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Laser–solid interactions are highly suited as a potential source of high energy X-rays for nondestructive imaging. A bright, energetic X-ray pulse can be driven from a small source, making it ideal for high resolution X-ray radiography. By limiting the lateral dimensions of the target we are able to confine the region over which X-rays are produced, enabling imaging with enhanced resolution and contrast. Using constrained targets we demonstrate experimentally a
X-ray source, improving the image quality compared to unconstrained foil targets. Modelling demonstrates that a larger sheath field envelope around the perimeter of the constrained targets increases the proportion of electron current that recirculates through the target, driving a brighter source of X-rays.
Studies involving clinically recruited samples show that genetic liability to schizophrenia overlaps with that for several psychiatric disorders including bipolar disorder, major depression and, in a population study, anxiety disorder and negative symptoms in adolescence.
We examined whether, at a population level, association between schizophrenia liability and anxiety disorders continues into adulthood, for specific anxiety disorders and as a group. We explored in an epidemiologically based cohort the nature of adult psychopathology sharing liability to schizophrenia.
Schizophrenia polygenic risk scores (PRSs) were calculated for 590 European-descent individuals from the Christchurch Health and Development Study. Logistic regression was used to examine associations between schizophrenia PRS and four anxiety disorders (social phobia, specific phobia, panic disorder and generalised anxiety disorder), schizophrenia/schizophreniform disorder, manic/hypomanic episode, alcohol dependence, major depression, and – using linear regression – total number of anxiety disorders. A novel population-level association with hypomania was tested in a UK birth cohort (Avon Longitudinal Study of Parents and Children).
Schizophrenia PRS was associated with total number of anxiety disorders and with generalised anxiety disorder and panic disorder. We show a novel population-level association between schizophrenia PRS and manic/hypomanic episode.
The relationship between schizophrenia liability and anxiety disorders is not restricted to psychopathology in adolescence but is present in adulthood and specifically linked to generalised anxiety disorder and panic disorder. We suggest that the association between schizophrenia liability and hypomanic/manic episodes found in clinical samples may not be due to bias.
We present a model to map the 3D distribution of dust in the Milky Way. Although dust is just a tiny fraction of what comprises the Galaxy, it plays an important role in various processes. In recent years various maps of dust extinction have been produced, but we still lack a good knowledge of the dust distribution. Our presented approach leverages line-of-sight extinctions towards stars in the Galaxy at measured distances. Since extinction is proportional to the integral of the dust density towards a given star, it is possible to reconstruct the 3D distribution of dust by combining many lines-of-sight in a model accounting for the spatial correlation of the dust. Such a technique can be used to infer the most probable 3D distribution of dust in the Galaxy even in regions which have not been observed. This contribution provides one of the first maps which does not show the “fingers of God” effect. Furthermore, we show that expected high precision measurements of distances and extinctions offer the possibility of mapping the spiral arms in the Galaxy.
Volumetric atrophy and microstructural alterations in diffusion tensor imaging (DTI) measures of the hippocampus have been reported in people with Alzheimer's disease (AD) and mild cognitive impairment (MCI). However, no study to date has jointly investigated concomitant microstructural and volumetric changes of the hippocampus in dementia with Lewy bodies (DLB).
A total of 84 subjects (23 MCI, 17 DLB, 14 AD, and 30 healthy controls) were recruited for a multi-modal imaging (3T MRI and DTI) study that included neuropsychological evaluation. Freesurfer was used to segment the total hippocampus and delineate its subfields. The hippocampal segmentations were co-registered to the mean diffusivity (MD) and fractional anisotropy (FA) maps obtained from the DTI images.
Both AD and MCI groups showed significantly smaller hippocampal volumes compared to DLB and controls, predominantly in the CA1 and subiculum subfields. Compared to controls, hippocampal MD was elevated in AD, but not in MCI. DLB was characterized by both volumetric and microstructural preservation of the hippocampus. In MCI, higher hippocampal MD was associated with greater atrophy of the hippocampus and CA1 region. Hippocampal volume was a stronger predictor of memory scores compared to MD within the MCI group.
