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Evidence suggests that autism and schizophrenia share similarities in genetic, neuropsychological and behavioural aspects. Although both disorders are associated with theory of mind (ToM) impairments, a few studies have directly compared ToM between autism patients and schizophrenia patients. This study aimed to investigate to what extent high-functioning autism patients and schizophrenia patients share and differ in ToM performance.
Thirty high-functioning autism patients, 30 schizophrenia patients and 30 healthy individuals were recruited. Participants were matched in age, gender and estimated intelligence quotient. The verbal-based Faux Pas Task and the visual-based Yoni Task were utilised to examine first- and higher-order, affective and cognitive ToM. The task/item difficulty of two paradigms was examined using mixed model analyses of variance (ANOVAs). Multiple ANOVAs and mixed model ANOVAs were used to examine group differences in ToM.
The Faux Pas Task was more difficult than the Yoni Task. High-functioning autism patients showed more severely impaired verbal-based ToM in the Faux Pas Task, but shared similar visual-based ToM impairments in the Yoni Task with schizophrenia patients.
The findings that individuals with high-functioning autism shared similar but more severe impairments in verbal ToM than individuals with schizophrenia support the autism–schizophrenia continuum. The finding that verbal-based but not visual-based ToM was more impaired in high-functioning autism patients than schizophrenia patients could be attributable to the varied task/item difficulty between the two paradigms.
Schizotypal traits are considered a phenotypic-indicator of schizotypy, a latent personality organization reflecting a putative liability for psychosis. To date, no previous study has examined the comparability of factorial structures across samples originating from different countries and cultures. The main goal was to evaluate the factorial structure and reliability of the Schizotypal Personality Questionnaire (SPQ) scores by amalgamating data from studies conducted in 12 countries and across 21 sites.
The overall sample consisted of 27 001 participants (37.5% males, n = 4251 drawn from the general population). The mean age was 22.12 years (s.d. = 6.28, range 16–55 years). The SPQ was used. Confirmatory factor analysis (CFA) and Multilevel CFA (ML-CFA) were used to evaluate the factor structure underlying the SPQ scores.
At the SPQ item level, the nine factor and second-order factor models showed adequate goodness-of-fit. At the SPQ subscale level, three- and four-factor models displayed better goodness-of-fit indices than other CFA models. ML-CFA showed that the intraclass correlation coefficients values were lower than 0.106. The three-factor model showed adequate goodness of fit indices in multilevel analysis. The ordinal α coefficients were high, ranging from 0.73 to 0.94 across individual samples, and from 0.84 to 0.91 for the combined sample.
The results are consistent with the conceptual notion that schizotypal personality is a multifaceted construct and support the validity and utility of SPQ in cross-cultural research. We discuss theoretical and clinical implications of our results for diagnostic systems, psychosis models and cross-national mental health strategies.
Introduction: The CJEM Social Media Team was created in 2014 to assist the journal with the dissemination of its research online. It consists of two Social Media Editors (Junior and Senior) and a team of volunteer medical students and residents to assist their work. Collaborative promotional agreements were developed to promote CJEM articles on the Skeptics’ Guide to Emergency Medicine (SGEM) podcast through the ‘Hot off the Press’ (HOP) series and the CanadiEM blog through an infographic series. Methods:CJEM papers were selected for promotion by the Team based on their perceived interest to the online community of emergency physicians. Altmetric scores, which are a measure of online dissemination derived from a weighted algorithm of social media metrics, were collated for articles promoted using the SGEM HOP or CanadiEM blogs. A control group was created using the articles with the top two Altmetric scores in each CJEM issue in 2015 and 2016. Erratum, Letters, and articles written by the social media editors were excluded from the control groups. The success of the social media promotion was quantified through the measurement of Altmetric scores as of January 1, 2017. Unpaired two-tailed t-tests with unequal variance were used to test for significant differences. Results: 106 and 82 eligible articles were published in 2015 and 2016, respectively. Four articles in 2015 and two articles in 2016 were excluded from the control groups because they were written by the social media editors. SGEM HOP podcasts promoted one article in 2015 and five articles in 2016. CanadiEM infographics promoted three articles in 2015 and eight articles in 2016. No articles were promoted in both series. The average Altmetric score was higher for SGEM HOP (61.0) than CanadiEM Infographics (31.5, p<0.04), 2015 controls (15.8, p<0.01), and 2016 controls (13.6, p<0.01). The average Altmetric score for CanadiEM Infographics was higher than 2015 controls (p<0.04) and 2016 controls (p<0.02). There was no significant difference between the control groups. Conclusion: The results suggest that collaborating with established social media websites to promote CJEM articles using podcasts and infographics increases their social media dissemination. Given the nonrandomized design of these results, causative conclusions cannot be drawn. A randomized study of the impact of social media promotion on readership is underway.
