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Positive symptoms are a useful predictor of aggression in schizophrenia. Although a similar pattern of abnormal brain structures related to both positive symptoms and aggression has been reported, this observation has not yet been confirmed in a single sample.
To study the association between positive symptoms and aggression in schizophrenia on a neurobiological level, a prospective meta-analytic approach was employed to analyze harmonized structural neuroimaging data from 10 research centers worldwide. We analyzed brain MRI scans from 902 individuals with a primary diagnosis of schizophrenia and 952 healthy controls.
The result identified a widespread cortical thickness reduction in schizophrenia compared to their controls. Two separate meta-regression analyses revealed that a common pattern of reduced cortical gray matter thickness within the left lateral temporal lobe and right midcingulate cortex was significantly associated with both positive symptoms and aggression.
These findings suggested that positive symptoms such as formal thought disorder and auditory misperception, combined with cognitive impairments reflecting difficulties in deploying an adaptive control toward perceived threats, could escalate the likelihood of aggression in schizophrenia.
Item 9 of the Patient Health Questionnaire-9 (PHQ-9) queries about thoughts of death and self-harm, but not suicidality. Although it is sometimes used to assess suicide risk, most positive responses are not associated with suicidality. The PHQ-8, which omits Item 9, is thus increasingly used in research. We assessed equivalency of total score correlations and the diagnostic accuracy to detect major depression of the PHQ-8 and PHQ-9.
We conducted an individual patient data meta-analysis. We fit bivariate random-effects models to assess diagnostic accuracy.
16 742 participants (2097 major depression cases) from 54 studies were included. The correlation between PHQ-8 and PHQ-9 scores was 0.996 (95% confidence interval 0.996 to 0.996). The standard cutoff score of 10 for the PHQ-9 maximized sensitivity + specificity for the PHQ-8 among studies that used a semi-structured diagnostic interview reference standard (N = 27). At cutoff 10, the PHQ-8 was less sensitive by 0.02 (−0.06 to 0.00) and more specific by 0.01 (0.00 to 0.01) among those studies (N = 27), with similar results for studies that used other types of interviews (N = 27). For all 54 primary studies combined, across all cutoffs, the PHQ-8 was less sensitive than the PHQ-9 by 0.00 to 0.05 (0.03 at cutoff 10), and specificity was within 0.01 for all cutoffs (0.00 to 0.01).
PHQ-8 and PHQ-9 total scores were similar. Sensitivity may be minimally reduced with the PHQ-8, but specificity is similar.
The flora of Mediterranean ecosystems contains families with species having fully and under-developed embryos in their seeds. After-ripening for physiological dormancy release and smoke influence germination in many species. We investigated how after-ripening and embryo growth interact with smoke to influence the temporal dynamics of seedling emergence among fire ephemerals. Seeds were placed in the field and under standardized (50% relative humidity, 30°C) laboratory conditions to test the effects of summer conditions on physiological dormancy loss. Germination was tested with water or smoke compounds (smoke water, KAR1) at a simulated autumn/winter temperature (18/7°C). The timing and amount of seedling emergence with smoke was observed for seeds exposed to near-natural conditions. During summer, physiological dormancy was broken in all species, enabling germination at autumn/winter but not summer temperatures; no embryo growth occurred in seeds with under-developed embryos. At the start of the wet season, seedling emergence from seeds with fully developed embryos occurred earlier than from seeds with under-developed embryos. In a non-consistent manner among our study species, smoke and smoke compounds influenced the rate of embryo growth and amount of germination. Effects of smoke were noticeable in terms of number of emergents in the first emergence season. Among ecologically similar species, we have shown (1) that both thermal and embryo traits exclude germination in the summer, (2) how embryo size influences the timing of seedling emergence in autumn–winter, and (3) a reduced requirement for smoke in the second emergence season after a fire with a shift to reliance on seasonal cues for emergence.
