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Research is increasingly international. There is a rising awareness that sharing knowledge and perspectives contributes to finding solutions to global challenges. It thus seems logical for researchers involved in teaching to share this international experience with students and offer them an international research-based learning opportunity. In this chapter, we look at undergraduate research projects organized in cooperation with partner universities abroad. We ask what form these collaborations take, what challenges they meet in crosscultural teaching and learning settings, and what we can learn from their experience.
An open-label extension study (NCT02873208) evaluated the long-term tolerability, safety, and efficacy of combination olanzapine/samidorphan (OLZ/SAM) treatment in patients with schizophrenia. This qualitative sub study explored perceptions of benefit, burden, and satisfaction with previous medications and OLZ/SAM.
Semi-structured interviews (60 minutes; audio-recorded) were conducted. Interviewer sensitivity training, senior interviewer oversight, and a list of common medications to aid recall supported data collection. Interview transcripts were content coded and analyzed (NVivo v11.0).
All 41 patients reported a lifetime burden with schizophrenia adversely impacting employment, relationships, emotional health, social activities, and daily tasks. Hospitalization for schizophrenia management was another reported aspect of disease burden. Although most (n=32) patients reported previous medication benefits, side effects affecting physical, emotional/behavioral, and cognitive functioning were reported by all (n=41). Following OLZ/SAM treatment, 39/41 patients (95%) reported improvements in symptoms including hallucinations, paranoia, depression, sleep, and concentration. Furthermore, patients described improvements in self-esteem, social activities, relationships, and daily activities. Twenty-three patients (56%) reported side effects attributed to OLZ/SAM; lack of energy (n=12 [29%]) and dry mouth (n= 5 [12%]) were most common. Twenty-four (59%) patients were “very satisfied” with OLZ/SAM; most (n=35 [85%]) preferred to continue OLZ/SAM vs switching to another medication. As most substudy patients (n=40; 98%) completed the extension study, satisfied patients may be overrepresented in this analysis.
This qualitative interview approach provided valuable insight into patients’ experiences with previous medications and OLZ/SAM. Overall, most patients reported treatment satisfaction and improvements in symptoms, function, and health-related quality of life with OLZ/SAM.
Tobacco smoking is a leading cause of preventable death and disease worldwide. Adults with mental ill-health smoke tobacco at substantially higher rates than other adults, with public health approaches effective in the population overall having less impact on those with mental ill-health. However, less is known about the tobacco smoking behaviours, attitudes and knowledge of young people with mental ill-health, despite this being the peak period of onset for both mental illness and cigarette smoking.
Young people attending a youth mental health centre (providing both primary and specialist care) in Melbourne, Australia were approached by youth peer researchers and asked to complete a survey about smoking behaviours, attitudes and knowledge. We examined smoking and associated attitudes in the sample overall, and as a function of the services accessed.
In total, 114 young people completed the survey, with 56.3% reporting lifetime cigarette smoking, 42.0% smoking in the last 12 months and 28.6% in the past week. Of current regular smokers, 75.0% acknowledged they should quit in the future; however, only 23.5% planned to do so in the next month, with 44.4% confident that they could quit. Participants lacked knowledge about interactions between tobacco smoking, mental and physical health.
Youth presenting for mental ill-health had high rates of cigarette smoking relative to population rates. Presentation at youth mental health services may represent a critical window for early intervention to reduce the lifetime impacts of cigarette smoking in mental ill-health. Interventions to support smoking cessation in this group are urgently needed.
To compare Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) and Magnetic Resonance Spectroscopy (1H-MRS) between people with Alzheimer's disease (AD) and mild cognitive impairment (MCI).
AD is characterised by cognitive impairment. 10-15% of people with MCI progress to dementia each year. The hippocampus is involved in memory functioning and is one of the brain regions first affected by AD. MRI based hippocampal volumetric measurement enables accurate quantification of atrophy. In addition, 1H-MRS can be used to measure concentrations of brain metabolites including myoinositol (mI) and N-acetylaspartate (NAA). NAA is a proxy measure of neuronal density.
Subjects with AD (n=46), MCI (n=28) and controls (n=39) were scanned using a 1.5 Tesla MR system. Manual tracing of hippocampal volumes was undertaken using Measure software. 1H-MRS voxels of interest were defined in the left and right hippocampi. A point-resolved spectroscopy pulse sequence produced spectra from each voxel and clearly resolved NAA and mI peaks. Statistical analysis was undertaken using SPSS15.
