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The COVID-19 pandemic has affected all our lives, not only through the infection itself but also through the measures taken to control the spread of the virus (e.g. lockdown).
Here, we investigated how the COVID-19 pandemic and unprecedented lockdown affected the mental health of young adults in England and Wales.
We compared the mental health symptoms of up to 4773 twins in their mid-20s in 2018 prior to the COVID-19 pandemic (T1) and during four-wave longitudinal data collection during the pandemic in April, July and October 2020, and in March 2021 (T2–T5) using phenotypic and genetic longitudinal designs.
The average changes in mental health were small to medium and mainly occurred from T1 to T2 (average Cohen d = 0.14). Despite the expectation of catastrophic effects of the pandemic on mental health, we did not observe trends in worsening mental health during the pandemic (T3–T5). Young people with pre-existing mental health problems were disproportionately affected at the beginning of the pandemic, but their increased problems largely subsided as the pandemic persisted. Twin analyses indicated that the aetiology of individual differences in mental health symptoms did not change during the lockdown (average heritability 33%); the average genetic correlation between T1 and T2–T5 was 0.95, indicating that genetic effects before the pandemic were substantially correlated with genetic effects up to a year later.
We conclude that on average the mental health of young adults in England and Wales has been remarkably resilient to the effects of the pandemic and associated lockdown.
Supplemental food from anthropogenic sources is a source of conflict with humans for many wildlife species. Food-seeking behaviours by black bears Ursus americanus and brown bears Ursus arctos can lead to property damage, human injury and mortality of the offending bears. Such conflicts are a well-known conservation management issue wherever people live in bear habitats. In contrast, the use of anthropogenic foods by the polar bear Ursus maritimus is less common historically but is a growing conservation and management issue across the Arctic. Here we present six case studies that illustrate how negative food-related interactions between humans and polar bears can become either chronic or ephemeral and unpredictable. Our examination suggests that attractants are an increasing problem, exacerbated by climate change-driven sea-ice losses that cause increased use of terrestrial habitats by bears. Growing human populations and increased human visitation increase the likelihood of human–polar bear conflict. Efforts to reduce food conditioning in polar bears include attractant management, proactive planning and adequate resources for northern communities to reduce conflicts and improve human safety. Permanent removal of unsecured sources of nutrition, to reduce food conditioning, should begin immediately at the local level as this will help to reduce polar bear mortality.
Evidence suggests that cognitive subtypes exist in schizophrenia that may reflect different neurobiological trajectories. We aimed to identify whether IQ-derived cognitive subtypes are present in early-phase schizophrenia-spectrum disorder and examine their relationship with brain structure and markers of neuroinflammation.
161 patients with recent-onset schizophrenia spectrum disorder (<5 years) were recruited. Estimated premorbid and current IQ were calculated using the Wechsler Test of Adult Reading and a 4-subtest WAIS-III. Cognitive subtypes were identified with k-means clustering. Freesurfer was used to analyse 3.0 T MRI. Blood samples were analysed for hs-CRP, IL-1RA, IL-6 and TNF-α.
Three subtypes were identified indicating preserved (PIQ), deteriorated (DIQ) and compromised (CIQ) IQ. Absolute total brain volume was significantly smaller in CIQ compared to PIQ and DIQ, and intracranial volume was smaller in CIQ than PIQ (F(2, 124) = 6.407, p = 0.002) indicative of premorbid smaller brain size in the CIQ group. CIQ had higher levels of hs-CRP than PIQ (F(2, 131) = 5.01, p = 0.008). PIQ showed differentially impaired processing speed and verbal learning compared to IQ-matched healthy controls.
The findings add validity of a neurodevelopmental subtype of schizophrenia identified by comparing estimated premorbid and current IQ and characterised by smaller premorbid brain volume and higher measures of low-grade inflammation (CRP).
Relapse and recurrence of depression are common, contributing to the overall burden of depression globally. Accurate prediction of relapse or recurrence while patients are well would allow the identification of high-risk individuals and may effectively guide the allocation of interventions to prevent relapse and recurrence.
To review prognostic models developed to predict the risk of relapse, recurrence, sustained remission, or recovery in adults with remitted major depressive disorder.
We searched the Cochrane Library (current issue); Ovid MEDLINE (1946 onwards); Ovid Embase (1980 onwards); Ovid PsycINFO (1806 onwards); and Web of Science (1900 onwards) up to May 2021. We included development and external validation studies of multivariable prognostic models. We assessed risk of bias of included studies using the Prediction model risk of bias assessment tool (PROBAST).
