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There is now evidence to suggest that there may be an interaction between B vitamins and n-3 PUFA, with suggestions that increasing intake of both nutrients simultaneously may benefit cognition in older adults. The aim of this systematic review was to investigate whether supplementation with a combination of n-3 PUFA and B vitamins can prevent cognitive decline in older adults. Randomised controlled trials conducted in older adults that measured cognitive function were retrieved. The included trials provided a combination of n-3 PUFA and B vitamins alone, or in combination with other nutrients. Trials that provided n-3 PUFA alone and also measured B vitamin status or provided B vitamin supplementation alone and measured n-3 PUFA status were also included. The databases searched were The Cochrane Library, EMBASE, CINAHL, Scopus and MEDLINE. A total of 14 papers were included in the analysis (n 4913; age: 60–70 years; follow-up 24 weeks to 4 years). The meta-analysis results found a significant benefit of nutrient formulas, which included both n-3 PUFA and B vitamins alongside other nutrients, v. placebo on global cognition assessed using composite scores from a neuropsychological test battery (G = 0·23, P = 0·002), global cognition using single measures of cognition (G = 0·28, P = 0·004) and episodic memory (G = 0·32, P = 0·001). The results indicate that providing a combination of n-3 PUFA and B vitamins as part of a multi-nutrient formula benefits cognition in older adults v. a placebo, and the potential for an interaction between these key nutrients should be considered in future experimental work.
Arising from the 2019 Darwin College Lectures, this book presents essays from seven prominent public intellectuals on the theme of vision. Each author examines this theme through the lens of their own particular area of expertise, making for a lively interdisciplinary volume including chapters on neuroscience, colour perception, biological evolution, astronomy, the future of technology, computer vision, and the visionary core of science. Featuring contributions by professors of neuroscience Paul Fletcher and Anya Hurlbert, professor of zoology Dan-Eric Nilsson, the futurist Sophie Hackford, Microsoft distinguished scientist Andrew Blake, theoretical physicist and author Carlo Rovelli, and Dr Carolin Crawford, the Public Astronomer at the University of Cambridge, this volume will be of interest to anybody curious about how we see the world.
Studying phenotypic and genetic characteristics of age at onset (AAO) and polarity at onset (PAO) in bipolar disorder can provide new insights into disease pathology and facilitate the development of screening tools.
To examine the genetic architecture of AAO and PAO and their association with bipolar disorder disease characteristics.
Genome-wide association studies (GWASs) and polygenic score (PGS) analyses of AAO (n = 12 977) and PAO (n = 6773) were conducted in patients with bipolar disorder from 34 cohorts and a replication sample (n = 2237). The association of onset with disease characteristics was investigated in two of these cohorts.
Earlier AAO was associated with a higher probability of psychotic symptoms, suicidality, lower educational attainment, not living together and fewer episodes. Depressive onset correlated with suicidality and manic onset correlated with delusions and manic episodes. Systematic differences in AAO between cohorts and continents of origin were observed. This was also reflected in single-nucleotide variant-based heritability estimates, with higher heritabilities for stricter onset definitions. Increased PGS for autism spectrum disorder (β = −0.34 years, s.e. = 0.08), major depression (β = −0.34 years, s.e. = 0.08), schizophrenia (β = −0.39 years, s.e. = 0.08), and educational attainment (β = −0.31 years, s.e. = 0.08) were associated with an earlier AAO. The AAO GWAS identified one significant locus, but this finding did not replicate. Neither GWAS nor PGS analyses yielded significant associations with PAO.
AAO and PAO are associated with indicators of bipolar disorder severity. Individuals with an earlier onset show an increased polygenic liability for a broad spectrum of psychiatric traits. Systematic differences in AAO across cohorts, continents and phenotype definitions introduce significant heterogeneity, affecting analyses.
Smoking rates are higher for people who use mental health services, which contributes substantially to health inequalities. Smoking can lead to worse COVID-19 outcomes, yet it remains unclear whether smoking has changed for people who use mental health services. We examined smoking patterns in a large clinical cohort of people with severe mental illness, before and during the pandemic. We found high levels of nicotine dependence and heavier patterns of smoking. Although some people had reported quitting, it is likely that smoking inequalities have become further entrenched. Mental health services should seek to mitigate this modifiable risk and source of poor health.
