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The coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic has resulted in shortages of personal protective equipment (PPE), underscoring the urgent need for simple, efficient, and inexpensive methods to decontaminate masks and respirators exposed to severe acute respiratory coronavirus virus 2 (SARS-CoV-2). We hypothesized that methylene blue (MB) photochemical treatment, which has various clinical applications, could decontaminate PPE contaminated with coronavirus.
The 2 arms of the study included (1) PPE inoculation with coronaviruses followed by MB with light (MBL) decontamination treatment and (2) PPE treatment with MBL for 5 cycles of decontamination to determine maintenance of PPE performance.
MBL treatment was used to inactivate coronaviruses on 3 N95 filtering facepiece respirator (FFR) and 2 medical mask models. We inoculated FFR and medical mask materials with 3 coronaviruses, including SARS-CoV-2, and we treated them with 10 µM MB and exposed them to 50,000 lux of white light or 12,500 lux of red light for 30 minutes. In parallel, integrity was assessed after 5 cycles of decontamination using multiple US and international test methods, and the process was compared with the FDA-authorized vaporized hydrogen peroxide plus ozone (VHP+O3) decontamination method.
Overall, MBL robustly and consistently inactivated all 3 coronaviruses with 99.8% to >99.9% virus inactivation across all FFRs and medical masks tested. FFR and medical mask integrity was maintained after 5 cycles of MBL treatment, whereas 1 FFR model failed after 5 cycles of VHP+O3.
MBL treatment decontaminated respirators and masks by inactivating 3 tested coronaviruses without compromising integrity through 5 cycles of decontamination. MBL decontamination is effective, is low cost, and does not require specialized equipment, making it applicable in low- to high-resource settings.
There is compelling evidence for gradient effects of household income on school readiness. Potential mechanisms are described, yet the growth curve trajectory of maternal mental health in a child's early life has not been thoroughly investigated. We aimed to examine the relationships between household incomes, maternal mental health trajectories from antenatal to the postnatal period, and school readiness.
Prospective data from 505 mother–child dyads in a birth cohort in Singapore were used, including household income, repeated measures of maternal mental health from pregnancy to 2-years postpartum, and a range of child behavioural, socio-emotional and cognitive outcomes from 2 to 6 years of age. Antenatal mental health and its trajectory were tested as mediators in the latent growth curve models.
Household income was a robust predictor of antenatal maternal mental health and all child outcomes. Between children from the bottom and top household income quartiles, four dimensions of school readiness skills differed by a range of 0.52 (95% Cl: 0.23, 0.67) to 1.21 s.d. (95% CI: 1.02, 1.40). Thirty-eight percent of pregnant mothers in this cohort were found to have perinatal depressive and anxiety symptoms in the subclinical and clinical ranges. Poorer school readiness skills were found in children of these mothers when compared to those of mothers with little or no symptoms. After adjustment of unmeasured confounding on the indirect effect, antenatal maternal mental health provided a robust mediating path between household income and multiple school readiness outcomes (χ2 126.05, df 63, p < 0.001; RMSEA = 0.031, CFI = 0.980, SRMR = 0.034).
Pregnant mothers with mental health symptoms, particularly those from economically-challenged households, are potential targets for intervention to level the playing field of their children.
An acute gastroenteritis (AGE) outbreak caused by a norovirus occurred at a hospital in Shanghai, China, was studied for molecular epidemiology, host susceptibility and serological roles. Rectal and environmental swabs, paired serum samples and saliva specimens were collected. Pathogens were detected by real-time polymerase chain reaction and DNA sequencing. Histo-blood group antigens (HBGA) phenotypes of saliva samples and their binding to norovirus protruding proteins were determined by enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay. The HBGA-binding interfaces and the surrounding region were analysed by the MegAlign program of DNAstar 7.1. Twenty-seven individuals in two care units were attacked with AGE at attack rates of 9.02 and 11.68%. Eighteen (78.2%) symptomatic and five (38.4%) asymptomatic individuals were GII.6/b norovirus positive. Saliva-based HBGA phenotyping showed that all symptomatic and asymptomatic cases belonged to A, B, AB or O secretors. Only four (16.7%) out of the 24 tested serum samples showed low blockade activity against HBGA-norovirus binding at the acute phase, whereas 11 (45.8%) samples at the convalescence stage showed seroconversion of such blockade. Specific blockade antibody in the population played an essential role in this norovirus epidemic. A wide HBGA-binding spectrum of GII.6 supports a need for continuous health attention and surveillance in different settings.
