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Abnormal effort-based decision-making represents a potential mechanism underlying motivational deficits (amotivation) in psychotic disorders. Previous research identified effort allocation impairment in chronic schizophrenia and focused mostly on physical effort modality. No study has investigated cognitive effort allocation in first-episode psychosis (FEP).
Cognitive effort allocation was examined in 40 FEP patients and 44 demographically-matched healthy controls, using Cognitive Effort-Discounting (COGED) paradigm which quantified participants’ willingness to expend cognitive effort in terms of explicit, continuous discounting of monetary rewards based on parametrically-varied cognitive demands (levels N of N-back task). Relationship between reward-discounting and amotivation was investigated. Group differences in reward-magnitude and effort-cost sensitivity, and differential associations of these sensitivity indices with amotivation were explored.
Patients displayed significantly greater reward-discounting than controls. In particular, such discounting was most pronounced in patients with high levels of amotivation even when N-back performance and reward base amount were taken into consideration. Moreover, patients exhibited reduced reward-benefit sensitivity and effort-cost sensitivity relative to controls, and that decreased sensitivity to reward-benefit but not effort-cost was correlated with diminished motivation. Reward-discounting and sensitivity indices were generally unrelated to other symptom dimensions, antipsychotic dose and cognitive deficits.
This study provides the first evidence of cognitive effort-based decision-making impairment in FEP, and indicates that decreased effort expenditure is associated with amotivation. Our findings further suggest that abnormal effort allocation and amotivation might primarily be related to blunted reward valuation. Prospective research is required to clarify the utility of effort-based measures in predicting amotivation and functional outcome in FEP.
To determine the effect of mandatory and nonmandatory influenza vaccination policies on vaccination rates and symptomatic absenteeism among healthcare personnel (HCP).
Retrospective observational cohort study.
This study took place at 3 university medical centers with mandatory influenza vaccination policies and 4 Veterans Affairs (VA) healthcare systems with nonmandatory influenza vaccination policies.
The study included 2,304 outpatient HCP at mandatory vaccination sites and 1,759 outpatient HCP at nonmandatory vaccination sites.
To determine the incidence and duration of absenteeism in outpatient settings, HCP participating in the Respiratory Protection Effectiveness Clinical Trial at both mandatory and nonmandatory vaccination sites over 3 viral respiratory illness (VRI) seasons (2012–2015) reported their influenza vaccination status and symptomatic days absent from work weekly throughout a 12-week period during the peak VRI season each year. The adjusted effects of vaccination and other modulating factors on absenteeism rates were estimated using multivariable regression models.
The proportion of participants who received influenza vaccination was lower each year at nonmandatory than at mandatory vaccination sites (odds ratio [OR], 0.09; 95% confidence interval [CI], 0.07–0.11). Among HCP who reported at least 1 sick day, vaccinated HCP had lower symptomatic days absent compared to unvaccinated HCP (OR for 2012–2013 and 2013–2014, 0.82; 95% CI, 0.72–0.93; OR for 2014–2015, 0.81; 95% CI, 0.69–0.95).
These data suggest that mandatory HCP influenza vaccination policies increase influenza vaccination rates and that HCP symptomatic absenteeism diminishes as rates of influenza vaccination increase. These findings should be considered in formulating HCP influenza vaccination policies.
Experiments were conducted to determine the effectiveness of controlling vortex breakdown in a confined cylindrical vessel using a small rotating disk, which was flush-mounted into the opposite endwall to the rotating endwall driving the primary recirculating flow. The results show that the control disk, with relatively little power input, can modify the azimuthal and axial flow significantly, changing the entire flow structure in the cylinder. Co-rotation was found to precipitate vortex breakdown onset whereas counter-rotation delays it. Furthermore, for the Reynolds-number range over which breakdown normally exists, co-rotation increases the bubble radial and axial dimensions, while shifting the bubble in the upstream direction. By contrast, counter-rotation tends to reduce the size of the bubble, or completely suppress it, while shifting the bubble in the downstream direction. These effects are amplified substantially by the use of larger control disks and higher rotation ratios. A series of numerical simulations close to the onset Reynolds number reveals that the control disk acts to generate a rotation-rate-invariant local positive or negative azimuthal vorticity source away from the immediate vicinity of the control disk but upstream of breakdown. Advection of this source along streamlines modifies the strength of the azimuthal vorticity ring, which effectively controls whether the flow reverses on the axis, and thus, in turn, whether vortex breakdown occurs. The vorticity source generated by the control disk scales approximately linearly with rotation ratio and cubically with disk diameter; this allows the observed variation of the critical Reynolds number to be approximately predicted.
The Millimetre Astronomy Legacy Team 90 GHz (MALT90) survey aims to characterise the physical and chemical evolution of high-mass star-forming clumps. Exploiting the unique broad frequency range and on-the-fly mapping capabilities of the Australia Telescope National Facility Mopra 22 m single-dish telescope1, MALT90 has obtained 3′ × 3′ maps towards ~2 000 dense molecular clumps identified in the ATLASGAL 870 μm Galactic plane survey. The clumps were selected to host the early stages of high-mass star formation and to span the complete range in their evolutionary states (from prestellar, to protostellar, and on to
regions and photodissociation regions). Because MALT90 mapped 16 lines simultaneously with excellent spatial (38 arcsec) and spectral (0.11 km s−1) resolution, the data reveal a wealth of information about the clumps’ morphologies, chemistry, and kinematics. In this paper we outline the survey strategy, observing mode, data reduction procedure, and highlight some early science results. All MALT90 raw and processed data products are available to the community. With its unprecedented large sample of clumps, MALT90 is the largest survey of its type ever conducted and an excellent resource for identifying interesting candidates for high-resolution studies with ALMA.
