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In the context of untimely access to community formal services, unmet needs of persons with dementia (PwD) and their carers may compromise their quality of life.
The Actifcare EU-JPND project (www.actifcare.eu) focuses on access to and (non) utilization of dementia formal care in eight countries (The Netherlands, Germany, United Kingdom, Sweden, Norway, Ireland, Italy, Portugal), as related to unmet needs and quality of life. Evaluations included systematic reviews, qualitative explorations, and a European cohort study (PwD in early/intermediate phases and their primary carers; n = 453 days; 1 year follow-up). Preliminary Portuguese results are presented here (FCT-JPND-HC/0001/2012).
(1) extensive systematic searches on access to/utilization of services; (2) focus groups of PwD, carers and health/social professionals; (3) prospective study (n = 66 days from e.g., primary care, hospital outpatient services, Alzheimer Portugal).
In Portugal, nationally representative data is scarce regarding health/social services utilization in dementia. There are important barriers to access to community services, according to users, carers and professionals, whose views not always coincide. The Portuguese cohort participants were 66 PwD (62.1% female, 77.3 ± 6.2 years, 55.5% Alzheimer's/mixed subtypes, MMSE 17.8 ± 4.8, CDR1 89.4%) and 66 carers (66.7% female, 64.9 ± 15.0 years, 56.1% spouses), with considerable unmet needs in some domains.
All Actifcare milestones are being reached. The consortium is now analyzing international differences in (un) timely access to services and its impact on quality of life and needs for care (e.g., formal community support is weaker in Portugal than in many European countries). National best-practice recommendations in dementia are also in preparation.
Abstract submitted on behalf of the Actifcare Eu-JPND consortium.
Disclosure of interest
The authors have not supplied their declaration of competing interest.
Unlike for many other respiratory infections, the seasonality of pertussis is not well understood. While evidence of seasonal fluctuations in pertussis incidence has been noted in some countries, there have been conflicting findings including in the context of Australia. We investigated this issue by analysing the seasonality of pertussis notifications in Australia using monthly data from January 1991 to December 2016. Data were made available for all states and territories in Australia except for the Australian Capital Territory and were stratified into age groups. Using a time-series decomposition approach, we formulated a generalised additive model where seasonality is expressed using cosinor terms to estimate the amplitude and peak timing of pertussis notifications in Australia. We also compared these characteristics across different jurisdictions and age groups. We found evidence that pertussis notifications exhibit seasonality, with peaks observed during the spring and summer months (November–January) in Australia and across different states and territories. During peak months, notifications are expected to increase by about 15% compared with the yearly average. Peak notifications for children <5 years occurred 1–2 months later than the general population, which provides support to the theory that older household members remain an important source of pertussis infection for younger children. In addition, our results provide a more comprehensive spatial picture of seasonality in Australia, a feature lacking in previous studies. Finally, our findings suggest that seasonal forcing may be useful to consider in future population transmission models of pertussis.
The use of monthly intranasal mupirocin was associated with a significant reduction in the rate of methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus transmission and Staphylococcus aureus invasive infection in a large neonatal intensive care unit. Resistance to mupirocin emerged over time, but it was rare and was not associated with adverse clinical outcomes.
Cognitive deficits are a core feature of schizophrenia, and impairments in most domains are thought to be stable over the course of the illness. However, cross-sectional evidence indicates that some areas of cognition, such as visuospatial associative memory, may be preserved in the early stages of psychosis, but become impaired in later established illness stages. This longitudinal study investigated change in visuospatial and verbal associative memory following psychosis onset.
In total 95 first-episode psychosis (FEP) patients and 63 healthy controls (HC) were assessed on neuropsychological tests at baseline, with 38 FEP and 22 HCs returning for follow-up assessment at 5–11 years. Visuospatial associative memory was assessed using the Cambridge Neuropsychological Test Automated Battery Visuospatial Paired-Associate Learning task, and verbal associative memory was assessed using Verbal Paired Associates subtest of the Wechsler Memory Scale - Revised.