Throughout the Ediacaran Period, variable water-column redox conditions persisted along productive ocean margins due to a complex interplay between nutrient supply and oceanographic restriction. These changing conditions are considered to have influenced early faunal evolution, with marine anoxia potentially inhibiting the development of the ecological niches necessary for aerobic life forms. To understand this link between oxygenation and evolution, the combined geochemical and palaeontological study of marine sediments is preferable. Located in the Yangtze Gorges region of southern China, lagoonal black shales at Miaohe preserve alga and putative metazoans, including Eoandromeda, a candidate total-group ctenophore, thereby providing one example of where integrated study is possible. We present a multi-proxy investigation into water-column redox variability during deposition of these shales (c. 560–551 Ma). For this interval, reactive iron partitioning indicates persistent water-column anoxia, while trace metal enrichments and other geochemical data suggest temporal fluctuations between ferruginous, euxinic and rare suboxic conditions. Although trace metal and total organic carbon values imply extensive basin restriction, sustained trace metal enrichment and δ15Nsed data indicate periodic access to open-ocean inventories across a shallow-marine sill. Lastly, δ13Corg values of between −35‰ and −40‰ allow at least partial correlation of the shales at Miaohe with Member IV of the Doushantuo Formation. This study provides evidence for fluctuating redox conditions in the lagoonal area of the Yangtze platform during late Ediacaran time. If these low-oxygen environments were regionally characteristic, then the restriction of aerobic fauna to isolated environments can be inferred.
Neurobehavioral research on the role of impulsivity in gambling disorder (GD) has produced heterogeneous findings. Impulsivity is multifaceted with different experimental tasks measuring different subprocesses, such as response inhibition and distractor interference. Little is known about the neurochemistry of inhibition and interference in GD.
We investigated inhibition with the stop signal task (SST) and interference with the Eriksen Flanker task, and related performance to metabolite levels in individuals with and without GD. We employed magnetic resonance spectroscopy (MRS) to record glutamate–glutamine (Glx/Cr) and inhibitory, γ-aminobutyric acid (GABA+/Cr) levels in the dorsal ACC (dACC), right dorsolateral prefrontal cortex (dlPFC), and an occipital control voxel.
We found slower processing of complex stimuli in the Flanker task in GD (P < .001, η2p = 0.78), and no group differences in SST performance. Levels of dACC Glx/Cr and frequency of incongruent errors were correlated positively in GD only (r = 0.92, P = .001). Larger positive correlations were found for those with GD between dACC GABA+/Cr and SST Go error response times (z = 2.83, P = .004), as well as between dACC Glx/Cr and frequency of Go errors (z = 2.23, P = .03), indicating general Glx-related error processing deficits. Both groups expressed equivalent positive correlations between posterror slowing and Glx/Cr in the right dlPFC (GD: r = 0.74, P = .02; non-GD: r = .71, P = .01).
Inhibition and interference impairments are reflected in dACC baseline metabolite levels and error processing deficits in GD.
Liben Lark Heteromirafra archeri is a ‘Critically Endangered’ species threatened by the loss and degradation of grassland at the Liben Plain, southern Ethiopia, one of only two known sites for the species. We use field data from nine visits between 2007 and 2019 and satellite imagery to quantify changes over time in the species’ abundance and in the extent and quality of its habitat. We estimate that the population fell from around 279 singing males (95% CL: 182–436) in 2007 to around 51 (14–144) in 2013, after which too few birds were recorded to estimate population size. Arable cultivation first appeared on the plain in the early 1990s and by 2019 more than a third of the plain had been converted to crops. Cultivation was initially confined to the fertile black soils but from 2008 began to spread into the less fertile red soils that cover most of the plain. Liben Larks strongly avoided areas with extensive bare ground or trees and bushes, but the extent of these did not change significantly over the survey period. A plausible explanation for the species’ decline is that grassland degradation, caused before 2007 by continuous high-pressure grazing by livestock, reduced its rates of reproduction or survival to a level that could not support its previous population. Since 2015, communal kalos (grazing exclosures) have been established to generate forage and other resources in the hope of also providing breeding habitat for Liben Larks. Grass height and density within four grassland kalos in 2018 greatly exceeded that in the surrounding grassland, indicating that the plain retains the potential to recover rapidly if appropriately managed. Improvement of grassland structure through the restitution of traditional and sustainable rangeland management regimes and the reversion of cereal agriculture to grassland are urgently needed to avert the species’ extinction.