Gravitational waves from coalescing neutron stars encode information about nuclear matter at extreme densities, inaccessible by laboratory experiments. The late inspiral is influenced by the presence of tides, which depend on the neutron star equation of state. Neutron star mergers are expected to often produce rapidly rotating remnant neutron stars that emit gravitational waves. These will provide clues to the extremely hot post-merger environment. This signature of nuclear matter in gravitational waves contains most information in the 2–4 kHz frequency band, which is outside of the most sensitive band of current detectors. We present the design concept and science case for a Neutron Star Extreme Matter Observatory (NEMO): a gravitational-wave interferometer optimised to study nuclear physics with merging neutron stars. The concept uses high-circulating laser power, quantum squeezing, and a detector topology specifically designed to achieve the high-frequency sensitivity necessary to probe nuclear matter using gravitational waves. Above 1 kHz, the proposed strain sensitivity is comparable to full third-generation detectors at a fraction of the cost. Such sensitivity changes expected event rates for detection of post-merger remnants from approximately one per few decades with two A+ detectors to a few per year and potentially allow for the first gravitational-wave observations of supernovae, isolated neutron stars, and other exotica.
A study of low-speed streaks (LSSs) embedded in the near-wall region of a turbulent boundary layer is performed using selective visualization and analysis of time-resolved tomographic particle image velocimetry (tomo-PIV). First, a three-dimensional velocity field database is acquired using time-resolved tomo-PIV for an early turbulent boundary layer. Second, detailed time-line flow patterns are obtained from the low-order reconstructed database using ‘tomographic visualizations’ by Lagrangian tracking. These time-line patterns compare remarkably well with previously observed patterns using hydrogen bubble flow visualization, and allow local identification of LSSs within the database. Third, the flow behaviour in proximity to selected LSSs is examined at varying wall distances (
$10 < y^+ < 100$
) and assessed using time-line and material surface evolution, to reveal the flow structure and evolution of a streak, and the flow structure evolving from streak development. It is observed that three-dimensional wave behaviour of the detected LSSs appears to develop into associated near-wall vortex flow structures, in a process somewhat similar to transitional boundary layer behaviour. Fourth, the presence of Lagrangian coherent structures is assessed in proximity to the LSSs using a Lagrangian-averaged vorticity deviation process. It is observed that quasi-streamwise vortices, adjacent to the sides of the streak-associated three-dimensional wave, precipitate an interaction with the streak. Finally, a hypothesis based on the behaviour of soliton-like coherent structures is made which explains the process of LSS formation, bursting behaviour and the generation of hairpin vortices. Comparison with other models is also discussed.
The development of childhood anxiety disorders (CADs) is likely to depend on pathways that can be programmed by early-life risk factors. We test the hypothesis that early-life maternal factors can predict this programming effect on CAD.
Data were obtained from 198 women and children from the Mercy Pregnancy and Emotional Wellbeing Study (MPEWS), a cohort study with data collected across pregnancy, postpartum and until 4 years of age. Maternal antenatal depression was measured using the Structured Clinical Interview for DSM-IV (SCID-IV), together with antenatal hair cortisol concentrations, maternal childhood trauma and parenting stress at 6 months postpartum. CAD was assessed with the Preschool Age Psychiatric Assessment and the Child Behaviour Checklist.
Antenatal depression, a history of maternal childhood trauma and lower gestational age at birth were each associated with anxiety disorders at 4 years of age in their children. A multivariate binary logistic model with these early predictors explained approximately 9% of variance in CAD outcome at 4 years of age; however, only maternal trauma and gestational age were significant predictors in the model. The effect of early parenting stress on CAD was found to vary by the concentration of maternal antenatal hair cortisol, whereby postpartum parenting stress was associated with CAD only when there were higher maternal antenatal cortisol levels.
This study suggests the importance of maternal factors pre-conception, pregnancy and in the postnatal period, which predict CADs and this is consistent with a developmental programming hypothesis for CAD.
