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Psychological trauma exposure and posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) have been associated with advanced epigenetic age. However, whether epigenetic aging measured at the time of trauma predicts the subsequent development of PTSD outcomes is unknown. Moreover, the neural substrates underlying posttraumatic outcomes associated with epigenetic aging are unclear.
We examined a multi-ancestry cohort of women and men (n = 289) who presented to the emergency department (ED) after trauma. Blood DNA was collected at ED presentation, and EPIC DNA methylation arrays were used to assess four widely used metrics of epigenetic aging (HorvathAge, HannumAge, PhenoAge, and GrimAge). PTSD symptoms were evaluated longitudinally at the time of ED presentation and over the ensuing 6 months. Structural and functional neuroimaging was performed 2 weeks after trauma.
After covariate adjustment and correction for multiple comparisons, advanced ED GrimAge predicted increased risk for 6-month probable PTSD diagnosis. Secondary analyses suggested that the prediction of PTSD by GrimAge was driven by worse trajectories for intrusive memories and nightmares. Advanced ED GrimAge was also associated with reduced volume of the whole amygdala and specific amygdala subregions, including the cortico-amygdaloid transition and the cortical and accessory basal nuclei.
Our findings shed new light on the relation between biological aging and trauma-related phenotypes, suggesting that GrimAge measured at the time of trauma predicts PTSD trajectories and is associated with relevant brain alterations. Furthering these findings has the potential to enhance early prevention and treatment of posttraumatic psychiatric sequelae.
We know much about “how democracies die”: elites and masses become polarized, and norms of mutual toleration, forbearance, and institutional restraint erode. But why do elites feel free to undermine these guardrails of democracy? What are the sources of backsliding? Answers to these questions have focused on the impact of economic and cultural change, and on autocratic meddling. I consider another potential source of backsliding around the world: the impact of the reconfiguration of global politics after the Cold War and 9/11 on politics in the main prodemocratic actors that Samuel Huntington highlighted in his book The Third Wave: the United States, the European Union, and the Vatican. Today, the international context gives leaders in these global powers relatively weaker incentives to stand up for democracy, even in the face of aggressive meddling from Russia and China. Changes in international politics has left democracy with weaker ideational support in the global arena, potentially facilitating backsliding.
Early in the COVID-19 pandemic, the World Health Organization stressed the importance of daily clinical assessments of infected patients, yet current approaches frequently consider cross-sectional timepoints, cumulative summary measures, or time-to-event analyses. Statistical methods are available that make use of the rich information content of longitudinal assessments. We demonstrate the use of a multistate transition model to assess the dynamic nature of COVID-19-associated critical illness using daily evaluations of COVID-19 patients from 9 academic hospitals. We describe the accessibility and utility of methods that consider the clinical trajectory of critically ill COVID-19 patients.
Despite extensive paleoenvironmental research on the postglacial history of the Kenai Peninsula, Alaska, uncertainties remain regarding the region's deglaciation, vegetation development, and past hydroclimate. To elucidate this complex environmental history, we present new proxy datasets from Hidden and Kelly lakes, located in the eastern Kenai lowlands at the foot of the Kenai Mountains, including sedimentological properties (magnetic susceptibility, organic matter, grain size, and biogenic silica), pollen and macrofossils, diatom assemblages, and diatom oxygen isotopes. We use a simple hydrologic and isotope mass balance model to constrain interpretations of the diatom oxygen isotope data. Results reveal that glacier ice retreated from Hidden Lake's headwaters by ca. 13.1 cal ka BP, and that groundwater was an important component of Kelly Lake's hydrologic budget in the Early Holocene. As the forest developed and the climate became wetter in the Middle to Late Holocene, Kelly Lake reached or exceeded its modern level. In the last ca. 75 years, rising temperature caused rapid changes in biogenic silica content and diatom oxygen isotope values. Our findings demonstrate the utility of mass balance modeling to constrain interpretations of paleolimnologic oxygen isotope data, and that groundwater can exert a strong influence on lake water isotopes, potentially confounding interpretations of regional climate.
