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A cumulative environmental exposure score for schizophrenia (exposome score for schizophrenia [ES-SCZ]) may provide potential utility for risk stratification and outcome prediction. Here, we investigated whether ES-SCZ was associated with functioning in patients with schizophrenia spectrum disorder, unaffected siblings, and healthy controls.
This cross-sectional sample consisted of 1,261 patients, 1,282 unaffected siblings, and 1,525 healthy controls. The Global Assessment of Functioning (GAF) scale was used to assess functioning. ES-SCZ was calculated based on our previously validated method. The association between ES-SCZ and the GAF dimensions (symptom and disability) was analyzed by applying regression models in each group (patients, siblings, and controls). Additional models included polygenic risk score for schizophrenia (PRS-SCZ) as a covariate.
ES-SCZ was associated with the GAF dimensions in patients (symptom: B = −1.53, p-value = 0.001; disability: B = −1.44, p-value = 0.001), siblings (symptom: B = −3.07, p-value < 0.001; disability: B = −2.52, p-value < 0.001), and healthy controls (symptom: B = −1.50, p-value < 0.001; disability: B = −1.31, p-value < 0.001). The results remained the same after adjusting for PRS-SCZ. The degree of associations of ES-SCZ with both symptom and disability dimensions were higher in unaffected siblings than in patients and controls. By analyzing an independent dataset (the Genetic Risk and Outcome of Psychosis study), we replicated the results observed in the patient group.
Our findings suggest that ES-SCZ shows promise for enhancing risk prediction and stratification in research practice. From a clinical perspective, ES-SCZ may aid in efforts of clinical characterization, operationalizing transdiagnostic clinical staging models, and personalizing clinical management.
Continental Antarctica is a polar desert containing sparse pockets of vegetation within ice-free areas. Despite the recognized association between lichens, mosses and epiphytic diatoms, the environmental factors controlling diatom community structure are poorly understood. We investigated the association between diatom communities and host vegetation characteristics by experimentally adding nutrients and/or water to two bryophyte (healthy and moribund) and two lichen (crustose and Usnea) vegetation types in the Windmill Islands. Diatom communities were morphologically characterized, diversity indices calculated and differences between treatments, vegetation type and vegetation characteristics tested. We identified 49 diatom taxa, 8 of which occurred with > 1% relative abundance. Bryophyte and lichen vegetation harboured significantly different diatom communities, both in composition and diversity indices. Specifically, Luticola muticopsis was more prevalent in moribund bryophytes and crustose lichens, and Usnea lichens showed lower species richness than other types. While nutrient and water additions did not significantly alter diatom communities, diversity indices and some species showed relationships with vegetation physiological characteristics, notably %N and δ13C, suggesting the importance of ambient gradients in water and nutrient availability. Collectively, this work suggests that future conditions favouring the dominance of a particular vegetation type may have a homogenizing effect on the terrestrial diatom communities of East Antarctica.
Precise instrumental calibration is of crucial importance to 21-cm cosmology experiments. The Murchison Widefield Array’s (MWA) Phase II compact configuration offers us opportunities for both redundant calibration and sky-based calibration algorithms; using the two in tandem is a potential approach to mitigate calibration errors caused by inaccurate sky models. The MWA Epoch of Reionization (EoR) experiment targets three patches of the sky (dubbed EoR0, EoR1, and EoR2) with deep observations. Previous work in Li et al. (2018) and (2019) studied the effect of tandem calibration on the EoR0 field and found that it yielded no significant improvement in the power spectrum (PS) over sky-based calibration alone. In this work, we apply similar techniques to the EoR1 field and find a distinct result: the improvements in the PS from tandem calibration are significant. To understand this result, we analyse both the calibration solutions themselves and the effects on the PS over three nights of EoR1 observations. We conclude that the presence of the bright radio galaxy Fornax A in EoR1 degrades the performance of sky-based calibration, which in turn enables redundant calibration to have a larger impact. These results suggest that redundant calibration can indeed mitigate some level of model incompleteness error.