Social determinants of health have the potential to influence mental health and addictions-related emergency department (ED) visits and the likelihood of admission to hospital. We aimed to determine how social determinants of health, individually and in combination, relate to the likelihood of hospital admission at the time of postpartum psychiatric ED visits.
Among 10 702 postpartum individuals (female based on health card) presenting to the ED for a psychiatric reason in Ontario, Canada (2008–2017), we evaluated the relation between six social determinants of health (age, neighbourhood quintile [Q, Q1 = lowest, Q5 = highest], rurality, immigrant category, Chinese or South Asian ethnicity and neighbourhood ethnic diversity) and the likelihood of hospital admission from the ED. Poisson regression models generated relative risks (RR, 95% CI) of admission for each social determinant, crude and adjusted for clinical severity (diagnosis and acuity) and other potential confounders. Generalised estimating equations were used to explore additive interaction to understand whether the likelihood of admission depended on intersections of social determinants of health.
In total, 16.0% (n = 1715) were admitted to hospital from the ED. Being young (age 19 or less v. 40 or more: RR 0.60, 95% CI 0.45–0.82), rural-dwelling (v. urban-dwelling: RR 0.75, 95% CI 0.62–0.91) and low-income (Q1 v. Q5: RR 0.81, 95% CI 0.66–0.98) were each associated with a lower likelihood of admission. Being an immigrant (non-refugee immigrant v. Canadian-born/long-term resident: RR 1.29, 95% CI 1.06–1.56), of Chinese ethnicity (v. non-Chinese/South Asian ethnicity: RR 1.88, 95% CI 1.42–2.49); and living in the most v. least ethnically diverse neighbourhoods (RR 1.24, 95% CI 1.01–1.53) were associated with a higher likelihood of admission. Only Chinese ethnicity remained significant in the fully-adjusted model (aRR 1.49, 95% CI 1.24–1.80). Additive interactions were non-significant.
For the most part, whether a postpartum ED visit resulted in admission from the ED depended primarily on the clinical severity of presentation, not on individual or intersecting social determinants of health. Being of Chinese ethnicity did increase the likelihood of admission independent of clinical severity and other measured factors; the reasons for this warrant further exploration.
The first demonstration of laser action in ruby was made in 1960 by T. H. Maiman of Hughes Research Laboratories, USA. Many laboratories worldwide began the search for lasers using different materials, operating at different wavelengths. In the UK, academia, industry and the central laboratories took up the challenge from the earliest days to develop these systems for a broad range of applications. This historical review looks at the contribution the UK has made to the advancement of the technology, the development of systems and components and their exploitation over the last 60 years.
The COVID-19 pandemic and mitigation measures are likely to have a marked effect on mental health. It is important to use longitudinal data to improve inferences.
To quantify the prevalence of depression, anxiety and mental well-being before and during the COVID-19 pandemic. Also, to identify groups at risk of depression and/or anxiety during the pandemic.
Data were from the Avon Longitudinal Study of Parents and Children (ALSPAC) index generation (n = 2850, mean age 28 years) and parent generation (n = 3720, mean age 59 years), and Generation Scotland (n = 4233, mean age 59 years). Depression was measured with the Short Mood and Feelings Questionnaire in ALSPAC and the Patient Health Questionnaire-9 in Generation Scotland. Anxiety and mental well-being were measured with the Generalised Anxiety Disorder Assessment-7 and the Short Warwick Edinburgh Mental Wellbeing Scale.
Depression during the pandemic was similar to pre-pandemic levels in the ALSPAC index generation, but those experiencing anxiety had almost doubled, at 24% (95% CI 23–26%) compared with a pre-pandemic level of 13% (95% CI 12–14%). In both studies, anxiety and depression during the pandemic was greater in younger members, women, those with pre-existing mental/physical health conditions and individuals in socioeconomic adversity, even when controlling for pre-pandemic anxiety and depression.