We identified 12 eligible prognostic model studies (11 unique prognostic models): 8 model development-only studies, 3 model development and external validation studies and 1 external validation-only study. Multiple estimates of performance measures were not available and meta-analysis was therefore not necessary. Eleven out of the 12 included studies were assessed as being at high overall risk of bias and none examined clinical utility.
Due to high risk of bias of the included studies, poor predictive performance and limited external validation of the models identified, presently available clinical prediction models for relapse and recurrence of depression are not yet sufficiently developed for deploying in clinical settings. There is a need for improved prognosis research in this clinical area and future studies should conform to best practice methodological and reporting guidelines.
In recent years, a variety of efforts have been made in political science to enable, encourage, or require scholars to be more open and explicit about the bases of their empirical claims and, in turn, make those claims more readily evaluable by others. While qualitative scholars have long taken an interest in making their research open, reflexive, and systematic, the recent push for overarching transparency norms and requirements has provoked serious concern within qualitative research communities and raised fundamental questions about the meaning, value, costs, and intellectual relevance of transparency for qualitative inquiry. In this Perspectives Reflection, we crystallize the central findings of a three-year deliberative process—the Qualitative Transparency Deliberations (QTD)—involving hundreds of political scientists in a broad discussion of these issues. Following an overview of the process and the key insights that emerged, we present summaries of the QTD Working Groups’ final reports. Drawing on a series of public, online conversations that unfolded at www.qualtd.net, the reports unpack transparency’s promise, practicalities, risks, and limitations in relation to different qualitative methodologies, forms of evidence, and research contexts. Taken as a whole, these reports—the full versions of which can be found in the Supplementary Materials—offer practical guidance to scholars designing and implementing qualitative research, and to editors, reviewers, and funders seeking to develop criteria of evaluation that are appropriate—as understood by relevant research communities—to the forms of inquiry being assessed. We dedicate this Reflection to the memory of our coauthor and QTD working group leader Kendra Koivu.1
Understanding place-based contributors to health requires geographically and culturally diverse study populations, but sharing location data is a significant challenge to multisite studies. Here, we describe a standardized and reproducible method to perform geospatial analyses for multisite studies. Using census tract-level information, we created software for geocoding and geospatial data linkage that was distributed to a consortium of birth cohorts located throughout the USA. Individual sites performed geospatial linkages and returned tract-level information for 8810 children to a central site for analyses. Our generalizable approach demonstrates the feasibility of geospatial analyses across study sites to promote collaborative translational research.
Accurately dating when people first colonized new areas is vital for understanding the pace of past cultural and environmental changes, including questions of mobility, human impacts and human responses to climate change. Establishing effective chronologies of these events requires the synthesis of multiple radiocarbon (14C) dates. Various “chronometric hygiene” protocols have been used to refine 14C dating of island colonization, but they can discard up to 95% of available 14C dates leaving very small datasets for further analysis. Despite their foundation in sound theory, without independent tests we cannot know if these protocols are apt, too strict or too lax. In Iceland, an ice core-dated tephrochronology of the archaeology of first settlement enables us to evaluate the accuracy of 14C chronologies. This approach demonstrated that the inclusion of a wider range of 14C samples in Bayesian models improves the precision, but does not affect the model outcome. Therefore, based on our assessments, we advocate a new protocol that works with a much wider range of samples and where outlying 14C dates are systematically disqualified using Bayesian Outlier Models. We show that this approach can produce robust termini ante quos for colonization events and may be usefully applied elsewhere.
The subsurface exploration of other planetary bodies can be used to unravel their geological history and assess their habitability. On Mars in particular, present-day habitable conditions may be restricted to the subsurface. Using a deep subsurface mine, we carried out a program of extraterrestrial analog research – MINe Analog Research (MINAR). MINAR aims to carry out the scientific study of the deep subsurface and test instrumentation designed for planetary surface exploration by investigating deep subsurface geology, whilst establishing the potential this technology has to be transferred into the mining industry. An integrated multi-instrument suite was used to investigate samples of representative evaporite minerals from a subsurface Permian evaporite sequence, in particular to assess mineral and elemental variations which provide small-scale regions of enhanced habitability. The instruments used were the Panoramic Camera emulator, Close-Up Imager, Raman spectrometer, Small Planetary Linear Impulse Tool, Ultrasonic drill and handheld X-ray diffraction (XRD). We present science results from the analog research and show that these instruments can be used to investigate in situ the geological context and mineralogical variations of a deep subsurface environment, and thus habitability, from millimetre to metre scales. We also show that these instruments are complementary. For example, the identification of primary evaporite minerals such as NaCl and KCl, which are difficult to detect by portable Raman spectrometers, can be accomplished with XRD. By contrast, Raman is highly effective at locating and detecting mineral inclusions in primary evaporite minerals. MINAR demonstrates the effective use of a deep subsurface environment for planetary instrument development, understanding the habitability of extreme deep subsurface environments on Earth and other planetary bodies, and advancing the use of space technology in economic mining.