The risk of malaria outbreak surfaced in Vanuatu after Tropical Cyclone (TC) Pam in March 2015. In June and July 2015 we conducted malariometric surveys on the islands of Tanna, Aneityum, and Erromango in Tafea Province, where malaria elimination had been targeted, to determine if malaria incidence had increased after TC Pam. No Plasmodium infection was detected by microscopy and PCR in 3009 survey participants. Only 6·3% (190/3007) of participants had fever. Spleen rates in children aged ⩽12 years from Aneityum and Tanna were low, at 3·6% (14/387) and 5·3% (27/510), respectively. Overall bed net use was high at 72·8% (2175/2986); however, a significantly higher (P < 0·001) proportion of participants from Aneityum (85·9%, 796/927) reported net use than those from Tanna (67·1%, 751/1119) and Erromango (66·8%, 628/940). A recent decrease in malaria incidence in Tafea Province through comprehensive intervention measures had reduced the indigenous parasite reservoir and limited the latter's potential to spur an outbreak after TC Pam. The path towards malaria elimination in Tafea Province was not adversely affected by TC Pam.
During 1990 we surveyed the southern sky using a multi-beam receiver at frequencies of 4850 and 843 MHz. The half-power beamwidths were 4 and 25 arcmin respectively. The finished surveys cover the declination range between +10 and −90 degrees declination, essentially complete in right ascension, an area of 7.30 steradians. Preliminary analysis of the 4850 MHz data indicates that we will achieve a five sigma flux density limit of about 30 mJy. We estimate that we will find between 80 000 and 90 000 new sources above this limit. This is a revised version of the paper presented at the Regional Meeting by the first four authors; the surveys now have been completed.
Patients with schizophrenia have intact ability to experience emotion, but empirical evidence suggests that they fail to translate emotional salience into effortful behaviour. Previous research in patients with chronic schizophrenia suggests that working memory is important in integrating emotion and behaviour. This study aimed to examine avolition and anhedonia in patients with first-episode schizophrenia and clarify the role of working memory in emotion–behaviour coupling.
We recruited 72 participants with first-episode schizophrenia and 61 healthy controls, and used a validated emotion-inducing behavioural paradigm to measure participants' affective experiences and how experienced emotion coupled with behaviour. Participants were given the opportunity to expend effort to increase or decrease their exposure to emotion-inducing photographs. Participants with schizophrenia having poor working memory were compared with those with intact working memory in their liking and emotion–behaviour coupling.
Patients with first-episode schizophrenia experienced intact ‘in-the-moment’ emotion, but their emotion was less predictive of the effort expended, compared with controls. The emotion–behaviour coupling was significantly weaker in patients with schizophrenia with poor working memory than in those with intact working memory. However, compared with controls, patients with intact working also showed substantial emotion–behaviour decoupling.
Our findings provide strong evidence for emotion–behaviour decoupling in first-episode schizophrenia. Although working memory deficits contribute to defective translation of liking into effortful behaviour, schizophrenia alone affects emotion–behaviour coupling.