Unlike for many other respiratory infections, the seasonality of pertussis is not well understood. While evidence of seasonal fluctuations in pertussis incidence has been noted in some countries, there have been conflicting findings including in the context of Australia. We investigated this issue by analysing the seasonality of pertussis notifications in Australia using monthly data from January 1991 to December 2016. Data were made available for all states and territories in Australia except for the Australian Capital Territory and were stratified into age groups. Using a time-series decomposition approach, we formulated a generalised additive model where seasonality is expressed using cosinor terms to estimate the amplitude and peak timing of pertussis notifications in Australia. We also compared these characteristics across different jurisdictions and age groups. We found evidence that pertussis notifications exhibit seasonality, with peaks observed during the spring and summer months (November–January) in Australia and across different states and territories. During peak months, notifications are expected to increase by about 15% compared with the yearly average. Peak notifications for children <5 years occurred 1–2 months later than the general population, which provides support to the theory that older household members remain an important source of pertussis infection for younger children. In addition, our results provide a more comprehensive spatial picture of seasonality in Australia, a feature lacking in previous studies. Finally, our findings suggest that seasonal forcing may be useful to consider in future population transmission models of pertussis.
The new mineral somersetite, has been found at Torr Works (‘Merehead quarry’) in Somerset, England, United Kingdom. Somersetite is green or white (typically it is similar visually to hydrocerussite-like minerals but with a mint-green tint), forms plates and subhedral grains up to 5 mm across and up to 2 mm thick. In bi-coloured crystals it forms very thin intergrowths with plumbonacrite. The empirical formula of somersetite is Pb8.00C5.00H4.00O20. The simplified formula is Pb8O(OH)4(CO3)5, which requires: PbO = 87.46, CO2 = 10.78, H2O = 1.76, total 100.00 wt.%.
The infrared spectrum of somersetite is similar to that of plumbonacrite and, to a lesser degree, hydrocerussite. Somersetite is hexagonal, P63/mmc, a = 5.2427(7), c = 40.624(6) Å, V = 967.0(3) Å3 and Z = 2. The eight strongest reflections of the powder X-ray diffraction (XRD) pattern [d,Å(I)(hkl)] are: 4.308(33)(103), 4.148(25)(104), 3.581(40)(107), 3.390(100)(108), 3.206(55)(109), 2.625(78)(110), 2.544(98)(0.0.16) and 2.119(27)(1.0.17). The crystal structure was solved from single-crystal XRD data giving R1 = 0.031. The structure of somersetite is unique and consists of the alternation of the electroneutral plumbonacrite-type [Pb5O(OH)2(CO3)3]0 and hydrocerussite-type [Pb3(OH)2(CO3)2]0 blocks separated by stereochemically active lone electron pairs on Pb2+. There are two blocks of each type per unit cell in the structure, which corresponds to the formula [Pb5O(OH)2(CO3)3][Pb3(OH)2(CO3)2] or Pb8O(OH)4(CO3)5 in a simplified representation. The 2D blocks are held together by weak Pb–O bonds and weak interactions between lone pairs.
Different diagnostic interviews are used as reference standards for major depression classification in research. Semi-structured interviews involve clinical judgement, whereas fully structured interviews are completely scripted. The Mini International Neuropsychiatric Interview (MINI), a brief fully structured interview, is also sometimes used. It is not known whether interview method is associated with probability of major depression classification.
To evaluate the association between interview method and odds of major depression classification, controlling for depressive symptom scores and participant characteristics.
Data collected for an individual participant data meta-analysis of Patient Health Questionnaire-9 (PHQ-9) diagnostic accuracy were analysed and binomial generalised linear mixed models were fit.
A total of 17 158 participants (2287 with major depression) from 57 primary studies were analysed. Among fully structured interviews, odds of major depression were higher for the MINI compared with the Composite International Diagnostic Interview (CIDI) (odds ratio (OR) = 2.10; 95% CI = 1.15–3.87). Compared with semi-structured interviews, fully structured interviews (MINI excluded) were non-significantly more likely to classify participants with low-level depressive symptoms (PHQ-9 scores ≤6) as having major depression (OR = 3.13; 95% CI = 0.98–10.00), similarly likely for moderate-level symptoms (PHQ-9 scores 7–15) (OR = 0.96; 95% CI = 0.56–1.66) and significantly less likely for high-level symptoms (PHQ-9 scores ≥16) (OR = 0.50; 95% CI = 0.26–0.97).
The MINI may identify more people as depressed than the CIDI, and semi-structured and fully structured interviews may not be interchangeable methods, but these results should be replicated.
