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To assess the contribution of different food groups to total salt purchases and to evaluate the estimated reduction in salt purchases if mandatory maximum salt limits in South African legislation were being complied with.
This study conducted a cross-sectional analysis of purchasing data from Discovery Vitality members. Data were linked to the South African FoodSwitch database to determine the salt content of each food product purchased. Food category and total annual salt purchases were determined by summing salt content (kg) per each unit purchased across a whole year. Reductions in annual salt purchases were estimated by applying legislated maximum limits to product salt content.
The study utilised purchasing data from 344,161 households, members of Discovery Vitality, collected for a whole year between January and December 2018.
Vitality members purchased R12.8 billion worth of food products in 2018, representing 9,562 products from which 264,583 kg of salt were purchased. The main contributors to salt purchases were bread and bakery products (23.3%); meat and meat products (19%); dairy (12.2%); sauces, dressings, spreads and dips (11.8%); and convenience foods (8.7%). The projected total quantity of salt that would be purchased after implementation of the salt legislation was 250,346 kg, a reduction of 5.4% from 2018 levels.
A projected reduction in salt purchases of 5.4% from 2018 levels suggests that meeting the mandatory maximum salt limits in South Africa will make a meaningful contribution to reducing salt purchases.
Calcareous loess in North Canterbury, eastern South Island, New Zealand (NZ), preserves subfossil bird bone, terrestrial gastropods, and eggshell, whose abundances and radiocarbon ages allowed us to reconstruct aspects of palaeoenvironment at high resolution through 25 to 21 cal ka BP. This interval includes millennial-scale climatic variability during the extended last glacial maximum (30–18 ka) of Australasia. Our loess palaeoclimatic record shows good correspondence with stadial and interstadial climate events of the NZ Climate Event Stratigraphy, which were defined from a pollen record on the western side of South Island. An interstade from 25.4 to 24 cal ka BP was warm but also relatively humid on eastern South Island, and loess grain size may indicate reduced vigour of the Southern Hemisphere westerly winds. The subsequent stade (24–22.6 cal ka BP) was drier, colder, and probably windier. The next interstade remained relatively dry on eastern South Island, and westerly winds remained vigorous. The 25.4–24 ka interstade is synchronous with Heinrich stade 2, which may have driven a southward migration of the subtropical front, leading to warming and wetting of northern and central South Island and retreat of Southern Alps glaciers at ca. 26.5 ka.
Year-round monitoring of Erebus volcano (Ross Island) has proved challenging due to the difficulties of maintaining continuous power for scientific instruments, especially through the Antarctic winter. We sought a potential solution involving the harvesting of thermal energy dissipated close to the summit crater of the volcano in a zone of diffuse hot gas emissions. We designed, constructed and tested a power generator based on the Seebeck effect, converting thermal energy to electrical power, which could, in principle, be used to run monitoring devices year round. We report here on the design of the generator and the results of an 11 day trial deployment on Erebus volcano in December 2014. The generator produced a mean output power of 270 mW, although we identified some technical issues that had impaired its efficiency. Nevertheless, this is already sufficient power for some monitoring equipment and, with design improvements, such a generator could provide a viable solution to powering a larger suite of instrumentation.
Childhood infections are associated with adult psychosis and depression, but studies of psychotic experiences (PEs) and depressive symptoms in childhood, adolescence, and early-adulthood are scarce. Previous studies have typically examined severe infections, but studies of common infections are also scarce.
Using data from the Avon Longitudinal Study of Parents and Children (ALSPAC) birth cohort, we examined associations of the number of infections in childhood from age 1.5 to 7.5 years with depressive symptom scores at age 10, 13, 14, 17, 18, and 19 years, and with PEs at 12 and 18 years. We performed additional analysis using infection burden (‘low’ = 0–4 infections, ‘medium’ = 5–6, ‘high’ = 7–9, or ‘very high’ = 10–22 infections) as the exposure.
The risk set comprised 11 786 individuals with childhood infection data. Number of childhood infections was associated with depressive symptoms from age 10 (adjusted beta = 0.14; standard error (s.e.) = 0.04; p = <0.01) to 17 years (adjusted beta = 0.17; s.e. = 0.08; p = 0.04), and with PEs at age 12 (suspected/definite PEs: adjusted odds ratio (OR) = 1.18; 95% confidence interval (CI) = 1.09–1.27). These effect sizes were larger when the exposure was defined as very high infection burden (depressive symptoms age 17: adjusted beta = 0.79; s.e. = 0.29; p = 0.01; suspected/definite PEs at age 12: adjusted OR = 1.60; 95% CI = 1.25–2.05). Childhood infections were not associated with depressive/psychotic outcomes at age 18 or 19.
Common early-childhood infections are associated with depressive symptoms up to mid-adolescence and with PEs subsequently in childhood, but not with these outcomes in early-adulthood. These findings require replication including larger samples with outcomes in adulthood.
Psychotic experiences may emerge in more severe cases of common mental disorders (CMD). Previous work identified that 30% of patients treated by mental health services in primary healthcare, specifically the Improving Access to Psychological Therapies (IAPT) programme in England, reported psychotic experiences, began treatment with more severe CMD and were less likely to reach recovery.
