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Impairments of contextual processing and theory of mind (ToM) have both been offered as accounts of the deviant language characterising formal thought disorder (FTD) in schizophrenia. This study investigated these processes in patients' dialogue. We predicted that FTD patients would show a decrement in linguistic alignment, associated with impaired ToM in dialogue.
Speech samples were elicited via participation in an interactive computer-based task and a semi-structured interview to assess contextual processing abilities and ToM skills in dialogue, respectively, and from an interactive card-sorting task to measure syntactic alignment. Degree of alignment in dialogue and the syntactic task, and evidence of ToM in (i) dialogue and (ii) a traditional ToM task were compared across schizophrenia patients with FTD (n = 21), non-FTD patients (n = 22) and healthy controls (n = 21).
FTD patients showed less alignment than the other two groups in dialogue, and than healthy controls on the syntactic task. FTD patients showed poorer performance on the ToM task than the other two groups, but only compared to the healthy controls in dialogue. The FTD group's degree of alignment in dialogue was correlated with ToM performance in dialogue but not with the traditional ToM task or with syntactic alignment.
In dialogue, FTD patients demonstrate an impairment in employing available contextual information to facilitate their own subsequent production, which is associated with a ToM deficit. These findings indicate that a contextual processing deficit impacts on exploiting representations via the production system impoverishing the ability to make predictions about upcoming utterances in dialogue.
Background Attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) is among the most common psychiatric disorders of childhood that often persists into adulthood and old age. Yet ADHD is currently underdiagnosed and undertreated in many European countries, leading to chronicity of symptoms and impairment, due to lack of, or ineffective treatment, and higher costs of illness.
Methods The European Network Adult ADHD and the Section for Neurodevelopmental Disorders Across the Lifespan (NDAL) of the European Psychiatric Association (EPA), aim to increase awareness and knowledge of adult ADHD in and outside Europe. This Updated European Consensus Statement aims to support clinicians with research evidence and clinical experience from 63 experts of European and other countries in which ADHD in adults is recognized and treated.
Results Besides reviewing the latest research on prevalence, persistence, genetics and neurobiology of ADHD, three major questions are addressed: (1) What is the clinical picture of ADHD in adults? (2) How should ADHD be properly diagnosed in adults? (3) How should adult ADHDbe effectively treated?
Conclusions ADHD often presents as a lifelong impairing condition. The stigma surrounding ADHD, mainly due to lack of knowledge, increases the suffering of patients. Education on the lifespan perspective, diagnostic assessment, and treatment of ADHD must increase for students of general and mental health, and for psychiatry professionals. Instruments for screening and diagnosis of ADHD in adults are available, as are effective evidence-based treatments for ADHD and its negative outcomes. More research is needed on gender differences, and in older adults with ADHD.
Detecting gastrointestinal (GI) infection transmission among men who have sex with men (MSM) in England is complicated by a lack of routine sexual behavioural data. We investigated whether gender distributions might generate signals for increased transmission of GI pathogens among MSM. We examined the percentage male of laboratory-confirmed patient-episodes for patients with no known travel history for 10 GI infections of public health interest in England between 2003 and 2013, stratified by age and region. An adult male excess was observed for Shigella spp. (annual maximum 71% male); most pronounced for those aged 25–49 years and living in London, Brighton and Manchester. An adult male excess was observed every year for Entamoeba histolytica (range 59.8–76.1% male), Giardia (53.1–57.6%) and Campylobacter (52.1–53.5%) and for a minority of years for hepatitis A (max. 69.8%) and typhoidal salmonella (max. 65.7%). This approach generated a signal for excess male episodes for six GI pathogens, including a characterised outbreak of Shigella among MSM. Stratified analyses by geography and age group were consistent with MSM transmission for Shigella. Optimisation and routine application of this technique by public health authorities elsewhere might help identify potential GI infection outbreaks due to sexual transmission among MSM, for further investigation.