Praziquantel (PZQ) remains the only drug of choice for the treatment of schistosomiasis, caused by parasitic flatworms. The widespread use of PZQ in schistosomiasis endemic areas for about four decades raises concerns about the emergence of resistance of Schistosoma spp. to PZQ under drug selection pressure. This reinforces the urgency in finding alternative therapeutic options that could replace or complement PZQ. We explored the potential of medicinal plants commonly used by indigenes in Kenya for the treatment of various ailments including malaria, pneumonia, and diarrhoea for their antischistosomal properties. Employing the Soxhlet extraction method with different solvents, seven medicinal plants Artemisia annua, Ajuga remota, Bredilia micranta, Cordia africana, Physalis peruviana, Prunus africana and Senna didymobotrya were extracted. Qualitative phytochemical screening was performed to determine the presence of various phytochemicals in the plant extracts. Extracts were tested against Schistosoma mansoni newly transformed schistosomula (NTS) and adult worms and the schistosomicidal activity was determined by using the adenosine triphosphate quantitation assay. Phytochemical analysis of the extracts showed different classes of compounds such as alkaloids, tannins, terpenes, etc., in plant extracts active against S. mansoni worms. Seven extracts out of 22 resulted in <20% viability against NTS in 24 h at 100 μg/ml. Five of the extracts with inhibitory activity against NTS showed >69.7% and ≥72.4% reduction in viability against adult worms after exposure for 24 and 48 h, respectively. This study provides encouraging preliminary evidence that extracts of Kenyan medicinal plants deserve further study as potential alternative therapeutics that may form the basis for the development of the new treatments for schistosomiasis.
Yarkoni's analysis clearly articulates a number of concerns limiting the generalizability and explanatory power of psychological findings, many of which are compounded in infancy research. ManyBabies addresses these concerns via a radically collaborative, large-scale and open approach to research that is grounded in theory-building, committed to diversification, and focused on understanding sources of variation.
Questions remain regarding whether genetic influences on early life psychopathology overlap with cognition and show developmental variation.
Using data from 9,421 individuals aged 8–21 from the Philadelphia Neurodevelopmental Cohort, factors of psychopathology were generated using a bifactor model of item-level data from a psychiatric interview. Five orthogonal factors were generated: anxious-misery (mood and anxiety), externalizing (attention deficit hyperactivity and conduct disorder), fear (phobias), psychosis-spectrum, and a general factor. Genetic analyses were conducted on a subsample of 4,662 individuals of European American ancestry. A genetic relatedness matrix was used to estimate heritability of these factors, and genetic correlations with executive function, episodic memory, complex reasoning, social cognition, motor speed, and general cognitive ability. Gene × Age analyses determined whether genetic influences on these factors show developmental variation.
Externalizing was heritable (h2 = 0.46, p = 1 × 10−6), but not anxious-misery (h2 = 0.09, p = 0.183), fear (h2 = 0.04, p = 0.337), psychosis-spectrum (h2 = 0.00, p = 0.494), or general psychopathology (h2 = 0.21, p = 0.040). Externalizing showed genetic overlap with face memory (ρg = −0.412, p = 0.004), verbal reasoning (ρg = −0.485, p = 0.001), spatial reasoning (ρg = −0.426, p = 0.010), motor speed (ρg = 0.659, p = 1x10−4), verbal knowledge (ρg = −0.314, p = 0.002), and general cognitive ability (g)(ρg = −0.394, p = 0.002). Gene × Age analyses revealed decreasing genetic variance (γg = −0.146, p = 0.004) and increasing environmental variance (γe = 0.059, p = 0.009) on externalizing.
Cognitive impairment may be a useful endophenotype of externalizing psychopathology and, therefore, help elucidate its pathophysiological underpinnings. Decreasing genetic variance suggests that gene discovery efforts may be more fruitful in children than adolescents or young adults.
Recent research points to a gender gap in journal-article authorship: women are underrepresented. Given that publishing a book remains central to many political scientists’ careers, this article explores the extent to which gender publication and citation gaps also exist for books. We find that although the gender publication gap for university-press books has narrowed over time, it remains larger than for journal articles. We also find that book-authorship patterns do not reflect the shift toward coauthorship observed for journal articles. Conversely, we find no gender citation gap for books written by one woman. However, books coauthored by coed teams or teams of women receive far fewer citations than books written by one man or one woman or by teams of men.
This is the first report on the association between trauma exposure and depression from the Advancing Understanding of RecOvery afteR traumA(AURORA) multisite longitudinal study of adverse post-traumatic neuropsychiatric sequelae (APNS) among participants seeking emergency department (ED) treatment in the aftermath of a traumatic life experience.
We focus on participants presenting at EDs after a motor vehicle collision (MVC), which characterizes most AURORA participants, and examine associations of participant socio-demographics and MVC characteristics with 8-week depression as mediated through peritraumatic symptoms and 2-week depression.
Eight-week depression prevalence was relatively high (27.8%) and associated with several MVC characteristics (being passenger v. driver; injuries to other people). Peritraumatic distress was associated with 2-week but not 8-week depression. Most of these associations held when controlling for peritraumatic symptoms and, to a lesser degree, depressive symptoms at 2-weeks post-trauma.
These observations, coupled with substantial variation in the relative strength of the mediating pathways across predictors, raises the possibility of diverse and potentially complex underlying biological and psychological processes that remain to be elucidated in more in-depth analyses of the rich and evolving AURORA database to find new targets for intervention and new tools for risk-based stratification following trauma exposure.