Ovarian follicle selection is a natural biological process in the pre-ovulatory hierarchy in birds that drives growing follicles to be selected within the ovulatory cycle. Follicle selection in birds is strictly regulated, involving signaling pathways mediated by dietary nutrients, gonadotrophic hormones and paracrine factors. This study aimed to test the hypothesis that dietary Ca may participate in regulating follicle selection in laying ducks through activating the signaling pathway of cyclic adenosine monophosphate (cAMP)/protein kinase A (PKA)/extracellular signal-regulated kinase (ERK), possibly mediated by gonadotrophic hormones. Female ducks at 22 weeks of age were initially fed one of two Ca-deficient diets (containing 1.8% or 0.38% Ca) or a Ca-adequate control diet (containing 3.6% Ca) for 67 days (depletion period), then all birds were fed the Ca-adequate diet for an additional 67 days (repletion period). Compared with the Ca-adequate control, ducks fed 0.38% Ca during the depletion period had significantly decreased (P < 0.05) numbers of hierarchical follicles and total ovarian weight, which were accompanied by reduced egg production. Plasma concentration of FSH was decreased by the diet containing 1.8% Ca but not by that containing 0.38%. The ovarian content of cAMP was increased with the two Ca-deficient diets, and phosphorylation of PKA and ERK1/2 was increased with 0.38% dietary Ca. Transcripts of ovarian estradiol receptor 2 and luteinizing hormone receptor (LHR) were reduced in the ducks fed the two Ca-deficient diets (P < 0.05), while those of the ovarian follicle stimulating hormone receptor (FSHR) were decreased in the ducks fed 0.38% Ca. The transcript abundance of ovary gap junction proteins, A1 and A4, was reduced with the Ca-deficient diets (P < 0.05). The down-regulation of gene expression of gap junction proteins and hormone receptors, the increased cAMP content and the suppressed hierarchical follicle numbers were reversed by repletion of dietary Ca. These results indicate that dietary Ca deficiency negatively affects follicle selection of laying ducks, independent of FSH, but probably by activating cAMP/PKA/ERK1/2 signaling pathway.
Personality has been proposed as having a possible effect on the reaction that patients have toward auditory hallucination. However, this factor has not been studied previously. Thus, this study investigated the relationship among demographics, personality, cognition and emotional response in schizophrenics with persistent auditory hallucination. One-hundred and fourteen subjects with persistent auditory hallucination completed the Eysenck Personality Questionnaire, the revised Beliefs about Voices Questionnaire and the Chinese-version Hospital Anxiety and Depression Scale. Structural equation model showed that personality had an effect on beliefs about the hallucination (malevolent or benevolent), which then affected the reaction of patients toward these voices (engages or resists). Their reaction will further affect the anxious or depressed state of the patients. When these hallucinations were categorized into the three levels of omnipotence, beliefs and reactions, the model was more significant than that of one-level model. Persistent auditory hallucination only accounted for a portion of the emotional distress when malevolent or benevolent voices were perceived, and personality characteristics accounted for the remaining emotional distress in schizophrenics. This model helped us understand the relationship between personality, cognition and affective symptoms, such that, when therapists decide what “trait” to change, they can determine at which point to intervene.
Many family characteristics were reported to increase the risk of bipolar disorder (BPD). The development of BPD may be mediated through different pathways, involving diverse risk factor profiles. We evaluated the associations of family characteristics to build influential causal-pie models to estimate their contributions on the risk of developing BPD at the population level. We recruited 329 clinically diagnosed BPD patients and 202 healthy controls to collect information in parental psychopathology, parent-child relationship, and conflict within family. Other than logistic regression models, we applied causal-pie models to identify pathways involved with different family factors for BPD. The risk of BPD was significantly increased with parental depression, neurosis, anxiety, paternal substance use problems, and poor relationship with parents. Having a depressed mother further predicted early onset of BPD. Additionally, a greater risk for BPD was observed with higher numbers of paternal/maternal psychopathologies. Three significant risk profiles were identified for BPD, including paternal substance use problems (73.0%), maternal depression (17.6%), and through poor relationship with parents and conflict within the family (6.3%). Our findings demonstrate that different aspects of family characteristics elicit negative impacts on bipolar illness, which can be utilized to target specific factors to design and employ efficient intervention programs.
