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UK Biobank is a well-characterised cohort of over 500 000 participants including genetics, environmental data and imaging. An online mental health questionnaire was designed for UK Biobank participants to expand its potential.
Describe the development, implementation and results of this questionnaire.
An expert working group designed the questionnaire, using established measures where possible, and consulting a patient group. Operational criteria were agreed for defining likely disorder and risk states, including lifetime depression, mania/hypomania, generalised anxiety disorder, unusual experiences and self-harm, and current post-traumatic stress and hazardous/harmful alcohol use.
A total of 157 366 completed online questionnaires were available by August 2017. Participants were aged 45–82 (53% were ≥65 years) and 57% women. Comparison of self-reported diagnosed mental disorder with a contemporary study shows a similar prevalence, despite respondents being of higher average socioeconomic status. Lifetime depression was a common finding, with 24% (37 434) of participants meeting criteria and current hazardous/harmful alcohol use criteria were met by 21% (32 602), whereas other criteria were met by less than 8% of the participants. There was extensive comorbidity among the syndromes. Mental disorders were associated with a high neuroticism score, adverse life events and long-term illness; addiction and bipolar affective disorder in particular were associated with measures of deprivation.
The UK Biobank questionnaire represents a very large mental health survey in itself, and the results presented here show high face validity, although caution is needed because of selection bias. Built into UK Biobank, these data intersect with other health data to offer unparalleled potential for crosscutting biomedical research involving mental health.
Recent work suggests that antihypertensive medications may be useful as repurposed treatments for mood disorders. Using large-scale linked healthcare data we investigated whether certain classes of antihypertensive, such as angiotensin antagonists (AAs) and calcium channel blockers, were associated with reduced risk of new-onset major depressive disorder (MDD) or bipolar disorder (BD).
Two cohorts of patients treated with antihypertensives were identified from Scottish prescribing (2009–2016) and hospital admission (1981–2016) records. Eligibility for cohort membership was determined by a receipt of a minimum of four prescriptions for antihypertensives within a 12-month window. One treatment cohort (n = 538 730) included patients with no previous history of mood disorder, whereas the other (n = 262 278) included those who did. Both cohorts were matched by age, sex and area deprivation to untreated comparators. Associations between antihypertensive treatment and new-onset MDD or bipolar episodes were investigated using Cox regression.
For patients without a history of mood disorder, antihypertensives were associated with increased risk of new-onset MDD. For AA monotherapy, the hazard ratio (HR) for new-onset MDD was 1.17 (95% CI 1.04–1.31). Beta blockers' association was stronger (HR 2.68; 95% CI 2.45–2.92), possibly indicating pre-existing anxiety. Some classes of antihypertensive were associated with protection against BD, particularly AAs (HR 0.46; 95% CI 0.30–0.70). For patients with a past history of mood disorders, all classes of antihypertensives were associated with increased risk of future episodes of MDD.
There was no evidence that antihypertensive medications prevented new episodes of MDD but AAs may represent a novel treatment avenue for BD.
Topical nasal decongestants are frequently used as part of the medical management of symptoms related to Eustachian tube dysfunction.
This study aimed to assess the effect of topical xylometazoline hydrochloride sprayed in the anterior part of the nose on Eustachian tube active and passive opening in healthy ears.
Active and passive Eustachian tube function was assessed in healthy subjects before and after intranasal administration of xylometazoline spray, using tympanometry, video otoscopy, sonotubometry, tubo-tympano-aerodynamic-graphy and tubomanometry.
Resting middle-ear pressures were not significantly different following decongestant application. Eustachian tube opening rate was not significantly different following the intervention, as measured by all function tests used. Sonotubometry data showed a significant increase in the duration of Eustachian tube opening following decongestant application.
There remains little or no evidence that topical nasal decongestants improve Eustachian tube function. Sonotubometry findings do suggest that further investigation with an obstructive Eustachian tube dysfunction patient cohort is warranted.
Meal timing may influence food choices, neurobiology and psychological states. Our exploratory study examined if time-of-day eating patterns were associated with mood disorders among adults.
