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The Subglacial Antarctic Lakes Scientific Access (SALSA) Project accessed Mercer Subglacial Lake using environmentally clean hot-water drilling to examine interactions among ice, water, sediment, rock, microbes and carbon reservoirs within the lake water column and underlying sediments. A ~0.4 m diameter borehole was melted through 1087 m of ice and maintained over ~10 days, allowing observation of ice properties and collection of water and sediment with various tools. Over this period, SALSA collected: 60 L of lake water and 10 L of deep borehole water; microbes >0.2 μm in diameter from in situ filtration of ~100 L of lake water; 10 multicores 0.32–0.49 m long; 1.0 and 1.76 m long gravity cores; three conductivity–temperature–depth profiles of borehole and lake water; five discrete depth current meter measurements in the lake and images of ice, the lake water–ice interface and lake sediments. Temperature and conductivity data showed the hydrodynamic character of water mixing between the borehole and lake after entry. Models simulating melting of the ~6 m thick basal accreted ice layer imply that debris fall-out through the ~15 m water column to the lake sediments from borehole melting had little effect on the stratigraphy of surficial sediment cores.
The UK Biobank contains data with varying degrees of reliability and completeness for assessing depression. A third of participants completed a Mental Health Questionnaire (MHQ) containing the gold-standard Composite International Diagnostic Interview (CIDI) criteria for assessing mental health disorders.
To investigate whether multiple observations of depression from sources other than the MHQ can enhance the validity of major depressive disorder (MDD).
In participants who did not complete the MHQ, we calculated the number of other depression measures endorsed, for example from hospital episode statistics and interview data. We compared cases defined this way with CIDI-defined cases for several estimates: the variance explained by polygenic risk scores (PRS), area under the curve attributable to PRS, single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs)-based heritability and genetic correlations with summary statistics from the Psychiatric Genomics Consortium MDD genome-wide association study.
The strength of the genetic contribution increased with the number of measures endorsed. For example, SNP-based heritability increased from 7% in participants who endorsed only one measure of depression, to 21% in those who endorsed four or five measures of depression. The strength of the genetic contribution to cases defined by at least two measures approximated that for CIDI-defined cases. Most genetic correlations between UK Biobank and the Psychiatric Genomics Consortium MDD study exceeded 0.7, but there was variability between pairwise comparisons.
Multiple measures of depression can serve as a reliable approximation for case status where the CIDI measure is not available, indicating sample size can be optimised using the entire suite of UK Biobank data.
Haematopoietic stem cell transplantation is an important and effective treatment strategy for many malignancies, marrow failure syndromes, and immunodeficiencies in children, adolescents, and young adults. Despite advances in supportive care, patients undergoing transplant are at increased risk to develop cardiovascular co-morbidities.
This study was performed as a feasibility study of a rapid cardiac MRI protocol to substitute for echocardiography in the assessment of left ventricular size and function, pericardial effusion, and right ventricular hypertension.
A total of 13 patients were enrolled for the study (age 17.5 ± 7.7 years, 77% male, 77% white). Mean study time was 13.2 ± 5.6 minutes for MRI and 18.8 ± 5.7 minutes for echocardiogram (p = 0.064). Correlation between left ventricular ejection fraction by MRI and echocardiogram was good (ICC 0.76; 95% CI 0.47, 0.92). None of the patients had documented right ventricular hypertension. Patients were given a survey regarding their experiences, with the majority both perceiving that the echocardiogram took longer (7/13) and indicating they would prefer the MRI if given a choice (10/13).
A rapid cardiac MRI protocol was shown feasible to substitute for echocardiogram in the assessment of key factors prior to or in follow-up after haematopoietic stem cell transplantation.
Unmet social needs contribute to growing health disparities and rising health care costs. Strategies to collect and integrate information on social needs into patients’ electronic health records (EHRs) show promise for connecting patients with community resources. However, gaps remain in understanding the contextual factors that impact implementing these interventions in clinical settings.
We conducted qualitative interviews with patients and focus groups with providers (January−September 2020) in two primary care clinics to inform the implementation of a module that collects and integrates patient-reported social needs information into the EHR. Questions addressed constructs within the Theoretical Framework for Acceptability and the Consolidated Framework for Implementation Research. Data were coded deductively using team-based framework analysis, followed by inductive coding and matrix analyses.
