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Maximal serotonin transporter (5-HTT) densities have been found in the cingulate cortex, a cortical region that has been critically implicated in emotion processing and the pathophysiology of Major Depressive Disorder. Furthermore, serotonin (5-HT) re-uptake inhibition is the first line strategy in the treatment of depression.
Since 5-HTTs are not restricted to neuronal cells, 5-HT uptake velocity (Vmax) can be easily measured on blood platelets subserving as peripheral model of neuronal 5-HTT function and related measures of neural activation.
To determine whether peripheral 5-HTT uptake velocity is related to neural activation in the cingulate cortex during emotion processing.
48 healthy subjects underwent an fMRI paradigm comprising emotional (angry/fearful faces and scenes) and neutral stimuli (simple shapes). 5-HT Vmax was determined in platelets. Subjects were genotyped for a common triallelic polymorphism in the promoter region of the 5-HTT gene (5-HTTLPR).
Significant negative correlations between Vmax and BOLD-signal in the anterior and posterior portion of the cingulate cortex have been found. Cluster maxima within both regions were detected in the subgenual anterior cortex (−1.5, 28.5, −3.5, t = −3.77) and the ventral posterior cingulate cortex (−4.5, −49.5,14.5, t = −3.06). Genotype did not impact on this relationship.
Our results indicate a clear dependency between a peripheral marker, platelet 5-HT uptake velocity, and neural activity in portions of the cingulate cortex for the first time.
An increasing number of treatment studies focus on impaired cognition and emotion processing in schizophrenia. In study 1 we evaluated neuronal activation with fMRI during facial emotion processing in schizophrenia patients treated with new antipsychotics. The study 2 was carried out in order to evaluate whether combinations of new antipsychotics with a cognitive training (Cogpack) or a Training of Affect Decoding (TAD) were more effective than new antipsychotics alone.
In the first study patients with schizophrenia (n=11) and matched healthy controls (n=11) viewed facial displays of emotions. FMRI was used to measure BOLD signal changes as patients alternated beween tasks requiring discrimination of emotional valence of faces and age. In the second study schizophrenic patients (n=20) were compared with a randomized group of patients in the Cogpack (N=20) and in the TAD (n=20).
The same activation patterns in the amygdala were apparent in schizophrenic patients treated with new antipsychotics and healthy controls. The cognition training group revealed significant improvements in cognitive functions and transfer effects in skills needed for daily life. In the TAD group significant improvements were found in recognition of sad facial emotions.
New antipsychotics may improve the functionality of the networks needed for emotion processing and cognition. Cogpack training and TAD, in combination with new antipsychotics, are important treatment techniques for improving social functioning relevant for rehabilitation.
Obsessive–compulsive disorder (OCD) patients typically overmonitor their own behavior, as shown by symptoms of excessive doubt and checking. Although this is well established for the patients’ relationship with external stimuli in the environment, no study has explored their monitoring of internal body signals, a process known to be affected in anxiety-related syndromes. Here, we explored this issue through a cardiac interoception task that measures sensing of heartbeats. Our aim was to explore key behavioral and electrophysiological aspects of internal-cue monitoring in OCD, while examining their potential distinctiveness in this condition.
We administered a heartbeat detection (HBD) task (with related interoceptive confidence and awareness measures) to three matched groups (OCD patients, panic disorder patients, healthy controls) and recorded ongoing modulations of two task-relevant electrophysiological markers: the heart evoked potential (HEP) and the motor potential (MP).
Behaviorally, OCD patients outperformed controls and panic patients in the HBD task. Moreover, they exhibited greater amplitude modulation of both the HEP and the MP during cardiac interoception. However, they evinced poorer confidence and awareness of their interoceptive skills.
Convergent behavioral and electrophysiological data showed that overactive monitoring in OCD extends to the sensing of internal bodily signals. Moreover, this pattern discriminated OCD from panic patients, suggesting a condition-distinctive alteration. Our results highlight the potential of exploring interoceptive processes in the OCD spectrum to better characterize the population's cognitive profile. Finally, these findings may lay new bridges between somatic theories of emotion and cognitive models of OCD.
