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Catechol-O-methyltransferase (COMT) has a central role in brain dopamine, noradrenalin and adrenalin signaling, and has been suggested to be involved in the pathogenesis and pharmacological treatment of affective disorders. The functional single nucleotide polymorphism (SNP) in exon 4 (Val158Met, rs4680) influences the COMT enzyme activity. The Val158Met polymorphism is a commonly studied variant in psychiatric genetics, and initial studies in schizophrenia and bipolar disorder presented evidence for association with the Met allele. In unipolar depression, while some of the investigations point at an association between the Met/Met genotype and others have found a link between the Val/Val genotype and depression, most of the studies cannot detect any difference in Val158Met allele frequency between depressed individuals and controls.
In the present study, we further elucidated the impact of COMT polymorphisms including the Val158Met in MDD. We investigated 1,250 subjects with DSM-IV and/or ICD-10 diagnosis of major depression (MDD), and 1,589 control subjects from UK. A total of 24 SNPs spanning the COMT gene were successfully genotyped using the Illumina HumaHap610-Quad Beadchip (22 SNPs), SNPlex™ genotyping system (1 SNP), and Sequenom MassARRAY® iPLEX Gold (1 SNP). Statistical analyses were implemented using PASW Statistics18, FINETTI (http://ihg.gsf.de/cgi-bin/hw/hwa1.pl), UNPHASED version 3.0.10 program and Haploview 4.0 program.
Neither single-marker nor haplotypic association was found with the functional Val158Met polymorphism or with any of the other SNPs genotyped. Our findings do not provide evidence that COMT plays a role in MDD or that this gene explains part of the genetic overlap with bipolar disorder.
In the past decade, South Africa’s obesity epidemic has increased in both children and adults, and being overweight is becoming the norm. Several contributing factors lead to the normalisation of obesity. One of these is the culturally entrenched likeness of larger body sizes or shapes within a milieu of easily accessible unhealthy food and beverages. This qualitative study advances knowledge about the influence of socio-cultural norms and obesogenic environments on weight under estimation and ‘obesity normalisation’ amongst black South Africans living in an urban setting.
A theory-based qualitative study used focus group discussions (FGDs) with a semi-structured interview guide. FGDs were transcribed verbatim and analysed thematically using a constant comparison method.
Soweto, Johannesburg, South Africa, is a setting which has undergone rapid urbanisation and nutrition transition with ubiquitous availability of processed and fast-foods.
Adults older than 18 years living in Soweto (n 57).
There is a wide misperception about obesity amongst black Africans living in an urban setting in Soweto. Participants who admitted to being fat or overweight did not view themselves as such. This could be attributed to unchanging socio-cultural factors that reinforce the acceptability of bigger bodies and living in obesogenic environment.
Without addressing socio-cultural norms that attribute bigger bodies to beauty and wealth, motivating individuals to address weight gain will prove difficult especially for populations living in obesogenic environments. A multi-faceted strategy is required to address obesity in urban South African settings.
These lecture notes were presented by Allan N. Kaufman in his graduate plasma theory course and a follow-on special topics course (Physics 242A, B, C and Physics 250 at the University of California Berkeley). The notes follow the order of the lectures. The equations and derivations are as Kaufman presented, but the text is a reconstruction of Kaufman’s discussion and commentary. The notes were transcribed by Bruce I. Cohen in 1971 and 1972, and word processed, edited and illustrations added by Cohen in 2017 and 2018. The series of lectures is divided into four major parts: (i) collisionless Vlasov plasmas (linear theory of waves and instabilities with and without an applied magnetic field, Vlasov–Poisson and Vlasov–Maxwell systems, Wentzel–Kramers–Brillouin–Jeffreys (WKBJ) eikonal theory of wave propagation); (ii) nonlinear Vlasov plasmas and miscellaneous topics (the plasma dispersion function, singular solutions of the Vlasov–Poisson system, pulse-response solutions for initial-value problems, Gardner’s stability theorem, gyroresonant effects, nonlinear waves, particle trapping in waves, quasilinear theory, nonlinear three-wave interactions); (iii) plasma collisional and discreteness phenomena (test-particle theory of dynamic friction and wave emission, classical resistivity, extension of test-particle theory to many-particle phenomena and the derivation of the Boltzmann and Lenard–Balescu equations, the Fokker–Planck collision operator, a general scattering theory, nonlinear Landau damping, radiation transport and Dupree’s theory of clumps); (iv) non-uniform plasmas (adiabatic invariance, guiding-centre drifts, hydromagnetic theory, introduction to drift-wave stability theory).
