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Although neuroimaging studies suggest brain regional abnormalities in depressive disorders, it remains unclear whether abnormalities are present at illness onset or reflect disease progression.
We hypothesized that cerebral variations were present in adolescents with subthreshold depression known to be at high risk for later full-blown depression.
We examined brain structural and diffusion-weighted magnetic resonance images of adolescents with subthreshold depression.
The participants were extracted from the European IMAGEN study cohort of healthy adolescents recruited at age 14. Subthreshold depression was defined as a distinct period of abnormally depressed or irritable mood, or loss of interest, plus two or more depressive symptoms but without diagnosis of Major Depressive Episode. Comparisons were performed between adolescents meeting these criteria and control adolescents within the T1-weighted imaging modality (118 and 475 adolescents respectively) using voxel-based morphometry and the diffusion tensor imaging modality (89 ad 422 adolescents respectively) using tract-based spatial statistics. Whole brain analyses were performed with a statistical threshold set to p< 0.05 corrected for multiple comparisons.
Compared with controls, adolescents with subthreshold depression had smaller gray matter volume in caudate nuclei, medial frontal and cingulate cortices; smaller white matter volume in anterior limb of internal capsules, left forceps minor and right cingulum; and lower fractional anisotropy and higher radial diffusivity in the genu of corpus callosum.
The findings suggest that adolescents with subthreshold depression have volumetric and microstructural gray and white matter changes in the emotion regulation frontal-striatal-limbic network.
Worldwide, there is a trend towards increased herd sizes, and the animal-to-stockman ratio is increasing within the beef and dairy sectors; thus, the time available to monitoring individual animals is reducing. The behaviour of cows is known to change in the hours prior to parturition, for example, less time ruminating and eating and increased activity level and tail-raise events. These behaviours can be monitored non-invasively using animal-mounted sensors. Thus, behavioural traits are ideal variables for the prediction of calving. This study explored the potential of two sensor technologies for their capabilities in predicting when calf expulsion should be expected. Two trials were conducted at separate locations: (i) beef cows (n = 144) and (ii) dairy cows (n = 110). Two sensors were deployed on each cow: (1) Afimilk Silent Herdsman (SHM) collars monitoring time spent ruminating (RUM), eating (EAT) and the relative activity level (ACT) of the cow, and (2) tail-mounted Axivity accelerometers to detect tail-raise events (TAIL). The exact time the calf was expelled from the cow was determined by viewing closed-circuit television camera footage. Machine learning random forest algorithms were developed to predict when calf expulsion should be expected using single-sensor variables and by integrating multiple-sensor data-streams. The performance of the models was tested using the Matthew’s correlation coefficient (MCC), the area under the curve, and the sensitivity and specificity of predictions. The TAIL model was slightly better at predicting calving within a 5-h window for beef cows (MCC = 0.31) than for dairy cows (MCC = 0.29). The TAIL + RUM + EAT models were equally as good at predicting calving within a 5-h window for beef and dairy cows (MCC = 0.32 for both models). Combining data-streams from SHM and tail sensors did not substantially improve model performance over tail sensors alone; therefore, hour-by-hour algorithms for the prediction of time of calf expulsion were developed using tail sensor data. Optimal classification occurred at 2 h prior to calving for both beef (MCC = 0.29) and dairy cows (MCC = 0.25). This study showed that tail sensors alone are adequate for the prediction of parturition and that the optimal time for prediction is 2 h before expulsion of the calf.
In 785 mother–child (50% male) pairs from a longitudinal epidemiological birth cohort, we investigated associations between inflammation-related epigenetic polygenic risk scores (i-ePGS), environmental exposures, cognitive function, and child and adolescent internalizing and externalizing problems. We examined prenatal and postnatal effects. For externalizing problems, one prenatal effect was found: i-ePGS at birth associated with higher externalizing problems (ages 7–15) indirectly through lower cognitive function (age 7). For internalizing problems, we identified two effects. For a prenatal effect, i-ePGS at birth associated with higher internalizing symptoms via continuity in i-ePGS at age 7. For a postnatal effect, higher postnatal adversity exposure (birth through age 7) associated with higher internalizing problems (ages 7–15) via higher i-ePGS (age 7). Hence, externalizing problems were related mainly to prenatal effects involving lower cognitive function, whereas internalizing problems appeared related to both prenatal and postnatal effects. The present study supports a link between i-ePGS and child and adolescent mental health.
The prevalence of colonization with toxigenic Clostridium difficile among patients with hematological malignancies and/or bone marrow transplant at admission to a 566-bed academic medical care center was 9.3%, and 13.3% of colonized patients developed symptomatic disease during hospitalization. This population may benefit from targeted C. difficile infection control interventions.