Hippocampal volumes were significantly reduced between AD and controls (p=0.003) and between AD and MCI (p=0.001). Compared to controls, individuals with AD and MCI had a significant reduction in [NAA]. MCI showed a non-significant increase in [mI]. A positive relationship was found between hippocampal volume and [NAA] and between hippocampal volume and [mI] for MCI.
AD is associated with decreased viable neuronal density/function (as measured by NAA) and a reduction in hippocampal volume associated with impaired cognitive functioning. The elevated [mI] in MCI may be a “tipping point” into dementia.
To compare Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) findings in Alzheimer's dementia (AD) in the general population with Down's syndrome dementia.
Background review: AD is characterised by cognitive dysfunction interfering with activities of daily living. Mild cognitive impairment (MCI) is an intermediate state between normal aging and dementia. People with Down's syndrome have an increased risk of developing AD. AD pathology initially appears in the entorhinal cortex, followed by the hippocampus and later in the temporal lobes. These areas are critical for memory functioning.
Volumetric analysis was performed on MRI brain scans using Measure software. Manual tracing was undertaken for the hippocampus, temporal lobes and lateral ventricles as well as the total brain volume of the cerebral hemispheres and cerebellum. Brain volumes were normalised as a percentage of traced intracranial volumes. Freesurfer software was used to obtain entorhinal cortical thickness measures. Statistical analysis was undertaken using SPSS15.
Subjects with AD (n=46), MCI (n=28) and controls (n=39) were compared with Down's syndrome demented subjects (DS+, n=20), non-demented subjects with Down's syndrome (DS-, n=45) and age-matched controls (n=43). Hippocampi, entorhinal cortex and temporal lobes were significantly reduced in AD and DS+ compared to controls. Lateral ventricles were significantly increased in AD and DS+ compared to controls. MCI and DS- produced findings between those of dementia and controls.
Critical memory regions atrophy in dementia corresponding to decreased cognitive functioning. DS+ morphology is comparable to AD in the general population but the atrophy is less pronounced.
Literature regarding verbal working memory (vWM) in anorexia nervosa (AN) has been inconsistent due to a misunderstanding of the key components of vWM and introduction of confounding stimuli. Furthermore, there are no studies looking at how brain function in people with AN relates to vWM performance. The present study used functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) with a letter n-back paradigm to study the effect of increasing vWM task difficulty on cortical functioning in the largest AN sample to date (n = 31). Although the AN group had low BMI and higher anxious and depressive symptomology compared to age-matched controls (HC), there were no between-group differences in accuracy and speed at any task difficulty. fMRI data revealed no regions exhibiting significant differences in activation when groups were compared at each difficulty separately and no regions showing group x condition interaction. Although there was a trend towards lower accuracy as duration of illness increased, this was not correlated with activity in regions associated with vWM. These findings indicate that vWM in AN is as efficient and performed using the same cognitive strategy as HC, and that there may not be a need for therapies to pursue remediation of this particular neurocognitive faculty.
Good education requires student experiences that deliver lessons about practice as well as theory and that encourage students to work for the public good—especially in the operation of democratic institutions (Dewey 1923; Dewy 1938). We report on an evaluation of the pedagogical value of a research project involving 23 colleges and universities across the country. Faculty trained and supervised students who observed polling places in the 2016 General Election. Our findings indicate that this was a valuable learning experience in both the short and long terms. Students found their experiences to be valuable and reported learning generally and specifically related to course material. Postelection, they also felt more knowledgeable about election science topics, voting behavior, and research methods. Students reported interest in participating in similar research in the future, would recommend other students to do so, and expressed interest in more learning and research about the topics central to their experience. Our results suggest that participants appreciated the importance of elections and their study. Collectively, the participating students are engaged and efficacious—essential qualities of citizens in a democracy.
Children with a history of maltreatment suffer from altered emotion processing but the neural basis of this phenomenon is unknown. This pioneering functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) study investigated the effects of severe childhood maltreatment on emotion processing while controlling for psychiatric conditions, medication and substance abuse.
Twenty medication-naive, substance abuse-free adolescents with a history of childhood abuse, 20 psychiatric control adolescents matched on psychiatric diagnoses but with no maltreatment and 27 healthy controls underwent a fMRI emotion discrimination task comprising fearful, angry, sad happy and neutral dynamic facial expressions.
Maltreated participants responded faster to fearful expressions and demonstrated hyper-activation compared to healthy controls of classical fear-processing regions of ventromedial prefrontal cortex (vmPFC) and anterior cingulate cortex, which survived at a more lenient threshold relative to psychiatric controls. Functional connectivity analysis, furthermore, demonstrated reduced connectivity between left vmPFC and insula for fear in maltreated participants compared to both healthy and psychiatric controls.
