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Neurobiological models of auditory verbal hallucination (AVH) have been advanced by symptom capture functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI), where participants self-report hallucinations during scanning. To date, regions implicated are those involved with language, memory and emotion. However, previous studies focus on chronic schizophrenia, thus are limited by factors, such as medication use and illness duration. Studies also lack detailed phenomenological descriptions of AVHs. This study investigated the neural correlates of AVHs in patients with first episode psychosis (FEP) using symptom capture fMRI with a rich description of AVHs. We hypothesised that intrusive AVHs would be associated with dysfunctional salience network activity.
Sixteen FEP patients with frequent AVH completed four psychometrically validated tools to provide an objective measure of the nature of their AVHs. They then underwent fMRI symptom capture, utilising general linear models analysis to compare activity during AVH to the resting brain.
Symptom capture of AVH was achieved in nine patients who reported intrusive, malevolent and uncontrollable AVHs. Significant activity in the right insula and superior temporal gyrus (cluster size 141 mm3), and the left parahippocampal and lingual gyri (cluster size 121 mm3), P < 0.05 FDR corrected, were recorded during the experience of AVHs.
These results suggest salience network dysfunction (in the right insula) together with memory and language processing area activation in intrusive, malevolent AVHs in FEP. This finding concurs with others from chronic schizophrenia, suggesting these processes are intrinsic to psychosis itself and not related to length of illness or prolonged exposure to antipsychotic medication.
Disclosure of interest
The authors have not supplied their declaration of competing interest.
Q fever (caused by Coxiella burnetii) is thought to have an almost world-wide distribution, but few countries have conducted national serosurveys. We measured Q fever seroprevalence using residual sera from diagnostic laboratories across Australia. Individuals aged 1–79 years in 2012–2013 were sampled to be proportional to the population distribution by region, distance from metropolitan areas and gender. A 1/50 serum dilution was tested for the Phase II IgG antibody against C. burnetii by indirect immunofluorescence. We calculated crude seroprevalence estimates by age group and gender, as well as age standardised national and metropolitan/non-metropolitan seroprevalence estimates. Of 2785 sera, 99 tested positive. Age standardised seroprevalence was 5.6% (95% confidence interval (CI 4.5%–6.8%), and similar in metropolitan (5.5%; 95% CI 4.1%–6.9%) and non-metropolitan regions (6.0%; 95%CI 4.0%–8.0%). More males were seropositive (6.9%; 95% CI 5.2%–8.6%) than females (4.2%; 95% CI 2.9%–5.5%) with peak seroprevalence at 50–59 years (9.2%; 95% CI 5.2%–13.3%). Q fever seroprevalence for Australia was higher than expected (especially in metropolitan regions) and higher than estimates from the Netherlands (2.4%; pre-outbreak) and US (3.1%), but lower than for Northern Ireland (12.8%). Robust country-specific seroprevalence estimates, with detailed exposure data, are required to better understand who is at risk and the need for preventive measures.
Major depressive disorder (MDD) is a common and disabling condition with well-established heritability and environmental risk factors. Gene–environment interaction studies in MDD have typically investigated candidate genes, though the disorder is known to be highly polygenic. This study aims to test for interaction between polygenic risk and stressful life events (SLEs) or childhood trauma (CT) in the aetiology of MDD.
The RADIANT UK sample consists of 1605 MDD cases and 1064 controls with SLE data, and a subset of 240 cases and 272 controls with CT data. Polygenic risk scores (PRS) were constructed using results from a mega-analysis on MDD by the Psychiatric Genomics Consortium. PRS and environmental factors were tested for association with case/control status and for interaction between them.
PRS significantly predicted depression, explaining 1.1% of variance in phenotype (p = 1.9 × 10−6). SLEs and CT were also associated with MDD status (p = 2.19 × 10−4 and p = 5.12 × 10−20, respectively). No interactions were found between PRS and SLEs. Significant PRSxCT interactions were found (p = 0.002), but showed an inverse association with MDD status, as cases who experienced more severe CT tended to have a lower PRS than other cases or controls. This relationship between PRS and CT was not observed in independent replication samples.
CT is a strong risk factor for MDD but may have greater effect in individuals with lower genetic liability for the disorder. Including environmental risk along with genetics is important in studying the aetiology of MDD and PRS provide a useful approach to investigating gene–environment interactions in complex traits.
In Australia, varicella vaccine was universally funded in late 2005 as a single dose at 18 months. A school-based catch-up programme for children aged 10–13 years without a history of infection or vaccination was funded until 2015, when those eligible for universal infant vaccination would have reached the age of high school entry. This study projects the impact of discontinuing catch-up vaccination on varicella and zoster incidence and morbidity using a transmission dynamic model, in comparison with alternative policy options, including two-dose strategies. At current vaccine coverage (83% at 2 years and 90% at 5 years), ceasing the adolescent catch-up programme in 2015 was projected to increase varicella-associated morbidity between 2035 and 2050 by 39%. Although two-dose infant programmes had the lowest estimated varicella morbidity, the incremental benefit from the second dose fell by 70% if first dose coverage increased from 83% to 95% by age 24 months. Overall zoster morbidity was predicted to rise after vaccination, but differences between strategies were small. Our results suggest that feasibility of one-dose coverage approaching 95% is an important consideration in estimating incremental benefit from a second dose of varicella vaccine.
