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Depression and anxiety are common and highly comorbid, and their comorbidity is associated with poorer outcomes posing clinical and public health concerns. We evaluated the polygenic contribution to comorbid depression and anxiety, and to each in isolation.
Diagnostic codes were extracted from electronic health records for four biobanks [N = 177 865 including 138 632 European (77.9%), 25 612 African (14.4%), and 13 621 Hispanic (7.7%) ancestry participants]. The outcome was a four-level variable representing the depression/anxiety diagnosis group: neither, depression-only, anxiety-only, and comorbid. Multinomial regression was used to test for association of depression and anxiety polygenic risk scores (PRSs) with the outcome while adjusting for principal components of ancestry.
In total, 132 960 patients had neither diagnosis (74.8%), 16 092 depression-only (9.0%), 13 098 anxiety-only (7.4%), and 16 584 comorbid (9.3%). In the European meta-analysis across biobanks, both PRSs were higher in each diagnosis group compared to controls. Notably, depression-PRS (OR 1.20 per s.d. increase in PRS; 95% CI 1.18–1.23) and anxiety-PRS (OR 1.07; 95% CI 1.05–1.09) had the largest effect when the comorbid group was compared with controls. Furthermore, the depression-PRS was significantly higher in the comorbid group than the depression-only group (OR 1.09; 95% CI 1.06–1.12) and the anxiety-only group (OR 1.15; 95% CI 1.11–1.19) and was significantly higher in the depression-only group than the anxiety-only group (OR 1.06; 95% CI 1.02–1.09), showing a genetic risk gradient across the conditions and the comorbidity.
This study suggests that depression and anxiety have partially independent genetic liabilities and the genetic vulnerabilities to depression and anxiety make distinct contributions to comorbid depression and anxiety.
There is increasing evidence that brief psychological interventions delivered by lay providers can reduce common mental disorders in the short-term. This study evaluates the longer-term impact of a brief, lay provider delivered group psychological intervention (Group Problem Management Plus; gPM+) on the mental health of refugees and their children's mental health.
This single-blind, parallel, controlled trial randomised 410 adult Syrians in Azraq Refugee Camp in Jordan who screened positive for distress and impaired functioning to either five sessions of gPM+ or enhanced usual care (EUC). Primary outcomes were scores on the Hopkins Symptom Checklist-25 (HSCL-25; depression and anxiety scales) assessed at baseline, 6 weeks, 3 months and 12 months Secondary outcomes included disability, posttraumatic stress, personally identified problems, prolonged grief, prodromal psychotic symptoms, parenting behaviour and children's mental health.
Between 15 October 2019 and 2 March 2020, 204 participants were assigned to gPM + and 206 to EUC, and 307 (74.9%) were retained at 12 months. Intent-to-treat analyses indicated that although participants in gPM + had greater reductions in depression at 3 months, at 12 months there were no significant differences between treatment arms on depression (mean difference −0.9, 95% CI −3.2 to 1.3; p = 0.39) or anxiety (mean difference −1.7, 95% CI −4.8 to −1.3; p = 0.06). There were no significant differences between conditions for secondary outcomes except that participants in gPM + had greater increases in positive parenting.
The short-term benefits of a brief, psychological programme delivered by lay providers may not be sustained over longer time periods, and there is a need for sustainable programmes that can prolong benefits gained through gPM + .
Seed retention, and ultimately seed shatter, are extremely important for the efficacy of harvest weed seed control (HWSC) and are likely influenced by various agroecological and environmental factors. Field studies investigated seed-shattering phenology of 22 weed species across three soybean [Glycine max (L.) Merr.]-producing regions in the United States. We further evaluated the potential drivers of seed shatter in terms of weather conditions, growing degree days, and plant biomass. Based on the results, weather conditions had no consistent impact on weed seed shatter. However, there was a positive correlation between individual weed plant biomass and delayed weed seed–shattering rates during harvest. This work demonstrates that HWSC can potentially reduce weed seedbank inputs of plants that have escaped early-season management practices and retained seed through harvest. However, smaller individuals of plants within the same population that shatter seed before harvest pose a risk of escaping early-season management and HWSC.
