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Reward processing has been proposed to underpin the atypical social feature of autism spectrum disorder (ASD). However, previous neuroimaging studies have yielded inconsistent results regarding the specificity of atypicalities for social reward processing in ASD.
Utilising a large sample, we aimed to assess reward processing in response to reward type (social, monetary) and reward phase (anticipation, delivery) in ASD.
Functional magnetic resonance imaging during social and monetary reward anticipation and delivery was performed in 212 individuals with ASD (7.6–30.6 years of age) and 181 typically developing participants (7.6–30.8 years of age).
Across social and monetary reward anticipation, whole-brain analyses showed hypoactivation of the right ventral striatum in participants with ASD compared with typically developing participants. Further, region of interest analysis across both reward types yielded ASD-related hypoactivation in both the left and right ventral striatum. Across delivery of social and monetary reward, hyperactivation of the ventral striatum in individuals with ASD did not survive correction for multiple comparisons. Dimensional analyses of autism and attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) scores were not significant. In categorical analyses, post hoc comparisons showed that ASD effects were most pronounced in participants with ASD without co-occurring ADHD.
Our results do not support current theories linking atypical social interaction in ASD to specific alterations in social reward processing. Instead, they point towards a generalised hypoactivity of ventral striatum in ASD during anticipation of both social and monetary rewards. We suggest this indicates attenuated reward seeking in ASD independent of social content and that elevated ADHD symptoms may attenuate altered reward seeking in ASD.
The success and longevity of coalition governments depends on the ability to keep conflicts between coalition members at bay. The risk of such conflicts is often assessed by drawing on proxy measures, such as the ideological heterogeneity among government parties. This article presents a new approach to measuring the atmosphere between government parties. The ‘coalition mood’ is a time-varying measure that draws on applause patterns between coalition partners during legislative debates. The article exemplifies the measurement approach based on automated analyses of over 105,000 plenary debates in Germany and Austria. The article then assesses the measure's face, concurrent and predictive validity. It finds the measure well aligned with qualitative evidence, shows that the coalition mood is correlated with poll ratings of the government parties and helps to predict the duration of legislative processes. The conclusion highlights future applications of the coalition mood for research on coalition politics and public policy.
Medical students are vulnerable to stress and depression during medical school and the COVID-19 pandemic may have exacerbated these issues. This study examined whether the risk of depression was associated with COVID-19 pandemic-related medical school communication.
A 144 - item pilot cross-sectional online survey of medical students in the US, was carried out between September 1, 2020 and December 31, 2020. Items on stress, depression, and communication between students and their medical schools were included. This study examined associations of student perceptions of universities’ communication efforts and pandemic response with risk of developing depression.
The sample included 212 students from 22 US states. Almost 50% (48.6%) were at risk of developing depression. Students felt medical schools transitioned well to online platforms, while the curriculum was just as rigorous as in-person courses. Students at risk of developing depression reported communication was poor more frequently compared to students at average risk. Students at risk of depression were also more than 3 times more likely to report their universities’ communication about scholarships or other funding was poor in adjusted analyses.
Universities communicated well with medical students during the pandemic. However, this study also highlights the need for ongoing efforts to address student mental health by medical schools.
Raberite, ideally Tl5Ag4As6SbS15, is a new mineral from Lengenbach quarry in the Binn Valley, Valais, Switzerland. It occurs very rarely as euhedral crystals up to 150 m m across associated with yellow needle-like smithite, realgar, hatchite and probable trechmannite, edenharterite, jentschite and two unidentified sulfosalts. Raberite is opaque with a metallic lustre and has a dark brown–red streak. It is brittle with a Vickers hardness (VHN10) of 52 kg mm–2 (range 50–55) corresponding to a Mohs hardness of 2½–3. In reflected light raberite is moderately bireflectant and very weakly pleochroic from light grey to a slightly greenish grey. It is very weakly anisotropic with greyish to light blue rotation tints between crossed polars. Internal reflections are absent. Reflectance percentages for the four COM wavelengths [listed as Rmin, Rmax, (λ)] are 30.6, 31.8 (471.1 nm), 28.1, 29.3 (548.3 nm), 27.1, 28.0 (586.6 nm), and 25.8, 26.9 (652.3 nm).
Raberite is triclinic, space group P1, with a = 8.920(1), b = 9.429(1), c = 20.062(3) Å, α = 79.66(1), β = 88.84(1), γ = 62.72(1)º, V = 1471.6(4) Å3 and Z = 2. The crystal structure [R1 = 0.0827 for 2110 reflections with I > 2σ(I)] consists of columns of nine-coordinate Tl atoms forming irregular polyhedra extending along  and forming sheets parallel to (010). The columns are decorated by cornersharing MS3 pyramids (M = As, Sb) and linked by AgS3 triangles. Of the seven M positions, one is dominated by Sb and the others by As; the mean M-S bond distances reflect As ↔ Sb substitution at these sites.
