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Studies investigating indicators of recovery from schizophrenia yielded two concepts of recovery. The first is the reduction of psychiatric symptoms and functional disabilities (‘clinical recovery’), while the second describes the individual adaptation process to the threat posed to the individual sense of self by the disorder and its negative consequences (‘personal recovery’). Evidence suggests that both perceptions contribute substantially to the understanding of recovery and require specific assessment and therapy. While current reviews of measures of clinical recovery exist, measures of personal recovery have yet to be investigated. Considering the steadily growing literature on recovery, this article gives an update about existing measures assessing personal recovery.
A literature search for instruments was performed using Medline, Embase, PsycINFO&PSYNDEXPlus, ISI Web of Knowledge, and Cochrane Library. Inclusion criteria were: (1) quantitative self-report measures; (2) specifically developed for adults with schizophrenia or schizoaffective disorder or at least applied to individuals suffering from severe mental illness; (3) empirically tested psychometric properties and/or published in a peer-reviewed, English-language journal. Instruments were evaluated with regard to psychometric properties (validity and reliability) and issues of application (user and administrator friendliness, translations).
Thirteen instruments met the inclusion criteria. They were individually described and finally summarized in a table reflecting the pros and cons of each instrument. This may enable the reader to make an evidence-based choice for a questionnaire for a specific application.
The Recovery Assessment Scale is possibly the best currently available measure of personal recovery when all evaluation criteria are included. However, the ratings listed in the current paper depended on the availability of information and the quality of available reports of previous assessment of the measurement properties. Considering the significant amount of information lacking and inconsistent findings, further research on the reviewed measures is perhaps more important than the development of new measures of personal recovery.
Preclinical and first clinical studies suggested that the selective γ-aminobutyric acid (GABA)-B receptor agonist baclofen might be effective in the treatment of alcohol dependence. However, previous randomized controlled trials have reported inconsistent results, possibly related to the low to medium dosages of baclofen used in these studies.
To assess the efficacy and safety of individually titrated high-dose baclofen (30-270 mg/d) for the treatment of alcohol dependence.
Fifty-six alcohol-dependent patients were randomized to a double-blind treatment with individually titrated baclofen or placebo. Multiple primary outcome measures were total abstinence and cumulative abstinence duration during a 12-week high-dose phase.
Preliminary results of this clinical trial will be presented.
To determine the impacts of using a whole grain food definition on measurement of whole grain intake compared with calculation of total grams of intake irrespective of the source.
The Australian whole grain database was expanded to identify foods that comply with the Healthgrain whole grain food definition (≥30 % whole grains on a dry weight basis, whole grain ingredients exceeds refined grain and meeting accepted standards for healthy foods based on local regulations). Secondary analysis of the National Nutrition and Physical Activity Survey (NNPAS) 2011–2012 dietary intake data included calculation of whole grain intakes based on intake from foods complying with the Healthgrain definition. These were compared with intake values where grams of whole grain in any food had been included.
Australians (≥2 years) who participated in the NNPAS 2011–2012 (n 12 153).
Following expansion of the whole grain database, 214 of the 609 foods containing any amount of whole grain were compliant with the Healthgrain definition. Significant mean differences (all P < 0·05) of 2·84–6·25 g/d of whole grain intake (5·91–9·44 g/d energy adjusted) were found when applying the Healthgrain definition in comparison with values from foods containing any whole grain across all age groups.
Application of a whole grain food definition has substantial impact on calculations of population whole grain intakes. While use of such definitions may prove beneficial in settings such as whole grain promotion, the underestimation of total intake may impact on identification of any associations between whole grain intake and health outcomes.
Serum BDNF levels are decreased in major depressive disorder (MDD) and tend to normalize under antidepressant treatment, serving as a treatment outcome predictor. BDNF is initially synthetized as precursor protein proBDNF and is cleaved to mature BDNF (mBDNF) while only the latter exerts neurotrophic activity.
The aim was to explore if a specific enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA) kit for mBDNF in serum would be superior to the unspecific assessment of total serum BDNF in predicting treatment response in MDD.