Internet addiction is a newly emergent disorder. It has been found to be associated with a variety of psychiatric disorders. Information about such coexisting psychiatric disorders is essential to understand the mechanism of Internet addiction. In this review, we have recruited articles mentioning coexisting psychiatric disorders of Internet addiction from the PubMed database as at November 3, 2009. We describe the updated results for such disorders of Internet addiction, which include substance use disorder, attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder, depression, hostility, and social anxiety disorder. We also provide discussion for possible mechanisms accounting for the coexistence of psychiatric disorders and Internet addiction. The review might suggest that combined psychiatric disorders mentioned above should be evaluated and treated to prevent their deteriorating effect on the prognosis of Internet addiction. On the other hand, Internet addiction should be paid more attention to when treating people with these coexisting psychiatric disorders of Internet addiction. Additionally, we also suggest future necessary research directions that could provide further important information for the understanding of this issue.
Patients with chronic kidney disease (CKD) have more cognitive impairments. However, the etiologies are not fully clear. Plasma homocysteine levels and vascular burden rise in CKD; meanwhile, high homocysteine levels and vascular factors are known risk factors of dementia in non-CKD patients. Thus, we aimed to investigate the association between homocysteine, vascular burden and cognitive impairment in CKD and to see if the effect of elevated homocysteine on cognitive impairment mediated by vascular factor.
146 patients with CKD and 69 normal comparisons were recruited. Cognitive function was evaluated by comprehensive neuropsychological tests assessing processing speed, executive function, language, visuospatial function, memory, and attention domains. Vascular burden was assessed by Framinghan cardiovascular risk scale (FCRS) which indicates risk of atherosclerotic diseases including stroke.
In controlled analysis, patients with CKD had lower scores in all cognitive domains, and had higher homocysteine levels (18.5±6.4 vs. 9.8±2.9, p< 0.0001) and FCRS(17.0±4.7 vs. 14.0±4.7, p< 0.0001). Among patients with CKD, higher homocysteine levels (p=0.026) were associated with lower score on digit symbol task which is related to processing speed and executive function with controlling for age, sex, education and stage of CKD. The association persisted (p=0.047) after controlling for vascular risks.
Patients with CKD had extensive cognitive impairments. Elevated homocysteine levels may be an risk factor, which is independent of vascular burden, of cognitive impairment on processing speed and executive function. Further studies to investigate if normalization of homocysteine can improve cognitive function will be suggested.
Alcohol is legally accessible and widely used in Taiwan, but few studies have addressed alcohol-drinking problems in hospital settings.
To explore (1) the prevalence and risk factors for hazardous alcohol-drinking problems and (2) previous assessments and interventions for alcohol-drinking problems among a general Chinese patient population.
Self-report data were collected from 484 patients at five randomly selected hospitals.
The prevalence of hazardous alcohol-drinking problems was 19.2%. Logistic regression analysis revealed that risk factors for hazardous drinking problems were being male, smoking, and chewing betel quid. Only 29.1% of participants were assessed for drinking problems in the past year. Only 38.7% of participants with drinking problems had received a drinking intervention in the past year.
Alcohol problems in Taiwanese general hospitals are insufficiently assessed and targeted with interventions. Targeting high-risk groups and integrating psychiatric healthcare teams in general hospitals are important to prevent patients’ drinking problems.
Persistent gaming, despite acknowledgment of its negative consequences, is a major criterion for individuals with Internet gaming disorder (IGD). This study evaluated the adaptive decision-making, risky decision, and decision-making style of individuals with IGD.
We recruited 87 individuals with IGD and 87 without IGD (matched controls). All participants underwent an interview based on the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (5th Edition) diagnostic criteria for IGD and completed an adaptive decision-making task; the Preference for Intuition and Deliberation Scale, Chen Internet Addiction Scale, and Barratt Impulsivity Scale were also assessed on the basis of the information from the diagnostic interviews.
The results demonstrated that the participants in both groups tend to make more risky choices in advantage trials where their expected value (EV) was more favorable than those of the riskless choice. The tendency to make a risky choice in advantage trials was stronger among IGD group than that among controls. Participants of both groups made more risky choices in the loss domain, a risky option to loss more versus sure loss option, than they did in the gain domain, a risky option to gain more versus sure gain. Furthermore, the participants with IGD made more risky choices in the gain domain than did the controls. Participants with IGD showed higher and lower preferences for intuitive and deliberative decision-making styles, respectively, than controls and their preferences for intuition and deliberation were positively and negatively associated with IGD severity, respectively.