Visuospatial and verbal associative memory at baseline did not differ significantly between FEP patients and HCs. However, over follow-up, visuospatial associative memory deteriorated significantly for the FEP group, relative to healthy individuals. Conversely, verbal associative memory improved to a similar degree observed in HCs. In the FEP cohort, visuospatial (but not verbal) associative memory ability at baseline was associated with functional outcome at follow-up.
Areas of cognition that develop prior to psychosis onset, such as visuospatial and verbal associative memory, may be preserved early in the illness. Later deterioration in visuospatial memory ability may relate to progressive structural and functional brain abnormalities that occurs following psychosis onset.
The Antarctic Roadmap Challenges (ARC) project identified critical requirements to deliver high priority Antarctic research in the 21st century. The ARC project addressed the challenges of enabling technologies, facilitating access, providing logistics and infrastructure, and capitalizing on international co-operation. Technological requirements include: i) innovative automated in situ observing systems, sensors and interoperable platforms (including power demands), ii) realistic and holistic numerical models, iii) enhanced remote sensing and sensors, iv) expanded sample collection and retrieval technologies, and v) greater cyber-infrastructure to process ‘big data’ collection, transmission and analyses while promoting data accessibility. These technologies must be widely available, performance and reliability must be improved and technologies used elsewhere must be applied to the Antarctic. Considerable Antarctic research is field-based, making access to vital geographical targets essential. Future research will require continent- and ocean-wide environmentally responsible access to coastal and interior Antarctica and the Southern Ocean. Year-round access is indispensable. The cost of future Antarctic science is great but there are opportunities for all to participate commensurate with national resources, expertise and interests. The scope of future Antarctic research will necessitate enhanced and inventive interdisciplinary and international collaborations. The full promise of Antarctic science will only be realized if nations act together.
Salience network (SN) dysconnectivity has been hypothesized to contribute to schizophrenia. Nevertheless, little is known about the functional and structural dysconnectivity of SN in subjects at risk for psychosis. We hypothesized that SN functional and structural connectivity would be disrupted in subjects with At-Risk Mental State (ARMS) and would be associated with symptom severity and disease progression.
We examined 87 ARMS and 37 healthy participants using both resting-state functional magnetic resonance imaging and diffusion tensor imaging. Group differences in SN functional and structural connectivity were examined using a seed-based approach and tract-based spatial statistics. Subject-level functional connectivity measures and diffusion indices of disrupted regions were correlated with CAARMS scores and compared between ARMS with and without transition to psychosis.
ARMS subjects exhibited reduced functional connectivity between the left ventral anterior insula and other SN regions. Reduced fractional anisotropy (FA) and axial diffusivity were also found along white-matter tracts in close proximity to regions of disrupted functional connectivity, including frontal-striatal-thalamic circuits and the cingulum. FA measures extracted from these disrupted white-matter regions correlated with individual symptom severity in the ARMS group. Furthermore, functional connectivity between the bilateral insula and FA at the forceps minor were further reduced in subjects who transitioned to psychosis after 2 years.
Our findings support the insular dysconnectivity of the proximal SN hypothesis in the early stages of psychosis. Further developed, the combined structural and functional SN assays may inform the prognosis of persons at-risk for psychosis.
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.
Shell artefacts in Island Southeast Asia have often been considered local variants of ground-stone implements, introduced in the Late Pleistocene from Mainland Southeast Asia. The discovery of a well-preserved Tridacna shell adze from Ilin Island in the Philippines, suggests, however, a different interpretation. Using radiocarbon dating, X-ray diffraction and stratigraphic and chronological placement within the archaeological record, the authors place the ‘old shell’ effect into context, and suggest that shell technology was in fact a local innovation that emerged in the early Middle Holocene. The chronology and distribution of these artefacts has significant implications for the antiquity of early human interaction between the Philippines and Melanesia. It may have occurred long before the migrations of Austronesian-speaking peoples and the emergence of the Lapita Cultural Complex that are traditionally thought to mark the first contact.