Management and monitoring of community-based protected areas in Madagascar remain challenging because of a lack of financial, human and technical resources, and capacity. At Lake Alaotra, conversion of marshland for rice cultivation and a lack of effective habitat protection have pushed the locally endemic Alaotra gentle lemur Hapalemur alaotrensis to the brink of extinction. The highest density of the species is found in the locally managed Park Bandro, a high-priority conservation zone within the Lake Alaotra New Protected Area. We evaluated local awareness and perceptions of Park Bandro, and discussed preferred management options with local communities. Two questionnaire surveys were carried out, one with 180 participants at six sites around the lake and marsh, and another with 50 participants in the village adjacent to Park Bandro. The majority of participants knew of the existence of Park Bandro but most did not know its purpose or size. Values and perceptions of local communities were influenced by occupation and distance to the Park, with fishers being most aware of the Park. We found that local people had a high level of environmental awareness and were willing to discuss zonation and alternative resource management strategies as long as these activities could provide a tangible livelihood benefit. Lack of awareness among local resource users regarding the purpose and status of protected areas such as Park Bandro is a challenge that needs to be addressed, and one that is relevant for environmental education and management of protected areas throughout Madagascar.
Vancomycin-resistant enterococci (VRE) infections are a public health threat associated with increased patient mortality and healthcare costs. Antibiotic usage, particularly cephalosporins, has been associated with VRE colonization and VRE bloodstream infections (VRE BSI). We examined the relationship between antimicrobial usage and incident VRE colonization at the individual patient level. Prospective, weekly surveillance was undertaken for incident VRE colonization defined by negative admission but positive surveillance swab in a medical intensive care unit over a 17-month period. Antimicrobial exposure was quantified as days of therapy (DOT)/1000 patient-days. Multiple logistic regression was used to analyse incident VRE colonization and antibiotic DOT, controlling for demographic and clinical covariates. Ninety-six percent (1398/1454) of admissions were swabbed within 24 h of intensive care unit (ICU) arrival and of the 380 patients in the ICU long enough for weekly surveillance, 83 (22%) developed incident VRE colonization. Incident colonization was associated in bivariate analysis with male gender, more previous hospital admissions, longer previous hospital stay, and use of cefepime/ceftazidime, fluconazole, azithromycin, and metronidazole (P < 0·05). After controlling for demographic and clinical covariates, metronidazole was the only antibiotic independently associated with incident VRE colonization (odds ratio 2·0, 95% confidence interval 1·2–3·3, P < 0·009). Our findings suggest that risk of incident VRE colonization differs between individual antibiotic agents and support the possibility that antimicrobial stewardship may impact VRE colonization and infection.
Germany has been an officially bovine tuberculosis (bTB)-free (OTF) country since 1996. Gradually rising numbers of bTB herd incidents due to Mycobacterium bovis and M. caprae in North-Western and Southern Germany during the last few years prompted the competent authorities to conduct a nationwide bTB survey in 2013/2014. This led to the detection of a dairy herd in which as many as 55 cattle reacted positively to consecutive intra vitam testing. Test-positive animals lacked visible lesions indicative of bTB at necropsy. Extensive mycobacterial culturing as well as molecular testing of samples from 11 tissues for members of the M. tuberculosis complex (MTC) yielded negative results throughout. However, caseous lymphadenitis of Ln. mandibularis accessorius was observed during meat inspection of a fattening pig from the same farm at regular slaughter at that time. Respective tissue samples tested MTC positive by polymerase chain reaction, and M. tuberculosis T1 family were identified by spoligotyping. Four human reactors within the farmer's family were also found to be immunoreactive. As exposure of livestock to M. tuberculosis is not generally considered, its impact may result in regulatory and practical difficulties when using protocols designed to detect classical bTB, particularly in OTF countries.
Resonant coupling of an optical mode confined within a microcavity and an emitter is the basic prerequisite for the observation of Bose-Einstein condensation phenomena and the development of novel optical devices based on cavity polaritons.
We demonstrate highly spatially resolved 2” wafer characterization of the reflectivity and emission properties of a nitride based multi quantum well semi microcavity (i.e. structure without top Bragg reflector) to verify resonant regions. Photoluminescence and reflectivity spectra recorded at the same positions on the wafer exhibit a strong spatial dependence of the multi quantum well emission and the center wavelength of the stop band of the bottom Bragg reflector across the sample. Resonance, i.e., matching of the emission and the center wavelength of the stop band, is found in a region 8 mm off the center of the wafer.
