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Our understanding of the complex relationship between schizophrenia symptomatology and etiological factors can be improved by studying brain-based correlates of schizophrenia. Research showed that impairments in value processing and executive functioning, which have been associated with prefrontal brain areas [particularly the medial orbitofrontal cortex (MOFC)], are linked to negative symptoms. Here we tested the hypothesis that MOFC thickness is associated with negative symptom severity.
This study included 1985 individuals with schizophrenia from 17 research groups around the world contributing to the ENIGMA Schizophrenia Working Group. Cortical thickness values were obtained from T1-weighted structural brain scans using FreeSurfer. A meta-analysis across sites was conducted over effect sizes from a model predicting cortical thickness by negative symptom score (harmonized Scale for the Assessment of Negative Symptoms or Positive and Negative Syndrome Scale scores).
Meta-analytical results showed that left, but not right, MOFC thickness was significantly associated with negative symptom severity (βstd = −0.075; p = 0.019) after accounting for age, gender, and site. This effect remained significant (p = 0.036) in a model including overall illness severity. Covarying for duration of illness, age of onset, antipsychotic medication or handedness weakened the association of negative symptoms with left MOFC thickness. As part of a secondary analysis including 10 other prefrontal regions further associations in the left lateral orbitofrontal gyrus and pars opercularis emerged.
Using an unusually large cohort and a meta-analytical approach, our findings point towards a link between prefrontal thinning and negative symptom severity in schizophrenia. This finding provides further insight into the relationship between structural brain abnormalities and negative symptoms in schizophrenia.
The biological mechanisms underlying psychiatric diagnoses are not well defined. Clinical diagnosis based on categorical systems exhibit high levels of heterogeneity and co-morbidity. The Research Domain Criteria (RDoC) attempts to reconceptualize psychiatric disorders into transdiagnostic functional dimensional constructs based on neurobiological measures and observable behaviour. By understanding the underlying neurobiology and pathophysiology of the relevant processes, the RDoC aims to advance biomarker development for disease prediction and treatment response. This important evolving dimensional framework must also consider environmental factors. Emerging evidence suggests that gut microbes (microbiome) play a physiological role in brain diseases by modulating neuroimmune, neuroendocrine and neural signalling pathways between the gut and the brain. The integration of the gut microbiome signature as an additional dimensional component of the RDoC may enhance precision psychiatry.
Gram-negative bacilli frequently cause epidemics in high-risk newborn intensive care units. Recently, an epidemic caused by a multiply-resistant K. pneumoniae, serotype 21, occurred in the Vanderbilt University intensive care nursery. The background of this outbreak included an increasing endemic nosocomial sepsis rate, operation of the facility in excess of rated capacity, and increasingly inadequate nurse-to-patient staffing ratios. The epidemic lasted 11 weeks; 26 (12%) of the 232 infants at risk in the unit became colonized. Five infants developed systemic illness and one died. Cohorting, reinforcement of strict handwashing and isolation procedures, and closure of the unit to outborn admissions resulted in rapid termination of the outbreak. Followup studies performed on infants colonized with the epidemic bacterium demonstrated persistent fecal shedding up to 13 months following discharge from the hospital. This epidemic had a detrimental influence on high-risk newborn and obstetric health care delivery in an area encompassing portions of three states. Under a system of progressively more sophisticated referral units, nosocomial infections occurring at a tertiary center can have an impact on other hospitals within the network.
Mental disorder is common among individuals with neurological illness. We aimed to characterise the patient population referred for psychiatry assessment at a tertiary neurology service in terms of neurological and psychiatric diagnoses and interventions provided.
We studied all individuals referred for psychiatry assessment at a tertiary neurology service over a 2-year period (n= 82).
The most common neurological diagnoses among those referred were epilepsy (16%), Parkinson’s disease (15%) and multiple sclerosis (8%). The most common reasons for psychiatric assessment were low mood or anxiety (48%) and medically unexplained symptoms or apparent functional or psychogenic disease (21%). The most common diagnoses among those with mental disorder were mood disorders (62%), and neurotic, stress-related and somatoform disorders, including dissociative (conversion) disorders (28%). Psychiatric diagnosis was not related to gender, neurological diagnosis or psychiatric history.