It is unclear whether olfactory deficits improve after remission in depressed patients. Therefore, we aimed to assess in drug-free patients the olfactory performance of patients with major depressive episodes (MDE) and its change after antidepressant treatment.
In the DEP-ARREST-CLIN study, 69 drug-free patients with a current MDE in the context of major depressive disorder (MDD) were assessed for their olfactory performances and depression severity, before and after 1 (M1) and 3 (M3) months of venlafaxine antidepressant treatment. They were compared to 32 age- and sex-matched healthy controls (HCs). Olfaction was assessed with a psychophysical test, the Sniffin’ Sticks test (Threshold: T score; Discrimination: D score; Identification: I score; total score: T + D + I = TDI score) and Pleasantness (pleasantness score: p score; neutral score: N score; unpleasantness score: U score).
As compared to HCs, depressed patients had lower TDI olfactory scores [mean (s.d.) 30.0(4.5) v. 33.3(4.2), p < 0.001], T scores [5.6(2.6) v. 7.4(2.6), p < 0.01], p scores [7.5(3.0) v. 9.8(2.8), p < 0.001)] and higher N scores [3.5(2.6) v. 2.1(1.8), p < 0.01]. T, p and N scores at baseline were independent from depression and anhedonia severity. After venlafaxine treatment, significant increases of T scores [M1: 7.0(2.6) and M3: 6.8(3.1), p < 0.01] and p scores [M1: 8.1(3.0) and M3: 8.4(3.3), p < 0.05] were evidenced, in remitters only (T: p < 0.01; P: p < 0.01). Olfaction improvement was mediated by depression improvement.
The olfactory signature of MDE is restored after venlafaxine treatment. This olfaction improvement is mediated by depression improvement.
Conventional wisdom holds that landed elites oppose democratization. Whether they fear rising wages, labor mobility or land redistribution, landowners have historically repressed agricultural workers and sustained autocracy. What might change landowning elites’ preferences for dictatorship and reduce their opposition to democracy? Change requires reducing landowners’ need to maintain political control over labor. This transition occurs when mechanization reduces the demand for agricultural workers, eliminating the need for labor-repressive policies. We explain how the adoption of labor-saving technology in agriculture alters landowners’ political preferences for different regimes, so that the more mechanized the agricultural sector, the more likely is democracy to emerge and survive. Our theoretical argument offers a parsimonious revision to Moore’s thesis that applies to the global transformation of agriculture since his Social Origins first appeared, and results from our cross-national statistical analyses strongly suggest that a positive relationship between agricultural mechanization and democracy does in fact exist.
Studies suggest that alcohol consumption and alcohol use disorders have distinct genetic backgrounds.
We examined whether polygenic risk scores (PRS) for consumption and problem subscales of the Alcohol Use Disorders Identification Test (AUDIT-C, AUDIT-P) in the UK Biobank (UKB; N = 121 630) correlate with alcohol outcomes in four independent samples: an ascertained cohort, the Collaborative Study on the Genetics of Alcoholism (COGA; N = 6850), and population-based cohorts: Avon Longitudinal Study of Parents and Children (ALSPAC; N = 5911), Generation Scotland (GS; N = 17 461), and an independent subset of UKB (N = 245 947). Regression models and survival analyses tested whether the PRS were associated with the alcohol-related outcomes.
In COGA, AUDIT-P PRS was associated with alcohol dependence, AUD symptom count, maximum drinks (R2 = 0.47–0.68%, p = 2.0 × 10−8–1.0 × 10−10), and increased likelihood of onset of alcohol dependence (hazard ratio = 1.15, p = 4.7 × 10−8); AUDIT-C PRS was not an independent predictor of any phenotype. In ALSPAC, the AUDIT-C PRS was associated with alcohol dependence (R2 = 0.96%, p = 4.8 × 10−6). In GS, AUDIT-C PRS was a better predictor of weekly alcohol use (R2 = 0.27%, p = 5.5 × 10−11), while AUDIT-P PRS was more associated with problem drinking (R2 = 0.40%, p = 9.0 × 10−7). Lastly, AUDIT-P PRS was associated with ICD-based alcohol-related disorders in the UKB subset (R2 = 0.18%, p < 2.0 × 10−16).
AUDIT-P PRS was associated with a range of alcohol-related phenotypes across population-based and ascertained cohorts, while AUDIT-C PRS showed less utility in the ascertained cohort. We show that AUDIT-P is genetically correlated with both use and misuse and demonstrate the influence of ascertainment schemes on PRS analyses.