Because of the high burden of untreated mental illness in humanitarian settings and low- and middle-income countries, scaling-up effective psychological interventions require a cultural adaptation process that is feasible and acceptable. Our adaptation process incorporates changes into both content and implementation strategies, with a focus on local understandings of distress and treatment mechanisms of action.
Building upon the ecological validity model, we developed a 10-step process, the mental health Cultural Adaptation and Contextualization for Implementation (mhCACI) procedure, and piloted this approach in Nepal for Group Problem Management Plus (PM+), a task-sharing intervention, proven effective for adults with psychological distress in low-resource settings. Detailed documentation tools were used to ensure rigor and transparency during the adaptation process.
The mhCACI is a 10-step process: (1) identify mechanisms of action, (2) conduct a literature desk review for the culture and context, (3) conduct a training-of-trainers, (4) translate intervention materials, (5) conduct an expert read-through of the materials, (6) qualitative assessment of intervention population and site, (7) conduct practice rounds, (8) conduct an adaptation workshop with experts and implementers, (9) pilot test the training, supervision, and implementation, and (10) review through process evaluation. For Group PM+, key adaptations were harmonizing the mechanisms of action with cultural models of ‘tension’; modification of recruitment procedures to assure fit; and development of a skills checklist.
A 10-step mhCACI process could feasibly be implemented in a humanitarian setting to rapidly prepare a psychological intervention for widespread implementation.
Despite recent global attention to mental health and psychosocial support services and a growing body of evidence-support interventions, few mental health services have been established at a regional or national scale in low- and middle-income countries (LMIC). There are myriad challenges and barriers ranging from testing interventions that do not target priority needs of populations or policymakers to interventions that cannot achieve adequate coverage to decrease the treatment gap in LMIC.
We propose a ‘roadmap to impact’ process that guides planning for interventions to move from the research space to the implementation space.
We establish four criteria and nine associated indicators that can be evaluated in low-resource settings to foster the greatest likelihood of successfully scaling mental health and psychosocial interventions. The criteria are relevance (indicators: population need, cultural and contextual fit), effectiveness (change in mental health outcome, change in hypothesised mechanism of action), quality (adherence, competence, attendance) and feasibility (coverage, cost). In the research space, relevance and effectiveness need to be established before moving into the implementation space. In the implementation space, ongoing monitoring of quality and feasibility is required to achieve and maintain a positive public health impact. Ultimately, a database or repository needs to be developed with these criteria and indicators to help researchers establish and monitor minimum benchmarks for the indicators, and for policymakers and practitioners to be able to select what interventions will be most likely to succeed in their settings.
A practicable roadmap with a sequence of measurable indicators is an important step to delivering interventions at scale and reducing the mental health treatment gap around the world.
Potential effectiveness of harvest weed seed control (HWSC) systems depends upon seed shatter of the target weed species at crop maturity, enabling its collection and processing at crop harvest. However, seed retention likely is influenced by agroecological and environmental factors. In 2016 and 2017, we assessed seed-shatter phenology in 13 economically important broadleaf weed species in soybean [Glycine max (L.) Merr.] from crop physiological maturity to 4 wk after physiological maturity at multiple sites spread across 14 states in the southern, northern, and mid-Atlantic United States. Greater proportions of seeds were retained by weeds in southern latitudes and shatter rate increased at northern latitudes. Amaranthus spp. seed shatter was low (0% to 2%), whereas shatter varied widely in common ragweed (Ambrosia artemisiifolia L.) (2% to 90%) over the weeks following soybean physiological maturity. Overall, the broadleaf species studied shattered less than 10% of their seeds by soybean harvest. Our results suggest that some of the broadleaf species with greater seed retention rates in the weeks following soybean physiological maturity may be good candidates for HWSC.
