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Oxidative stress is implicated in the etiology of schizophrenia, and the antioxidant defense system may be protective in this illness. We examined the major antioxidant glutathione (GSH) in prefrontal brain, and its correlates with clinical and demographic variables, in schizophrenia.
GSH levels were measured in the dorsolateral prefrontal region of 28 patients with chronic schizophrenia using a magnetic resonance spectroscopy sequence specifically adapted for GSH. We examined correlations of GSH levels with age, age at onset of illness, duration of illness, and clinical symptoms.
We found a negative correlation between GSH levels and age at onset (r=-.46, p=.015), and a trend-level positive relationship between GSH and duration of illness (r=.34, p=.076).
Our findings are consistent with a possible compensatory upregulation of the antioxidant defense system with longer duration of illness, and suggests the antioxidant defense system may play a role in schizophrenia.
Influenza and respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) are common causes of respiratory tract infections and place a burden on health services each winter. Systems to describe the timing and intensity of such activity will improve the public health response and deployment of interventions to these pressures. Here we develop early warning and activity intensity thresholds for monitoring influenza and RSV using two novel data sources: general practitioner out-of-hours consultations (GP OOH) and telehealth calls (NHS 111). Moving Epidemic Method (MEM) thresholds were developed for winter 2017–2018. The NHS 111 cold/flu threshold was breached several weeks in advance of other systems. The NHS 111 RSV epidemic threshold was breached in week 41, in advance of RSV laboratory reporting. Combining the use of MEM thresholds with daily monitoring of NHS 111 and GP OOH syndromic surveillance systems provides the potential to alert to threshold breaches in real-time. An advantage of using thresholds across different health systems is the ability to capture a range of healthcare-seeking behaviour, which may reflect differences in disease severity. This study also provides a quantifiable measure of seasonal RSV activity, which contributes to our understanding of RSV activity in advance of the potential introduction of new RSV vaccines.
The strength of ceramics or glasses can be increased by placing their surfaces into compression. Techniques include ion exchange, temperature glazing, surface chemical reactions and stress-induced phase transformations. Although most of these techniques are well recognized, little effort has been expended In experimentally determining the magnitude of the compressive stress, and in particular, to use experimental evidence to identify important material and process parameters that need to be controlled. The goal of this investigation was to determine some of the factors that effect the magnitude, profile and depth of the compressive layer introduced by a structural phase transformation. X-ray residual stress measurements were used to directly determine the state of the surface residual stress.
Mismatch negativity (MMN) is an event-related potential (ERP) component reflecting auditory predictive coding. Repeated standard tones evoke increasing positivity (‘repetition positivity’; RP), reflecting strengthening of the standard's memory trace and the prediction it will recur. Likewise, deviant tones preceded by more standard repetitions evoke greater negativity (‘deviant negativity’; DN), reflecting stronger prediction error signaling. These memory trace effects are also evident in MMN difference wave. Here, we assess group differences and test-retest reliability of these indices in schizophrenia patients (SZ) and healthy controls (HC).
Electroencephalography was recorded twice, 2 weeks apart, from 43 SZ and 30 HC, during a roving standard paradigm. We examined ERPs to the third, eighth, and 33rd standards (RP), immediately subsequent deviants (DN), and the corresponding MMN. Memory trace effects were assessed by comparing amplitudes associated with the three standard repetition trains.
Compared with controls, SZ showed reduced MMNs and DNs, but normal RPs. Both groups showed memory trace effects for RP, MMN, and DN, with a trend for attenuated DNs in SZ. Intraclass correlations obtained via this paradigm indicated good-to-moderate reliabilities for overall MMN, DN and RP, but moderate to poor reliabilities for components associated with short, intermediate, and long standard trains, and poor reliability of their memory trace effects.
MMN deficits in SZ reflected attenuated prediction error signaling (DN), with relatively intact predictive code formation (RP) and memory trace effects. This roving standard MMN paradigm requires additional development/validation to obtain suitable levels of reliability for use in clinical trials.
Significant increases in excess all-cause mortality, particularly in the elderly, were observed during the winter of 2014/15 in England. With influenza A(H3N2) the dominant circulating influenza A subtype, this paper determines the contribution of influenza to this excess controlling for weather. A standardised multivariable Poisson regression model was employed with weekly all-cause deaths the dependent variable for the period 2008–2015. Adjusting for extreme temperature, a total of 26 542 (95% CI 25 301–27 804) deaths in 65+ and 1942 (95% CI 1834–2052) in 15–64-year-olds were associated with influenza from week 40, 2014 to week 20, 2015. This is compatible with the circulation of influenza A(H3N2). It is the largest estimated number of influenza-related deaths in England since prior to 2008/09. The findings highlight the potential health impact of influenza and the important role of the annual influenza vaccination programme that is required to protect the population including the elderly, who are vulnerable to a severe outcome.
