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While evidence-based psychotherapy (EBP) for posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) is a first-line treatment, its real-world effectiveness is unknown. We compared cognitive processing therapy (CPT) and prolonged exposure (PE) each to an individual psychotherapy comparator group, and CPT to PE in a large national healthcare system.
We utilized effectiveness and comparative effectiveness emulated trials using retrospective cohort data from electronic medical records. Participants were veterans with PTSD initiating mental healthcare (N = 265 566). The primary outcome was PTSD symptoms measured by the PTSD Checklist (PCL) at baseline and 24-week follow-up. Emulated trials were comprised of ‘person-trials,’ representing 112 discrete 24-week periods of care (10/07–6/17) for each patient. Treatment group comparisons were made with generalized linear models, utilizing propensity score matching and inverse probability weights to account for confounding, selection, and non-adherence bias.
There were 636 CPT person-trials matched to 636 non-EBP person-trials. Completing ⩾8 CPT sessions was associated with a 6.4-point greater improvement on the PCL (95% CI 3.1–10.0). There were 272 PE person-trials matched to 272 non-EBP person-trials. Completing ⩾8 PE sessions was associated with a 9.7-point greater improvement on the PCL (95% CI 5.4–13.8). There were 232 PE person-trials matched to 232 CPT person-trials. Those completing ⩾8 PE sessions had slightly greater, but not statistically significant, improvement on the PCL (8.3-points; 95% CI 5.9–10.6) than those completing ⩾8 CPT sessions (7.0-points; 95% CI 5.5–8.5).
PTSD symptom improvement was similar and modest for both EBPs. Although EBPs are helpful, research to further improve PTSD care is critical.
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.
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.
To assess differences in cognition functions and gross brain structure in children seven years after an episode of severe acute malnutrition (SAM), compared with other Malawian children.
Prospective longitudinal cohort assessing school grade achieved and results of five computer-based (CANTAB) tests, covering three cognitive domains. A subset underwent brain MRI scans which were reviewed using a standardized checklist of gross abnormalities and compared with a reference population of Malawian children.
Children discharged from SAM treatment in 2006 and 2007 (n 320; median age 9·3 years) were compared with controls: siblings closest in age to the SAM survivors and age/sex-matched community children.
SAM survivors were significantly more likely to be in a lower grade at school than controls (adjusted OR = 0·4; 95 % CI 0·3, 0·6; P < 0·0001) and had consistently poorer scores in all CANTAB cognitive tests. Adjusting for HIV and socio-economic status diminished statistically significant differences. There were no significant differences in odds of brain abnormalities and sinusitis between SAM survivors (n 49) and reference children (OR = 1·11; 95 % CI 0·61, 2·03; P = 0·73).
Despite apparent preservation in gross brain structure, persistent impaired school achievement is likely to be detrimental to individual attainment and economic well-being. Understanding the multifactorial causes of lower school achievement is therefore needed to design interventions for SAM survivors to thrive in adulthood. The cognitive and potential economic implications of SAM need further emphasis to better advocate for SAM prevention and early treatment.
The evolutionary-aided design process is a method to find solutions to design and optimisation problems. Evolutionary algorithms (EAs) are applied to search for optimal solutions from a solution space that evolves over several generations. EAs have found applications in many areas of robotics. This paper covers the efforts to determine body morphology of robots through evolution and body morphology with the controller of robots or similar creatures through co-evolution. The works are reviewed from the perspective of how different algorithms are applied and includes a brief explanation of how they are implemented.
Code phase Global Navigation Satellite System (GNSS) positioning performance is often described by the Geometric or Position Dilution of Precision (GDOP or PDOP), functions of the number of satellites employed in the solution and their geometry. This paper develops lower bounds to both metrics solely as functions of the number of satellites, effectively removing the added complexity caused by their locations in the sky, to allow users to assess how well their receivers are performing with respect to the best possible performance. Such bounds will be useful as receivers sub-select from the plethora of satellites available with multiple GNSS constellations. The bounds are initially developed for one constellation assuming that the satellites are at or above the horizon. Satellite constellations that essentially achieve the bounds are discussed, again with value toward the problem of satellite selection. The bounds are then extended to a non-zero mask angle and to multiple constellations.
