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We present an overview of the SkyMapper optical follow-up programme for gravitational-wave event triggers from the LIGO/Virgo observatories, which aims at identifying early GW170817-like kilonovae out to
distance. We describe our robotic facility for rapid transient follow-up, which can target most of the sky at
to a depth of
. We have implemented a new software pipeline to receive LIGO/Virgo alerts, schedule observations and examine the incoming real-time data stream for transient candidates. We adopt a real-bogus classifier using ensemble-based machine learning techniques, attaining high completeness (
) and purity (
) over our whole magnitude range. Applying further filtering to remove common image artefacts and known sources of transients, such as asteroids and variable stars, reduces the number of candidates by a factor of more than 10. We demonstrate the system performance with data obtained for GW190425, a binary neutron star merger detected during the LIGO/Virgo O3 observing campaign. In time for the LIGO/Virgo O4 run, we will have deeper reference images allowing transient detection to
Pharmacogenetics in schizophrenia comprises pharmacokinetical and pharmacodynamical aspects as well as an approach to identify candidate genes associated with therapy response or side effects. Firstly focussing on classical drug targets like dopaminergic or serotonergic receptors, currently also developmental and regulatory genes presumably associated with effects of antipsychotic therapy are identified. The aim of this study was to investigate associations between therapy response in schizophrenic patients and different polymorphisms previously been identified within a genome wide array in rodents treated with MK-801 and/or haloperidol combined with some well-known schizophrenia candidate genes. We genotyped for 200 different polymorphisms in 285 schizophrenic patients, who were treated with different antipsychotics within randomized controlled trials. Psychopathology was measured weekly using the PANSS scale. Correlations between psychopathology and genotypes were calculated by using a linear model (ANCOVA).
We found significant associations between some well-known candidate genes (e.g. D2-, 5HT1A-, and α1A-receptors) and different PANSS subscales at baseline and after four weeks of antipsychotic treatment considered as therapy response. Furthermore we also identified several significant associations between some genes introduced from the animal model and psychopathology at baseline and towards therapy response. Some of them were formerly described in the literature (e.g. Homer1, Phospholipase C and Transthyretin), but most of them have not been related to schizophrenia or antipsychotic treatment by now (e.g. PLEKHA6, CLIC6 and SOSTDC1).
This indicates an involvement of genes in the pathophysiology of schizophrenia apart from yet known candidate genes and might further help in detecting differential therapy response in individuals with schizophrenia.
Since the introduction of second generation antipsychotics (SGA) extrapyramidal-motor symptoms (EPS) have become a lesser problem in the treatment of schizophrenic patients. Yet, some SGAs display these adverse events and first generation antipsychotics are still widely used. Several genetic polymorphisms have been found to be associated with the occurance of EPS.
In this study we tried to identify genes related to EPS from an animal model and then replicated the findings in schizophrenic patients.
To identify new genes and show their relevance in the treatment of schizophrenic patients.
Rats were treated with haloperidol or saline and differential gene expression was assessed by using microarrays. We genotyped 285 schizophrenic patients for candidate genes and differentially expressed genes derived from the animal model. All patients were treated monotherapeutically with different antipsychotics within randomized controlled trials. EPS were assessed weekly using the ESRS and BAS. We used a linear model (ANCOVA) with PANSS total at baseline, type of medication and premedication as covariates for all investigated SNP's.
We found several SNPs to be associated with the occurance of EPS. The best results were obtained for SNPs within the genes of Phospholipase C epsilon 1 (PLCe1), Methionine Sulfoxide Reductase B3 (MSRB3), Chloride Intracellular Channel 6 (CLIC6), Prolactin Receptor (PRLR) and Dopamine Receptor D4 (DRD4). Effect sizes were between 1.7 and 4.9.
We could replicate some findings of the literature and identified four new genes possibly related to EPS. Some of these genes were recently related to schizophrenia.
The SNAP-25 gene is an integral part of the vesicle docking and fusion machinery that controls the neurotransmitter release from the vesicles of the presynaptic neuron into the synaptic cleft. Several post mortem studies revealed a reduction of SNAP-25 protein in the hippocampus of patients with schizophrenia and bipolar disorder.