Twenty-five patients with MDD underwent standardized treatment with duloxetine. Severity of depression was measured by Hamilton Depression Rating Scale (HDRS) at baseline (BL), after one (W1), two (W2) and six weeks (W6) of treatment. Treatment response was defined as a HDRS ≥ 50% reduction of BL score at W6. mBDNF and total BDNF serum levels were determined at BL, W1 and W2.
A high and stable correlation was found between mBDNF and total BDNF serum levels over all measurements. The predictive value of mBDNF BL levels and mBDNFΔW1 to response was similar to that of total BDNF BL and total BDNFΔW1. The assessment of serum mBDNF was not superior to total BDNF in prediction of treatment outcome.
Not only baseline total BDNF but also mBDNF is predictive to treatment outcome. The later might represent the main player in this respect, which supports the idea of a functional link between neuroplasticity and MDD.
Disclosure of interest
The authors have not supplied their declaration of competing interest.
Here we provide an update of the 2013 report on the Nigerian Twin and Sibling Registry (NTSR). The major aim of the NTSR is to understand genetic and environmental influences and their interplay in psychological and mental health development in Nigerian children and adolescents. Africans have the highest twin birth rates among all human populations, and Nigeria is the most populous country in Africa. Due to its combination of large population and high twin birth rates, Nigeria has one of the largest twin populations in the world. In this article, we provide current updates on the NTSR samples recruited, recruitment procedures, zygosity assessment and findings emerging from the NTSR.
The aim of the Avera Twin Register (ATR) is to establish a prospective longitudinal repository of twins, multiples, siblings and family members’ biological samples to study environmental and genetic influences on health and disease. Also, it is our intention to contribute to international genome-wide association study (GWAS) twin consortia when appropriate sample size is achieved within the ATR. The ATR is young compared with existing registers and continues to collect a longitudinal repository of biological specimens, survey data and health information. Data and biological specimens were originally collected via face-to-face appointments or the postal department and consisted of paper-informed consents and questionnaires. Enrollment of the ATR began on May 18, 2016 and is located in Sioux Falls, South Dakota, a rural and frontier area in the Central United States with a regional population of approximately 880,000. The original target area for the ATR was South Dakota and the four surrounding states: Minnesota, Iowa, North Dakota and Nebraska. The ATR has found a need to expand that area based on twin and multiple siblings who live in various areas surrounding these states. A description of the state of the ATR today and its transition to online data collection and informed consent will be presented. The ATR collects longitudinal data on lifestyle, including diet and activity levels, aging, plus complex traits and diseases. All twins and multiples participating in the ATR are genotyped on the Illumina Global Screening Array and receive zygosity results.
The COllaborative project of Development of Anthropometrical measures in Twins (CODATwins) project is a large international collaborative effort to analyze individual-level phenotype data from twins in multiple cohorts from different environments. The main objective is to study factors that modify genetic and environmental variation of height, body mass index (BMI, kg/m2) and size at birth, and additionally to address other research questions such as long-term consequences of birth size. The project started in 2013 and is open to all twin projects in the world having height and weight measures on twins with information on zygosity. Thus far, 54 twin projects from 24 countries have provided individual-level data. The CODATwins database includes 489,981 twin individuals (228,635 complete twin pairs). Since many twin cohorts have collected longitudinal data, there is a total of 1,049,785 height and weight observations. For many cohorts, we also have information on birth weight and length, own smoking behavior and own or parental education. We found that the heritability estimates of height and BMI systematically changed from infancy to old age. Remarkably, only minor differences in the heritability estimates were found across cultural–geographic regions, measurement time and birth cohort for height and BMI. In addition to genetic epidemiological studies, we looked at associations of height and BMI with education, birth weight and smoking status. Within-family analyses examined differences within same-sex and opposite-sex dizygotic twins in birth size and later development. The CODATwins project demonstrates the feasibility and value of international collaboration to address gene-by-exposure interactions that require large sample sizes and address the effects of different exposures across time, geographical regions and socioeconomic status.
