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Cannabis is the world's most widely used illicit drug. It can impair verbal learning and induce psychosis, both acutely and possibly following long term use. But, where cannabis acts in the brain to impair verbal learning and induce psychotic symptoms is unclear. The aim of this study was to clarify how one of the main psychoactive ingredients of cannabis, delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) acts on the brain to impair verbal learning and induce psychotic symptoms.
15 healthy males with minimal exposure to cannabis, were studied on 2 occasions approximately 1 month apart, following oral administration of 10mg of THC or placebo 1 hour prior to scanning, in a double-blind design. MR images were acquired on a 1.5T GE camera while subjects performed a Verbal paired associates task with separate encoding followed by retrieval conditions, with the conditions repeated in the same sequence 4 times. We examined the main effects of drug, task and drug- task interactions.
Administration of THC abolished the normal linear decrement in parahippocampal activation across successive encoding blocks and was associated with a trend for impaired word recall. Administration of THC also altered the normal time-dependent change in ventral striatal activation during retrieval of word pairs which was directly correlated with concurrently induced psychotic symptoms.
These results suggest that impairment in learning and verbal memory associated with cannabis use may be mediated through its action in the medial temporal cortex while psychotic symptoms may be induced through its action in the ventral striatum.
There is considerable interest in the therapeutic potential of Cannabidiol (CBD), the second most abundant component of Cannabis. While delta-9-THC, the main psychoactive ingredient of cannabis, impairs memory and induces anxiety and psychotic symptoms acutely and increases the risk of psychotic disorders in regular cannabis users, CBD does not impair memory, may have anxiolytic and possibly antipsychotic effects. Hence, we compared directly the acute neural effects of these two active ingredients of cannabis, by combining pharmacological challenge with fMRI. Using a double-blind, repeated measures design and oral challenge with 10mg of delta-9-THC, 600mg of CBD or placebo in 15 healthy volunteers, we examined whether delta-9-THC and CBD have opposing effects on the neural substrates of verbal memory and fear processing and whether they also have opposing effects on the neural substrates of anxiety and psychotic symptoms induced by delta-9-THC. Delta-9-THC induced anxiety and psychotic symptoms acutely while there was a trend for a reduction in anxiety but no change in psychotic symptoms with CBD. During the memory task, delta-9-THC attenuated and CBD increased activation in the striatum bilaterally. Effect of delta-9-THC on striatal activation was inversely correlated with the psychotic symptoms induced by it concomitantly. During the processing of fearful faces, delta-9-THC increased and CBD attenuated activation in the amygdala and these effects correlated with their anxiogenic and anxiolytic effects respectively. These opposing effects of CBD on the key neural substrates for psychotic symptoms and anxiety induced by delta-9-THC may suggest its possible therapeutic role in countering these conditions.
Cannabis has well established effects on cognitive processing but the neural basis of these is unclear. We used functional neuroimaging to investigate this, focusing on tasks that engaged verbal memory and response inhibition.
Subjects were 15 healthy males who had used cannabis < 25 times in their lifetime. Each subject was studied on 3 occasions, and was given either THC, CBD or placebo 1 hour prior to scanning, in a double-blind design. The order of drug administration was randomised and there was 1 month between each scanning session. During each session, images were acquired on a 1.5T GE camera while subjects performed a verbal paired associates memory task and a Go/No Go task. The modulatory effects of THC and CBD relative to placebo were examined by comparing activation during each task.
During the encoding phase of the memory task THC attenuated activation in the left temporal cortex compared to placebo. During the go-no go task, THC attenuated activation in the right inferior frontal cortex. Neither of these effects were attributable to differences in behavioural performance, sedation, or intoxication. The severity of psychotic symptoms provoked by THC was a function of its effect on right inferior frontal activation during response inhibition.
The effects of cannabis on verbal memory and motor control may be mediated through the influence of THC on left temporal and right inferior frontal activity, respectively. The induction of psychotic symptoms by cannabis may reflect an effect of THC on right inferior frontal activity.