Nutritional management of pigs to optimise growth demands pig-specific, time-specific and place-specific determination and provision of nutritional requirement. These elements need to be incorporated into response prediction models that operate in a real-time (not retrospective) closed-loop control environment. This implies appropriate means for the on-line measurement of response to change in nutrient provision, and the simultaneous means for manipulation of feeding level and feed quality. The paper describes how response prediction modelling and response measurement may now be achieved. Optimisation may be pursued with mixed objectives, including those of production efficiency and environmental protection.
Childhood adversity is associated with cognitive impairments in schizophrenia. However, findings to date are inconsistent and little is known about the relationship between social cognition and childhood trauma. We investigated the relationship between childhood abuse and neglect and cognitive function in patients with a first-episode of schizophrenia or schizophreniform disorder (n = 56) and matched healthy controls (n = 52). To the best of our knowledge, this is the first study assessing this relationship in patients and controls exposed to similarly high levels of trauma.
Pearson correlational coefficients were used to assess correlations between Childhood Trauma Questionnaire abuse and neglect scores and cognition. For the MCCB domains displaying significant (p < 0.05) correlations, within group hierarchical linear regression, was done to assess whether abuse and neglect were significant predictors of cognition after controlling for the effect of education.
Patients and controls reported similarly high levels of abuse and neglect. Cognitive performance was poorer for patients compared with controls for all cognitive domains except working memory and social cognition. After controlling for education, exposure to childhood neglect remained a significant predictor of impairment in social cognition in both patients and controls. Neglect was also a significant predictor of poorer verbal learning in patients and of attention/vigilance in controls. However, childhood abuse did not significantly predict cognitive impairments in either patients or controls.
These findings are cross sectional and do not infer causality. Nonetheless, they indicate that associations between one type of childhood adversity (i.e. neglect) and social cognition are present and are not illness-specific.
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 Molonglo Observatory Synthesis Telescope (MOST) is an 18000 m2 radio telescope located 40 km from Canberra, Australia. Its operating band (820–851 MHz) is partly allocated to telecommunications, making radio astronomy challenging. We describe how the deployment of new digital receivers, Field Programmable Gate Array-based filterbanks, and server-class computers equipped with 43 Graphics Processing Units, has transformed the telescope into a versatile new instrument (UTMOST) for studying the radio sky on millisecond timescales. UTMOST has 10 times the bandwidth and double the field of view compared to the MOST, and voltage record and playback capability has facilitated rapid implementaton of many new observing modes, most of which operate commensally. UTMOST can simultaneously excise interference, make maps, coherently dedisperse pulsars, and perform real-time searches of coherent fan-beams for dispersed single pulses. UTMOST operates as a robotic facility, deciding how to efficiently target pulsars and how long to stay on source via real-time pulsar folding, while searching for single pulse events. Regular timing of over 300 pulsars has yielded seven pulsar glitches and three Fast Radio Bursts during commissioning. UTMOST demonstrates that if sufficient signal processing is applied to voltage streams, innovative science remains possible even in hostile radio frequency environments.
The increased use of the MATRICS Consensus Cognitive Battery (MCCB) to investigate cognitive dysfunctions in schizophrenia fostered interest in its sensitivity in the context of family studies. As various measures of the same cognitive domains may have different power to distinguish between unaffected relatives of patients and controls, the relative sensitivity of MCCB tests for relative–control differences has to be established. We compared MCCB scores of 852 outpatients with schizophrenia (SCZ) with those of 342 unaffected relatives (REL) and a normative Italian sample of 774 healthy subjects (HCS). We examined familial aggregation of cognitive impairment by investigating within-family prediction of MCCB scores based on probands’ scores.
Multivariate analysis of variance was used to analyze group differences in adjusted MCCB scores. Weighted least-squares analysis was used to investigate whether probands’ MCCB scores predicted REL neurocognitive performance.
SCZ were significantly impaired on all MCCB domains. REL had intermediate scores between SCZ and HCS, showing a similar pattern of impairment, except for social cognition. Proband's scores significantly predicted REL MCCB scores on all domains except for visual learning.
In a large sample of stable patients with schizophrenia, living in the community, and in their unaffected relatives, MCCB demonstrated sensitivity to cognitive deficits in both groups. Our findings of significant within-family prediction of MCCB scores might reflect disease-related genetic or environmental factors.
