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Every four years leading researchers gather to survey the latest developments in all aspects of group theory. Initially held in St Andrews, these meetings have become the premier forum for group theory across the whole of the UK. Since 1981, the proceedings of 'Groups St Andrews' have provided a regular snapshot of the state-of-the-art in group theory and helped to shape the direction of research in the field. This volume contains papers from the 2017 meeting held in Birmingham. It includes expository articles from the invited speakers, and further surveys contributed by the participants. Topics include: generation of finite simple groups, block theory, fusion systems, algebraic groups, one-relator groups, geometric group theory, and Beauville groups.
Cognitive remediation (CR) training has emerged as a promising approach to improving cognitive deficits in schizophrenia and related psychosis. The limited availability of psychological services for psychosis is a major barrier to accessing this intervention however. This study investigated the effectiveness of a low support, remotely accessible, computerised working memory (WM) training programme in patients with psychosis.
Ninety patients were enrolled into a single blind randomised controlled trial of CR. Effectiveness of the intervention was assessed in terms of neuropsychological performance, social and occupational function, and functional MRI 2 weeks post-intervention, with neuropsychological and social function again assessed 3–6 months post-treatment.
Patients who completed the intervention showed significant gains in both neuropsychological function (measured using both untrained WM and episodic task performance, and a measure of performance IQ), and social function at both 2-week follow-up and 3–6-month follow-up timepoints. Furthermore, patients who completed MRI scanning showed improved resting state functional connectivity relative to patients in the placebo condition.
CR training has already been shown to improve cognitive and social function in patient with psychosis. This study demonstrates that, at least for some chronic but stable outpatients, a low support treatment was associated with gains that were comparable with those reported for CR delivered entirely on a 1:1 basis. We conclude that CR has potential to be delivered even in services in which psychological supports for patients with psychosis are limited.
Research shows that cognitive rehabilitation (CR) has the potential to improve goal performance and enhance well-being for people with early stage Alzheimer’s disease (AD). This single subject, multiple baseline design (MBD) research investigated the clinical efficacy of an 8-week individualised CR intervention for individuals with early stage AD.
Three participants with early stage AD were recruited to take part in the study. The intervention consisted of eight sessions of 60–90 minutes of CR. Outcomes included goal performance and satisfaction, quality of life, cognitive and everyday functioning, mood, and memory self-efficacy for participants with AD; and carer burden, general mental health, quality of life, and mood of carers.
Visual analysis of MBD data demonstrated a functional relationship between CR and improvements in participants’ goal performance. Subjective ratings of goal performance and satisfaction increased from baseline to post-test for three participants and were maintained at follow-up for two. Baseline to post-test quality of life scores improved for three participants, whereas cognitive function and memory self-efficacy scores improved for two.
Our findings demonstrate that CR can improve goal performance, and is a socially acceptable intervention that can be implemented by practitioners with assistance from carers between sessions. This study represents one of the promising first step towards filling a practice gap in this area. Further research and randomised-controlled trials are required.
Universal screening for postpartum depression is recommended in many countries. Knowledge of whether the disclosure of depressive symptoms in the postpartum period differs across cultures could improve detection and provide new insights into the pathogenesis. Moreover, it is a necessary step to evaluate the universal use of screening instruments in research and clinical practice. In the current study we sought to assess whether the Edinburgh Postnatal Depression Scale (EPDS), the most widely used screening tool for postpartum depression, measures the same underlying construct across cultural groups in a large international dataset.
Ordinal regression and measurement invariance were used to explore the association between culture, operationalized as education, ethnicity/race and continent, and endorsement of depressive symptoms using the EPDS on 8209 new mothers from Europe and the USA.
Education, but not ethnicity/race, influenced the reporting of postpartum depression [difference between robust comparative fit indexes (∆*CFI) < 0.01]. The structure of EPDS responses significantly differed between Europe and the USA (∆*CFI > 0.01), but not between European countries (∆*CFI < 0.01).
Investigators and clinicians should be aware of the potential differences in expression of phenotype of postpartum depression that women of different educational backgrounds may manifest. The increasing cultural heterogeneity of societies together with the tendency towards globalization requires a culturally sensitive approach to patients, research and policies, that takes into account, beyond rhetoric, the context of a person's experiences and the context in which the research is conducted.
Many adults with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) remain undiagnosed. Specialist assessment clinics enable the detection of these cases, but such services are often overstretched. It has been proposed that unnecessary referrals to these services could be reduced by prioritizing individuals who score highly on the Autism-Spectrum Quotient (AQ), a self-report questionnaire measure of autistic traits. However, the ability of the AQ to predict who will go on to receive a diagnosis of ASD in adults is unclear.
We studied 476 adults, seen consecutively at a national ASD diagnostic referral service for suspected ASD. We tested AQ scores as predictors of ASD diagnosis made by expert clinicians according to International Classification of Diseases (ICD)-10 criteria, informed by the Autism Diagnostic Observation Schedule-Generic (ADOS-G) and Autism Diagnostic Interview-Revised (ADI-R) assessments.
Of the participants, 73% received a clinical diagnosis of ASD. Self-report AQ scores did not significantly predict receipt of a diagnosis. While AQ scores provided high sensitivity of 0.77 [95% confidence interval (CI) 0.72–0.82] and positive predictive value of 0.76 (95% CI 0.70–0.80), the specificity of 0.29 (95% CI 0.20–0.38) and negative predictive value of 0.36 (95% CI 0.22–0.40) were low. Thus, 64% of those who scored below the AQ cut-off were ‘false negatives’ who did in fact have ASD. Co-morbidity data revealed that generalized anxiety disorder may ‘mimic’ ASD and inflate AQ scores, leading to false positives.