Individuals with neurological illness demonstrate significant symptoms of a range of mental disorders. There is a need for further research into the characteristics and distribution of mental disorder in individuals with neurological illness, and for the enhancement of integrated psychiatric and neurological services to address the comorbidities demonstrated in this population.
Lutein and zeaxanthin are xanthophyll carotenoids present in highly pigmented vegetables and fruits. Lutein is selectively accumulated in the brain relative to other carotenoids. Recent evidence has linked lutein to cognition in older adults, but little is known about lutein in young children, despite structural brain development. We determined lutein intake using FFQ, one 24 h recall and three 24 h recalls, plasma lutein concentrations and their association with cognition in 160 children 5·6–5·9 years of age, at low risk for neurodevelopmental delay. Plasma lutein was skewed, with a median of 0·23 (2·5th to 95th percentile range 0·11–0·53) µmol/l. Plasma lutein showed a higher correlation with lutein intake estimated as the average of three 24 h recalls (r 0·479; P = 0·001), rather than one 24 h recall (r 0·242; P = 0·003) or FFQ (r 0·316; P = 0·001). The median lutein intake was 697 (2·5th to 95th percentile range 178–5287) µg/d based on three 24 h recalls. Lutein intake was inversely associated with SFA intake, but dietary fat or SFA intakes were not associated with plasma lutein. No associations were found between plasma lutein or lutein intake and any measure of cognition. While subtle independent effects of lutein on child cognition are possible, separating these effects from covariates making an impact on both child diet and cognition may be difficult.
The Parkes pulsar data archive currently provides access to 144044 data files obtained from observations carried out at the Parkes observatory since the year 1991. Around 105 files are from surveys of the sky, the remainder are observations of 775 individual pulsars and their corresponding calibration signals. Survey observations are included from the Parkes 70 cm and the Swinburne Intermediate Latitude surveys. Individual pulsar observations are included from young pulsar timing projects, the Parkes Pulsar Timing Array and from the PULSE@Parkes outreach program. The data files and access methods are compatible with Virtual Observatory protocols. This paper describes the data currently stored in the archive and presents ways in which these data can be searched and downloaded.
Luminescence of nanocrystalline ZnSe:Mn2+ and ZnSe:Cu2+ prepared via an organic chemical synthesis method are described. The spectra show distinct ZnSe, Mn2+ and Cu2+ related emissions, all of which are excited via the host lattice. The Mn2+ emission wavelength depends on the concentration of Mn2+incorporated into the ZnSe lattice, which is attributed to the presence of Mn2+ pair-states at higher concentrations. The ZnSe:Cu2+ luminescence was studied as a function of the crystal-size. Temperature-dependent photoluminescence spectra and photoluminescence lifetime measurements are also presented and the results are compared to those of Mn2+ and Cu2+ in bulk ZnSe.
Implantation of Si+ ions into thermal oxides grown on silicon has been used to synthesise a two phase structure consisting of Si nanocrystals in a SiO2 matrix. Various processing conditions have been used in order to modify the size and population distributions of the Si inclusions. Photoluminescence spectra have been recorded from samples annealed in nitrogen, forming gas and oxygen. Both red and blue shifts of the luminescence peaks have been observed. It is concluded that the photoluminescence is a consequence of the effects of quantum confinement but is also dependent on the presence of irradiation-induced defects or Si/SiO2 interface states.
Reactive ion etching (RIE) of p-type 2-3 †cm resistivity silicon (100) was characterised using Photoreflectance (PR), Rutherford Backscattering Spectrometry (RBS) and Spectroscopic Ellipsometry (SE). Isochronal (5 minutes) etching was performed at various DC etch biases (0-500V) using a SiCl4 etch chemistry. The substrate etch rate dependence on applied bias was determined using mechanical profilometry. A distinct shift in the A3–A1 Si transition and significant spectral broadening of the room temperature PR spectra was observed as a function of etch bias. Photoreflectance results are correlated with RBS, SE and etch rate analysis. It is demonstrated that the PR spectra reflect a complex, competitive, plasma-surface interaction during the RIE process.