During 2004–2006 (age 26–36 years) and 2009–2011 (follow-up, age 31–41 years), N = 1304 participants reported 24-h food and beverage intake. Time-of-day eating patterns were derived by principal components analysis. At follow-up, the Composite International Diagnostic Interview measured lifetime mood disorder. Log binomial and adjacent categories log-link regression were used to examine bidirectional associations between eating patterns and mood disorder. Covariates included sex, age, marital status, social support, education, work schedule, body mass index and smoking.
Three patterns were derived at each time-point: Grazing (intake spread across the day), Traditional (highest intakes reflected breakfast, lunch and dinner), and Late (skipped/delayed breakfast with higher evening intakes). Compared to those in the lowest third of the respective pattern at baseline and follow-up, during the 5-year follow-up, those in the highest third of the Late pattern at both time-points had a higher prevalence of mood disorder [prevalence ratio (PR) = 2.04; 95% confidence interval (CI) 1.20–3.48], and those in the highest third of the Traditional pattern at both time-points had a lower prevalence of first onset mood disorder (PR = 0.31; 95% CI 0.11–0.87). Participants who experienced a mood disorder during follow-up had a 1.07 higher relative risk of being in a higher Late pattern score category at follow-up than those without mood disorder (95% CI 1.00–1.14).
Non-traditional eating patterns, particularly skipped or delayed breakfast, may be associated with mood disorders.
Building on prior work using Tom Dishion's Family Check-Up, the current article examined intervention effects on dysregulated irritability in early childhood. Dysregulated irritability, defined as reactive and intense response to frustration, and prolonged angry mood, is an ideal marker of neurodevelopmental vulnerability to later psychopathology because it is a transdiagnostic indicator of decrements in self-regulation that are measurable in the first years of life that have lifelong implications for health and disease. This study is perhaps the first randomized trial to examine the direct effects of an evidence- and family-based intervention, the Family Check-Up (FCU), on irritability in early childhood and the effects of reductions in irritability on later risk of child internalizing and externalizing symptomatology. Data from the geographically and sociodemographically diverse multisite Early Steps randomized prevention trial were used. Path modeling revealed intervention effects on irritability at age 4, which predicted lower externalizing and internalizing symptoms at age 10.5. Results indicate that family-based programs initiated in early childhood can reduce early childhood irritability and later risk for psychopathology. This holds promise for earlier identification and prevention approaches that target transdiagnostic pathways. Implications for future basic and prevention research are discussed.
We have observed the G23 field of the Galaxy AndMass Assembly (GAMA) survey using the Australian Square Kilometre Array Pathfinder (ASKAP) in its commissioning phase to validate the performance of the telescope and to characterise the detected galaxy populations. This observation covers ~48 deg2 with synthesised beam of 32.7 arcsec by 17.8 arcsec at 936MHz, and ~39 deg2 with synthesised beam of 15.8 arcsec by 12.0 arcsec at 1320MHz. At both frequencies, the root-mean-square (r.m.s.) noise is ~0.1 mJy/beam. We combine these radio observations with the GAMA galaxy data, which includes spectroscopy of galaxies that are i-band selected with a magnitude limit of 19.2. Wide-field Infrared Survey Explorer (WISE) infrared (IR) photometry is used to determine which galaxies host an active galactic nucleus (AGN). In properties including source counts, mass distributions, and IR versus radio luminosity relation, the ASKAP-detected radio sources behave as expected. Radio galaxies have higher stellar mass and luminosity in IR, optical, and UV than other galaxies. We apply optical and IR AGN diagnostics and find that they disagree for ~30% of the galaxies in our sample. We suggest possible causes for the disagreement. Some cases can be explained by optical extinction of the AGN, but for more than half of the cases we do not find a clear explanation. Radio sources aremore likely (~6%) to have an AGN than radio quiet galaxies (~1%), but the majority of AGN are not detected in radio at this sensitivity.
