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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.
Better understanding of interplay among symptoms, cognition and functioning in first-episode psychosis (FEP) is crucial to promoting functional recovery. Network analysis is a promising data-driven approach to elucidating complex interactions among psychopathological variables in psychosis, but has not been applied in FEP.
This study employed network analysis to examine inter-relationships among a wide array of variables encompassing psychopathology, premorbid and onset characteristics, cognition, subjective quality-of-life and psychosocial functioning in 323 adult FEP patients in Hong Kong. Graphical Least Absolute Shrinkage and Selection Operator (LASSO) combined with extended Bayesian information criterion (BIC) model selection was used for network construction. Importance of individual nodes in a generated network was quantified by centrality analyses.
Our results showed that amotivation played the most central role and had the strongest associations with other variables in the network, as indexed by node strength. Amotivation and diminished expression displayed differential relationships with other nodes, supporting the validity of two-factor negative symptom structure. Psychosocial functioning was most strongly connected with amotivation and was weakly linked to several other variables. Within cognitive domain, digit span demonstrated the highest centrality and was connected with most of the other cognitive variables. Exploratory analysis revealed no significant gender differences in network structure and global strength.
Our results suggest the pivotal role of amotivation in psychopathology network of FEP and indicate its critical association with psychosocial functioning. Further research is required to verify the clinical significance of diminished motivation on functional outcome in the early course of psychotic illness.
There are no definite guidelines regarding the most adequate steroid regimens for acute acoustic trauma.
To elucidate the dose-dependent differing benefits of oral steroids on hearing improvement following acute acoustic trauma.
Twenty-nine patients treated with oral steroids following a diagnosis of unilateral acute acoustic trauma were retrospectively reviewed. Patients were sorted into two groups with an oral steroid regimen. Group 1 received a 14-day course of treatment: 60 mg prednisolone daily for 10 days, tapering off over days 11–14. Group 2 received prednisolone for a total of 10 days: 60 mg for 5 days, tapering down each day for the remainder. Multivariable linear regression analysis was performed to evaluate the factors associated with the hearing gain.
In the multivariable regression (R2 = 0.51, p < 0.001), patients in group 1 showed more significant improvement in the degree of hearing gain compared to group 2 (p = 0.03).
After comparing the differing benefits of oral steroids on hearing improvement by dosage, we recommend a high dose of prednisolone (60 mg per day) for 10 days, tapering over the remaining 4 days, for better hearing recovery following acute acoustic trauma.
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.
β-Casomorphin is an opioid-like bioactive peptide derived from β-casein of milk that plays a crucial role in modulating animal’s feed intake, growth, nutrient utilization and immunity. However, the effect of β-casomorphin on lipid metabolism in chickens and its mechanism remain unclear. The aim of this study was to investigate the effects of β-casomorphin on fat deposition in broiler chickens and explore its mechanism of action. A total of 120 21-day-old Arbor Acres male broilers (747.94±8.85 g) was chosen and randomly divided into four groups with six replicates of five birds per replicate. Three groups of broilers were injected with 0.1, 0.5 or 1.0 mg/kg BW of β-casomorphin in 1 ml saline for 7 days, whereas the control group received 1 ml saline only. The results showed that subcutaneous administration of β-casomorphin to broiler chickens increased average daily gain, average daily feed intake and fat deposition, and decreased feed : gain ratio (P<0.05). The activity of malate dehydrogenase in the pectoral muscle, liver and abdominal adipose tissue was also increased along with the concentrations of insulin, very-low-density lipoprotein and triglyceride in the plasma (P<0.05). The activity of hormone-sensitive lipase in the liver and abdominal adipose tissue and the concentration of glucagon in the plasma were decreased by injection with β-casomorphin (P<0.05). Affymetrix gene chip analysis revealed that administering 1.0 mg/kg BW β-casomorphin caused differential expression of 168 genes in the liver with a minimum of fourfold difference. Of those, 37 genes are directly involved in lipid metabolism with 18 up-regulated genes such as very low density lipoprotein receptor gene and fatty acid synthase gene, and 19 down-regulated genes such as lipoprotein lipase gene and low density lipoprotein receptor gene. In conclusion, β-casomorphin increased growth performance and fat deposition of broilers. Regulation of fat deposition by β-casomorphin appears to take place through changes in hormone secretion and enzyme activities by controlling the gene expression of lipid metabolism and feed intake, increasing fat synthesis and deposition.
