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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.
Chronic inflammation is known to be a predominant factor in the development of many age-related conditions including CVD, type II diabetes and neurodegenerative diseases. Previous studies have demonstrated that during the ageing process there is an increase in inflammatory biomarkers, which may be partially brought about by detrimental changes in the gut microbiota. The Mediterranean diet (MedDiet) and physical activity (PA) are protective against inflammation and chronic disease, and emerging evidence has shown that these effects may be partially mediated through favourable changes in the gut microbiota. In this review, we have evaluated the published literature on the effect of a MedDiet and PA on the gut microbiota. We also discuss the relationship between the gut microbiota and inflammation with a focus on healthy ageing. While inconsistent study designs make forming definitive conclusions challenging, the current evidence suggests that both a MedDiet and PA are capable of modifying the gut microbiota in a way that is beneficial to host health. For example, the increases in the relative abundance of SCFA producing bacteria that are considered to possess anti-inflammatory properties. Modification of the gut microbiota through a MedDiet and PA presents as a potential method to attenuate age-related increases in inflammation, and additional studies utilising older individuals are needed to fill the knowledge gaps existing in current literature.
Of those with schizophrenia, one third develop treatment-resistant illness. Nearly 60% of these benefit from clozapine- the only antipsychotic medication licensed in this group.
As treatment-resistant illness developed in the follow-up of a first-episode psychosis (FEP) cohort, clozapine was prescribed. This study retrospectively compared the clozapine prescribing patterns, within this cohort, to National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) guidelines. In addition, impact on hospitalisation, physical health monitoring and augmentation strategies employed following clozapine initiation were examined. Factors delaying initiation of clozapine treatment or contributing to its discontinuation were also explored.
The study included 339 individuals resident within an Irish community mental health team catchment area, referred with FEP from 1 January 2005 to 31 August 2016. Data were extracted from electronic medical records.
Within the cohort, clozapine was prescribed to 32 individuals (9.4%). The mean number of adequate trials of antipsychotic prior to starting clozapine was 2.74 (SD 1.13; range 1–5). The mean time to clozapine trial was 2.1 years (SD 1.95; range 0.17–6.25). Following initiation of clozapine, mean hospital admissions per year fell from 2.3 to 0.3 (p=0.00). Mean inpatient days pre- and post-clozapine also decreased (147 vs. 53; p=0.00). In all, 18 patients ceased use of clozapine, 5 temporarily and 13 permanently.
Patients are being prescribed clozapine earlier than previously demonstrated. However, delayed treatment remains common, and many patients discontinue clozapine. Further research is necessary to describe and address factors which contribute to its discontinuation.
Immune system abnormalities exist across a range of psychiatric disorders. Autoimmunity, characterized by the production of antibodies against the body’s own antigens, is a feature of immune system dysfunction and could play a role in mental disorder pathophysiology. Better understanding of the associations of auto-immunoglobulin G (IgG) repertoires with clinical features of mental illness could yield novel models of psychosis pathophysiology and markers for biological patient stratification.
To undertake global screening for auto-IgG expression in a large cohort of people with psychotic disorders; to determine whether associations exist between autoantibody expression and clinical features.
Cross-sectional quantification of auto-IgGs in blood plasma of 461 people with established psychotic disorder diagnoses. For global screening, pooled samples of phenotypically representative patient groups were exposed to planar protein microarrays containing 42,000 human antigens. For targeted profiling, expression levels of 380 autoantibodies were quantified by suspension bead array (SBA) in each patient’s plasma.
We identified highly individual autoantibody profiles with no evidence for co-expression patterns. We found 6 autoantibodies robustly associated with specific psychopathology: anti-AP3B2, detected in 5% of the cohort of whom 100% had persecutory delusions; anti-TDO2 (5% of the cohort, 100% hallucinations); anti-CRYGN (4%, 86% initial insomnia); anti-APMAP (3%, 86% poor appetite); anti-OLFM1 (2.5%, 100% above median cognitive function); and anti-WHAMMP3 (2%, 90% anhedonia and dysphoria). Examination of the auto-IgG binding site on the TDO2 protein revealed a putative pathophysiological mechanism involving the kynurenine pathway.
We identified 6 frequently occurring autoantibodies that were associated with specific clinical features in people with psychotic disorders.
