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Bipolar disorder (BD) is an overarching diagnostic class defined by the presence of at least one prior manic episode (BD I) or both a prior hypomanic episode and a prior depressive episode (BD II). Traditionally, BD II has been conceptualized as a less severe presentation of BD I, however, extant literature to investigate this claim has been mixed.
We apply genomic structural equation modeling (Genomic SEM) to investigate divergent genetic pathways across BD's two major subtypes using the most recent GWAS summary statistics from the PGC. We begin by identifying divergences in genetic correlations across 98 external traits using a Bonferroni-corrected threshold. We also use a theoretically informed follow-up model to examine the extent to which the genetic variance in each subtype is explained by schizophrenia and major depression. Lastly, transcriptome-wide SEM (T-SEM) was used to identify neuronal gene expression patterns associated with BD subtypes.
BD II was characterized by significantly larger genetic overlap across non-psychiatric medical and internalizing traits (e.g. heart disease, neuroticism, insomnia), while stronger associations for BD I were absent. Consistent with these findings, follow-up modeling revealed a substantial major depression component for BD II. T-SEM results revealed 35 unique genes associated with shared risk across BD subtypes.
Divergent patterns of genetic relationships across external traits provide support for the distinction of the bipolar subtypes. However, our results also challenge the illness severity conceptualization of BD given stronger genetic overlap across BD II and a range of clinically relevant traits and disorders.
A resurgence of research investigating the administration of psychedelic compounds alongside psychotherapy suggests that this treatment is a promising intervention for anxiety, depression, and existential distress in people with cancer. However, psychedelic treatment that induces a mind-altering experience potentially poses barriers to vulnerable cancer patients, and health-care practitioners may have concerns about referring their patients to trials investigating this approach. The aim of the current study was to investigate the perceptions of cancer health-care practitioners based in New Zealand and the USA related to psychedelic-assisted therapy.
This study utilized a cross-sectional survey of cancer health-care practitioners in New Zealand and the USA via convenience sampling to identify their perceptions about the concept of conducting psychedelic-assisted therapy with cancer patients.
Participants perceived that (1) psychedelic-assisted therapy has the potential to provide benefit for cancer patients, (2) research in this area across a variety of domains is important, (3) work should consider spiritual and indigenous perspectives of health, and (4) there was willingness to refer patients to trials in this area, especially patients with advanced disease who were no longer going through curative treatment. Participants in the USA had greater awareness of psychedelics than the New Zealand sample; however, New Zealand participants more strongly believed that spiritual/indigenous factors should be considered in psychedelic-assisted therapy.
Significance of results
Cancer health-care practitioners in our sample considered research investigating the potential for psychedelic-assisted therapies to be important and may be more open to studies that start in palliative and end-of-life contexts.
The Taipan galaxy survey (hereafter simply ‘Taipan’) is a multi-object spectroscopic survey starting in 2017 that will cover 2π steradians over the southern sky (δ ≲ 10°, |b| ≳ 10°), and obtain optical spectra for about two million galaxies out to z < 0.4. Taipan will use the newly refurbished 1.2-m UK Schmidt Telescope at Siding Spring Observatory with the new TAIPAN instrument, which includes an innovative ‘Starbugs’ positioning system capable of rapidly and simultaneously deploying up to 150 spectroscopic fibres (and up to 300 with a proposed upgrade) over the 6° diameter focal plane, and a purpose-built spectrograph operating in the range from 370 to 870 nm with resolving power R ≳ 2000. The main scientific goals of Taipan are (i) to measure the distance scale of the Universe (primarily governed by the local expansion rate, H0) to 1% precision, and the growth rate of structure to 5%; (ii) to make the most extensive map yet constructed of the total mass distribution and motions in the local Universe, using peculiar velocities based on improved Fundamental Plane distances, which will enable sensitive tests of gravitational physics; and (iii) to deliver a legacy sample of low-redshift galaxies as a unique laboratory for studying galaxy evolution as a function of dark matter halo and stellar mass and environment. The final survey, which will be completed within 5 yrs, will consist of a complete magnitude-limited sample (i ⩽ 17) of about 1.2 × 106 galaxies supplemented by an extension to higher redshifts and fainter magnitudes (i ⩽ 18.1) of a luminous red galaxy sample of about 0.8 × 106 galaxies. Observations and data processing will be carried out remotely and in a fully automated way, using a purpose-built automated ‘virtual observer’ software and an automated data reduction pipeline. The Taipan survey is deliberately designed to maximise its legacy value by complementing and enhancing current and planned surveys of the southern sky at wavelengths from the optical to the radio; it will become the primary redshift and optical spectroscopic reference catalogue for the local extragalactic Universe in the southern sky for the coming decade.
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