Nasal irrigation is commonly performed in patients with chronic rhinosinusitis after functional endoscopic sinus surgery. This study systematically assessed the clinical efficacy of nasal irrigation from the medical literature.
The PubMed, Embase and Cochrane Central Register of Controlled Trials databases were searched using a comprehensive strategy, limited to English-language articles, published from October 1971 to March 2017, and comprising human subjects.
A total of 824 trials were identified, 5 of which, involving 331 participants, were included in this systematic review. After selection, only three trials were eligible for inclusion in a meta-analysis. Nasal irrigation using normal saline and various solutions was found to be effective in reducing symptom scores and endoscopic scores for chronic rhinosinusitis patients after functional endoscopic sinus surgery. Comparison of outcome measures, such as eosinophil count reduction, revealed that various solutions are more effective than normal saline alone; however, no statistical significance was found in terms of reduced symptom or endoscopic scores.
Based on the current limited evidence, nasal irrigation is an effective therapy for chronic rhinosinusitis patients after functional endoscopic sinus surgery. However, when comparing various solutions with normal saline, no significant difference was found in symptom scores or endoscopic scores.
There has recently been an increased interest in mental health indicators for the monitoring of population wellbeing, which is among the targets of Sustainable Development Goals adopted by the United Nations. Levels of subjective wellbeing and suicide rates have been proposed as indicators of population mental health, but prior research is limited.
Data on individual happiness and life satisfaction were sourced from a population-based survey in Hong Kong (2011). Suicide data were extracted from Coroner's Court files (2005–2013). Area characteristic variables included local poverty rate and four factors derived from a factor analysis of 21 variables extracted from the 2011 census. The associations between mean happiness and life satisfaction scores and suicide rates were assessed using Pearson correlation coefficient at two area levels: 18 districts and 30 quantiles of large street blocks (LSBs; n = 1620). LSB is a small area unit with a higher level of within-unit homogeneity compared with districts. Partial correlations were used to control for area characteristics.
Happiness and life satisfaction demonstrated weak inverse associations with suicide rate at the district level (r = −0.32 and −0.36, respectively) but very strong associations at the LSB quantile level (r = −0.83 and −0.84, respectively). There were generally very weak or weak negative correlations across sex/age groups at the district level but generally moderate to strong correlations at the LSB quantile level. The associations were markedly attenuated or became null after controlling for area characteristics.
Subjective wellbeing is strongly associated with suicide at a small area level; socioeconomic factors can largely explain this association. Socioeconomic factors could play an important role in determining the wellbeing of the population, and this could inform policies aimed at enhancing population wellbeing.
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.
Knowledge, attitudes and practices (KAP) of the population regarding severe fever with thrombocytopenia syndrome (SFTS) in endemic areas of Lu'an in China were assessed before and after an intervention programme. The pre-intervention phase was conducted using a sample of 425 participants from the 12 selected villages with the highest rates of endemic SFTS infection. A predesigned interview questionnaire was used to assess KAP. Subsequently, an intervention programme was designed and applied in the selected villages. KAP was re-assessed for each population in the selected villages using the same interview questionnaire. Following 2 months of the programme, 339 participants had completed the re-assessed survey. The impact of the intervention programme was evaluated using suitable statistical methods. A significant increase in the KAP and total KAP scores was noted following the intervention programme, whereas the proportion of correct knowledge, the positive attitudes and the effective practices toward SFTS of respondents increased significantly. The intervention programme was effective in improving KAP level of SFTS in populations that were resident in endemic areas.
