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To determine the preliminary feasibility, acceptability, and effects of Meaning-Centered Grief Therapy (MCGT) for parents who lost a child to cancer.
Parents who lost a child to cancer and who were between six months and six years after loss and reporting elevated levels of prolonged grief were enrolled in open trials of MCGT, a manualized, one-on-one cognitive-behavioral-existential intervention that used psychoeducation, experiential exercises, and structured discussion to explore themes related to meaning, identity, purpose, and legacy. Parents completed 16 weekly sessions, 60–90 minutes in length, either in person or through videoconferencing. Parents were administered measures of prolonged grief disorder symptoms, meaning in life, and other assessments of psychological adjustment preintervention, mid-intervention, postintervention, and at three months postintervention. Descriptive data from both the in-person and videoconferencing open trial were pooled.
Eight of 11 (72%) enrolled parents started the MCGT intervention, and six of eight (75%) participants completed all 16 sessions. Participants provided positive feedback about MCGT. Results showed postintervention longitudinal improvements in prolonged grief (d = 1.70), sense of meaning (d = 2.11), depression (d = 0.84), hopelessness (d = 1.01), continuing bonds with their child (d = 1.26), posttraumatic growth (ds = 0.29–1.33), positive affect (d = 0.99), and various health-related quality of life domains (d = 0.46–0.71). Most treatment gains were either maintained or increased at the three-month follow-up assessment.
Significance of results
Overall, preliminary data suggest that this 16-session, manualized cognitive-behavioral-existential intervention is feasible, acceptable, and associated with transdiagnostic improvements in psychological functioning among parents who have lost a child to cancer. Future research should examine MCGT with a larger sample in a randomized controlled trial.
In 785 mother–child (50% male) pairs from a longitudinal epidemiological birth cohort, we investigated associations between inflammation-related epigenetic polygenic risk scores (i-ePGS), environmental exposures, cognitive function, and child and adolescent internalizing and externalizing problems. We examined prenatal and postnatal effects. For externalizing problems, one prenatal effect was found: i-ePGS at birth associated with higher externalizing problems (ages 7–15) indirectly through lower cognitive function (age 7). For internalizing problems, we identified two effects. For a prenatal effect, i-ePGS at birth associated with higher internalizing symptoms via continuity in i-ePGS at age 7. For a postnatal effect, higher postnatal adversity exposure (birth through age 7) associated with higher internalizing problems (ages 7–15) via higher i-ePGS (age 7). Hence, externalizing problems were related mainly to prenatal effects involving lower cognitive function, whereas internalizing problems appeared related to both prenatal and postnatal effects. The present study supports a link between i-ePGS and child and adolescent mental health.
As approximately one-third of peer-victimized children evidence heightened aggression (Schwartz, Proctor, & Chien, 2001), it is imperative to identify the circumstances under which victimization and aggression co-develop. The current study explored two potential moderators of victimization–aggression linkages: (a) attentional bias toward cues signaling threat and (b) attentional bais toward cues communicating interpersonal support. Seventy-two fifth- and sixth-grade children (34 boys; Mage = 11.67) were eye tracked while watching video clips of bullying. Each scene included a bully, a victim, a reinforcer, and a defender. Children's victimization was measured using peer, parent, and teacher reports. Aggression was measured using peer reports of overt and relational aggression and teacher reports of aggression. Victimization was associated with greater aggression at high levels of attention to the bully. Victimization was also associated with greater aggression at low attention to the defender for boys, but at high attention to the defender for girls. Attention to the victim was negatively correlated with aggression regardless of victimization history. Thus, attentional biases to social cues integral to the bullying context differentiate whether victimization is linked to aggression, necessitating future research on the development of these biases and concurrent trajectories of sociobehavioral development.
Whether monozygotic (MZ) and dizygotic (DZ) twins differ from each other in a variety of phenotypes is important for genetic twin modeling and for inferences made from twin studies in general. We analyzed whether there were differences in individual, maternal and paternal education between MZ and DZ twins in a large pooled dataset. Information was gathered on individual education for 218,362 adult twins from 27 twin cohorts (53% females; 39% MZ twins), and on maternal and paternal education for 147,315 and 143,056 twins respectively, from 28 twin cohorts (52% females; 38% MZ twins). Together, we had information on individual or parental education from 42 twin cohorts representing 19 countries. The original education classifications were transformed to education years and analyzed using linear regression models. Overall, MZ males had 0.26 (95% CI [0.21, 0.31]) years and MZ females 0.17 (95% CI [0.12, 0.21]) years longer education than DZ twins. The zygosity difference became smaller in more recent birth cohorts for both males and females. Parental education was somewhat longer for fathers of DZ twins in cohorts born in 1990–1999 (0.16 years, 95% CI [0.08, 0.25]) and 2000 or later (0.11 years, 95% CI [0.00, 0.22]), compared with fathers of MZ twins. The results show that the years of both individual and parental education are largely similar in MZ and DZ twins. We suggest that the socio-economic differences between MZ and DZ twins are so small that inferences based upon genetic modeling of twin data are not affected.