The eight strongest lines in the powder diffraction pattern [dcalc in Å (I) (hkl)] are: 3.580 (100) (13); 3.506 (58) (23); 3.281 (73) (006); 3.017 (54) (3); 3.001 (98) (133); 2.657 (51) (226); 2.636 (46) (300); 2.591 (57) (330). A mean of 9 electron microprobe analyses gave Tl 39.55(13), Ag 18.42(8), Cu 0.06(2), As 17.08(7), Sb 5.61(6), S 19.15(11); total 99.87 wt.%, which corresponds to Tl4.85Ag4.28Cu0.02As5.72Sb1.16S14.97 with 31 atoms per formula unit. The new mineral has been approved by the IMA-CNMNC Commission (IMA 2012-017) and is named for Thomas Raber, an expert on Lengenbach minerals.
Why do some government formation periods end after a few days, while others last for several weeks or even months? Despite the rich literature on government formation, surprisingly little is known about the underlying bargaining processes. This article introduces a new dataset on 303 bargaining attempts in nineteen European democracies to analyse the duration of individual bargaining rounds. The study hypothesizes that (1) preference tangentiality, (2) ideological proximity, (3) incumbency and (4) party leadership tenure decrease the duration of coalition bargaining. Employing a copula approach to account for the non-random selection process of the observations, it shows that these actor-specific factors matter in addition to systemic context factors such as post-election bargaining and party system complexity. These findings highlight the need to consider both actor-specific and systemic factors of the bargaining context to explain government formation.
Fighting corruption is a vital aspect of good governance. When assessing government performance voters should thus withdraw electoral support from government parties that turn a blind eye to or even engage in corrupt practices. Whereas most accounts of performance-based voting focus on economic outcomes, we analyse whether and to what extent voters punish incumbents for high levels of corruption. Using data from the Comparative Study of Electoral Systems, we find that while voters perceiving high levels of corruption punish incumbents, corruption performance voting depends on individual-level attributes and the electoral context: it is most likely for non-partisans, for voters who believe that government turnover will bring about change, and in systems where corruption is a salient issue. Yet, corruption performance voting is not moderated by the clarity of political responsibility. Studying these conditions helps us to understand why corruption is more persistent in some contexts than in others.
Increasing evidence suggests that autism is associated with abnormal white-matter (WM) anatomy and impaired brain ‘connectivity’. While myelin plays a critical role in synchronized brain communication, its aetiological role in autistic symptoms has only been indirectly addressed by WM volumetric, relaxometry and diffusion tensor imaging studies. A potentially more specific measure of myelin content, termed myelin water fraction (MWF), could provide improved sensitivity to myelin alteration in autism.
We performed a cross-sectional imaging study that compared 14 individuals with autism and 14 age- and IQ-matched controls. T1 relaxation times (T1), T2 relaxation times (T2) and MWF values were compared between autistic subjects, diagnosed using the Autism Diagnostic Interview – Revised (ADI-R), with current symptoms assessed using the Autism Diagnostic Observation Schedule (ADOS) and typical healthy controls. Correlations between T1, T2 and MWF values with clinical measures [ADI-R, ADOS, and the Autism Quotient (AQ)] were also assessed.
Individuals with autism showed widespread WM T1 and MWF differences compared to typical controls. Within autistic individuals, worse current social interaction skill as measured by the ADOS was related to reduced MWF although not T1. No significant differences or correlations with symptoms were observed with respect to T2.
Autistic individuals have significantly lower global MWF and higher T1, suggesting widespread alteration in tissue microstructure and biochemistry. Areas of difference, including thalamic projections, cerebellum and cingulum, have previously been implicated in the disorder; however, this is the first study to specifically indicate myelin alteration in these regions.
Microbe-associated molecular pattern (MAMP)-triggered immunity (MTI) is an important component of the plant innate immunity response to invading pathogens. Although several MTI responses can be measured in different plant species, their magnitude is probably plant species specific and even cultivar specific. In this study, a genome-wide transcriptome analysis of two soybean parental lines and two progeny lines treated for 30 min with the MAMPs flg22 and chitin was carried out. This analysis revealed a clear variation in gene expression, under both untreated and flg22+chitin-treated conditions. In addition, genes with potential additive and non-additive effects were identified in the two progeny lines, with several of these genes having a potential function in the control of innate immunity. The data presented herein represent the basis for further functional analysis that can lead to a better understanding of the soybean innate immunity response.
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