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Abnormal effort-based decision-making represents a potential mechanism underlying motivational deficits (amotivation) in psychotic disorders. Previous research identified effort allocation impairment in chronic schizophrenia and focused mostly on physical effort modality. No study has investigated cognitive effort allocation in first-episode psychosis (FEP).
Cognitive effort allocation was examined in 40 FEP patients and 44 demographically-matched healthy controls, using Cognitive Effort-Discounting (COGED) paradigm which quantified participants’ willingness to expend cognitive effort in terms of explicit, continuous discounting of monetary rewards based on parametrically-varied cognitive demands (levels N of N-back task). Relationship between reward-discounting and amotivation was investigated. Group differences in reward-magnitude and effort-cost sensitivity, and differential associations of these sensitivity indices with amotivation were explored.
Patients displayed significantly greater reward-discounting than controls. In particular, such discounting was most pronounced in patients with high levels of amotivation even when N-back performance and reward base amount were taken into consideration. Moreover, patients exhibited reduced reward-benefit sensitivity and effort-cost sensitivity relative to controls, and that decreased sensitivity to reward-benefit but not effort-cost was correlated with diminished motivation. Reward-discounting and sensitivity indices were generally unrelated to other symptom dimensions, antipsychotic dose and cognitive deficits.
This study provides the first evidence of cognitive effort-based decision-making impairment in FEP, and indicates that decreased effort expenditure is associated with amotivation. Our findings further suggest that abnormal effort allocation and amotivation might primarily be related to blunted reward valuation. Prospective research is required to clarify the utility of effort-based measures in predicting amotivation and functional outcome in FEP.
Pneumococcal serotype replacement is an important issue after the introduction of pneumococcal conjugate vaccine (PCV) in children. After the introduction of 13-valent PCV, the incidence of invasive pneumococcal diseases (IPD) caused by Streptococcus pneumoniae serotype 12F (Sp12F) have increased in some countries; however, an outbreak of Sp12F has not reported in the post-13-valent PCV era. We experienced a local outbreak of Sp12F during March through May 2016 in Tsuruoka city, Japan after the introduction of 13-valent PCV in 2013. The IPD patients were two children and seven adults, three of whom died with a rapid disease progress. Although the clear transmission route was not determined, eight of the nine patients (89%) had close contact with children, which suggests that transmitted colonisation of Sp12F among children and adults might be the source of transmission. Continuous monitoring of IPDs, along with the determination of pneumococcal serotypes, is warranted in the post–13-valent PCV era. New IPD control strategies may be needed if this fatal outbreak continues to occur.
The discovery of the first electromagnetic counterpart to a gravitational wave signal has generated follow-up observations by over 50 facilities world-wide, ushering in the new era of multi-messenger astronomy. In this paper, we present follow-up observations of the gravitational wave event GW170817 and its electromagnetic counterpart SSS17a/DLT17ck (IAU label AT2017gfo) by 14 Australian telescopes and partner observatories as part of Australian-based and Australian-led research programs. We report early- to late-time multi-wavelength observations, including optical imaging and spectroscopy, mid-infrared imaging, radio imaging, and searches for fast radio bursts. Our optical spectra reveal that the transient source emission cooled from approximately 6 400 K to 2 100 K over a 7-d period and produced no significant optical emission lines. The spectral profiles, cooling rate, and photometric light curves are consistent with the expected outburst and subsequent processes of a binary neutron star merger. Star formation in the host galaxy probably ceased at least a Gyr ago, although there is evidence for a galaxy merger. Binary pulsars with short (100 Myr) decay times are therefore unlikely progenitors, but pulsars like PSR B1534+12 with its 2.7 Gyr coalescence time could produce such a merger. The displacement (~2.2 kpc) of the binary star system from the centre of the main galaxy is not unusual for stars in the host galaxy or stars originating in the merging galaxy, and therefore any constraints on the kick velocity imparted to the progenitor are poor.