UBV CCD photometry has been obtained for 14 OB associations in the Large and Small Magellanic Clouds. The data have been used to construct color-magnitude diagrams for the purpose of investigating the massive-star content of these extragalactic associations.
Low heart rate variability (HRV) predicts sudden cardiac death. Long-chain (LC) n-3 PUFA (C20–C22) status is positively associated with HRV. This cross-sectional study investigated whether vegans aged 40–70 years (n 23), whose diets are naturally free from EPA (20 : 5n-3) and DHA (22 : 6n-3), have lower HRV compared with omnivores (n 24). Proportions of LC n-3 PUFA in erythrocyte membranes, plasma fatty acids and concentrations of plasma LC n-3 PUFA-derived lipid mediators were significantly lower in vegans. Day-time interbeat intervals (IBI), adjusted for physical activity, age, BMI and sex, were significantly shorter in vegans compared with omnivores (mean difference −67 ms; 95 % CI −130, −3·4, P<0·05), but there were no significant differences over 24 h or during sleep. Vegans had higher overall HRV, measured as 24 h standard deviation of normal-to-normal intervals (SDNN) (mean adjusted difference 27 ms; 95 % CI 1, 52, P=0·039). Conversely, vegans presented with decreased 8 h day-time HRV: mean adjusted difference in SDNN −20 ms; 95 % CI −37, −3, P=0·021, with no differences during nocturnal sleep. Day-time parameters of beat-to-beat HRV (root of the mean of the sum of the squares of differences between adjacent normal-to-normal intervals, percentage of adjacent normal-to-normal intervals that differ by >50 % and high-frequency power) were similarly lower in vegans, with no differences during sleep. In conclusion, vegans have higher 24 h SDNN, but lower day-time HRV and shorter day-time IBI relative to comparable omnivores. Vegans may have reduced availability of precursor markers for pro-resolving lipid mediators; it remains to be determined whether there is a direct link with impaired cardiac function in populations with low-n-3 status.
Anxiety disorders are common, and cognitive–behavioural therapy (CBT) is a first-line treatment. Candidate gene studies have suggested a genetic basis to treatment response, but findings have been inconsistent.
To perform the first genome-wide association study (GWAS) of psychological treatment response in children with anxiety disorders (n = 980).
Presence and severity of anxiety was assessed using semi-structured interview at baseline, on completion of treatment (post-treatment), and 3 to 12 months after treatment completion (follow-up). DNA was genotyped using the Illumina Human Core Exome-12v1.0 array. Linear mixed models were used to test associations between genetic variants and response (change in symptom severity) immediately post-treatment and at 6-month follow-up.
No variants passed a genome-wide significance threshold (P=5×10–8) in either analysis. Four variants met criteria for suggestive significance (P<5×10–6) in association with response post-treatment, and three variants in the 6-month follow-up analysis.
This is the first genome-wide therapygenetic study. It suggests no common variants of very high effect underlie response to CBT. Future investigations should maximise power to detect single-variant and polygenic effects by using larger, more homogeneous cohorts.
Following the loss of a loved one to cancer, a significant subset of bereaved family members are at heightened risk for mental and physical health problems; however, these family members often “fall through the cracks” of the healthcare system. A brief, clinically useful self-report bereavement risk-screening tool could facilitate more effective identification of family members in need of psychosocial support before and after a cancer loss. Thus, the purpose of this study was to develop and refine the Bereavement Risk Inventory and Screening Questionnaire (BRISQ), a self-report bereavement screening tool, and to assess its utility using feedback from bereavement experts.
Quantitative and qualitative feedback from a panel of 15 clinical and research experts in bereavement was obtained through an online survey to identify the most clinically useful items and understand expert opinion on bereavement screening.
The qualitative and quantitative feedback were synthesized, resulting in a 22% reduction of the item pool. While there was a general consensus between experts on the most clinically useful risk factors for bereavement-related mental health challenges and on the utility of screening, they also offered feedback on language and formatting that guided substantial revisions to the BRISQ.