Bloodstream infection (BSI) due to methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) is associated with considerable morbidity and mortality.
To determine the incidence of MRSA BSI in Canadian hospitals and to identify variables associated with increased mortality.
Prospective surveillance for MRSA BSI conducted in 53 Canadian hospitals from January 1, 2008, through December 31, 2012. Thirty-day all-cause mortality was determined, and logistic regression analysis was used to identify variables associated with mortality.
A total of 1,753 patients with MRSA BSI were identified (incidence, 0.45 per 1,000 admissions). The most common sites presumed to be the source of infection were skin/soft tissue (26.6%) and an intravascular catheter (22.0%). The most common spa types causing MRSA BSI were t002 (USA100/800; 55%) and t008 (USA300; 29%). Thirty-day all-cause mortality was 23.8%. Mortality was associated with increasing age (odds ratio, 1.03 per year [95% CI, 1.02–1.04]), the presence of pleuropulmonary infection (2.3 [1.4–3.7]), transfer to an intensive care unit (3.2 [2.1–5.0]), and failure to receive appropriate antimicrobial therapy within 24 hours of MRSA identification (3.2 [2.1–5.0]); a skin/soft-tissue source of BSI was associated with decreased mortality (0.5 [0.3–0.9]). MRSA genotype and reduced susceptibility to vancomycin were not associated with risk of death.
This study provides additional insight into the relative impact of various host and microbial factors associated with mortality in patients with MRSA BSI. The results emphasize the importance of ensuring timely receipt of appropriate antimicrobial agents to reduce the risk of an adverse outcome.
Infect. Control Hosp. Epidemiol. 2016;37(4):390–397
We present the results of an approximately 6 100 deg2 104–196 MHz radio sky survey performed with the Murchison Widefield Array during instrument commissioning between 2012 September and 2012 December: the MWACS. The data were taken as meridian drift scans with two different 32-antenna sub-arrays that were available during the commissioning period. The survey covers approximately 20.5 h < RA < 8.5 h, − 58° < Dec < −14°over three frequency bands centred on 119, 150 and 180 MHz, with image resolutions of 6–3 arcmin. The catalogue has 3 arcmin angular resolution and a typical noise level of 40 mJy beam− 1, with reduced sensitivity near the field boundaries and bright sources. We describe the data reduction strategy, based upon mosaicked snapshots, flux density calibration, and source-finding method. We present a catalogue of flux density and spectral index measurements for 14 110 sources, extracted from the mosaic, 1 247 of which are sub-components of complexes of sources.
Aspects of disordered eating and personality traits, such as neuroticism, are correlated and individually heritable. We examined the phenotypic correlation between binge eating episodes and indices of personality (neuroticism, extraversion, openness to experience, agreeableness, conscientiousness, and control/impulsivity). For correlations ≥|0.20|, we estimated the extent to which genetic and environmental factors contributed to this correlation. Participants included 3,446 European American same-sex female twins from the Missouri Adolescent Female Twin Study (median age = 22 years). Binge eating episode was assessed via interview questions. Personality traits were assessed by self-report questionnaires. There was a significant moderate phenotypic correlation between binge eating episode and neuroticism (r = 0.33) as well as conscientiousness (r = -0.21), while other correlations were significant but smaller (r ranging from -0.14 to 0.14). Individual differences in binge eating episodes, neuroticism, and conscientiousness were attributed to additive genetic influences (38% [95% CI: 21–53%], 45% [95% CI: 38–52%], and 44% [95% CI: 0.33–0.55%] respectively), with the remaining variance attributed to individual-specific environmental influences. Covariance was attributable to genetic (neuroticism rg = 0.37; conscientiousness rg = -0.22) and individual-specific environmental (neuroticism re = 0.28; conscientiousness re = -0.19) influences. Personality traits may be an early indicator of genetic vulnerability to a variety of pathological behaviors, including binge eating episode. Furthermore, prior research documenting phenotypic correlations between eating disorder diagnoses and personality may have stemmed from etiological overlap between these personality traits and aspects of disordered eating, such as binge eating episode.