Louise Audino Tilly, who died on March 2, 2018, enjoyed a relatively short twenty-five year career as a historian. But Tilly left an enduring imprint through her example and through her scholarship on the history of women and work, on the social and economic circumstances affecting collective action, and on the connections between demographic changes and family life. In more recent decades, several generations of historians have benefitted from the road maps she left pointing the way for emerging work on the connections between micro-level analysis and national and international histories of social change.
The search for life in the Universe is a fundamental problem of astrobiology and modern science. The current progress in the detection of terrestrial-type exoplanets has opened a new avenue in the characterization of exoplanetary atmospheres and in the search for biosignatures of life with the upcoming ground-based and space missions. To specify the conditions favourable for the origin, development and sustainment of life as we know it in other worlds, we need to understand the nature of global (astrospheric), and local (atmospheric and surface) environments of exoplanets in the habitable zones (HZs) around G-K-M dwarf stars including our young Sun. Global environment is formed by propagated disturbances from the planet-hosting stars in the form of stellar flares, coronal mass ejections, energetic particles and winds collectively known as astrospheric space weather. Its characterization will help in understanding how an exoplanetary ecosystem interacts with its host star, as well as in the specification of the physical, chemical and biochemical conditions that can create favourable and/or detrimental conditions for planetary climate and habitability along with evolution of planetary internal dynamics over geological timescales. A key linkage of (astro)physical, chemical and geological processes can only be understood in the framework of interdisciplinary studies with the incorporation of progress in heliophysics, astrophysics, planetary and Earth sciences. The assessment of the impacts of host stars on the climate and habitability of terrestrial (exo)planets will significantly expand the current definition of the HZ to the biogenic zone and provide new observational strategies for searching for signatures of life. The major goal of this paper is to describe and discuss the current status and recent progress in this interdisciplinary field in light of presentations and discussions during the NASA Nexus for Exoplanetary System Science funded workshop ‘Exoplanetary Space Weather, Climate and Habitability’ and to provide a new roadmap for the future development of the emerging field of exoplanetary science and astrobiology.
A national need is to prepare for and respond to accidental or intentional disasters categorized as chemical, biological, radiological, nuclear, or explosive (CBRNE). These incidents require specific subject-matter expertise, yet have commonalities. We identify 7 core elements comprising CBRNE science that require integration for effective preparedness planning and public health and medical response and recovery. These core elements are (1) basic and clinical sciences, (2) modeling and systems management, (3) planning, (4) response and incident management, (5) recovery and resilience, (6) lessons learned, and (7) continuous improvement. A key feature is the ability of relevant subject matter experts to integrate information into response operations. We propose the CBRNE medical operations science support expert as a professional who (1) understands that CBRNE incidents require an integrated systems approach, (2) understands the key functions and contributions of CBRNE science practitioners, (3) helps direct strategic and tactical CBRNE planning and responses through first-hand experience, and (4) provides advice to senior decision-makers managing response activities. Recognition of both CBRNE science as a distinct competency and the establishment of the CBRNE medical operations science support expert informs the public of the enormous progress made, broadcasts opportunities for new talent, and enhances the sophistication and analytic expertise of senior managers planning for and responding to CBRNE incidents.
Environmental factors such as sunshine hours, temperature and UV radiation (UVR) are known to influence seasonal fluctuations in vitamin D concentrations. However, currently there is poor understanding regarding the environmental factors or individual characteristics that best predict neonatal 25-hydroxyvitamin D (25(OH)D) concentrations. The aims of this study were to (1) identify environmental and individual determinants of 25(OH)D concentrations in newborns and (2) investigate whether environmental factors and individual characteristics could be used as proxy measures for neonatal 25(OH)D concentrations. 25-Hydroxyvitamin D3 (25(OH)D3) was measured from neonatal dried blood spots (DBS) of 1182 individuals born between 1993 and 2002. Monthly aggregated data on daily number of sunshine hours, temperature and UVR, available from 1993, were retrieved from the Danish Meteorological Institute. The individual predictors were obtained from the Danish National Birth register, and Statistics Denmark. The optimal model to predict 25(OH)D3 concentrations from neonatal DBS was the one including the following variables: UVR, temperature, maternal education, maternal smoking during pregnancy, gestational age at birth and parity. This model explained 30 % of the variation of 25(OH)D3 in the neonatal DBS. Ambient UVR in the month before the birth month was the best single-item predictor of neonatal 25(OH)D3, accounting for 24 % of its variance. Although this prediction model cannot substitute for actual blood measurements, it might prove useful in cohort studies ranking individuals in groups according to 25(OH)D3 status.
