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Patients with generalized social anxiety disorder (SAD) avoid various social situations and can be reluctant to engage in in vivo exposure therapy. Highly personalized practising can be required before patients are ready to perform in vivo exposure. Virtual reality-based therapy could be beneficial for this group.
To assess the feasibility and potential effect of virtual reality-based cognitive behavioural therapy (VR-CBT) for patients with severe generalized SAD.
Fifteen patients with generalized SAD attended up to 16 VR-CBT sessions. Questionnaires on clinical and functional outcomes, and diary assessments on social activity, social anxiety and paranoia were completed at baseline, post-treatment and at 6-months follow-up.
Two patients dropped out of treatment. Improvements in social anxiety and quality of life were found at post-treatment. At follow-up, depressive symptoms had decreased, and the effect on social anxiety was maintained. With respect to diary assessments, social anxiety in company and paranoia were significantly reduced by post-treatment. These improvements were maintained at follow-up. No increase was observed in social activity.
This uncontrolled pilot study demonstrates the feasibility and treatment potential of VR-CBT in a difficult-to-treat group of patients with generalized SAD. Results suggest that VR-CBT may be effective in reducing anxiety as well as depression, and can increase quality of life.
The concept of exposure is ubiquitous in the research and practice of clinical psychology, most notably in cognitive-behavioural models. Yet there remains confusion and ambiguity around how exposure in ‘exposure therapy’ is characterised. Current definitions are found to be inadequate, as each identifies certain features of the exposure process but omits others. As such, an elaborated model of exposure is presented, referred to here as the re-exposure-extinction learning process. This process involves a complex causal situation consisting of clinical features (the cause/causes, C), acting upon a person (the field, F), to bring about re-exposure to anxiety-provoking stimuli and then extinction learning, leading, over time, to therapeutic change (the effect/effects, E). Importantly, re-exposure and extinction learning are two processes distinct from the therapeutic procedures (i.e., techniques and methods) used to bring them about. Furthermore, these processes are not inherently tied to a particular model of therapy or clinical intervention. They are, therefore, logically independent of the procedures used to facilitate them. Considering this reconceptualisation, we propose that working in the transference, a cornerstone of psychodynamic psychotherapy, can be understood as a complementary and effective method of facilitating the re-exposure-extinction learning process. We argue that this is achieved through enabling a person to repeatedly re-evaluate their fearful expectations as they manifest in the unfolding dynamics of the therapeutic relationship. Finally, some clinical implications indicated by this elaborated model are explored.
The Richter Scale measures the magnitude of a seismic occurrence, but it does not feasibly quantify the magnitude of the “disaster” at the point of impact in real humanitarian needs, based on United Nations International Strategy for Disaster Reduction (UNISDR; Geneva, Switzerland) 2009 Disaster Terminology. A Disaster Severity Index (DSI) similar to the Richter Scale and the Mercalli Scale has been formulated; this will quantify needs, holistically and objectively, in the hands of any stakeholders and even across timelines.
An agreed terminology in quantifying “disaster” matters; inconsistency in measuring it by stakeholders posed a challenge globally in formulating legislation and policies responding to it.
A quantitative, mathematical calculation which uses the median score percentage of 100% as a baseline, indicating the ability to cope within the local capacity, was used. Seventeen indicators were selected based on the UNISDR 2009 disaster definition of vulnerability and exposure and holistic approach as a pre-condition. The severity of the disaster is defined as the level of unmet needs. Thirty natural disasters were tested, retrospectively, and non-parametric tests were used to test the correlation of the DSI score against the indicators.
The findings showed that 20 out of 30 natural disasters tested fulfilled the inability to cope, within local capacity in disaster terminology. Non-parametric tests showed that there was a correlation between the 30 DSI scored and the indicators.
By computing a median fit percentage score of 100% as the ability to cope, and the correlation of the 17 indicators, in this DSI Scale, 20 natural disasters fitted into the disaster definition. This DSI will enable humanitarian stakeholders to measure and compare the severity of the disaster objectively, as well as enable future response to be based on needs.