Forty patients participated in interviews, with 20 recruited at the clinics and 20 from home. Two focus groups were conducted with a total of 12 providers. Factors salient to acceptability and feasibility included patients’ discomfort answering sensitive questions, concerns about privacy, difficulty reading/understanding module content, and technological literacy. Rapport with providers was a facilitator for patients to discuss social needs. Providers stressed that limited time with patients would be a barrier, and expressed concerns about the lack of available community resources.
Findings highlight the need for flexible approaches to assessing and discussing social needs with patients. Feasibility of the intervention is contingent upon support from the health system to facilitate social needs assessment and discussion. Further study of availability of community resources is needed to ensure intervention effectiveness.
Since the beginning of 2020, the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic has dramatically influenced almost every aspect of human life. Activities requiring human gatherings have either been postponed, canceled, or held completely virtually. To supplement lack of in-person contact, people have increasingly turned to virtual settings online, advantages of which include increased inclusivity and accessibility and a reduced carbon footprint. However, emerging online technologies cannot fully replace in-person scientific events. In-person meetings are not susceptible to poor Internet connectivity problems, and they provide novel opportunities for socialization, creating new collaborations and sharing ideas. To continue such activities, a hybrid model for scientific events could be a solution offering both in-person and virtual components. While participants can freely choose the mode of their participation, virtual meetings would most benefit those who cannot attend in-person due to the limitations. In-person portions of meetings should be organized with full consideration of prevention and safety strategies, including risk assessment and mitigation, venue and environmental sanitation, participant protection and disease prevention, and promoting the hybrid model. This new way of interaction between scholars can be considered as a part of a resilience system, which was neglected previously and should become a part of routine practice in the scientific community.
We describe 14 yr of public data from the Parkes Pulsar Timing Array (PPTA), an ongoing project that is producing precise measurements of pulse times of arrival from 26 millisecond pulsars using the 64-m Parkes radio telescope with a cadence of approximately 3 weeks in three observing bands. A comprehensive description of the pulsar observing systems employed at the telescope since 2004 is provided, including the calibration methodology and an analysis of the stability of system components. We attempt to provide full accounting of the reduction from the raw measured Stokes parameters to pulse times of arrival to aid third parties in reproducing our results. This conversion is encapsulated in a processing pipeline designed to track provenance. Our data products include pulse times of arrival for each of the pulsars along with an initial set of pulsar parameters and noise models. The calibrated pulse profiles and timing template profiles are also available. These data represent almost 21 000 h of recorded data spanning over 14 yr. After accounting for processes that induce time-correlated noise, 22 of the pulsars have weighted root-mean-square timing residuals of
in at least one radio band. The data should allow end users to quickly undertake their own gravitational wave analyses, for example, without having to understand the intricacies of pulsar polarisation calibration or attain a mastery of radio frequency interference mitigation as is required when analysing raw data files.
The diet of most adults is low in fish and, therefore, provides limited quantities of the long-chain, omega-3 fatty acids (LCn-3FAs), eicosapentaenoic and docosahexaenoic acids (EPA, DHA). Since these compounds serve important roles in the brain, we sought to determine if healthy adults with low-LCn-3FA consumption would exhibit improvements in neuropsychological performance and parallel changes in brain morphology following repletion through fish oil supplementation.
In a randomized, controlled trial, 271 mid-life adults (30–54 years of age, 118 men, 153 women) consuming ⩽300 mg/day of LCn-3FAs received 18 weeks of supplementation with fish oil capsules (1400 mg/day of EPA and DHA) or matching placebo. All participants completed a neuropsychological test battery examining four cognitive domains: psychomotor speed, executive function, learning/episodic memory, and fluid intelligence. A subset of 122 underwent neuroimaging before and after supplementation to measure whole-brain and subcortical tissue volumes.
Capsule adherence was over 95%, participant blinding was verified, and red blood cell EPA and DHA levels increased as expected. Supplementation did not affect performance in any of the four cognitive domains. Exploratory analyses revealed that, compared to placebo, fish oil supplementation improved executive function in participants with low-baseline DHA levels. No changes were observed in any indicator of brain morphology.
In healthy mid-life adults reporting low-dietary intake, supplementation with LCn-3FAs in moderate dose for moderate duration did not affect neuropsychological performance or brain morphology. Whether salutary effects occur in individuals with particularly low-DHA exposure requires further study.