Background: Post-stroke depression (PSD) is the most frequent psychiatric complication following ischemic stroke. It affects up to 60% of all patients and is associated with increased morbidity and mortality following ischemic stroke. The pathophysiology of PSD remains elusive and appears to be multifactorial, rather than “purely” biological or psychosocial in origin. Thus, valid animal models of PSD would contribute to the study of the etiology (and treatment) of this disorder. Methods: The present study depicts a rat model for PSD, using middle cerebral artery occlusion (MCAO). The two-way shuttle avoidance task, Porsolt forced-swim test, and sucrose preference test were employed to assess any depression-like behavior. Localized brain expressions of brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF) protein levels were evaluated to examine the possible involvement of the brain neuronal plasticity in the observed behavioral syndrome. The raw data were subjected to unsupervised fuzzy clustering (UFC) algorithms to assess the sensitivity of bio-behavioral measures indicative of depressive symptoms post MCAO. Results: About 56% of the rats developed significant depressive-like behavioral disruptions as a result of MCAO compared with 4% in the sham-operated control rats. A pattern of a depressive-like behavioral response was common to all affected MCAO animals, characterized by significantly more escape failures and reduced number of total avoidance shuttles, a significant elevation in immobility duration, and reduced sucrose preference. Significant downregulations of BDNF protein levels in the hippocampal sub-regions, frontal cortex, and hypothalamus were observed in all affected MCAO animals. Conclusion: The UFC analysis supports the behavioral analysis and thus, lends validity to our results.
Studies have suggested that vitamin D status at birth may be associated with a range of neonatal outcomes. The aim of this study was to assess the association between neonatal 25-hydroxyvitamin D3 (25(OH)D3) concentration and gestational age, birth weight, Ponderal Index and size for gestational age. Neonatal capillary blood stored as dried blood spots was used to assess 25(OH)D3 concentrations among 2686 subjects selected from a random population sub-sample of individuals, born in Denmark from 1 May 1981 to 31 December 2002. There was an inverse association between 25(OH)D3 concentration and gestational age at birth of −0·006 (95 % CI −0·009, −0·003, P<0·001) weeks of gestation per 1 nmol/l increase in 25(OH)D3 concentration. An inverted U-shaped association between 25(OH)D3 and birth weight and Ponderal Index (P=0·04) was found, but no association with size for gestational age was shown. This study suggests that neonatal 25(OH)D3 concentration is associated with anthropometric measures at birth known to be correlated with many subsequent health outcomes such as obesity and type 2 diabetes.
An internationally approved and globally used classification scheme for the diagnosis of CHD has long been sought. The International Paediatric and Congenital Cardiac Code (IPCCC), which was produced and has been maintained by the International Society for Nomenclature of Paediatric and Congenital Heart Disease (the International Nomenclature Society), is used widely, but has spawned many “short list” versions that differ in content depending on the user. Thus, efforts to have a uniform identification of patients with CHD using a single up-to-date and coordinated nomenclature system continue to be thwarted, even if a common nomenclature has been used as a basis for composing various “short lists”. In an attempt to solve this problem, the International Nomenclature Society has linked its efforts with those of the World Health Organization to obtain a globally accepted nomenclature tree for CHD within the 11th iteration of the International Classification of Diseases (ICD-11). The International Nomenclature Society has submitted a hierarchical nomenclature tree for CHD to the World Health Organization that is expected to serve increasingly as the “short list” for all communities interested in coding for congenital cardiology. This article reviews the history of the International Classification of Diseases and of the IPCCC, and outlines the process used in developing the ICD-11 congenital cardiac disease diagnostic list and the definitions for each term on the list. An overview of the content of the congenital heart anomaly section of the Foundation Component of ICD-11, published herein in its entirety, is also included. Future plans for the International Nomenclature Society include linking again with the World Health Organization to tackle procedural nomenclature as it relates to cardiac malformations. By doing so, the Society will continue its role in standardising nomenclature for CHD across the globe, thereby promoting research and better outcomes for fetuses, children, and adults with congenital heart anomalies.