The findings show that people who have experienced childhood maltreatment have enhanced fear perception, both at the behavioural and neurofunctional levels, associated with enhanced fear-related ventromedial fronto-cingulate activation and altered functional connectivity with associated limbic regions. Furthermore, the connectivity adaptations were specific to the maltreatment rather than to the developing psychiatric conditions, whilst the functional changes were only evident at trend level when compared to psychiatric controls, suggesting a continuum. The neurofunctional hypersensitivity of fear-processing networks may be due to childhood over-exposure to fear in people who have been abused.
Childhood abuse is associated with abnormalities in brain structure and function. Few studies have investigated abuse-related brain abnormalities in medication-naïve, drug-free youth that also controlled for psychiatric comorbidities by inclusion of a psychiatric control group, which is crucial to disentangle the effects of abuse from those associated with the psychiatric conditions.
Cortical volume (CV), cortical thickness (CT) and surface area (SA) were measured in 22 age- and gender-matched medication-naïve youth (aged 13–20) exposed to childhood abuse, 19 psychiatric controls matched for psychiatric diagnoses and 27 healthy controls. Both region-of-interest (ROI) and whole-brain analyses were conducted.
For the ROI analysis, the childhood abuse group compared with healthy controls only, had significantly reduced CV in bilateral cerebellum and reduced CT in left insula and right lateral orbitofrontal cortex (OFC). At the whole-brain level, relative to healthy controls, the childhood abuse group showed significantly reduced CV in left lingual, pericalcarine, precuneus and superior parietal gyri, and reduced CT in left pre-/postcentral and paracentral regions, which furthermore correlated with greater abuse severity. They also had increased CV in left inferior and middle temporal gyri relative to healthy controls. Abnormalities in the precuneus, temporal and precentral regions were abuse-specific relative to psychiatric controls, albeit at a more lenient level. Groups did not differ in SA.
Childhood abuse is associated with widespread structural abnormalities in OFC–insular, cerebellar, occipital, parietal and temporal regions, which likely underlie the abnormal affective, motivational and cognitive functions typically observed in this population.
In this paper, a droplet to film interaction model technique is presented. In the proposed approach, the liquid and gas continua are modelled using an enhanced Volume-of-Fluid (VoF) technique while the droplets are tracked using a Lagrangian framework and are coupled to the Eulerian phases using source terms. The eventual target application is an aeroengine bearing chamber in which oil is found as droplets, shed from the bearings, splashing on impact, separated from wall surfaces at obstacles or simply re-entrained, and as a continuum oil film coating the bearing chamber outer walls which it also cools. In finite volume Computational Fluid Dynamics (CFD) techniques, a prohibitively large number of cells would be required to describe the details of the droplet impact phenomenon. Based on published correlations, the splashing droplets are created and tracked as Lagrangian particles. The flowing film and the gas continua are handled with an enhanced VoF technique.
Autism spectrum disorder (ASD) and obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) share abnormalities in hot executive functions such as reward-based decision-making, as measured in the temporal discounting task (TD). No studies, however, have directly compared these disorders to investigate common/distinct neural profiles underlying such abnormalities. We wanted to test whether reward-based decision-making is a shared transdiagnostic feature of both disorders with similar neurofunctional substrates or whether it is a shared phenotype with disorder-differential neurofunctional underpinnings.
Age and IQ-matched boys with ASD (N = 20), with OCD (N = 20) and 20 healthy controls, performed an individually-adjusted functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) TD task. Brain activation and performance were compared between groups.
Boys with ASD showed greater choice-impulsivity than OCD and control boys. Whole-brain between-group comparison revealed shared reductions in ASD and OCD relative to control boys for delayed-immediate choices in right ventromedial/lateral orbitofrontal cortex extending into medial/inferior prefrontal cortex, and in cerebellum, posterior cingulate and precuneus. For immediate-delayed choices, patients relative to controls showed reduced activation in anterior cingulate/ventromedial prefrontal cortex reaching into left caudate, which, at a trend level, was more decreased in ASD than OCD patients, and in bilateral temporal and inferior parietal regions.
This first fMRI comparison between youth with ASD and with OCD, using a reward-based decision-making task, shows predominantly shared neurofunctional abnormalities during TD in key ventromedial, orbital- and inferior fronto-striatal, temporo-parietal and cerebellar regions of temporal foresight and reward processing, suggesting trans-diagnostic neurofunctional deficits.