The class of radio transients called Fast Radio Bursts (FRBs) encompasses enigmatic single pulses, each unique in its own way, hindering a consensus for their origin. The key to demystifying FRBs lies in discovering many of them in order to identity commonalities – and in real time, in order to find potential counterparts at other wavelengths. The recently upgraded UTMOST in Australia, is undergoing a backend transformation to rise as a fast transient detection machine. The first interferometric detections of FRBs with UTMOST, place their origin beyond the near-field region of the telescope thus ruling out local sources of interference as a possible origin. We have localised these bursts to much better than the ones discovered at the Parkes radio telescope and have plans to upgrade UTMOST to be capable of much better localisation still.
This study aimed to determine prevalence of Ralstonia spp. in cystic fibrosis patients, look for any evidence of cross infection and to describe clinical outcomes for patients infected by Ralstonia spp. Prevalence of Ralstonia spp. was calculated annually from 2008 to 2016. Pulsed-field gel electrophoresis was performed on ⩾1 sample from patients with an isolation of Ralstonia spp. between 2008 and 2016. A prospective, longitudinal observational study of adult patients was performed with 12 months follow-up from recruitment. Prevalence of Ralstonia spp. rose from 0·6% in 2008 to 2·4% in 2016. In total 12 out of 14 (86%) patients with ⩾1 isolation of Ralstonia spp. developed chronic infection. A pair and a group of three unrelated patients with epidemiological connections shared strains of Ralstonia mannitolilytica. Lung function of Ralstonia spp. infected patients was moderately to severely impaired. Prevalence of Ralstonia spp. is low but increasing. The risk of a patient developing chronic Ralstonia spp. infection following first acquisition is high and cross-infection may be possible. Whether Ralstonia spp. infection causes increased pulmonary exacerbation frequency and lung function decline needs to be evaluated in larger prospective studies.
Between 1013 - 1017 Hz the continua of all PG quasars can be described in the most general terms by a model consisting of two broad peaks of thermal radiation. There is no evidence for energetically significant nonthermal radiation in this frequency range in the continua of the PG quasars. We have compiled continuum observations for PG quasars from 6 cm to 2 KeV, including IRAS data for all these objects and new ground-based infrared data at 10 μm for many of these quasars. Sixty-three of the PG quasars were detected by IRAS in at least one band. The overall energy distributions for these sixty-three PG quasars are shown in Figure 1.
Six radio telescopes were operated as the first southern hemisphere VLBI array in April and May 1982. Observations were made at 2.3 and 8.4 Ghz. This array produced VLBI images of 28 southern hemisphere radio sources, high accuracy VLBI geodesy between southern hemisphere sites, and subarcsecond radio astrometry of celestial sources south of declination −45 degrees. This paper discusses only the astrophysical aspects of the experiment.
Measures of social cognition are increasingly being applied to psychopathology, including studies of schizophrenia and other psychotic disorders. Tests of social cognition present unique challenges for international adaptations. The Mayer–Salovey–Caruso Emotional Intelligence Test, Managing Emotions Branch (MSCEIT-ME) is a commonly-used social cognition test that involves the evaluation of social scenarios presented in vignettes.
This paper presents evaluations of translations of this test in six different languages based on representative samples from the relevant countries. The goal was to identify items from the MSCEIT-ME that show different response patterns across countries using indices of discrepancy and content validity criteria. An international version of the MSCEIT-ME scoring was developed that excludes items that showed undesirable properties across countries.
We then confirmed that this new version had better performance (i.e. less discrepancy across regions) in international samples than the version based on the original norms. Additionally, it provides scores that are comparable to ratings based on local norms.
This paper shows that it is possible to adapt complex social cognitive tasks so they can provide valid data across different cultural contexts.
The calving rates and calving styles of temperate glaciers that calve into fresh water are distinctively different from those of temperate tide-water glaciers. These contrasts are important for interpreting and predicting the response of ice masses to climate change. Glaciar Upsala is a large calving outlet of Hielo Patagónico Sur (southern Patagonia ice field). Its twentieth-century retreat has been climate-driven but significantly modulated by calving dynamics and by the transition from melting to calving at its eastern terminus. Here, the onset of rapid calving in the early 1980s initiated retreat at ≤440 m a−1. The 1992–93 calving rate (vc) is estimated to be 60 m a−1 in a mean water depth (hw) of 67 m. A vc/hw relationship for fresh water based on 14 sites around the world, including seven deep-water sites, confirms both the linear dependency of vc on hw and the contrast between calving rates in tide water and fresh water. As yet, no physical explanation for this contrast exists, but differences in subaqueous melt rates, longitudinal strain rates and crevassing may provide a partial explanation.