Maternal mental health during pregnancy and postpartum predicts later emotional and behavioural problems in children. Even though most perinatal mental health problems begin before pregnancy, the consequences of preconception maternal mental health for children's early emotional development have not been prospectively studied.
We used data from two prospective Australian intergenerational cohorts, with 756 women assessed repeatedly for mental health problems before pregnancy between age 13 and 29 years, and during pregnancy and at 1 year postpartum for 1231 subsequent pregnancies. Offspring infant emotional reactivity, an early indicator of differential sensitivity denoting increased risk of emotional problems under adversity, was assessed at 1 year postpartum.
Thirty-seven percent of infants born to mothers with persistent preconception mental health problems were categorised as high in emotional reactivity, compared to 23% born to mothers without preconception history (adjusted OR 2.1, 95% CI 1.4–3.1). Ante- and postnatal maternal depressive symptoms were similarly associated with infant emotional reactivity, but these perinatal associations reduced somewhat after adjustment for prior exposure. Causal mediation analysis further showed that 88% of the preconception risk was a direct effect, not mediated by perinatal exposure.
Maternal preconception mental health problems predict infant emotional reactivity, independently of maternal perinatal mental health; while associations between perinatal depressive symptoms and infant reactivity are partially explained by prior exposure. Findings suggest that processes shaping early vulnerability for later mental disorders arise well before conception. There is an emerging case for expanding developmental theories and trialling preventive interventions in the years before pregnancy.
We sought to define the prevalence of echocardiographic abnormalities in long-term survivors of paediatric hematopoietic stem cell transplantation and determine the utility of screening in asymptomatic patients. We analysed echocardiograms performed on survivors who underwent hematopoietic stem cell transplantation from 1982 to 2006. A total of 389 patients were alive in 2017, with 114 having an echocardiogram obtained ⩾5 years post-infusion. A total of 95 patients had echocardiogram performed for routine surveillance. The mean time post-hematopoietic stem cell transplantation was 13 years. Of 95 patients, 77 (82.1%) had ejection fraction measured, and 10/77 (13.0%) had ejection fraction z-scores ⩽−2.0, which is abnormally low. Those patients with abnormal ejection fraction were significantly more likely to have been exposed to anthracyclines or total body irradiation. Among individuals who received neither anthracyclines nor total body irradiation, only 1/31 (3.2%) was found to have an abnormal ejection fraction of 51.4%, z-score −2.73. In the cohort of 77 patients, the negative predictive value of having a normal ejection fraction given no exposure to total body irradiation or anthracyclines was 96.7% at 95% confidence interval (83.3–99.8%). Systolic dysfunction is relatively common in long-term survivors of paediatric hematopoietic stem cell transplantation who have received anthracyclines or total body irradiation. Survivors who are asymptomatic and did not receive radiation or anthracyclines likely do not require surveillance echocardiograms, unless otherwise indicated.
The expression of suicidal ideation is considered to be an important warning sign for suicide. However, the predictive properties of suicidal ideation as a test of later suicide are unclear.
To assess the strength of the association between suicidal ideation and later suicide measured by odds ratio (OR), sensitivity, specificity and positive predictive value (PPV).
We located English-language studies indexed in PubMed that reported the expression or non-expression of suicidal ideation among people who later died by suicide or did not. A random effects meta-analysis was used to assess the pooled OR, sensitivity, specificity and PPV of suicidal ideation for later suicide among groups of people from psychiatric and non-psychiatric settings.
There was a moderately strong but highly heterogeneous association between suicidal ideation and later suicide (n = 71, OR = 3.41, 95% CI 2.59–4.49, 95% prediction interval 0.42–28.1, I2 = 89.4, Q-value = 661, d.f.(Q) = 70, P ≤0.001). Studies conducted in primary care and other non-psychiatric settings had similar pooled odds to studies of current and former psychiatric patients (OR = 3.86 v. OR = 3.23, P = 0.7). The pooled sensitivity of suicidal ideation for later suicide was 41% (95% CI 35–48) and the pooled specificity was 86% (95% CI 76–92), with high between-study heterogeneity. Studies of suicidal ideation expressed by current and former psychiatric patients had a significantly higher pooled sensitivity (46% v. 22%) and lower pooled specificity (81% v. 96%) than studies conducted in non-psychiatric settings. The PPV among non-psychiatric cohorts (0.3%, 95% CI 0.1%–0.5%) was significantly lower (Q-value = 35.6, P < 0.001) than among psychiatric samples (3.9%, 95% CI 2.2–6.6).
