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The international classifications in psychiatry, i.e. ICD-10 and DSM4R, allowed a fast increase of factual information. The improvement of reliability account for most of it. But it did not came with an increase in validity. We will argue that these classification are not “validable” unless questioning some of the postulates that guided their elaboration.
We will state the epistemological principle underlying scientific and medical classifications and compare the ones at work in psychiatric classifications. Examples from the field of psychoses will be given.
Validity is a notion that can only apply to scientific classification, i.e. that aim at providing a model for an external reality. The validable part of a classification is the model on which it relies, not the definition that ensue the model. In medicine, the term “disease” apply to natural morbid entities defined by an hypothesis, i.e. a model, on their aetiology or pathophysiology. Only this hypothesis can be validated.
ICD and DSM utility is oriented toward a practical objective. This constrains choices in their elaboration not adapted to pursue a scientific goal. The most challenging is the atheoretical orientation which take away from the classification their only validable part, i.e. a model.
There is urgent need to clarify the utility of ICD and DSM in psychiatry, i.e. epidemiology and clinical practice. Requiring their use in scientific inquiry could only slow down any progress toward the discovery of real disease in psychiatry.
We know from neurological diseases that there is not only one way to hallucinate. This might also be the case in the psychiatric field. During a trial on refractory verbal hallucinations, we rediscovered a subgroup described under several names in France (Délire chronique d’évolution systématique 1882, Psychose Hallucinatoire Chronique 1911-1953), England (Late Paraphrenia, 1954) and Germany (Affective Paraphrenia - AP, 1968). Roughly, AP can be viewed as the core of paranoid schizophrenia.
We compared 10 AP patients with refractory hallucinations to 35 healthy controls with structural and functional MRI (fMRI). We looked for regions that presented with both grey matter deficit relative to controls and with hallucination-related activity. The lateral orbito-frontal cortex (LOF) was bilaterally involved both anatomically and functionally.
Using fMRI, we studied whole brain functional connectivity, both as a trait factor, i.e. hallucinators vs controls, and as a state factor, i.e. ON vs OFF hallucinations in the same patient. As a trait, functional connectivity was significantly increased between left and right LOF in patients relative to controls; however as a state, functional connectivity dropped to zero between left LOF, left and right superior temporal sulcus (STS) when ON relative to OFF hallucination.
In a larger group of AP patients without ongoing hallucinations, the LOF was still disconnected from the cingulate and temporal regions, in comparison not only to controls, but also relative to non AP type schizophrenias, most of whom also hallucinate during episodes.
We will discuss the “LOF-story hypothesis” for AP patients and their hallucinations.
Evidence from previous small trials has suggested the effectiveness of early social communication interventions for autism.
The Preschool Autism Communication Trial (PACT) investigated the efficacy of such an intervention in the largest psychosocial autism trial to date.
To provide a stringent test of a pre-school communication intervention for autism.
152 children with core autism aged 2 years - 4 years 11 months in a 3 site 2 arm single (assessor) blinded randomised controlled trial of the parent-mediated communication-focused intervention added to treatment as usual (TAU) against TAU alone. Primary outcome; severity of autism symptoms (modified social communication algorithm from Autism Diagnostic Observation Schedule-Generic, ADOS-G). Secondary outcomes; blinded measures of parent-child interaction, child language, and adaptation in school.
At 13 month endpoint the treatment resulted in strong improvement in parental synchronous response to child (adjusted between-group effect size 1.22 (95% CI 0.85, 1.59) and child initiations with parent (ES 0.41 (0.08, 0.74) but small effect on autism symptomatology (ADOS-G, ES -0.24 (95% CI -0.59, 0.11) ns). Parents (not blind to allocation) reported strong treatment effects on child language and social adaptation but effects on blinded research assessed language and school adaptation were small.
Addition of the PACT intervention showed clear benefit in improving parent-child dyadic social communication but no substantive benefit over TAU in modifying objectively rated autism symptoms. This attenuation on generalisation from ‘proximal’ intervention effects to wider symptom change in other contexts remains a significant challenge for autism treatment and measurement methodology.
