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The coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic has resulted in shortages of personal protective equipment (PPE), underscoring the urgent need for simple, efficient, and inexpensive methods to decontaminate masks and respirators exposed to severe acute respiratory coronavirus virus 2 (SARS-CoV-2). We hypothesized that methylene blue (MB) photochemical treatment, which has various clinical applications, could decontaminate PPE contaminated with coronavirus.
The 2 arms of the study included (1) PPE inoculation with coronaviruses followed by MB with light (MBL) decontamination treatment and (2) PPE treatment with MBL for 5 cycles of decontamination to determine maintenance of PPE performance.
MBL treatment was used to inactivate coronaviruses on 3 N95 filtering facepiece respirator (FFR) and 2 medical mask models. We inoculated FFR and medical mask materials with 3 coronaviruses, including SARS-CoV-2, and we treated them with 10 µM MB and exposed them to 50,000 lux of white light or 12,500 lux of red light for 30 minutes. In parallel, integrity was assessed after 5 cycles of decontamination using multiple US and international test methods, and the process was compared with the FDA-authorized vaporized hydrogen peroxide plus ozone (VHP+O3) decontamination method.
Overall, MBL robustly and consistently inactivated all 3 coronaviruses with 99.8% to >99.9% virus inactivation across all FFRs and medical masks tested. FFR and medical mask integrity was maintained after 5 cycles of MBL treatment, whereas 1 FFR model failed after 5 cycles of VHP+O3.
MBL treatment decontaminated respirators and masks by inactivating 3 tested coronaviruses without compromising integrity through 5 cycles of decontamination. MBL decontamination is effective, is low cost, and does not require specialized equipment, making it applicable in low- to high-resource settings.
Early in the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic, the CDC recommended collection of a lower respiratory tract (LRT) specimen for severe acute respiratory coronavirus virus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) testing in addition to the routinely recommended upper respiratory tract (URT) testing in mechanically ventilated patients. Significant operational challenges were noted at our institution using this approach. In this report, we describe our experience with routine collection of paired URT and LRT sample testing. Our results revealed a high concordance between the 2 sources, and that all children tested for SARS-CoV-2 were appropriately diagnosed with URT testing alone. There was no added benefit to LRT testing. Based on these findings, our institutional approach was therefore adjusted to sample the URT alone for most patients, with LRT sampling reserved for patients with ongoing clinical suspicion for SARS-CoV-2 after a negative URT test.
South Africa (SA) is a developing country with an ageing population. Adequate nutrition and physical activity (PA) protect against the loss of muscle mass and physical function, both of which are important components of sarcopenia. This study aimed to measure the prevalence of sarcopenia in older black SA women and investigate its associations with PA and protein intake.
Materials and Methods
Older black SA women (age, 68 (range; 60–85 years) n = 122) completed sociodemographic questionnaires, 24 h urine collection (estimate protein intake), venous blood (hs-C-reactive protein (hs-CRP) and ferritin), functional tests (grip strength, 3 m timed-up-and-go (TUG), 10 m walk test) and PA monitoring (activPAL). Dual-energy x-ray absorptiometry whole-body scans assessed fat and fat-free soft tissue mass (FFSTM).
According to the European Working group on Sarcopenia in Older People (EWGSOP)2, 2.5% (n = 3) had confirmed sarcopenia of a low severity based on normal physical function. Of the total cohort, 9% (n = 11) had low grip strength, 22.1% (n = 27) had a low appendicular skeletal muscle index (ASMI), and no women had low TUG (s) or gait speed (m/s). Higher ASMI was associated with lower hs-CRP (p = 0.05; Rho = -0.209) and higher ferritin (Rho = 0.252; p = 0.019), grip strength (kg, Rho = 0.223; p = 0.015), and gait speed (m/s, Rho = 0.180; p = 0.050). Protein intake suggested intake of 41.8g/day/ or 0.51 g/kg of body mass/day. Higher total protein intake (g/24h), was associated with higher FFSTM (kg) and ASMI (p < 0.001). PA outcomes were not correlated with FFSTM or ASMI (p > 0.05), however, there was a strong positive correlation of TUG (s) and gait speed (m/s) with time spent: 1) stepping per day (min) and; 2) at a high cadence (> 100 steps/min) (all p < 0.01). Daily step count was 7137 ± 3233 (mean ± Standard deviation), with 97.9 ± 38.7 min of total time spent stepping and 12.6 ± 16.8 min spent stepping at a high cadence (> 100 steps/min). Of note, 13.9% (n = 17) of women were completing > 10,000 steps/day.