Immature fruit fly stages of the family Tephritidae are commonly intercepted on breadfruit from Pacific countries at the New Zealand border but are unable to be identified to the species level using morphological characters. Subsequent molecular identification showed that they belong to Bactrocera xanthodes, which is part of a species complex that includes Bactrocera paraxanthodes, Bactrocera neoxanthodes and an undescribed species. To establish a more reliable molecular identification system for B. xanthodes, a reference database of DNA barcode sequences for the 5’-fragment of COI gene region was constructed for B. xanthodes from Fiji, Samoa and Tonga. To better understand the species complex, B. neoxanthodes from Vanuatu and B. paraxanthodes from New Caledonia were also barcoded. Using the results of this analysis, real-time TaqMan polymerase chain reaction (PCR) assays for the detection of B. xanthodes complex and for the three individual species of the complex were developed and validated. The assay showed high specificity for the target species, with no cross-reaction observed for closely related organisms. Each of the real-time PCR assays is sensitive, detecting the target sequences at concentrations as low as ten copies µl−1 and can be used as either singleplex or multiplex formats. This real-time PCR assay for B. xanthodes has been successfully applied at the borders in New Zealand, leading to the rapid identification of intercepted Tephritidae eggs and larvae. The developed assays will be useful biosecurity tools for rapid detection of species in the B. xanthodes complex worldwide.
Established methods of recruiting population controls for case–control studies to investigate gastrointestinal disease outbreaks can be time consuming, resulting in delays in identifying the source or vehicle of infection. After an initial evaluation of using online market research panel members as controls in a case–control study to investigate a Salmonella outbreak in 2013, this method was applied in four further studies in the UK between 2014 and 2016. We used data from all five studies and interviews with members of each outbreak control team and market research panel provider to review operational issues, evaluate risk of bias in this approach and consider methods to reduce confounding and bias. The investigators of each outbreak reported likely time and cost savings from using market research controls. There were systematic differences between case and control groups in some studies but no evidence that conclusions on the likely source or vehicle of infection were incorrect. Potential selection biases introduced by using this sampling frame and the low response rate are unclear. Methods that might reduce confounding and some bias should be balanced with concerns for overmatching. Further evaluation of this approach using comparisons with traditional methods and population-based exposure survey data is recommended.
The longstanding association between the major histocompatibility complex (MHC) locus and schizophrenia (SZ) risk has recently been accounted for, partially, by structural variation at the complement component 4 (C4) gene. This structural variation generates varying levels of C4 RNA expression, and genetic information from the MHC region can now be used to predict C4 RNA expression in the brain. Increased predicted C4A RNA expression is associated with the risk of SZ, and C4 is reported to influence synaptic pruning in animal models.
Based on our previous studies associating MHC SZ risk variants with poorer memory performance, we tested whether increased predicted C4A RNA expression was associated with reduced memory function in a large (n = 1238) dataset of psychosis cases and healthy participants, and with altered task-dependent cortical activation in a subset of these samples.
We observed that increased predicted C4A RNA expression predicted poorer performance on measures of memory recall (p = 0.016, corrected). Furthermore, in healthy participants, we found that increased predicted C4A RNA expression was associated with a pattern of reduced cortical activity in middle temporal cortex during a measure of visual processing (p < 0.05, corrected).
These data suggest that the effects of C4 on cognition were observable at both a cortical and behavioural level, and may represent one mechanism by which illness risk is mediated. As such, deficits in learning and memory may represent a therapeutic target for new molecular developments aimed at altering C4’s developmental role.
ZnFe2O4 (ZFO) represents a promising anode material for lithium ion batteries, but there is still a lack of deep understanding of the fundamental reduction mechanism associated with this material. In this paper, the complete visualization of reduction/oxidation products irrespective of their crystallinity was achieved experimentally through a compilation of in situ X-ray diffraction, synchrotron based powder diffraction, and ex-situ X-ray absorption fine structure data. Complementary theoretical modelling study further shed light upon the fundamental understanding of the lithiation mechanism, especially at the early stage from ZnFe2O4 up to LixZnFe2O4 (x = 2).