Estimates of the extent of the association between suicidal ideation and later suicide are limited by unexplained between-study heterogeneity. The utility of suicidal ideation as a test for later suicide is limited by a modest sensitivity and low PPV.
M.M.L. and C.J.R. have provided expert evidence in civil, criminal and coronial matters. I.B.H. has been a Commissioner in Australia's National Mental Health Commission since 2012. He is the Co-Director, Health and Policy at the Brain and Mind Centre (BMC) University of Sydney. The BMC operates an early-intervention youth services at Camperdown under contract to Headspace. I.B.H. has previously led community-based and pharmaceutical industry-supported (Wyeth, Eli Lily, Servier, Pfizer, AstraZeneca) projects focused on the identification and better management of anxiety and depression. He is a Board Member of Psychosis Australia Trust and a member of Veterans Mental Health Clinical Reference group. He was a member of the Medical Advisory Panel for Medibank Private until October 2017. He is the Chief Scientific Advisor to, and an equity shareholder in, InnoWell. InnoWell has been formed by the University of Sydney and PricewaterhouseCoopers to administer the $30 M Australian Government Funded Project Synergy. Project Synergy is a 3-year programme for the transformation of mental health services through the use of innovative technologies.
Trials evaluating efficacy of omega-3 highly unsaturated fatty acids (HUFAs) in major depressive disorder report discrepant findings.
To establish the reasons underlying inconsistent findings among randomised controlled trials (RCTs) of omega-3 HUFAs for depression and to assess implications for further trials.
A systematic bibliographic search of double-blind RCTs was conducted between January 1980 and July 2014 and an exploratory hypothesis-testing meta-analysis performed in 35 RCTs including 6665 participants receiving omega-3 HUFAs and 4373 participants receiving placebo.
Among participants with diagnosed depression, eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA)-predominant formulations (>50% EPA) demonstrated clinical benefits compared with placebo (Hedge's G = 0.61, P<0.001) whereas docosahexaenoic acid (DHA)-predominant formulations (>50% DHA) did not. EPA failed to prevent depressive symptoms among populations not diagnosed for depression.
Further RCTs should be conducted on study populations with diagnosed or clinically significant depression of adequate duration using EPA-predominant omega-3 HUFA formulations.
Dietary anthocyanins have been shown to reduce inflammation in animal models and may ameliorate obesity-related complications. Black elderberry is one of the richest sources of anthocyanins. We investigated the metabolic effects of anthocyanin-rich black elderberry extract (BEE) in a diet-induced obese C57BL/6J mouse model. Mice were fed either a low-fat diet (n 8), high-fat lard-based diet (HFD; n 16), HFD+0·25 % (w/w) BEE (0·25 %-BEE; n 16) or HFD+1·25 % BEE (1·25 %-BEE; n 16) for 16 weeks. The 0·25 % BEE (0·034 % anthocyanin, w/w) and 1·25 % BEE (0·17 % anthocyanin, w/w) diets corresponded to estimated anthocyanin doses of 20–40 mg and 100–200 mg per kg of body weight, respectively. After 16 weeks, both BEE groups had significantly lower liver weights, serum TAG, homoeostasis model assessment and serum monocyte chemoattractant protein-1 compared with HFD. The 0·25 %-BEE also had lower serum insulin and TNFα compared with HFD. Hepatic fatty acid synthase mRNA was lower in both BEE groups, whereas PPARγ2 mRNA and liver cholesterol were lower in 1·25 %-BEE, suggesting decreased hepatic lipid synthesis. Higher adipose PPARγ mRNA, transforming growth factor β mRNA and adipose tissue histology suggested a pro-fibrogenic phenotype that was less inflammatory in 1·25 %-BEE. Skeletal muscle mRNA expression of the myokine IL-6 was higher in 0·25 %-BEE relative to HFD. These results suggest that BEE may have improved some metabolic disturbances present in this mouse model of obesity by lowering serum TAG, inflammatory markers and insulin resistance.