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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.
The second Singapore Mental Health Study (SMHS) – a nationwide, cross-sectional, epidemiological survey - was initiated in 2016 with the intent of tracking the state of mental health of the general population in Singapore. The study employed the same methodology as the first survey initiated in 2010. The SMHS 2016 aimed to (i) establish the 12-month and lifetime prevalence and correlates of major depressive disorder (MDD), dysthymia, bipolar disorder, generalised anxiety disorder (GAD), obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD) and alcohol use disorder (AUD) (which included alcohol abuse and dependence) and (ii) compare the prevalence of these disorders with reference to data from the SMHS 2010.
Door-to-door household surveys were conducted with adult Singapore residents aged 18 years and above from 2016 to 2018 (n = 6126) which yielded a response rate of 69.0%. The subjects were randomly selected using a disproportionate stratified sampling method and assessed using World Health Organization Composite International Diagnostic Interview version 3.0 (WHO-CIDI 3.0). The diagnoses of lifetime and 12-month selected mental disorders including MDD, dysthymia, bipolar disorder, GAD, OCD, and AUD (alcohol abuse and alcohol dependence), were based on the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, Fourth Edition (DSM-IV) criteria.
The lifetime prevalence of at least one mood, anxiety or alcohol use disorder was 13.9% in the adult population. MDD had the highest lifetime prevalence (6.3%) followed by alcohol abuse (4.1%). The 12-month prevalence of any DSM-IV mental disorders was 6.5%. OCD had the highest 12-month prevalence (2.9%) followed by MDD (2.3%). Lifetime and 12-month prevalence of mental disorders assessed in SMHS 2016 (13.8% and 6.4%) was significantly higher than that in SMHS 2010 (12.0% and 4.4%). A significant increase was observed in the prevalence of lifetime GAD (0.9% to 1.6%) and alcohol abuse (3.1% to 4.1%). The 12-month prevalence of GAD (0.8% vs. 0.4%) and OCD (2.9% vs. 1.1%) was significantly higher in SMHS 2016 as compared to SMHS 2010.
The high prevalence of OCD and the increase across the two surveys needs to be tackled at a population level both in terms of creating awareness of the disorder and the need for early treatment. Youth emerge as a vulnerable group who are more likely to be associated with mental disorders and thus targeted interventions in this group with a focus on youth friendly and accessible care centres may lead to earlier detection and treatment of mental disorders.
Febrile seizure (FS) in children is a common complication of infections with respiratory viruses and hand, foot and mouth disease (HFMD). We conducted a retrospective ecological time-series analysis to determine the temporal relationship between hospital attendances for FS and HFMD or respiratory virus infections. Epilepsy attendance was used as a control. Data from 2004 to 2012 FS and epilepsy hospital attendance, HFMD notifications to the Ministry of Health and from laboratory-confirmed viral respiratory infections among KK Women's and Children's Hospital inpatients were used. A multivariate linear regression analysis was conducted to evaluate the relationship between FS and the virus time series. Relative risks of FS by age were calculated using Bayesian statistical methods. Paediatric accident and emergency (A&E) attendances for FS were found to be associated with influenza A (extra 0.47 FS per influenza A case), B (extra 0.32 per influenza B case) and parainfluenza 3 (extra 0.35 per parainfluenza type 3 case). However, other viruses were not significantly associated with FS. None of the viruses were associated with epileptic seizure attendance. Influenza A, B and parainfluenza 3 viruses contributed to the burden of FS resulting in A&E attendance. Children at risk of FS should be advised to receive seasonal influenza vaccination.
The Single Ventricle Reconstruction trial randomised neonates with hypoplastic left heart syndrome to a systemic-to-pulmonary-artery shunt strategy. Patients received care according to usual institutional practice. We analysed practice variation at the Stage II surgery to attempt to identify areas for decreased variation and process control improvement.
Prospectively collected data were available in the Single Ventricle Reconstruction public-use database. Practice variation across 14 centres was described for 397 patients who underwent Stage II surgery. Data are centre-level specific and reported as interquartile ranges across all centres, unless otherwise specified.
