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It remains poorly understood how negative symptoms are experienced in the daily lives of individuals in the early stages of psychosis. We aimed to investigate whether altered affective experience, anhedonia, social anhedonia, and asociality were more pronounced in individuals with an at-risk mental state for psychosis (ARMS) and individuals with first-episode psychosis (FEP) than in controls.
We used the experience sampling methodology (ESM) to assess negative symptoms, as they occurred in the daily life of 51 individuals with FEP and 46 ARMS, compared with 53 controls.
Multilevel linear regression analyses showed no overall evidence for a blunting of affective experience. There was some evidence for anhedonia in FEP but not in ARMS, as shown by a smaller increase of positive affect (BΔat−risk v. FEP = 0.08, p = 0.006) as the pleasantness of activities increased. Against our expectations, no evidence was found for greater social anhedonia in any group. FEP were more often alone (57%) than ARMS (38%) and controls (35%) but appraisals of the social situation did not point to asociality.
Overall, altered affective experience, anhedonia, social anhedonia and asociality seem to play less of a role in the daily life of individuals in the early stages of psychosis than previously assumed. With the experience of affect and pleasure in daily life being largely intact, changing social situations and appraisals thereof should be further investigated to prevent development or deterioration of negative symptoms.
Epidemiological studies have reported that the increased risk of developing psychosis in cannabis users is dose related. In addition, experimental research has shown that the active constituent of cannabis responsible for its psychotogenic effect is Delta-9-Tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) (Murray et al, 2007). Recent evidence has suggested an increased in potency (% TCH) in the cannabis seized in the UK (Potter et al, 2007).
We predicted that first episode psychosis patients are more likely to use higher potency cannabis and more frequently than controls.
We collected information concerning socio-demographic, clinical characteristics and cannabis use (age at first use, frequency, length of use, type of cannabis used) from a sample of 191 first-episode psychosis patients and 120 matched healthy volunteers. All were recruited as part of the Genetic and Psychosis (GAP) study which studied all patients who presented to the South London and Maudsley Trust.
There was no significant difference in the life-time prevalence of cannabis use or age at first use between cases and controls. However, cases were more likely to be regular users (p=0.05), to be current users (p=0.04) and to have smoked cannabis for longer (p=0.01). Among cannabis users, 86.8% of 1st Episode Psychosis Patients preferentially used Skunk/Sinsemilla compared to 27.7% of Controls. Only 13.2 % of 1st Episode psychosis Patients chose to use Resin/Hash compared to 76.3% of controls. The concentration of TCH in these in South East London, ranges between 8.5 and 14 % (Potter et al, 2007). Controls (47%) were more likely to use Hash (Resin) whose average TCH concentration is 3.4% (Potter et al, 2007).
Patients with first episode psychosis have smoked higher potency cannabis, for longer and with greater frequency, than healthy controls.
The excess of psychosis among migrants and ethnic minorities is a well defined phenomenon in North Europe, while it should be still demonstrated in south Europe. Because of the variation in prevalence and distribution of risk factors in different national contexts, similar studies in different countries are needed to test the hypotheses and to ensure the generalizability of the findings. Moreover, available studies have been mostly focused on risk factors of psychosis during the post migration phase (such as ethnic fragmentation, unemployment, etc) and among well established ethnic minorities (second and further generations of migrants). In Italy, first generation migrants are still the larger component of the ethnic minorities’ populations and we can evaluate risk factors of psychosis related to the migration history as whole considered (pre-migration, migration and post migration phases). I will present results on risk factors of psychosis among first generations migrants in the three sites involved in the EU-GEI Project in Italy (Bologna, Palermo and Verona) (European Network of National Schizophrenia Networks Studying Gene Environment Interactions Project EU-GEI European Community's Seventh Framework Program, grant agreement No. HEALTH-F2-2009-241909). Particularly, I will discuss our efforts to understand the role of the migration process characteristics in the development of psychosis.