Through diversity of composition, sequence, and interfacial structure, hybrid materials greatly expand the palette of materials available to access novel functionality. The NSF Division of Materials Research recently supported a workshop (October 17–18, 2019) aiming to (1) identify fundamental questions and potential solutions common to multiple disciplines within the hybrid materials community; (2) initiate interfield collaborations between hybrid materials researchers; and (3) raise awareness in the wider community about experimental toolsets, simulation capabilities, and shared facilities that can accelerate this research. This article reports on the outcomes of the workshop as a basis for cross-community discussion. The interdisciplinary challenges and opportunities are presented, and followed with a discussion of current areas of progress in subdisciplines including hybrid synthesis, functional surfaces, and functional interfaces.
There is evidence that environmental and genetic risk factors for schizophrenia spectrum disorders are transdiagnostic and mediated in part through a generic pathway of affective dysregulation.
We analysed to what degree the impact of schizophrenia polygenic risk (PRS-SZ) and childhood adversity (CA) on psychosis outcomes was contingent on co-presence of affective dysregulation, defined as significant depressive symptoms, in (i) NEMESIS-2 (n = 6646), a representative general population sample, interviewed four times over nine years and (ii) EUGEI (n = 4068) a sample of patients with schizophrenia spectrum disorder, the siblings of these patients and controls.
The impact of PRS-SZ on psychosis showed significant dependence on co-presence of affective dysregulation in NEMESIS-2 [relative excess risk due to interaction (RERI): 1.01, p = 0.037] and in EUGEI (RERI = 3.39, p = 0.048). This was particularly evident for delusional ideation (NEMESIS-2: RERI = 1.74, p = 0.003; EUGEI: RERI = 4.16, p = 0.019) and not for hallucinatory experiences (NEMESIS-2: RERI = 0.65, p = 0.284; EUGEI: −0.37, p = 0.547). A similar and stronger pattern of results was evident for CA (RERI delusions and hallucinations: NEMESIS-2: 3.02, p < 0.001; EUGEI: 6.44, p < 0.001; RERI delusional ideation: NEMESIS-2: 3.79, p < 0.001; EUGEI: 5.43, p = 0.001; RERI hallucinatory experiences: NEMESIS-2: 2.46, p < 0.001; EUGEI: 0.54, p = 0.465).
The results, and internal replication, suggest that the effects of known genetic and non-genetic risk factors for psychosis are mediated in part through an affective pathway, from which early states of delusional meaning may arise.
This study attempted to replicate whether a bias in probabilistic reasoning, or ‘jumping to conclusions’(JTC) bias is associated with being a sibling of a patient with schizophrenia spectrum disorder; and if so, whether this association is contingent on subthreshold delusional ideation.
Data were derived from the EUGEI project, a 25-centre, 15-country effort to study psychosis spectrum disorder. The current analyses included 1261 patients with schizophrenia spectrum disorder, 1282 siblings of patients and 1525 healthy comparison subjects, recruited in Spain (five centres), Turkey (three centres) and Serbia (one centre). The beads task was used to assess JTC bias. Lifetime experience of delusional ideation and hallucinatory experiences was assessed using the Community Assessment of Psychic Experiences. General cognitive abilities were taken into account in the analyses.
JTC bias was positively associated not only with patient status but also with sibling status [adjusted relative risk (aRR) ratio : 4.23 CI 95% 3.46–5.17 for siblings and aRR: 5.07 CI 95% 4.13–6.23 for patients]. The association between JTC bias and sibling status was stronger in those with higher levels of delusional ideation (aRR interaction in siblings: 3.77 CI 95% 1.67–8.51, and in patients: 2.15 CI 95% 0.94–4.92). The association between JTC bias and sibling status was not stronger in those with higher levels of hallucinatory experiences.
These findings replicate earlier findings that JTC bias is associated with familial liability for psychosis and that this is contingent on the degree of delusional ideation but not hallucinations.