Sub-Saharan Africa has the highest natural twinning rate in the world. Unfortunately, due to lack of adequate care during pregnancy, labor and postnatally, twin mortality in Sub-Saharan Africa also remains very high. Thus, it has been estimated that one in five twins dies during the childhood years. In spite of this, surprisingly few twin studies have been conducted in the region, making additional epidemiological data much needed. In 2009, we established one of the first twin registries in Sub-Saharan Africa at the Bandim Health Project in Guinea-Bissau. The registry had two main objectives. First, we wanted to describe the twinning rate and mortality patterns among newborn twins, including mortality risk factors and hospitalization patterns. Such studies can help the local clinicians improve twin health by identifying the most vulnerable children. Second, and in light of the rapidly increasing diabetes rates in Africa, we wanted to use the registry to particularly focus on metabolic disorders. Twins are often born with low birth weight, which according to the ‘thrifty phenotype hypothesis’ could predispose them to metabolic disorders later in life. Yet, no such ‘fetal programming’ data have previously been available from African twins despite the fact that nutritional patterns and influences from other factors (e.g., infections) could be markedly different here compared to high-income settings. In this article, we summarize the findings and current status of the Guinea-Bissau twin registry.
Decreases in Fe status have been reported in military women during initial training periods of 8–10 weeks. The present study aimed to characterise Fe status and associations with physical performance in female New Zealand Army recruits during a 16-week basic combat training (BCT) course. Fe status indicators – Hb, serum ferritin (sFer), soluble transferrin receptor (sTfR), transferrin saturation (TS) and erythrocyte distribution width (RDW) – were assessed at the beginning (baseline) and end of BCT in seventy-six volunteers without Fe-deficiency non-anaemia (sFer <12 µg/l; Hb ≥120 g/l) or Fe-deficiency anaemia (sFer <12 µg/l; Hb <120 g/l) at baseline or a C-reactive protein >10 mg/l at baseline or end. A timed 2·4 km run followed by maximum press-ups were performed at baseline and midpoint (week 8) to assess physical performance. Changes in Fe status were investigated using paired t tests and associations between Fe status and physical performance evaluated using Pearson correlation coefficients. sFer (56·6 (sd 33·7) v. 38·4 (sd 23·8) µg/l) and TS (38·8 (sd 13·9) v. 34·4 (sd 11·5) %) decreased (P<0·001 and P=0·014, respectively), while sTfR (1·21 (sd 0·27) v. 1·39 (sd 0·35) mg/l) and RDW (12·8 (sd 0·6) v. 13·2 (sd 0·7) %) increased (P<0·001) from baseline to end. Hb (140·6 (sd 7·5) v. 142·9 (sd 7·9) g/l) increased (P=0·009) during BCT. At end, sTfR was positively (r 0·29, P=0·012) and TS inversely associated (r –0·32, P=0·005) with midpoint run time. There were no significant correlations between Fe status and press-ups. Storage and functional Fe parameters indicated a decline in Fe status in female recruits during BCT. Correlations between tissue-Fe indicators and run times suggest impaired aerobic fitness. Optimal Fe status appears paramount for enabling success in female recruits during military training.
Indigenous women and children experience some of the most profound health disparities globally. These disparities are grounded in historical and contemporary trauma secondary to colonial atrocities perpetuated by settler society. The health disparities that exist for chronic diseases may have their origins in early-life exposures that Indigenous women and children face. Mechanistically, there is evidence that these adverse exposures epigenetically modify genes associated with cardiometabolic disease risk. Interventions designed to support a resilient pregnancy and first 1000 days of life should abrogate disparities in early-life socioeconomic status. Breastfeeding, prenatal care and early child education are key targets for governments and health care providers to start addressing current health disparities in cardiometabolic diseases among Indigenous youth. Programmes grounded in cultural safety and co-developed with communities have successfully reduced health disparities. More works of this kind are needed to reduce inequities in cardiometabolic diseases among Indigenous women and children worldwide.