The Murchison Widefield Array (MWA) is an open access telescope dedicated to studying the low-frequency (80–300 MHz) southern sky. Since beginning operations in mid-2013, the MWA has opened a new observational window in the southern hemisphere enabling many science areas. The driving science objectives of the original design were to observe 21 cm radiation from the Epoch of Reionisation (EoR), explore the radio time domain, perform Galactic and extragalactic surveys, and monitor solar, heliospheric, and ionospheric phenomena. All together
programs recorded 20 000 h producing 146 papers to date. In 2016, the telescope underwent a major upgrade resulting in alternating compact and extended configurations. Other upgrades, including digital back-ends and a rapid-response triggering system, have been developed since the original array was commissioned. In this paper, we review the major results from the prior operation of the MWA and then discuss the new science paths enabled by the improved capabilities. We group these science opportunities by the four original science themes but also include ideas for directions outside these categories.
Haplosporidian protist parasites are a major concern for aquatic animal health, as they have been responsible for some of the most significant marine epizootics on record. Despite their impact on food security, aquaculture and ecosystem health, characterizing haplosporidian diversity, distributions and host range remains challenging. In this study, water filtering bivalve species, cockles Cerastoderma edule, mussels Mytilus spp. and Pacific oysters Crassostrea gigas, were screened using molecular genetic assays using deoxyribonucleic acid (DNA) markers for the Haplosporidia small subunit ribosomal deoxyribonucleic acid region. Two Haplosporidia species, both belonging to the Minchinia clade, were detected in C. edule and in the blue mussel Mytilus edulis in a new geographic range for the first time. No haplosporidians were detected in the C. gigas, Mediterranean mussel Mytilus galloprovincialis or Mytilus hybrids. These findings indicate that host selection and partitioning are occurring amongst cohabiting bivalve species. The detection of these Haplosporidia spp. raises questions as to whether they were always present, were introduced unintentionally via aquaculture and or shipping or were naturally introduced via water currents. These findings support an increase in the known diversity of a significant parasite group and highlight that parasite species may be present in marine environments but remain undetected, even in well-studied host species.
We examined Clostridioides difficile infection (CDI) prevention practices and their relationship with hospital-onset healthcare facility-associated CDI rates (CDI rates) in Veterans Affairs (VA) acute-care facilities.
From January 2017 to February 2017, we conducted an electronic survey of CDI prevention practices and hospital characteristics in the VA. We linked survey data with CDI rate data for the period January 2015 to December 2016. We stratified facilities according to whether their overall CDI rate per 10,000 bed days of care was above or below the national VA mean CDI rate. We examined whether specific CDI prevention practices were associated with an increased risk of a CDI rate above the national VA mean CDI rate.
All 126 facilities responded (100% response rate). Since implementing CDI prevention practices in July 2012, 60 of 123 facilities (49%) reported a decrease in CDI rates; 22 of 123 facilities (18%) reported an increase, and 41 of 123 (33%) reported no change. Facilities reporting an increase in the CDI rate (vs those reporting a decrease) after implementing prevention practices were 2.54 times more likely to have CDI rates that were above the national mean CDI rate. Whether a facility’s CDI rates were above or below the national mean CDI rate was not associated with self-reported cleaning practices, duration of contact precautions, availability of private rooms, or certification of infection preventionists in infection prevention.
We found considerable variation in CDI rates. We were unable to identify which particular CDI prevention practices (i.e., bundle components) were associated with lower CDI rates.