Alzheimer’s disease (AD) studies are increasingly targeting earlier (pre)clinical populations, in which the expected degree of observable cognitive decline over a certain time interval is reduced as compared to the dementia stage. Consequently, endpoints to capture early cognitive changes require refinement. We aimed to determine the sensitivity to decline of widely applied neuropsychological tests at different clinical stages of AD as outlined in the National Institute on Aging – Alzheimer’s Association (NIA-AA) research framework.
Amyloid-positive individuals (as determined by positron emission tomography or cerebrospinal fluid) with longitudinal neuropsychological assessments available were included from four well-defined study cohorts and subsequently classified among the NIA-AA stages. For each stage, we investigated the sensitivity to decline of 17 individual neuropsychological tests using linear mixed models.
1103 participants (age = 70.54 ± 8.7, 47% female) were included: n = 120 Stage 1, n = 206 Stage 2, n = 467 Stage 3 and n = 309 Stage 4. Neuropsychological tests were differentially sensitive to decline across stages. For example, Category Fluency captured significant 1-year decline as early as Stage 1 (β = −.58, p < .001). Word List Delayed Recall (β = −.22, p < .05) and Trail Making Test (β = 6.2, p < .05) became sensitive to 1-year decline in Stage 2, whereas the Mini-Mental State Examination did not capture 1-year decline until Stage 3 (β = −1.13, p < .001) and 4 (β = −2.23, p < .001).
We demonstrated that commonly used neuropsychological tests differ in their ability to capture decline depending on clinical stage within the AD continuum (preclinical to dementia). This implies that stage-specific cognitive endpoints are needed to accurately assess disease progression and increase the chance of successful treatment evaluation in AD.
First-degree relatives of patients with psychotic disorder have higher levels of polygenic risk (PRS) for schizophrenia and higher levels of intermediate phenotypes.
We conducted, using two different samples for discovery (n = 336 controls and 649 siblings of patients with psychotic disorder) and replication (n = 1208 controls and 1106 siblings), an analysis of association between PRS on the one hand and psychopathological and cognitive intermediate phenotypes of schizophrenia on the other in a sample at average genetic risk (healthy controls) and a sample at higher than average risk (healthy siblings of patients). Two subthreshold psychosis phenotypes, as well as a standardised measure of cognitive ability, based on a short version of the WAIS-III short form, were used. In addition, a measure of jumping to conclusion bias (replication sample only) was tested for association with PRS.
In both discovery and replication sample, evidence for an association between PRS and subthreshold psychosis phenotypes was observed in the relatives of patients, whereas in the controls no association was observed. Jumping to conclusion bias was similarly only associated with PRS in the sibling group. Cognitive ability was weakly negatively and non-significantly associated with PRS in both the sibling and the control group.
The degree of endophenotypic expression of schizophrenia polygenic risk depends on having a sibling with psychotic disorder, suggestive of underlying gene–environment interaction. Cognitive biases may better index genetic risk of disorder than traditional measures of neurocognition, which instead may reflect the population distribution of cognitive ability impacting the prognosis of psychotic disorder.
Contemporary ice stream flow is directly linked to conditions at the ice/bed interface, yet this environment is logistically difficult to access. Instead, we investigate subglacial processes important for ice stream flow by studying tills on the deglaciated Antarctic continental shelf. We test currently-accepted hypotheses surrounding subglacial processes and till properties with a Ross Sea dataset. Till shear strengths indicate a continuum of simultaneous processes acting at the bed, rather than discrete ‘deformation’ and ‘lodgement’ end-members. We identify a threshold water content representing saturated pore spaces, leading to basal sliding and meltwater channelization. Based on observations of till properties relative to glacial landforms, we challenge the assumption that low shear strength is linked to intense deformation. Spatial variability in landform morphology reflects variability in deforming processes at the sub-ice stream scale and suggests a maximum deforming bed thickness of 2 m at the grounding line. Regional till properties generally correlate with seafloor geology and deglacial history; the western Ross Sea is characterized by higher and more variable shear strengths and water contents, while lower-shear strength till was preserved in the Eastern Basin. These observations inform till interpretation and provide context for deforming beds beneath the modern ice sheet and on glaciated continental shelves.