Significance of results:
These findings were utilized to refine the BRISQ in preparation for a second study to obtain family member feedback on the measure. By incorporating both expert and family member feedback, the intention is to create a screening tool that represents top clinical and research knowledge in bereavement in a way that effectively addresses barriers to care.
As this conference has attested to, cosmology is a rapidly maturing field, currently experiencing a very healthy and vigorous confrontation between theory and experiment. This rapid progress in many different areas of cosmology has not removed the longstanding interest in measuring many of the fundamental cosmological parameters - rather, the increasingly detailed predictions of current theory highlight the critical importance of independently, accurately measuring the cosmological parameters which define the basic model for the dynamical evolution of the Universe. I present here the final results of the Hubble Space Telescope (HST) Key Project to measure the Hubble constant, summarizing our method, the results and the uncertainties. The Key Project results are based on a Cepheid calibration of several secondary distance methods applied over the range of about 60 to 400 Mpc. Based on the Key Project Cepheid calibration and its application to five secondary methods (type Ia supernovae, the Tully-Fisher relation, surface brightness fluctuations, type II supernovae, and the fundamental plane for elliptical galaxies), a combined value of H0 = 72 ± 8 km/sec/Mpc is obtained. Comparing to current estimates of the ages of Galactic globular clusters, an age conflict is avoided for this high a value of H0 if we live in a Λ-dominated (or other form of dark energy) universe.
A Joint Discussion on the extragalactic distance scale and the Hubble constant took place fifteen years ago, at the 1982 XVIIIth General Assembly of the IAU, held in Patras, Greece. At that time, the newest applications of infrared photometers to Tully-Fisher measurements (Aaronson 1983) and Cepheid distances (Madore 1983) were reported. CCDs were just coming into use and had not yet been applied to extragalactic distance determinations; all of the extragalactic Cepheid distances were based on photographic Argelander (eye-estimated) photometry (Tammann and Sandage 1983 and references therein). No Cepheid distances to type Ia supernova-host galaxies were available.
A birth certificate is essential to exercising citizenship, yet vast numbers of poor people in developing countries have no official record of their existence. Few academic studies analyze the conditions under which governments come to document and certify births routinely, and those that do leave much to be explained, including why nontotalitarian governments at low to middle levels of economic development come to prioritize birth registration. This article draws attention to the impetus that welfare-building initiatives give to identity documentation. The empirical focus is on contemporary Latin America, where extensions in institutionalized social protection since the 1990s have increased the demand for and supply of birth registration, raising the life chances of the poor and building state infrastructure in the process. The authors' argument promises to have broader applicability as welfare states form in other developing regions.
The co-occurring development of internalizing and externalizing problems were examined in an inception cohort of 392 children diagnosed with autism spectrum disorder at age 3 who were assessed on four occasions. Results indicated that internalizing and externalizing problems were stable over time and highly comorbid. Joint trajectory analysis suggested that 13% of the sample followed a dual high-risk trajectory. High risk was not found to be associated with intellectual ability or autism spectrum disorder symptom severity but was linked to lower income and gender: more girls than boys were found in the high/stable internalizing problems trajectory. The results suggest that 1 in 4 preschoolers followed a trajectory of internalizing or externalizing problems (or a combination of the two) that could be characterized as clinically elevated.
We previously reported an association between 5HTTLPR genotype and
outcome following cognitive–behavioural therapy (CBT) in child anxiety
(Cohort 1). Children homozygous for the low-expression short-allele
showed more positive outcomes. Other similar studies have produced mixed
results, with most reporting no association between genotype and CBT
To replicate the association between 5HTTLPR and CBT outcome in child
anxiety from the Genes for Treatment study (GxT Cohort 2,
n = 829).
Logistic and linear mixed effects models were used to examine the
relationship between 5HTTLPR and CBT outcomes. Mega-analyses using both
cohorts were performed.
There was no significant effect of 5HTTLPR on CBT outcomes in Cohort 2.
Mega-analyses identified a significant association between 5HTTLPR and
remission from all anxiety disorders at follow-up (odds ratio 0.45,
P = 0.014), but not primary anxiety disorder
The association between 5HTTLPR genotype and CBT outcome did not
replicate. Short-allele homozygotes showed more positive treatment
outcomes, but with small, non-significant effects. Future studies would
benefit from utilising whole genome approaches and large, homogenous
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.