YewYY, Castro DelgadoR, HeslopDJ, Arcos GonzálezP. The Yew Disaster Severity Index: A New Tool in Disaster Metrics. Prehosp Disaster Med. 2019;34(1):8–19.
To explore the associations of absolute and relative measures of exposure to food retailers with dietary patterns, using simpler and more complex measures.
Urban regions in Belgium, France, Hungary, the Netherlands and the UK.
European adults (n 4942). Supermarkets and local food shops were classified as ‘food retailers providing healthier options’; fast-food/takeaway restaurants, cafés/bars and convenience/liquor stores as ‘food retailers providing less healthy options’. Simpler exposure measures used were density of healthy and density of less healthy food retailers. More complex exposure measures used were: spatial access (combination of density and proximity) to healthy and less healthy food retailers; density of healthier food retailers relative to all food retailers; and a ratio of spatial access scores to healthier and less healthy food retailers. Outcome measures were a healthy or less healthy dietary pattern derived from a principal component analysis (based on consumption of fruits, vegetables, fish, fast foods, sweets and sweetened beverages).
Only the highest density of less healthy food retailers was significantly associated with the less healthy dietary pattern (β = −129·6; 95 % CI −224·3, −34·8). None of the other absolute density measures nor any of the relative measures of exposures were associated with dietary patterns.
More complex measures of exposure to food retailers did not produce stronger associations with dietary patterns. We had some indication that absolute and relative measures of exposure assess different aspects of the food environment. However, given the lack of significant findings, this needs to be further explored.
The aims of this study were to describe which and when food textures are offered to children between 4 and 36 months in France and to identify the associated factors. An online cross-sectional survey was designed, including questions about 188 food texture combinations representing three texture levels: purées (T1), soft small pieces (T2) and hard/large pieces and double textures (T3). Mothers indicated which combinations they already offered to their child. A food texture exposure score (TextExp) was calculated for all of the texture levels combined and for each texture level separately. Associations between TextExp and maternal and child characteristics and feeding practices were explored by multiple linear regressions, per age class. Answers from 2999 mothers living in France, mostly educated and primiparous, were analysed. Over the first year, children were mainly exposed to purées. Soft and small pieces were slowly introduced between 6 and 22 months, whereas hard/large pieces were mainly introduced from 13 months onwards. TextExp was positively associated with children’s number of teeth and ability to eat alone with their finger or a fork. For almost all age classes, TextExp was higher in children introduced to complementary feeding earlier, lower for children who were offered only commercial baby foods and higher for those who were offered only home-made/non-specific foods during the second year. Our study shows that until 12 months of age the majority of French children were exposed to pieces to a small extent. It provides new insights to further understand the development of texture acceptance during a key period for the development of eating habits.
Background: Exposure is an effective intervention in the treatment of pathological anxiety, but it is insufficiently disseminated. Therapists’ negative attitudes towards exposure might be of relevance when considering factors contributing to the non-application of this intervention. Aims: In order to be able to measure concerns in German-speaking therapist populations, the study aimed at validating a German version of the Therapist Beliefs about Exposure Scale.Method: The scale was translated into the German language and validated in a sample of 330 German licensed cognitive behavioural therapists. Results: In the present sample, the mean total score was significantly lower than in the original study including US-American therapists. Confirmatory factor analysis did not confirm the proposed one-factor model, while the exploratory factor analysis indicated that more than one factor is necessary to explain the structure of negative attitudes towards exposure. The internal consistency was high. Higher scores (more negative beliefs) were significantly correlated with older age, holding a master's degree (vs PhD), not being specialized in the treatment of anxiety disorders and with less experience with performance of exposure gained during clinical training. Negative beliefs about exposure were further associated with the self-reported average number of sessions spent on exposure in current treatment of post-traumatic stress disorder and panic disorder, and with negative attitudes towards application of exposure sessions presented in case vignettes. Conclusions: The German adaptation provides the opportunity of measuring concerns regarding application of exposure in German-speaking therapist populations. However, the presented data reveal suggestions for further scale development.