The study sought to examine the neurophysiological effects of cannabidiol (CBD) on the emotional processing using functional Magnetic Resonance Imaging (fMRI).
Fifteen healthy male participants (age range 18-35) with a lifetime exposure to cannabis of 15 times or less were recruited in a double blind event-related fMRI design. Prior to each scanning session, participants were given an oral dose of either 600mg CBD or a placebo. The blood levels of drugs were monitored via an intravenous line, while systolic and diastolic blood pressure and heart rate (beats per minute) were recorded manually. During the scan, subjects were presented with 10 different facial identities, each identity expressing 50% or 100% intensities of fear or a neutral expression. Neuropsychological performance and symptoms ratings were recorded at baseline, immediately before scanning (1 hr), immediately after scanning (2 hr), and one hour post scanning (3 hr).
CBD had no significant effect on the gender discrimination task. Reaction times were significantly faster when processing 100% fearful faces than compared to 50% fearful and neutral faces. CBD had a significant effect on brain activation in response to faces with emotional expressions, decreasing activation in the right posterior cingulate gyrus and in the right cerebellum, when compared to placebo. Furthermore, a significant interaction effect was observed. In the right cingulate gyrus CBD attenuated activation during the processing of intense fearful faces but had no effect of neural response to neutral or mild fearful faces.
CBD significantly modulates the neurophysiological response associated with anxiety.
This study examined the effect of Delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) and cannabidiol (CBD) on brain activation during a motor inhibition task.
Functional magnetic resonance imaging and behavioural measures were recorded while 15 healthy volunteers performed a Go/No-Go task following administration of either THC or CBD or placebo in a double-blind, pseudo-randomized, placebo-controlled repeated measures within-subject design.
Relative to placebo, THC attenuated activation in the right inferior frontal and the anterior cingulate gyrus. In contrast, CBD deactivated the left temporal cortex and insula. These effects were not related to changes in anxiety, intoxication, sedation, and psychotic symptoms.
These data suggest that THC attenuates the engagement of brain regions that mediate response inhibition. CBD modulated function in regions not usually implicated in response inhibition.
With regards to the neurocognitive deficits and cognitive bias of schizophrenic disorders, it may be hypothesized that these patients suffer a deficit in recognizing helping intentions in others. To investigate help recognition, new technologies allowing to control an interaction with virtual affective agents were used with an adaptation of a previously described card-guessing paradigm (project COMPARSE ANR-11-EMCO-0007). We investigated whether the same game proposed successively by two virtual agents asking either empathetic (i.e. on the subject's feelings) or non-empathetic (i.e. on technical aspects of the game) questions to the participant would elicit different interpretations on their intentions. Dependent variables consisted of monetary allocation to the virtual agent, of questionnaires assessing the agent's help, interest, attention, etc. A group of 20 individuals with schizophrenia and one of 20 healthy controls, matched on gender, with comparable age, estimated verbal-IQ and educational level were recruited. The healthy subjects’ ratings of the virtual agent's behavior demonstrated that they interpreted empathetic questioning as helping and rewarded it positively with an increased monetary allocation. Schizophrenic patients had a qualitatively reduced perception of the differences between the two agents. Only the rating concerning the “interest/attention” of the agent toward them exhibited medium effect size when contrasting conditions. Hypothetically, schizophrenic patients take into account the fact they are the object of another's attention, but may fail to infer the intentional meaning and to provide an increased monetary allocation.
Disclosure of interest
The authors have not supplied their declaration of competing interest.
Compulsive buying behavior (CBB) is receiving increasing consideration in both consumer and psychiatric-epidemiological research, yet empirical evidence on treatment interventions is scarce and mostly from small homogeneous clinical samples.
To estimate the short-term effectiveness of a standardized, individual cognitive behavioral therapy intervention (CBT) in a sample of n = 97 treatment-seeking patients diagnosed with CBB, and to identify the most relevant predictors of therapy outcome.
