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Evidence suggests that pregnant women who test positive for COVID-19 may develop more severe illness than non-pregnant women and may be at greater risk for psychological distress. The relationship between COVID-19 status (positive, negative, never tested) and symptoms of depression was examined in a survey study (May to September 2020) of pregnant women (n = 869). Pregnant women who reported testing positive for COVID-19 were significantly more likely to report depressive symptoms compared with women who tested negative (P = 0.027) and women who were never tested (P = 0.005). Findings indicate that pregnant women who test positive for COVID-19 should be screened and monitored for depressive symptoms.
For many years, archaeologists have relied on Munsell Soil Color Charts (MSCC) as tools for standardizing the recording of soil and sediment colors in the field and artifacts such as pottery in the lab. Users have identified multiple potential sources of discrepancy in results, such as differences in inter-operator perception, light source, or moisture content of samples. In recent years, researchers have developed inexpensive digital methods for color identification, but these typically cannot be done in real time. Now, a field-ready digital color-matching instrument is marketed to archaeologists as a replacement for MSCC, but the accuracy and overall suitability of this device for archaeological research has not been demonstrated. Through three separate field and laboratory trials, we found systematic mismatches in the results obtained via device, including variable accuracy against standardized MSCC chips, which should represent ideal samples. At the same time, the instrument was consistent in its readings. This leads us to question whether using the “subjective” human eye or the “objective” digital eye is preferable for data recording of color. We discuss how project goals and limitations should be considered when deciding which color-recording method to employ in field and laboratory settings, and we identify optimal procedures.
We summarize some of the past year's most important findings within climate change-related research. New research has improved our understanding of Earth's sensitivity to carbon dioxide, finds that permafrost thaw could release more carbon emissions than expected and that the uptake of carbon in tropical ecosystems is weakening. Adverse impacts on human society include increasing water shortages and impacts on mental health. Options for solutions emerge from rethinking economic models, rights-based litigation, strengthened governance systems and a new social contract. The disruption caused by COVID-19 could be seized as an opportunity for positive change, directing economic stimulus towards sustainable investments.
A synthesis is made of ten fields within climate science where there have been significant advances since mid-2019, through an expert elicitation process with broad disciplinary scope. Findings include: (1) a better understanding of equilibrium climate sensitivity; (2) abrupt thaw as an accelerator of carbon release from permafrost; (3) changes to global and regional land carbon sinks; (4) impacts of climate change on water crises, including equity perspectives; (5) adverse effects on mental health from climate change; (6) immediate effects on climate of the COVID-19 pandemic and requirements for recovery packages to deliver on the Paris Agreement; (7) suggested long-term changes to governance and a social contract to address climate change, learning from the current pandemic, (8) updated positive cost–benefit ratio and new perspectives on the potential for green growth in the short- and long-term perspective; (9) urban electrification as a strategy to move towards low-carbon energy systems and (10) rights-based litigation as an increasingly important method to address climate change, with recent clarifications on the legal standing and representation of future generations.
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Stronger permafrost thaw, COVID-19 effects and growing mental health impacts among highlights of latest climate science.
The Triassic–Jurassic Upper Karoo Group of the Mid-Zambezi Basin (MZB; Zimbabwe) includes a thick succession of terrestrial sediments with high palaeontological potential that has been neglected since the 1970s. Here, we review the Upper Karoo Group stratigraphy, present detailed sedimentological work and identify new vertebrate-bearing sites at several measured sections along the southern shore of Lake Kariba. These fossil-bearing sites fall within the Pebbly Arkose and Forest Sandstone formations, and are the first to be recorded from the region since the discovery of Vulcanodon karibaensis nearly 50 years ago. The unique and diverse assemblage of aquatic and terrestrial fauna reported includes phytosaurs, metoposaurid amphibians, lungfish, non-dinosaurian archosauromorphs and non-sauropod sauropodomorph dinosaurs. This improvement of Upper Karoo Group biostratigraphy is important in refining its temporal resolution, and impacts both regional and global studies. Finally, the new fossil sites demonstrate the palaeontological importance of the MZB and its role in providing a holistic understanding of early Mesozoic ecosystems in southern Gondwana.
A growing body of evidence suggests that synaptic plasticity is involved in addictive behaviour and nicotine dependence (ND). Neurotrophic factors, such as neurotrophin 3 (NT3) play a key role in modulating neuronal plasticity. Therefore, an association between nicotine, smoking and neurotrophic factors has been suggested. However, the role of NT3 in ND has not been thoroughly investigated in humans so far.
