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The Everyday Cognition (ECog) scales measure cognitively based across domains of everyday abilities that are affected early in the course of neurodegenerative disorders such as Alzheimer’s disease. However, the degree to which the ECog may be differentially influenced by ethnic/racial background is unknown. This study evaluates measurement invariance of the ECog across non-Hispanic White (NHW), Black, and Hispanic individuals.
Participants included 1177 NHW, 243 Black, and 216 Hispanic older adults from the UC Davis Alzheimer’s Disease Center Cohort who had an ECog. Differential item functioning (DIF) for each ECog domain was evaluated separately for Black and Hispanic participants compared to NHW participants. An iterative multiple group confirmatory factor analysis approach for ordinal scores was used to identify items whose measurement properties differed across groups and to adjust scores for DIF. Adjusted scores were then evaluated to test whether they were more strongly associated with cognitive function (concurrent and longitudinal change in cognition) and brain volumes (measured by brain imaging).
Varying levels, patterns, and impacts of DIF were found across domains and groups. However, the impact of DIF was relatively small, and DIF effects on scores generally were less than one-half standard error of measurement. There were no meaningful differences in associations with cognition and brain injury between DIF adjusted and unadjusted scores.
Varying patterns of DIF were observed across the Black and Hispanic participants across select ECog domains. Overall, DIF effects were relatively small and did not change the relationship between the ECog and other indicators of disease.
The Everyday Compensation scale (EComp) is an informant-rated questionnaire designed to measure cognitively based compensatory strategies that support both everyday memory and executive function in the context of completing instrumental activities of daily living (IADLs). Although previous findings provided early support for the usefulness of the initial version of EComp, the current paper further describes the development, refinement, and validation of EComp as a new assessment tool of compensation for IADLs.
Confirmatory factor analysis (CFA) was used to examine its factor structure. Convergent and predictive validity was evaluated by examining the relationship between EComp and markers of disease, including diagnosis, cognitive change, and trajectories of functional abilities.
CFA supported a general compensation factor after accounting for variance attributable to IADL domain-specific engagement. The clinical groups differed in compensatory strategy use, with those with dementia using significantly fewer compensatory strategies as compared to individuals with normal cognition or mild cognitive impairment. Greater levels of compensation were related to better cognitive functions (memory and executive function) and functional abilities, as well as slower rates of cognitive and functional decline over time. Importantly, higher levels of compensation were associated with less functional difficulties and subsequently slower rate of functional decline independent of the level of cognitive impairment.
Engagement in compensatory strategies among older adults has important implications for prolonging functional independence, even in those with declining cognitive functioning. Results suggest that the revised EComp is likely to be useful in measuring cognitively based compensation in older adults.
Large-scale mass-sporting events are increasingly requiring greater prehospital event planning and preparation to address inherent event-associated medical conditions in addition to incidents that may be unexpected. The Bank of America Chicago Marathon (Chicago, Illinois USA) is one of the largest marathons in the world, and with the improvement of technology, the use of historical patient and event data, in conjunction with environmental conditions, can provide organizers and public safety officials a way to plan based on injury patterns and patient demands for care by predicting the placement and timing of needed medical support and resources.
During large-scale events, disaster planning and preparedness between event organizers, Emergency Medical Services (EMS), and local, state, and federal agencies is critical to ensure participant and public safety.
This study looked at the Bank of America Chicago Marathon, a significant endurance event, and took a unique approach of reviewing digital runner data retrospectively over a five-year period to establish patterns of medical demand geographically, temporally, and by the presenting diagnoses. Most medical complaints were musculoskeletal in nature; however, there were life-threatening conditions such as hyperthermia and cardiac incidents that highlight the need for detailed planning, coordination, and communication to ensure a safe and secure event.
The Chicago Marathon is one of the largest marathons in the world, and this study identified an equal number of participants requiring care on-course and at the finish line. Most medical complaints were musculoskeletal in nature; however, there were life-threatening conditions such as hyperthermia and cardiac incidents that highlight the need for detailed planning, multi-disciplined coordination, and communication to ensure a safe and secure event. As technology has evolved, the use, analysis, and implementation of historical digital data with various environmental conditions can provide organizers and public safety officials a map to plan injury patterns and patient demands by predicting the placement and timing of needed medical support, personnel, and resources.
In zebrafish embryos, distinct Ca2+ transients are localized to the early cleavage furrows during the first few cell division cycles. These transients are generated mainly by release via IP3Rs in the endoplasmic reticulum, and they are necessary for furrow positioning, propagation, deepening and apposition. We previously showed, via the use of inhibitors, that store-operated Ca2+ entry (SOCE) also appears to be essential for maintaining the IP3R-mediated elevated levels of [Ca2+]i for the extended periods required for the completion of successful furrow deepening and daughter cell apposition in these large embryonic cells. Here, newly fertilized, dechorionated embryos were fixed at various times during the first and second cell division cycles and immunolabelled with antibodies to STIM1 and/or Orai1 (key components of SOCE). We show that both of these proteins have a dynamic pattern of localization during cytokinesis of the first two cell division cycles. These new data help to support our previous inhibitor results, and provide additional evidence that SOCE contributes to the maintenance of the sustained elevated Ca2+ that is required for the successful completion of cytokinesis in the large cells of embryonic zebrafish.