An excellent laboratory for studying large scale magnetic fields is the grand design face-on spiral galaxy M51. Due to wavelength-dependent Faraday depolarization, linearly polarized synchrotron emission at different radio frequencies gives a picture of the galaxy at different depths: Observations at L-band (1 – 2 GHz) probe the halo region while at C- and X-band (4 – 8 GHz) the linearly polarized emission probe the disk region of M51. We present new observations of M51 using the Karl G. Jansky Very Large Array (VLA) at S-band (2 – 4 GHz), where previously no polarization observations existed, to shed new light on the transition region between the disk and the halo. We discuss a model of the depolarization of synchrotron radiation in a multilayer magneto-ionic medium and compare the model predictions to the multi-frequency polarization data of M51 between 1 – 8 GHz. The new S-band data are essential to distinguish between different models. Our study shows that the initial model parameters, i.e. the total regular and turbulent magnetic field strengths in the disk and halo of M51, need to be adjusted to successfully fit the models to the data.
Dignity therapy (DT) is designed to address psychological and existential challenges that terminally ill individuals face. DT guides patients in developing a written legacy project in which they record and share important memories and messages with those they will leave behind. DT has been demonstrated to ease existential concerns for adults with advanced-stage cancer; however, lack of institutional resources limits wide implementation of DT in clinical practice. This study explores qualitative outcomes of an abbreviated, less resource-intensive version of DT among participants with advanced-stage cancer and their legacy project recipients.
Qualitative methods were used to analyze postintervention interviews with 11 participants and their legacy recipients as well as the created legacy projects. Direct content analysis was used to assess feedback from the interviews about benefits, barriers, and recommendations regarding abbreviated DT. The legacy projects were coded for expression of core values.
Findings suggest that abbreviated DT effectively promotes (1) self-expression, (2) connection with loved ones, (3) sense of purpose, and (4) continuity of self. Participants observed that leading the development of their legacy projects promoted independent reflection, autonomy, and opportunities for family interaction when reviewing and discussing the projects. Consistent with traditional DT, participants expressed “family” as the most common core value in their legacy projects. Expression of “autonomy” was also a notable finding.
Significance of results
Abbreviated DT reduces resource barriers to conducting traditional DT while promoting similar benefits for participants and recipients, making it a promising adaptation warranting further research. The importance that patients place on family and autonomy should be honored as much as possible by those caring for adults with advanced-stage cancer.
Advance care planning (ACP) increases quality of life and satisfaction with care for those with cancer and their families, yet these important conversations often do not occur. Barriers include patients’ and families’ emotional responses to cancer, such as anxiety and sadness, which can lead to avoidance of discussing illness-related topics such as ACP. Interventions that address psychological barriers to ACP are needed. The purpose of this study was to explore the effects of a mindfulness intervention designed to cultivate patient and caregiver emotional and relational capacity to respond to the challenges of cancer with greater ease, potentially decreasing psychological barriers to ACP and enhancing ACP engagement.
The Mindfully Optimizing Delivery of End-of-Life (MODEL) Care intervention provided 12 hours of experiential training to two cohorts of six to seven adults with advanced-stage cancer and their family caregivers (n = 13 dyads). Training included mindfulness practices, mindful communication skills development, and information about ACP. Patient and caregiver experiences of the MODEL Care program were assessed using semistructured interviews administered immediately postintervention and open-ended survey questions delivered immediately and at 4 weeks postintervention. Responses were analyzed using qualitative methods.
Four salient themes were identified. Patients and caregivers reported the intervention (1) enhanced adaptive coping practices, (2) lowered emotional reactivity, (3) strengthened relationships, and (4) improved communication, including communication about their disease.
Significance of results
The MODEL Care intervention enhanced patient and caregiver capacity to respond to the emotional challenges that often accompany advanced cancer and decreased patient and caregiver psychological barriers to ACP.