We consider nonzero-sum games where multiple players control the drift of a process, and their payoffs depend on its ergodic behaviour. We establish their connection with systems of ergodic backward stochastic differential equations, and prove the existence of a Nash equilibrium under generalised Isaac's conditions. We also study the case of interacting players of different type.
We present an indentation-scope that interfaces with confocal microscopy, enabling direct observation of the three-dimensional (3D) microstructural response of coatings on substrates. Using this method, we compared microns-thick polymer coatings on glass with and without silica nanoparticle filler. Bulk force data confirmed the >30% modulus difference, while microstructural data further revealed slip at the glass-coating interface. Filled coatings slipped more and about two times faster, as reflected in 3D displacement and von Mises strain fields. Overall, these data indicate that silica-doping of coatings can dramatically alter adhesion. Moreover, this method compliments existing theoretical and modeling approaches for studying indentation in layered systems.
Schizotypal traits are considered a phenotypic-indicator of schizotypy, a latent personality organization reflecting a putative liability for psychosis. To date, no previous study has examined the comparability of factorial structures across samples originating from different countries and cultures. The main goal was to evaluate the factorial structure and reliability of the Schizotypal Personality Questionnaire (SPQ) scores by amalgamating data from studies conducted in 12 countries and across 21 sites.
The overall sample consisted of 27 001 participants (37.5% males, n = 4251 drawn from the general population). The mean age was 22.12 years (s.d. = 6.28, range 16–55 years). The SPQ was used. Confirmatory factor analysis (CFA) and Multilevel CFA (ML-CFA) were used to evaluate the factor structure underlying the SPQ scores.
At the SPQ item level, the nine factor and second-order factor models showed adequate goodness-of-fit. At the SPQ subscale level, three- and four-factor models displayed better goodness-of-fit indices than other CFA models. ML-CFA showed that the intraclass correlation coefficients values were lower than 0.106. The three-factor model showed adequate goodness of fit indices in multilevel analysis. The ordinal α coefficients were high, ranging from 0.73 to 0.94 across individual samples, and from 0.84 to 0.91 for the combined sample.
The results are consistent with the conceptual notion that schizotypal personality is a multifaceted construct and support the validity and utility of SPQ in cross-cultural research. We discuss theoretical and clinical implications of our results for diagnostic systems, psychosis models and cross-national mental health strategies.
To use VRI systems, a field is divided into irrigation management zones (IMZs). While IMZs are dynamic in nature, most of IMZs prescription maps are static. High-resolution thermal images (TI) coupled with measured atmospheric conditions have been utilized to map the within-field water status variability and to delineate in-season IMZs. Unfortunately, spaceborne TIs have coarse spatial resolution and aerial platforms require substantial financial investments, which may inhibit their large-scale adoption. Three approaches are proposed to facilitate large-scale adoption of TI-based IMZs: 1) increase of the capacity of aerial TI by enhancing their spatial resolution; 2) sharpening the spatial resolution of satellite TI by fusing satellite multi-spectral images in the visible-near-infrared (VIS-NIR) range; 3) increase the capacity of aerial TI by fusing satellite multi-spectral images in the VIS-NIR range. The scientific and engineering basis of each of the approaches is described together with initial results.
Public health interest in norovirus (NoV) has increased in recent years following improved diagnostics, global burden estimates and the development of NoV vaccine candidates. This study aimed to describe the detection rate, clinical characteristics and environmental features associated with NoV detection in hospitalized children <5 years with diarrhoea in South Africa (SA). Between 2009 and 2013, prospective diarrhoeal surveillance was conducted at four sites in SA. Stool specimens were collected and screened for NoVs and other enteric pathogens using molecular and serological assays. Epidemiological and clinical data were compared in patients with or without detection of NoV. The study detected NoV in 15% (452/3103) of hospitalized children <5 years with diarrhoea with the majority of disease in children <2 years (92%; 417/452). NoV-positive children were more likely to present with diarrhoea and vomiting (odds ratio (OR) 1·3; 95% confidence interval (CI) 1·1–1·7; P = 0·011) with none-to-mild dehydration (adjusted OR 0·5; 95% CI 0·3–0·7) compared with NoV-negative children. Amongst children testing NoV positive, HIV-infected children were more likely to have prolonged hospitalization and increased mortality compared with HIV-uninfected children. Continued surveillance will be important to consider the epidemic trends and estimate the burden and risk of NoV infection in SA.