Neurological soft signs (NSS) have long been considered potential endophenotypes for schizophrenia. However, few studies have investigated the heritability and familiality of NSS. The present study examined the heritability and familiality of NSS in healthy twins and patient–relative pairs.
The abridged version of the Cambridge Neurological Inventory was administered to 267 pairs of monozygotic twins, 124 pairs of dizygotic twins, and 75 pairs of patients with schizophrenia and their non-psychotic first-degree relatives.
NSS were found to have moderate but significant heritability in the healthy twin sample. Moreover, patients with schizophrenia correlated closely with their first-degree relatives on NSS.
Taken together, the findings provide evidence on the heritability and familiality of NSS in the Han Chinese population.
Dysregulation of the striatum and altered corticostriatal connectivity have been associated with psychotic disorders. Social anhedonia has been identified as a predictor for the development of schizophrenia spectrum disorders. The aim of the present study was to examine corticostriatal functional connectivity in individuals with high social anhedonia.
Twenty-one participants with high social anhedonia score and 30 with low social anhedonia score measured by the Chinese version of the Revised Social Anhedonia Scale were recruited from university undergraduates (age 17–21 years) to undergo resting-state functional MRI scans. Six subdivisions of the striatum in each hemisphere were defined as seeds. Voxel-wise functional connectivity analyses were conducted between each seed and the whole brain voxels, followed by repeated-measures ANOVA for the group effect.
Participants with high social anhedonia showed hyper-connectivity between the ventral striatum and the anterior cingulate cortex and the insula, and between the dorsal striatum and the motor cortex. Hypo-connectivity in participants with high social anhedonia was also observed between the ventral striatum and the posterior cingulate cortex. Partial correlation analyses further showed that the functional connectivity between the ventral striatum and the prefrontal cortex was associated with pleasure experience and emotional suppression.
Our findings suggest that altered corticostriatal connectivity can be found in participants with high levels of social anhedonia. Since social anhedonia has been considered a predictor for schizophrenia spectrum disorders, our results may provide novel evidence on the early changes in brain functional connectivity in at-risk individuals.
Aberrant functional connectivity within the default network is generally assumed to be involved in the pathophysiology of obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD); however, the genetic risk of default network connectivity in OCD remains largely unknown.
Here, we systematically investigated default network connectivity in 15 OCD patients, 15 paired unaffected siblings and 28 healthy controls. We sought to examine the profiles of default network connectivity in OCD patients and their siblings, exploring the correlation between abnormal default network connectivity and genetic risk for this population.
Compared with healthy controls, OCD patients exhibited reduced strength of default network functional connectivity with the posterior cingulate cortex (PCC), and increased functional connectivity in the right inferior frontal lobe, insula, superior parietal cortex and superior temporal cortex, while their unaffected first-degree siblings only showed reduced local connectivity in the PCC.
These findings suggest that the disruptions of default network functional connectivity might be associated with family history of OCD. The decreased default network connectivity in both OCD patients and their unaffected siblings may serve as a potential marker of OCD.
Prospective memory (PM) refers to the ability to remember to carry out an intended action in the future. PM is consistently found to be impaired in individuals with schizophrenia. Bipolar disorder and schizophrenia may represent conditions along a continuum, and share similar neurocognitive and genetic architecture. This study aimed to compare the nature and extent of PM impairment in individuals with schizophrenia and bipolar disorder.
Participants were 38 out-patients with schizophrenia and 40 out-patients with bipolar disorder in an early psychosis intervention programme, and 37 healthy controls. Time-, event- and activity-based PMs were assessed using a dual-task laboratory paradigm. Self-reported PM performance was gauged using the Prospective and Retrospective Memory Questionnaire. Analysis of covariance (ANCOVA), with intelligence quotient (IQ) and education included as covariates, was used to examine group difference on various types of PM. Repeated measures of ANCOVA were used to examine the group × PM type interaction effect. Correspondence between laboratory and self-reported PM measures was examined using correlational analysis.