These results suggested that individuals with IGD have elevated EV sensitivity for decision-making. However, they demonstrated risky preferences in the gain domain and preferred an intuitive rather than deliberative decision-making style. This might explain why they continue Internet gaming despite negative consequences. Thus, therapists should focus more on decision-making styles and promote deliberative thinking processes to mitigate the long-term negative consequences of IGD.
Chlamydia trachomatis (CT) infection has been a major public health threat globally. Monitoring and prediction of CT epidemic status and trends are important for programme planning, allocating resources and assessing impact; however, such activities are limited in China. In this study, we aimed to apply a seasonal autoregressive integrated moving average (SARIMA) model to predict the incidence of CT infection in Shenzhen city, China. The monthly incidence of CT between January 2008 and June 2019 in Shenzhen was used to fit and validate the SARIMA model. A seasonal fluctuation and a slightly increasing pattern of a long-term trend were revealed in the time series of CT incidence. The monthly CT incidence ranged from 4.80/100 000 to 21.56/100 000. The mean absolute percentage error value of the optimal model was 8.08%. The SARIMA model could be applied to effectively predict the short-term CT incidence in Shenzhen and provide support for the development of interventions for disease control and prevention.
The beginning of laminar–turbulent transition is usually associated with a wave-like disturbance, but its evolution and role in precipitating the development of other flow structures are not well understood from a structure-based view. Nonlinear parabolized stability equations (NPSE) were solved numerically to simulate the transition of K-regime, N-regime and O-regime. However, only the K-regime transition was examined experimentally using both hydrogen bubble visualization and time-resolved tomographic particle image velocimetry (tomo-PIV). Based on the ‘NPSE visualization’ and ‘tomographic visualization’, at least four common characteristics of the generic transition process were identified: (i) inflectional regions representing high-shear layers (HSL) that develop in vertical velocity profiles, accompanied by ejection–sweep behaviours; (ii) low-speed streak (LSS) patterns, manifested in horizontal timelines, that seem to consist of several three-dimensional (3-D) waves; (iii) a warped wave front (WWF) pattern, displaying multiple folding processes, which develops adjacent to the LSS in the near-wall region, prior to the appearance of 𝛬-vortices; (iv) a coherent 3-D wave front, similar to a soliton, in the upper boundary layer, accompanied by regions of depression along the flanks of the wave. It was determined that the amplification and lift-up of a 3-D wave causes the development of the HSL, WWF and multiple folding behaviour of material surfaces, that all contribute to the development of a 𝛬-vortex. The amplified 3-D wave is hypothesized as a soliton-like coherent structure. Based on our results, a path to transition is proposed, which hypothesizes the function of the WWF in boundary-layer transition.
To describe the infection control preparedness measures undertaken for coronavirus disease (COVID-19) due to SARS-CoV-2 (previously known as 2019 novel coronavirus) in the first 42 days after announcement of a cluster of pneumonia in China, on December 31, 2019 (day 1) in Hong Kong.
A bundled approach of active and enhanced laboratory surveillance, early airborne infection isolation, rapid molecular diagnostic testing, and contact tracing for healthcare workers (HCWs) with unprotected exposure in the hospitals was implemented. Epidemiological characteristics of confirmed cases, environmental samples, and air samples were collected and analyzed.
From day 1 to day 42, 42 of 1,275 patients (3.3%) fulfilling active (n = 29) and enhanced laboratory surveillance (n = 13) were confirmed to have the SARS-CoV-2 infection. The number of locally acquired case significantly increased from 1 of 13 confirmed cases (7.7%, day 22 to day 32) to 27 of 29 confirmed cases (93.1%, day 33 to day 42; P < .001). Among them, 28 patients (66.6%) came from 8 family clusters. Of 413 HCWs caring for these confirmed cases, 11 (2.7%) had unprotected exposure requiring quarantine for 14 days. None of these was infected, and nosocomial transmission of SARS-CoV-2 was not observed. Environmental surveillance was performed in the room of a patient with viral load of 3.3 × 106 copies/mL (pooled nasopharyngeal and throat swabs) and 5.9 × 106 copies/mL (saliva), respectively. SARS-CoV-2 was identified in 1 of 13 environmental samples (7.7%) but not in 8 air samples collected at a distance of 10 cm from the patient’s chin with or without wearing a surgical mask.
