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Schizophrenia is an aetiologically complex disorder associated with significant familial risk. It is marked also by reductions in whole brain, grey and possibly white matter volumes. How these pathological abnormalities are influenced by schizophrenia's genetic and environmental risk remains uncertain.
We investigated the relationship between familial and environmental risk on brain volume in twin pairs varying in their zygosity and concordance for schizophrenia, and healthy control twins, using a variety of complementary imaging strategies. These included region of interest and automated tissue segmentation volumes and voxel based morphometry.
We found that whole brain, grey, white, frontal and right hippocampal volumes were smaller in probands with schizophrenia compared to healthy controls. Well co-twins from MZ discordant pairs showed a trend towards lower white matter volume compared to the healthy controls. Well co-twins from DZ discordant pairs had smaller hippocampal volumes compared to the healthy controls. The patients with schizophrenia and their well co-twins from MZ discordant pairs differed in the superior frontal cortex using both region of interest and VBM techniques. Lower birth weight and hypoxia were both associated with lower whole brain volumes, and with lower white and grey matter volumes respectively.
Our data suggest that total brain and grey matter volume reductions in schizophrenia, possibly focused in part in the frontal cortex, are related primarily to unique environmental factors, including perinatal complications. The white matter and local hippocampal volume reductions suggest an additional vulnerability to genetic risk effects.
Childhood maltreatment (CM) plays an important role in the development of major depressive disorder (MDD). The aim of this study was to examine whether CM severity and type are associated with MDD-related brain alterations, and how they interact with sex and age.
Within the ENIGMA-MDD network, severity and subtypes of CM using the Childhood Trauma Questionnaire were assessed and structural magnetic resonance imaging data from patients with MDD and healthy controls were analyzed in a mega-analysis comprising a total of 3872 participants aged between 13 and 89 years. Cortical thickness and surface area were extracted at each site using FreeSurfer.
CM severity was associated with reduced cortical thickness in the banks of the superior temporal sulcus and supramarginal gyrus as well as with reduced surface area of the middle temporal lobe. Participants reporting both childhood neglect and abuse had a lower cortical thickness in the inferior parietal lobe, middle temporal lobe, and precuneus compared to participants not exposed to CM. In males only, regardless of diagnosis, CM severity was associated with higher cortical thickness of the rostral anterior cingulate cortex. Finally, a significant interaction between CM and age in predicting thickness was seen across several prefrontal, temporal, and temporo-parietal regions.
Severity and type of CM may impact cortical thickness and surface area. Importantly, CM may influence age-dependent brain maturation, particularly in regions related to the default mode network, perception, and theory of mind.
Research was conducted from 2011 to 2014 to determine weed population
dynamics and frequency of glyphosate-resistant (GR) Palmer amaranth with
herbicide programs consisting of glyphosate, dicamba, and residual
herbicides in dicamba-tolerant cotton. Five treatments were maintained in
the same plots over the duration of the experiment: three sequential POST
applications of glyphosate with or without pendimethalin plus diuron PRE;
three sequential POST applications of glyphosate plus dicamba with and
without the PRE herbicides; and a POST application of glyphosate plus
dicamba plus acetochlor followed by one or two POST applications of
glyphosate plus dicamba without PRE herbicides. Additional treatments
included alternating years with three sequential POST applications of
glyphosate only and glyphosate plus dicamba POST with and without PRE
herbicides. The greatest population of Palmer amaranth was observed when
glyphosate was the only POST herbicide throughout the experiment. Although
diuron plus pendimethalin PRE in a program with only glyphosate POST
improved control during the first 2 yr, these herbicides were ineffective by
the final 2 yr on the basis of weed counts from soil cores. The lowest
population of Palmer amaranth was observed when glyphosate plus dicamba were
applied regardless of PRE herbicides or inclusion of acetochlor POST.
Frequency of GR Palmer amaranth was 8% or less when the experiment was
initiated. Frequency of GR Palmer amaranth varied by herbicide program
during 2012 but was similar among all herbicide programs in 2013 and 2014.
Similar frequency of GR Palmer amaranth across all treatments at the end of
the experiment most likely resulted from pollen movement from Palmer
amaranth treated with glyphosate only to any surviving female plants
regardless of PRE or POST treatment. These data suggest that GR Palmer
amaranth can be controlled by dicamba and that dicamba is an effective
alternative mode of action to glyphosate in fields where GR Palmer amaranth
National efforts to reduce low birth weight (LBW) and child malnutrition and mortality prioritise economic growth. However, this may be ineffective, while rising gross domestic product (GDP) also imposes health costs, such as obesity and non-communicable disease. There is a need to identify other potential routes for improving child health. We investigated associations of the Gender Inequality Index (GII), a national marker of women's disadvantages in reproductive health, empowerment and labour market participation, with the prevalence of LBW, child malnutrition (stunting and wasting) and mortality under 5 years in 96 countries, adjusting for national GDP. The GII displaced GDP as a predictor of LBW, explaining 36% of the variance. Independent of GDP, the GII explained 10% of the variance in wasting and stunting and 41% of the variance in child mortality. Simulations indicated that reducing GII could lead to major reductions in LBW, child malnutrition and mortality in low- and middle-income countries. Independent of national wealth, reducing women's disempowerment relative to men may reduce LBW and promote child nutritional status and survival. Longitudinal studies are now needed to evaluate the impact of efforts to reduce societal gender inequality.