The intervention consisted of 12 individual CBT weekly sessions, lasting approximately 45 minutes each. Data on patients’ personality traits, psychopathology, sociodemographic factors, and compulsive buying behavior were used in our analysis.
The risk (cumulative incidence) of poor adherence to the CBT program was 27.8%. The presence of relapses during the CBT program was 47.4% and the dropout rate was 46.4%. Significant predictors of poor therapy adherence were being male, high levels of depression and obsessive-compulsive symptoms, low anxiety levels, high persistence, high harm avoidance and low self-transcendence.
Cognitive behavioral models show promise in treating CBB, however future interventions for CBB should be designed via a multidimensional approach in which patients’ sex, comorbid symptom levels and the personality-trait profiles play a central role.
The increase of contact between natural and rural areas is prominent in Brazil, due to agricultural activities and concern with the environmental conservation. In this context, domestic animals, wild fauna and humans are exposed to mutual exchange of parasites, microorganisms and diseases. We studied tick parasitism of wild carnivores and domestic dogs, and the environmental of questing ticks, in extensive cattle ranch areas intermingled with natural vegetation, and in a natural reserve, both in a region of Cerrado biome, Midwestern Brazil. From 2008 to 2015, we inspected 119 wild carnivores from nine species, and collected six tick species (Amblyomma sculptum, Amblyomma ovale, Amblyomma dubitatum, Amblyomma tigrinum, Dermacentor nitens and Rhipicephalus microplus). The most numerous and infested hosts were Cerdocyon thous, Lycalopex vetulus, Chrysocyon brachyurus, Puma concolor and Conepatus amazonicus. From 139 domestic dogs, we collected A. sculptum, Rhipicephalus sanguineus and R. microplus. From vegetation, samplings resulted in A. sculptum, A. dubitatum, A. ovale, Amblyomma rotundatum and R. microplus, with dominance of A. sculptum. Domestics and wild animals presented high overlapping of infestations by A. sculptum, a generalist and anthropophilic tick species. This tick is the most important vector of the Brazilian spotted fever, a lethal human disease. This fact elicits attention and requires efforts to monitor the presence of pathogens vectored by ticks circulating in this type of agroecosystem, including in other regions of the Brazil, because the most of the natural vegetation remaining have been increasingly immersed in pastures and agricultural matrix.
Animals living close to human settlements more often experience disturbance, but also reduced predation risk. Because an escape response is costly, behavioural adjustments of animals in terms of increased tolerance of humans occurs and is often reported in the literature. However, most such studies have been conducted in and around long-existing cities in Europe and North America, on well-established animal populations. Here, we investigate the degree of tolerance of human disturbance across 132 bird species occurring in disturbed (small farms) and undisturbed (intact wetlands and grasslands) areas in Pantanal, Mato Grosso (Brazil), a region with only a very recent history of human-induced disturbance. We found a clear across-species trend toward higher tolerance of human disturbance in birds near farms when compared with birds in wild areas. Such a flexible and perhaps also rapid emergence of tolerance when facing small-scale and very recent human disturbance presumably involves learning and might be attributed to behavioural plasticity. The ability of birds to modify their degree of tolerance of human disturbance may play a key role in the facilitation of wildlife–human coexistence.