Paediatric cardiology fellows, tasked with studying a large and dynamic field, may benefit from a quick-access digital resource that reflects contemporary practice. The objective of this study was to evaluate the effectiveness of a paediatric cardiology handbook smartphone app in enhancing the accessibility of information such as guidelines and recommendations for paediatric cardiology fellows.
Materials and methods:
The Peds Cardiology Handbook app (iOS) was designed using XCode and Swift programming. A pre-app survey and download instructions were sent to the US paediatric cardiology fellows, followed by a post-app survey. Fellows were asked to rate the ease of rapid access to various types of information. Responses were compared pre- and post-app using McNemar’s test and Wilcoxon signed-rank test.
Two-hundred and thirty paediatric cardiology fellows were contacted; 23% (n = 53) completed both the pre- and post-app surveys and were included for analysis. After using the app, fellows found it easier to quickly access information in eight out of nine domains evaluated (p < 0.05). All fellows found the app easy to use (100%), most felt that the app was well-organised (98%), contained reliable information (92%), and was useful for finding quick answers to clinical questions (87%).
The Peds Cardiology Handbook iPhone app is a useful, reliable tool that provides quick access to high-yield information, including guidelines and references. Overall, paediatric cardiology fellows found it easier to rapidly access clinically relevant information after using the app. Future studies may be necessary to evaluate long-term use and impact on evidence-based practice.
Bell's palsy is a lower motor neurone facial weakness of unknown aetiology, although reactivation of a virus within the facial nerve has been proposed.
A prospective study was conducted of Bell's palsy cases presenting to our paediatric ENT unit over a 19-week period, from February to June 2020. Patients were invited for severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus-2 antibody testing. A text-message questionnaire was sent to other ENT centres to determine their observational experience.
During the study period, 17 children presented with Bell's palsy, compared with only 3 children in the same time period in the previous year (p < 0.0001). Five patients underwent severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus-2 antibody testing, the results of which were all negative. Four out of 15 centres questioned perceived an increased incidence in paediatric Bell's palsy.
Clinicians are encouraged to be vigilant to the increase in paediatric Bell's palsy seen during the coronavirus disease 2019 pandemic, which may represent a post-viral sequela of coronavirus disease 2019.
When presenting with a first episode of psychosis (FEP), migrants can have different demographic and clinical characteristics to the native-born population and this was examined in an Irish Early Intervention for Psychosis service.
All cases of treated FEP from three local mental health services within a defined catchment area were included. Psychotic disorder diagnoses were determined using the SCID and symptom and functioning domains were measured using validated and reliable measures.
From a cohort of 612 people, 21.1% were first-generation migrants and there was no difference in the demographic characteristics, diagnoses, symptoms or functioning between migrants and those born in the Republic of Ireland, except that migrants from Africa presented with less insight. Of those admitted, 48.6% of admissions for migrants were involuntary compared to 37.7% for the native-born population (p = 0.09).
First-generation migrants now make up a significant proportion of people presenting with a FEP to an Irish EI for psychosis service. Broadly the demographic and clinical characteristics of migrants and those born in the Republic of Ireland are similar, except for less insight in migrants from Africa and a trend for a higher proportion of involuntary admissions in the total migrant group.
This chapter comprises the following sections: names, taxonomy, subspecies and distribution, descriptive notes, habitat, movements and home range, activity patterns, feeding ecology, reproduction and growth, behavior, parasites and diseases, status in the wild, and status in captivity.
There is a high rate of psychiatric comorbidity in patients with epilepsy. However, the impact of surgical treatment of refractory epilepsy on psychopathology remains under investigation. We aimed to examine the impact of epilepsy surgery on psychopathology and quality of life at 1-year post-surgery in a population of patients with epilepsy refractory to medication.
This study initially assessed 48 patients with refractory epilepsy using the Structured Clinical Interview for DSM-IV Axis I Disorders (SCID-I), the Hospital Anxiety and Depression Scale (HADS) and the Quality of Life in Epilepsy Inventory 89 (QOLIE-89) on admission to an Epilepsy Monitoring Unit (EMU) as part of their pre-surgical assessment. These patients were again assessed using the SCID-I, QOLIE-89 and HADS at 1-year follow-up post-surgery.
There was a significant reduction in psychopathology, particularly psychosis, following surgery at 1-year follow-up (p < 0.021). There were no new cases of de novo psychosis and surgery was also associated with a significant improvement in the quality of life scores (p < 0.001).