The thickness profile across the AlInN/GaN Bragg reflector and multi quantum well layers was obtained by x-ray mappings over the full wafer. A perfect correlation between the local optical properties and the x-ray thickness distribution is found. Additional transmission electron microscopy investigations indicate a complete crack free structure and smooth interfaces between the layers within the Bragg reflector making the structure appropriate for strong coupling applications.
Subcortical hyperintensities (SH) on neuroimaging are a prominent feature of vascular dementia (VaD) and SH severity correlates with cognitive impairment in this population. Previous studies demonstrated that SH burden accounts for a degree of the cognitive burden among VaD patients, although it remains unclear if individual factors such as cognitive reserve influence cognitive status in VaD. To address this issue, we examined 36 individuals diagnosed with probable VaD (age = 77.56; education = 12). All individuals underwent MMSE evaluations and MRI brain scans. We predicted that individuals with higher educational attainment would exhibit less cognitive difficulty despite similar levels of SH volume, compared to individuals with less educational attainment. A regression analysis revealed that greater SH volume was associated with lower scores on the MMSE. Additionally, education moderated the relationship between SH volume and MMSE score, demonstrating that individuals with higher education had higher scores on the MMSE despite similar degrees of SH burden. These results suggest that educational attainment buffers the deleterious effects of SH burden on cognitive status among VaD patients. (JINS, 2011, 17, 531–536)
Fourier transform infrared (FTIR) spectroscopy has gained significant attention among the forensic scientists because it shows high sensitivity and selectivity, and offers near-real-time detection. Application of the multivariate statistical techniques for the analysis of the spectra is necessary in order to enable feature extraction, proper evaluation and identification of obtained spectra. In this paper we show the development of a feasible procedure for the characterization of spectroscopic signatures of the explosive materials in the remnants after explosion. In our research especially designed and prepared sample catchers were used during the blasts of three various high explosives: C-4, TNT and PETN. Principal component analysis (PCA) was performed using broad spectral data range (600–4000 cm−1) for sample classification into separate classes. Most of the information contained in spectral data was compressed by PCA in few relevant principal components that explain most of the variance of spectral data. The results show that FTIR spectroscopy in combination with multivariate methods are well suited for identification and differentiation purposes even in very large data sets and could be employed by forensic laboratories for rapid screening analysis.
The meta-foil is an all-metal self-supported electromagnetic metamaterial that features a space-grid that is locally stiff, yet globally flexible. Owing to its mechanical, thermal, chemical and radiative robustness, it lends itself to widespread applications.
In 2008, a cow with marked gross lesions suspicious for bovine tuberculosis (bTB) was identified by meat inspection at home slaughtering in north-western Germany. Epidemiological investigations led to the identification of another 11 affected farms with a total of 135 animals which reacted positive to the skin test. Eight affected farms had been in trade contact with the putative index farm. While the source for the initial introduction remained unknown, it was shown that all isolates tested shared the same molecular characteristics suggesting a common source of infection. The findings demonstrate that bTB can easily be transmitted via animal trade and may remain undetected for years in herds in the absence of tuberculin testing. Hence, we believe that bTB surveillance should not rely only on meat inspection, but on a combination of both meat inspection and intradermal tuberculin testing.
In the early days of United States activities at McMurdo, tracked vehicles were used for station transport of men and supplies. These functioned well, if slowly and expensively, over snow and ice but were impractical over land because of track wear. Wheeled vehicles were introduced but, while satisfactory over earth roads, very quickly bogged down in snow; this difficulty was to some extent solved by the substitution of high flotation, chevron-tread, or ribbon-tread (sand) tires, for conventional tires. By 1966, the Naval Civil Engineering Laboratory (NCEL) had developed high-strength, heavy-duty snow roads capable of supporting vehicles weighing up to 31 500 kg, and wheeled vehicles replaced tracked vehicles for station use.
Congenital cytomegalovirus infection is the leading identified nongenetic cause of congenital sensorineural hearing loss. Most of the infections are asymptomatic but may be detected from umbilical cord vein and/or newborn serum positivity for human cytomegalovirus immunoglobulin M, and from urine positivity (on polymerase chain reaction) for human cytomegalovirus deoxyribonucleic acid in the newborn period. Children infected by cytomegalovirus may later develop sensorineural hearing loss. In symptomatically infected infants, ganciclovir therapy administered in the neonatal period prevents hearing deterioration. However, preventative therapy of asymptomatic congenital cytomegalovirus disease with ganciclovir is controversial, as side effects such as severe neutropenia may occur during treatment.
