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Malaria elimination is on global agendas following successful transmission reductions. Nevertheless moving from low to zero transmission is challenging. South Africa has an elimination target of 2018, which may or may not be realised in its hypoendemic areas.
The Agincourt Health and Demographic Surveillance System has monitored population health in north-eastern South Africa since 1992. Malaria deaths were analysed against individual factors, socioeconomic status, labour migration and weather over a 21-year period, eliciting trends over time and associations with covariates.
Of 13 251 registered deaths over 1.58 million person-years, 1.2% were attributed to malaria. Malaria mortality rates increased from 1992 to 2013, while mean daily maximum temperature rose by 1.5 °C. Travel to endemic Mozambique became easier, and malaria mortality increased in higher socioeconomic groups. Overall, malaria mortality was significantly associated with age, socioeconomic status, labour migration and employment, yearly rainfall and higher rainfall/temperature shortly before death.
Malaria persists as a small but important cause of death in this semi-rural South African population. Detailed longitudinal population data were crucial for these analyses. The findings highlight practical political, socioeconomic and environmental difficulties that may also be encountered elsewhere in moving from low-transmission scenarios to malaria elimination.
Patients with psychosis display the so-called ‘Jumping to Conclusions’ bias (JTC) – a tendency for hasty decision-making in probabilistic reasoning tasks. So far, only a few studies have evaluated the JTC bias in ‘at-risk mental state’ (ARMS) patients, specifically in ARMS samples fulfilling ‘ultra-high risk’ (UHR) criteria, thus not allowing for comparisons between different ARMS subgroups.
In the framework of the PREVENT (secondary prevention of schizophrenia) study, a JTC task was applied to 188 patients either fulfilling UHR criteria or presenting with cognitive basic symptoms (BS). Similar data were available for 30 healthy control participants matched for age, gender, education and premorbid verbal intelligence. ARMS patients were identified by the Structured Interview for Prodromal Symptoms (SIPS) and the Schizophrenia Proneness Instrument – Adult Version (SPI-A).
The mean number of draws to decision (DTD) significantly differed between ARM -subgroups: UHR patients made significantly less draws to make a decision than ARMS patients with only cognitive BS. Furthermore, UHR patients tended to fulfil behavioural criteria for JTC more often than BS patients. In a secondary analysis, ARMS patients were much hastier in their decision-making than controls. In patients, DTD was moderately associated with positive and negative symptoms as well as disorganization and excitement.
Our data indicate an enhanced JTC bias in the UHR group compared to ARMS patients with only cognitive BS. This underscores the importance of reasoning deficits within cognitive theories of the developing psychosis. Interactions with the liability to psychotic transitions and therapeutic interventions should be unravelled in longitudinal studies.
Gene × environment (G × E) interactions in eating pathology have been increasingly investigated, however studies have been limited by sample size due to the difficulty of obtaining genetic data.
To synthesize existing G × E research in the eating disorders (ED) field and provide a clear picture of the current state of knowledge with analyses of larger samples.
Complete data from seven studies investigating community (n = 1750, 64.5% female) and clinical (n = 426, 100% female) populations, identified via systematic review, were included. Data were combined to perform five analyses: 5-HTTLPR × Traumatic Life Events (0–17 events) to predict ED status (n = 909), 5-HTTLPR × Sexual and Physical Abuse (n = 1097) to predict bulimic symptoms, 5-HTLPR × Depression to predict bulimic symptoms (n = 1256), and 5-HTTLPR × Impulsivity to predict disordered eating (n = 1149).
The low function (s) allele of 5-HTTLPR interacted with number of traumatic life events (P < .01) and sexual and physical abuse (P < .05) to predict increased likelihood of an ED in females but not males (Fig. 1). No other G × E interactions were significant, possibly due to the medium to low compatibility between datasets (Fig. 1).
Early promising results suggest that increased knowledge of G × E interactions could be achieved if studies increased uniformity of measuring ED and environmental variables, allowing for continued collaboration to overcome the restrictions of obtaining genetic samples.
Disclosure of interest
The authors have not supplied their declaration of competing interest.
Africa is experiencing a rapid increase in adult obesity and associated cardiometabolic diseases (CMDs). The H3Africa AWI-Gen Collaborative Centre was established to examine genomic and environmental factors that influence body composition, body fat distribution and CMD risk, with the aim to provide insights towards effective treatment and intervention strategies. It provides a research platform of over 10 500 participants, 40–60 years old, from Burkina Faso, Ghana, Kenya and South Africa. Following a process that involved community engagement, training of project staff and participant informed consent, participants were administered detailed questionnaires, anthropometric measurements were taken and biospecimens collected. This generated a wealth of demographic, health history, environmental, behavioural and biomarker data. The H3Africa SNP array will be used for genome-wide association studies. AWI-Gen is building capacity to perform large epidemiological, genomic and epigenomic studies across several African counties and strives to become a valuable resource for research collaborations in Africa.