Seed shatter is an important weediness trait on which the efficacy of harvest weed seed control (HWSC) depends. The level of seed shatter in a species is likely influenced by agroecological and environmental factors. In 2016 and 2017, we assessed seed shatter of eight economically important grass weed species in soybean [Glycine max (L.) Merr.] from crop physiological maturity to 4 wk after maturity at multiple sites spread across 11 states in the southern, northern, and mid-Atlantic United States. From soybean maturity to 4 wk after maturity, cumulative percent seed shatter was lowest in the southern U.S. regions and increased moving north through the states. At soybean maturity, the percent of seed shatter ranged from 1% to 70%. That range had shifted to 5% to 100% (mean: 42%) by 25 d after soybean maturity. There were considerable differences in seed-shatter onset and rate of progression between sites and years in some species that could impact their susceptibility to HWSC. Our results suggest that many summer annual grass species are likely not ideal candidates for HWSC, although HWSC could substantially reduce their seed output during certain years.
The PRogramme for Improving Mental Health carE (PRIME) evaluated the process and outcomes of the implementation of a mental healthcare plan (MHCP) in Chitwan, Nepal.
To describe the process of implementation, the barriers and facilitating factors, and to evaluate the process indicators of the MHCP.
A case study design that combined qualitative and quantitative methods based on a programme theory of change (ToC) was used and included: (a) district-, community- and health-facility profiles; (b) monthly implementation logs; (c) pre- and post-training evaluation; (d) out-patient clinical data and (e) qualitative interviews with patients and caregivers.
The MHCP was able to achieve most of the indicators outlined by the ToC. Of the total 32 indicators, 21 (66%) were fully achieved, 10 (31%) partially achieved and 1 (3%) were not achieved at all. The proportion of primary care patients that received mental health services increased by 1200% over the 3-year implementation period. Major barriers included frequent transfer of trained health workers, lack of confidential space for consultation, no mental health supervision in the existing system, and stigma. Involvement of Ministry of Health, procurement of new psychotropic medicines through PRIME, motivation of health workers and the development of a new supervision system were key facilitating factors.
Effective implementation of mental health services in primary care settings require interventions to increase demand for services and to ensure there is clinical supervision for health workers, private rooms for consultations, a separate cadre of psychosocial workers and a regular supply of psychotropic medicines.
Current coverage of mental healthcare in low- and middle-income countries is very limited, not only in terms of access to services but also in terms of financial protection of individuals in need of care and treatment.
To identify the challenges, opportunities and strategies for more equitable and sustainable mental health financing in six sub-Saharan African and South Asian countries, namely Ethiopia, India, Nepal, Nigeria, South Africa and Uganda.
In the context of a mental health systems research project (Emerald), a multi-methods approach was implemented consisting of three steps: a quantitative and narrative assessment of each country's disease burden profile, health system and macro-fiscal situation; in-depth interviews with expert stakeholders; and a policy analysis of sustainable financing options.
Key challenges identified for sustainable mental health financing include the low level of funding accorded to mental health services, widespread inequalities in access and poverty, although opportunities exist in the form of new political interest in mental health and ongoing reforms to national insurance schemes. Inclusion of mental health within planned or nascent national health insurance schemes was identified as a key strategy for moving towards more equitable and sustainable mental health financing in all six countries.
Including mental health in ongoing national health insurance reforms represent the most important strategic opportunity in the six participating countries to secure enhanced service provision and financial protection for individuals and households affected by mental disorders and psychosocial disabilities.
Declaration of interest
D.C. is a staff member of the World Health Organization.
Little is known about the household economic costs associated with mental, neurological and substance use (MNS) disorders in low- and middle-income countries.
To assess the association between MNS disorders and household education, consumption, production, assets and financial coping strategies in Ethiopia, India, Nepal, Nigeria, South Africa and Uganda.