To replicate our previous assessment of psychotic experiences in the IAPT programme using a more sensitive threshold and determine its impact on the prevalence of psychotic experience and likelihood of recovery. Additionally, to compare recovery rates between patients with and without psychotic experiences at the end of therapy.
The Community Assessment of Psychic Experiences (CAPE-P15) with a cut-off of 1.30 was used to determine the prevalence of psychotic experiences. Recovery rates were determined using measures collected in the IAPT programme for depression (PHQ-9) and anxiety (GAD-7). Multi-group growth models estimated improvement trajectories.
In total, 2042 patients with CMD completed the CAPE-P15. The mean age was 39.8. The prevalence of psychotic experiences was 18% higher when using a lower threshold. The recovery rate for patients with psychotic experiences was lower (36%) than for those without (64%). Despite sharing similar improvement trajectories, the higher initial severity of CMD among patients with psychotic experiences impeded likelihood of recovery.
As psychotic experiences may be a marker of severity in CMD, the benefits of identifying these in IAPT populations may also apply to patients with milder experiences. Further investigation of the consequential demands on service provision and how this would affect clinical practice is recommended.
In Europe, the incidence of psychotic disorder is high in certain migrant and minority ethnic groups (hence: ‘minorities’). However, it is unknown how the incidence pattern for these groups varies within this continent. Our objective was to compare, across sites in France, Italy, Spain, the UK and the Netherlands, the incidence rates for minorities and the incidence rate ratios (IRRs, minorities v. the local reference population).
The European Network of National Schizophrenia Networks Studying Gene–Environment Interactions (EU-GEI) study was conducted between 2010 and 2015. We analyzed data on incident cases of non-organic psychosis (International Classification of Diseases, 10th edition, codes F20–F33) from 13 sites.
The standardized incidence rates for minorities, combined into one category, varied from 12.2 in Valencia to 82.5 per 100 000 in Paris. These rates were generally high at sites with high rates for the reference population, and low at sites with low rates for the reference population. IRRs for minorities (combined into one category) varied from 0.70 (95% CI 0.32–1.53) in Valencia to 2.47 (95% CI 1.66–3.69) in Paris (test for interaction: p = 0.031). At most sites, IRRs were higher for persons from non-Western countries than for those from Western countries, with the highest IRRs for individuals from sub-Saharan Africa (adjusted IRR = 3.23, 95% CI 2.66–3.93).
Incidence rates vary by region of origin, region of destination and their combination. This suggests that they are strongly influenced by the social context.
Treatment resistance causes significant burden in psychosis. Clozapine is the only evidence-based pharmacologic intervention available for people with treatment-resistant schizophrenia; current guidelines recommend commencement after two unsuccessful trials of standard antipsychotics.
This paper aims to explore the prevalence of treatment resistance and pathways to commencement of clozapine in UK early intervention in psychosis (EIP) services.
Data were taken from the National Evaluation of the Development and Impact of Early Intervention Services study (N = 1027) and included demographics, medication history and psychosis symptoms measured by the Positive and Negative Syndrome Scale (PANSS) at baseline, 6 months and 12 months. Prescribing patterns and pathways to clozapine were examined. We adopted a strict criterion for treatment resistance, defined as persistent elevated positive symptoms (a PANSS positive score ≥16, equating to at least two items of at least moderate severity), across three time points.
A total of 143 (18.1%) participants met the definition of treatment resistance of having continuous positive symptoms over 12 months, despite treatment in EIP services. Sixty-one (7.7%) participants were treatment resistant and eligible for clozapine, having had two trials of standard antipsychotics; however, only 25 (2.4%) were prescribed clozapine over the 12-month study period. Treatment-resistant participants were more likely to be prescribed additional antipsychotic medication and polypharmacy, instead of clozapine.
Prevalent treatment resistance was observed in UK EIP services, but prescription of polypharmacy was much more common than clozapine. Significant delays in the commencement of clozapine may reflect a missed opportunity to promote recovery in this critical period.
It is not clear to what extent associations between schizophrenia, cannabis use and cigarette use are due to a shared genetic etiology. We, therefore, examined whether schizophrenia genetic risk associates with longitudinal patterns of cigarette and cannabis use in adolescence and mediating pathways for any association to inform potential reduction strategies.
Associations between schizophrenia polygenic scores and longitudinal latent classes of cigarette and cannabis use from ages 14 to 19 years were investigated in up to 3925 individuals in the Avon Longitudinal Study of Parents and Children. Mediation models were estimated to assess the potential mediating effects of a range of cognitive, emotional, and behavioral phenotypes.
The schizophrenia polygenic score, based on single nucleotide polymorphisms meeting a training-set p threshold of 0.05, was associated with late-onset cannabis use (OR = 1.23; 95% CI = 1.08,1.41), but not with cigarette or early-onset cannabis use classes. This association was not mediated through lower IQ, victimization, emotional difficulties, antisocial behavior, impulsivity, or poorer social relationships during childhood. Sensitivity analyses adjusting for genetic liability to cannabis or cigarette use, using polygenic scores excluding the CHRNA5-A3-B4 gene cluster, or basing scores on a 0.5 training-set p threshold, provided results consistent with our main analyses.