To systematically search for studies reporting outcomes for adenoidectomy alone as a treatment for paediatric obstructive sleep apnoea and use the data to perform a meta-analysis.
Nine databases, including PubMed and Medline, were systematically searched through to 1 April 2016. The Preferred Reporting Items for Systematic Reviews and Meta-Analyses statement was followed.
A total of 1032 articles were screened and 126 full texts were reviewed. Three paediatric studies (47 patients) reported outcomes. Overall, apnoea–hypopnoea index values decreased from 18.1 ± 16.8 to 3.1 ± 5.5 events per hour (28 patients). Random-effects modelling demonstrated a mean difference of −14.43 events per hour (I2 = 23 per cent (low inconsistency)). The apnoea–hypopnoea index standardised mean difference was −1.14 (large magnitude of effect). The largest reduction in apnoea–hypopnoea index was observed in children aged less than 12 months (reduction of 56.6−94.9 per cent). Lowest oxygen saturation values improved from 80.0 ± 9.5 to 85.5 ± 6.0 per cent (13 children).
Adenoidectomy alone has improved obstructive sleep apnoea in children, especially in those aged less than 12 months; however, given the low number of studies, isolated adenoidectomy remains an area for additional research.
A nationwide population-based cohort was used to examine the severity of liver cirrhosis and risk of mortality from oral cancer.
The cohort consisted of 3583 patients with oral cancer treated by surgery between 2008 and 2011 in Taiwan. They were grouped on the basis of normal liver function (n = 3471), cirrhosis without decompensation (n = 72) and cirrhosis with decompensation (n = 40). The primary endpoint was mortality. Hazard ratios of death were also determined.
The mortality rates in the respective groups were 14.8 per cent, 20.8 per cent and 37.5 per cent at one year (p < 0.001). The adjusted hazard ratios of death at one year for each group compared to the normal group were 2.01 (p = 0.021) for cirrhotic patients without decompensation, 4.84 (p < 0.001) for those with decompensation and 2.65 (p < 0.001) for those receiving chemotherapy.
Liver cirrhosis can be used to predict one-year mortality in oral cancer patients. Chemotherapy should be used with caution and underlying co-morbidities should be managed in cirrhotic patients to reduce mortality risk.
In the present paper, the problem on normal low-velocity impact of a solid upon an isotropic spherical shell is studied without considering the changes in the geometrical dimensions of the contact domain. At the moment of impact, shock waves (surfaces of strong discontinuity) are generated in the target, which then propagate along the shell during the process of impact. Behind the wave fronts up to the boundary of the contact domain, the solution is constructed with the help of the theory of discontinuities and one-term ray expansions. The ray method is used outside the contact spot, but the Laplace transform method is applied within the contact region. As a result, the exact solution of the contact force is determined as a function of time. This model is intended to be used in simulating crash scenarios in frontal impacts, and to provide an effective tool to estimate the severity of effect on the human head and to estimate brain injury risks.
With the proportion of older adults in Hong Kong projected to double in size in the next 30 years, it is important to develop measures for detecting individuals in the earliest stage of Alzheimer's disease (AD, 0.5 in Clinical Dementia Rating, CDR). We tested the utility of a non-verbal prospective memory task (PM, ability to remember what one has to do when a specific event occurs in the future) as an early marker for AD in Hong Kong Chinese.
A large community dwelling sample of older adults who are healthy controls (CDR 0, N = 125), in the earliest stage of AD (CDR 0.5, N = 125), or with mild AD (CDR 1, N = 30) participated in this study. Their reaction time/accuracy data were analyzed by mixed-factor analyses of variance to compare the performance of the three CDR groups. Logistic regression analyses were performed to test the discriminative power of these measures for CDR 0 versus 0.5 participants.
Prospective memory performance declined as a function of AD severity: CDR 0 > CDR 0.5 > CDR 1, suggesting the effects of early-stage AD and AD progression on PM. After partialling out the variance explained by psychometric measures (e.g., ADAS-Cog), reaction time/accuracy measures that reflected the PM still significantly discriminated between CDR 0 versus 0.5 participants in most of the cases.