Approximately half of the variation in wellbeing measures overlaps with variation in personality traits. Studies of non-human primate pedigrees and human twins suggest that this is due to common genetic influences. We tested whether personality polygenic scores for the NEO Five-Factor Inventory (NEO-FFI) domains and for item response theory (IRT) derived extraversion and neuroticism scores predict variance in wellbeing measures. Polygenic scores were based on published genome-wide association (GWA) results in over 17,000 individuals for the NEO-FFI and in over 63,000 for the IRT extraversion and neuroticism traits. The NEO-FFI polygenic scores were used to predict life satisfaction in 7 cohorts, positive affect in 12 cohorts, and general wellbeing in 1 cohort (maximal N = 46,508). Meta-analysis of these results showed no significant association between NEO-FFI personality polygenic scores and the wellbeing measures. IRT extraversion and neuroticism polygenic scores were used to predict life satisfaction and positive affect in almost 37,000 individuals from UK Biobank. Significant positive associations (effect sizes <0.05%) were observed between the extraversion polygenic score and wellbeing measures, and a negative association was observed between the polygenic neuroticism score and life satisfaction. Furthermore, using GWA data, genetic correlations of -0.49 and -0.55 were estimated between neuroticism with life satisfaction and positive affect, respectively. The moderate genetic correlation between neuroticism and wellbeing is in line with twin research showing that genetic influences on wellbeing are also shared with other independent personality domains.
Several studies have shown that the combined community-based Meeting Centres Support Programme (MCSP) for people with mild to moderate dementia and their carers were more effective in reducing behavior and mood problems of people with dementia than traditional nursing home-based (NH) day care. We therefore investigated in this study whether community-based (CO) psychogeriatric day care for people with mild to severe dementia combined with carer support (in accordance with the MCSP), is more effective than regular NH day care.
A pre-test–post-test control group design was used to compare the effect of CO and NH day care on care needs, behavior and mood problems, and quality of life of people with dementia. 138 dyads of people with mild to severe dementia and family carers participated in the study: 70 from (new and longer existing) CO day cares (experimental group), and 68 from NH day cares (control group). ANCOVAs were performed at post-tests, including baseline data as covariates.
After six months, no overall differences on outcome measures were found between CO and NH day cares. However, participants of recently started CO day cares showed fewer neuropsychiatric symptoms, whereas carers in the longer existing CO day cares reported fewer care needs compared to the control group (large effects). Persons with dementia cohabiting with their carer benefitted most from CO day care.
This study shows that combined CO day care has promising added value compared to NH day care, especially for participants with dementia cohabiting with their carer.
Tic disorders are moderately heritable common psychiatric disorders that can be highly troubling, both in childhood and in adulthood. In this study, we report results obtained in the first epigenome-wide association study (EWAS) of tic disorders. The subjects are participants in surveys at the Netherlands Twin Register (NTR) and the NTR biobank project. Tic disorders were measured with a self-report version of the Yale Global Tic Severity Scale Abbreviated version (YGTSS-ABBR), included in the 8th wave NTR data collection (2008). DNA methylation data consisted of 411,169 autosomal methylation sites assessed by the Illumina Infinium HumanMethylation450 BeadChip Kit (HM450k array). Phenotype and DNA methylation data were available in 1,678 subjects (mean age = 41.5). No probes reached genome-wide significance (p < 1.2 × 10−7). The strongest associated probe was cg15583738, located in an intergenic region on chromosome 8 (p = 1.98 × 10−6). Several of the top ranking probes (p < 1 × 10−4) were in or nearby genes previously associated with neurological disorders (e.g., GABBRI, BLM, and ADAM10), warranting their further investigation in relation to tic disorders. The top significantly enriched gene ontology (GO) terms among higher ranking methylation sites included anatomical structure morphogenesis (GO:0009653, p = 4.6 × 10−15) developmental process (GO:0032502, p = 2.96 × 10−12), and cellular developmental process (GO:0048869, p = 1.96 × 10−12). Overall, these results provide a first insight into the epigenetic mechanisms of tic disorders. This first study assesses the role of DNA methylation in tic disorders, and it lays the foundations for future work aiming to unravel the biological mechanisms underlying the architecture of this disorder.