The group × PM type interaction effect was not significant, but the main effect of group was significant. Patients with schizophrenia and patients with bipolar disorder both performed more poorly than healthy participants in PM. The two clinical groups did not significantly differ in PM. Laboratory and self-reported PM measures did not correlate significantly with each other.
Patients with bipolar disorder shared a similar PM impairment with those with schizophrenia. Findings of this study extended the similarity in neurocognitive impairments between the two psychiatric disorders to PM.
Nanocomposite Bi2Te3 based alloys are attractive for their potentially high thermoelectric figure-of-merit (ZT) around room temperature. The nano-scale structural features embedded in the matrix provide more scattering of phonons and can thus reduce the lattice thermal conductivity. To further take advantage of such nanocomposite structures, we focus on the development of nanocrystalline Bi(Sb)Te(Se) powders by high energy cryogenic mechanical alloying followed by an optimized hot pressing process. This approach is shown to successfully produce Bi(Sb)Te(Se) alloy powders with grain size averaging about 9 nm for n-type BiTe(Se) and about 16 nm for p-type Bi(Sb)Te respectively. This cryogenic process offers much less milling time and prevents thermally activated contamination or imperfections from being introduced during the milling process. The nanocrystalline powders are then compacted at optimized pressures and temperatures to achieve full density compactions and preserve the grain sizes effectively. The resulting nano-bulk materials have optimal Seebeck coefficients and are expected to have improved ZT. Thermoelectric properties and microstructure studies by X-ray diffraction and transmission electron microscopy will also be presented and discussed.
Major depressive disorder (MDD) is commonly chronic and/or recurrent. We aimed to determine whether a chronic and/or recurrent course of MDD is associated with acute and longer-term MDD treatment outcomes.
This cohort study recruited out-patients aged 18–75 years with non-psychotic MDD from 18 primary and 23 psychiatric care clinics across the USA. Participants were grouped as: chronic (index episode >2 years) and recurrent (n=398); chronic non-recurrent (n=257); non-chronic recurrent (n=1614); and non-chronic non-recurrent (n=387). Acute treatment was up to 14 weeks of citalopram (⩽60 mg/day) with up to 12 months of follow-up treatment. The primary outcomes for this report were remission [16-item Quick Inventory of Depressive Symptomatology – Self-Rated (QIDS-SR16) ⩽5] or response (⩾50% reduction from baseline in QIDS-SR16) and time to first relapse [first QIDS-SR16 by Interactive Voice Response (IVR) ⩾11].
Most participants (85%) had a chronic and/or recurrent course; 15% had both. Chronic index episode was associated with greater sociodemographic disadvantage. Recurrent course was associated with earlier age of onset and greater family histories of depression and substance abuse. Remission rates were lowest and slowest for those with chronic index episodes. For participants in remission entering follow-up, relapse was most likely for the chronic and recurrent group, and least likely for the non-chronic, non-recurrent group. For participants not in remission when entering follow-up, prior course was unrelated to relapse.
Recurrent MDD is the norm for out-patients, of whom 15% also have a chronic index episode. Chronic and recurrent course of MDD may be useful in predicting acute and long-term MDD treatment outcomes.
This study aimed to compare ‘cool’ [working memory (WM) and response inhibition] and ‘hot’ (delay aversion) executive functions (EFs) in children with and without attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD).
A total of 100 ADHD children (45 with family history of ADHD and 55 with no family history) and 100 healthy controls, all medication free, were tested on tasks related to the ‘hot’ (i.e. two choice-delay tasks) and ‘cool’ domains of EF (i.e. Digits backward, Corsi Block Task backward, Go/No-Go Task, Stop-Signal Task, and the Stroop).