We conducted an exploratory cross-sectional household survey in one district in each country, comparing the economic circumstances of households with an MNS disorder (alcohol-use disorder, depression, epilepsy or psychosis) (n = 2339) and control households (n = 1982).
Despite some heterogeneity between MNS disorder groups and countries, households with a member with an MNS disorder had generally lower levels of adult education; lower housing standards, total household income, effective income and non-health consumption; less asset-based wealth; higher healthcare expenditure; and greater use of deleterious financial coping strategies.
Households living with a member who has an MNS disorder constitute an economically vulnerable group who are susceptible to chronic poverty and intergenerational poverty transmission.
Declaration of interest
D.C. is a staff member of the World Health Organization. The authors alone are responsible for the views expressed in this publication and they do not necessarily represent the decisions, policy or views of the World Health Organization.
Evidence shows benefits of psychological treatments in low-resource countries, yet few government health systems include psychological services.
Evaluating the clinical value of adding psychological treatments, delivered by community-based counsellors, to primary care-based mental health services for depression and alcohol use disorder (AUD), as recommended by the Mental Health Gap Action Programme (mhGAP).
Two randomised controlled trials, separately for depression and AUD, were carried out. Participants were randomly allocated (1:1) to mental healthcare delivered by mhGAP-trained primary care workers (psychoeducation and psychotropic medicines when indicated), or the same services plus individual psychological treatments (Healthy Activity Program for depression and Counselling for Alcohol Problems). Primary outcomes were symptom severity, measured using the Patient Health Questionnaire – 9 item (PHQ-9) for depression and the Alcohol Use Disorder Identification Test for AUD, and functional impairment, measured using the World Health Organization Disability Assessment Schedule (WHODAS), at 12 months post-enrolment.
Participants with depression in the intervention arm (n = 60) had greater reduction in PHQ-9 and WHODAS scores compared with participants in the control (n = 60) (PHQ-9: M = −5.90, 95% CI −7.55 to −4.25, β = −3.68, 95% CI −5.68 to −1.67, P < 0.001, Cohen's d = 0.66; WHODAS: M = −12.21, 95% CI −19.58 to −4.84, β = −10.74, 95% CI −19.96 to −1.53, P= 0.022, Cohen's d = 0.42). For the AUD trial, no significant effect was found when comparing control (n = 80) and intervention participants (n = 82).
Adding a psychological treatment delivered by community-based counsellors increases treatment effects for depression compared with only mhGAP-based services by primary health workers 12 months post-treatment.
We examine how organizational form affects corporate payouts. Conglomerates pay out more than pure plays in both cash dividends and total payouts (cash dividends plus share repurchases). Furthermore, their payouts are more sensitive to cash flows compared to pure-play firms. The sensitivity of payouts to cash flow increases as the cross-segment correlation in a conglomerate decreases. Corporate payouts increase after mergers and acquisitions (M&As), especially among M&As in which acquirers and targets are less correlated. These results suggest that the coinsurance among different divisions of a conglomerate allows them to pay out more cash flow to their shareholders than pure-play firms.
Corn and soybean growers in Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Mississippi, Nebraska, and North Carolina, as well as cotton growers in Mississippi and North Carolina, were surveyed about their views on changes in problematic weeds and weed pressure in cropping systems based on a glyphosate-resistant (GR) crop. No growers using a GR cropping system for more than 5 yr reported heavy weed pressure. Over all cropping systems investigated (continuous GR soybean, continuous GR cotton, GR corn/GR soybean, GR soybean/non-GR crop, and GR corn/non-GR crop), 0 to 7% of survey respondents reported greater weed pressure after implementing rotations using GR crops, whereas 31 to 57% felt weed pressure was similar and 36 to 70% indicated that weed pressure was less. Pigweed, morningglory, johnsongrass, ragweed, foxtail, and velvetleaf were mentioned as their most problematic weeds, depending on the state and cropping system. Systems using GR crops improved weed management compared with the technologies used before the adoption of GR crops. However, the long-term success of managing problematic weeds in GR cropping systems will require the development of multifaceted integrated weed management programs that include glyphosate as well as other weed management tactics.