Low energy and protein intakes have been associated with an increased risk of malnutrition in outpatients with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD). We aimed to assess the energy and protein intakes of hospitalised COPD patients according to nutritional risk status and requirements, and the relative contribution from meals, snacks, drinks and oral nutritional supplements (ONS), and to examine whether either energy or protein intake predicts outcomes. Subjects were COPD patients (n 99) admitted to Landspitali University Hospital in 1 year (March 2015–March 2016). Patients were screened for nutritional risk using a validated screening tool, and energy and protein intake for 3 d, 1–5 d after admission to the hospital, was estimated using a validated plate diagram sheet. The percentage of patients reaching energy and protein intake ≥75 % of requirements was on average 59 and 37 %, respectively. Malnourished patients consumed less at mealtimes and more from ONS than lower-risk patients, resulting in no difference in total energy and protein intakes between groups. No clear associations between energy or protein intake and outcomes were found, although the association between energy intake, as percentage of requirement, and mortality at 12 months of follow-up was of borderline significance (OR 0·12; 95 % CI 0·01, 1·15; P=0·066). Energy and protein intakes during hospitalisation in the study population failed to meet requirements. Further studies are needed on how to increase energy and protein intakes during hospitalisation and after discharge and to assess whether higher intake in relation to requirement of hospitalised COPD patients results in better outcomes.
This paper presents latest thinking from the Institute and Faculty of Actuaries’ Model Risk Working Party and follows on from their Phase I work, Model Risk: Daring to Open the Black Box. This is a more practical paper and presents the contributors’ experiences of model risk gained from a wide range of financial and non-financial organisations with suggestions for good practice and proven methods to reduce model risk. After a recap of the Phase I work, examples of model risk communication are given covering communication: to the Board; to the regulator; and to external stakeholders. We present a practical framework for model risk management and quantification with examples of the key actors, processes and cultural challenge. Lessons learned are then presented from other industries that make extensive use of models and include the weather forecasting, software and aerospace industries. Finally, a series of case studies in practical model risk management and mitigation are presented from the contributors’ own experiences covering primarily financial services.
There are an estimated 400 million hectares of non-cropland in the United States primarily designated as rangeland and pastureland, and there are more than 300 invasive weeds found on these sites, causing an estimated annual loss of $5 billion. Among the most invasive and problematic weeds are Dalmatian toadflax, diffuse knapweed, downy brome, and musk thistle. Currently, herbicides are the most common management strategy for broadleaf weeds and invasive winter annual grasses. Indaziflam, a new herbicide for invasive plant management in non-crop areas, is a cellulose-biosynthesis inhibitor capable of providing residual invasive winter annual grass control up to 3 yr after treatment (YAT). A field experiment was conducted to determine whether residual Dalmatian toadflax and downy brome control by aminocyclopyrachlor, imazapic, and picloram could be extended by tank mixing these herbicides with indaziflam. Indaziflam tank mixed with aminocyclopyrachlor, imazapic, and picloram provided increased Dalmatian toadflax (84% to 91%) and downy brome (89% to 94%) control 4 YAT, compared with treatments excluding indaziflam. Treatments without indaziflam controlled 50% to 68% of Dalmatian toadflax and <25% downy brome 4 YAT. Based on these results, a greenhouse dose–response experiment was conducted with aminocyclopyrachlor, aminopyralid, and indaziflam to compare preemergence control of nine common non-crop weeds. Averaged across species, aminocyclopyrachlor and aminopyralid GR50 values (herbicide concentration resulting in 50% reduction in plant biomass) were 29 and 52 times higher compared with indaziflam, respectively. These data suggest that indaziflam could be used for residual control of non-crop weeds as a tank-mix partner with other foliar-applied broadleaf herbicides.