We investigated the influence of chronic (long-term smoking) and acute nicotine administration on the plasma level of NT3. We measured plasma NT3 levels at baseline and then 15 and 45 minutes after nicotine or placebo administration using an enzyme-linked-immunoabsorbent-assay (ELISA). Smokers showed higher NT3 level than non-smokers at baseline. Interestingly, 15 minutes after acute nicotine injection, plasma level of NT3 in both smokers and non-smokers decreased significantly and went back to baseline levels after 30 minutes. We found that plasma nicotine and NT3 levels were positively correlated in smokers at baseline.
There is a direct interaction of nicotine with NT3, which is different in acute and chronic exposure. Interestingly, the concentration of NT3 is correlated and up-regulated in smokers. We propose that neuroplasticity, which plays a role in addictive behaviour such as smoking or nicotine dependence (ND) might be mediated by these interactions of nicotine and NT3. We speculate that these might even play a part in the so called “self-medicating” with cigarettes that is often seen in patients with certain mental disorders.
Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) and Conduct Disorder (CD) are associated with Risk Behaviors (RB) such as substance-related problems, suicidal behaviors and sex risk behaviors. However, some issues remain controversials: is ADHD an independent risk factor for RB? Is CD a confounding factor of the relationship between ADHD and RB?
To assess the link between childhood hyperactivity-inattention symptoms and subsequent RB, controlling for other risk factors among which conduct disorder symptoms.
We have conducted multivariate analyses from a French community-based sample (N = 1107) belonging to the youth GAZEL cohort. The sample was first assessed at ages 4 to 18, and then assessed 8 years later. Child psychopathology and RB patterns were evaluated through parent and adolescent self-reports.
In males, results show an effect of hyperactivity-inattention symptoms on more severe RB such as regular cannabis use, illicit drug experimentation and suicidal behaviors (adjusted OR = 2 to 5, all Ps significants). In females, they show an effect of hyperactivity-inattention symptoms on regular tobacco use (adjusted OR = 2, P < .05). The risk of RB initiation was increased in youths with high levels of conduct disorder symptoms, particularly in combination with simultaneously high levels of hyperactivity-inattention symptoms (adjusted OR = 2, P < .05).
This work enhances the knowledge of a link between disruptive behaviors in childhood and subsequent risk behaviors. It underscores the importance of a better acknowledgement of these disorders, in order to better identify and treat them to prevent negative long-term outcomes.
The aim of this guidance paper of the European Psychiatric Association is to provide evidence-based recommendations on the early detection of a clinical high risk (CHR) for psychosis in patients with mental problems. To this aim, we conducted a meta-analysis of studies reporting on conversion rates to psychosis in non-overlapping samples meeting any at least any one of the main CHR criteria: ultra-high risk (UHR) and/or basic symptoms criteria. Further, effects of potential moderators (different UHR criteria definitions, single UHR criteria and age) on conversion rates were examined. Conversion rates in the identified 42 samples with altogether more than 4000 CHR patients who had mainly been identified by UHR criteria and/or the basic symptom criterion ‘cognitive disturbances’ (COGDIS) showed considerable heterogeneity. While UHR criteria and COGDIS were related to similar conversion rates until 2-year follow-up, conversion rates of COGDIS were significantly higher thereafter. Differences in onset and frequency requirements of symptomatic UHR criteria or in their different consideration of functional decline, substance use and co-morbidity did not seem to impact on conversion rates. The ‘genetic risk and functional decline’ UHR criterion was rarely met and only showed an insignificant pooled sample effect. However, age significantly affected UHR conversion rates with lower rates in children and adolescents. Although more research into potential sources of heterogeneity in conversion rates is needed to facilitate improvement of CHR criteria, six evidence-based recommendations for an early detection of psychosis were developed as a basis for the EPA guidance on early intervention in CHR states.
To examine the link between symptoms of hyperactivity-inattention and conduct disorder in childhood, and the initiation of tobacco and cannabis use, controlling for other behavioral symptoms, temperament and environmental risk factors.
The sample (N = 1107 participants, aged 4 to 18 years at baseline) was recruited from the population-based longitudinal Gazel Youth study with a follow-up assessment 8 years later. Psychopathology, temperament, environmental variables, and initiation of tobacco and cannabis use were self-reported. Event time analyses were performed to assess the effects of childhood disruptive symptoms on age at first use of tobacco and cannabis.
Proportional hazard models revealed that participants with high levels of childhood symptoms of both hyperactivity-inattention and conduct disorder were at highest risk of early tobacco initiation (in males: hazard ratio [HR] = 2.05; confidence interval [CI]: 1.24–3.38; in females: HR = 2.01; CI: 1.31–3.09), and, in males, of early cannabis initiation (HR = 1.95; CI: 1.04–3.64). Temperament, through activity in both males and females and negative emotionality in females, was also associated to early substance use initiation.