These results provide evidence for increased anxiety in young people that is coincident with the pandemic. Specific groups are at elevated risk of depression and anxiety during the COVID-19 pandemic. This is important for planning current mental health provisions and for long-term impact beyond this pandemic.
The Patient Health Questionnaire (PHQ-9), the Beck Depression Inventory (BDI-II) and the Generalised Anxiety Disorder Assessment (GAD-7) are widely used in the evaluation of interventions for depression and anxiety. The smallest reduction in depressive symptoms that matter to patients is known as the Minimum Clinically Important Difference (MCID). Little empirical study of the MCID for these scales exists.
A prospective cohort of 400 patients in UK primary care were interviewed on four occasions, 2 weeks apart. At each time point, participants completed all three questionnaires and a ‘global rating of change’ scale (GRS). MCID estimation relied on estimated changes in symptoms according to reported improvement on the GRS scale, stratified by baseline severity on the Clinical Interview Schedule (CIS-R).
For moderate baseline severity, those who reported improvement on the GRS had a reduction of 21% (95% confidence interval (CI) −26.7 to −14.9) on the PHQ-9; 23% (95% CI −27.8 to −18.0) on the BDI-II and 26.8% (95% CI −33.5 to −20.1) on the GAD-7. The corresponding threshold scores below which participants were more likely to report improvement were −1.7, −3.5 and −1.5 points on the PHQ-9, BDI-II and GAD-7, respectively. Patients with milder symptoms require much larger reductions as percentage of their baseline to endorse improvement.
An MCID representing 20% reduction of scores in these scales, is a useful guide for patients with moderately severe symptoms. If treatment had the same effect on patients irrespective of baseline severity, those with low symptoms are unlikely to notice a benefit.
Given that smoking results in poor physical and mental health, reducing tobacco harm is of high importance. Recommendations published by the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence to reduce smoking harms included provision of support, use of nicotine containing products and commissioning of smoking cessation services.
This report explores the difficulties in obtaining such support, as observed in a recently conducted randomised controlled trial in patients with severe mental ill health, and outlines suggestions to improve facilitation of provision.
Data collected during the Smoking Cessation Intervention for Severe Mental Ill Health Trial (SCIMITAR+) (trial Registration ISRCTN72955454), was reviewed to identify the difficulties experienced, across the trial, with regards to access and provision of nicotine replacements therapy (NRT). Actions taken to facilitate access and provision of NRT were collated to outline how provision could be better facilitated.
Access to NRT varied across study settings and in some instances proved impossible for patients to access. Difficulty in access was irrespective of a diagnosis of severe mental ill health. Where NRT was provided, this was not always provided in accordance with NICE guidelines.
Availability of smoking cessation support, and NRT provision would benefit from being made clearer, simpler and more easily accessible so as to enhance smoking cessation rates.
The understanding of Hegel's metaphysics that is here argued for—that it is a metaphysics of the actual world—may sound trivial or empty. To counter this, in part one the actualist reading of Hegel's idealism is opposed to two other currently popular interpretations, those of the naturalist and the conceptual realist respectively. While actualism shares motivations with each of these positions, it is argued that it is better equipped to capture what both aim to bring out in Hegel's metaphysics, but also better able to resist criticisms of each of these opposed positions made from the viewpoint of the other.
Like the conceptual realist, the actualist wants to affirm the objectivity of concepts in the world—an idea that can seem antithetical to the naturalist. While the position of “liberal naturalism” makes concessions to such a position, this feature is more easily accommodated by the actualist. However, like the liberal naturalist, the actualist is also suspicious of an implicit “supernaturalist” dimension of conceptual realism and, by weakening the scope of realism to the actual world, is better able to avoid it.
The second and third parts of the paper attempt to show how the actualist position is reflected in Hegel's account of judgments and syllogisms in The Science of Logic. His account of judgments provides an irreducible place for judgments that are object-presupposing on the one hand and subject-locating on the other. Because such judgments are the components of syllogisms, these syllogisms have objectivity, but this is a type of objectivity within which we, as subjects, are by necessity located. The actual world has a conceptual structure because we conceptualizing beings belong to it.