mg lycopene/d. Plasma and prostate carotenoid concentrations were measured by HPLC. Tomato soup, sauce and juice consumption significantly increased plasma lycopene concentration from 0·68 (sem 0·1) to 1·13 (sem 0·09) μmol/l (66 %), 0·48 (sem 0·09) to 0·82 (sem 0·12) μmol/l (71 %) and 0·49 (sem 0·12) to 0·78 (sem 0·1) μmol/l (59 %), respectively, while the controls consuming the lycopene-restricted diet showed a decline in plasma lycopene concentration from 0·55 (sem 0·60) to 0·42 (sem 0·07) μmol/l ( − 24 %). The end-of-study prostate lycopene concentration was 0·16 (sem 0·02) nmol/g in the controls, but was 3·5-, 3·6- and 2·2-fold higher in tomato soup (P= 0·001), sauce (P= 0·001) and juice (P= 0·165) consumers, respectively. Prostate lycopene concentration was moderately correlated with post-intervention plasma lycopene concentrations (r 0·60, P =0·001), indicating that additional factors have an impact on tissue concentrations. While the primary geometric lycopene isomer in tomato products was all-trans (80–90 %), plasma and prostate isomers were 47 and 80 % cis, respectively, demonstrating a shift towards cis accumulation. Consumption of typical servings of processed tomato products results in differing plasma and prostate lycopene concentrations. Factors including meal composition and genetics deserve further evaluation to determine their impacts on lycopene absorption and biodistribution.
For over 100 years, the genetics of human anthropometric traits has attracted scientific interest. In particular, height and body mass index (BMI, calculated as kg/m2) have been under intensive genetic research. However, it is still largely unknown whether and how heritability estimates vary between human populations. Opportunities to address this question have increased recently because of the establishment of many new twin cohorts and the increasing accumulation of data in established twin cohorts. We started a new research project to analyze systematically (1) the variation of heritability estimates of height, BMI and their trajectories over the life course between birth cohorts, ethnicities and countries, and (2) to study the effects of birth-related factors, education and smoking on these anthropometric traits and whether these effects vary between twin cohorts. We identified 67 twin projects, including both monozygotic (MZ) and dizygotic (DZ) twins, using various sources. We asked for individual level data on height and weight including repeated measurements, birth related traits, background variables, education and smoking. By the end of 2014, 48 projects participated. Together, we have 893,458 height and weight measures (52% females) from 434,723 twin individuals, including 201,192 complete twin pairs (40% monozygotic, 40% same-sex dizygotic and 20% opposite-sex dizygotic) representing 22 countries. This project demonstrates that large-scale international twin studies are feasible and can promote the use of existing data for novel research purposes.