Serotonin is under-researched in attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), despite accumulating evidence for its involvement in impulsiveness and the disorder. Serotonin further modulates temporal discounting (TD), which is typically abnormal in ADHD relative to healthy subjects, underpinned by reduced fronto-striato-limbic activation. This study tested whether a single acute dose of the selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor (SSRI) fluoxetine up-regulates and normalizes reduced fronto-striato-limbic neurofunctional activation in ADHD during TD.
Twelve boys with ADHD were scanned twice in a placebo-controlled randomized design under either fluoxetine (between 8 and 15 mg, titrated to weight) or placebo while performing an individually adjusted functional magnetic resonance imaging TD task. Twenty healthy controls were scanned once. Brain activation was compared in patients under either drug condition and compared to controls to test for normalization effects.
Repeated-measures whole-brain analysis in patients revealed significant up-regulation with fluoxetine in a large cluster comprising right inferior frontal cortex, insula, premotor cortex and basal ganglia, which further correlated trend-wise with TD performance, which was impaired relative to controls under placebo, but normalized under fluoxetine. Fluoxetine further down-regulated default mode areas of posterior cingulate and precuneus. Comparisons between controls and patients under either drug condition revealed normalization with fluoxetine in right premotor-insular-parietal activation, which was reduced in patients under placebo.
The findings show that a serotonin agonist up-regulates activation in typical ADHD dysfunctional areas in right inferior frontal cortex, insula and striatum as well as down-regulating default mode network regions in the context of impulsivity and TD.
Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) and autism spectrum disorder (ASD) are often co-morbid and share performance and brain dysfunctions during working memory (WM). Serotonin agonists modulate WM and there is evidence of positive behavioural effects in both disorders. We therefore used functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) to investigate shared and disorder-specific brain dysfunctions of WM in these disorders, and the effects of a single dose of the selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor (SSRI) fluoxetine.
Age-matched boys with ADHD (n = 17), ASD (n = 17) and controls (n = 22) were compared using fMRI during an N-back WM task. Patients were scanned twice, under either an acute dose of fluoxetine or placebo in a double-blind, placebo-controlled randomized design. Repeated-measures analyses within patients assessed drug effects on performance and brain function. To test for normalization effects of brain dysfunctions, patients under each drug condition were compared to controls.
Under placebo, relative to controls, both ADHD and ASD boys shared underactivation in the right dorsolateral prefrontal cortex (DLPFC). Fluoxetine significantly normalized the DLPFC underactivation in ASD relative to controls whereas it increased posterior cingulate cortex (PCC) deactivation in ADHD relative to control boys. Within-patient analyses showed inverse effects of fluoxetine on PCC deactivation, which it enhanced in ADHD and decreased in ASD.
The findings show that fluoxetine modulates brain activation during WM in a disorder-specific manner by normalizing task-positive DLPFC dysfunction in ASD boys and enhancing task-negative default mode network (DMN) deactivation in ADHD.
Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) and autism spectrum disorder (ASD) are two common childhood disorders that exhibit genetic and behavioural overlap and have abnormalities in similar brain systems, in particular in frontal and cerebellar regions. This study compared the two neurodevelopmental disorders to investigate shared and disorder-specific structural brain abnormalities.
Forty-four predominantly medication-naïve male adolescents with ADHD, 19 medication-naïve male adolescents with ASD and 33 age-matched healthy male controls were scanned using high-resolution T1-weighted volumetric imaging in a 3-T magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) scanner. Voxel-based morphometry (VBM) was used to test for group-level differences in structural grey matter (GM) and white matter (WM) volumes.
There was a significant group difference in the GM of the right posterior cerebellum and left middle/superior temporal gyrus (MTG/STG). Post-hoc analyses revealed that this was due to ADHD boys having a significantly smaller right posterior cerebellar GM volume compared to healthy controls and ASD boys, who did not differ from each other. ASD boys had a larger left MTG/STG GM volume relative to healthy controls and at a more lenient threshold relative to ADHD boys.
The study shows for the first time that the GM reduction in the cerebellum in ADHD is disorder specific relative to ASD whereas GM enlargement in the MTG/STG in ASD may be disorder specific relative to ADHD. This study is a first step towards elucidating disorder-specific structural biomarkers for these two related childhood disorders.
Brain structure alterations have been reported in anorexia nervosa, but findings have been inconsistent. This may be due to inadequate sample size, sample heterogeneity or differences in methodology.