38 patients with schizophrenia, bipolar disorder or obsessive-compulsive disorder and 15 healthy controls participated in the study. Proton magnetic resonance spectroscopy in left hippocampus was performed in each individual. Three single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNP) of the SNAP-25 gene were genotyped.
Individuals with the homozygous CC genotype of the DdeI SNP presented a significantly higher ratio of NAA/Cho in the left hippocampus compared to the group of individuals with the homozygous TT genotype.
The present findings are consistent with the view that the SNAP-25 genotype may modulate synaptic plasticity and neurogenesis in the left hippocampus, and that an altered NAA/Cho ratio may be an indicator for this genetic modulation of neuronal function in the hippocampus.
Self-ratings of psychotic experiences might be biased by depressive symptoms.
Data from a large naturalistic multicentre trial on depressed inpatients (n = 488) who were assessed on a biweekly basis until discharge were analyzed. Self-rated psychotic symptoms as assessed with the 90-Item Symptom Checklist (SCL-90) were correlated with the SCL-90 total score, the SCL-90 depression score, the Beck Depression Inventory (BDI), the Hamilton Depression Rating Scale 21 item (HAMD-21) total score, the Montgomery Åsberg Depression Rating Scale (MADRS) total score and the clinician-rated paranoid-hallucinatory score of the Association for Methodology and Documentation in Psychiatry (AMDP) scale.
At discharge the SCL-90 psychosis score correlated highest with the SCL-90 depression score (0.78, P<0.001) and with the BDI total score (0.64, P<0.001). Moderate correlations were found for the MADRS (0.34, P<0.001), HAMD (0.37, P<0.001) and AMDP depression score (0.33, P<0.001). Only a weak correlation was found between the SCL-90 psychosis score and the AMDP paranoid-hallucinatory syndrome score (0.15, P<0.001). Linear regression showed that change in self-rated psychotic symptoms over the treatment course was best explained by a change in the SCL-90 depression score (P<0.001). The change in clinician-rated AMDP paranoid-hallucinatory score had lesser influence (P = 0.02).
In depressed patients self-rated psychotic symptoms correlate poorly with clinician-rated psychotic symptoms. Caution is warranted when interpreting results from epidemiological surveys using self-rated psychotic symptom questionnaires as indicators of psychotic symptoms. Depressive symptoms which are highly prevalent in the general population might influence such self-ratings.
The negative image of psychiatry is not only due to unfavourable communication with the media, but is basically a problem of self-conceptualization. It results both from unjustified prejudices of the general public, mass media and health care professionals and of own unfavourable coping with external and internal concerns.
Issues related to negative stereotypes of psychiatry include overestimation of coercion, associative stigma, lack of public knowledge, need of simplification of complex mental issues, problem of the continuum between normality and psychopathology, competition with medical and non-medical disciplines, and psychopharmacological treatment.
Issues related to psychiatry's own contribution to being underestimated include lack of a clear professional identity, lack of biomarkers supporting clinical diagnoses, limited consensus about best treatment options, lack of collaboration with other medical disciplines and low recruitment rates among medical students.
Much can be improved to achieve a positive self-concept, however, psychiatry will remain a profession with an exceptional position among the medical disciplines which should be seen as its specific strength.
Disclosure of interest
The author has not supplied his declaration of competing interest.
The use of Alzheimer disease medication for the treatment of dementia symptoms has shown significant benefits with regards to functional and cognitive outcomes as well as nursing home placement (NHP) and mortality. Hospitalisations in these patient groups are characterised by extended length of stays (LOS), frequent readmissions, frequent NHP and high-mortality rates. The impact of Alzheimer disease medication on the aforementioned outcomes remains still unknown. This study assessed the association of Alzheimer disease medication with outcomes of hospitalisation among patients with Alzheimer disease and other forms of dementia.
A dynamic retrospective cohort study from 2004 to 2015 was conducted which claims data from a German health insurance company. People with dementia (PWD) were identified using ICD-10 codes and diagnostic measures. The main predictor of interest was the use of Alzheimer disease medication. Hospitalisation outcomes included LOS, readmissions, NHP and mortality during and after hospitalisation across four hospitalisations. Confounding was addressed using a propensity score throughout all analyses.