Recent research documents the adverse causal impacts on health and productivity of extreme heat, which will worsen with climate change. In this paper, we assess the current distribution of heat exposure within countries, to explore possible distributional consequences of climate change through temperature. Combining survey data from 690,745 households across 52 countries with spatial data on climate, this paper suggests that the welfare impacts of added heat stress may be regressive within countries. We find: (1) a strong negative correlation between household wealth and warmer temperature in many hot countries; (2) a strong positive correlation between household wealth and warmer temperatures in many cold countries; and (3) that poorer individuals are more likely to work in occupations with greater exposure. While our analysis is descriptive rather than causal, our results suggest a larger vulnerability of poor people to heat extremes, and potentially significant distributional and poverty implications of climate change.
People living in poverty are particularly vulnerable to shocks, including those caused by natural disasters such as floods and droughts. This paper analyses household survey data and hydrological riverine flood and drought data for 52 countries to find out whether poor people are disproportionally exposed to floods and droughts, and how this exposure may change in a future climate. We find that poor people are often disproportionally exposed to droughts and floods, particularly in urban areas. This pattern does not change significantly under future climate scenarios, although the absolute number of people potentially exposed to floods or droughts can increase or decrease significantly, depending on the scenario and region. In particular, many countries in Africa show a disproportionally high exposure of poor people to floods and droughts. For these hotspots, implementing risk-sensitive land-use and development policies that protect poor people should be a priority.
Campylobacteriosis, the most frequent bacterial enteric disease, shows a clear yet unexplained seasonality. The study purpose was to explore the influence of seasonal fluctuation in the contamination of and in the behaviour exposures to two important sources of Campylobacter on the seasonality of campylobacteriosis. Time series analyses were applied to data collected through an integrated surveillance system in Canada in 2005–2010. Data included sporadic, domestically-acquired cases of Campylobacter jejuni infection, contamination of retail chicken meat and of surface water by C. jejuni, and exposure to each source through barbequing and swimming in natural waters. Seasonal patterns were evident for all variables with a peak in summer for human cases and for both exposures, in fall for chicken meat contamination, and in late fall for water contamination. Time series analyses showed that the observed campylobacteriosis summer peak could only be significantly linked to behaviour exposures rather than sources contamination (swimming rather than water contamination and barbequing rather than chicken meat contamination). The results indicate that the observed summer increase in human cases may be more the result of amplification through more frequent risky exposures rather than the result of an increase of the Campylobacter source contamination.
The relationship between sildenafil dosing, exposure, and systemic hypotension in infants is incompletely understood.
The aim of this study was to characterise the relationship between predicted sildenafil exposure and hypotension in hospitalised infants.
We extracted information on sildenafil dosing and clinical characteristics from electronic health records of 348 neonatal ICUs from 1997 to 2013, and we predicted drug exposure using a population pharmacokinetic model.
We identified 232 infants receiving sildenafil at a median dose of 3.2 mg/kg/day (2.0, 6.0). The median steady-state area under the concentration–time curve over 24 hours (AUC24,SS) and maximum concentration of sildenafil (Cmax,SS,SIL) were 712 ng×hour/ml (401, 1561) and 129 ng/ml (69, 293), respectively. Systemic hypotension occurred in 9% of the cohort. In multivariable analysis, neither dosing nor exposure were associated with systemic hypotension: odds ratio=0.96 (95% confidence interval: 0.81, 1.14) for sildenafil dose; 0.87 (0.59, 1.28) for AUC24,SS; 1.19 (0.78, 1.82) for Cmax,SS,SIL.
We found no association between sildenafil dosing or exposure with systemic hypotension. Continued assessment of sildenafil’s safety profile in infants is warranted.
Our understanding of the dynamics of post-traumatic stress symptomatology and its link to functional impairment over time is limited.
Post-traumatic stress symptomatology (Post-traumatic Checklist, PCL) was assessed three times in 1-year increments (T1, T2, T3) following the Oslo bombing of 22 July, 2011, in directly (n = 257) and indirectly exposed (n = 2223) government employees, together with demographics, measures of exposure and work and social adjustment. The dynamics of post-traumatic stress disorder symptom cluster interplay were examined within a structural equation modelling framework using a cross-lagged autoregressive panel model.