People with a history of self-harm are at a far greater risk of suicide than the general population. However, the relationship between self-harm and suicide is complex.
To undertake the first systematic review and meta-analysis of prospective studies of risk factors and risk assessment scales to predict suicide following self-harm.
We conducted a search for prospective cohort studies of populations who had self-harmed. For the review of risk scales we also included studies examining the risk of suicide in people under specialist mental healthcare, in order to broaden the scope of the review and increase the number of studies considered. Differences in predictive accuracy between populations were examined where applicable.
Twelve studies on risk factors and 7 studies on risk scales were included. Four risk factors emerged from the metaanalysis, with robust effect sizes that showed little change when adjusted for important potential confounders. These included: previous episodes of self-harm (hazard ratio (HR) = 1.68, 95% CI 1.38–2.05, K = 4), suicidal intent (HR = 2.7, 95% CI 1.91–3.81, K = 3), physical health problems (HR = 1.99, 95% CI 1.16–3.43, K = 3) and male gender (HR = 2.05, 95% CI 1.70–2.46, K = 5). The included studies evaluated only three risk scales (Beck Hopelessness Scale (BHS), Suicide Intent Scale (SIS) and Scale for Suicide Ideation). Where meta-analyses were possible (BHS, SIS), the analysis was based on sparse data and a high heterogeneity was observed. The positive predictive values ranged from 1.3 to 16.7%.
The four risk factors that emerged, although of interest, are unlikely to be of much practical use because they are comparatively common in clinical populations. No scales have sufficient evidence to support their use. The use of these scales, or an over-reliance on the identification of risk factors in clinical practice, may provide false reassurance and is, therefore, potentially dangerous. Comprehensive psychosocial assessments of the risks and needs that are specific to the individual should be central to the management of people who have self-harmed.
With increasing urbanization and environmental degradation, urban landscapes are increasingly expected to provide a wide range of ecosystem services typically associated with rural areas, including biodiversity conservation and food production. Because residential landscapes constitute the largest single urban land use, domestic gardens have emerged as a topic of research interest and planning concern. The ecosystem services (or disservices) these landscapes provide, however, have not been rigorously measured, nor have tradeoffs between the services they provide been assessed. In this study, semi-structured interviews were conducted with 59 African American, Chinese-origin or Mexican-origin households with on-lot or vacant lot food gardens in Chicago. Crop plants and cultivated ornamental plants on the lot were inventoried and mapped at the species level. A total of 123 edible plant taxa from 25 families and 288 ornamental plant species from 85 families were identified, for a combined total of 387 species from 90 families. Cumulatively, the gardens of African American households were relatively rich in ornamental plant species and families, while those of Chinese-origin households had a depauperate flora. Crop plant richness was more even across sample types. Shade trees and a developed shrub layer were absent from most gardens, possibly representing a tradeoff in ecosystem services in favor of food production. The richness of the aggregate 2.1 ha of residential property inventoried in this study was comparable with or exceeded that of a 34 ha prairie remnant west of Chicago. However, only 35 (9.6%) of the inventoried species were native to the Chicago area.
The discovery of Neolithic houses at Durrington Walls that are contemporary with the main construction phase of Stonehenge raised questions as to their interrelationship. Was Durrington Walls the residence of the builders of Stonehenge? Were the activities there more significant than simply domestic subsistence? Using lipid residue analysis, this paper identifies the preferential use of certain pottery types for the preparation of particular food groups and differential consumption of dairy and meat products between monumental and domestic areas of the site. Supported by the analysis of faunal remains, the results suggest seasonal feasting and perhaps organised culinary unification of a diverse community.
Part B of the Trail Making Test (TMT-B) is one of the most widely used neuropsychological tests of “executive” function. A commonly held assumption is that the TMT-B can be used to detect frontal executive dysfunction. However, so far, research evidence has been limited and somewhat inconclusive. In this retrospective study, performance on the TMT-B of 55 patients with known focal frontal lesions, 27 patients with focal non-frontal lesions and 70 healthy controls was compared. Completion time and the number of errors made were examined. Patients with frontal and non-frontal lesions performed significantly worse than healthy controls for both completion time and the number of errors. However, there was no significant difference for both completion time and the number of errors when patients with frontal and non-frontal lesions were compared. Performance was also not significantly different between patients with focal lesions within different regions of the frontal lobe (orbital, left lateral, right lateral, medial). Our findings suggest that the TMT-B is a robust test for detection of brain dysfunction. However, its capacity for detecting frontal executive dysfunction appears rather limited. Clinicians should be cautious when drawing conclusions from performance on the TMT-B alone. (JINS, 2015, 21, 169–174)
The high fat content in Western diets probably affects placental function during pregnancy with potential consequences for the offspring in the short and long term. The aim of the present study was to compare genome-wide placental gene expression between rat dams fed a high-fat diet (HFD) and those fed a control diet for 3 weeks before conception and during gestation. Gene expression was measured by microarray and pathway analysis was performed. Gene expression differences were replicated by real-time PCR and protein expression was assessed by Western blot analysis. Placental and fetal weights at E17.25 were not altered by exposure to the maternal HFD. Gene pathways targeting placental growth, blood supply and chemokine signalling were up-regulated in the placentae of dams fed the HFD. The up-regulation in messenger RNA expression for five genes Ptgs2 (fatty acid cyclo-oxidase 2; COX2), Limk1 (LIM domain kinase 1), Pla2g2a (phospholipase A2), Itga1 (integrin α-1) and Serpine1 was confirmed by real-time PCR. Placental protein expression for COX2 and LIMK was also increased in HFD-fed dams. In conclusion, maternal HFD feeding alters placental gene expression patterns of placental growth and blood supply and specifically increases the expression of genes involved in arachidonic acid and PG metabolism. These changes indicate a placental response to the altered maternal metabolic environment.