High resolution magnetic resonance images were acquired of 33 adult participants with anorexia nervosa and 33 healthy participants, the largest study sample to date, in order to assess whole-brain volume, ventricular cerebrospinal fluid, white matter and grey matter volume. Voxel-based morphometry was conducted to assess regional grey matter volume. Levels of depression, anxiety, obsessionality and eating disorder-related symptoms were measured and used to explore correlations with brain structure.
Participants with anorexia nervosa had smaller brain volumes as well as a global decrease in grey matter volume with ventricular enlargement. Voxel-based morphometry revealed a decrease in grey matter volume spanning across the cerebellum, temporal, frontal and occipital lobes. A correlation was found between grey matter volume loss and duration of illness in the cerebellum and mesencephalon. No correlations were found with clinical measures.
Findings are in accordance with several previous studies on brain structure and match functional studies that have assessed the symptomatology of anorexia nervosa, such as body image distortion and cognitive bias to food. The correlation with duration of illness supports the implication of cerebellar atrophy in the maintenance of low weight and disrupted eating behaviour and illustrates its role in the chronic phase of anorexia nervosa. The lack of other correlations suggests that these findings are not related to the presence of co-morbid disorders.
The catecholamine reuptake inhibitors methylphenidate (MPH) and atomoxetine (ATX) are the most common treatments for attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). This study compares the neurofunctional modulation and normalization effects of acute doses of MPH and ATX within medication-naive ADHD boys during working memory (WM).
A total of 20 medication-naive ADHD boys underwent functional magnetic resonance imaging during a parametric WM n-back task three times, under a single clinical dose of either MPH, ATX or placebo in a randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled, cross-over design. To test for normalization effects, brain activations in ADHD under each drug condition were compared with that of 20 age-matched healthy control boys.
Relative to healthy boys, ADHD boys under placebo showed impaired performance only under high WM load together with significant underactivation in the bilateral dorsolateral prefrontal cortex (DLPFC). Both drugs normalized the performance deficits relative to controls. ATX significantly enhanced right DLPFC activation relative to MPH within patients, and significantly normalized its underactivation relative to controls. MPH, by contrast, both relative to placebo and ATX, as well as relative to controls, upregulated the left inferior frontal cortex (IFC), but only during 2-back. Both drugs enhanced fronto-temporo-striatal activation in ADHD relative to control boys and deactivated the default-mode network, which were negatively associated with the reduced DLPFC activation and performance deficits, suggesting compensation effects.
The study shows both shared and drug-specific effects. ATX upregulated and normalized right DLPFC underactivation, while MPH upregulated left IFC activation, suggesting drug-specific laterality effects on prefrontal regions mediating WM.
The photoinduced formation of thin film structures from a Ti-alkoxide precursor (OPy)2Ti(TAP)2, where OPy = OC6H6N, TAP = OC6H2[CH2N(CH3)2]3-2,4,6, was demonstrated via direct deposition from a pyridine-based solution and by optical illumination of a solid-state spin-coated thin film of the compound. Photopatterned physical relief structures were produced using both of these deposition methods and feature sizes as small as ∼1 μm were readily achieved. Surface investigations of the material’s nanostructure revealed that films photo-deposited from solution exhibited nanometer-scale surface roughness with evenly distributed surface porosity (∼10 nm sized pores) while films produced through the illumination of spin-coated thin films exhibited, in comparison, a reduction in surface roughness. Vibrational spectra were compared with the results of quantum chemical computations (density-functional theory) of potential photoproducts in an attempt to identify and distinguish the dominant structural groups resulting from the optical processing of each precursor form (i.e., solution versus solid-state). It was determined that ultraviolet irradiation for both thin-film formation techniques resulted in a disruption of the ligand groups, facilitating the initiation of hydrolysis and condensation reactions in the films.
This chapter reviews pediatric cancer therapy and its consequences on fertility. Chemotherapy can cause infertility, premature ovarian failure, menstrual irregularity and delayed puberty. The effects of chemotherapy on ovarian function are both agent and dose-dependent, and this effect may be additive to that resulting from abdominopelvic radiotherapy. Testicular dysfunction is among the most common long-term side effect of chemotherapy in men. The germinal epithelium is very susceptible to injury by cytotoxic drugs secondary to its high mitotic rate. Reduction in the dose or use of alkylating agents and abdominopelvic radiotherapy is the most effective means of preserving ovarian function and promoting positive reproductive outcomes in pediatric cancer survivors. Sperm cryopreservation after masturbation is the most established and effective method of fertility preservation in males. Oncologists have a responsibility to inform parents and age-appropriate patients about the likelihood that their cancer treatment may permanently affect their fertility.