Intrusions at T1 played a prominent role in predicting all symptom clusters at T2 for the directly exposed group, exhibiting especially strong cross-lagged relationships with avoidance and anxious arousal. For the indirectly exposed group, dysphoric arousal at T1 played the most prominent role in predicting all symptom clusters at T2, exhibiting a strong relationship with emotional numbing. Emotional numbing seemed to be the main driver behind prolonged stress at T3 for both groups. Functional impairment was predominately associated with dysphoric arousal and emotional numbing in both groups.
For directly exposed individuals, memories of the traumatic incident and the following intrusions seem to drive their post-traumatic stress symptomatology. However, as these memories lose their potency over time, a sequela of dysphoric arousal and emotional numbing similar to the one reported by the indirectly exposed individuals seems to be the main driver for prolonged post-traumatic stress and functional impairment. Findings are discussed using contemporary models within an exposure-dependent perspective of post-traumatic stress.
Preliminary evidence suggests that direct poultry contact may play a lesser role in transmission of avian influenza A(H7N9) than A(H5N1) to humans. To better understand differences in risk factors, we quantified the degree of poultry contact reported by H5N1 and H7N9 World Health Organization-confirmed cases. We used publicly available data to classify cases by their degree of poultry contact, including direct and indirect. To account for potential data limitations, we used two methods: (1) case population method in which all cases were classified using a range of sources; and (2) case subset method in which only cases with detailed contact information from published research literature were classified. In the case population, detailed exposure information was unavailable for a large proportion of cases (H5N1, 54%; H7N9, 86%). In the case subset, direct contact proportions were higher in H5N1 cases (70·3%) than H7N9 cases (40·0%) (χ2 = 18·5, P < 0·001), and indirect contact proportions were higher in H7N9 cases (44·6%) than H5N1 cases (19·4%) (χ2 = 15·5, P < 0·001). Together with emerging evidence, our descriptive analysis suggests direct poultry contact is a clearer risk factor for H5N1 than for H7N9, and that other risk factors should also be considered for H7N9.
The political participation of immigrants has received increased scholarly attention over recent decades. However, comparisons between the electoral behavior of immigrants in their countries of origin and of residence are still limited. This article addresses this gap in the literature and seeks to identify the determinants of Romanian immigrants' electoral participation in the local elections of four West European countries (Germany, France, Italy, and Spain) as compared to their turnout in their home country's legislative elections. Looking through the lenses of exposure theory, we hypothesize that contact with institutions, people, and values from the countries of residence are likely to have different effects in the two types of elections. We test the explanatory power of four main variables - time spent in the host country, social networks, degree of involvement in the local community, and the type of relationship with citizens of their host countries - to which we add a series of individual-level controls such as age, education, gender, and media exposure. To assess our claim, we employ binary logistic regression to analyze original web survey data collected in the summer of 2013. The result supports the empirical implications of exposure theory.
I had several goals in writing my keynote “Exposure and input in bilingual development”. The first was to emphasize that there are two components to the study of environmental effects on language learning. The first is the stuff ‘out there’ (exposure) that we want to observe and count and whose effects we want to assess; the second is the internal, mentally represented stuff (my input) that is logically related to a particular learning problem. Both exposure and input are indissociable from assumptions about what language acquisition mechanisms do and the nature of linguistic cognition. Accordingly, for example, a decision to count ‘words’ in child-directed speech (CDS) or via a parental questionnaire is not an innocent one. Not only can one find radically different views on what a ‘word’ is (Krause, Bosch & Clahsen, 2015), one can find work that questions the need to postulate such a unit at all (see discussion in MacWhinney, 2000). It follows that adopting a clear position, about which abstract mentally represented elements are crucial cues to learning some phenomenon, is an essential step in deciding what to count in CDS.