Appropriate hospital infection control measures was able to prevent nosocomial transmission of SARS-CoV-2.
We aimed to investigate the heterogeneity of seasonal suicide patterns among multiple geographically, demographically and socioeconomically diverse populations.
Weekly time-series data of suicide counts for 354 communities in 12 countries during 1986–2016 were analysed. Two-stage analysis was performed. In the first stage, a generalised linear model, including cyclic splines, was used to estimate seasonal patterns of suicide for each community. In the second stage, the community-specific seasonal patterns were combined for each country using meta-regression. In addition, the community-specific seasonal patterns were regressed onto community-level socioeconomic, demographic and environmental indicators using meta-regression.
We observed seasonal patterns in suicide, with the counts peaking in spring and declining to a trough in winter in most of the countries. However, the shape of seasonal patterns varied among countries from bimodal to unimodal seasonality. The amplitude of seasonal patterns (i.e. the peak/trough relative risk) also varied from 1.47 (95% confidence interval [CI]: 1.33–1.62) to 1.05 (95% CI: 1.01–1.1) among 12 countries. The subgroup difference in the seasonal pattern also varied over countries. In some countries, larger amplitude was shown for females and for the elderly population (≥65 years of age) than for males and for younger people, respectively. The subperiod difference also varied; some countries showed increasing seasonality while others showed a decrease or little change. Finally, the amplitude was larger for communities with colder climates, higher proportions of elderly people and lower unemployment rates (p-values < 0.05).
Despite the common features of a spring peak and a winter trough, seasonal suicide patterns were largely heterogeneous in shape, amplitude, subgroup differences and temporal changes among different populations, as influenced by climate, demographic and socioeconomic conditions. Our findings may help elucidate the underlying mechanisms of seasonal suicide patterns and aid in improving the design of population-specific suicide prevention programmes based on these patterns.
The stress field induced by an edge dislocation or a point force located near a coated triangle-like hole in an infinite plate is provided in this paper. Based on the method of analytical continuation and the technique of conformal mapping in conjunction with the alternation technique, a series solution for the displacement and stresses in the coating layer and the matrix is obtained analytically. Examples for the interaction between an edge dislocation and a coated triangle-like hole for various material constant combinations, coating thicknesses and shape factors are discussed. The analysis discovers that the so-called trapping mechanism of dislocations is more likely to exist near a coated triangle-like hole. The result shows that the dislocation will first be repelled by the coating layer and then attracted by a hole when the coating layer is slightly stiffer than the matrix. However, when the coating layer is sufficiently thin, the dislocation will always be attracted by a hole even the coating layer is stiffer than the matrix.
Seasonal influenza virus epidemics have a major impact on healthcare systems. Data on population susceptibility to emerging influenza virus strains during the interepidemic period can guide planning for resource allocation of an upcoming influenza season. This study sought to assess the population susceptibility to representative emerging influenza virus strains collected during the interepidemic period. The microneutralisation antibody titers (MN titers) of a human serum panel against representative emerging influenza strains collected during the interepidemic period before the 2018/2019 winter influenza season (H1N1-inter and H3N2-inter) were compared with those against influenza strains representative of previous epidemics (H1N1-pre and H3N2-pre). A multifaceted approach, incorporating both genetic and antigenic data, was used in selecting these representative influenza virus strains for the MN assay. A significantly higher proportion of individuals had a ⩾four-fold reduction in MN titers between H1N1-inter and H1N1-pre than that between H3N2-inter and H3N2-pre (28.5% (127/445) vs. 4.9% (22/445), P < 0.001). The geometric mean titer (GMT) of H1N1-inter was significantly lower than that of H1N1-pre (381 (95% CI 339–428) vs. 713 (95% CI 641–792), P < 0.001), while there was no significant difference in the GMT between H3N2-inter and H3N2-pre. Since A(H1N1) predominated the 2018–2019 winter influenza epidemic, our results corroborated the epidemic subtype.
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.