This study analyses the interplay between classical acoustic modes and intrinsic thermoacoustic (ITA) modes in a simple thermoacoustic system. The analysis is performed using a frequency-domain low-order network model as well as a time-domain spatially discretised model. Anti-correlated modal sensitivities are found to arise due to a pairwise interplay between acoustic and ITA modes. The magnitude of the sensitivities increases as the interplay between the modes grows stronger. The results show a global behaviour of the modes linked to the presence of exceptional points in the spectrum. The time-domain analysis results in a delay-differential equation and allows the investigation of non-normal behaviour and its consequences. Pseudospectral analysis reveals that energy amplification is crucially linked to an interplay between acoustic and ITA modes. While higher non-orthogonality between two modes is correlated with peaks in modal sensitivity, transient energy growth does not necessarily involve the most sensitive modes. In particular, growth estimates based on the Kreiss constant demonstrate that transient amplification relies critically on the proximity of the non-normal modes to the imaginary axis. The time scale for transient amplification is identified as the flame time delay, which is further corroborated by determining the optimal initial conditions responsible for the bulk of the non-modal energy growth. The flame is identified as an active and dominant contributor to energy gain. The frequency of the optimal perturbation matches the acoustic time scale, once more confirming an interplay between acoustic and ITA structures. Flame-based amplification factors of two to five are found, which are significant when feeding into the acoustic dynamics and eventually triggering nonlinear limit-cycle behaviour.
We describe the parameters of a low-frequency all-sky survey of compact radio sources using Interplanetary Scintillation, undertaken with the Murchison Widefield Array. While this survey gives important complementary information to low-resolution survey, providing information on the sub-arsecond structure of every source, a survey of this kind has not been attempted in the era of low-frequency imaging arrays such as the Murchison Widefield Array and LOw Frequency Array. Here we set out the capabilities of such a survey, describing the limitations imposed by the heliocentric observing geometry and by the instrument itself. We demonstrate the potential for Interplanetary Scintillation measurements at any point on the celestial sphere and we show that at 160 MHz, reasonable results can be obtained within 30° of the ecliptic (2π str: half the sky). We also suggest some observational strategies and describe the first such survey, the Murchison Widefield Array Phase I Interplanetary Scintillation survey. Finally we analyse the potential of the recently upgraded Murchison Widefield Array and discuss the potential of the Square Kilometre Array-low to use Interplanetary Scintillation to probe sub-mJy flux density levels at sub-arcsecond angular resolution.
Solvency II came into force on 1 January 2016 and included a transitional measure on technical provisions (“TMTP”) designed to help smooth in the capital impact of Solvency II over a 16-year period. The working party’s view is that the main intention of the TMTP is to mitigate the impact of the introduction of the risk margin, which significantly increases the technical provisions of firms, relative to their Solvency I Pillar 2 liabilities.
The majority of firms who hold a TMTP have now had at least one recalculation approved by the Prudential Regulation Authority (PRA); or are in the process of applying for a recalculation. Despite this large number of approved recalculations, there remains significant uncertainty in the industry around the approach and triggers for recalculation.
This paper considers aspects of TMTP recalculation for regulated UK life firms, for example practicalities of the calculation, asset and liability considerations, and communications/announcements.
In this paper, we outline the need for pragmatism when considering the approach to recalculation of a measure originally intended to serve as the bridge between two regimes. We call for an allowance for doing what is sensible in a principles-based regime balancing what might be more theoretically correct with what is practical and possible to support effective management of the business.
Twenty-seven species and two subspecies of Ficus are reported from one study site in central Africa. Characters for identification are explained. An identification key, illustrations, descriptions and habitats are provided. The species-level diversity of Ficus in tropical forests is discussed.
Antibodies at gastrointestinal mucosal membranes play a vital role in immunological protection against a range of pathogens, including helminths. Gastrointestinal health is central to efficient livestock production, and such infections cause significant losses. Fecal samples were taken from 114 cattle, across three beef farms, with matched blood samples taken from 22 of those animals. To achieve fecal antibody detection, a novel fecal supernatant was extracted. Fecal supernatant and serum samples were then analysed, using adapted enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay protocols, for levels of total immunoglobulin (Ig)A, IgG, IgM, and Teladorsagia circumcincta-specific IgA, IgG, IgM and IgE (in the absence of reagents for cattle-specific nematode species). Fecal nematode egg counts were conducted on all fecal samples. Assays performed successfully and showed that IgA was the predominant antibody in fecal samples, whereas IgG was predominant in serum. Total IgA in feces and serum correlated within individuals (0.581, P = 0.005), but other Ig types did not. Results support the hypothesis that the tested protocols are an effective method for the non-invasive assessment of cattle immunology. The method could be used as part of animal health assessments, although further work is required to interpret the relationship between results and levels of infection and immunity.