The effectiveness of PM measures in discriminating individuals in the earliest stage of AD from healthy older adults suggests that these measures should be further developed as tools for early-stage AD discrimination.
Fusarium wilt of watermelon, caused by Fusarium oxysporum f. sp. niveum, is one of the limiting factors for watermelon production in Taiwan. In recent research, the phenylalanine ammonia lyase (PAL) gene expressed in the shoot base of the Fusarium wilt resistant line JSB was related to Fusarium wilt resistance. Phenylalanine ammonia lyase is the key regulatory enzyme in the phenylpropanoid metabolic pathway. The downstream products of phenolic compounds are considered to be involved in the complicated plant defence mechanisms. They could act as signal molecules, antimicrobial substances and/or structural barriers. To study the resistant mechanisms of Fusarium wilt, the resistant JSB line was examined for comparison of F. oxysporum-watermelon interactions with the susceptible Grand Baby (GB) cultivar. Unlike infected GB, which was seriously colonized by F. oxysporum in the whole plant, the pathogen was limited below the shoot base of inoculated JSB, suggesting that the shoot base of JSB may contribute to Fusarium resistance. The data indicated that a significant increase in PAL activity was found in shoot bases of the resistant JSB line at 3, 9, 12 and 15 days after inoculation (DAI). Shoot bases of resistant watermelons accumulated higher amounts of soluble and cell wall-bound phenolics at 3–9 DAI; the susceptible GB cultivar, however, only increased the cell wall-bound phenolics in shoot bases at 3 DAI. High lignin deposition in the cell walls of vascular bundles was observed in the shoot bases of JSB but not of GB seedlings at 6 and 9 DAI. In the roots and shoot bases of JSB seedlings at 6 DAI, peroxidase enzyme activity increased significantly. In summary, the results suggest that accumulation of cell wall-bound phenolics and increase of peroxidase activity in shoot bases of JSB seedlings during F. oxysporum inoculation, together with the rapid deposition of lignin in the cell walls of vascular bundles, may have provided structural barriers in resistant JSB line to defend against F. oxysporum invasion.
To investigate the risk of completed suicide in offspring during adolescence in relation to prior history of the same-sex parent's death by suicide and other causes.
A total of 500 adolescents who died by suicide at age 15–19 years between 1997 and 2007 were identified from the Taiwan Mortality Registration (TMR). For each case, 30 age- and time-matched controls were selected randomly from all adolescents registered in the Taiwan Birth Registry (TBR). A multivariate conditional logistic regression model was used to assess the risk of adolescent completed suicide in relation to their same-sex parent.
Adolescent suicide risk was positively associated with both paternal [odds ratio (OR) 5.38, 95% confidence interval (CI) 2.17–13.33] and maternal suicide (OR 6.59, 95% CI 1.82–23.91). The corresponding risk estimates associated with paternal and maternal deaths from non-suicidal causes were much lower, at 1.88 and 1.94 respectively. The risk of suicide in male adolescents was significantly associated with prior history of paternal death by suicide (OR 8.23, 95% CI 2.96–22.90) but not of maternal death by suicide (OR 3.50, 95% CI 0.41–30.13). On the other contrary, the risk of suicidal death in female adolescents was significantly associated with prior history of maternal suicide (OR 9.71, 95% CI 1.89–49.94) but not of paternal suicide (OR 2.42, 95% CI 0.30–19.57). However, these differences did not reach statistical significance.
Although limited by sample size, our study indicates that adolescent offspring suicidal death is associated with prior history of their same-sex parent's death by suicide.