This study demonstrates the impact of epilepsy surgery on psychopathology and quality of life in a patient population with refractory surgery. The presence of a psychiatric illness should not be a barrier to access surgical treatment.
Gravitational waves from coalescing neutron stars encode information about nuclear matter at extreme densities, inaccessible by laboratory experiments. The late inspiral is influenced by the presence of tides, which depend on the neutron star equation of state. Neutron star mergers are expected to often produce rapidly rotating remnant neutron stars that emit gravitational waves. These will provide clues to the extremely hot post-merger environment. This signature of nuclear matter in gravitational waves contains most information in the 2–4 kHz frequency band, which is outside of the most sensitive band of current detectors. We present the design concept and science case for a Neutron Star Extreme Matter Observatory (NEMO): a gravitational-wave interferometer optimised to study nuclear physics with merging neutron stars. The concept uses high-circulating laser power, quantum squeezing, and a detector topology specifically designed to achieve the high-frequency sensitivity necessary to probe nuclear matter using gravitational waves. Above 1 kHz, the proposed strain sensitivity is comparable to full third-generation detectors at a fraction of the cost. Such sensitivity changes expected event rates for detection of post-merger remnants from approximately one per few decades with two A+ detectors to a few per year and potentially allow for the first gravitational-wave observations of supernovae, isolated neutron stars, and other exotica.
Through diversity of composition, sequence, and interfacial structure, hybrid materials greatly expand the palette of materials available to access novel functionality. The NSF Division of Materials Research recently supported a workshop (October 17–18, 2019) aiming to (1) identify fundamental questions and potential solutions common to multiple disciplines within the hybrid materials community; (2) initiate interfield collaborations between hybrid materials researchers; and (3) raise awareness in the wider community about experimental toolsets, simulation capabilities, and shared facilities that can accelerate this research. This article reports on the outcomes of the workshop as a basis for cross-community discussion. The interdisciplinary challenges and opportunities are presented, and followed with a discussion of current areas of progress in subdisciplines including hybrid synthesis, functional surfaces, and functional interfaces.
Synchrotron x-rays are a powerful tool to probe real-time changes in the microstructure of materials as they respond to an external stimulus, such as phase transformations that take place in response to a change in temperature. X-ray imaging techniques include radiography and tomography, and have been steadily improved over the last decades so that they can now resolve micrometer-scale or even finer structural changes in bulk specimens over time scales of a second or less. Under certain conditions, these imaging approaches can also give spatially resolved chemical information. In this article, we focus on the liquid to solid transformation of metallic alloys and the temporal and spatial resolution of the accompanying segregation of alloying elements. The solidification of alloys provides an excellent case study for x-ray imaging because it is usually accompanied by the progressive, preferential segregation of one or more of the alloying elements to either the solid or the liquid, and gives rise to surprisingly complex chemical segregation patterns. We describe chemical mapping investigations of binary and quasi-binary alloys using radiography and tomography, and recent developments in x-ray fluorescence imaging that offer the prospect of a more general, multielement mapping technique. Future developments for synchrotron-based chemical mapping are also considered.
In 2007, a report from the European Science Foundation on Investigating Life in Extreme Environments defined extreme environments as ‘having one or more environmental parameters showing values permanently close to lower or upper limits known for life in its various forms’ (CAREX, 2011).
In many countries, health technology assessment (HTA) organizations determine the economic value of new drugs and make recommendations regarding appropriate pricing and coverage in national health systems. In the US, recent policy proposals aimed at reducing drug costs would link drug prices to six countries: Australia, Canada, France, Germany, Japan, and the UK. We reviewed these countries’ methods of HTA and guidance on price and coverage recommendations, analyzing methods and guidance documents for differences in (1) the methodologies HTA organizations use to conduct their evaluations and (2) considerations they use when making recommendations. We found important differences in the methods, interpretations of HTA findings, and condition-specific carve-outs that HTA organizations use to conduct evaluations and make recommendations. These variations have ethical implications because they influence the recommendations of HTA organizations, which affect access to the drug through national insurance and price negotiations with manufacturers. The differences in HTA approaches result from the distinct political, social, and cultural contexts of each organization and its value judgments. New cost-containment policies in the US should consider the ethical implications of the HTA reviews that they are considering relying on to negotiate drug prices and what values should be included in US pricing policy.