DUSTPol is a dual-beam polarimeter that operates in optical wavelengths, and was built to promote the study of linear polarimetry with smaller telescopes. DUSTPol's performance has demonstrated low instrumental polarization at 0.05 ± 0.02%. This poster presents commissioning results as well as early science observations, and describes software used for data reduction. Recent polarimetric results of RS CVn systems and Wolf-Rayet stars, discussed herein, indicate shape and interaction parameters. By promoting the development of similar polarimeters at other institutions, DUSTPol will serve to establish new collaborative surveys of cool active stars, as well as systems showing evidence of containing complex stellar environments.
The WAIS (West Antarctic Ice Sheet) Divide deep ice core was recently completed to a total depth of 3405 m, ending 50 m above the bed. Investigation of the visual stratigraphy and grain characteristics indicates that the ice column at the drilling location is undisturbed by any large-scale overturning or discontinuity. The climate record developed from this core is therefore likely to be continuous and robust. Measured grain-growth rates, recrystallization characteristics, and grain-size response at climate transitions fit within current understanding. Significant impurity control on grain size is indicated from correlation analysis between impurity loading and grain size. Bubble-number densities and bubble sizes and shapes are presented through the full extent of the bubbly ice. Where bubble elongation is observed, the direction of elongation is preferentially parallel to the trace of the basal (0001) plane. Preferred crystallographic orientation of grains is present in the shallowest samples measured, and increases with depth, progressing to a vertical-girdle pattern that tightens to a vertical single-maximum fabric. This single-maximum fabric switches into multiple maxima as the grain size increases rapidly in the deepest, warmest ice. A strong dependence of the fabric on the impurity-mediated grain size is apparent in the deepest samples.
The quantity of methane in Mars' atmosphere, and the potential mechanism(s) responsible for its production, are still unknown. In order to test viable, abiotic, methangenic processes, we experimentally investigated two possible impact mechanisms for generating methane. In the first suite of experiments, basaltic rocks were impacted at 5 km s−1 and the quantity of gases (CH4, H2, He, N2, O2, Ar and CO2) released by the impacts was measured. In the second suite of experiments, a mixture of water ice, CO2 ice and anhydrous olivine grains was impacted to see if the shock induced rapid serpentinization of the olivine, and thus production of methane. The results of both suites of experiments demonstrate that impacts (at scales achievable in the laboratory) do not give rise to detectably enhanced quantities of methane release above background levels. Supporting hydrocode modelling was also performed to gain insight into the pressures and temperatures occurring during the impact events.
A ‘pulsar timing array’ (PTA), in which observations of a large sample of pulsars spread across the celestial sphere are combined, allows investigation of ‘global’ phenomena such as a background of gravitational waves or instabilities in atomic timescales that produce correlated timing residuals in the pulsars of the array. The Parkes Pulsar Timing Array (PPTA) is an implementation of the PTA concept based on observations with the Parkes 64-m radio telescope. A sample of 20 ms pulsars is being observed at three radio-frequency bands, 50 cm (~700 MHz), 20 cm (~1400 MHz), and 10 cm (~3100 MHz), with observations at intervals of two to three weeks. Regular observations commenced in early 2005. This paper describes the systems used for the PPTA observations and data processing, including calibration and timing analysis. The strategy behind the choice of pulsars, observing parameters, and analysis methods is discussed. Results are presented for PPTA data in the three bands taken between 2005 March and 2011 March. For 10 of the 20 pulsars, rms timing residuals are less than 1 μs for the best band after fitting for pulse frequency and its first time derivative. Significant ‘red’ timing noise is detected in about half of the sample. We discuss the implications of these results on future projects including the International Pulsar Timing Array and a PTA based on the Square Kilometre Array. We also present an ‘extended PPTA’ data set that combines PPTA data with earlier Parkes timing data for these pulsars.
Interferon-alpha (IFN-α) treatment for infectious disease and cancer causes high rates of depression and fatigue, and has been used to investigate the impact of inflammatory cytokines on brain and behavior. However, little is known about the transcriptional impact of chronic IFN-α on immune cells in vivo and its relationship to IFN-α-induced behavioral changes.