Disc galaxies forming in a LambdaCDM cosmology often experience violent mergers. The fact that disc galaxies are ubiquitous suggests that quiescent histories are not necessary. Modern cosmological simulations can now obtain realistic populations of disc galaxies, but it is still unclear how discs manage to survive massive mergers. Here we use a suite of hydrodynamical cosmological simulations to elucidate the fate of discs encountering massive mergers. We follow the changes in the post-merger disc-to-total ratios (D/T) of simulated galaxies and examine the relations between their present-day morphology, assembly history and gas fractions. We find that approximately half of present-day disc galaxies underwent at least one merger with a satellite more massive the host's stellar component and a third had mergers with satellites three times as massive. These mergers lead to a sharp, but often temporary, decrease in the D/T of the hosts, implying that discs are usually disrupted but then quickly re-grow. To do so, high cold gas fractions are required post-merger, as well as a relatively quiescent recent history (over a few Gyrs before z = 0). Our results show that discs can form via diverse merger pathways and that quiescent histories are not the dominant mode of disc formation.
This study estimates the symptomatology of attention deficit–hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) in adult mental health services (AMHS) outpatient clinics.
All consecutive patients attending any of the outpatients’ clinics in Sligo/Leitrim AMHS were invited to participate. Participants completed the Adult ADHD Self-Report Scale (ASRS) and the Wender Utah Rating Scale (WURS) self-report. Clinical notes were reviewed to identify those with a pre-existing ADHD diagnosis.
From 822 attending the clinics, 62 did not meet inclusion criteria, 97 declined to participate and 29 had incomplete data in either of the screening scales, leaving 634 (77%) eligible for full study analysis. Mean age was 40.38 (s.d.: 12.85), and 326 (51.4%) were females. In total, 215 (33.9%) screened positive on the WURS for childhood onset ADHD and 219 (34.5%) participants scored positive on the ASRS. Applying a more stringent criteria of scoring above cut-offs on both scales, suggested 131 (20.7%) screened positive on both. Only three (2.3%) had a prior clinical diagnosis.
This preliminary study suggests the possibility of relatively higher rates of ADHD in a general AMHS than previously thought, however, given the possibility of overlapping symptoms with other major psychiatric disorders in adulthood and recall bias further research is needed before drawing firm conclusions.
Accurate knowledge of pathogen incubation period is essential to inform public health policies and implement interventions that contribute to the reduction of burden of disease. The incubation period distribution of campylobacteriosis is currently unknown with several sources reporting different times. Variation in the distribution could be expected due to host, transmission vehicle, and organism characteristics, however, the extent of this variation and influencing factors are unclear. The authors have undertaken a systematic review of published literature of outbreak studies with well-defined point source exposures and human experimental studies to estimate the distribution of incubation period and also identify and explain the variation in the distribution between studies. We tested for heterogeneity using I2 and Kolmogorov–Smirnov tests, regressed incubation period against possible explanatory factors, and used hierarchical clustering analysis to define subgroups of studies without evidence of heterogeneity. The mean incubation period of subgroups ranged from 2·5 to 4·3 days. We observed variation in the distribution of incubation period between studies that was not due to chance. A significant association between the mean incubation period and age distribution was observed with outbreaks involving only children reporting an incubation of 1·29 days longer when compared with outbreaks involving other age groups.
An outbreak of respiratory diphtheria occurred in two health districts in the province of KwaZulu-Natal in South Africa in 2015. A multidisciplinary outbreak response team was involved in the investigation and management of the outbreak. Fifteen cases of diphtheria were identified, with ages ranging from 4 to 41 years. Of the 12 cases that were under the age of 18 years, 9 (75%) were not fully immunized for diphtheria. The case fatality was 27%. Ninety-three household contacts, 981 school or work contacts and 595 healthcare worker contacts were identified and given prophylaxis against Corynebacterium diphtheriae infection. A targeted vaccination campaign for children aged 6–15 years was carried out at schools in the two districts. The outbreak highlighted the need to improve diphtheria vaccination coverage in the province and to investigate the feasibility of offering diphtheria vaccines to healthcare workers.