Immigrants and their children who return to their country of origin to visit friends and relatives (VFR) are at increased risk of acquiring infectious diseases compared to other travellers. VFR travel is an important disease control issue, as one quarter of Australia's population are foreign-born and one quarter of departing Australian international travellers are visiting friends and relatives. We conducted a 1-year prospective enhanced surveillance study in New South Wales and Victoria, Australia to determine the contribution of VFR travel to notifiable diseases associated with travel, including typhoid, paratyphoid, measles, hepatitis A, hepatitis E, malaria and chikungunya. Additional data on characteristics of international travel were collected. Recent international travel was reported by 180/222 (81%) enhanced surveillance cases, including all malaria, chikungunya and paratyphoid cases. The majority of cases who acquired infections during travel were immigrant Australians (96, 53%) or their Australian-born children (43, 24%). VFR travel was reported by 117 (65%) travel-associated cases, highest for typhoid (31/32, 97%). Cases of children (aged <18 years) (86%) were more frequently VFR travellers compared to adult travellers (57%, P < 0·001). VFR travel is an important contributor to imported disease in Australia. Communicable disease control strategies targeting these travellers, such as targeted health promotion, are likely to impact importation of these travel-related infections.
A number of socio-economic, biological and lifestyle characteristics change with advancing age and place very old adults at increased risk of micronutrient deficiencies. The aim of this study was to assess vitamin and mineral intakes and respective food sources in 793 75-year-olds (302 men and 491 women) in the North-East of England, participating in the Newcastle 85+ Study. Micronutrient intakes were estimated using a multiple-pass recall tool (2×24 h recalls). Determinants of micronutrient intake were assessed with multinomial logistic regression. Median vitamin D, Ca and Mg intakes were 2·0 (interquartile range (IQR) 1·2–6·5) µg/d, 731 (IQR 554–916) mg/d and 215 (IQR 166–266) mg/d, respectively. Fe intake was 8·7 (IQR 6·7–11·6) mg/d, and Se intake was 39·0 (IQR 27·3–55·5) µg/d. Cereals and cereal products were the top contributors to intakes of folate (31·5 %), Fe (49·2 %) and Se (46·7 %) and the second highest contributors to intakes of vitamin D (23·8 %), Ca (27·5 %) and K (15·8 %). More than 95 % (n 756) of the participants had vitamin D intakes below the UK’s Reference Nutrient Intake (10 µg/d). In all, >20 % of the participants were below the Lower Reference Nutrient Intake for Mg (n 175), K (n 238) and Se (n 418) (comparisons with dietary reference values (DRV) do not include supplements). As most DRV are not age specific and have been extrapolated from younger populations, results should be interpreted with caution. Participants with higher education, from higher social class and who were more physically active had more nutrient-dense diets. More studies are needed to inform the development of age-specific DRV for micronutrients for the very old.
Very old people (referred to as those aged 85 years and over) are the fastest growing age segment of many Western societies owing to the steady rise of life expectancy and decrease in later life mortality. In the UK, there are now more than 1·5 million very old people (2·5 % of total population) and the number is projected to rise to 3·3 million or 5 % over the next 20 years. Reduced mobility and independence, financial constraints, higher rates of hospitalisation, chronic diseases and disabilities, changes in body composition, taste perception, digestion and absorption of food all potentially influence either nutrient intake or needs at this stage of life. The nutritional needs of the very old have been identified as a research priority by the British Nutrition Foundation's Task Force report, Healthy Ageing: The Role of Nutrition and Lifestyle. However, very little is known about the dietary habits and nutritional status of the very old. The Newcastle 85+ study, a cohort of more than 1000 85-year olds from the North East of England and the Life and Living in Advanced Age study (New Zealand), a bicultural cohort study of advanced ageing of more than 900 participants from the Bay of Plenty and Rotorua regions of New Zealand are two unique cohort studies of ageing, which aim to assess the spectrum of health in the very old as well as examine the associations of health trajectories and outcomes with biological, clinical and social factors as each cohort ages. The nutrition domain included in both studies will help to fill the evidence gap by identifying eating patterns, and measures of nutritional status associated with better, or worse, health and wellbeing. This review will explore some of this ongoing work.
Food and nutrient intake data are scarce in very old adults (85 years and older) – one of the fastest growing age segments of Western societies, including the UK. Our primary objective was to assess energy and macronutrient intakes and respective food sources in 793 85-year-olds (302 men and 491 women) living in North-East England and participating in the Newcastle 85+ cohort Study. Dietary information was collected using a repeated multiple-pass recall (2×24 h recalls). Energy, macronutrient and NSP intakes were estimated, and the contribution (%) of food groups to nutrient intake was calculated. The median energy intake was 6·65 (interquartile ranges (IQR) 5·49–8·16) MJ/d – 46·8 % was from carbohydrates, 36·8 % from fats and 15·7 % from proteins. NSP intake was 10·2 g/d (IQR 7·3–13·7). NSP intake was higher in non-institutionalised, more educated, from higher social class and more physically active 85-year-olds. Cereals and cereal products were the top contributors to intakes of energy and most macronutrients (carbohydrates, non-milk extrinsic sugars, NSP and fat), followed by meat and meat products. The median intakes of energy and NSP were much lower than the estimated average requirement for energy (9·6 MJ/d for men and 7·7 MJ/d for women) and the dietary reference value (DRV) for NSP (≥18 g/d). The median SFA intake was higher than the DRV (≤11 % of dietary energy). This study highlights the paucity of data on dietary intake and the uncertainties about DRV for this age group.