Genome-wide transcriptional profiling was performed on peripheral blood mononuclear cells (PBMCs) from 21 patients with chronic hepatitis C virus (HCV) either awaiting IFN-α therapy (n=10) or at 12 weeks of IFN-α treatment (n=11).
Significance analysis of microarray data identified 252 up-regulated and 116 down-regulated gene transcripts. Of the up-regulated genes, 2′-5′-oligoadenylate synthetase 2 (OAS2), a gene linked to chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS), was the only gene that was differentially expressed in patients with IFN-α-induced depression/fatigue, and correlated with depression and fatigue scores at 12 weeks (r=0.80, p=0.003 and r=0.70, p=0.017 respectively). Promoter-based bioinformatic analyses linked IFN-α-related transcriptional alterations to transcription factors involved in myeloid differentiation, IFN-α signaling, activator protein-1 (AP1) and cAMP responsive element binding protein/activation transcription factor (CREB/ATF) pathways, which were derived primarily from monocytes and plasmacytoid dendritic cells. IFN-α-treated patients with high depression/fatigue scores demonstrated up-regulation of genes bearing promoter motifs for transcription factors involved in myeloid differentiation, IFN-α and AP1 signaling, and reduced prevalence of motifs for CREB/ATF, which has been implicated in major depression.
Depression and fatigue during chronic IFN-α administration were associated with alterations in the expression (OAS2) and transcriptional control (CREB/ATF) of genes linked to behavioral disorders including CFS and major depression, further supporting an immune contribution to these diseases.
We report on novel liquid crystals with extremely large flexoelectric coefficients in a range of ultra-fast photonic modes, namely 1) the uniform lying helix, that leads to in-plain switching, birefringence phase devices with 100 μs switching times at low fields, i.e.2-5 V/μm, and analogue or grey scale capability, 2) the uniform standing helix, using planar surface alignment and in-plane fields, with sub ms response times and optical contrasts in excess of 5000:1 with a perfect optically isotropic or black “off state”, 3) the wide temperature range blue phase that leads to field controlled reflective color, 4) chiral nematic optical reflectors electric field tunable over a wide wavelength range and 5) high slope efficiency, wide wavelength range tunable narrow linewidth microscopic liquid crystal lasers.
We briefly summarise our ongoing efforts to evaluate the success of cometary particle capture by NASA's Stardust mission. We demonstrate the use of a variety of analysis techniques to investigate the state of preservation in laboratory analogues of the Stardust encounter at 6.1 km s-1, using well characterised projectiles and flight grade foils and aerogel.
A one-year field-study has been carried out in a diarrhoea-endemic area in West Africa to determine the relationship between the bacteriostatic activity of fresh human milk for Escherichia coli in vitro and freedom from diarrhoea of the infant recipients of the milk. The specific contribution of E. coli gastroenteritis to gastrointestinal diseases of infants in general is not known, nor is its particular role in the Gambian infants studied. During the study period, however, both enteropathogenic and toxigenic strains of E. coli were isolated.
The incidence of diarrhoea in Gambian infants of seven age-groups from 2 days to 12 months was not significantly correlated with the bacteriostatic activity of milk. This was due rather to absence of diarrhoea in babies fed on low-activity milk than illness in those receiving highly bacteriostatic milk. Indeed, very active milk appeared to protect recipients almost completely, including seven babies of over 3 months of age, five of them during the rainy season, when the risk was high. Babies receiving lower-activity milk experienced more diarrhoea. In a situation where diarrhoeal disease is multifactorial, field evaluation of the protective action by one antibacterial property of milk is difficult. A better understanding of in vivo protection is important, and the factors which have to be taken into account are discussed.
Eight carriers of intestinal pathogens (5 Salm. typhi-murium, 2 Sh. sonnei, 1 E. coli 026) were given their own coliforms, rendered drug-resistant in vitro to neomycin or paromomycin, together with one of these drugs. In seven cases, the drug-resistant coliform flora established itself, while the natural coliform flora and the pathogen were suppressed. In four cases only (2 Sh. sonnei, 2 Salm. typhi-murium) the pathogen was eliminated in the course of this procedure.
We introduce the SMC in space and time, a large coordinated space and ground-based program to study star formation processes and history, as well as variable stars, structure, kinematics and chemical evolution of the whole SMC. Here, we present the Colour-Magnitude Diagrams (CMDs) resulting from HST/ACS photometry, aimed at deriving the star formation history (SFH) in six fields of the SMC. The fields are located in the central regions, in the stellar halo, and in the wing toward the LMC. The CMDs are very deep, well beyond the oldest Main Sequence Turn-Off, and will allow us to derive the SFH over the entire Hubble time.