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Mood disorders are characterised by pronounced symptom heterogeneity, which presents a substantial challenge both to clinical practice and research. Identification of subgroups of individuals with homogeneous symptom profiles that cut across current diagnostic categories could provide insights in to the transdiagnostic relevance of individual symptoms, which current categorical diagnostic systems cannot impart.
To identify groups of people with homogeneous clinical characteristics, using symptoms of manic and/or irritable mood, and explore differences between groups in diagnoses, functional outcomes and genetic liability.
We used latent class analysis on eight binary self-reported symptoms of manic and irritable mood in the UK Biobank and PROTECT studies, to investigate how individuals formed latent subgroups. We tested associations between the latent classes and diagnoses of psychiatric disorders, sociodemographic characteristics and polygenic risk scores.
Five latent classes were derived in UK Biobank (N = 42 183) and were replicated in the independent PROTECT cohort (N = 4445), including ‘minimally affected’, ‘inactive restless’, active restless’, ‘focused creative’ and ‘extensively affected’ individuals. These classes differed in disorder risk, polygenic risk score and functional outcomes. One class that experienced disruptive episodes of mostly irritable mood largely comprised cases of depression/anxiety, and a class of individuals with increased confidence/creativity reported comparatively lower disruptiveness and functional impairment.
Findings suggest that data-driven investigations of psychopathological symptoms that include sub-diagnostic threshold conditions can complement research of clinical diagnoses. Improved classification systems of psychopathology could investigate a weighted approach to symptoms, toward a more dimensional classification of mood disorders.
Prior to the COVID-19 pandemic, our research group initiated a pediatric practice-based randomized trial for the treatment of childhood obesity in rural communities. Approximately 6 weeks into the originally planned 10-week enrollment period, the trial was forced to pause all study activity due to the COVID-19 pandemic. This pause necessitated a substantial revision in recruitment, enrollment, and other study methods in order to complete the trial using virtual procedures. This descriptive paper outlines methods used to recruit, enroll, and manage clinical trial participants with technology to obtain informed consent, obtain height and weight measurements by video, and maintain participant engagement throughout the duration of the trial.
The study team reviewed the IRB records, protocol team meeting minutes and records, and surveyed the site teams to document the impact of the COVID-19 shift to virtual procedures on the study. The IRB approved study changes allowed for flexibility between clinical sites given variations in site resources, which was key to success of the implementation.
All study sites faced a variety of logistical challenges unique to their location yet successfully recruited the required number of patients for the trial. Ultimately, virtual procedures enhanced our ability to establish relationships with participants who were previously beyond our reach, but presented several challenges and required additional resources.
Lessons learned from this study can assist other study groups in navigating challenges, especially when recruiting and implementing studies with rural and underserved populations or during challenging events like the pandemic.
The Eating Assessment in Toddlers FFQ (EAT FFQ) has been shown to have good reliability and comparative validity for ranking nutrient intakes in young children. With the addition of food items (n 4), we aimed to re-assess the validity of the EAT FFQ and estimate calibration factors in a sub-sample of children (n 97) participating in the Growing Up Milk – Lite (GUMLi) randomised control trial (2015–2017). Participants completed the ninety-nine-item GUMLi EAT FFQ and record-assisted 24-h recalls (24HR) on two occasions. Energy and nutrient intakes were assessed at months 9 and 12 post-randomisation and calibration factors calculated to determine predicted estimates from the GUMLi EAT FFQ. Validity was assessed using Pearson correlation coefficients, weighted kappa (κ) and exact quartile categorisation. Calibration was calculated using linear regression models on 24HR, adjusted for sex and treatment group. Nutrient intakes were significantly correlated between the GUMLi EAT FFQ and 24HR at both time points. Energy-adjusted, de-attenuated Pearson correlations ranged from 0·3 (fibre) to 0·8 (Fe) at 9 months and from 0·3 (Ca) to 0·7 (Fe) at 12 months. Weighted κ for the quartiles ranged from 0·2 (Zn) to 0·6 (Fe) at 9 months and from 0·1 (total fat) to 0·5 (Fe) at 12 months. Exact agreement ranged from 30 to 74 %. Calibration factors predicted up to 56 % of the variation in the 24HR at 9 months and 44 % at 12 months. The GUMLi EAT FFQ remained a useful tool for ranking nutrient intakes with similar estimated validity compared with other FFQ used in children under 2 years.
Life course research embraces the complexity of health and disease development, tackling the extensive interactions between genetics and environment. This interdisciplinary blueprint, or theoretical framework, offers a structure for research ideas and specifies relationships between related factors. Traditionally, methodological approaches attempt to reduce the complexity of these dynamic interactions and decompose health into component parts, ignoring the complex reciprocal interaction of factors that shape health over time. New methods that match the epistemological foundation of the life course framework are needed to fully explore adaptive, multilevel, and reciprocal interactions between individuals and their environment. The focus of this article is to (1) delineate the differences between lifespan and life course research, (2) articulate the importance of complex systems science as a methodological framework in the life course research toolbox to guide our research questions, (3) raise key questions that can be asked within the clinical and translational science domain utilizing this framework, and (4) provide recommendations for life course research implementation, charting the way forward. Recent advances in computational analytics, computer science, and data collection could be used to approximate, measure, and analyze the intertwining and dynamic nature of genetic and environmental factors involved in health development.