Parental criminal offending is an established risk factor for offending among offspring, but little evidence is available indicating the impact of offending on early childhood functioning. We used data from a large Australian population cohort to determine associations between exposure to parental offending and a range of developmental outcomes at age 5 years.
Multi-generation data in 66 477 children and their parents from the New South Wales Child Development Study were combined using data linkage. Logistic and multinomial regressions tested associations between any and violent offending histories of parents (fathers, mothers, or both parents) obtained from official records, and multiple measures of early childhood developmental functioning (social, emotional–behavioural, cognitive, communication and physical domains) obtained from the teacher-reported 2009 Australian Early Development Census.
Parental offending conferred significantly increased risk of vulnerability on all domains, particularly the cognitive domain. Greater risk magnitudes were observed for offending by both parents and by mothers than by fathers, and for violent than for any offending. For all parental offending exposures, vulnerability on multiple domains (where medium to large effects were observed) was more likely than on a single domain (small to medium effects). Relationships remained significant and of comparable magnitude following adjustment for sociodemographic covariates.
The effect of parental offending on early childhood developmental outcomes is pervasive, with the strongest effects on functioning apparent when both parents engage in violent offending. Supporting affected families in early childhood might mitigate both early developmental vulnerability and the propensity for later delinquency among these offspring.
Childhood maltreatment and a family history of a schizophrenia spectrum disorder (SSD) are each associated with social-emotional dysfunction in childhood. Both are also strong risk factors for adult SSDs, and social-emotional dysfunction in childhood may be an antecedent of these disorders. We used data from a large Australian population cohort to determine the independent and moderating effects of maltreatment and parental SSDs on early childhood social-emotional functioning.
The New South Wales Child Development Study combines intergenerational multi-agency data using record linkage methods. Multiple measures of social-emotional functioning (social competency, prosocial/helping behaviour, anxious/fearful behaviour; aggressive behaviour, and hyperactivity/inattention) on 69 116 kindergarten children (age ~5 years) were linked with government records of child maltreatment and parental presentations to health services for SSD. Multivariable analyses investigated the association between maltreatment and social-emotional functioning, adjusting for demographic variables and parental SSD history, in the population sample and in sub-cohorts exposed and not exposed to parental SSD history. We also examined the association of parental SSD history and social-emotional functioning, adjusting for demographic variables and maltreatment.
Medium-sized associations were identified between maltreatment and poor social competency, aggressive behaviour and hyperactivity/inattention; small associations were revealed between maltreatment and poor prosocial/helping and anxious/fearful behaviours. These associations did not differ greatly when adjusted for parental SSD, and were greater in magnitude among children with no history of parental SSD. Small associations between parental SSD and poor social-emotional functioning remained after adjusting for demographic variables and maltreatment.
Childhood maltreatment and history of parental SSD are associated independently with poor early childhood social-emotional functioning, with the impact of exposure to maltreatment on social-emotional functioning in early childhood of greater magnitude than that observed for parental SSDs. The impact of maltreatment was reduced in the context of parental SSDs. The influence of parental SSDs on later outcomes of maltreated children may become more apparent during adolescence and young adulthood when overt symptoms of SSD are likely to emerge. Early intervention to strengthen childhood social-emotional functioning might mitigate the impact of maltreatment, and potentially also avert future psychopathology.
We summarise the first year of operation of the Medium Deep Survey - a key project of the HST. Two fields in the LMC are discussed and some preliminary scientific results presented. We also comment on image deconvolution for the extragalactic fields observed as part of the Medium Deep Survey.
Background: Post concussion syndrome (PCS) can affect up to 30% of patients with concussion. Biomarkers of this condition would be beneficial for diagnosis and management. We hypothesized that eye tracking parameters would correlate with microstructural changes of white matter integrity, as measured by diffusion tensor imaging (DTI), in patients with PCS. Methods: Sixty patients with PCS and at least 2 concussions participated in our prospective study. Attention and executive function were tested using Visual Attention Scanning Technology (VAST). In a matching task, the normalized number of visits to master image before making the first selection is used as a surrogate of working memory. We related performance on VAST to white matter integrity using Tract-Based Spatial Statistics of diffusion tensor imaging data. Results: 60 participants (mean age 34.3 years, SD 13.8) had a mean of 4 concussions. There were negative correlations between fractional anisotropy (FA) of the genu, body, and splenium of the corpus callosum and normalized number of visits to master image before first selection (r=-0.432, p=0.001; r=-0.504, p<0.001; and r=-0.388, p=0.002; respectively). A negative correlation was also seen between right cingulum FA and the global processing index (r=-0.349, p=0.006). Conclusions: Impaired performance on eye tracking measures of attention and executive function may reflect alterations in white matter tracts.