Clostridium difficile infection (CDI) is the most common infectious cause of nosocomial diarrhea, and its prevention is an urgent public health priority. However, reduction of CDI is challenging because of its complex pathogenesis, large reservoirs of colonized patients, and the persistence of infectious spores. The literature lacks high-quality evidence for evaluating interventions, and many hospitals have implemented bundled interventions to reduce CDI with variable results. Thus, we conducted a systematic review to examine the components of CDI bundles, their implementation processes, and their impact on CDI rates.
We conducted a comprehensive literature search of multiple computerized databases from their date of inception through April 30, 2016. The protocol was registered in PROSPERO, an international prospective register of systematic reviews. Bundle effectiveness, adherence, and study quality were assessed for each study meeting our criteria for inclusion.
In the 26 studies that met the inclusion criteria for this review, implementation and adherence factors to interventions were variably and incompletely reported, making study reproducibility and replicability challenging. Despite contextual differences and the variety of bundle components utilized, all 26 studies reported an improvement in CDI rates. However, given the lack of randomized controlled trials in the literature, assessing a causal relationship between bundled interventions and CDI rates is currently impossible.
Cluster randomized trials that include a rigorous assessment of the implementation of bundled interventions are urgently needed to causally test the effect of intervention bundles on CDI rates.
Rapid weight gain in infancy and low levels of n-3 long chain polyunsaturated fatty acids (LCPUFA) at birth are associated with increased adiposity later in life. The association between placental LCPUFA delivery and weight gain in infancy is poorly understood. We sought to determine the relationships between maternal phenotype, placental fatty acid transporter expression and offspring growth patterns over the first 6 months. Placental tissue and cord blood were collected at term delivery from women with uncomplicated pregnancies. Offspring body composition measurements were recorded 1 day and 6 months after birth. Body mass index (BMI) z-scores were determined using World Health Organization 2006 reference data. Body phenotype patterns were compared among offspring who had an increase in BMI z-score and those who had a decrease. High skinfold thickness at birth and positive change in BMI z-scores during infancy were associated with low neonatal n-3 LCPUFA plasma levels (r=−0.46, P=0.046) and high saturated fatty acids levels (r=0.49, P=0.034). Growth of skinfolds over 6 months of age was associated with placental fatty acid transporter gene expression. Change in BMI z-score in the first 6 months of life correlated with arm muscle area growth, a measure of lean mass (r=0.62, P=0.003), but not with growth in skinfold thickness. Early infancy weight gain was associated with poor plasma LCPUFA status at birth, and fat deposition in infancy was related to changes in placental lipid handling. Thus, neonatal fatty acid profiles may influence the trajectory of infant growth and fat and lean mass deposition.
Recently, large-scale trials of behavioural interventions have failed to show improvements in pregnancy outcomes. They have, however, shown that lifestyle support improves maternal diet and physical activity during pregnancy, and can reduce weight gain. This suggests that pregnancy, and possibly the whole periconceptional period, represents a ‘teachable moment’ for changes in diet and lifestyle, an idea that was made much of in the recent report of the Chief Medical Officer for England. The greatest challenge with all trials of diet and lifestyle interventions is to engage people and to sustain this engagement. With this in mind, we propose a design of intervention that aims simultaneously to engage women through motivational conversations and to offer access to a digital platform that provides structured support for diet and lifestyle change. This intervention design therefore makes best use of learning from the trials described above and from recent advances in digital intervention design.
Resilience is the capacity of individuals to resist mental disorders despite exposure to stress. Little is known about its neural underpinnings. The putative variation of white-matter microstructure with resilience in adolescence, a critical period for brain maturation and onset of high-prevalence mental disorders, has not been assessed by diffusion tensor imaging (DTI). Lower fractional anisotropy (FA) though, has been reported in the corpus callosum (CC), the brain's largest white-matter structure, in psychiatric and stress-related conditions. We hypothesized that higher FA in the CC would characterize stress-resilient adolescents.
Three groups of adolescents recruited from the community were compared: resilient with low risk of mental disorder despite high exposure to lifetime stress (n = 55), at-risk of mental disorder exposed to the same level of stress (n = 68), and controls (n = 123). Personality was assessed by the NEO-Five Factor Inventory (NEO-FFI). Voxelwise statistics of DTI values in CC were obtained using tract-based spatial statistics. Regional projections were identified by probabilistic tractography.