A total of 1380 users of Alzheimer disease medication and 6730 non-users were identified. The use of Alzheimer disease medication was associated with significantly shorter LOS during the first hospitalisations with estimates for the second, third and fourth showed a tendency towards shorter hospital stays. In addition, current users of Alzheimer disease medication had a lower risk of hospital readmission after the first two hospitalisations. These associations were not significant for the third and fourth hospitalisations. Post-hospitalisation NHP and mortality rates also tended to be lower among current users than among non-users but differences did not reach statistical significance.
Our results indicate that Alzheimer disease medication might contribute to a reduction of the LOS and the number of readmissions in PWD.
The discovery of the first electromagnetic counterpart to a gravitational wave signal has generated follow-up observations by over 50 facilities world-wide, ushering in the new era of multi-messenger astronomy. In this paper, we present follow-up observations of the gravitational wave event GW170817 and its electromagnetic counterpart SSS17a/DLT17ck (IAU label AT2017gfo) by 14 Australian telescopes and partner observatories as part of Australian-based and Australian-led research programs. We report early- to late-time multi-wavelength observations, including optical imaging and spectroscopy, mid-infrared imaging, radio imaging, and searches for fast radio bursts. Our optical spectra reveal that the transient source emission cooled from approximately 6 400 K to 2 100 K over a 7-d period and produced no significant optical emission lines. The spectral profiles, cooling rate, and photometric light curves are consistent with the expected outburst and subsequent processes of a binary neutron star merger. Star formation in the host galaxy probably ceased at least a Gyr ago, although there is evidence for a galaxy merger. Binary pulsars with short (100 Myr) decay times are therefore unlikely progenitors, but pulsars like PSR B1534+12 with its 2.7 Gyr coalescence time could produce such a merger. The displacement (~2.2 kpc) of the binary star system from the centre of the main galaxy is not unusual for stars in the host galaxy or stars originating in the merging galaxy, and therefore any constraints on the kick velocity imparted to the progenitor are poor.
The SkyMapper Transient survey (SMT) is exploring variability in the southern sky by performing (a) a rolling search to discover and study supernovæ, and (b) a Target of Opportunity programme that uses the robotic SkyMapper Telescope at Siding Spring Observatory. The supernova survey is obtaining a non-targeted sample of Type Ia supernovæ (SNe Ia) at low redshifts, z < 0.1, and studying other interesting transients found with the search strategy. We have a Target of Opportunity programme with an automatic response mechanism to search for optical counterparts to gravitational-wave and fast radio-burst events; it benefits from SkyMapper’s large field of view of 5.7 sq. deg. and a rapid data reduction pipeline.
We present first results of the SMT survey. The SMT pipeline can process and obtain potential candidates within 12 hours of observation. It disentangles real transients from processing artefacts using a machine-learning algorithm. To date, SMT has discovered over 60 spectroscopically confirmed supernovæ, several peculiar objects, and over 40 SNe Ia including one (SNIa 2016hhd) which was found within the first few days of explosion. We have also participated in searches for optical counterparts of gravitational waves, fast radio bursts and other transients, and have published observations of the optical counterpart of the gravitational-wave event GW170817. We also participate in coordinated observations with the Deeper Wider Faster programme, and the Kepler K2 cosmology project.
The SkyMapper 1.3 m telescope at Siding Spring Observatory has now begun regular operations. Alongside the Southern Sky Survey, a comprehensive digital survey of the entire southern sky, SkyMapper will carry out a search for supernovae and other transients. The search strategy, covering a total footprint area of ~2 000 deg2 with a cadence of ⩽5 d, is optimised for discovery and follow-up of low-redshift type Ia supernovae to constrain cosmic expansion and peculiar velocities. We describe the search operations and infrastructure, including a parallelised software pipeline to discover variable objects in difference imaging; simulations of the performance of the survey over its lifetime; public access to discovered transients; and some first results from the Science Verification data.