This study presents a new groove profile using the slant groove depth arrangements to enhance the performance of micro-HGJBs. The computational analysis was based on the steady-state three-dimensional conservation equations of mass and momentum in conjunction with the cavitation model to examine the complex lubricated flow field. The simulated results of load capacity and circumferential pressure distribution of lubricant film are in good agreement with the measurement data and the predictions cited in the literature. Numerical experiments were extended to determine the pressure distribution, load capacity, radial stiffness and friction torque by varying the slant ratio of groove depth, eccentricity ratio, rotational speed and attitude angle. The cavitation extent of lubricant film was also studied for different slant groove patterns.
A family of structure-dependent integration methods has been proposed by Gui et al. for time integration. Although it has desirable numerical properties, such as unconditional stability, explicit formulation and second-order accuracy, it has some adverse properties, such as a poor capability to capture structural nonlinearity, an overshoot in a high frequency steady- state response and a weak instability in the high frequency response of nonzero initial conditions. The causes of these adverse properties are explored. A poor capability to capture structural nonlinearity may originate from the convergence rate of 1 in velocity error. This family method has an overshoot in a high frequency steady-state response and this overshoot can be eliminated by adding a load-dependent term into the displacement difference equation. It is also analytically verified that the family method generally has no weak instability. However, the special member with λ = 4, i.e., CR explicit method, is shown to have a weak instability. Thus, it must be prohibited from practical applications although many applications of this method were found in the literature.
Following the success of static analysis of free-free 2-D plane trusses by using a self-regularization approach uniquely, we further extend the technique to deal with 3-D problems of space trusses. The inherent singular stiffness of a free-free structure is expanded to a bordered matrix by adding r singular vectors corresponding to zero singular values, where r is the nullity of the singular stiffness matrix. Besides, r constraints are accompanied to result in a nonsingular matrix. Only the pure particular solution with nontrivial strain is then obtained but without the homogeneous solution of no deformation. To link with the Fredholm alternative theorem, the slack variables with zero values indicate the infinite solutions while those with nonzero values imply the case of no solutions. A simple space truss is used to demonstrate the validity of the proposed model. An alternative way of reasonable support system to result in a nonsingular stiffness matrix is also addressed. In addition, the finite-element commercial code ABAQUS is also implemented to check the results.
Macdunnoughia crassisigna Warren (Lepidoptera: Noctuidae) is a highly destructive herbivore that poses a serious risk to cotton, maize, soybean, and cruciferous vegetables in East Asia. Examining the effects of various biotic and abiotic factors on the flight performance of M. crassisigna is crucial for a better understanding of its trans-regional migration. In this study, the flight activity of M. crassisignai moths of different ages, under different temperatures and relative humidity (RH) levels, was evaluated by tethering individuals to computerized flight mills for a 24-h trial period. The results showed that M. crassisignai had the capacity for sustained flight and the flight ability was strongest in 3-day-old individuals, and then their flight performance decreased significantly in older moths. For both sexes, temperature had a significant effect on their flight performance, and the flight activity was relatively higher at 24–28°C than other temperatures. There was a significant effect of RH on all flight parameters of the tested moths, and the flight activity was relatively higher at RH of 60–75% than other RH levels. For 3-day-old moths under the optimum conditions (24°C and 75% RH) throughout the 24 h scotophase, their mean flight distance reached 66 km, and the mean flight duration reached 13.5 h, suggesting M. crassisigna possess strong potential to undertake long-distance migration. These findings will be helpful for developing sound forecasting systems of this pest species.