To examine perspectives on food access among low-income families participating in a cost-offset community-supported agriculture (CO-CSA) programme.
Farm Fresh Foods for Healthy Kids (F3HK) is a multicentre randomized intervention trial assessing the effect of CO-CSA on dietary intake and quality among children from low-income families. Focus groups were conducted at the end of the first CO-CSA season. Participants were interviewed about programme experiences, framed by five dimensions of food access: availability, accessibility, affordability, acceptability and accommodation. Transcribed data were coded on these dimensions plus emergent themes.
Nine communities in the US states of New York, North Carolina, Washington and Vermont.
Fifty-three F3HK adults with children.
CSA models were structured by partner farms. Produce quantity was abundant; however, availability was enhanced for participants who were able to select their own produce items. Flexible CSA pick-up times and locations made produce pick-up more accessible. Despite being affordable to most, payment timing was a barrier for some. Unfamiliar foods and quick spoilage hindered acceptability through challenging meal planning, despite accommodations that included preparation advice.
Although CO-CSA may facilitate increased access to fruits and vegetables for low-income families, perceptions of positive diet change may be limited by the ability to incorporate share pick-up into regular travel patterns and meal planning. Food waste concerns may be particularly acute for families with constrained resources. Future research should examine whether CO-CSA with flexible logistics and produce self-selection are sustainable for low-income families and CSA farms.
The Pediatric Heart Network designed a career development award to train the next generation of clinician scientists in paediatric-cardiology-related research, a historically underfunded area. We sought to identify the strengths/weaknesses of the programme and describe the scholars’ academic achievements and the network’s return on investment.
Survey questions designed to evaluate the programme were sent to applicants – 13 funded and 19 unfunded applicants – and 20 mentors and/or principal investigators. Response distributions were calculated. χ2 tests of association assessed differences in ratings of the application/selection processes among funded scholars, unfunded applicants, and mentors/principal investigators. Scholars reported post-funding academic achievements.
Survey response rates were 88% for applicants and 100% for mentor/principal investigators. Clarity and fairness of the review were rated as “clear/fair” or “very clear/very fair” by 98% of respondents, but the responses varied among funded scholars, unfunded applicants, and mentors/principal investigators (clarity χ2=10.85, p=0.03; fairness χ2=16.97, p=0.002). Nearly half of the unfunded applicants rated feedback as “not useful” (47%). “Expanding their collaborative network” and “increasing publication potential” were the highest-rated benefits for scholars. Mentors/principal investigators found the programme “very” valuable for the scholars (100%) and the network (75%). The 13 scholars were first/senior authors for 97 abstracts and 109 manuscripts, served on 22 Pediatric Heart Network committees, and were awarded $9,673,660 in subsequent extramural funding for a return of ~$10 for every scholar dollar spent.
Overall, patient satisfaction with the Scholar Award was high and scholars met many academic markers of success. Despite this, programme challenges were identified and improvement strategies were developed.
The merits of solar coronal at metric-wavelength (MW) radio have long been recognised (e.g. Pick and Vilmer, 2008). High-fidelity solar radio imaging at these frequencies has however remained challenging. On the one hand, dealing with the small spectral and temporal scales of variation in solar radio emission requires a data product capable of tracking the emission simultaneously across time, frequency and morphology. The Fourier imaging nature of interferometry, on the other hand, severely limits the instrumental ability to gather sufficient information to do this with the required fidelity and resolution. Benefiting from the enormous advances in technology the new generation of instruments, like the Murchison Widefield Array (MWA; Tingay et al. (2013), Bowman et al. (2013)), represent a quantum leap in our ability to gather data suitable for radio solar physics.
At low radio frequencies the solar corona is very dynamic in both spectral and temporal domains. To capture the fine details of this complex dynamics, imaging studies at high temporal and spectral resolution are necessary. The advent of the new instruments like the Murchison Widefield Array (MWA; Tingay et al. 2013, Bowman et al. 2013), is now making this possible.