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Accumulating evidence suggests that deficits of visual selective attention may already occur at early stages of Alzheimer's disease (AD) like the prodromal phase of mild cognitive impairment (MCI).
Our study investigated visual selective attention in amnestic MCI and probable AD patients compared to healthy elderly controls. Groups were matched for age, gender and education. In combination with Bundesen's ‘theory of visual attention’, two mathematically independent and quantitative parameter estimates were derived from a partial report of briefly presented letter arrays: top-down control of attentional selection, representing task-related attentional weighting for prioritizing relevant visual objects, and spatial distribution of attentional weights across the left and right hemifield.
Compared to controls, MCI patients showed significantly reduced top-down controlled selection which further deteriorated in AD subjects. Moreover, attentional weighting was significantly unbalanced across hemifields in MCI and tended to be more lateralized in AD. The majority of patients was biased to the left. Across MCI and AD patients, carriers of the apolipoprotein E ɛ4 allele (ApoE4) revealed a leftward spatial bias. The leftward bias was the more pronounced the younger the ApoE4-positive patients and the earlier disease onset. ApoE4-negative subjects showed balanced attentional weighting.
These results indicate that impaired top-down control may be linked to early dysfunction of fronto-parietal cortico-cortical networks. Accompanying, an early interhemispheric asymmetry in temporo-parietal cortical interactions might cause a pathological spatial bias. As the inheritance of ApoE4 is associated with asymmetric parietal metabolism, a pathological spatial bias may function as early cognitive marker for detecting probable AD subjects.
Serotonergic neurotransmission plays a key role in seasonal changes of mood and behaviour. Higher serotonin transporter availability in healthy human subjects in times of lesser light has been reported in recent studies. Furthermore, seasonal alterations of postsynaptic serotonin-1A receptors have been suggested by a recent animal study. Following that, this study aimed at identifying seasonal alterations of serotonin-1A receptor binding in the living human brain.
Thirty-six healthy, drug-naïve subjects were investigated using PET and the specific tracer [carbonyl-11C]WAY-100635. Regional serotonin-1A receptor binding (5-HT1A BPND) was related to the individual exposure to global radiation. Furthermore, the subjects were divided into two groups depending on individual exposure to global radiation, and the group differences in regional 5-HT1A BPND were determined.
Correlation analysis controlled for age and gender revealed highly significant positive correlations between regional postsynaptic 5-HT1A BPND and global radiation accumulated for 5 days (r=.32 to .48, p=.030 to .002). Highly significant differences in 5-HT1A BPND binding between subjects with low compared to high exposure to global radiation were revealed (T=-2.63 to -3.77, p .013 to .001). 20% to 30% lower 5-HT1A BPND was found in the subject group exposed to lower amount of global radiation.
Seasonal factors such as exposure to global radiation influence postsynaptic serotonin-1A receptor binding in various brain regions in healthy human subjects. In combination with seasonal alterations in serotonin turnover and 5-HTT availability revealed in recent studies, our results provide an essential contribution of molecular mechanisms in seasonal changes of human serotonergic neurotransmission.
Regional alterations of serotonergic neurotransmission and functional activation in the amygdalar region of patients with major depression are underpinning its important role in affective disorders. In this study we used fMRI and PET to describe functional and molecular alterations associtated with an astrocytoma in the left amygdalar region in a patient with organic depressive disorder compared to control subjects.
The serotonin-1A (5-HT1A) receptor binding (BPND) was quantified with PET (30 frames, 90 min, 4.4 mm FWHM) in 36 subjects using the radioligand [carbonyl-11C]WAY-100635, and a reference tissue model (MRTM2). In fMRI (3T, EPI inplane resolution 1.6*2.7 mm, 10 AC-PC orientated slices, ST = 3 mm, TE/TR = 31/1000 ms), 32 participants performed emotion discrimination and sensorimotor control tasks. Statistical analysis with SPM5 and unpaired t-tests were performed on molecular and functional data separately.
The astrocytoma was delineated in the serotonin-1A receptor distribution showing (p < 0.01, uncorrected) regional BPND decrease. The ipsilateral thalamus and bilateral habenula regions displayed (p < 0.001; uncorrected) BPND increase. The fMRI data showed significantly (p < 0.05; uncorrected) reduced activation in the affected amygdalar region, ipsilateral fusiform gyrus, bilateral orbitofrontal cortex and temporal regions and increased activation in the contralateral temporal pole.
Lower serotonin-1A receptor binding in the left amydala region reflects the glial provenance of the tumor. The increased receptor binding in the habenulae might be associated with altered monoaminergic neurotransmission and depressive symptoms according to the influence of the habenulae on monoaminergic nuclei. The functional data demonstrate neuroplastic changes beyond affected areas and might indicate compensatory mechanisms.