To assess the acceptability and adherence to daily doses of lipid-based nutrient supplement (LNS) among children and micronutrient powder (MNP) among children and pregnant and lactating women.
Household interviews and sachet counting were conducted to measure acceptability and adherence, 15 and 30 d after product distribution. Qualitative information on product acceptability was collected using focus group discussions.
LNS was distributed to 123 children aged 6–35 months (LNS-C), and MNP to 112 children aged 36–59 months (MNP-C) and 119 pregnant or lactating women (MNP-W).
At the end of the test 98·4 % of LNS-C, 90·4 % of MNP-C and 75·5 % of MNP-W participants reported that they liked the product (P<0·05). Other measures of acceptability did not differ. Median consumption of sachets was highest in the LNS-C group (P<0·001). ‘Good’ adherence to the daily regimen (consumption of 75–125 % of recommended dose) was 89·1 % in the LNS-C, compared with 57·0 % in the MNP-C and 65·8 % in the MNP-W groups (P<0·001). Qualitative findings supported the quantitative measures and guided selection of local product names, packaging designs, distribution mechanisms, and the design of the information campaign in the subsequent programme scale-up.
Acceptability, consumption and adherence were higher in participants receiving LNS compared with MNP. However, both products were found to be suitable when compared with predefined acceptability criteria. Acceptability studies are feasible and important in emergency nutrition programmes when the use of novel special nutritional products is considered.
Demand for organic meat is partially driven by consumer perceptions that organic foods are more nutritious than non-organic foods. However, there have been no systematic reviews comparing specifically the nutrient content of organic and conventionally produced meat. In this study, we report results of a meta-analysis based on sixty-seven published studies comparing the composition of organic and non-organic meat products. For many nutritionally relevant compounds (e.g. minerals, antioxidants and most individual fatty acids (FA)), the evidence base was too weak for meaningful meta-analyses. However, significant differences in FA profiles were detected when data from all livestock species were pooled. Concentrations of SFA and MUFA were similar or slightly lower, respectively, in organic compared with conventional meat. Larger differences were detected for total PUFA and n-3 PUFA, which were an estimated 23 (95 % CI 11, 35) % and 47 (95 % CI 10, 84) % higher in organic meat, respectively. However, for these and many other composition parameters, for which meta-analyses found significant differences, heterogeneity was high, and this could be explained by differences between animal species/meat types. Evidence from controlled experimental studies indicates that the high grazing/forage-based diets prescribed under organic farming standards may be the main reason for differences in FA profiles. Further studies are required to enable meta-analyses for a wider range of parameters (e.g. antioxidant, vitamin and mineral concentrations) and to improve both precision and consistency of results for FA profiles for all species. Potential impacts of composition differences on human health are discussed.
Demand for organic milk is partially driven by consumer perceptions that it is more nutritious. However, there is still considerable uncertainty over whether the use of organic production standards affects milk quality. Here we report results of meta-analyses based on 170 published studies comparing the nutrient content of organic and conventional bovine milk. There were no significant differences in total SFA and MUFA concentrations between organic and conventional milk. However, concentrations of total PUFA and n-3 PUFA were significantly higher in organic milk, by an estimated 7 (95 % CI −1, 15) % and 56 (95 % CI 38, 74) %, respectively. Concentrations of α-linolenic acid (ALA), very long-chain n-3 fatty acids (EPA+DPA+DHA) and conjugated linoleic acid were also significantly higher in organic milk, by an 69 (95 % CI 53, 84) %, 57 (95 % CI 27, 87) % and 41 (95 % CI 14, 68) %, respectively. As there were no significant differences in total n-6 PUFA and linoleic acid (LA) concentrations, the n-6:n-3 and LA:ALA ratios were lower in organic milk, by an estimated 71 (95 % CI −122, −20) % and 93 (95 % CI −116, −70) %. It is concluded that organic bovine milk has a more desirable fatty acid composition than conventional milk. Meta-analyses also showed that organic milk has significantly higher α-tocopherol and Fe, but lower I and Se concentrations. Redundancy analysis of data from a large cross-European milk quality survey indicates that the higher grazing/conserved forage intakes in organic systems were the main reason for milk composition differences.