Higher FA values were detected in the anterior CC of resilient compared to both non-resilient and control adolescents. FA values varied according to resilience capacity. Seed regional changes in anterior CC projected onto anterior cingulate and frontal cortex. Neuroticism and three other NEO-FFI factor scores differentiated non-resilient participants from the other two groups.
High FA was detected in resilient adolescents in an anterior CC region projecting to frontal areas subserving cognitive resources. Psychiatric risk was associated with personality characteristics. Resilience in adolescence may be related to white-matter microstructure.
Impulsivity is a core feature of borderline personality disorder (BPD) and is most frequently measured using self-rating scales. There is a need to find objective, valid and reliable measures of impulsivity. This study aimed to examine performance of participants with BPD compared with healthy controls on delay and probabilistic discounting tasks and the stop-signal task (SST), which are objective measures of choice and motor impulsivity, respectively.
A total of 20 participants with BPD and 21 healthy control participants completed delay and probabilistic discounting tasks and the SST. They also completed the Barratt Impulsiveness Scale (BIS), a self-rating measure of impulsivity.
Participants with BPD showed significantly greater delay discounting than controls, manifest as a greater tendency to accept the immediately available lesser reward rather than waiting longer for a greater reward. Similarly they showed significantly greater discounting of rewards by the probability of payout, which correlated with past childhood trauma. Participants with BPD were found to choose the more certain and/or immediate rewards, irrespective of the value. On the SST the BPD and control groups did not differ significantly, demonstrating no difference in motor impulsivity. There was no significant difference between groups on self-reported impulsivity as measured by the BIS.
Measures of impulsivity show that while motor impulsivity was not significantly different in participants with BPD compared with controls, choice or reward-related impulsivity was significantly affected in those with BPD. This suggests that choice impulsivity but not motor impulsivity is a core feature of BPD.
This paper describes the system architecture of a newly constructed radio telescope – the Boolardy engineering test array, which is a prototype of the Australian square kilometre array pathfinder telescope. Phased array feed technology is used to form multiple simultaneous beams per antenna, providing astronomers with unprecedented survey speed. The test array described here is a six-antenna interferometer, fitted with prototype signal processing hardware capable of forming at least nine dual-polarisation beams simultaneously, allowing several square degrees to be imaged in a single pointed observation. The main purpose of the test array is to develop beamforming and wide-field calibration methods for use with the full telescope, but it will also be capable of limited early science demonstrations.
Late preterm births constitute the majority of preterm births. However, most evidence suggesting that preterm birth predicts the risk of mental disorders comes from studies on earlier preterm births. We examined if late preterm birth predicts the risks of severe mental disorders from early to late adulthood. We also studied whether adulthood mental disorders are associated with post-term birth or with being born small (SGA) or large (LGA) for gestational age, which have been previously associated with psychopathology risk in younger ages.
Of 12 597 Helsinki Birth Cohort Study participants, born 1934–1944, 664 were born late preterm, 1221 post-term, 287 SGA, and 301 LGA. The diagnoses of mental disorders were identified from national hospital discharge and cause of death registers from 1969 to 2010. In total, 1660 (13.2%) participants had severe mental disorders.
Individuals born late preterm did not differ from term-born individuals in their risk of any severe mental disorder. However, men born late preterm had a significantly increased risk of suicide. Post-term birth predicted significantly increased risks of any mental disorder in general and particularly of substance use and anxiety disorders. Individuals born SGA had significantly increased risks of any mental and substance use disorders. Women born LGA had an increased risk of psychotic disorders.
Although men born late preterm had an increased suicide risk, late preterm birth did not exert widespread effects on adult psychopathology. In contrast, the risks of severe mental disorders across adulthood were increased among individuals born SGA and individuals born post-term.
The pre-Caledonian NYF Skoddefjellet pegmatite in Wedel Jarlsberg Land, Svalbard, contains xenotime-(Y) that is partly replaced by fluorapatite-hingganite-(Y) reaction coronas. Hingganite-(Y) contains up to 2.0 wt.% of Gd2O3, 4.7 wt.% of Dy2O3, 3.3 wt.% of Er2O3 and 5.5 wt.% of Yb2O3. Such unusual, previously undescribed, xenotime-(Y) breakdown was caused by Ca- and F-bearing fluids interacting with the pegmatite. The occurrence of hinnganite-(Y) as a breakdown product of xenotime-(Y) implies that a Be-bearing phase (beryl in this case) was also involved in the reaction. There are few Ca-bearing primary phases in the pegmatite, indicating that the source of fluid was probably located in the generally Ca-richer host rocks (metasediments), though the fluid composition was modified during metasomatism of the pegmatite (i.e. beryl dissolution).