Although repeatedly associated with white matter microstructural alterations, bipolar disorder (BD) has been relatively unexplored using complex network analysis. This method combines structural and diffusion magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) to model the brain as a network and evaluate its topological properties. A group of highly interconnected high-density structures, termed the ‘rich-club’, represents an important network for integration of brain functioning. This study aimed to assess structural and rich-club connectivity properties in BD through graph theory analyses.
We obtained structural and diffusion MRI scans from 42 euthymic patients with BD type I and 43 age- and gender-matched healthy volunteers. Weighted fractional anisotropy connections mapped between cortical and subcortical structures defined the neuroanatomical networks. Next, we examined between-group differences in features of graph properties and sub-networks.
Patients exhibited significantly reduced clustering coefficient and global efficiency, compared with controls globally and regionally in frontal and occipital regions. Additionally, patients displayed weaker sub-network connectivity in distributed regions. Rich-club analysis revealed subtly reduced density in patients, which did not withstand multiple comparison correction. However, hub identification in most participants indicated differentially affected rich-club membership in the BD group, with two hubs absent when compared with controls, namely the superior frontal gyrus and thalamus.
This graph theory analysis presents a thorough investigation of topological features of connectivity in euthymic BD. Abnormalities of global and local measures and network components provide further neuroanatomically specific evidence for distributed dysconnectivity as a trait feature of BD.
Enumerations represented as bijections between the natural numbers and elements of some given type have recently garnered interest in property-based testing because of their efficiency and flexibility. There are, however, many ways of defining these bijections, some of which are better than others. This paper offers a new property of enumeration combinators called fairness that identifies enumeration combinators that are better suited to property-based testing. Intuitively, the result of a fair combinator indexes into its argument enumerations equally when constructing its result. For example, extracting the nth element from our enumeration of three-tuples indexes about
elements into each of its components instead of, say, indexing
into one and
into the other two, as you would if a three-tuple were built out of nested pairs. Similarly, extracting the nth element from our enumeration of a three-way union returns an element that is
into one of the argument enumerators. The paper presents a semantics of enumeration combinators, a theory of fairness, proofs establishing fairness of our new combinators and that some combinations of fair combinators are not fair. We also report on an evaluation of fairness for the purpose of finding bugs in programming-language models. We show that fair enumeration combinators have complementary strengths to an existing, well-tuned ad hoc random generator (better on short time scales and worse on long time scales) and that using unfair combinators is worse across the board.
This study investigated comparatively the pathogenicity of experimental infection of mice and guinea pigs, with Angiostrongylus mackerrasae and the closely related species A. cantonensis. Time course analyses showed that A. mackerrasae causes eosinophilic meningitis in these hosts, which suggests that the species has the potential to cause meningitis in humans and domestic animals. Both A. mackerrasae and the genetically similar A. cantonensis caused eosinophilic meningitis in mice at two time points of 14 and 21 days post infection (dpi). The brain lesions in mice infected with A. mackerrasae were more granulomatous in nature and the parasites were more likely to appear degenerate compared with lesions caused by A. cantonensis. This may indicate that the mouse immune system eliminates A. mackerrasae infection more effectively. The immunologic responses of mice infected with the two Angiostrongylus species was compared by assessing ex vivo stimulated spleen derived T cells and cytokines including interferon-gamma, interleukin 4 and interleukin 17 on 14 and 21 dpi. The results were similar for mice infected with A. cantonensis and A. mackerrasae. Serum from the infected animals with either A. cantonensis or A. mackerrasae recognized total soluble antigen of A. cantonensis female worms on Western blot.
The prevalence of aDHD in adult population has been estimated at 2.5%. Higher rates (23.9%) have been reported among adult mental health service ( aMHS) users.