Our aim was to examine whether cerebral frontal cortex O2 desaturation may be related with the development of delirium symptoms’ after cardiac surgery in the elderly during the intensive care unit (ICU) staying.
Materials and methods
A prospective, before and after, longitudinal study in II-IV ASA class patients scheduled for cardiac surgery and undergoing intravenous general anesthesia with remifentanil plus propofol was done. Clinical and surgical parameters, cardiopulmonary function, intraoperative cerebral oxygen saturation (rSO2) and bispectral index were continuously recorded and corrected throughout the surgery. Severity of delirium was represented as a score of the Intensive Care Delirium Screening Checklist (ICDSC) during the patients’ stay in the ICU under the assumption that higher ICDSC score indicated severe delirium.
Results and discussion
Patients, n = 44, 77.3% male, aged 59.9 ± 1.9 years old, scheduled to coronary (36.4%), aortic valve replacement (18.2%), mitral valve replacement (13.6%), coronary plus valve replacement (13.6%) and others (18.2%) surgery, on pump 98.4% were enrolled. A reduction of the rSO2 higher than 10% at the end of the surgery compared with basal values was detected in a 46.5% of the patients. Reduction of rSO2 higher than 10% at the end of the surgery was related with significantly higher values of delirium symptoms’ development during the intensive care unit post-surgery staying (rSO2 higher ≥ 10% 68.8 vs. rSO2 higher < 10% 31.3%, P < 0.05).
Delirium symptoms’ development during the intensive care unit post-surgery staying is related with reduced intraoperative cerebral oxygen saturation in the elderly subjected to cardiac surgery.
Disclosure of interest
The authors have not supplied their declaration of competing interest.
The MEDDINI intervention study investigated how advice improved the adoption of a Mediterranean diet (MD) in cardiovascular disease patients. Earlier research profiled the levels of blood metabolites in MEDDINI participants, in the process discovering a number dietary biomarkers indicative of a MD. However, a potential limitation of this approach is that MD scores are semi-quantitative, and don't reflect the absolute amounts of food consumed. Therefore, the present study identified distinct dietary patterns based on quantified food diary data from 58 MEDDINI participants by applying k-means clustering analysis. Previously measured blood metabolites (90) using targeted and untargeted methods were then assessed for their performance as dietary biomarkers. After careful standardisation (z-scores), optimisation and cross-validation dietary data were reduced to 6 specific food groups and this led to the formation of two clusters. Cluster 1 included participants who had the lowest intakes of fruit and vegetables, legumes, fish and whole grain cereals and the highest intake of meat and sweet foods (including carbonated drinks). Cluster 2 comprised the participants with highest intake of fruit and vegetables, legumes, fish and whole grain cereals and the lowest intake of meat and sweet foods (including carbonated drinks). Discriminatory metabolites (p derived from untargeted analysis included Citric acid, Tyrosine, Malonate, Pyroglutamic acid, Succinate, Betaine, L-asparagine and Fumaric acid which were significantly increased in cluster 2, and 2-Hydroxybutyric acid and Pyruvic acid which were significantly decreased in cluster 2. Targeted biomarker analysis showed 8 discriminatory metabolites which were significantly (p increased in cluster 2. These were Docosahexaenoic acid (DHA), alpha-Carotene, beta-Carotene, beta-Cryptoxanthin, Vitamin C, Lutein, alpha-Linolenic acid and Lycopene. Conversely Osbond acid, Cholesterol and Dihomo-γ-linolenic acid (DGLA) were significantly lower in cluster 2. Metabolites significantly correlated with some of the 6 groups in the clusters. For example, Citric acid, Betaine and Vitamin C positively correlated with combined fruit, fruit juice and vegetable intake: (r = 0.20, p = 0.018; r = 0.20, p = 0.02 and r = 0.34, p = 5.7E-5 respectively). DHA, alpha-Carotenoid and beta-Carotenoid significantly correlated with fish intake (r = 0.58, p = 1.94E-13; r = 0.40, p = 2E-6 and r = 0.30, p = 3.5E-4 respectively). The present study demonstrates the utility of clustering analysis for effectively assessing adherence to healthy dietary patterns and the discovery of novel dietary biomarkers.