Through a multi-modal integration, we report novel evidence that the hippocampus in DLB is characterized by both macrostructural and microstructural preservation. Contrary to recent suggestions, our findings do not support the view that DTI measurements of the hippocampus are superior to volumetric changes in characterizing group differences, particularly between MCI and controls.
We studied neuroinflammation in individuals with late-life, depression, as a
risk factor for dementia, using [11C]PK11195 positron emission
tomography (PET). Five older participants with major depression and 13
controls underwent PET and multimodal 3T magnetic resonance imaging (MRI),
with blood taken to measure C-reactive protein (CRP). We found significantly
higher CRP levels in those with late-life depression and raised
[11C]PK11195 binding compared with controls in brain regions
associated with depression, including subgenual anterior cingulate cortex,
and significant hippocampal subfield atrophy in cornu ammonis 1 and
subiculum. Our findings suggest neuroinflammation requires further
investigation in late-life depression, both as a possible aetiological
factor and a potential therapeutic target.
Developing countries are known to exploit their resource frontier to achieve growth objectives and reduce poverty. This can lead to long-term positive outcomes or – if resource exploitation is unsustainable – lose–lose outcomes that leave populations and ecosystems worse off. This paper introduces a dynamic model of resource exploitation to explain how regions may succumb to, avoid or escape this negative outcome. The theoretical model characterizes a frontier community that uses soil as an input into agricultural production. The model shows that there may be a critical point in the soil stock that determines whether agricultural activities lead to sustainable development or a collapse in local income. This suggests that, in the event of a resource collapse, temporary adjustments to the system may permanently rehabilitate the resource base and change a community's development pattern. Calibration of the model to several frontier states of the Brazilian Amazon points toward an overall outcome of steady development.
Intracranial volume (ICV) has been proposed as a measure of maximum lifetime brain size. Accurate ICV measures require neuroimaging which is not always feasible for epidemiologic investigations. We examined head circumference as a useful surrogate for ICV in older adults.
99 older adults underwent Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI). ICV was measured by Statistical Parametric Mapping 8 (SPM8) software or Functional MRI of the Brain Software Library (FSL) extraction with manual editing, typically considered the gold standard. Head circumferences were determined using standardized tape measurement. We examined estimated correlation coefficients between head circumference and the two MRI-based ICV measurements.
Head circumference and ICV by SPM8 were moderately correlated (overall r = 0.73, men r = 0.67, women r = 0.63). Head circumference and ICV by FSL were also moderately correlated (overall r = 0.69, men r = 0.63, women r = 0.49).
Head circumference measurement was strongly correlated with MRI-derived ICV. Our study presents a simple method to approximate ICV among older patients, which may prove useful as a surrogate for cognitive reserve in large scale epidemiologic studies of cognitive outcomes. This study also suggests the stability of head circumference correlation with ICV throughout the lifespan.
The present study examined the impact of children's maltreatment experiences on the emergence of externalizing problem presentations among children during different developmental periods. The sample included 788 youth and their caregivers who participated in a multisite, prospective study of youth at-risk for maltreatment. Externalizing problems were assessed at ages 4, 8, and 12, and symptoms and diagnoses of attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder, oppositional defiant disorder, and conduct disorder were assessed at age 14, during interviews with youth and caregivers. Information about maltreatment allegations was coded from official records. Latent transition analysis identified three groups of youth with similar presentations of externalizing problems (“well adjusted,” “hyperactive/oppositional,” and “aggressive/rule-breaking”) and transitions between groups from ages 4, 8, and 12. A “defiant/deceitful” group also emerged at age 12. Girls were generally more likely to present as well adjusted than boys. Children with recent physical abuse allegations had an increased risk for aggressive/rule-breaking presentations during the preschool and preadolescent years, while children with sexual abuse or neglect allegations had lower probabilities of having well-adjusted presentations during middle childhood. These findings indicate that persistently severe aggressive conduct problems, which are related to the most concerning outcomes, can be identified early, particularly among neglected and physically and sexually abused children.