To estimate the prevalence of aDHD among adult MH users in west county Ireland.
all consecutive patients attending any of 5 Sligo/Leitrim aMHS were invited to participate. Participants completed the adult aDHD Self-Report Scale ( aSRS) and the wender Utah Rating Scale (WURS). Clinical notes were reviewed to identify those with preexisting aDHD diagnosis. Exclusion criteria applied were: age: less 18 or above 65, illiterate, non-English speaking patients.
From 792 attending the clinics, n = 59 (47 aged above 65, 10 severe learning difficulties and 2 non-English speaking) were excluded. Ninety-three (11.7%) decline to participate, giving a total of n = 640 (87% eligible response rate). Mean age was 41.27 (SD: 12.8), and 336 (52.5%) were females. Three had diagnosis of aDHD. Two hundred and thirteen (33.8%) met criteria on the WURS for childhood onset aDHD and 238 (37.5%) participants met caseness on the aSRS. applying more stringent criteria of scoring on both scales, suggested 125 (19.5%) with unrecognised aDHD.
While recall bias (WURS) and the possibility of overlapping symptoms with other major psychiatric disorders in adulthood need to be considered, the use of both screening reduces these confounders and suggests a very high rate of aDHD. Given the low number previously identified, this becomes a clinical priority, both to offset the negative trajectories associated with untreated aDHD, but also to effect optimal treatments in comorbid conditions.
Disclosure of interest
The authors have not supplied their declaration of competing interest.
To study the effect of discontinuation of systematic surveillance for vancomycin-resistant Enterococcus (VRE) and contact isolation of colonized patients on the incidence of VRE bacteremia
A hematology-oncology unit with high prevalence of VRE colonization characterized by predominantly sporadic molecular epidemiology
Inpatients with hematologic malignancies and recipients of hematopoietic stem cell transplantation
The incidence of VRE bacteremia was measured prospectively during 2 different 3-year time periods; the first during active VRE surveillance and contact precautions and the second after discontinuation of these policies. We assessed the collateral impact of this policy change on the incidence of bacteremia due to methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) and Clostridium difficile infection even though we maintained contact precautions for these organisms. Incidence of infectious events was measured as number of events per 1,000 patients days per month. Time series analysis was used to evaluate trends.
The incidence of VRE bacteremia remained stable after discontinuation of VRE surveillance and contact precautions. The incidence of MRSA bacteremia and Clostridium difficile infection for which we continued contact precautions also remained stable. Aggregated antibiotic utilization and nursing hours per patient days were similar between the 2 study periods.
Active surveillance and contact precautions for VRE colonization did not appear to prevent VRE bacteremia in patients with hematologic malignancies and recipients of hematopoietic stem cell transplantation with high prevalence of VRE characterized by predominantly sporadic molecular epidemiology.
Infect. Control Hosp. Epidemiol. 2016;37(4):398–403
The burden and aetiology of type 2 diabetes (T2D) and its microvascular complications may be influenced by varying behavioural and lifestyle environments as well as by genetic susceptibility. These aspects of the epidemiology of T2D have not been reliably clarified in sub-Saharan Africa (SSA), highlighting the need for context-specific epidemiological studies with the statistical resolution to inform potential preventative and therapeutic strategies. Therefore, as part of the Human Heredity and Health in Africa (H3Africa) initiative, we designed a multi-site study comprising case collections and population-based surveys at 11 sites in eight countries across SSA. The goal is to recruit up to 6000 T2D participants and 6000 control participants. We will collect questionnaire data, biophysical measurements and biological samples for chronic disease traits, risk factors and genetic data on all study participants. Through integrating epidemiological and genomic techniques, the study provides a framework for assessing the burden, spectrum and environmental and genetic risk factors for T2D and its complications across SSA. With established mechanisms for fieldwork, data and sample collection and management, data-sharing and consent for re-approaching participants, the study will be a resource for future research studies, including longitudinal studies, prospective case ascertainment of incident disease and interventional studies.