Breakthrough Listen is a 10-yr initiative to search for signatures of technologies created by extraterrestrial civilisations at radio and optical wavelengths. Here, we detail the digital data recording system deployed for Breakthrough Listen observations at the 64-m aperture CSIRO Parkes Telescope in New South Wales, Australia. The recording system currently implements two modes: a dual-polarisation, 1.125-GHz bandwidth mode for single-beam observations, and a 26-input, 308-MHz bandwidth mode for the 21-cm multibeam receiver. The system is also designed to support a 3-GHz single-beam mode for the forthcoming Parkes ultra-wideband feed. In this paper, we present details of the system architecture, provide an overview of hardware and software, and present initial performance results.
A cluster of Salmonella Paratyphi B variant L(+) tartrate(+) infections with indistinguishable pulsed-field gel electrophoresis patterns was detected in October 2015. Interviews initially identified nut butters, kale, kombucha, chia seeds and nutrition bars as common exposures. Epidemiologic, environmental and traceback investigations were conducted. Thirteen ill people infected with the outbreak strain were identified in 10 states with illness onset during 18 July–22 November 2015. Eight of 10 (80%) ill people reported eating Brand A raw sprouted nut butters. Brand A conducted a voluntary recall. Raw sprouted nut butters are a novel outbreak vehicle, though contaminated raw nuts, nut butters and sprouted seeds have all caused outbreaks previously. Firms producing raw sprouted products, including nut butters, should consider a kill step to reduce the risk of contamination. People at greater risk for foodborne illness may wish to consider avoiding raw products containing raw sprouted ingredients.
Returning genomic research results to family members raises complex questions. Genomic research on life-limiting conditions such as cancer, and research involving storage and reanalysis of data and specimens long into the future, makes these questions pressing. This author group, funded by an NIH grant, published consensus recommendations presenting a framework. This follow-up paper offers concrete guidance and tools for implementation. The group collected and analyzed relevant documents and guidance, including tools from the Clinical Sequencing Exploratory Research (CSER) Consortium. The authors then negotiated a consensus toolkit of processes and documents. That toolkit offers sample consent and notification documents plus decision flow-charts to address return of results to family of living and deceased participants, in adult and pediatric research. Core concerns are eliciting participant preferences on sharing results with family and on choice of a representative to make decisions about sharing after participant death.
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.
The Molonglo Observatory Synthesis Telescope (MOST) is an 18000 m2 radio telescope located 40 km from Canberra, Australia. Its operating band (820–851 MHz) is partly allocated to telecommunications, making radio astronomy challenging. We describe how the deployment of new digital receivers, Field Programmable Gate Array-based filterbanks, and server-class computers equipped with 43 Graphics Processing Units, has transformed the telescope into a versatile new instrument (UTMOST) for studying the radio sky on millisecond timescales. UTMOST has 10 times the bandwidth and double the field of view compared to the MOST, and voltage record and playback capability has facilitated rapid implementaton of many new observing modes, most of which operate commensally. UTMOST can simultaneously excise interference, make maps, coherently dedisperse pulsars, and perform real-time searches of coherent fan-beams for dispersed single pulses. UTMOST operates as a robotic facility, deciding how to efficiently target pulsars and how long to stay on source via real-time pulsar folding, while searching for single pulse events. Regular timing of over 300 pulsars has yielded seven pulsar glitches and three Fast Radio Bursts during commissioning. UTMOST demonstrates that if sufficient signal processing is applied to voltage streams, innovative science remains possible even in hostile radio frequency environments.
Childhood trauma is a risk factor for psychosis. Deficits in response inhibition are common to psychosis and trauma-exposed populations, and associated brain functions may be affected by trauma exposure in psychotic disorders. We aimed to identify the influence of trauma-exposure on brain activation and functional connectivity during a response inhibition task.
We used functional magnetic resonance imaging to examine brain function within regions-of-interest [left and right inferior frontal gyrus (IFG), right dorsolateral prefrontal cortex, right supplementary motor area, right inferior parietal lobule and dorsal anterior cingulate cortex], during the performance of a Go/No-Go Flanker task, in 112 clinical cases with psychotic disorders and 53 healthy controls (HCs). Among the participants, 71 clinical cases and 21 HCs reported significant levels of childhood trauma exposure, while 41 clinical cases and 32 HCs did not.