Declaration of interest
Drs Jetté and Patten declare that they received a grant, outside the submitted work, from the Hotchkiss Brain Institute, which was jointly funded by the Institute and Pfizer. Pfizer was the original sponsor of the development of the PHQ-9, which is now in the public domain. Dr Chan is a steering committee member or consultant of Astra Zeneca, Bayer, Lilly, MSD and Pfizer. She has received sponsorships and honorarium for giving lectures and providing consultancy and her affiliated institution has received research grants from these companies. Dr Hegerl declares that within the past 3 years, he was an advisory board member for Lundbeck, Servier and Otsuka Pharma; a consultant for Bayer Pharma; and a speaker for Medice Arzneimittel, Novartis, and Roche Pharma, all outside the submitted work. Dr Inagaki declares that he has received grants from Novartis Pharma, lecture fees from Pfizer, Mochida, Shionogi, Sumitomo Dainippon Pharma, Daiichi-Sankyo, Meiji Seika and Takeda, and royalties from Nippon Hyoron Sha, Nanzando, Seiwa Shoten, Igaku-shoin and Technomics, all outside of the submitted work. Dr Yamada reports personal fees from Meiji Seika Pharma Co., Ltd., MSD K.K., Asahi Kasei Pharma Corporation, Seishin Shobo, Seiwa Shoten Co., Ltd., Igaku-shoin Ltd., Chugai Igakusha and Sentan Igakusha, all outside the submitted work. All other authors declare no competing interests. No funder had any role in the design and conduct of the study; collection, management, analysis and interpretation of the data; preparation, review or approval of the manuscript; and decision to submit the manuscript for publication.
Gravitational interactions allow one to investigate the nature of matter in the universe independent of the properties that make it luminous. Much as studies of the dynamics of galaxies and clusters of galaxies have indicated the presence of dark matter, gravitational lensing provides an independent probe of the large scale distribution of dark matter in the universe.
We report the capacitance of entangled carbon nanotubes (CNTs) synthesized on flexible carbon fabric via water-assisted chemical vapor deposition. The CNTs were grown at atmospheric pressure with iron (Fe) as the catalyst, ethylene (C2H4) and 5%/95% H2/Ar as precursor gasses, and aluminum oxide as a buffer/barrier layer. The effect of the catalyst thickness (5 and 10 nm) on the specific capacitance was studied. The capacitance behavior of CNTs was evaluated by cyclic voltammetry measurements via a three-electrode system. The highest specific capacitance, approximately 56 F/g, was obtained for electrodes with 5nm Fe thickness. A nearly rectangular shaped cyclic voltammogram was exhibited for the CNTs grown on the carbon fabric. A specific power density of 0.012 KW/Kg and specific energy density 0.15 Wh/Kg were calculated from the galvanic charge/discharge (CD) curves. In addition, electrochemical impedance spectroscopy (EIS) revealed a characteristic supercapacitive behavior with a low equivalent series resistance of 7 Ωcm2.
Our understanding of the complex relationship between schizophrenia symptomatology and etiological factors can be improved by studying brain-based correlates of schizophrenia. Research showed that impairments in value processing and executive functioning, which have been associated with prefrontal brain areas [particularly the medial orbitofrontal cortex (MOFC)], are linked to negative symptoms. Here we tested the hypothesis that MOFC thickness is associated with negative symptom severity.
This study included 1985 individuals with schizophrenia from 17 research groups around the world contributing to the ENIGMA Schizophrenia Working Group. Cortical thickness values were obtained from T1-weighted structural brain scans using FreeSurfer. A meta-analysis across sites was conducted over effect sizes from a model predicting cortical thickness by negative symptom score (harmonized Scale for the Assessment of Negative Symptoms or Positive and Negative Syndrome Scale scores).
Meta-analytical results showed that left, but not right, MOFC thickness was significantly associated with negative symptom severity (βstd = −0.075; p = 0.019) after accounting for age, gender, and site. This effect remained significant (p = 0.036) in a model including overall illness severity. Covarying for duration of illness, age of onset, antipsychotic medication or handedness weakened the association of negative symptoms with left MOFC thickness. As part of a secondary analysis including 10 other prefrontal regions further associations in the left lateral orbitofrontal gyrus and pars opercularis emerged.
Using an unusually large cohort and a meta-analytical approach, our findings point towards a link between prefrontal thinning and negative symptom severity in schizophrenia. This finding provides further insight into the relationship between structural brain abnormalities and negative symptoms in schizophrenia.