UK Biobank is a well-characterised cohort of over 500 000 participants including genetics, environmental data and imaging. An online mental health questionnaire was designed for UK Biobank participants to expand its potential.
Describe the development, implementation and results of this questionnaire.
An expert working group designed the questionnaire, using established measures where possible, and consulting a patient group. Operational criteria were agreed for defining likely disorder and risk states, including lifetime depression, mania/hypomania, generalised anxiety disorder, unusual experiences and self-harm, and current post-traumatic stress and hazardous/harmful alcohol use.
A total of 157 366 completed online questionnaires were available by August 2017. Participants were aged 45–82 (53% were ≥65 years) and 57% women. Comparison of self-reported diagnosed mental disorder with a contemporary study shows a similar prevalence, despite respondents being of higher average socioeconomic status. Lifetime depression was a common finding, with 24% (37 434) of participants meeting criteria and current hazardous/harmful alcohol use criteria were met by 21% (32 602), whereas other criteria were met by less than 8% of the participants. There was extensive comorbidity among the syndromes. Mental disorders were associated with a high neuroticism score, adverse life events and long-term illness; addiction and bipolar affective disorder in particular were associated with measures of deprivation.
The UK Biobank questionnaire represents a very large mental health survey in itself, and the results presented here show high face validity, although caution is needed because of selection bias. Built into UK Biobank, these data intersect with other health data to offer unparalleled potential for crosscutting biomedical research involving mental health.
Healthcare personnel (HCP) were recruited to provide serum samples, which were tested for antibodies against Ebola or Lassa virus to evaluate for asymptomatic seroconversion.
From 2014 to 2016, 4 patients with Ebola virus disease (EVD) and 1 patient with Lassa fever (LF) were treated in the Serious Communicable Diseases Unit (SCDU) at Emory University Hospital. Strict infection control and clinical biosafety practices were implemented to prevent nosocomial transmission of EVD or LF to HCP.
All personnel who entered the SCDU who were required to measure their temperatures and complete a symptom questionnaire twice daily were eligible.
No employee developed symptomatic EVD or LF. EVD and LF antibody studies were performed on sera samples from 42 HCP. The 6 participants who had received investigational vaccination with a chimpanzee adenovirus type 3 vectored Ebola glycoprotein vaccine had high antibody titers to Ebola glycoprotein, but none had a response to Ebola nucleoprotein or VP40, or a response to LF antigens.
Patients infected with filoviruses and arenaviruses can be managed successfully without causing occupation-related symptomatic or asymptomatic infections. Meticulous attention to infection control and clinical biosafety practices by highly motivated, trained staff is critical to the safe care of patients with an infection from a special pathogen.
Despite improvements in the medical and surgical management of infants with CHD, growth failure before surgery in many infants continues to be a significant concern. A nutritional pathway was developed, the aim of which was to provide a structured approach to nutritional care for infants with CHD awaiting surgery.
Materials and methods
The modified Delphi process was development of a nutritional pathway; initial stakeholder meeting to finalise draft guidelines and develop questions; round 1 anonymous online survey; round 2 online survey; regional cardiac conference and pathway revision; and final expert meeting and pathway finalisation.
Paediatric Dietitians from all 11 of the paediatric cardiology surgical centres in the United Kingdom contributed to the guideline development. In all, 33% of participants had 9 or more years of experience working with infants with CHD. By the end of rounds 1 and 2, 76 and 96% of participants, respectively, were in agreement with the statements. Three statements where consensus was not achieved by the end of round 2 were discussed and agreed at the final expert group meeting.
Nutrition guidelines were developed for infants with CHD awaiting surgery, using a modified Delphi process, incorporating the best available evidence and expert opinion with regard to nutritional support in this group.
UK Biobank is a well-characterised cohort of over 500 000 participants that offers unique opportunities to investigate multiple diseases and risk factors.
An online mental health questionnaire completed by UK Biobank participants was expected to expand the potential for research into mental disorders.
An expert working group designed the questionnaire, using established measures where possible, and consulting with a patient group regarding acceptability. Case definitions were defined using operational criteria for lifetime depression, mania, anxiety disorder, psychotic-like experiences and self-harm, as well as current post-traumatic stress and alcohol use disorders.
157 366 completed online questionnaires were available by August 2017. Comparison of self-reported diagnosed mental disorder with a contemporary study shows a similar prevalence, despite respondents being of higher average socioeconomic status than the general population across a range of indicators. Thirty-five per cent (55 750) of participants had at least one defined syndrome, of which lifetime depression was the most common at 24% (37 434). There was extensive comorbidity among the syndromes. Mental disorders were associated with high neuroticism score, adverse life events and long-term illness; addiction and bipolar affective disorder in particular were associated with measures of deprivation.