Compared with the controls, children with ADHD were found to perform significantly worse on one or more measures of response inhibition, WM, and delay aversion after controlling for co-morbidities and estimated IQ. In addition, comparisons between ADHD children with family history of ADHD and those with no family history found significant differences on measures of response inhibition and WM but not delay aversion. These results are largely supported by results of two logistic regressions.
ADHD was found to be associated with deficits on both cool and hot EFs. There is also evidence to suggest that cool EFs impairment is related to a family history of ADHD. Findings of this study have helped to elucidate the nature and extent of EF deficits in children with ADHD.
A vacuum system of 3 GeV Taiwan photon source (TPS, with circumference 518.4 m), is designed for low-outgassing aluminium beam ducts, low-impedance structure, oil-less pumping system and oil-less fabrication. A prototype (total length 14 m) of the TPS vacuum system has been fabricated. This one-cell prototype vacuum system consists of two bending-magnet chambers (~4 m long each), two straight chambers (~3 m long each), supporting stands, five beam positioning monitors and pumps. Two bending-magnet chambers were made by computer-numerical control machining, which was lubricated with ethanol to protect the surface from oil contamination. Next, these two bending chambers were cleaned with ozonated water to decrease the rate of thermal outgassing and photo-stimulated desorption. The rest chambers were also cleaned by chemical cleaning method. An automatic welding system then was used to implement the side-welding seams of bending chambers in a temperature- and humidity-controlled cleanroom. The bending and straight chambers were welded into one piece by ‘on-site welding’. After baking at 150°C for 24 h, an optimizing pressure could be achieved at 4.9 nPa.
The 3 GeV Taiwan Photon Source (TPS) is designed to produce an electron beam with small emittance and to be maintained with top-up operation. The vacuum systems of the TPS-pulsed magnets in the storage ring include four kicker ceramic chambers for the stored beam and an injection chamber for the injected beam. The prototypical design, manufacturing process and some test results for these chambers are described.
The epidemiological, clinical and virological features of 1220 children with acute bronchiolitis admitted to the Prince of Wales Hospital, Hong Kong, from 1985 to 1988 are reported. They accounted for 6·6% of total paediatric admissions and provided a case incidence of bronchiolitis requiring admission to hospital of approximately 21 per 1000 children 0–24 months of age.
The clinical course and outcome was in general benign. The average hospital stay was 5 days and there were no deaths. Ten per cent of patients were repeatedly admitted to hospital with recurrent wheezing after discharge. Two infants developed bronchiolitis obliterans.
Respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) was shown by direct immunofluorescence, virus culture and serology to be the commonest cause of acute bronchiolitis in Hong Kong. Other aetiological agents included parainfluenza and influenza viruses, adenoviruses, and Mycoplasma pneumoniae.
In contrast to western countries, a seasonal variation of bronchiolitis was found with a peak incidence in the summer months. The significance of these observations is discussed.
Salmonella johannesburg (1, 40: b: e, n, x), a previously rare salmonella serotype, has established itself rapidly as an important and highly prevalent cause of gastroenteritis among children. The clinical features of the infection are usually mild but chronic. It has been suggested that S. johannesburg was introduced into Hong Kong through imported foods but no common vehicle could be traced as the source of infection. A thorough investigation of one paediatric ward in a general hospital revealed that non-infected patients admitted to the ward usually acquired S. johannesburg infection within 3–7 days, with or without symptoms. Thus hospital cross-infection could be a significant factor in contributing to its rapid spread in the community. Furthermore, the rapidity with which S. johannesburg spread was facilitated by (a) its tendency to produce a chronic infection, (b) its multiple resistance to antibiotics, and (c) the higher infectivity of S. johannesburg over other salmonellas endemic in this locality. These factors combined with the overcrowded conditions in many of the hospitals in Hong Kong facilitated the occurrence of hospital infection, which in its turn contributed to the spread of the infection in the local community.