Members of the pyrrole group are likely to have interesting properties that merit additional investigation as insecticides at the post-harvest stages of agricultural commodities. In the present work, the insecticidal effect of two new pyrrole derivatives, ethyl 3-(benzylthio)-4,6-dioxo-5-phenyl-2,4,5,6-tetrahydropyrrolo[3,4-c]pyrrole-carboxylate (3i) and isopropyl 3-(benzylthio)-4,6-dioxo-5-phenyl-2,4,5,6-tetrahydropyrrolo[3,4-c]pyrrole-carboxylate (3k) were studied as stored-wheat protectants against two major stored-product insect species, the confused flour beetle, Tribolium confusum Jaquelin du Val adults and larvae and the Mediterranean flour moth, Ephestia kuehniella Zeller larvae at different doses (0.1, 1 and 10 ppm), exposure intervals (7, 14 and 21 days), temperatures (20, 25 and 30°C) and relative humidity (55 and 75%) levels. For T. confusum adults, in the case of the pyrrole derivative 3i, mortality was low and it did not exceed 32.2% in wheat treated with 10 ppm 3i at 30°C and 55% relative humidity. Progeny production was very low (<1 individual/vial) in all combinations of 55% relative humidity, including control. In the case of the pyrrole derivative 3k, mortality reached 67.8% at 30°C and 55% relative humidity in wheat treated with 10 ppm after 21 days of exposure. Progeny production was low in all tested combinations (≤0.7 individuals/vial) of 55% relative humidity, including control. For T. confusum larvae, in the case of the pyrrole derivative 3i, at the highest dose, mortality was 82.2% at 25°C and 55% relative humidity whereas in the case of 3k it reached 77.8% at the same combination. In contrast, mortality at 75% relative humidity remained very low and did not exceed 13.3%. For E. kuehniella larvae, the highest mortalities, 44.4 and 63.3%, were observed in 10 ppm at 25°C and 55% relative humidity for both pyrrole derivatives. The compounds tested here have a certain insecticidal effect, but this effect is moderated by the exposure, the target species, the temperature and the relative humidity.
Post-traumatic symptomatology is one of the signature effects of the pernicious exposures endured by responders to the World Trade Center (WTC) disaster of 11 September 2001 (9/11), but the long-term extent of diagnosed Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, 4th edition (DSM-IV) post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and its impact on quality of life are unknown. This study examines the extent of DSM-IV PTSD 11–13 years after the disaster in WTC responders, its symptom profiles and trajectories, and associations of active, remitted and partial PTSD with exposures, physical health and psychosocial well-being.
Master's-level psychologists administered sections of the Structured Clinical Interview for DSM-IV and the Range of Impaired Functioning Tool to 3231 responders monitored at the Stony Brook University World Trade Center Health Program. The PTSD Checklist (PCL) and current medical symptoms were obtained at each visit.
In all, 9.7% had current, 7.9% remitted, and 5.9% partial WTC-PTSD. Among those with active PTSD, avoidance and hyperarousal symptoms were most commonly, and flashbacks least commonly, reported. Trajectories of symptom severity across monitoring visits showed a modestly increasing slope for active and decelerating slope for remitted PTSD. WTC exposures, especially death and human remains, were strongly associated with PTSD. After adjusting for exposure and critical risk factors, including hazardous drinking and co-morbid depression, PTSD was strongly associated with health and well-being, especially dissatisfaction with life.
This is the first study to demonstrate the extent and correlates of long-term DSM-IV PTSD among responders. Although most proved resilient, there remains a sizable subgroup in need of continued treatment in the second decade after 9/11.