Recurrent affective problems are predictive of cognitive impairment, but
the timing and directionality, and the nature of the cognitive
impairment, are unclear.
To test prospective associations between life-course affective symptoms
and cognitive function in late middle age.
A total of 1668 men and women were drawn from the Medical Research
Council National Survey of Health and Development (the British 1946 birth
cohort). Longitudinal affective symptoms spanning age 13–53 years served
as predictors; outcomes consisted of self-reported memory problems at
60–64 years and decline in memory and information processing from age 53
to 60–64 years.
Regression analyses revealed no clear pattern of association between
longitudinal affective symptoms and decline in cognitive test scores,
after adjusting for gender, childhood cognitive ability, education and
midlife socioeconomic status. In contrast, affective symptoms were
strongly, diffusely and independently associated with self-reported
Affective symptoms are more clearly associated with self-reported memory
problems in late midlife than with objectively measured cognitive
The aetiology of depression is multifactorial, with biological, cognitive and environmental factors across the life course influencing risk of a depressive episode. There is inconsistent evidence linking early life development and later depression. The aim of this study was to investigate relationships between low birthweight (LBW), infant neurodevelopment, and acute and chronic stress as components in pathways to depression in adulthood.
The sample included 4627 members of the National Survey of Health and Development (NSHD; the 1946 British birth cohort). Weight at birth, age of developmental milestones, economic deprivation in early childhood, acute stressors in childhood and adulthood, and socio-economic status (SES) in adulthood were assessed for their direct and indirect effects on adolescent (ages 13 and 15 years) and adult (ages 36, 43 and 53 years) measures of depressive symptoms in a structural equation modelling (SEM) framework. A structural equation model developed to incorporate all variables exhibited excellent model fit according to several indices.
The path of prediction from birthweight to age of developmental milestones to adolescent depression/anxiety to adult depression/anxiety was significant (p < 0.001). Notably, direct paths from birthweight (p = 0.25) and age of developmental milestones (p = 0.23) to adult depression were not significant. Childhood deprivation and stressors had important direct and indirect effects on depression. Stressors in adulthood were strongly associated with adult depression.
Depression in adulthood is influenced by an accumulation of stressors across the life course, including many that originate in the first years of life. Effects of early-life development on mental health appear by adolescence.
Systematic cognitive training produces long-term improvement in cognitive function and less difficulty in performing activities of daily living. We examined whether cognitive training was associated with reduced rate of incident dementia. Participants were from the Advanced Cognitive Training for Independent and Vital Elderly (ACTIVE) study (n = 2,802). Incident dementia was defined using a combination of interview- and performance-based methods. Survival analysis was used to determine if ACTIVE treatment affected the rate of incident dementia during 5 years of follow-up. A total of 189 participants met criteria for incident dementia. Baseline factors predictive of incident dementia were older age, male gender, African American race, fewer years of education, relationship other than married, no alcohol use, worse MMSE, worse SF-36 physical functioning, higher depressive symptomatology, diabetes, and stroke (all p < .05). A multivariable model with significant predictors of incident dementia and training group revealed that cognitive training was not associated with a lower rate of incident dementia. Cognitive training did not affect rates of incident dementia after 5 years of follow-up. Longer follow-up or enhanced training may be needed to fully explore the preventive capacity of cognitive training in forestalling onset of dementia. (JINS, 2012, 18, 1–9)
A detailed understanding of long-term climatic and environmental change in southwestern China is hampered by a lack of long-term regional palaeorecords. Organic analysis (%TOC, %TN, C/N ratios and δ13C values) of a sediment sequence from Lake Shudu, Yunnan Province (ca. 22.6–10.5 cal ka BP) indicates generally low aquatic palaeoproductivity rates over millennial timescales in response to cold, dry climatic conditions. However, the record is punctuated by two marked phases of increased aquatic productivity from ca. 17.7 to 17.1 cal ka BP and from ca. 11.9 to 10.5 cal ka BP. We hypothesise that these shifts reflect a marked, stepwise lacustrine response to Asian summer monsoon strengthening during the last deglaciation.