The AQ's utility for screening referrals was limited in this sample. Recommendations supporting the AQ's role in the assessment of adult ASD, e.g. UK NICE guidelines, may need to be reconsidered.
Groups St Andrews 2013 was held at the University of St Andrews from 3rd August to 11th August 2013. This was the ninth in the series of Groups St Andrews group theory conferences organised by Colin Campbell and Edmund Robertson of the University of St Andrews. There were just under 200 mathematicians from over 20 countries involved in the meeting as well as some family members and partners. The Scientific Organising Committee of Groups St Andrews 2013 (all from St Andrews) was Colin Campbell, Max Neunhöffer, Martyn Quick, Edmund Robertson and Colva Roney-Dougal.
This time the academic business of the conference ran for seven days from Sunday 4th August to Saturday 10th August. Four main speakers delivered four talks each, surveying areas of contemporary development in group theory and related areas; Emmanuel Breuillard (Université Paris Sud 11), Martin Liebeck (Imperial College), Alan Reid (University of Texas), and Karen Vogtmann (Cornell University). There were five invited speakers delivering one-hour plenary talks: Peter Cameron (St Andrews), Radha Kessar (City University, London), Markus Lohrey (Universität Leipzig), Derek Robinson (University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign) and Christopher Voll (University of Bielefeld). In addition there were nearly 100 contributed short talks from the delegates.
In the evenings throughout the conference there was an extensive social programme. The main conference outing was to the Royal Burgh of Falkland either to visit Falkland Palace or, as it turned out, to go on an adventure walk in the Lomond Hills. Other highlights of the social programme were a whisky tasting evening, a musical evening and the conference banquet. Once again The Daily Group Theorist was a nice feature of the conference. We thank the various editors of this, by now traditional, publication.
The support of the two main United Kingdom mathematics societies, the Edinburgh Mathematical Society and the London Mathematical Society has, once again, been an important factor in the success of these conferences. As well as supporting some of the expenses of the main speakers, the grants from these societies were used to support postgraduate students and also participants from Scheme 5 and fSU countries.
Every four years, leading researchers gather to survey the latest developments in all aspects of group theory. Since 1981, the proceedings of those meetings have provided a regular snapshot of the state of the art in group theory and helped to shape the direction of research in the field. This volume contains selected papers from the 2013 meeting held in St Andrews. It begins with major articles from each of the four main speakers: Emmanuel Breuillard (Paris-Sud), Martin Liebeck (Imperial College London), Alan Reid (Texas) and Karen Vogtmann (Cornell). These are followed by, in alphabetical order, survey articles contributed by other conference participants, which cover a wide spectrum of modern group theory.
Abortion and stillbirth are important reproductive disorders in the dairy industry and are often caused by infectious agents. This study investigated whether bovine viral diarrhoea virus (BVDV), Brucella spp., and Neospora caninum are associated with abortion and/or stillbirth in dairy cattle in Ethiopia. Dairy cattle from 99 farms were categorized as cases (n = 134) or controls (n = 268) according to reproductive data. Blood samples were screened for antibodies for these infectious agents. The overall proportion of cattle that were seropositive for BVDV, Brucella spp., and N. caninum was 11·7%, 3·2%, and 17·2%, respectively. Seropositivity for BVDV and Brucella spp. was similar for cases and controls, but significantly more cases were seropositive for N. caninum (29·8%) than controls (10·8%). This is the first report demonstrating N. caninum is common in dairy cattle in Ethiopia, and is probably a greater impediment to reproductive success in Ethiopian dairy farms than either BVDV or Brucella spp.
Fifty years after the hyporheic zone was first defined (Orghidan, 1959), there are still gaps in the knowledge regarding the role of biodiversity in hyporheic processes. First, some methodological questions remained unanswered regarding the interactions between biodiversity and physical processes, both for the study of habitat characteristics and interactions at different scales. Furthermore, many questions remain to be addressed to help inform our understanding of invertebrate community dynamics, especially regarding the trophic niches of organisms, the functional groups present within sediment, and their temporal changes. Understanding microbial community dynamics would require investigations about their relationship with the physical characteristics of the sediment, their diversity, their relationship with metabolic pathways, their interactions with invertebrates, and their response to environmental stress. Another fundamental research question is that of the importance of the hyporheic zone in the global metabolism of the river, which must be explored in relation to organic matter recycling, the effects of disturbances, and the degradation of contaminants. Finally, the application of this knowledge requires the development of methods for the estimation of hydrological exchanges, especially for the management of sediment clogging, the optimization of self-purification, and the integration of climate change in environmental policies. The development of descriptors of hyporheic zone health and of new metrology is also crucial to include specific targets in water policies for the long-term management of the system and a clear evaluation of restoration strategies.
Groups St Andrews 2009 was held in the University of Bath in August 2009 and this second volume of a two-volume book contains selected papers from the international conference. Five main lecture courses were given at the conference, and articles based on their lectures form a substantial part of the proceedings. This volume contains the contributions by Eammon O'Brien (Auckland), Mark Sapir (Vanderbilt) and Dan Segal (Oxford). Apart from the main speakers, refereed survey and research articles were contributed by other conference participants. Arranged in alphabetical order, these articles cover a wide spectrum of modern group theory. The regular proceedings of Groups St Andrews conferences have provided snapshots of the state of research in group theory throughout the past 30 years. Earlier volumes have had a major impact on the development of group theory and it is anticipated that this volume will be equally important.