Children who simultaneously have high levels of symptoms of hyperactivity-inattention and conduct disorder are at increased risk for early substance initiation. These associations may guide childhood health professionals to consider the liability for early substance initiation in high-risk groups.
Limited clinical relevance of attenuated psychotic symptoms before the turn from early to late adolescence, i.e., age 15/16, was reported.
This emphasizes the potentially important role of neurodevelopmental aspects in the early detection of psychoses.
We examined the age effect on prevalence and clinical relevance of 14 cognitive and perceptive basic symptoms (BS) included in risk criteria of psychosis in a random representative 8–40-year-old community sample (n = 689).
Participants underwent clinical interviews for BS, psychosocial functioning and current mental disorder on the telephone.
BS were reported by 18% of participants, mainly cognitive BS (15%). Age seemed to affect perceptive and cognitive BS differently, indicating an age threshold for perceptive BS in late adolescence (around age 18) and for cognitive BS in young adulthood (early twenties) – with higher prevalence, but a lesser association with functional deficits and the presence of mental disorder in the below-threshold groups. Thereby, effects of the interaction between age and BS on functioning and mental disorder were commonly stronger than individual effects of age and BS.
Differential age effects of perceptual and cognitive BS seem to follow normal brain maturation processes, in which they might occur as infrequent and temporary nonpathological disturbances. Their persistence or occurrence after the conclusion of main brain maturation processes, however, might signify aberrant maturation processes. Thus, BS might provide important insight into the pathogenesis of psychosis and into potential neuroprotective targets.
Disclosure of interest
The authors have not supplied their declaration of competing interest.
We present a sediment-mixing process model of till genesis based on data from surface tills of the Saginaw lobe terrain in lower Michigan. Our research uses a spatial approach to understanding glacial landsystems and till genesis. We sampled calcareous till at 336 upland sites and at 17 sites in lacustrine sediment of the Saginaw Lake plain. The loamy tills have bimodal grain-size curves, with a fine-texture mode near the silt–clay boundary and a sand mode. Spatial grouping analysis suggests that tills can be divided into six groups, each with different textures and clay mineral compositions that vary systematically down-ice. The similarity among groups with respect to the silt–clay mode and clay mineralogy argues for a common origin for the fines—illite-rich lacustrine sediment of the Saginaw Lake plain. Fine-textured sediments were probably entrained, transported, and deposited down-ice as till, which also becomes sandier and enriched in kaolinite, reflecting increasing mixing with shallow sandstone bedrock with distance from the lacustrine clay source. Clayey tills on the flanks of the Saginaw terrain may reflect proglacial ponding against nearby uplands. A process model of progressive down-ice mixing of preexisting fine lake sediments with crushed/abraded sandstone bedrock helps to better explain till textures compared with a purely crushing/abrasion process model.
Inattentive respondents introduce noise into data sets, weakening correlations between items and increasing the likelihood of null findings. “Screeners” have been proposed as a way to identify inattentive respondents, but questions remain regarding their implementation. First, what is the optimal number of Screeners for identifying inattentive respondents? Second, what types of Screener questions best capture inattention? In this paper, we address both of these questions. Using item-response theory to aggregate individual Screeners we find that four Screeners are sufficient to identify inattentive respondents. Moreover, two grid and two multiple choice questions work well. Our findings have relevance for applied survey research in political science and other disciplines. Most importantly, our recommendations enable the standardization of Screeners on future surveys.
We present a multi-frequency study of the intermediate spiral SAB(r)bc type galaxy NGC 6744, using available data from the Chandra X-Ray telescope, radio continuum data from the Australia Telescope Compact Array and Murchison Widefield Array, and Wide-field Infrared Survey Explorer infrared observations. We identify 117 X-ray sources and 280 radio sources. Of these, we find nine sources in common between the X-ray and radio catalogues, one of which is a faint central black hole with a bolometric radio luminosity similar to the Milky Way’s central black hole. We classify 5 objects as supernova remnant (SNR) candidates, 2 objects as likely SNRs, 17 as H ii regions, 1 source as an AGN; the remaining 255 radio sources are categorised as background objects and one X-ray source is classified as a foreground star. We find the star-formation rate (SFR) of NGC 6744 to be in the range 2.8–4.7 M⊙~yr − 1 signifying the galaxy is still actively forming stars. The specific SFR of NGC 6744 is greater than that of late-type spirals such as the Milky Way, but considerably less that that of a typical starburst galaxy.