Based on the EWGSOP2 criteria, there is a low prevalence of sarcopenia in older black SA women, explained by the maintenance of strength and physical function that directly related to PA, especially that performed at higher intensities. In contrast, low muscle mass was relatively prevalent (22.1%) and was associated with low dietary protein and not PA. Notably, it may be important to review the cut-points of EWGSOP2 criteria to be specific to the older SA women from disadvantaged communities.
Osteoporosis was not a public health concern in black South African (SA) women, until recently when it was reported that the prevalence of vertebral fractures was 9.1% in black compared to 5.0% in white SA women. Accordingly, this study aimed to measure bone mineral density (BMD) of older black SA women and to investigate its association with risk factors for osteoporosis, including strength, muscle and fat mass, dietary intake and objectively measured physical activity (PA).
Methods and materials
Older black SA women (age, 68 (range; 60–85 years) n = 122) completed sociodemographic and quantitative food frequency questionnaires (QFFQ), fasting venous blood samples (25-hydroxycholecalciferol: Vitamin D-25), 24 h urine collection (estimate protein intake), grip strength and PA monitoring (activPAL). Dual-energy x-ray absorptiometry (DXA) scans of the hip (femoral neck and total) and lumbar spine determined BMD and whole-body scans for fat and fat-free soft tissue mass (FFSTM). WHO classifications were used to determine osteopenia (t-score -2.5 to -1), and osteoporosis (t-score < -2.5).
At the lumbar spine 34.4% of the women (n = 42) had osteopenia and 19.7% (n = 24) had osteoporosis. Osteopenia at the left femoral neck was 32% (n = 40) and osteoporosis was 13.1% (n = 16) of participants. The total left hip BMD indicated osteopenia in 27.9% (n = 34) and osteoporosis in 13.1% (n = 16) of participants. Multinomial regression revealed no differences in age (y) or frequency of falls in the past year between all groups (p = 0.727). Compared to those with normal BMD, participants with osteoporosis at the hip neck and lumbar spine were shorter, weighed less and had a lower body mass index (BMI) (all p < 0.05). When adjusted for height, the osteoporotic group (hip neck and lumbar spine) had lower trunk fat (% whole body), FFSTM (kg) and grip strength (kg), compared to those with normal BMD (p < 0.05). Only protein intake (g; 24 h urine analyses) was lower in women with osteoporosis (all sites) compared to those with normal BMD. Fat, carbohydrate and micronutrient intakes (relative to total daily energy intake), and vitamin D concentrations were not associated with BMD (all sites). Number of daily step count and stepping time (min) were inversely associated with BMI (p < 0.05), but not with BMD (all sites; p > 0.05).
A high prevalence of osteopenia and osteoporosis was evident at the lumbar spine and hip in older black SA women. This study highlights the importance of strength, body composition, and protein intake in maintaining BMD and preventing the development of osteoporosis in older women.
Disasters pose a documented risk to mental health, with a range of peri- and post-disaster factors (both pre-existing and disaster-precipitated) linked to adverse outcomes. Among these, increasing empirical attention is being paid to the relation between disasters and violence.
This study examined self-reported experiences of assault or violence victimisation among communities affected by high, medium, and low disaster severity following the 2009 bushfires in Victoria, Australia. The association between violence, mental health outcomes and alcohol misuse was also investigated.