The study population consisted of 23 asymptomatic children with congenital cytomegalovirus infection. Twelve children were treated just after diagnosis of cytomegalovirus infection in the newborn period, with ganciclovir 10 mg/kg bodyweight for 21 days. The other 11 children were observed without therapy. Over a four to 10 year follow-up period, we evaluated all the children's hearing status using pure tone audiometry.
All 23 children had normal sensorineural hearing at one year follow up. Five of the 23 children (21.7 per cent) were lost to follow up over the four to 11 year follow-up period. Of the remaining 18 children, sensorineural hearing loss occurred in two (11.1 per cent). Neither child had been treated with ganciclovir in the newborn period. An eight-year-old boy showed bilateral high frequency loss and a 10-year-old girl showed severe unilateral sensorineural hearing loss. In the ganciclovir-treated group (nine children), none showed sensorineural hearing loss. During ganciclovir therapy, moderate neutropenia occurred as a side effect in two out of 12 (16.6 per cent) treated children. Speech and general development were normal in all children.
Asymptomatic congenital cytomegalovirus infection is likely to be a leading cause of sensorineural hearing loss in young children. Intravenous ganciclovir therapy seems to offer a medical option to prevent subsequent sensorineural hearing loss. Further studies including a greater number of children are needed. Cytomegalovirus screening models are mandatory if medical therapy is to be implemented in time.
Al-based intermetallic coatings are widely used as bond coats and for oxidation protection of turbine blades and engine components. Here we present and discuss the structural and thermal properties of novel unbalanced-magnetron sputtered Al-based coatings (single-phase intermetallic Al2Au, binary Al-Zr, and nano-structured Al-Zr-Y) developed to protect gamma-TiAl from environmental attack at elevated temperatures. Al-Zr films exhibit a coarse-grained dual-phase Al3Zr2-Al2Zr structure and are nano-structured by alloying with ~5, 10, and 14 at% Y.
Combined dynamic differential-scanning calorimetry and thermogravimetric analyses up to a temperature of 1150 °C reveal that the Al2Au film is very stable with only marginal mass gain from oxidation found between 800 and 1000 °C. High temperature X-ray diffraction shows that this coating retains its (311) texture up to 900 °C where Al2O3 formation leads to the depletion of Al in Al2Au and subsequently the precipitation of intermetallic AlAu. When gamma-TiAl is coated with Al2Au and exposed to cyclic oxidation tests at 750 and 850 °C good oxidation resistance is obtained as a protective oxide layer is formed.
Dual-phase Al3Zr2-Al2Zr coatings form ZrO2 and Al2O3 in oxidizing atmosphere. However, the phase transition from monoclinic (m-)ZrO2 to tetragonal (t-)ZrO2 with the accompanying volume change causes flaking of the oxide. Yttrium addition to the Al-Zr films stabilizes the cubic (c-) and t-ZrO2 and hence avoids the fatal tetragonal-monocline transformation. The thermally grown c-ZrO2 based oxides allow good adhesion to thermal barrier coatings which are themselves based on c-ZrO2.
Campylobacter jejuni isolates of human, canine, feline, bovine and poultry origin were investigated for their genomic diversity using O-antigen typing (n = 271), SmaI (n = 158) and XhoI (n = 158) macrorestriction analysis and ERIC–PCR (n = 107). The O-antigens O[ratio ]1/44, O[ratio ]2, O[ratio ]4 complex, O[ratio ]37, O[ratio ]40 were identified and 53.7% of the human and 56.1% of the animal strains were typable with the available antisera. Two ERIC–PCR pattern groups were generated representing human and animal strains as well as those exclusively of animal origin. XhoI macrorestriction analysis also distinguished ‘human’ and ‘non-human’ strain clusters, but by SmaI restriction mainly serotype-associated clusters were found. In conclusion, genomic differences may occur between ‘human’ and ‘non-human’ strains and this may reflect their potential to overcome the barrier from animals to humans.