The human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) epidemic in South Africa rapidly developed into a major pandemic. Here we analyse the development of the epidemic in a rural area of the country. The data used were collected between 1992 and 2013 in a longitudinal population survey, the Agincourt Health and Demographic Surveillance Study, in the northeast of the country. Throughout the period of study mortality rates were similar in all villages, suggesting that there were multiple index cases evenly spread geographically. These were likely to have been returning migrant workers. For those aged below 39 years the HIV mortality rate was higher for women, above this age it was higher for men. This indicates the protective effect of greater access to HIV testing and treatment among older women. The recent convergence of mortality rates for Mozambicans and South Africans indicates that the former refugee population are being assimilated into the host community. More than 60% of the deaths occurring in this community between 1992 and 2013 could be attributed directly or indirectly to HIV. Recently there has been an increasing level of non-HIV mortality which has important implications for local healthcare provision. This study demonstrates how evidence from longitudinal analyses can support healthcare planning.
A new species, Poecilochaetus anterospinus sp. nov., is
described from the east and south shores of Oahu, Hawaii.
Poecilochaetus anterospinus sp. nov. is unique in the
genus by the presence of noto- and neuropodial spines from chaetiger 11 to
posterior segments. Neuropodial spines on anterior chaetigers are absent in
all other Poecilochaetus species while notopodial spines
are limited to segments preceding the pygidium.
Poecilochaetus cf. koshikiensis,
originally described from Japan, is newly recorded from Hawaii and
apparently widely distributed in the western Pacific and South-east Asian
Seas. Poecilochaetus sp. is distinguished from the other
two species by the distribution of the ampullaceous cirri (7–12) and its
Feedback provided by relativistic jets may be effective in shaping the galaxy luminosity function. The quenching mode (quasar mode) at redshifts ~2-3 potentially disperses gas in star-forming galaxies. The maintenance mode (radio mode) heats the gas in galaxy clusters counteracting cooling flows. A number of authors have examined the effect of relativistic jets in dispersing clouds in the kpc-scale inhomogeneous interstellar medium of evolving galaxies. We have also investigated a particular case of maintenance-mode feedback in our simulation of the iconic radio galaxy / cooling flow cluster Hydra A. Modelling of the knots produced by the jets in the inner 10 kpc provides an estimate of 0.8 – 0.9 c for the velocities of the jets in agreement with other velocity estimates for FR1 jets. The addition of jet precession provides realistic simulations of the morphology of the Hydra A radio source and raises interesting questions as to the role of black hole and disk precession, in general, in galaxy formation.
To evaluate the results of treatment of parotid pleomorphic adenoma, and the risk factors for secondary recurrence.
Materials and methods:
Single-centre, retrospective study of 32 patients with pleomorphic adenoma recurrence managed between 1988 and 2008.
The mean age at diagnosis of primary pleomorphic adenoma recurrence was 43.4 years. Twenty-eight per cent of patients had secondary recurrence; 32 per cent had undergone two or more surgical resections and external adjuvant radiotherapy. An age of less than 25 years was significantly associated with an earlier primary recurrence (p = 0.008). The most significant histopathological risk factor for secondary recurrence was the presence of a multifocal tumour (p = 0.019). Other histopathological criteria (i.e. cellularity and capsule rupture) were not significant. Radiotherapy was not associated with a decrease in recurrence. Nine per cent of patients progressed to malignancy. The main surgical complication was definitive facial palsy (14 per cent).
Pleomorphic adenoma recurrence requires surgery, with greatly increased risk to the facial nerve. Resection with clear surgical margins is required, especially in young patients with multifocal tumours. Radiotherapy may delay second recurrence in cases of multifocal tumour.
As physical activity may modify the effect of the apolipoprotein E (APOE) ε4 allele on the risk of dementia and Alzheimer's disease (AD) dementia, we tested for such a gene–environment interaction in a sample of general practice patients aged ⩾75 years.
Data were derived from follow-up waves I–IV of the longitudinal German study on Ageing, Cognition and Dementia in Primary Care Patients (AgeCoDe). The Kaplan–Meier survival method was used to estimate dementia- and AD-free survival times. Multivariable Cox regression was used to assess individual associations of APOE ε4 and physical activity with risk for dementia and AD, controlling for covariates. We tested for gene–environment interaction by calculating three indices of additive interaction.