The COllaborative project of Development of Anthropometrical measures in Twins (CODATwins) project is a large international collaborative effort to analyze individual-level phenotype data from twins in multiple cohorts from different environments. The main objective is to study factors that modify genetic and environmental variation of height, body mass index (BMI, kg/m2) and size at birth, and additionally to address other research questions such as long-term consequences of birth size. The project started in 2013 and is open to all twin projects in the world having height and weight measures on twins with information on zygosity. Thus far, 54 twin projects from 24 countries have provided individual-level data. The CODATwins database includes 489,981 twin individuals (228,635 complete twin pairs). Since many twin cohorts have collected longitudinal data, there is a total of 1,049,785 height and weight observations. For many cohorts, we also have information on birth weight and length, own smoking behavior and own or parental education. We found that the heritability estimates of height and BMI systematically changed from infancy to old age. Remarkably, only minor differences in the heritability estimates were found across cultural–geographic regions, measurement time and birth cohort for height and BMI. In addition to genetic epidemiological studies, we looked at associations of height and BMI with education, birth weight and smoking status. Within-family analyses examined differences within same-sex and opposite-sex dizygotic twins in birth size and later development. The CODATwins project demonstrates the feasibility and value of international collaboration to address gene-by-exposure interactions that require large sample sizes and address the effects of different exposures across time, geographical regions and socioeconomic status.
Childhood maltreatment (CM) plays an important role in the development of major depressive disorder (MDD). The aim of this study was to examine whether CM severity and type are associated with MDD-related brain alterations, and how they interact with sex and age.
Within the ENIGMA-MDD network, severity and subtypes of CM using the Childhood Trauma Questionnaire were assessed and structural magnetic resonance imaging data from patients with MDD and healthy controls were analyzed in a mega-analysis comprising a total of 3872 participants aged between 13 and 89 years. Cortical thickness and surface area were extracted at each site using FreeSurfer.
CM severity was associated with reduced cortical thickness in the banks of the superior temporal sulcus and supramarginal gyrus as well as with reduced surface area of the middle temporal lobe. Participants reporting both childhood neglect and abuse had a lower cortical thickness in the inferior parietal lobe, middle temporal lobe, and precuneus compared to participants not exposed to CM. In males only, regardless of diagnosis, CM severity was associated with higher cortical thickness of the rostral anterior cingulate cortex. Finally, a significant interaction between CM and age in predicting thickness was seen across several prefrontal, temporal, and temporo-parietal regions.
Severity and type of CM may impact cortical thickness and surface area. Importantly, CM may influence age-dependent brain maturation, particularly in regions related to the default mode network, perception, and theory of mind.
In this work, we present spectroscopic results of the variable star R Scuti, obtained during the campaign of measures led in 2016 at the Oukaimeden observatory in Morrocco. High resolution spectra (R ≍ 12 000) were obtained between 4289 Å and 7125 Å. This intensive observing campaign spanned over 26 nights from June to November 2016.
Karlsruhe Institute of Technology (KIT) is doing research and development in the field of megawatt-class radio frequency (RF) sources (gyrotrons) for the Electron Cyclotron Resonance Heating (ECRH) systems of the International Thermonuclear Experimental Reactor (ITER) and the DEMOnstration Fusion Power Plant that will follow ITER. In the focus is the development and verification of the European coaxial-cavity gyrotron technology which shall lead to gyrotrons operating at an RF output power significantly larger than 1 MW CW and at an operating frequency above 200 GHz. A major step into that direction is the final verification of the European 170 GHz 2 MW coaxial-cavity pre-prototype at longer pulses up to 1 s. It bases on the upgrade of an already existing highly modular short-pulse (ms-range) pre-prototype. That pre-prototype has shown a world record output power of 2.2 MW already. This paper summarizes briefly the already achieved experimental results using the short-pulse pre-prototype and discusses in detail the design and manufacturing process of the upgrade of the pre-prototype toward longer pulses up to 1 s.
To evaluate the impact of discontinuing routine contact precautions (CP) for endemic methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) and vancomycin-resistant Enterococcus (VRE) on hospital adverse events.
Academic medical center with single-occupancy rooms.
We compared hospital reportable adverse events 1 year before and 1 year after discontinuation of routine CP for endemic MRSA and VRE (preintervention and postintervention periods, respectively). Throughout the preintervention period, daily chlorhexidine gluconate bathing was expanded to nearly all inpatients. Chart reviews were performed to identify which patients and events were associated with CP for MRSA/VRE in the preintervention period as well as the patients that would have met prior criteria for MRSA/VRE CP but were not isolated in the postintervention period. Adverse events during the 2 periods were compared using segmented and mixed-effects Poisson regression models.