Vitamin D and folate are associated with decreased colorectal cancer risk and their association with colorectal cancer prognosis is under investigation. We assessed the levels of plasma 25-hydroxyvitamin D3 (25(OH)D3), folate and vitamin B12 in an international pilot study in order to determine variability of these biomarkers based on geographical location. Plasma 25(OH)D3, folate and vitamin B12 concentrations were measured in 149 invasive, newly diagnosed colorectal cancer cases from Heidelberg (Germany), Seattle (WA, USA), and Tampa (FL, USA) and in ninety-one age- and sex-matched controls. Their associations with potential predictors were assessed using multivariate linear regression analyses. Plasma 25(OH)D3, folate and vitamin B12 concentrations differed by location. Other predictors were season for 25(OH)D3 and tumour stage (vitamin B12). Season-corrected average 25(OH)D3 concentrations were higher in Heidelberg (31·7 ng/ml; range 11·0–83·0 ng/ml) than in Seattle (23·3 ng/ml; range 4·0–80·0 ng/ml) and Tampa (21·1 ng/ml; range 4·6–51·6 ng/ml). In Heidelberg, a strong seasonal variation was observed. Folate (11·1 ng/ml) and vitamin B12 (395 pg/ml) concentrations in Heidelberg were lower than those in Seattle (25·3 ng/ml and 740 pg/ml, respectively) and Tampa (23·8 ng/ml and 522 pg/ml, respectively). Differences in plasma 25(OH)D3 and folate concentrations between Heidelberg and the US sites were observed, probably reflecting variation in outdoor activities and sun-avoidance behaviour during summer as well as in folic acid fortification and supplement use. Intra-site differences at each study location were greater than between-location variability, suggesting that individual health behaviours play a significant role. Nevertheless, the intra-site differences we observed may be due to chance because of the limited sample size. Our pilot study illustrates the value of an international cohort in studying colorectal cancer prognosis to discern geographical differences in a broad range of exposures.
Recent Genome-Wide Association Studies (GWAS) have identified four low-penetrance ovarian cancer susceptibility loci. We hypothesized that further moderate- or low-penetrance variants exist among the subset of single-nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) not well tagged by the genotyping arrays used in the previous studies, which would account for some of the remaining risk. We therefore conducted a time- and cost-effective stage 1 GWAS on 342 invasive serous cases and 643 controls genotyped on pooled DNA using the high-density Illumina 1M-Duo array. We followed up 20 of the most significantly associated SNPs, which are not well tagged by the lower density arrays used by the published GWAS, and genotyping them on individual DNA. Most of the top 20 SNPs were clearly validated by individually genotyping the samples used in the pools. However, none of the 20 SNPs replicated when tested for association in a much larger stage 2 set of 4,651 cases and 6,966 controls from the Ovarian Cancer Association Consortium. Given that most of the top 20 SNPs from pooling were validated in the same samples by individual genotyping, the lack of replication is likely to be due to the relatively small sample size in our stage 1 GWAS rather than due to problems with the pooling approach. We conclude that there are unlikely to be any moderate or large effects on ovarian cancer risk untagged by less dense arrays. However, our study lacked power to make clear statements on the existence of hitherto untagged small-effect variants.
Impulsive loading by the ground reaction force (GRF) around heelstrike during walking is closely related to joint degeneration and might be affected by joint movement of the locomotor system. Fifteen healthy males (age: 25.5 ±3 years) were studied to investigate the association between the quantitative joint angles, angular velocities and accelerations of the lower-limb joints, and the loading rates of the GRF. Apart from the gait speed, both the ipsilateral kinematics during the swing phase, and the contralateral kinematics around the beginning of the terminal double limb stance (DLS), may significantly contribute to the heelstrike and maximum loading rates of the GRF. The magnitude of the heelstrike impulsive GRF was particularly affected by the peak ankle dorsiflexion velocity during the swing phase of the ipsilateral limb. However, for generating the maximum loading rate of nearly eight times the magnitude of that of the heelstrike one needed more kinematic variables to be modulated in advance, especially the knee flexion velocities around the beginning of the terminal DLS of the contralateral limb. Knowledge of the joint mechanics of the locomotor system for controlling the magnitude of the impulsive GRF during normal walking might be helpful for gait retraining for the elderly or patients who might have excessive impulsive GRF and a high risk of joint degeneration.