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.
The purpose of this study was to describe the longitudinal trajectories and bidirectional relationships of the physical-social and emotional functioning (EF) dimensions of positive aging and to identify their baseline characteristics.
Women age 65 and older who enrolled in one or more Women's Health Initiative clinical trials (WHI CTs) and who had positive aging indicators measured at baseline and years 1, 3, 6, and 9 were included in these analyses (N = 2281). Analytic strategies included latent class growth modeling to identify longitudinal trajectories and multinomial logistic regression to examine the effects of baseline predictors on these trajectories.
A five-trajectory model was chosen to best represent the data. For Physical-Social Functioning (PSF), trajectory groups included Low Maintainer (8.3%), Mid-Low Improver (10.4%), Medium Decliner (10.7%), Mid-High Maintainer (31.2%), and High Maintainer (39.4%); for EF, trajectories included Low Maintainer (3%), Mid-Low Improver (9%), Medium Decliner (7.7%), Mid-High Maintainer (22.8%), and High Maintainer (57.5%). Cross-classification of the groups of trajectories demonstrated that the impact of a high and stable EF on PSF might be greater than the reverse. Low depression symptoms, low pain, and high social support were the most consistent predictors of high EF trajectories.
Aging women are heterogeneous in terms of positive aging indicators for up to 9 years of follow-up. Interventions aimed at promoting sustainable EF might have diffused effects on other domains of healthy aging.
If ancient carbon is incorporated into lakes and rivers, it can be transferred along the foodchain where it can cause radiocarbon dates to appear erroneously old. This effect is known as the 14C freshwater reservoir effect (FRE), and causes particular problems when dating human remains. Several studies have attempted to use carbon and/or nitrogen stable isotopes to predict the size of the FRE, with mixed success. We have examined whether the FRE at the Mesolithic-Neolithic burial ground of Minino, northwest Russia, is correlated with these stable isotope systems. To assess the size of the FRE, 9 pairs of human bone and burial goods were dated, such as spears and pendants made of herbivore bone. In addition, further human and faunal bones were analyzed for carbon and nitrogen stable isotopes. Although these stable isotopes suggest that freshwater resources dominated the protein intake of those buried at Minino, no relationship between stable isotopes and the FRE was found. Instead, we found that the FRE was relatively consistent at 490 ± 80 14C yr. With caution, this can be subtracted from burials at Minino to provide a low-resolution chronology for the burial ground. We demonstrate that it is not possible to assume that a relationship exists between stable isotopes and 14C, and each population thought to be affected by a FRE must be examined individually.
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.
Endemic infectious diseases constantly circulate in human populations, with prevalence fluctuating about a (theoretical and unobserved) time-independent equilibrium. For diseases for which acquired immunity is not lifelong, the classic susceptible–infectious–recovered–susceptible (SIRS) model provides a framework within which to consider temporal trends in the observed epidemiology. However, in some cases (notably pertussis), sustained multiannual fluctuations are observed, whereas the SIRS model is characterized by damped oscillatory dynamics for all biologically meaningful choices of model parameters. We show that a model that allows for “boosting” of immunity may naturally give rise to undamped oscillatory behaviour for biologically realistic parameter choices. The life expectancy of the population is critical in determining the characteristic dynamics of the system. For life expectancies up to approximately $50$ years, we find that, even with boosting, damped oscillatory dynamics persist. For increasing life expectancy, the system may sustain oscillatory dynamics, or even exhibit bistable behaviour, in which both stable point attractor and limit cycle dynamics may coexist. Our results suggest that rising life expectancy may induce changes in the characteristic dynamics of infections for which immunity is not lifelong, with potential implications for disease control strategies.