Participants were 1016 adults from high-, medium- and low-affected communities, 3–4 years after an Australian bushfire disaster. Rates of reported violence were compared by areas of bushfire-affectedness. Logistic regression models were applied separately to men and women to assess the experience of violence in predicting general and fire-related post-traumatic stress disorder, depression and alcohol misuse.
Reports of experiencing violence were significantly higher among high bushfire-affected compared with low bushfire-affected regions. Analyses indicated the significant relationship between disaster-affectedness and violence was observed for women only, with rates of 1.0, 0 and 7.4% in low, medium and high bushfire-affected areas, respectively. Among women living in high bushfire-affected areas, negative change to income was associated with an increased likelihood of experiencing violence (odds ratio, 4.68). For women, post-disaster violence was associated with more severe post-traumatic stress disorder and depression symptoms.
Women residing within high bushfire-affected communities experienced the highest levels of violence. These post-disaster experiences of violence are associated with post-disaster changes to income and with post-traumatic stress disorder and depression symptoms among women. These findings have critical implications for the assessment of, and interventions for, women experiencing or at risk of violence post-disaster.
Bipolar disorder (BD) is associated with attentional and processing abnormalities. Such abnormalities are also seen in healthy subjects with sleep disruption. We hypothesised cognitive abnormalities in BD patients would be worse in those with objectively verified sleep abnormalities.
Forty-six BD patients and 42 controls had comprehensive sleep/circadian rhythm assessment over 21 days alongside mood questionnaires. Cognitive function was assessed with a range of tasks including Psychomotor Vigilance Test (PVT), Attention Network Task (ANT) and Digit Symbol Substitution Test (DSST). BD participants with normal and abnormal sleep were compared with age- and sex-matched controls.
BD patients had longer response times and made more lapses (responses >500 ms) than controls on the PVT (both p < 0.001). However, patients with normal sleep patterns did not differ from controls while those with sleep abnormalities did (p < 0.001). An identical pattern of effects were seen with the ANT response times, with the abnormality in bipolar abnormal sleepers related to the executive attentional network. Similarly, patients made fewer correct responses on the DSST compared with the controls (p < 0.001). Bipolar normal sleepers did not differ while those with abnormal sleep did (p < 0.001). All these differences were seen in bipolar abnormal sleepers who were euthymic (p < 0.01) and across the main abnormal sleep phenotypes.
We confirm impairment in attention and processing speed in BD. Rather than sleep abnormalities exacerbating such dysfunction, the impairments were confined to bipolar abnormal sleepers, consistent with sleep disturbance being the main driver of cognitive dysfunction.
We use deep Chandra and HST data to uniquely classify the X-ray binary (XRB) populations in M81 on the basis of their donor stars and local stellar populations (into early-type main sequence, yellow giant, supergiant, low-mass, and globular cluster). First, we find that more massive, redder, and denser globular clusters are more likely to be associated with XRBs. Second, we find that the high-mass XRBs (HMXBs) overall have a steeper X-ray luminosity function (XLF) than the canonical star-forming galaxy XLF, though there is some evidence of variations in the slopes of the sub-populations. On the other hand, the XLF of the prototypical starburst M82 is described by the canonical powerlaw (αcum ∼ 0.6) down to LX ∼ 1036 erg s−1. We attribute variations in XLF slopes to different mass transfer modes (Roche-lobe overflow versus wind-fed systems).
Testosterone influences well-being, mood and cognition and may play a role in the pathophysiology of bipolar disorder.
To examine testosterone levels in patients with bipolar disorder compared with healthy controls.
We examined baseline total testosterone levels and current depression scores in male and female patients with bipolar disorder and mild to moderate depression and healthy controls.
A significant interaction between diagnosis and gender was observed (F(2,97)=9.791, P=0.002). Testosterone levels were significantly lower for male patients with bipolar disorder compared with male controls (P=0.001). Women with bipolar disorder had significantly higher testosterone levels than female controls (P=0.03).
Disturbances in testosterone levels may represent an important neurobiological abnormality in bipolar disorder and may differ by gender. If these findings are confirmed, the use of gender appropriate treatment strategies for the normalisation of testosterone levels in bipolar disorder depression should be further explored.