Leaf mass per area (MA) is a central ecological trait that is intercorrelated with leaf life span, photosynthetic rate, nutrient concentration, and palatability to herbivores. These coordinated variables form a globally convergent leaf economics spectrum, which represents a general continuum running from rapid resource acquisition to maximized resource retention. Leaf economics are little studied in ancient ecosystems because they cannot be directly measured from leaf fossils. Here we use a large extant data set (65 sites; 667 species-site pairs) to develop a new, easily measured scaling relationship between petiole width and leaf mass, normalized for leaf area; this enables MA estimation for fossil leaves from petiole width and leaf area, two variables that are commonly measurable in leaf compression floras. The calibration data are restricted to woody angiosperms exclusive of monocots, but a preliminary data set (25 species) suggests that broad-leaved gymnosperms exhibit a similar scaling. Application to two well-studied, classic Eocene floras demonstrates that MA can be quantified in fossil assemblages. First, our results are consistent with predictions from paleobotanical and paleoclimatic studies of these floras. We found exclusively low-MA species from Republic (Washington, U.S.A., 49 Ma), a humid, warm-temperate flora with a strong deciduous component among the angiosperms, and a wide MA range in a seasonally dry, warm-temperate flora from the Green River Formation at Bonanza (Utah, U.S.A., 47 Ma), presumed to comprise a mix of short and long leaf life spans. Second, reconstructed MA in the fossil species is negatively correlated with levels of insect herbivory, whether measured as the proportion of leaves with insect damage, the proportion of leaf area removed by herbivores, or the diversity of insect-damage morphotypes. These correlations are consistent with herbivory observations in extant floras and they reflect fundamental trade-offs in plant-herbivore associations. Our results indicate that several key aspects of plant and plant-animal ecology can now be quantified in the fossil record and demonstrate that herbivory has helped shape the evolution of leaf structure for millions of years.
Reducing the global treatment gap for mental disorders requires treatments that are economical, effective and culturally appropriate.
To describe a systematic approach to the development of a brief psychological treatment for patients with severe depression delivered by lay counsellors in primary healthcare.
The treatment was developed in three stages using a variety of methods: (a) identifying potential strategies; (b) developing a theoretical framework; and (c) evaluating the acceptability, feasibility and effectiveness of the psychological treatment.
The Healthy Activity Program (HAP) is delivered over 6–8 sessions and consists of behavioral activation as the core psychological framework with added emphasis on strategies such as problem-solving and activation of social networks. Key elements to improve acceptability and feasibility are also included. In an intention-to-treat analysis of a pilot randomised controlled trial (55 participants), the prevalence of depression (Beck Depression Inventory II ⩾19) after 2 months was lower in the HAP than the control arm (adjusted risk ratio = 0.55, 95% CI 0.32–0.94, P = 0.01).
Our systematic approach to the development of psychological treatments could be extended to other mental disorders. HAP is an acceptable and effective brief psychological treatment for severe depression delivered by lay counsellors in primary care.
There is little practical guidance on how contextually relevant mental healthcare plans (MHCPs) can be developed in low-resource settings.
To describe how theory of change (ToC) was used to plan the development and evaluation of MHCPs as part of the PRogramme for Improving Mental health carE (PRIME).
ToC development occurred in three stages: (a) development of a cross-country ToC by 15 PRIME consortium members; (b) development of country-specific ToCs in 13 workshops with a median of 15 (interquartile range 13–22) stakeholders per workshop; and (c) review and refinement of the cross-country ToC by 18 PRIME consortium members.
One cross-country and five district ToCs were developed that outlined the steps required to improve outcomes for people with mental disorders in PRIME districts.
ToC is a valuable participatory method that can be used to develop MHCPs and plan their evaluation.