Preoperative Stage II median age and weight across centres were 5.4 months (interquartile range 4.9–5.7) and 5.7 kg (5.5–6.1), with 70% performed electively. Most patients had pre-Stage-II cardiac catheterisation (98.5–100%). Digoxin was used by 11/14 centres in 25% of patients (23–31%), and 81% had some oral feeds (68–84%). The majority of the centres (86%) performed a bidirectional Glenn versus hemi-Fontan. Median cardiopulmonary bypass time was 96 minutes (75–113). In aggregate, 26% of patients had deep hypothermic circulatory arrest >10 minutes. In 13/14 centres using deep hypothermic circulatory arrest, 12.5% of patients exceeded 10 minutes (8–32%). Seven centres extubated 5% of patients (2–40) in the operating room. Postoperatively, ICU length of stay was 4.8 days (4.0–5.3) and total length of stay was 7.5 days (6–10).
In the Single Ventricle Reconstruction Trial, practice varied widely among centres for nearly all perioperative factors surrounding Stage II. Further analysis may facilitate establishing best practices by identifying the impact of practice variation.
Little is known about the combined use of benzodiazepines and antidepressants in older psychiatric patients. This study examined the prescription pattern of concurrent benzodiazepines in older adults treated with antidepressants in Asia, and explored its demographic and clinical correlates.
The data of 955 older adults with any type of psychiatric disorders were extracted from the database of the Research on Asian Psychotropic Prescription Patterns for Antidepressants (REAP-AD) project. Demographic and clinical characteristics were recorded using a standardized protocol and data collection procedure. Both univariate and multiple logistic regression analyses were performed.
The proportion of benzodiazepine and antidepressant combination in this cohort was 44.3%. Multiple logistic regression analysis revealed that higher doses of antidepressants, younger age (<65 years), inpatients, public hospital, major comorbid medical conditions, antidepressant types, and country/territory were significantly associated with more frequent co-prescription of benzodiazepines and antidepressants.
Nearly, half of the older adults treated with antidepressants in Asia are prescribed concurrent benzodiazepines. Given the potentially adverse effects of benzodiazepines, the rationale of benzodiazepines and antidepressants co-prescription needs to be revisited.
The increasing demands on renewable energy nowadays caused the development of marine current turbine industry. In order to improve the current design of marine current turbines, studies were conducted to analyse their hydrodynamic performances during operation. Since most of the time marine current turbines operate in arrays, it is important to understand the interactions between the turbines in order to design the optimum turbine farm. OpenFOAM® was used to simulate the turbine interactions of conventional and biomimetic marine current turbines in tandem configuration. The conventional marine current turbines were referred to Pinon et al. (2012) and Mycek et al. (2013) while the biomimetic marine current turbine was adopted from Chu (2016). The numerical simulations were conducted with turbines in different inter-device distances, A/D. The percentage differences of ‘‘efficiency’’, η between the IFREMER-LOMC and the biomimetic turbine case of inter-device distances, A/D = 4, 6, 8 and 10 are 14.3%, 6.4%, 3% and 1.92% respectively. The results show that the power produced by the biomimetic turbines in tandem is comparable with the IFREMER-LOMC turbines when A/D > 4. The biomimetic marine current turbines can be a fair choice due to their potential to have alternative fabrication method of their sheet-like turbine blades.
To identify the common causal beliefs of mental illness in a multi-ethnic Southeast Asian community and describe the sociodemographic associations to said beliefs. The factor structure to the causal beliefs scale is explored. The causal beliefs relating to five different mental illnesses (alcohol abuse, depression, obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD), dementia and schizophrenia) and desire for social distance are also investigated.
Data from 3006 participants from a nationwide vignette-based study on mental health literacy were analysed using factor analysis and multiple logistic regression to address the aims. Participants answered questions related to sociodemographic information, causal beliefs of mental illness and their desire for social distance towards those with mental illness.
Physical causes, psychosocial causes and personality causes were endorsed by the sample. Sociodemographic differences including ethnic, gender and age differences in causal beliefs were found in the sample. Differences in causal beliefs were shown across different mental illness vignettes though psychosocial causes was the most highly attributed cause across vignettes (endorsed by 97.9% of respondents), followed by personality causes (83.5%) and last, physical causes (37%). Physical causes were more likely to be endorsed for OCD, depression and schizophrenia. Psychosocial causes were less often endorsed for OCD. Personality causes were less endorsed for dementia but more associated with depression.
The factor structure of the causal beliefs scale is not entirely the same as that found in previous research. Further research on the causal beliefs endorsed by Southeast Asian communities should be conducted to investigate other potential causes such as biogenetic factors and spiritual/supernatural causes. Mental health awareness campaigns should address causes of mental illness as a topic. Lay beliefs in the different causes must be acknowledged and it would be beneficial for the public to be informed of the causes of some of the most common mental illnesses in order to encourage help-seeking and treatment compliance.