We present near-infrared spectro-interferometric studies of red supergiant (RSG) stars using the VLTI/AMBER instrument, which are compared to previously obtained similar observations of AGB stars. Our observations indicate spatially extended atmospheric molecular layers of water vapor and CO, similar as previously observed for Mira stars. Data of VY~CMa indicate that the molecular layers are asymmetric, possibly clumpy. Thanks to the spectro-interferometric capabilities of the VLTI/AMBER instrument, we can isolate continuum bandpasses, estimate fundamental parameters of our sources, locate them in the HR diagram, and compare their positions to recent evolutionary tracks. For the example of VY CMa, this puts it close to evolutionary tracks of initial mass 25-32 M⊙. Comparisons of our data to hydrostatic model atmospheres, 3d simulations of convection, and 1d dynamic model atmospheres based on self-excited pulsation models indicate that none of these models can presently explain the observed atmospheric extensions for RSGs. The mechanism that levitates the atmospheres of red supergiant is thus a currently unsolved problem.
An actual trend to enhance solar cells efficiency is to build multijunction cells, creating a bandshape wavelength collection. However, the best multijuction cells are actually made of III-V compounds when silicon and its alloys don’t lead to high efficiency devices. In this article, we study a 3C-SiC/Si heterojunction as a first step for 3C-SiC/Si tandem cells. Four samples were fabricated by depositing 3C-SiC on Si wafers with different SiC doping levels. Simulations of the structures are performed, as well as optical and electrical characterizations of the heterojunction cells.
Although usually thought of as external environmental stressors, a significant heritable component has been reported for measures of stressful life events (SLEs) in twin studies.
We examined the variance in SLEs captured by common genetic variants from a genome-wide association study (GWAS) of 2578 individuals. Genome-wide complex trait analysis (GCTA) was used to estimate the phenotypic variance tagged by single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs). We also performed a GWAS on the number of SLEs, and looked at correlations between siblings.
A significant proportion of variance in SLEs was captured by SNPs (30%, p = 0.04). When events were divided into those considered to be dependent or independent, an equal amount of variance was explained for both. This ‘heritability’ was in part confounded by personality measures of neuroticism and psychoticism. A GWAS for the total number of SLEs revealed one SNP that reached genome-wide significance (p = 4 × 10−8), although this association was not replicated in separate samples. Using available sibling data for 744 individuals, we also found a significant positive correlation of R2 = 0.08 in SLEs (p = 0.03).
These results provide independent validation from molecular data for the heritability of reporting environmental measures, and show that this heritability is in part due to both common variants and the confounding effect of personality.
Twin and sibling studies have identified specific cognitive phenotypes that may mediate the association between genes and the clinical symptoms of attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). ADHD is also associated with lower IQ scores. We aimed to investigate whether the familial association between measures of cognitive performance and the clinical diagnosis of ADHD is mediated through shared familial influences with IQ.
Multivariate familial models were run on data from 1265 individuals aged 6–18 years, comprising 920 participants from ADHD sibling pairs and 345 control participants. Cognitive assessments included a four-choice reaction time (RT) task, a go/no-go task, a choice–delay task and an IQ assessment. The analyses focused on the cognitive variables of mean RT (MRT), RT variability (RTV), commission errors (CE), omission errors (OE) and choice impulsivity (CI).
Significant familial association (rF) was confirmed between cognitive performance and both ADHD (rF=0.41–0.71) and IQ (rF=−0.25 to −0.49). The association between ADHD and cognitive performance was largely independent (80–87%) of any contribution from etiological factors shared with IQ. The exception was for CI, where 49% of the overlap could be accounted for by the familial variance underlying IQ.
The aetiological factors underlying lower IQ in ADHD seem to be distinct from those between ADHD and RT/error measures. This suggests that lower IQ does not account for the key cognitive impairments observed in ADHD. The results have implications for molecular genetic studies designed to identify genes involved in ADHD.
The partial contributions of reductions in fetal nutrition and oxygenation to slow fetal growth and a developmental origin of cardiovascular disease remain unclear. By combining high altitude with the chick embryo model, we have previously isolated the direct effects of high-altitude hypoxia on growth. This study isolated the direct effects of high-altitude hypoxia on cardiovascular development. Fertilized eggs from sea-level or high-altitude hens were incubated at sea level or high altitude. Fertilized eggs from sea-level hens were also incubated at high altitude with oxygen supplementation. High altitude promoted embryonic growth restriction, cardiomegaly and aortic wall thickening, effects which could be prevented by incubating eggs from high-altitude hens at sea level or by incubating eggs from sea-level hens at high altitude with oxygen supplementation. Embryos from high-altitude hens showed reduced effects of altitude incubation on growth restriction but not on cardiovascular remodeling. The data show that: (1) high-altitude hypoxia promotes embryonic cardiac and vascular disease already evident prior to hatching and that this is associated with growth restriction; (2) the effects can be prevented by increased oxygenation; and (3) the effects are different in embryos from sea-level or high-altitude hens.
It is well established that the genetic merit of the Holstein-Friesian dairy cow for milk production has increased over the past 20 years. Previous studies have examined the effect of feeding system on indices of body tissue reserves of medium genetic merit Holstein-Friesian dairy cows. The aim of the current study was to examine the weight and concentration of body components in high genetic merit Holstein-Friesian dairy cows, managed on four different grassland-based feeding regimes, using direct measures of body composition. Results indicate that there was no significant effect of different grassland-based feeding regimes on the weight or composition of body components of high genetic merit cows. Therefore, high levels of cow performance can be sustained from very different grassland-based systems of milk production without having a detrimental effect on body tissue reserves.
We present the first results from multi-site observations of the δ Scuti star XX Pyx (CD–24°7599). The observations were carried out as the 17th run of the Delta Scuti Network. We collected 583 hr of B, V time-series photometry, resulting in a detection level (4σ) in the amplitude spectrum of 0.5 mmag. We detect 6 new pulsation frequencies, bringing the total number of frequencies known in this star up 19.