During the night of February 27 and the early morning of February 28, 2010, 15 coastal municipalities situated in two French departments, Vendée and Charente-Maritime, were violently stricken by a severe windstorm named “Xynthia.” This storm caused the death of 12 individuals in Charente-Maritime and 29 people in Vendée. Houses, agricultural fields, and shellfish companies were severely flooded with seawater. Several thousand people temporarily had to leave their homes. The objective of this study was to estimate the short-term mental health impact of Xynthia, in terms of psychotropic drug delivery, on the resident population of the 15 coastal municipalities severely hit by the flooding.
The French national health insurance database was used to calculate a daily number of new psychotropic treatments from September 1, 2008 through December 24, 2010. New treatments were calculated for each of the following European Pharmaceutical Marketing Research Association (EphMRA) classes: tranquilizers (N05C), hypnotics (N05B), and antidepressants (N06A). A period of three weeks following the storm was defined as the exposure period. A generalized additive model with a Poisson distribution that allows for over-dispersion was used to analyze the correlation between the Xynthia variable and the number of new psychotropic treatments.
With a relative risk (RR) of 1.54 (95% CI, 1.39-1.62) corresponding to an estimate of 409 new deliveries of psychotropic drugs during the three weeks following the storm, this study confirms the importance of the psychological impact of Xynthia. This impact is seen on all three classes of psychotropic drugs studied. The impact is greater for tranquilizers (RR of 1.78; 95% CI, 1.59-1.89) than for hypnotics (RR of 1.53; 95% CI, 1.31-1.67) and antidepressants (RR of 1.26; 95% CI, 1.06-1.40). The RR was higher for females than for males.
This study shows the importance of the psychological impact of the storm as observed clinically by health workers who intervened in the field during the aftermath of Xynthia. It confirms that administrative databases can be used to show a health impact of a disaster even at a local level. This is one more step in the direction of a comprehensive strategy of collecting information to allow the assessment of the health impact of an extreme event, the detection of vulnerable populations, and the orientation of the short-, mid- and long-term public health response.
MotreffY, PirardP, GoriaS, LabradorB, Gourier-FréryC, NicolauJ, Le TertreA, Chan-CheeC. Increase in Psychotropic Drug Deliveries after the Xynthia Storm, France, 2010. Prehosp Disaster Med. 2013;28(5):1-6.
The large and optically clear embryos of the zebrafish provide an excellent model system in which to study the dynamic assembly of the essential contractile band components, actin and myosin, via double fluorescent labelling in combination with confocal microscopy. We report the rapid appearance (i.e. within <2 min) of a restricted arc of F-actin patches along the prospective furrow plane in a central, apical region of the blastodisc cortex. These patches then fused with each other end-to-end forming multiple actin cables, which were subsequently bundled together forming an F-actin band. During this initial assembly phase, the F-actin-based structure did not elongate laterally, but was still restricted to an arc extending ~15° either side of the blastodisc apex. This initial assembly phase was then followed by an extension phase, where additional F-actin patches were added to each end of the original arc, thus extending it out to the edges of the blastodisc. The dynamics of phosphorylated myosin light chain 2 (MLC2) recruitment to this F-actin scaffold also reflect the two-phase nature of the contractile apparatus assembly. MLC2 was not associated with the initial F-actin arc, but MLC2 clusters were recruited and assembled into the extending ends of the band. We propose that the MLC2-free central region of the contractile apparatus acts to position and then extend the cleavage furrow in the correct plane, while the actomyosin ends alone generate the force required for furrow ingression. This biphasic assembly strategy may be required to successfully divide the early cells of large embryos.
Animals, in the age of biotechnology, are the subjects of a myriad of scientific procedures, interventions, and modifications. They are created, altered, and experimented upon—often with highly beneficial outcomes for humans in terms of knowledge gained and applied, yet not without concern also for the effects upon the experimental subjects themselves: consideration of the use of animals in research remains an intensely debated topic. Concerns for animal welfare in scientific research have, however, been primarily directed at harm to and suffering of animal subjects and their prevention. Little attention has been paid to the benefits research might potentially produce for animals themselves and the interests that some animals may therefore have in the furtherance of particular avenues of science.