The current study aimed to: (i) describe the extent of overall stigma as well as the differences in stigma towards people with alcohol abuse, dementia, depression, schizophrenia and obsessive compulsive disorder, as well as (ii) establish the dimensions of stigma and examine its correlates, in the general population of Singapore, using a vignette approach.
Data for the current study came from a larger nation-wide cross-sectional study of mental health literacy conducted in Singapore. The study population comprised Singapore Residents (Singapore Citizens and Permanent Residents) aged 18–65 years who were living in Singapore at the time of the survey. All respondents were administered the Personal and Perceived scales of the Depression Stigma scale and the Social Distance scale to measure personal stigma and social distance, respectively. Weighted mean and standard error of the mean were calculated for continuous variables, and frequencies and percentages for categorical variables. Exploratory structural equation modelling and confirmatory factor analysis were used to establish the dimensions of stigma. Multivariable linear regressions were conducted to examine factors associated with each of the stigma scale scores.
The mean age of the respondents was 40.9 years and gender was equally represented (50.9% were males). The findings from the factor analysis revealed that personal stigma formed two distinct dimensions comprising ‘weak-not-sick’ and ‘dangerous/unpredictable’ while social distance stigma items loaded strongly into a single factor. Those of Malay and Indian ethnicity, lower education, lower income status and those who were administered the depression and alcohol abuse vignette were significantly associated with higher weak-not-sick scores. Those of Indian ethnicity, 6 years of education and below, lower income status and those who were administered the alcohol abuse vignette were significantly associated with higher dangerous/unpredictable scores. Those administered the alcohol abuse vignette were associated with higher social distance scores.
This population-wide study found significant stigma towards people with mental illness and identified specific groups who have more stigmatising attitudes. The study also found that having a friend or family member with similar problems was associated with having lower personal as well as social distance stigma. There is a need for well-planned and culturally relevant anti-stigma campaigns in this population that take into consideration the findings of this study.
A trend toward greater body size in dizygotic (DZ) than in monozygotic (MZ) twins has been suggested by some but not all studies, and this difference may also vary by age. We analyzed zygosity differences in mean values and variances of height and body mass index (BMI) among male and female twins from infancy to old age. Data were derived from an international database of 54 twin cohorts participating in the COllaborative project of Development of Anthropometrical measures in Twins (CODATwins), and included 842,951 height and BMI measurements from twins aged 1 to 102 years. The results showed that DZ twins were consistently taller than MZ twins, with differences of up to 2.0 cm in childhood and adolescence and up to 0.9 cm in adulthood. Similarly, a greater mean BMI of up to 0.3 kg/m2 in childhood and adolescence and up to 0.2 kg/m2 in adulthood was observed in DZ twins, although the pattern was less consistent. DZ twins presented up to 1.7% greater height and 1.9% greater BMI than MZ twins; these percentage differences were largest in middle and late childhood and decreased with age in both sexes. The variance of height was similar in MZ and DZ twins at most ages. In contrast, the variance of BMI was significantly higher in DZ than in MZ twins, particularly in childhood. In conclusion, DZ twins were generally taller and had greater BMI than MZ twins, but the differences decreased with age in both sexes.
For over 100 years, the genetics of human anthropometric traits has attracted scientific interest. In particular, height and body mass index (BMI, calculated as kg/m2) have been under intensive genetic research. However, it is still largely unknown whether and how heritability estimates vary between human populations. Opportunities to address this question have increased recently because of the establishment of many new twin cohorts and the increasing accumulation of data in established twin cohorts. We started a new research project to analyze systematically (1) the variation of heritability estimates of height, BMI and their trajectories over the life course between birth cohorts, ethnicities and countries, and (2) to study the effects of birth-related factors, education and smoking on these anthropometric traits and whether these effects vary between twin cohorts. We identified 67 twin projects, including both monozygotic (MZ) and dizygotic (DZ) twins, using various sources. We asked for individual level data on height and weight including repeated measurements, birth related traits, background variables, education and smoking. By the end of 2014, 48 projects participated. Together, we have 893,458 height and weight measures (52% females) from 434,723 twin individuals, including 201,192 complete twin pairs (40% monozygotic, 40% same-sex dizygotic and 20% opposite-sex dizygotic) representing 22 countries. This project demonstrates that large-scale international twin studies are feasible and can promote the use of existing data for novel research purposes.