Mental health service delivery in the general health care sector is restricted with regard to understanding the magnitude and impact of mental illness in the medically ill (co-morbidity), as well as the significance of current mental health service delivery. A new model in development in the framework of a Biomed2 grant is presented. It consists of case-finding through complexity of hospital care prediction (COMPRI) followed by an integral health service needs assessment (INTERMED). It might serve to develop a more structural relation with the general health care sector for the management of mentally co-morbid high utilizing patients.
While the art and science of disaster triage continue to evolve, the education of the US health care student in matters pertaining to disaster preparedness and response remains stifled. Unfortunately, these students will be assuming major decision-making responsibilities regarding catastrophes that will be complicated by climate change, nuclear threats, global terrorism, and pandemics. Meanwhile, Sort, Assess, Life-Saving Interventions, Treatment, and/or Transport (SALT) triage is being advocated over the globally popular Simple Triage and Rapid Treatment (START) algorithm for multiple reasons: (1) it’s an all-hazard approach; (2) it has four medical interventions; and (3) it has an additional triage color for victims with non-survivable injuries.
As present-day threats become more ominous and health care education emphasizes the needs of vulnerable populations and palliative care, the authors hypothesize that, when given a choice, health care students will prefer SALT triage.
A convenience sample of 218 interprofessional, disaster-naïve health care students received just-in-time, unbiased education on both START and SALT triage systems. Students then completed a survey asking them to decide which triage system they believe would be most effective in their community.
A total of 123 health care students (56.4%) preferred SALT while 95 (43.6%) preferred START; however, only the physician assistant students showed a statistically significantly preference (28 versus six, respectively; P=.042). Interestingly, there was also a statistically significant difference in preference by gender (Chi-square=5.02; P=.025) of the observed distribution versus expected distribution in SALT and START. The females preferred SALT (61.0%) while the males preferred START (55.9%).
Among those who preferred START, START being easier to learn was the most important reason cited. Among those who preferred SALT, the most important reason cited was that the number of patient triage categories seemed more logical, comprehensible, and consistent with traditional medical care.
While SALT’s preference among females and physician assistant students was based on the addition of medical interventions and the provision of palliative care, START’s preference was related to expediency. Based on this research, incorporating disaster concepts into US health care students’ curricula encourages thoughtful consideration among the future health care leaders about the most effective approach to triage care. It is critical that further research be completed to determine, without reservation, which triage system will not only save the most lives but provide the most humane care to victims.
Fink BN, Rega PP, Sexton ME, Wishner C. START versus SALT triage: which is preferred by the 21st century health care student? Prehosp Disaster Med. 2018;33(4):381–386
ESA's Gaia space astrometry mission is performing an all-sky survey of stellar objects. At the beginning of the nominal mission in July 2014, an operation scheme was adopted that enabled Gaia to routinely acquire observations of all stars brighter than the original limit of G~6, i.e. the naked-eye stars. We present the current status and extent of those observations.
Prebiotic oligosaccharides, including galacto-oligosaccharides (GOS), are used in infant formula to mimic human milk oligosaccharides, which are known to have an important role in the development of the intestinal microbiota and the immune system in neonates. The maturation of the intestines in piglets closely resembles that of human neonates and infants. Hence, a neonatal piglet model was used to study the multi-faceted effect of dietary GOS in early life. Naturally farrowed piglets were separated from the mother sow 24–48 h postpartum and received a milk replacer with or without the addition of GOS for 3 or 26 d, whereafter several indicators of intestinal colonisation and maturation were measured. Dietary GOS was readily fermented in the colon, leading to a decreased pH, an increase in butyric acid in caecum digesta and an increase in lactobacilli and bifidobacteria numbers at day 26. Histomorphological changes were observed in the intestines of piglets fed a GOS diet for 3 or 26 d. In turn, differences in the intestinal disaccharidase activity were observed between control and GOS-fed piglets. The mRNA expression of various tight junction proteins was up-regulated in the intestines of piglet fed a GOS diet and was not accompanied by an increase in protein expression. GOS also increased defensin porcine β-defensin-2 in the colon and secretory IgA levels in saliva. In conclusion, by applying a neonatal piglet model, it could be demonstrated that a GOS-supplemented milk replacer promotes the balance of the developing intestinal microbiota, improves the intestinal architecture and seems to stimulate the intestinal defence mechanism.
Severe health anxiety is frequent and costly, yet rarely diagnosed or treated. Earlier treatment studies show problems with recruitment, dropout and recovery. In the current study, the authors aimed to test the effect of acceptance and commitment group therapy (ACT-G) compared to waitlist in patients with severe health anxiety.