In recent years, compact camera modules (CCMs) have been widely used in consumer electrical and electronic products. CCMs with low cost specially are necessary for portable devices. Therefore, the present group recently developed a miniaturized open-loop controlled camera module with low cost for cellphone applications, in which the Lorentz force is balanced by a magnetic restoring force. To enhance the performance of the camera module, this article reports a pattern structure to modify the linearity of the magnetic restoring force. We fabricated a CCM prototype with the dimensions of 8.5 mm × 8.5 mm × 5 mm and demonstrated the usefulness of the pattern structure with the CCM prototype. Its potential applications are foreseeable in portable devices, such as cellphones, web cameras, personal digital assistants and other commercial electronics.
Poor insight is prevalent in patients with schizophrenia and has been associated with acute illness severity, medication non-adherence and poor treatment outcomes. Paradoxically, high insight has been associated with various undesirable outcomes, including low self-esteem, depression and low subjective quality of life (QoL) in patients with schizophrenia. Despite the growing body of studies conducted in Western countries supporting the pernicious effects of improved insight in psychosis, which bases on the level of self-stigma, the effects are unclear in non-Western societies. The current study examined the role of self-stigma in the relationship between insight and psychosocial outcomes in a Chinese population.
A total of 170 outpatients with schizophrenia spectrum disorders were recruited from two general university hospitals. Sociodemographic data and clinical variables were recorded and self-report scales were employed to measure self-stigma, depression, insight, self-esteem and subjective QoL. Structural equation modelling (SEM) was used to analyse the cross-sectional data.
High levels of self-stigma were reported by 39% of the participants (n = 67). The influences of insight, self-stigma, self-esteem and depression on subjective QoL were confirmed by the SEM results. Our model with the closest fit to the data (χ2 = 33.28; df = 20; p = 0.03; χ2/df = 1.66; CFI = 0.98; TLI = 0.97; RMSEA = 0.06) demonstrated that self-stigma might fully mediate the association of insight with low self-esteem, depression and poor subjective QoL. High insight into illness contributed to self-stigma, which caused low self-esteem and depression and, consequently, low QoL. Notably, insight did not directly affect self-esteem, depression or QoL. Furthermore, the association of insight with poor psychosocial outcomes was not moderated by self-stigma.
Our findings support the mediating model of insight relevant to the poor psychosocial outcomes of individuals diagnosed with schizophrenia in non-Western societies, in which self-stigma plays a pivotal role. These findings elucidate the direct and indirect effects of insight on psychosocial outcomes and imply that identifying and correcting self-stigma in people with schizophrenia could be beneficial. Additional studies are required to identify whether several other neurocognitive or psychosocial variables mediate or moderate the association of insight with self-esteem, depression and QoL in patients with schizophrenia. Studies with detailed longitudinal assessments are necessary to confirm our findings.
Better understanding of the complex interplay among key determinants of functional outcome is crucial to promoting recovery in psychotic disorders. However, this is understudied in the early course of illness. We aimed to examine the relationships among negative symptoms, neurocognition, general self-efficacy and global functioning in first-episode psychosis (FEP) patients using structural equation modeling (SEM).
Three hundred and twenty-one Chinese patients aged 26–55 years presenting with FEP to an early intervention program in Hong Kong were recruited. Assessments encompassing symptom profiles, functioning, perceived general self-efficacy and a battery of neurocognitive tests were conducted. Negative symptom measurement was subdivided into amotivation and diminished expression (DE) domain scores based on the ratings in the Scale for the Assessment of Negative Symptoms.
An initial SEM model showed no significant association between functioning and DE which was removed from further analysis. A final trimmed model yielded very good model fit (χ2 = 15.48, p = 0.63; comparative fit index = 1.00; root mean square error of approximation <0.001) and demonstrated that amotivation, neurocognition and general self-efficacy had a direct effect on global functioning. Amotivation was also found to mediate a significant indirect effect of neurocognition and general self-efficacy on functioning. Neurocognition was not significantly related to general self-efficacy.
Our results indicate a critical intermediary role of amotivation in linking neurocognitive impairment to functioning in FEP. General self-efficacy may represent a promising treatment target for improvement of motivational deficits and functional outcome in the early illness stage.