Significant new opportunities for astrophysics and cosmology have been identified at low radio frequencies. The Murchison Widefield Array is the first telescope in the southern hemisphere designed specifically to explore the low-frequency astronomical sky between 80 and 300 MHz with arcminute angular resolution and high survey efficiency. The telescope will enable new advances along four key science themes, including searching for redshifted 21-cm emission from the EoR in the early Universe; Galactic and extragalactic all-sky southern hemisphere surveys; time-domain astrophysics; and solar, heliospheric, and ionospheric science and space weather. The Murchison Widefield Array is located in Western Australia at the site of the planned Square Kilometre Array (SKA) low-band telescope and is the only low-frequency SKA precursor facility. In this paper, we review the performance properties of the Murchison Widefield Array and describe its primary scientific objectives.
Heterogeneity is observed in the patterns of cognition in Alzheimer’s disease (AD). Such heterogeneity might suggest the involvement of different etiological pathways or different host responses to pathology. A total of 627 subjects with mild/moderate AD underwent cognitive assessment with the Mini-Mental State Examination (MMSE) and the Dementia Rating Scale-2 (DRS-2). Latent class analysis (LCA) was performed on cognition subscale data to identify and characterize cognitive subgroups. Clinical, demographic, and genetic factors were explored for association with class membership. LCA suggested the existence of four subgroups; one group with mild and another with severe global impairment across the cognitive domains, one group with primary impairments in attention and construction, and another group with primary deficits in memory and orientation. Education, disease duration, age, Apolipoprotein E-ε4 (APOE ε4) status, gender, presence of grasp reflex, white matter changes, and early or prominent visuospatial impairment were all associated with class membership. Our results support the existence of heterogeneity in patterns of cognitive impairment in AD. Our observation of classes characterized by predominant deficits in attention/construction and memory respectively deserves further exploration as does the association between membership in the attention/construction class and APOE ε4 negative status. (JINS, 2010, 16, 233–243.)
Approximately 25 % of individuals with Crohn's disease (CD), a life-long relapsing-remitting disease, are diagnosed during childhood and adolescence. Symptoms of CD, including abdominal pain, nausea and diarrhoea, can lead to reduced food intake, which may negatively have an impact on nutritional status during this critical period of growth and development. The aims of the present study were to assess the growth and adequacy of dietary intakes of children with CD at Sydney Children's Hospital, Randwick, and compare with healthy controls. Sixty-three subjects aged 10–16 years were recruited, including: children with active CD (n 18), children with CD in remission (n 23) and healthy controls (n 22). Dietary intake was assessed using a FFQ and compared with current Australian recommended dietary intakes (RDI). Growth and dietary intakes were compared between groups. Subjects with active CD had lower weight and BMI Z scores than children in remission and controls. The energy intakes of children with active CD and those in remission were significantly lower than estimated energy requirements (P = 0·001 and P = 0·03 respectively). Children with active CD did not meet the RDI for Fe and their Ca intake was lower than the RDI (P = 0·04). In conclusion, the dietary intake of children with active CD was impaired, with inadequate intakes of energy, Ca and Fe. Reduced energy intakes during active disease may contribute to poor weight gain and impaired growth. Quantifying nutrient intake and ascertaining requirements for nutritional supplementation are essential components of successful management in paediatric CD.
The risk factors for fractures are incompletely understood. An outstanding question concerns the optimal amount of dietary calcium needed to minimise the risk of fracture.
We examined the associations of dietary calcium and other nutrients with self-reported fracture risk in a prospective cohort study. Nutrient intakes were estimated using a semi-quantitative food-frequency questionnaire administered at recruitment.
A total of 26 749 women and 7947 men aged 20–89 years.
Over an average of 5.2 years of follow-up, 1555 women and 343 men reported one or more fractures, 72% of these resulting from a fall. Among women, fracture risk was higher at lower calcium intakes, with a relative risk of 1.75 (95% confidence interval (CI) 1.33–2.29) among women with a calcium intake of < 525 mg day− 1 compared with women with a calcium intake of at least 1200 mg day− 1 (test for linear trend, P < 0.001). The association of dietary calcium with fracture risk was stronger among women aged under 50 years at recruitment than among women aged 50 and above. Dietary calcium intake was not associated with fracture risk in men. Fracture risk was not related to the dietary intake of any other nutrient examined.
In this population, women with a low dietary calcium intake had an increased risk of bone fracture, and this association was more marked among younger women than among older women.
The mean inner potentials of wurtzite GaN nanowires are measured using off-axis electron holography in the transmission electron microscope (TEM). The nanowires have a circular cross-section and are suspended across holes in a holey carbon film, resulting in an accurate knowledge of their thickness profiles and orientations. They are also free of the implantation and damage that is present in mechanically-polished ion-milled TEM specimens. The effect of a thin amorphous coating, which is present on the surfaces of the nanowires, on measurements of their mean inner potential is assessed. A value for the mean inner potential of GaN of (16.7 ± 0.3) V is obtained from these samples.