In the absence of effects on response inhibition performance, childhood trauma exposure was associated with increased activation in the left IFG, and increased connectivity between the left IFG seed region and the cerebellum and calcarine sulcus, in both cases and healthy individuals. There was no main effect of psychosis, and no trauma-by-psychosis interaction for any other region-of-interest. Within the clinical sample, the effects of trauma-exposure on the left IFG activation were mediated by symptom severity.
Trauma-related increases in activation of the left IFG were not associated with performance differences, or dependent on clinical diagnostic status; increased IFG functionality may represent a compensatory (overactivation) mechanism required to exert adequate inhibitory control of the motor response.
In our attempt to investigate the basic active galactic nucleus (AGN) paradigm requiring a centrally located supermassive black hole (SMBH), a close to Keplerian accretion disk and a jet perpendicular to its plane, we have searched for radio continuum in galaxies with H2O megamasers in their disks. We observed 18 such galaxies with the Very Large Baseline Array in C band (5 GHz, ~2 mas resolution) and we detected 5 galaxies at 8 σ or higher levels. For those sources for which the maser data is available, the positions of masers and those of the 5 GHz radio continuum sources coincide within the uncertainties, and the radio continuum is perpendicular to the maser disk’s orientation within the position angle uncertainties.
The class of radio transients called Fast Radio Bursts (FRBs) encompasses enigmatic single pulses, each unique in its own way, hindering a consensus for their origin. The key to demystifying FRBs lies in discovering many of them in order to identity commonalities – and in real time, in order to find potential counterparts at other wavelengths. The recently upgraded UTMOST in Australia, is undergoing a backend transformation to rise as a fast transient detection machine. The first interferometric detections of FRBs with UTMOST, place their origin beyond the near-field region of the telescope thus ruling out local sources of interference as a possible origin. We have localised these bursts to much better than the ones discovered at the Parkes radio telescope and have plans to upgrade UTMOST to be capable of much better localisation still.
Parental criminal offending is an established risk factor for offending among offspring, but little evidence is available indicating the impact of offending on early childhood functioning. We used data from a large Australian population cohort to determine associations between exposure to parental offending and a range of developmental outcomes at age 5 years.
Multi-generation data in 66 477 children and their parents from the New South Wales Child Development Study were combined using data linkage. Logistic and multinomial regressions tested associations between any and violent offending histories of parents (fathers, mothers, or both parents) obtained from official records, and multiple measures of early childhood developmental functioning (social, emotional–behavioural, cognitive, communication and physical domains) obtained from the teacher-reported 2009 Australian Early Development Census.
Parental offending conferred significantly increased risk of vulnerability on all domains, particularly the cognitive domain. Greater risk magnitudes were observed for offending by both parents and by mothers than by fathers, and for violent than for any offending. For all parental offending exposures, vulnerability on multiple domains (where medium to large effects were observed) was more likely than on a single domain (small to medium effects). Relationships remained significant and of comparable magnitude following adjustment for sociodemographic covariates.
The effect of parental offending on early childhood developmental outcomes is pervasive, with the strongest effects on functioning apparent when both parents engage in violent offending. Supporting affected families in early childhood might mitigate both early developmental vulnerability and the propensity for later delinquency among these offspring.
Childhood maltreatment and a family history of a schizophrenia spectrum disorder (SSD) are each associated with social-emotional dysfunction in childhood. Both are also strong risk factors for adult SSDs, and social-emotional dysfunction in childhood may be an antecedent of these disorders. We used data from a large Australian population cohort to determine the independent and moderating effects of maltreatment and parental SSDs on early childhood social-emotional functioning.