Our study provides evidence that genetic risk for schizophrenia is associated with patterns of cannabis use during adolescence. Investigation of pathways other than the cognitive, emotional, and behavioral phenotypes examined here is required to identify modifiable targets to reduce the public health burden of cannabis use in the population.
First episode psychosis (FEP) patients who use cannabis experience more frequent psychotic and euphoric intoxication experiences compared to controls. It is not clear whether this is consequent to patients being more vulnerable to the effects of cannabis use or to their heavier pattern of use. We aimed to determine whether extent of use predicted psychotic-like and euphoric intoxication experiences in patients and controls and whether this differs between groups.
We analysed data on patients who had ever used cannabis (n = 655) and controls who had ever used cannabis (n = 654) across 15 sites from six countries in the EU-GEI study (2010–2015). We used multiple regression to model predictors of cannabis-induced experiences and to determine if there was an interaction between caseness and extent of use.
Caseness, frequency of cannabis use and money spent on cannabis predicted psychotic-like and euphoric experiences (p ⩽ 0.001). For psychotic-like experiences (PEs) there was a significant interaction for caseness × frequency of use (p < 0.001) and caseness × money spent on cannabis (p = 0.001) such that FEP patients had increased experiences at increased levels of use compared to controls. There was no significant interaction for euphoric experiences (p > 0.5).
FEP patients are particularly sensitive to increased psychotic-like, but not euphoric experiences, at higher levels of cannabis use compared to controls. This suggests a specific psychotomimetic response in FEP patients related to heavy cannabis use. Clinicians should enquire regarding cannabis related PEs and advise that lower levels of cannabis use are associated with less frequent PEs.
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.
To test the hypothesis that recent onset psychotic patients who use cannabis will have psychotic symptoms that are more severe and more persistent than those who do not use cannabis.
Subjects and methods
We carried out a 4-year follow-up study of a cohort of 119 patients with recent onset of psychosis. The patients were divided into four groups according to duration of cannabis use, taking index admission and follow-up as reference points.
Those subjects who persisted in the use of cannabis had more positive (but not negative) symptoms and a more continuous illness at follow-up.
The main limitations of the study were: the relatively small sample size, and that the excess of male subjects and the presence of cannabis induced psychosis could have a confusing impact on the interpretation of the results.
It is possible that psychotic patients who use cannabis are at a greater risk of a more continuous illness with more positive symptoms than those who do not.
Antipsychotic medication maintenance and the factors influencing it were analyzed using data from the SOHO study, a large observational study of the outcomes of antipsychotic treatment for schizophrenia in Europe. A total of 7186 adult patients in the outpatient setting who were initiating or changing their antipsychotic medication and who were prescribed only one antipsychotic after the baseline visit were analyzed. Medication maintenance at 12 months varied with the type of antipsychotic prescribed, being highest with clozapine (79.5%) and olanzapine (77.0%), and lowest with quetiapine (51.4%) and amisulpride (58.2%). Multiple logistic regression analysis demonstrated that the type of antipsychotic prescribed at baseline was the most important predictor of medication maintenance. Alcohol dependency, taking mood stabilizers, compulsory admission or arrest in the previous 6 months, greater clinical severity, and changing antipsychotic medication due to lack of effectiveness at baseline predicted a higher frequency of medication discontinuation in the subsequent 12 months. In contrast, medication maintenance was higher among patients who were treatment naïve at baseline, socially active or who had loss of libido at baseline. The findings from this study should be interpreted conservatively because of its non-randomized observational design.
Increasing evidence suggests psychosis may be more meaningfully viewed in dimensional terms rather than as discrete categorical states and that specific symptom clusters may be identified. If so, particular risk factors and premorbid factors may predict these symptom clusters.
(i) To explore, using principal component analysis, whether specific factors for psychotic symptoms can be isolated. (ii) To establish the predictors of the different symptom factors using multiple regression techniques.
One hundred and eighty-nine inpatients with psychotic illness were recruited and information on family history, premorbid factors and current symptoms obtained from them and their mothers.
Seven distinct symptom components were identified. Regression analysis failed to identify any developmental predictors of depression or mania. Delusions/hallucinations were predicted by a family history of schizophrenia and by poor school functioning in spite of normal premorbid IQ (F = 6.5; P < 0.001); negative symptoms by early onset of illness, developmental delay and a family history of psychosis (F = 4.1; P = 0.04). Interestingly disorganisation was predicted by the combination of family history of bipolar disorder and low premorbid IQ (F = 4.9; P = 0.003), and paranoia by obstetric complications (OCs) and poor school functioning (F = 4.2; P = 0.01).
Delusions and hallucinations, negative symptoms and paranoia all appeared to have a developmental origin though they were associated with different childhood problems. On the other hand, neither mania nor depression was associated with childhood dysfunction. Our most striking finding was that disorganisation appeared to arise when a familial predisposition to mania was compounded by low premorbid IQ.
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.