There were 24,732 admissions in the preintervention period and 25,536 in the postintervention period. Noninfectious adverse events (ie, postoperative respiratory failure, hemorrhage/hematoma, thrombosis, wound dehiscence, pressure ulcers, and falls or trauma) decreased by 19% (12.3 to 10.0 per 1,000 admissions, P=.022) from the preintervention to the postintervention period. There was no significant difference in the rate of infectious adverse events after CP discontinuation (20.7 to 19.4 per 1,000 admissions, P=.33). Patients with MRSA/VRE showed the largest reduction in noninfectious adverse events after CP discontinuation, with a 72% reduction (21.4 to 6.08 per 1,000 MRSA/VRE admissions; P<.001).
After discontinuing routine CP for endemic MRSA/VRE, the rate of noninfectious adverse events declined, especially in patients who no longer required isolation. This suggests that elimination of CP may substantially reduce noninfectious adverse events.
Introduction: Prehospital blood transfusion has been adopted by many civilian helicopter emergency medical service (HEMS) agencies and early outcomes are positive. Shock Trauma Air Rescue Service (STARS) operates six bases in Western Canada and in 2013 implemented a prehospital transfusion program. We describe the processes and standard work ensuring safe storage, administration, and stewardship of this precious resource. Our aim was to produce a sustainable and safe blood storage system that could be carried on each mission flown. Methods: Close collaboration with transfusion services and adherence to Canadian Transfusion Standards was key at each step of development. An inexpensive, reusable, temperature controlled thermal packaging device was obtained along with an electronic temperature logger. Conditioning of the device and temperature maintenance (1 6C) was tested to ensure safe storage conditions. Online training programs were developed for air medical crew (AMC) as well as transport physicians (TPs) regarding administration indications, safety, and stewardship processes. Blood traceability and usage was monitored on an ongoing basis for quality assurance. Results: Two units of O negative packed red blood cells (pRBCs) are now carried on each flight. The blood box is conditioned and prepared by transfusion services for routine exchange every 72 hours. If pRBCs are administered the blood bank is immediately notified for preparation of another cooler. Unused blood is returned to blood bank circulation. Conclusion: The introduction of the STARS blood on board program supports the provision of emergent transfusion to selected patients in the pre-hospital environment. Our standard work and stewardship processes minimize wastage of blood products while keeping it readily available for critically ill and injured patients. Subsequent work will aim to describe characteristics and patient centred outcomes.
From 2000 to 2009, rates of multidrug-resistant Acinetobacter baumanii increased 10-fold to 0.2 per 1,000 patient days. From 2010 to 2015, however, rates markedly declined and have stayed below 0.05 per 1,000 patient days. Herein, we present a 15-year trend analysis and discuss interventions that may have led to the decline.
Multimorbidity is common but little is known about its relationship with obstructive sleep apnea (OSA).
Men Androgen Inflammation Lifestyle Environment and Stress Study participants underwent polysomnography. Chronic diseases (CDs) were determined by biomedical measurement (diabetes, dyslipidaemia, hypertension, obesity), or self-report (depression, asthma, cardiovascular disease, arthritis). Associations between CD count, multimorbidity, apnea-hyponea index (AHI) and OSA severity and quality-of-life (QoL; mental & physical component scores), were determined using multinomial regression analyses, after adjustment for age.
Of the 743 men participating in the study, overall 58% had multimorbidity (2+ CDs), and 52% had OSA (11% severe). About 70% of those with multimorbidity had undiagnosed OSA. Multimorbidity was associated with AHI and undiagnosed OSA. Elevated CD count was associated with higher AHI value and increased OSA severity.
We demonstrate an independent association between the presence of OSA and multimorbidity in this representative sample of community-based men. This effect was strongest in men with moderate to severe OSA and three or more CDs, and appeared to produce a greater reduction in QoL when both conditions were present together.