The New South Wales Child Development Study combines intergenerational multi-agency data using record linkage methods. Multiple measures of social-emotional functioning (social competency, prosocial/helping behaviour, anxious/fearful behaviour; aggressive behaviour, and hyperactivity/inattention) on 69 116 kindergarten children (age ~5 years) were linked with government records of child maltreatment and parental presentations to health services for SSD. Multivariable analyses investigated the association between maltreatment and social-emotional functioning, adjusting for demographic variables and parental SSD history, in the population sample and in sub-cohorts exposed and not exposed to parental SSD history. We also examined the association of parental SSD history and social-emotional functioning, adjusting for demographic variables and maltreatment.
Medium-sized associations were identified between maltreatment and poor social competency, aggressive behaviour and hyperactivity/inattention; small associations were revealed between maltreatment and poor prosocial/helping and anxious/fearful behaviours. These associations did not differ greatly when adjusted for parental SSD, and were greater in magnitude among children with no history of parental SSD. Small associations between parental SSD and poor social-emotional functioning remained after adjusting for demographic variables and maltreatment.
Childhood maltreatment and history of parental SSD are associated independently with poor early childhood social-emotional functioning, with the impact of exposure to maltreatment on social-emotional functioning in early childhood of greater magnitude than that observed for parental SSDs. The impact of maltreatment was reduced in the context of parental SSDs. The influence of parental SSDs on later outcomes of maltreated children may become more apparent during adolescence and young adulthood when overt symptoms of SSD are likely to emerge. Early intervention to strengthen childhood social-emotional functioning might mitigate the impact of maltreatment, and potentially also avert future psychopathology.
Although mental disorders are significant predictors of educational attainment throughout the entire educational career, most research on mental disorders among students has focused on the primary and secondary school years.
The World Health Organization World Mental Health Surveys were used to examine the associations of mental disorders with college entry and attrition by comparing college students (n = 1572) and non-students in the same age range (18–22 years; n = 4178), including non-students who recently left college without graduating (n = 702) based on surveys in 21 countries (four low/lower-middle income, five upper-middle-income, one lower-middle or upper-middle at the times of two different surveys, and 11 high income). Lifetime and 12-month prevalence and age-of-onset of DSM-IV anxiety, mood, behavioral and substance disorders were assessed with the Composite International Diagnostic Interview (CIDI).
One-fifth (20.3%) of college students had 12-month DSM-IV/CIDI disorders; 83.1% of these cases had pre-matriculation onsets. Disorders with pre-matriculation onsets were more important than those with post-matriculation onsets in predicting subsequent college attrition, with substance disorders and, among women, major depression the most important such disorders. Only 16.4% of students with 12-month disorders received any 12-month healthcare treatment for their mental disorders.
Mental disorders are common among college students, have onsets that mostly occur prior to college entry, in the case of pre-matriculation disorders are associated with college attrition, and are typically untreated. Detection and effective treatment of these disorders early in the college career might reduce attrition and improve educational and psychosocial functioning.
The objective of this research was to evaluate the survival rate of primiparous heifers within a large sample of herds across the United Kingdom and specifically to assess the association between age at first calving (AFC) on their survival. Data from 437 herds were re-structured for analysis. Descriptive statistics were calculated, and a multilevel logistic regression model was used to explore factors associated with the risk of first lactation culling. Potential explanatory variables included AFC, herd size, culling rate within the whole herd, calving season, herd mean 305-day yield and herd mean calving interval. The mean within-herd culling rate for the primiparous heifers was 15.9%. The mean within-herd AFC was 29.6 months, with 35.9% of heifers having an AFC >30 months of age. Multivariable analysis revealed a negative association between survival rate of primiparous heifers and increasing AFC, and also associations with herd culling rate in older cows and calving season. This study highlights the importance of AFC for survival of primiparous heifers, as well as the need to address heifer wastage in herds with high culling rates.
Although ethics is an essential component of undergraduate medical education, research suggests that current medical ethics curricula face considerable challenges in improving students’ ethical reasoning. This article discusses these challenges and introduces a promising new mode of graduate and professional ethics instruction for overcoming them. We begin by describing common ethics curricula, focusing in particular on established problems with current approaches. Next, we describe a novel method of ethics education and assessment for medical students that we have devised: the Medical Ethics Bowl (MEB). Finally, we suggest the pedagogical advantages of the MEB when compared to other ethics curricula.