The questionnaire represents a very large mental health survey in itself, and the results presented here show high face validity, although caution is needed owing to selection bias. Built into UK Biobank, these data intersect with other health data to offer unparalleled potential for crosscutting biomedical research involving mental health.
Declaration of interest
G.B. received grants from the National Institute for Health Research during the study; and support from Illumina Ltd. and the European Commission outside the submitted work. B.C. received grants from the Scottish Executive Chief Scientist Office and from The Dr Mortimer and Theresa Sackler Foundation during the study. C.S. received grants from the Medical Research Council and Wellcome Trust during the study, and is the Chief Scientist for UK Biobank. M.H. received grants from the Innovative Medicines Initiative via the RADAR-CNS programme and personal fees as an expert witness outside the submitted work.
The northern New England region includes the states of Vermont, New Hampshire, and Maine and encompasses a large degree of climate and edaphic variation across a relatively small spatial area, making it ideal for studying climate change impacts on agricultural weed communities. We sampled weed seedbanks and measured soil physical and chemical characteristics on 77 organic farms across the region and analyzed the relationships between weed community parameters and select geographic, climatic, and edaphic variables using multivariate procedures. Temperature-related variables (latitude, longitude, mean maximum and minimum temperature) were the strongest and most consistent correlates with weed seedbank composition. Edaphic variables were, for the most part, relatively weaker and inconsistent correlates with weed seedbanks. Our analyses also indicate that a number of agriculturally important weed species are associated with specific U.S. Department of Agriculture plant hardiness zones, implying that future changes in climate factors that result in geographic shifts in these zones will likely be accompanied by changes in the composition of weed communities and therefore new management challenges for farmers.
This paper presents the first major data release and survey description for the ANU WiFeS SuperNovA Programme. ANU WiFeS SuperNovA Programme is an ongoing supernova spectroscopy campaign utilising the Wide Field Spectrograph on the Australian National University 2.3-m telescope. The first and primary data release of this programme (AWSNAP-DR1) releases 357 spectra of 175 unique objects collected over 82 equivalent full nights of observing from 2012 July to 2015 August. These spectra have been made publicly available via the WISEREP supernova spectroscopy repository.
We analyse the ANU WiFeS SuperNovA Programme sample of Type Ia supernova spectra, including measurements of narrow sodium absorption features afforded by the high spectral resolution of the Wide Field Spectrograph instrument. In some cases, we were able to use the integral-field nature of the Wide Field Spectrograph instrument to measure the rotation velocity of the SN host galaxy near the SN location in order to obtain precision sodium absorption velocities. We also present an extensive time series of SN 2012dn, including a near-nebular spectrum which both confirms its ‘super-Chandrasekhar’ status and enables measurement of the sub-solar host metallicity at the SN site.
Networks are increasingly recognised as advantageous when creating and embedding cultural change within organisations. This paper explores and problematises ideas around networks for education for sustainability (EfS), specifically in relation to the implementation of the Australian Sustainable Schools Initiative (AuSSI), a national, whole-school approach to EfS. In three Australian states - New South Wales, Victoria and Queensland – AuSSI has been implemented in different ways. In examining the use of products, facilitators and networks to embed initiatives such as AuSSI in Australian schools, we propose a “continuum of cultural change strategies” as a framework for thinking about each of these approaches to creating organisational and cultural change for sustainability. We anticipate that such a framework may assist where choices need to be made in relation to the kinds of capacity building processes that might best achieve “deep and wide” change within schools hoping to engender significant cultural change.
In this revised chapter, Jo-Anne Ferreira and Julie M. Davis reiterate two matters they consider essential for the future development of ECEfS. The first ‘essential’ is the necessity to create deep foundations based in research. Although there have been some steps forward in recent times, research in ECEfS remains meagre at a time of rising practitioner interest. A robust research base is crucial for enhancing quality curriculum and pedagogy in ECEfS and for promoting learning and innovation in thinking and practice.
The second ‘essential’ for mainstreaming EfS in early childhood education is a systems approach to changing the field. All levels within the early childhood education system – individual educators and their classrooms, whole centres and schools, early childhood professional associations and networks, accreditation and employing authorities and teacher educators – must work together to create and reinforce the cultural and educational changes required for sustainability. This chapter provides explanations of systems theory and processes for engendering system-wide change, illustrated with reference to recent studies on mainstreaming EfS in teacher education. These emphasise the apparent contradiction that the answer to large-scale reform lies with small-scale changes that build capacity and make connections across the whole of a system.
Many educational policymakers, particularly in early childhood education (ECE), which has come late to the environmental and sustainability agenda, are unaware of the scale of change required if education is to contribute towards the achievement of sustainable societies. This chapter draws together themes and perspectives from previous chapters, emphasising the necessity for further change within ECE – deep changes to how we think, learn, teach and act. What is clear from all the previous chapters is that replicating ‘business as usual’ in ECE will not help to achieve sustainable societies.