Fluctuations in Zn metabolism throughout gestation and lactation might affect Zn requirements. However, scientific data on Zn requirements for breeding sows are limited. The objective of the present study was to assess the Zn status of primiparous and multiparous sows using different Zn status biomarkers, to identify periods of critical Zn status throughout the reproductive cycle at different parities. Blood samples were taken after overnight fasting before feeding in the morning from five primiparous and ten multiparous sows at fixed time intervals during gestation (days − 5, 0 (insemination), 21, 42, 63 and 84), around parturition (days 108, 112, 115 (parturition) and 118) and during lactation (days 122, 129 and 143 (weaning)). At parturition, blood samples were collected from two randomly selected piglets per sow before colostrum intake. Plasma was analysed for Zn and Cu contents, whereas serum was analysed for alkaline phosphatase, metallothionein and albumin concentrations. Independently of parity, all biomarkers fluctuated differently during gestation and lactation (P< 0·050). This reflects their different roles in Zn metabolism, and suggests that the choice of a Zn status biomarker necessitates careful consideration. Low average plasma Zn concentration at the end of gestation and throughout lactation seem to be replenished towards weaning.
We present the results of an approximately 6 100 deg2 104–196 MHz radio sky survey performed with the Murchison Widefield Array during instrument commissioning between 2012 September and 2012 December: the MWACS. The data were taken as meridian drift scans with two different 32-antenna sub-arrays that were available during the commissioning period. The survey covers approximately 20.5 h < RA < 8.5 h, − 58° < Dec < −14°over three frequency bands centred on 119, 150 and 180 MHz, with image resolutions of 6–3 arcmin. The catalogue has 3 arcmin angular resolution and a typical noise level of 40 mJy beam− 1, with reduced sensitivity near the field boundaries and bright sources. We describe the data reduction strategy, based upon mosaicked snapshots, flux density calibration, and source-finding method. We present a catalogue of flux density and spectral index measurements for 14 110 sources, extracted from the mosaic, 1 247 of which are sub-components of complexes of sources.
As treaties decline, customary international law can be an important mechanism of international cooperation over the medium term. There are increasingly fewer treaties ratified by the United States, with a record-low number of five in 2009–2012, and fewer multilateral treaties adopted worldwide. Yet, the demand for global rules and standards has not abated. Thus, for many international questions where treaties are not available as a source of new rules, customary international law may serve as an interchangeable instrument of national policy.
Antipsychotic drugs (APD) are widely prescribed for people with dementia residing in long term care facilities (LTCFs). Concern has been expressed that such prescribing is largely inappropriate. The objective of this study is to examine if differences in facility-level prevalence of APD use in a sample of LTCFs for patients with dementia can be explained by patient and facility-related characteristics.
A point prevalence study was conducted using data from the VU University Resident Assessment Instrument (VURAI) database from nursing homes and residential care facilities in the Netherlands. Patients were selected who had a diagnosis of dementia. LTCF and patient characteristics were extracted from the VURAI; facility-level resident satisfaction surveys were provided by the National Institute for Public Health.
In total, 20 LTCFs providing care for 1,090 patients with dementia were investigated. Overall, 31% of patients used an APD. In facilities with a high prevalence of APD use behavioral symptoms were present in 62% of their patients. In facilities with medium APD use behavioral problems remained frequent (57%), and in facilities with low prevalence of APD use 54% of the patients had behavioral symptoms. Facilities with a high prevalence of APD use were often large, situated in urban communities, and scored below average on staffing, personal care, and recreational activities.
There was considerable variation between the participating LTCFs in the prevalence of APD use. Variability was related to LTCF characteristics and patient satisfaction. This indicates potential inappropriate prescribing because of differences in institutional prescribing culture.