Debates about neonatal imitation remain more open than Keven & Akins (K&A) imply. K&A do not recognize the primacy of the question concerning differential imitation and the links between experimental designs and more or less plausible theoretical assumptions. Moreover, they do not acknowledge previous theorizing on spontaneous behavior, the explanatory power of entrainment, and subtle connections with social cognition.
We present our latest 3D model atmospheres for carbon-enhanced metal-poor (CEMP) stars computed with the CO5BOLD code. The stellar parameters are representative of hot turn-off objects (Teff ~ 6250 K, log g = 4.0, [Fe/H]=−3). The main purpose of these models is to investigate the role of 3D effects on synthetic spectra of the CH G-band (4140-4400 Å), the CN BX-band (3870-3890 Å), and several UV OH transitions (3122-3128 Å). By comparison with the synthetic spectra from standard 1D model atmospheres (assuming local thermodynamic equilibrium, LTE), we derive 3D abundance corrections for carbon and oxygen of up to −0.5 and −0.7 dex, respectively.
Subjective reports of insomnia and hypersomnia are common in bipolar disorder (BD). It is unclear to what extent these relate to underlying circadian rhythm disturbance (CRD). In this study we aimed to objectively assess sleep and circadian rhythm in a cohort of patients with BD compared to matched controls.
Forty-six patients with BD and 42 controls had comprehensive sleep/circadian rhythm assessment with respiratory sleep studies, prolonged accelerometry over 3 weeks, sleep questionnaires and diaries, melatonin levels, alongside mood, psychosocial functioning and quality of life (QoL) questionnaires.
Twenty-three (50%) patients with BD had abnormal sleep, of whom 12 (52%) had CRD and 29% had obstructive sleep apnoea. Patients with abnormal sleep had lower 24-h melatonin secretion compared to controls and patients with normal sleep. Abnormal sleep/CRD in BD was associated with impaired functioning and worse QoL.
BD is associated with high rates of abnormal sleep and CRD. The association between these disorders, mood and functioning, and the direction of causality, warrants further investigation.
The main question that Firestone & Scholl (F&S) pose is whether “what and how we see is functionally independent from what and how we think, know, desire, act, and so forth” (sect. 2, para. 1). We synthesize a collection of concerns from an interdisciplinary set of coauthors regarding F&S's assumptions and appeals to intuition, resulting in their treatment of visual perception as context-free.
Hippocampal volume reductions in major depression have been frequently reported. However, evidence for functional abnormalities in the same region in depression has been less clear. We investigated hippocampal function in depression using functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) and neuropsychological tasks tapping spatial memory function, with complementing measures of hippocampal volume and resting blood flow to aid interpretation.
A total of 20 patients with major depressive disorder (MDD) and a matched group of 20 healthy individuals participated. Participants underwent multimodal magnetic resonance imaging (MRI): fMRI during a spatial memory task, and structural MRI and resting blood flow measurements of the hippocampal region using arterial spin labelling. An offline battery of neuropsychological tests, including several measures of spatial memory, was also completed.
The fMRI analysis showed significant group differences in bilateral anterior regions of the hippocampus. While control participants showed task-dependent differences in blood oxygen level-dependent (BOLD) signal, depressed patients did not. No group differences were detected with regard to hippocampal volume or resting blood flow. Patients showed reduced performance in several offline neuropsychological measures. All group differences were independent of differences in hippocampal volume and hippocampal blood flow.
Functional abnormalities of the hippocampus can be observed in patients with MDD even when the volume and resting perfusion in the same region appear normal. This suggests that changes in hippocampal function can be observed independently of structural abnormalities of the hippocampus in depression.