Item 9 of the Patient Health Questionnaire-9 (PHQ-9) queries about thoughts of death and self-harm, but not suicidality. Although it is sometimes used to assess suicide risk, most positive responses are not associated with suicidality. The PHQ-8, which omits Item 9, is thus increasingly used in research. We assessed equivalency of total score correlations and the diagnostic accuracy to detect major depression of the PHQ-8 and PHQ-9.
We conducted an individual patient data meta-analysis. We fit bivariate random-effects models to assess diagnostic accuracy.
16 742 participants (2097 major depression cases) from 54 studies were included. The correlation between PHQ-8 and PHQ-9 scores was 0.996 (95% confidence interval 0.996 to 0.996). The standard cutoff score of 10 for the PHQ-9 maximized sensitivity + specificity for the PHQ-8 among studies that used a semi-structured diagnostic interview reference standard (N = 27). At cutoff 10, the PHQ-8 was less sensitive by 0.02 (−0.06 to 0.00) and more specific by 0.01 (0.00 to 0.01) among those studies (N = 27), with similar results for studies that used other types of interviews (N = 27). For all 54 primary studies combined, across all cutoffs, the PHQ-8 was less sensitive than the PHQ-9 by 0.00 to 0.05 (0.03 at cutoff 10), and specificity was within 0.01 for all cutoffs (0.00 to 0.01).
PHQ-8 and PHQ-9 total scores were similar. Sensitivity may be minimally reduced with the PHQ-8, but specificity is similar.
Objective: To investigate the effects of methylphenidate on long-term executive and neuropsychological functioning in children with attention problems following TBI, as well as the relationship between methylphenidate associated changes in lab-based neuropsychological measures of attentional control, processing speed, and executive functioning and parent- or self-report measures of everyday executive functioning. Method: 26 children aged 6–17 years, who were hospitalized for moderate-to-severe blunt head trauma 6 or more months previously, were recruited from a large children’s hospital medical center. Participants were randomized into a double-masked, placebo-controlled cross-over clinical trial. Participants completed a comprehensive neuropsychological battery and parent- and self-report ratings of everyday executive functioning at baseline, and at 4 weeks and 8 weeks following upward titration of medication to an optimal dose or while administered a placebo. Results: Methylphenidate was associated with significant improvements in processing speed, sustained attention, and both lab-based and everyday executive functioning. Significant treatment-by-period interactions were found on a task of sustained attention. Participants who were randomized to the methylphenidate condition for the first treatment period demonstrated random or erratic responding, with slower and more variable response times when given placebo during the second period. Conclusion: Results indicate that methylphenidate treatment is associated with positive outcomes in processing speed, sustained attention, and both lab-based and everyday measures of executive functioning compared to placebo group. Additionally, results suggest sustained attention worsens when discontinuing medication. (JINS, 2019, 25, 740–749)
Infections due to Campylobacter, Escherichia coli and Salmonella pose a significant health burden in Canada, resulting in major costs to the health care system and economic impacts due to lost productivity resulting from illness. Recent literature suggests that climate may play a role in the prevalence of these pathogens along the food chain. This study used integrated surveillance data to examine associations between weather variables, serving as a proxy for climate, in agricultural areas and Campylobacter, generic E. coli and Salmonella contamination on samples of beef, poultry and swine meat products in Canada. Various temperature metrics (average, maximum and variability) were correlated with Campylobacter prevalence along the food chain. The prevalence of E. coli and Salmonella was correlated with both precipitation and temperatures metrics; however, analysis for E. coli was limited to beef and swine meats at retail settings, because prevalence in other combinations approached 100%, which obviated further analysis. Campylobacter contamination in poultry and swine at abattoir and retail settings demonstrated a seasonal trend, with increased prevalence generally from June or July through November, compared to the baseline month of December. Based on these analyses, Campylobacter is the most likely foodborne bacteria studied whose occurrence in meat products is affected by climatic changes in Canada. An exploratory analysis of data at the provincial scale, using Ontario as an example, revealed similar directional relationships between climate and bacterial prevalence.