Large magnetometric surveys have contributed to the detection of an increasing number of magnetic massive stars, and to the recognition of a population of magnetic massive stellar objects with distinct properties. Among these, NGC 1624-2 possesses the largest magnetic field of any O-type star; such a field confines the stellar wind into a circumstellar magnetosphere, which can be probed using observations at different wavelength regimes. Recent optical and X-ray observations suggest that NGC 1624-2’s magnetosphere is much larger than that of any other magnetic O star. By modeling the variations of UV resonance lines, we can constrain its velocity structure. Furthermore, recent spectropolarimetric observations raise the possibility of a more complex field topology than previously expected. Putting all of these multi-wavelength constraints together will allow us to paint a consistent picture of NGC 1624-2 and its surprising behavior, giving us valuable insight into the very nature of massive star magnetospheres.
Systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE) is a prototypic autoimmune disease involving multiple organs, including the central nervous system. Evidence of immune dysfunction exists also in schizophrenia, a psychiatric illness involving chronic or recurrent psychosis. The aim of our study was to investigate if there is an epidemiological association between SLE and schizophrenia.
A cross-sectional study was conducted comparing patients with SLE with age and gender-matched controls regarding the proportion of patients with comorbid schizophrenia. χ2- and t-tests were used for univariate analysis, and interaction of schizophrenia with SLE across strata of covariates was checked. A logistic regression model was used for multivariate analysis. The study was performed utilising the medical database of Clalit Health Services in Israel.
The study included 5018 patients with SLE and 25 090 controls. SLE patients had a female predominance, and a higher proportion of smoking compared with age and sex-matched controls. In multivariate analysis, SLE was found to be independently associated with schizophrenia while controlling for age, gender, socioeconomic status (SES) and smoking (OR 1.33, p = 0.042).
We found a positive association between SLE and schizophrenia across patients of different age, gender and SES. This association can contribute to understanding the pathophysiology of the two disorders and may also have clinical implications for earlier as well as better diagnosis and treatment.
This study aimed to develop a functional model of subglottic stenosis by inducing direct airway irritation in transplanted mouse laryngotracheal complexes.
Laryngotracheal complexes from C57BL/6 mice were harvested and divided into three groups: uninjured, mechanically injured and chemically injured. Donor laryngotracheal complexes from each group were placed in dorsal subcutaneous pockets of recipient mice. Each week, the transplanted laryngotracheal complexes were harvested, and tissues were fixed, sectioned, and stained with haematoxylin and eosin. Representative slides were reviewed by a blinded pathologist, to determine the formation of granulation tissue, and graded as to the degree of granulation formation.
Direct airway irritation induced granulation tissue formation under the disrupted epithelium of airway mucosa; this was seen as early as two weeks after chemical injury.
Results indicate that granulation tissue formation in a murine model may be an efficient tool for investigating the development and treatment of subglottic stenosis.
Major depressive disorder (MDD) is a common and disabling condition with well-established heritability and environmental risk factors. Gene–environment interaction studies in MDD have typically investigated candidate genes, though the disorder is known to be highly polygenic. This study aims to test for interaction between polygenic risk and stressful life events (SLEs) or childhood trauma (CT) in the aetiology of MDD.
The RADIANT UK sample consists of 1605 MDD cases and 1064 controls with SLE data, and a subset of 240 cases and 272 controls with CT data. Polygenic risk scores (PRS) were constructed using results from a mega-analysis on MDD by the Psychiatric Genomics Consortium. PRS and environmental factors were tested for association with case/control status and for interaction between them.
PRS significantly predicted depression, explaining 1.1% of variance in phenotype (p = 1.9 × 10−6). SLEs and CT were also associated with MDD status (p = 2.19 × 10−4 and p = 5.12 × 10−20, respectively). No interactions were found between PRS and SLEs. Significant PRSxCT interactions were found (p = 0.002), but showed an inverse association with MDD status, as cases who experienced more severe CT tended to have a lower PRS than other cases or controls. This relationship between PRS and CT was not observed in independent replication samples.
CT is a strong risk factor for MDD but may have greater effect in individuals with lower genetic liability for the disorder. Including environmental risk along with genetics is important in studying the aetiology of MDD and PRS provide a useful approach to investigating gene–environment interactions in complex traits.