Strong absorption lines in quasar spectra primarily probe low-mass galaxies and detecting these in emission has previously been difficult. Dedicated surveys for the host galaxies of damped Lyman-α (DLA) systems have often resulted in non-detections and upper limits. Targeting the most metal-rich absorbers has proven to be a viable method, because these galaxies are brighter. By combining DLA metallicities and deriving host galaxy stellar masses, we find that metal-rich DLAs (with >10% solar metallicity) and their host galaxies follow the same redshift-dependent scaling relation between stellar mass and metallicity as luminosity-selected galaxies. We derive a prediction for an absorber galaxy mass that depends on the DLA metallicity.
We analyze a sample of 20 absorption systems intrinsic to long duration GRB host galaxies at z > 2 forwhich the metallicities are known. We compare the relation between the metallicity and cold gas velocity width for thissample to that of the Damped Lyman-alpha systems (DLAs) in the sight-lines of quasars (QSOs), and find completeagreement. We then compare the redshift evolution of the velocity-metallicity relation of our sample to that of QSODLAsand find that also GRB hosts favour a late onset of this evolution, around a redshift of ~2.6. We compute predicted stellar masses for the GRB host galaxies using the prescription determined from QSO-DLAsamples and compare the measured stellar masses for the four hosts where stellar masses have been determinedfrom SED fits. We find excellent agreement and conclude that, on basis of all available data and tests, long durationGRB-DLA hosts and intervening QSO-DLAs are consistent with being drawn from the same underlying population.
We investigated an outbreak of gastroenteritis following a Christmas buffet served on 4–9 December 2012 to ~1300 hotel guests. More than 300 people were reported ill in initial interviews with hotel guests. To identify possible sources of infection we conducted a cohort investigation through which we identified 214 probable cases. Illness was associated with consumption of scrambled eggs (odds ratio 9·07, 95% confidence interval 5·20–15·84). Imported chives added fresh to the scrambled eggs were the suspected source of the outbreak but were unavailable for testing. Enterotoxigenic Escherichia coli (ETEC) infection was eventually confirmed in 40 hotel guests. This outbreak reinforces that ETEC should be considered in non-endemic countries when the clinical picture is consistent and common gastrointestinal pathogens are not found. Following this outbreak, the Norwegian Food Safety Authority recommended that imported fresh herbs should be heat-treated before use in commercial kitchens.
Campylobacter is the most prevalent cause of bacterial gastroenteritis worldwide and it represents a significant public health risk of increasing severity due to its escalating resistance to clinically important quinolone and macrolide antibiotics. As a zoonotic pathogen Campylobacter is transmitted along the food chain and naturally cycles from environmental waters, feedstuff, animals and food to humans. We determined antibiotic resistance profiles, as well as multilocus sequence types and flaA-SVR types for 52 C. jejuni isolated in Slovenia from human, animal, raw and cured chicken meat and water samples. Twenty-eight different sequence types, arranged in ten clonal complexes, three new allele types and five new sequence types were identified, indicating the relatively high diversity in a small group of strains. The assignment of strains from different sources to the same clonal complexes indicates their transmission along the food supply chain. The most prevalent clonal complex was CC21, which was also the genetic group with 95% of quinolone-resistant strains. Based on the genetic relatedness of these quinolone-resistant strains identified by polymerase chain reaction with a mismatch amplification mutation assay and sequencing of the quinolone resistance-determining region of the gyrA gene, we conclude that the high resistance prevalence observed indicates the local clonal spread of quinolone resistance with CC21.
Tobacco dependence is the most common substance use disorder in adults with mental illness. The prevalence rates for tobacco dependence are two to four times higher in these patients than in the general population. Smoking has a strong, negative influence on the life expectancy and quality of life of mental health patients, and remains the leading preventable cause of death in this group. Despite these statistics, in some countries smokers with mental illness are disadvantaged in receiving intervention and support for their tobacco dependence, which is often overlooked or even tolerated. This statement from the European Psychiatric Association (EPA) systematically reviews the current evidence on tobacco dependence and withdrawal in patients with mental illness and their treatment. It provides seven recommendations for the core components of diagnostics and treatment in this patient group. These recommendations concern: (1) the recording process, (2) the timing of the intervention, (3) counselling specificities, (4) proposed treatments, (5) frequency of contact after stopping, (6) follow-up visits and (7) relapse prevention. They aim to help clinicians improve the care, health and well-being of patients suffering from mental illness.