Objectives: A growing body of research suggests that regular participation in long-term exercise is associated with enhanced cognitive function. However, less is known about the beneficial effects of acute exercise on semantic memory. This study investigated brain activation during a semantic memory task after a single session of exercise in healthy older adults using functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI). Methods: Using a within-subjects counterbalanced design, 26 participants (ages, 55–85 years) underwent two experimental visits on separate days. During each visit, participants engaged in 30 min of rest or stationary cycling exercise immediately before performing a Famous and Non-Famous name discrimination task during fMRI scanning. Results: Acute exercise was associated with significantly greater semantic memory activation (Famous>Non-Famous) in the middle frontal, inferior temporal, middle temporal, and fusiform gyri. A planned comparison additionally showed significantly greater activation in the bilateral hippocampus after exercise compared to rest. These effects were confined to correct trials, and as expected, there were no differences between conditions in response time or accuracy. Conclusions: Greater brain activation following a single session of exercise suggests that exercise may increase neural processes underlying semantic memory activation in healthy older adults. These effects were localized to the known semantic memory network, and thus do not appear to reflect a general or widespread increase in brain blood flow. Coupled with our prior exercise training effects on semantic memory-related activation, these data suggest the acute increase in neural activation after exercise may provide a stimulus for adaptation over repeated exercise sessions. (JINS, 2019, 25, 557–568)
Determining infectious cross-transmission events in healthcare settings involves manual surveillance of case clusters by infection control personnel, followed by strain typing of clinical/environmental isolates suspected in said clusters. Recent advances in genomic sequencing and cloud computing now allow for the rapid molecular typing of infecting isolates.
To facilitate rapid recognition of transmission clusters, we aimed to assess infection control surveillance using whole-genome sequencing (WGS) of microbial pathogens to identify cross-transmission events for epidemiologic review.
Clinical isolates of Staphylococcus aureus, Enterococcus faecium, Pseudomonas aeruginosa, and Klebsiella pneumoniae were obtained prospectively at an academic medical center, from September 1, 2016, to September 30, 2017. Isolate genomes were sequenced, followed by single-nucleotide variant analysis; a cloud-computing platform was used for whole-genome sequence analysis and cluster identification.
Most strains of the 4 studied pathogens were unrelated, and 34 potential transmission clusters were present. The characteristics of the potential clusters were complex and likely not identifiable by traditional surveillance alone. Notably, only 1 cluster had been suspected by routine manual surveillance.
Our work supports the assertion that integration of genomic and clinical epidemiologic data can augment infection control surveillance for both the identification of cross-transmission events and the inclusion of missed and exclusion of misidentified outbreaks (ie, false alarms). The integration of clinical data is essential to prioritize suspect clusters for investigation, and for existing infections, a timely review of both the clinical and WGS results can hold promise to reduce HAIs. A richer understanding of cross-transmission events within healthcare settings will require the expansion of current surveillance approaches.
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.
In this work, we study the effect of the compression-corner angle on the streamwise turbulent kinetic energy (sTKE) and structure in Mach 2.8 flow. Krypton tagging velocimetry (KTV) is used to investigate the incoming turbulent boundary layer and flow over
compression corners. The experiments were performed in a 99 %
and 1 % Kr gas mixture in the Arnold Engineering Development Complex (AEDC) Mach 3 Calibration Tunnel (M3CT) at
. A figure of merit is defined as the wall-normal integrated sTKE (
), which is designed to identify turbulence amplification by accounting for the root-mean-squared (r.m.s.) velocity fluctuations and shear-layer width for the different geometries. We observe that the
increases as an exponential with the compression-corner angle near the root when normalized by the boundary-layer value. Additionally, snapshot proper orthogonal decomposition (POD) is applied to the KTV results to investigate the structure of the flow. From the POD results, we extract the dominant flow structures and compare each case by presenting mean-velocity maps that correspond to the largest positive and negative POD mode coefficients. Finally, the POD spectrum reveals an inertial range common to the boundary-layer and each compression-corner flow that is present after the first
dominant POD modes.
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.