Low-calorie sweeteners (LCS) are commonly used as sugar substitutes in the diet to provide a desired sweet taste without increased energy intake. The number of LCS available on the market has increased considerably over the years and despite extensive evaluation of their safety prior to approval, debate continues around the effects of consumption on health. In Europe, Member States are obligated to monitor exposure to LCS and methods currently used tend to rely on self-reported dietary intake data alongside LCS concentrations in products. However, the acquisition of accurate data can be costly in terms of resources and time and are inherently imprecise. Although LCS are intensely sweet, they are chemically diverse and a limitation of many studies investigating the health effects of consumption is that they often fail to discern intakes of individual LCS. An approach which objectively assesses intakes of individual LCS would therefore allow robust investigations of their possible effects on health. Biomarker approaches have been utilised for the objective investigation of intakes of a range of dietary components and the feasibility of any such approach depends upon its validity as well as its applicability within the target population. This review aims to provide an overview of current understanding of LCS intake and explore the possibility of implementing a biomarker approach to enhance such understanding. Several commonly used LCS, once absorbed into the body, are excreted via the kidneys; therefore a urinary biomarker approach may be possible for the investigation of short-term exposure to these compounds.
The aim of this study was to examine cross-sectionally whether higher cardiorespiratory fitness (CRF) might favorably modify amyloid-β (Aβ)-related decrements in cognition in a cohort of late-middle-aged adults at risk for Alzheimer’s disease (AD). Sixty-nine enrollees in the Wisconsin Registry for Alzheimer’s Prevention participated in this study. They completed a comprehensive neuropsychological exam, underwent 11C Pittsburgh Compound B (PiB)-PET imaging, and performed a graded treadmill exercise test to volitional exhaustion. Peak oxygen consumption (VO2peak) during the exercise test was used as the index of CRF. Forty-five participants also underwent lumbar puncture for collection of cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) samples, from which Aβ42 was immunoassayed. Covariate-adjusted regression analyses were used to test whether the association between Aβ and cognition was modified by CRF. There were significant VO2peak*PiB-PET interactions for Immediate Memory (p=.041) and Verbal Learning & Memory (p=.025). There were also significant VO2peak*CSF Aβ42 interactions for Immediate Memory (p<.001) and Verbal Learning & Memory (p<.001). Specifically, in the context of high Aβ burden, that is, increased PiB-PET binding or reduced CSF Aβ42, individuals with higher CRF exhibited significantly better cognition compared with individuals with lower CRF. In a late-middle-aged, at-risk cohort, higher CRF is associated with a diminution of Aβ-related effects on cognition. These findings suggest that exercise might play an important role in the prevention of AD. (JINS, 2015, 21, 841–850)
Attentional impairment is a core cognitive feature of major depressive disorder (MDD) and bipolar disorder (BD). However, little is known of the characteristics of response time (RT) distributions from attentional tasks. This is crucial to furthering our understanding of the profile and extent of cognitive intra-individual variability (IIV) in mood disorders.
A computerized sustained attention task was administered to 138 healthy controls and 158 patients with a mood disorder: 86 euthymic BD, 33 depressed BD and 39 medication-free MDD patients. Measures of IIV, including individual standard deviation (iSD) and coefficient of variation (CoV), were derived for each participant. Ex-Gaussian (and Vincentile) analyses were used to characterize the RT distributions into three components: mu and sigma (mean and standard deviation of the Gaussian portion of the distribution) and tau (the ‘slow tail’ of the distribution).
Compared with healthy controls, iSD was increased significantly in all patient samples. Due to minimal changes in average RT, CoV was only increased significantly in BD depressed patients. Ex-Gaussian modelling indicated a significant increase in tau in euthymic BD [Cohen's d = 0.39, 95% confidence interval (CI) 0.09–0.69, p = 0.011], and both sigma (d = 0.57, 95% CI 0.07–1.05, p = 0.025) and tau (d = 1.14, 95% CI 0.60–1.64, p < 0.0001) in depressed BD. The mu parameter did not differ from controls.
Increased cognitive variability may be a core feature of mood disorders. This is the first demonstration of differences in attentional RT distribution parameters between MDD and BD, and BD depression and euthymia. These data highlight the utility of applying measures of IIV to characterize neurocognitive variability and the great potential for future application.