Five cases of STEC O157 phage type (PT) 21/28 reported consumption of raw cows' drinking milk (RDM) produced at a dairy farm in the South West of England. STEC O157 PT21/28 was isolated from faecal specimens from milking cows on the implicated farm. Whole genome sequencing (WGS) showed that human and cattle isolates were the same strain. Further analysis of WGS data confirmed that sequences of isolates from an additional four cases (who did not report consumption of RDM when first questioned) fell within the same five single nucleotide polymorphism cluster as the initial five cases epidemiologically linked to the consumption of RDM. These four additional cases identified by WGS were investigated further and were, ultimately, associated with the implicated farm. The RDM outbreak strain encoded stx2a, which is associated with increased pathogenicity and severity of symptoms. Further epidemiological analysis showed that 70% of isolates within a wider cluster containing the outbreak strain were from cases residing in, or linked to, the same geographical region of England. During this RDM outbreak, use of WGS improved case ascertainment and provided insights into the evolution of a highly pathogenic clade of STEC O157 PT21/28 stx2a associated with the South West of England.
We analyzed birth order differences in means and variances of height and body mass index (BMI) in monozygotic (MZ) and dizygotic (DZ) twins from infancy to old age. The data were derived from the international CODATwins database. The total number of height and BMI measures from 0.5 to 79.5 years of age was 397,466. As expected, first-born twins had greater birth weight than second-born twins. With respect to height, first-born twins were slightly taller than second-born twins in childhood. After adjusting the results for birth weight, the birth order differences decreased and were no longer statistically significant. First-born twins had greater BMI than the second-born twins over childhood and adolescence. After adjusting the results for birth weight, birth order was still associated with BMI until 12 years of age. No interaction effect between birth order and zygosity was found. Only limited evidence was found that birth order influenced variances of height or BMI. The results were similar among boys and girls and also in MZ and DZ twins. Overall, the differences in height and BMI between first- and second-born twins were modest even in early childhood, while adjustment for birth weight reduced the birth order differences but did not remove them for BMI.
A trend toward greater body size in dizygotic (DZ) than in monozygotic (MZ) twins has been suggested by some but not all studies, and this difference may also vary by age. We analyzed zygosity differences in mean values and variances of height and body mass index (BMI) among male and female twins from infancy to old age. Data were derived from an international database of 54 twin cohorts participating in the COllaborative project of Development of Anthropometrical measures in Twins (CODATwins), and included 842,951 height and BMI measurements from twins aged 1 to 102 years. The results showed that DZ twins were consistently taller than MZ twins, with differences of up to 2.0 cm in childhood and adolescence and up to 0.9 cm in adulthood. Similarly, a greater mean BMI of up to 0.3 kg/m2 in childhood and adolescence and up to 0.2 kg/m2 in adulthood was observed in DZ twins, although the pattern was less consistent. DZ twins presented up to 1.7% greater height and 1.9% greater BMI than MZ twins; these percentage differences were largest in middle and late childhood and decreased with age in both sexes. The variance of height was similar in MZ and DZ twins at most ages. In contrast, the variance of BMI was significantly higher in DZ than in MZ twins, particularly in childhood. In conclusion, DZ twins were generally taller and had greater BMI than MZ twins, but the differences decreased with age in both sexes.
For over 100 years, the genetics of human anthropometric traits has attracted scientific interest. In particular, height and body mass index (BMI, calculated as kg/m2) have been under intensive genetic research. However, it is still largely unknown whether and how heritability estimates vary between human populations. Opportunities to address this question have increased recently because of the establishment of many new twin cohorts and the increasing accumulation of data in established twin cohorts. We started a new research project to analyze systematically (1) the variation of heritability estimates of height, BMI and their trajectories over the life course between birth cohorts, ethnicities and countries, and (2) to study the effects of birth-related factors, education and smoking on these anthropometric traits and whether these effects vary between twin cohorts. We identified 67 twin projects, including both monozygotic (MZ) and dizygotic (DZ) twins, using various sources. We asked for individual level data on height and weight including repeated measurements, birth related traits, background variables, education and smoking. By the end of 2014, 48 projects participated. Together, we have 893,458 height and weight measures (52% females) from 434,723 twin individuals, including 201,192 complete twin pairs (40% monozygotic, 40% same-sex dizygotic and 20% opposite-sex dizygotic) representing 22 countries. This project demonstrates that large-scale international twin studies are feasible and can promote the use of existing data for novel research purposes.