Chromoblastomycosis is a chronic fungal infection of the skin and subcutaneous tissue that most commonly affects the feet and lower limbs. It is rare for this infection to occur on the face, and it is exceptionally rare for it to involve the nose and sinuses. This paper reports a rare case of nasal chromoblastomycosis in a 50-year-old Malaysian male.
The patient, who was a rubber plantation worker in the southern state of Johor, presented to the ENT clinic with a history of epistaxis. He did not recall any history of injury to the nose. Nasal endoscopy showed a pale yellowish lesion at the inferior edge of the left middle turbinate. Histology revealed that this was a case of chromoblastomycosis.
Chromoblastomycosis of the nasal cavity is very rare and can be mistaken for other granulomatous conditions in the nose. It progresses very slowly over many years. Our patient was managed conservatively, as he was not keen on undergoing surgical intervention. Lesion size remained the same at five months' follow up, with no recurrence of epistaxis.
To illustrate a case of an iatrogenic mucosal tear in the trachea which caused a one-way valve effect, obstructing the airway and manifesting as post-extubation stridor.
We report a case of iatrogenic tracheal mucosal tear secondary to violent movement during intubation. The patient presented with post-extubation stridor that worsened over three days. Initial evidence suggested tracheal stenosis. Computed tomography scans revealed a mucosal tear at the level of the seventh cervical to second thoracic vertebrae. The tear was caused by forceful inflow of air as breathing became more and more difficult, resulting in a false tract. A tracheostomy changed the direction of airflow, bypassing the tear. The inflated tracheostomy tube cuff acted as a stent to keep the flap in place as healing occurred.
Iatrogenic laryngotracheal injuries are common, especially when endotracheal intubation is performed under unfavourable emergency conditions. A tracheal mucosal tear is a rare entity which is almost always undiagnosed. However, a tracheal mucosal flap may be suspected when changes in patient position alter the nature and severity of the resultant stridor and/or respiratory distress. In such cases, an inflated tracheostomy tube cuff should be kept in place for an adequate period, to act as a stent and help keep the flap in place while healing occurs.
Nanoscale superlattice-like (SLL) dielectric was employed to reduce the power consumption of the Phase-change random access memory (PCRAM) cells. In this study, we have simulated and found that the cells with the SLL dielectric have a higher peak temperature compared to that of the cells with the SiO2 dielectric after constant pulse activation, due to the interface scattering mechanism. Scaling of the SLL dielectric has resulted in higher peak temperatures, which can be even higher after material/structural modifications. Furthermore, the SLL dielectric has good material properties that enable the cells to have high endurance. This shows the effectiveness of the SLL dielectric for advanced memory applications.
Electrospinning is a versatile technique for fabricating three-dimensional
(3D) nanofibrous scaffolds and the scaffolds have been found to elicit
desirable cellular behavior for tissue regeneration because the nanofibrous
structures mimic the nanofibrous extracellular matrix (ECM) of biological
tissues. From the material point of view, the ECM of bone is a nanofibrous
nanocomposite consisting of an organic matrix (mainly collagen) and
inorganic bone apatite nanoparticles. Therefore, for bone tissue engineering
scaffolds, it is natural to construct nanofibrous nanocomposites having a
biodegradable polymer matrix and nanosized bioactive bioceramics. Our
previous studies demonstrated: (1) electrospun nanocomposite fiber loaded
with calcium phosphate (Ca-P) were osteoconductive and could promote
osteoblastic cell proliferation and differentiation better than pure polymer
fibers; (2) The controlled release of recombinant human bone morphogenetic
protein (rhBMP-2) from scaffolds provided the scaffolds with desired
osteoinductivity. In the current investigation, novel bicomponent scaffolds
for bone tissue engineering were produced using our established dual-source
dual-power electrospinning technique to achieve both osteoconductivity and
osteoinductivity. In the bicomponent scaffolds, one fibrous component was
electrospun Ca-P/PLGA nanocomposite fibers and the other component was
emulsion electrospun PDLLA nanofibers incorporated with rhBMP-2. Through
electrospinning optimization, both fibers were evenly distributed in
bicomponent scaffolds. The mass ratio of rhBMP-2/PDLLA fibers to Ca-P/PLGA
fibers in bicomponent scaffolds could be controlled using multiple syringes.
The structure and morphology of mono- and bicomponent scaffolds were
examined. The in vitro release of rhBMP-2 from mono- and
bicomponent scaffolds showed different release amount but similar release
profile, exhibiting an initial burst release. Blending PDLLA with
polyethylene glycol (PEG) could reduce the initial burst release of