Research suggests that repeatedly offering infants a variety of vegetables during weaning increases vegetable intake and liking. The effect may extend to novel foods. The present study aimed to investigate the impact of advising parents to introduce a variety of single vegetables as first foods on infants' subsequent acceptance of a novel vegetable. Mothers of 4- to 6-month-old infants in the UK, Greece and Portugal were randomised to either an intervention group (n 75), who received guidance on introducing five vegetables (one per d) as first foods repeated over 15 d, or a control group (n 71) who received country-specific ‘usual care’. Infant's consumption (g) and liking (maternal and researcher rated) of an unfamiliar vegetable were assessed 1 month post-intervention. Primary analyses were conducted for the full sample with secondary analyses conducted separately by country. No significant effect of the intervention was found for vegetable intake in the three countries combined. However, sub-group analyses showed that UK intervention infants consumed significantly more novel vegetable than control infants (32·8 (sd 23·6) v. 16·5 (sd 12·1) g; P =0·003). UK mothers and researchers rated infants' vegetable liking higher in the intervention than in control condition. In Portugal and Greece, there was no significant intervention effect on infants' vegetable intake or liking. The differing outcome between countries possibly reflects cultural variations in existing weaning practices. However, the UK results suggest in countries where vegetables are not common first foods, advice on introducing a variety of vegetables early in weaning may be beneficial for increasing vegetable acceptance.
Background: One of the primary differences between Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) and Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT) for anxiety is the approach to managing negative thoughts. CBT focuses on challenging the accuracy of dysfunctional thoughts through cognitive restructuring exercises, whereas ACT attempts to foster acceptance of such thoughts through cognitive defusion exercises. Previous research suggests that both techniques reduce the distress associated with negative thoughts, though questions remain regarding the benefit of these techniques above and beyond exposure to feared stimuli. Aims: In the present study, we conducted a brief experimental intervention to examine the utility of cognitive defusion + in-vivo exposure, cognitive restructuring + in-vivo exposure, and in-vivo exposure alone in reducing the impact of negative thoughts in patients with social anxiety disorder. Method: All participants completed a brief public speaking exposure and those in the cognitive conditions received training in the assigned cognitive technique. Participants returned a week later to complete a second exposure task and self-report measures. Results: All three conditions resulted in similar decreases in discomfort related to negative thoughts. ANOVA models failed to find an interaction between change in accuracy or importance and assignment to condition in predicting decreased distress of negative thoughts. Conclusions: These preliminary results suggest that changes in perceived importance and accuracy of negative thoughts may not be the mechanisms by which cognitive defusion and cognitive restructuring affect distress in the short-term.
The study of the evolution of organic matter subjected to space conditions, and more specifically to Solar photons in the vacuum ultraviolet range (120–200 nm) has been undertaken in low-Earth orbit since the 1990s, and implemented on various space platforms. This paper describes a photochemistry experiment called AMINO, conducted during 22 months between 2009 and 2011 on the EXPOSE-R ESA facility, outside the International Space Station. Samples with relevance to astrobiology (connected to comets, carbonaceous meteorites and micrometeorites, the atmosphere of Titan and RNA world hypothesis) have been selected and exposed to space environment. They have been analysed after return to the Earth. This paper is not discussing the results of the experiment, but rather gives a general overview of the project, the details of the hardware used, its configuration and recent developments to enable long-duration exposure of gaseous samples in tight closed cells enabling for the first time to derive quantitative results from gaseous phase samples exposed in space.
Natural disasters exacerbate risks of hazardous environmental exposures and adverse health consequences. The present study determined the proportion of previously identified lead industrial sites in urban locations that are at high risk for dispersal of toxic chemicals by natural disasters.
Geographic analysis from publicly available data identified former lead smelting plants that coincide with populated urban areas and with high-risk locations for natural disasters.
From a total of 229 urban smelting sites, 66 (29%) were in relatively high-risk areas for natural disasters: flood (39), earthquake (29), tornado (3), and hurricane (2). States with urban sites at relatively high risk for natural disaster included California (15); Pennsylvania (14); New York (7); Missouri (6); Illinois (5); New Jersey (4); Kentucky (3); Florida, Oregon, and Ohio (2 each); and Indiana, Massachusetts, Rhode Island, Texas, Utah, and Washington (1 each). Incomplete historical records showed at least 10 smelting site locations were affected by natural disaster.
Forgotten environmental hazards may remain hazardous in any community. Uncertainty about risks in disasters causes disruptive public anxiety that increases difficulties in community responses and recovery. Our professional and public responsibility is to seek a better understanding of the risks of latent environmental hazards. (Disaster Med Public Health Preparedness. 2014;0:1–7)