A new target design is presented to model high-energy radiative accretion shocks in polars. In this paper, we present the experimental results obtained on the GEKKO XII laser facility for the POLAR project. The experimental results are compared with 2D FCI2 simulations to characterize the dynamics and the structure of plasma flow before and after the collision. The good agreement between simulations and experimental data confirms the formation of a reverse shock where cooling losses start modifying the post-shock region. With the multi-material structure of the target, a hydrodynamic collimation is exhibited and a radiative structure coupled with the reverse shock is highlighted in both experimental data and simulations. The flexibility of the laser energy produced on GEKKO XII allowed us to produce high-velocity flows and study new and interesting radiation hydrodynamic regimes between those obtained on the LULI2000 and Orion laser facilities.
Little is known about the association of cortical Aβ with depression and anxiety among cognitively normal (CN) elderly persons.
We conducted a cross-sectional study derived from the population-based Mayo Clinic Study of Aging in Olmsted County, Minnesota; involving CN persons aged ≥ 60 years that underwent PiB-PET scans and completed Beck Depression Inventory-II (BDI-II) and Beck Anxiety Inventory (BAI). Cognitive diagnosis was made by an expert consensus panel. Participants were classified as having abnormal (≥1.4; PiB+) or normal PiB-PET (<1.4; PiB−) using a global cortical to cerebellar ratio. Multi-variable logistic regression analyses were performed to calculate odds ratios (OR) and 95% confidence intervals (95% CI) after adjusting for age and sex.
Of 1,038 CN participants (53.1% males), 379 were PiB+. Each one point symptom increase in the BDI (OR = 1.03; 1.00–1.06) and BAI (OR = 1.04; 1.01–1.08) was associated with increased odds of PiB-PET+. The number of participants with BDI > 13 (clinical depression) was greater in the PiB-PET+ than PiB-PET- group but the difference was not significant (OR = 1.42; 0.83–2.43). Similarly, the number of participants with BAI > 10 (clinical anxiety) was greater in the PiB-PET+ than PiB-PET− group but the difference was not significant (OR = 1.77; 0.97–3.22).
As expected, depression and anxiety levels were low in this community-dwelling sample, which likely reduced our statistical power. However, we observed an informative albeit weak association between increased BDI and BAI scores and elevated cortical amyloid deposition. This observation needs to be tested in a longitudinal cohort study.
The quality of prenatal maternal mental health, from psychological stress and depressive symptoms to anxiety and other nonpsychotic mental disorders, profoundly affects fetal neurodevelopment. Despite the evidence for the influence of positive mental well-being on health, there is, to our knowledge, no research examining the possible effects of positive antenatal mental health on the development of the offspring. Using exploratory bifactor analysis, this prospective study (n = 1,066) demonstrated the feasibility of using common psychiatric screening tools to examine the effect of positive maternal mental health. Antenatal mental health was assessed during 26th week of pregnancy. The effects on offspring were assessed when the child was 12, 18, and 24 months old. Results showed that positive antenatal mental health was uniquely associated with the offspring's cognitive, language and parentally rated competences. This study shows that the effects of positive maternal mental health are likely to be specific and distinct from the sheer absence of symptoms of depression or anxiety.
Training for the clinical research workforce does not sufficiently prepare workers for today’s scientific complexity; deficiencies may be ameliorated with training. The Enhancing Clinical Research Professionals’ Training and Qualifications developed competency standards for principal investigators and clinical research coordinators.
Clinical and Translational Science Awards representatives refined competency statements. Working groups developed assessments, identified training, and highlighted gaps.
Forty-eight competency statements in 8 domains were developed.
Training is primarily investigator focused with few programs for clinical research coordinators. Lack of training is felt in new technologies and data management. There are no standardized assessments of competence.
The translation of discoveries to drugs, devices, and behavioral interventions requires well-prepared study teams. Execution of clinical trials remains suboptimal due to varied quality in design, execution, analysis, and reporting. A critical impediment is inconsistent, or even absent, competency-based training for clinical trial personnel.
In 2014, the National Center for Advancing Translational Science (NCATS) funded the project, Enhancing Clinical Research Professionals’ Training and Qualifications (ECRPTQ), aimed at addressing this deficit. The goal was to ensure all personnel are competent to execute clinical trials. A phased structure was utilized.
This paper focuses on training recommendations in Good Clinical Practice (GCP). Leveraging input from all Clinical and Translational Science Award hubs, the following was recommended to NCATS: all investigators and study coordinators executing a clinical trial should understand GCP principles and undergo training every 3 years, with the training method meeting the minimum criteria identified by the International Conference on Harmonisation GCP.
We anticipate that industry sponsors will acknowledge such training, eliminating redundant training requests. We proposed metrics to be tracked that required further study. A separate task force was composed to define recommendations for metrics to be reported to NCATS.