Among the randomly selected sample of 6619 patients, 3327 (50.3%) individuals participated in the study at baseline and 2810 (42.5%) at follow-up I. Of the 2492 patients without dementia included at follow-up I, 278 developed dementia (184 AD) over the subsequent follow-up interval of 4.5 years. The presence of the APOE ε4 allele significantly increased and higher physical activity significantly decreased risk for dementia and AD. The co-presence of APOE ε4 with low physical activity was associated with higher risk for dementia and AD and shorter dementia- and AD-free survival time than the presence of APOE ε4 or low physical activity alone. Indices of interaction indicated no significant interaction between low physical activity and the APOE ε4 allele for general dementia risk, but a possible additive interaction for AD risk.
Physical activity even in late life may be effective in reducing conversion to dementia and AD or in delaying the onset of clinical manifestations. APOE ε4 carriers may particularly benefit from increasing physical activity with regard to their risk for AD.
Recent studies have provided strong evidence that variation in the gene neurocan (NCAN, rs1064395) is a common risk factor for bipolar disorder (BD) and schizophrenia. However, the possible relevance of NCAN variation to disease mechanisms in the human brain has not yet been explored. Thus, to identify a putative pathomechanism, we tested whether the risk allele has an influence on cortical thickness and folding in a well-characterized sample of patients with schizophrenia and healthy controls.
Sixty-three patients and 65 controls underwent T1-weighted magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) and were genotyped for the single nucleotide polymorphism (SNP) rs1064395. Folding and thickness were analysed on a node-by-node basis using a surface-based approach (FreeSurfer).
In patients, NCAN risk status (defined by AA and AG carriers) was found to be associated with higher folding in the right lateral occipital region and at a trend level for the left dorsolateral prefrontal cortex. Controls did not show any association (p > 0.05). For cortical thickness, there was no significant effect in either patients or controls.
This study is the first to describe an effect of the NCAN risk variant on brain structure. Our data show that the NCAN risk allele influences cortical folding in the occipital and prefrontal cortex, which may establish disease susceptibility during neurodevelopment. The findings suggest that NCAN is involved in visual processing and top-down cognitive functioning. Both major cognitive processes are known to be disturbed in schizophrenia. Moreover, our study reveals new evidence for a specific genetic influence on local cortical folding in schizophrenia.
Embedded wafer-level ball grid array (eWLB) is investigated as a low-cost plastic package for automotive radar applications in the 76–81 GHz range. Low transmission losses from chip to package and board are achieved by appropriate circuit and package design. Special measures are taken to effectively remove the heat from the package and to optimize the package process to achieve automotive quality targets. A 77 GHz radar chip set in eWLB package is developed, which can be applied on the system board using standard solder reflow assembly. These radar MMICs provide excellent radio frequency (RF) performance for the next generation automotive radar sensors. The potential for even higher system integration is shown by a radar transceiver with antennas integrated in the eWLB package. These results demonstrate that eWLB technology is an attractive candidate to realize low-cost radar systems and to enable radar safety affordable for everyone in the near future.
Whether late-onset depression is a risk factor for or a prodrome of dementia remains unclear. We investigated the impact of depressive symptoms and early- v. late-onset depression on subsequent dementia in a cohort of elderly general-practitioner patients (n = 2663, mean age = 81.2 years).
Risk for subsequent dementia was estimated over three follow-ups (each 18 months apart) depending on history of depression, particularly age of depression onset, and current depressive symptoms using proportional hazard models. We also examined the additive prediction of incident dementia by depression beyond cognitive impairment.
An increase of dementia risk for higher age cut-offs of late-onset depression was found. In analyses controlling for age, sex, education, and apolipoprotein E4 genotype, we found that very late-onset depression (aged ⩾70 years) and current depressive symptoms separately predicted all-cause dementia. Combined very late-onset depression with current depressive symptoms was specifically predictive for later Alzheimer's disease (AD; adjusted hazard ratio 5.48, 95% confidence interval 2.41–12.46, p < 0.001). This association was still significant after controlling for cognitive measures, but further analyses suggested that it was mediated by subjective memory impairment with worries.
Depression might be a prodrome of AD but not of dementia of other aetiology as very late-onset depression in combination with current depressive symptoms, possibly emerging as a consequence of subjectively perceived worrisome cognitive deterioration, was most predictive. As depression parameters and subjective memory impairment predicted AD independently of objective cognition, clinicians should take this into account.