A survey of icebergs using satellite radar images has been made in the seasonal sea-ice zone of East Antarctica in the .sector between longitudes 50° and 145° E. These data provide information on the spatial distribution and size statistics of icebergs near the coast in areas not often visited by shipboard observers, and close to their sources at ice shelves and glacier tongues. The icebergs are detected and their dimensions extracted by analysis of the texture properties present in satellite images acquired with ERS-1 synthetic aperture radar during the austral winter. The minimum size of iceberg reliably detected and measured is 0.06 km2.
A significant variation, by up to a factor of two, is found in the area of icebergs close to different sections of the coast, which suggests a characteristic size for different sources. The average value of the length-to-width ratio for icebergs in the whole population shows some variability with size. The probability of finding icebergs is greatest close to the coast, decreasing in general with distance from the coast, such that few icebergs were detected more than 160 km from the coast. in one sector about 85° E, icebergs are found to at least 550 km from the coast, which is consistent with the transport of icebergs northwards in this region by a branch of the westward-heading near-coastal current (East Wind Drift) which connects with the southern margins of the eastward-heading Antarctic Circumpolar Current.
We describe the performance of the Boolardy Engineering Test Array, the prototype for the Australian Square Kilometre Array Pathfinder telescope. Boolardy Engineering Test Array is the first aperture synthesis radio telescope to use phased array feed technology, giving it the ability to electronically form up to nine dual-polarisation beams. We report the methods developed for forming and measuring the beams, and the adaptations that have been made to the traditional calibration and imaging procedures in order to allow BETA to function as a multi-beam aperture synthesis telescope. We describe the commissioning of the instrument and present details of Boolardy Engineering Test Array’s performance: sensitivity, beam characteristics, polarimetric properties, and image quality. We summarise the astronomical science that it has produced and draw lessons from operating Boolardy Engineering Test Array that will be relevant to the commissioning and operation of the final Australian Square Kilometre Array Path telescope.
From June 15 to 28, 1991 the Compton Gamma-Ray Observatory (CGRO) observed the radio-loud quasar 3C 273. All four CGRO instruments detected radiation from this quasar in their relevant energy range (from 20 keV to 5 GeV). Simultaneous and quasi-simultaneous observations (spanning the time period May 27 – July 25, 1991) by instruments sensitive at other wavelengths have also been obtained. The data from all these observations spanning the frequency range from ∼ 109 Hz to ∼ 1026 Hz were collected and analysed. The resulting energy-density spectrum is shown in the figure below. It shows two maxima, one in the UV, another one at low-energy γ-rays which have nearly the same strength (the corresponding luminosities per decade of frequency for H0 = 60(km/s)/Mpc are 3.2·1046 erg/s and 2.7·1046 erg/s, respectively). A break of the spectrum at low-energy γ-rays is evident. From a detailed analysis a break energy of (2±1.5) MeV could be derived corresponding to a frequency of (4.8±3.6)·1020 Hz. The observed spectral break between X- and γ-rays is ∼ 0.8, much higher than the value of 0.5 predicted by some models. A more detailed paper on this topic is in preparation (Lichti et al.).
Gravitational lens surveys are of cosmological interest because they provide a way to measure the gravitational field of both luminous and dark matter. Many of the other methods used to detect the presence of dark matter, such as studies of galaxy rotation curves and cluster dynamics, require that there be luminous objects in the gravitational field that act as tracers of the mass. This may introduce a selection effect. In constrast, in studies of gravitational lenses, the beacon we observe can be far (at distances of order one thousand Mpc) from the gravitational field. In this paper we describe a VLA survey designed to detect gravitational lensing on sub-arc second and arc second scales. We also present a preliminary result of the radio data: we find that the density of matter in the form of a uniform, comoving number density of 1011 to 1012M⊙ compact objects, luminous or dark, must be substantially less than the critical density.
Blazar OJ 287 is one of the best observed extragalactic objects. It's historical light curve goes back to 1890′s. Based on the historical behaviour Sillanpää et al. (1988) showed that OJ 287 displays large periodic outbursts, with a period of 11.7 years. We have monitored OJ 287 intensively for two years, during the OJ-94 project. This project was created for monitoring OJ 287 during its predicted new outburst in 1994. In the data archive we have over 7000 observations on OJ 287, in the radio, infrared and optical bands. This data archive contains the best ever obtained light curves for any extragalactic object. The optical light curve shows continuous variability down to time scales of tens of minutes. The variability observed in OJ 287 can be broken down to (at least) four different categories: