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Trypanosomes are blood-borne parasites that can infect a variety of different vertebrates, including animals and humans. This study aims to broaden scientific knowledge about the presence and biodiversity of trypanosomes in Australian bats. Molecular and morphological analysis was performed on 86 blood samples collected from seven different species of microbats in Western Australia. Phylogenetic analysis on 18S rDNA and glycosomal glyceraldehyde phosphate dehydrogenase (gGAPDH) sequences identified Trypanosoma dionisii in five different Australian native species of microbats; Chalinolobus gouldii, Chalinolobus morio, Nyctophilus geoffroyi, Nyctophilus major and Scotorepens balstoni. In addition, two novels, genetically distinct T. dionisii genotypes were detected and named T. dionisii genotype Aus 1 and T. dionisii genotype Aus 2. Genotype Aus 2 was the most prevalent and infected 20.9% (18/86) of bats in the present study, while genotype Aus 1 was less prevalent and was identified in 5.8% (5/86) of Australian bats. Morphological analysis was conducted on trypomastigotes identified in blood films, with morphological parameters consistent with trypanosome species in the subgenus Schizotrypanum. This is the first report of T. dionisii in Australia and in Australian native bats, which further contributes to the global distribution of this cosmopolitan bat trypanosome.
Psychosis, and in particular auditory verbal hallucinations (AVHs), are associated with adversity exposure. However, AVHs also occur in populations with no need for care or distress.
This study investigated whether adversity exposure would differentiate clinical and healthy voice-hearers within the context of a ‘three-hit’ model of vulnerability and stress exposure.
Samples of 57 clinical and 45 healthy voice-hearers were compared on the three ‘hits’: familial risk; adversity exposure in childhood and in adolescence/adulthood.
Clinical voice-hearers showed greater familial risk than healthy voice-hearers, with more family members with a history of psychosis, but not with other mental disorders. The two groups did not differ in their exposure to adversity in childhood [sexual and non-sexual, victimisation; discrimination and socio-economic status (SES)]. Contrary to expectations, clinical voice-hearers did not differ from healthy voice-hearers in their exposure to victimisation (sexual/non-sexual) and discrimination in adolescence/adulthood, but reported more cannabis and substance misuse, and lower SES.
The current study found no evidence that clinical and healthy voice-hearers differ in lifetime victimisation exposure, suggesting victimisation may be linked to the emergence of AVHs generally, rather than need-for-care. Familial risk, substance misuse and lower SES may be additional risk factors involved in the emergence of need-for-care and distress.
People displaying persistent, full-blown psychotic experiences without a need-for-care in the general population are an ideal group to investigate to differentiate those factors that are linked to distress and dysfunction from those that are merely associated with benign anomalous experiences. The UNIQUE study investigated the cognitive and social processes predicted by cognitive models of psychosis to differentiate between benign and pathological outcomes of psychotic experiences (PEs).
Two hundred and fifty-nine individuals were recruited (84 clinical participants with PEs; 92 non-clinical participants with PEs; 83 controls without PEs) from urban (South-East London) and rural (North Wales) UK sites. The three groups were compared on clinical and psychological measures, on reasoning tasks, and on their appraisals of experimental tasks inducing anomalous experiences (of thought interference symptoms and auditory hallucinations).
The clinical picture demonstrated a distinctive pattern of similarities and differences on PEs between the clinical and non-clinical groups, while their demographic and psychological profiles were markedly different. As predicted, the clinical group showed a ‘jump-to-conclusions’ reasoning style, and endorsed more threatening appraisals ratings of the experimentally-induced anomalous experiences than the non-clinical group, who did not differ from the controls.
The results of this study identified a number of specific factors that may be protective against transition to psychosis in individuals with persistent PEs. They also provide robust experimental evidence for the key role of appraisals in determining outcome, as postulated by cognitive models of psychosis.
Medical research Council, UK.
Disclosure of interest
The authors have not supplied their declaration of competing interest.
Late-life depression (LLD) is associated with poor social functioning. However, previous research uses bias-prone self-report scales to measure social functioning and a more objective measure is lacking. We tested a novel wearable device to measure speech that participants encounter as an indicator of social interaction.
Twenty nine participants with LLD and 29 age-matched controls wore a wrist-worn device continuously for seven days, which recorded their acoustic environment. Acoustic data were automatically analysed using deep learning models that had been developed and validated on an independent speech dataset. Total speech activity and the proportion of speech produced by the device wearer were both detected whilst maintaining participants' privacy. Participants underwent a neuropsychological test battery and clinical and self-report scales to measure severity of depression, general and social functioning.
Compared to controls, participants with LLD showed poorer self-reported social and general functioning. Total speech activity was much lower for participants with LLD than controls, with no overlap between groups. The proportion of speech produced by the participants was smaller for LLD than controls. In LLD, both speech measures correlated with attention and psychomotor speed performance but not with depression severity or self-reported social functioning.
Using this device, LLD was associated with lower levels of speech than controls and speech activity was related to psychomotor retardation. We have demonstrated that speech activity measured by wearable technology differentiated LLD from controls with high precision and, in this study, provided an objective measure of an aspect of real-world social functioning in LLD.
Increased fat and carbohydrate intakes based on the Western diet are important lifestyle modifications that lead to hypercaloric inputs, obesity, and male fertility negative effects. Epigenetic transmission may also predispose descended generations to chronic diseases, such as obesity, type 2 diabetes, behavioral, and reproductive disorders. The present study sought to evaluate the influence of a high-fat-high-sugar (HFHS) diet supplied to Wistar rats from 25 to 90 days of life on reproductive and metabolic parameters in male generations F0, F1, and F2. The standard group received the normocaloric – Nuvilab Quimtia® –3.86 kcal/kg. The hypercaloric diet (HD) group received the HFHS diet – PragSoluções® –4.77 kcal/kg. Body weight, adiposity, F1 and F2 prepubertal age evaluations, oral glucose tolerance test, insulin tolerance test, organ weights, sperm count and morphology assessments, and histometric testicular analyses were performed. The HFHS diet promoted dyslipidemia, higher adiposity, lower relative organ weights, and higher mean kidney weight, decreased mean testicle and parenchyma weights and lower height of seminiferous epithelium (HE) for the F0 generation. F1 and F2 offspring of HD group displayed early preprepubertal development, although did not alter the metabolic parameters. Decreased HE and tubular testicular compartment volumetric density and increased intertubular testicular compartment volumetric density and volume in the F1 generation of HD group were observed. Alterations in histometry of intertubular testicular compartment were also noted. It is concluded that the HFHS experimental model altered only paternal metabolic parameters. However, reproductive parameters of the three generations were affected.
Certain ways of responding to psychotic experiences (PEs) appear more commonly associated with clinical distress (e.g. avoidance) and other ways with benign or positive outcomes (e.g. reappraisal and acceptance). Past research has largely been limited to retrospective self-report. We aimed to compare clinical and non-clinical individuals on experimental analogues of anomalous experiences.
Response styles of two groups with persistent PEs (clinical n = 84; non-clinical n = 92) and a control group without PEs (n = 83) were compared following experimental analogues of thought interference (Cards Task, Telepath) and hearing voices (Virtual Acoustic Space Paradigm).
The non-clinical group with PEs were less likely to endorse unhelpful response styles, such as passive responding or attempts to avoid, suppress, worry about or control mental experiences, compared with the clinical group on all three tasks. The clinical group were more likely to endorse unhelpful response styles compared with controls on two out of three tasks (Cards Task and Telepath). The non-clinical group performed similarly to controls on unhelpful responding across all tasks. There were no group differences for helpful response styles, such as cognitive reappraisal or mindful acceptance of experiences.
In line with cognitive models of psychosis, the findings suggest that the way in which individuals respond to unusual experiences may be an important factor in understanding clinical distress, supporting the therapeutic rationale of targeting potentially unhelpful patterns of response.
We describe diet quality by demographic factors and weight status among Barbadian children and examine associations with excess energy intake (EI). A screening tool for the identification of children at risk of excess EI was developed.
In a cross-sectional survey, the Diet Quality Index–International (DQI-I) was used to assess dietary intakes from repeat 24h recalls among 362 children aged 9–10 years. Participants were selected by probability proportional to size. A model to identify excess energy intake from easily measured components of the DQI-I was developed.
Primary-school children in Barbados.
Over one-third of children were overweight/obese, and mean EI for boys (8644 (se 174·5) kJ/d (2066 (se 41·7) kcal/d)) and girls (8912 (se 169·9) kJ/d (2130 (se 40·6) kcal/d)) exceeded the RDA. Children consuming a variety of food groups, more vegetables and fruits, and lower percentage energy contribution from empty-calorie foods showed reduced likelihood of excess EI. Intake of more than 2400 mg Na/d and higher macronutrient and fatty acid ratios were positively related to the consumption of excess energy. A model using five DQI-I components (overall food group variety, variety for protein source, vegetables, fruits and empty calorie intake) had high sensitivity for identification of children at risk of excess EI.
Children’s diet quality, despite low intakes of fruit and vegetables, was within acceptable ranges as assessed by the DQI-I and RDA; however, portion size was large and EI high. A practical model for identification of children at risk of excess EI has been developed.
We explicitly describe the isomorphism between two combinatorial realizations of Kashiwara’s infinity crystal in types B and C. The first realization is in terms of marginally large tableaux and the other is in terms of Kostant partitions coming from PBW bases. We also discuss a stack notation for Kostant partitions which simplifies that realization.
Hearing voices can be a distressing and disabling experience for some, whilst it is a valued experience for others, so-called ‘healthy voice-hearers’. Cognitive models of psychosis highlight the role of memory, appraisal and cognitive biases in determining emotional and behavioural responses to voices. A memory bias potentially associated with distressing voices is the overgeneral memory bias (OGM), namely the tendency to recall a summary of events rather than specific occasions. It may limit access to autobiographical information that could be helpful in re-appraising distressing experiences, including voices.
We investigated the possible links between OGM and distressing voices in psychosis by comparing three groups: (1) clinical voice-hearers (N = 39), (2) non-clinical voice-hearers (N = 35) and (3) controls without voices (N = 77) on a standard version of the autobiographical memory test (AMT). Clinical and non-clinical voice-hearers also completed a newly adapted version of the task, designed to assess voices-related memories (vAMT).
As hypothesised, the clinical group displayed an OGM bias by retrieving fewer specific autobiographical memories on the AMT compared with both the non-clinical and control groups, who did not differ from each other. The clinical group also showed an OGM bias in recall of voice-related memories on the vAMT, compared with the non-clinical group.
Clinical voice-hearers display an OGM bias when compared with non-clinical voice-hearers on both general and voices-specific recall tasks. These findings have implications for the refinement and targeting of psychological interventions for psychosis.
Extinction is the complete loss of a species, but the accuracy of that status depends on the overall information about the species. Dracaena umbraculifera was described in 1797 from a cultivated plant attributed to Mauritius, but repeated surveys failed to relocate it and it was categorized as Extinct on the IUCN Red List. However, several individuals labelled as D. umbraculifera grow in botanical gardens, suggesting that the species’ IUCN status may be inaccurate. The goal of this study was to understand (1) where D. umbraculifera originated, (2) which species are its close relatives, (3) whether it is extinct, and (4) the identity of the botanical garden accessions and whether they have conservation value. We sequenced a cpDNA region of Dracaena from Mauritius, botanical garden accessions labelled as D. umbraculifera, and individuals confirmed to be D. umbraculifera based on morphology, one of which is a living plant in a private garden. We included GenBank accessions of Dracaena from Madagascar and other locations and reconstructed the phylogeny using Bayesian and parsimony approaches. Phylogenies indicated that D. umbraculifera is more closely related to Dracaena reflexa from Madagascar than to Mauritian Dracaena. As anecdotal information indicated that the living D. umbraculifera originated from Madagascar, we conducted field expeditions there and located five wild populations; the species’ IUCN status should therefore be Critically Endangered because < 50 wild individuals remain. Although the identity of many botanical garden samples remains unresolved, this study highlights the importance of living collections for facilitating new discoveries and the importance of documenting and conserving the flora of Madagascar.