Psychopathic traits predispose individuals toward antisocial behavior. Such antagonistic acts often result in “unsuccessful” outcomes such as incarceration. What mechanisms allow some people with relatively high levels of psychopathic traits to live “successful”, unincarcerated lives, in spite of their antisocial tendencies? Using neuroimaging, we investigated the possibility that “successful” psychopathic individuals exhibited greater development of neural structures that promote “successful” self-regulation, focusing on the ventrolateral prefrontal cortex (VLPFC). Across two structural magnetic resonance imaging studies of “successful” participants (Study 1: N = 80 individuals in long-term romantic relationships; Study 2: N = 64 undergraduates), we observed that gray matter density in the left and right VLPFC was positively associated with psychopathic traits. These preliminary results support a compensatory model of psychopathy, in which “successful” psychopathic individuals develop inhibitory mechanisms to compensate for their antisocial tendencies. Traditional models of psychopathy that emphasize deficits may be aided by such compensatory models that identify surfeits in neural and psychological processes.
Anthropogenic habitat alteration and invasive species are threatening carnivores globally. Understanding the impact of these factors is critical for creating localized, effective conservation programmes. Madagascar's Eupleridae have been described as the least studied and most threatened group of carnivores. We investigated the effects of habitat degradation and the presence of people and exotic species on the modelled occupancy of the endemic fosa Cryptoprocta ferox, conducting camera-trap surveys in two western deciduous forests, Ankarafantsika National Park and Andranomena Special Reserve. Our results indicated no clear patterns between habitat degradation and fosa occupancy but a strong negative association between cats Felis sp. and fosas. Cat occupancy was negatively associated with birds and positively associated with contiguous forest and narrow trails. In contrast, dog Canis lupus familiaris occupancy was best predicted by wide trails, degraded forest and exotic civets. Our results suggest fosas are capable of traversing degraded landscapes and, in the short term, are resilient to contiguous forest disturbance. However, high occupancy of cats and dogs in the landscape leads to resource competition through prey exploitation and interference, increasing the risk of transmission of potentially fatal diseases. Management strategies for exotic carnivores should be considered, to reduce the widespread predation of endemic species and the transmission of disease.
Field studies were conducted in North Carolina to determine the critical period for Palmer amaranth control (CPPAC) in pickling cucumber. In removal treatments (REM), emerged Palmer amaranth were allowed to compete with cucumber for 14, 21, 28, or 35 d after sowing (DAS) in 2014 and 14, 21, 35, or 42 DAS in 2015, and cucumber was kept weed-free for the remainder of the season. In the establishment treatments (EST), cucumber was maintained free of Palmer amaranth by hand removal until 14, 21, 28, or 35 DAS in 2014 and until 14, 21, 35, or 42 DAS in 2015; after this, Palmer amaranth was allowed to establish and compete with the cucumber for the remainder of the season. The beginning and end of the CPPAC, based on 5% loss of marketable yield, was determined by fitting log-logistic and Gompertz equations to the relative yield data representing REM and EST, respectively. Season-long competition by Palmer amaranth reduced pickling cucumber yield by 45% to 98% and 88% to 98% during 2014 and 2015, respectively. When cucumber was planted on April 25, 2015, the CPPAC ranged from 570 to 1,002 heat units (HU), which corresponded to 32 to 49 DAS. However, when cucumber planting was delayed 2 to 4 wk (May 7 and May 21, 2014 and May 4, 2015), the CPPAC lasted from 100 to 918 HU (7 to 44 DAS). This research suggested that planting pickling cucumber as early as possible during the season may help to reduce competition by Palmer amaranth and delay the beginning of the CPPAC.
Enhanced odor sensitivity, particularly toward threat-related cues, may be adaptive during periods of danger. Research also suggests that chronic psychological distress may lead to functional changes in the olfactory system that cause heightened sensitivity to odors. Yet, the association between self-reported odor sensitivity, objective odor detection, and affective psychopathology is currently unclear, and research suggests that persons with affective problems may only be sensitive to specific, threat-related odors.
The current study compared adults with self-reported odor sensitivity that was described as functionally impairing (OSI; n = 32) to those who reported odor sensitivity that was non-impairing (OS; n = 17) on affective variables as well as quantitative odor detection.
Increased anxiety sensitivity, trait anxiety, depression, and life stress, even while controlling for comorbid anxiety and depressive disorders, was found for OSI compared to OS. While OSI, compared to OS, demonstrated only a trend increase in objective odor detection of a smoke-like, but not rose-like, odor, further analysis revealed that increased detection of that smoke-like odor was positively correlated with anxiety sensitivity.
These findings suggest that persons with various forms of psychological distress may find themselves significantly impaired by an intolerance of odors, but that self-reported odor sensitivity does not necessarily relate to enhanced odor detection ability. However, increased sensitivity to a smoke-like odor appears to be associated with sensitivity to aversive anxiogenic stimuli. Implications for the pathophysiology of fear- and anxiety-related disorders are discussed.