The stellar populations of a galaxy are a fossil record of its formation and evolution and the various physical processes involved. Therefore, studying the resolved stellar populations of nearby galaxies can provide important constraints on their structure, formation, and evolution. To that end, we have obtained VI photometry with the Advanced Camera for Surveys on the Hubble Space Telescope for three fields at deprojected radii Rdp ∼ 9 − 13 kpc (∼ 4 − 6 visual scale lengths) along M33's southeast minor axis. We present results for the star formation history (SFH) of these fields based on the technique of synthetic CMD fitting.
Fitness of tick-borne pathogens may be determined by the degree to which their infection dynamics in vertebrate hosts permits transmission cycles if infective and uninfected tick stages are active at different times of the year. To investigate this hypothesis we developed a simulation model that integrates the transmission pattern imposed by seasonally asynchronous nymphal and larval Ixodes scapularis ticks in northeastern North America, with a model of infection in white-footed mice (Peromyscus leucopus) reservoir hosts, using the bacteria Borrelia burgdorferi and Anaplasma phagocytophilum as examples. In simulations, survival of microparasites, their sensitivity to reduced rodent and tick abundance, and to ‘dilution’ by a reservoir-incompetent host depended on traits that allowed (i) highly efficient transmission from acutely-infected hosts, (ii) long-lived acute or ‘carrier’ host infections, and/or (iii) transmission amongst co-feeding ticks. Minimum values for transmission efficiency to ticks, and duration of host infectivity, necessary for microparasite persistence, were always higher when nymphal and larval ticks were seasonally asynchronous than when these instars were synchronous. Thus, traits influencing duration of host infectivity, transmission efficiency to ticks and co-feeding transmission are likely to be dominant determinants of fitness in I. scapularis-borne microparasites in northeastern North America due to abiotic forcings influencing I. scapularis seasonality.
The strongest evidence for host specificity of mammalian trypanosomes comes from parasites of the subgenus Trypanosoma (Herpetosoma). Laboratory studies have shown that T. (Herpetosoma) species will not infect an alternative host. However, this has not been demonstrated in wild populations. We screened 560 bank voles (Clethrionomys glareolus) and 148 wood mice (Apodemus sylvaticus) for trypanosomes by PCR amplification of the 18S rRNA gene. In total, 109 (19%) bank voles and 12 (8%) wood mice were infected. A HaeIII restriction site was discovered that could be used to discriminate between T. (H.) evotomys of the bank vole and T. (H.) grosi of the wood mouse. All the parasites in the bank voles were identified as T. (Herpetosoma) evotomys by RFLP-PCR. Out of the 12 wood mouse infections 10 were due to T. grosi. Two of the wood mice were infected with parasites with a novel genotype that was most similar to those of T. evotomys and T. microti of voles. Fifty-six fleas collected from the rodents were also screened for trypanosomes; 9 were infected with T. evotomys and 1 with T. grosi. One of the fleas infected with T. evotomys was collected from a wood mouse.
A retrospective ecological study was undertaken to identify social and environmental factors associated with increased incidence of meningococcal disease in university halls of residence. A standardized questionnaire was sent to UK universities and colleges of higher education outside London, for distribution to halls containing at least 50 students. Incidence rate ratios of invasive meningococcal disease were obtained for a range of social and environmental variables. Multi-variable Poisson regression analysis identified 3 factors as having a strong association: a high proportion of first year undergraduate residents (P = 0·0008), decreasing smokiness of the hall bar (P < 0·0001), and opening of hall bar before 1990 (P = 0·0001). The inverse relationship between disease incidence and smokiness of bars was an unexpected finding, and may be due to confounding factors. Universities should continue to promote awareness of meningococcal disease, encourage vaccination of first year students against serogroup C disease, and where appropriate, take measures to reduce overcrowding.
We have succeeded in the synthesis of strong Cu(111) textured films by means of the novel ion plating method(URT-IP). This URT-IP method combines the Cu deposition with the surface cleaning (self-cleaning). In the Cu film synthesis, the cations play a main role: the self-cleaning of underlying Cu seed and TaN barrier surfaces at the first stage of Cu deposition and the promotion of (111) texture. The two growth processes dependent on underlying materials cause the strong (111) orientation; the epitaxial growth on the same (111) oriented underlayer and the promotion of thermodynamically stable (111) texture on the amorphous underlayer. The in-situ Ar+ cleaning of underlayer surfaces by the URT-IP improves the (11) orientation to be much stronger. The URT-IP method is applied also to the synthesis of strong Pt(111) textured films with the same fcc system.