During March 2010 to April 2012, 126 consecutively referred patients meeting research criteria for severe health anxiety were block-randomized (1:1) to ACT-G or a 10 months’ waitlist (Clinicaltrials.gov, no. NCT01158430). Patients allocated to ACT-G were treated in seven groups of nine patients between December 2010 and October 2012 and received nine weekly 3-h group sessions and a booster session consisting of ACT techniques. The primary outcome was decided a priori as the mean change in self-reported illness worry on the Whiteley-7 Index (WI) from baseline to 10 months’ follow-up. Secondary outcomes were improvement in emotional distress and health-related quality of life at 10 months’ follow-up.
Intention-to-treat analysis showed a statistically significant mean difference of 20.5 points [95% confidence interval (CI) 11.7–29·4, p < 0.001] on the WI between the groups at 10 months, and the between-group effect sizes were large (Cohen's d = 0.89, 95% CI 0.50–1.29). The number needed to treat was 2.4 (95% CI 1.4–3.4, p < 0.001). Diagnosis and treatment were well accepted by the patients.
ACT-G seems feasible, acceptable and effective in treating severe health anxiety.
Objective: Patients with Parkinson’s disease (PD) can show impaired self-awareness of motor deficits (ISAm). We developed a new scale that measures ISAm severity of hyper- and hypokinetic movements in PD during medication on state and defined its psychometric criteria. Method: Included were 104 right-handed, non-depressed, non-demented patients. Concerning ISAm, 38 motor symptoms were assessed using seven tasks, which were performed and self-rated concerning presence of deficit (yes/no) by all patients. The whole procedure was videotaped. Motor symptoms were then evaluated by two independent experts, blinded for patient’s ratings, concerning presence, awareness of deficit, and severity. Exploratory principal component analysis (promax rotation) was applied to reduce items. Principal axis factoring was conducted to extract factors. Reliability was examined regarding internal consistency, split-half reliability, and interrater reliability. Validity was verified by applying two additional measures of ISAm. Results: Of the initial 38 symptoms, 15 remained, assessed in five motor tasks and merged to a total severity score. Factor analysis resulted in a four factor solution (dyskinesia, resting tremor right hand, resting tremor left hand, bradykinesia). For all subscales and the total score, measures of reliability (values 0.64–0.89) and validity (effect sizes>0.3) were satisfactory. Descriptive results showed that 66% of patients had signs of ISAm (median 2, range 0–15), with ISAm being most distinct for dyskinesia. Conclusions: We provide the first validation of a test for ISAm in PD. Using this instrument, future studies can further analyze the pathophysiology of ISAm, the psychosocial sequelae, therapeutic strategies and compliance with therapy. (JINS, 2015, 21, 1–10)
Since the discovery of adipose-derived stem cells (ASCs), there have been high expectations of their putative clinical use. Recent advances support these expectations, and it is expected that the transition from pre-clinical and clinical studies to implementation as a standard treatment modality is imminent. However ASCs must be isolated and expanded according to good manufacturing practice guidelines and a basic assurance of quality, safety, and medical effectiveness is needed for authorisation by regulatory agencies, such as European Medicines Agency and US Food and Drug Administration. In this review, a collection of studies investigating the influence of different steps of the isolation and expansion protocol on the yield and functionality of ASCs has been presented in an attempt to come up with best recommendations that ensure potential beneficial clinical outcome of using ASCs in any therapeutic setting. If the findings confirm the initial observations of beneficial effects of ASCs, the path is paved for implementing these ASC-based therapies as standard treatment options.
Somatoform disorders are costly for society in terms of increased healthcare expenditure. Patients' illness perceptions have been found to play a role in somatoform disorders. However, it is unclear whether illness perceptions predict higher health costs in these patients.
A total of 1785 primary care patients presenting a new health complaint completed a questionnaire on their illness perceptions and emotional distress before the consultation. The physicians completed a questionnaire for each patient on diagnostics after the consultation. In a stratified subsample, physician interviewers established diagnoses of DSM-IV somatization and undifferentiated somatoform disorders (n = 144) using the Schedules for Clinical Assessment in Neuropsychiatry. Healthcare expenditure was obtained from Danish health registers for a 2-year follow-up period.
Patients had more negative perceptions of their well-defined physical health problems when they had a co-morbid somatoform disorder. A strong illness identity [β = 0.120, 95% confidence interval (CI) 0.029–0.212, p = 0.012], perceived negative consequences (β = 0.010, 95% CI 0.001–0.019, p = 0.024), a long timeline perspective (β = 0.013, 95% CI 0.005–0.021, p = 0.001), low personal control (β = − 0.009, 95% CI –0.015 to −0.002, p = 0.011) and negative emotional representations (β = 0.009, 95% CI 0.002–0.017, p = 0.020) predicted healthcare expenditure in somatoform disorders.
The results suggest that illness perceptions play a role in the perpetuation of symptoms in somatoform disorders and predict higher future healthcare expenditure among a subgroup of these patients.