The Australian Square Kilometre Array Pathfinder (ASKAP) will give us an unprecedented opportunity to investigate the transient sky at radio wavelengths. In this paper we present VAST, an ASKAP survey for Variables and Slow Transients. VAST will exploit the wide-field survey capabilities of ASKAP to enable the discovery and investigation of variable and transient phenomena from the local to the cosmological, including flare stars, intermittent pulsars, X-ray binaries, magnetars, extreme scattering events, interstellar scintillation, radio supernovae, and orphan afterglows of gamma-ray bursts. In addition, it will allow us to probe unexplored regions of parameter space where new classes of transient sources may be detected. In this paper we review the known radio transient and variable populations and the current results from blind radio surveys. We outline a comprehensive program based on a multi-tiered survey strategy to characterise the radio transient sky through detection and monitoring of transient and variable sources on the ASKAP imaging timescales of 5 s and greater. We also present an analysis of the expected source populations that we will be able to detect with VAST.
A survey of the Milky Way disk and the Magellanic System at the wavelengths of the 21-cm atomic hydrogen (H i) line and three 18-cm lines of the OH molecule will be carried out with the Australian Square Kilometre Array Pathfinder telescope. The survey will study the distribution of H i emission and absorption with unprecedented angular and velocity resolution, as well as molecular line thermal emission, absorption, and maser lines. The area to be covered includes the Galactic plane (|b| < 10°) at all declinations south of δ = +40°, spanning longitudes 167° through 360°to 79° at b = 0°, plus the entire area of the Magellanic Stream and Clouds, a total of 13 020 deg2. The brightness temperature sensitivity will be very good, typically σT≃ 1 K at resolution 30 arcsec and 1 km s−1. The survey has a wide spectrum of scientific goals, from studies of galaxy evolution to star formation, with particular contributions to understanding stellar wind kinematics, the thermal phases of the interstellar medium, the interaction between gas in the disk and halo, and the dynamical and thermal states of gas at various positions along the Magellanic Stream.
Abnormalities in hippocampal–parahippocampal (H-PH) function are prominent features of schizophrenia and have been associated with deficits in episodic memory. However, it remains unclear whether these abnormalities represent a phenotype related to genetic risk for schizophrenia or whether they are related to disease state.
We investigated H-PH-mediated behavior and physiology, using blood oxygenation level-dependent functional magnetic resonance imaging (BOLD fMRI), during episodic memory in a sample of patients with schizophrenia, clinically unaffected siblings and healthy subjects.
Patients with schizophrenia and unaffected siblings displayed abnormalities in episodic memory performance. During an fMRI memory encoding task, both patients and siblings demonstrated a similar pattern of reduced H-PH engagement compared with healthy subjects.
Our findings suggest that the pathophysiological mechanism underlying the inability of patients with schizophrenia to properly engage the H-PH during episodic memory is related to genetic risk for the disorder. Therefore, H-PH dysfunction can be assumed as a schizophrenia susceptibility-related phenotype.
Emotion dysregulation is a key feature of schizophrenia, a brain disorder strongly associated with genetic risk and aberrant dopamine signalling. Dopamine is inactivated by catechol-O-methyltransferase (COMT), whose gene contains a functional polymorphism (COMT Val158Met) associated with differential activity of the enzyme and with brain physiology of emotion processing. The aim of the present study was to investigate whether genetic risk for schizophrenia and COMT Val158Met genotype interact on brain activity during implicit and explicit emotion processing.
A total of 25 patients with schizophrenia, 23 healthy siblings of patients and 24 comparison subjects genotyped for COMT Val158Met underwent functional magnetic resonance imaging during implicit and explicit processing of facial stimuli with negative emotional valence.
We found a main effect of diagnosis in the right amygdala, with decreased activity in patients and siblings compared with control subjects. Furthermore, a genotype × diagnosis interaction was found in the left middle frontal gyrus, such that the effect of genetic risk for schizophrenia was evident in the context of the Val/Val genotype only, i.e. the phenotype of reduced activity was present especially in Val/Val patients and siblings. Finally, a complete inversion of the COMT effect between patients and healthy subjects was found in the left striatum during explicit processing.
Overall, these results suggest complex interactions between genetically determined dopamine signalling and risk for schizophrenia on brain activity in the prefrontal cortex during emotion processing. On the other hand, the effects in the striatum may represent state-related epiphenomena of the disorder itself.
The effects of source field plates on AlGaN/GaN High Electron Mobility Transistor reliability under off-state stress conditions were investigated using step-stress cycling. The source field plate enhanced the drain breakdown voltage from 55V to 155V and the critical voltage for off-state gate stress from 40V to 65V, relative to devices without the field plate. Transmission electron microscopy was used to examine the degradation of the gate contacts. The presence of cracking that appeared on both source and drain side of the gate edges was attributed to the inverse piezoelectric effect. In addition, a thin oxide layer was observed between the Ni gate contact and the AlGaN layer, and both Ni and oxygen had diffused into the AlGaN layer. The critical degradation voltage of AlGaN/GaN High Electron Mobility Transistors during off-state electrical stress was determined as a function of Ni/Au gate dimensions (0.1-0.17μm). Devices with different gate length and gate-drain distances were found to exhibit the onset of degradation at different source-drain biases but similar electric field strengths, showing that the degradation mechanism is primarily field-driven. The temperature dependence of sub-threshold drain current versus gate voltage at a constant drain bias voltage were used to determine the trap densities in AlGaN/GaN high electron mobility transistors (HEMTs) before and after the off-state stress. Two different trap densities were obtained for the measurements conducted at 300-493K and 493-573K, respectively.
In this work, Dopant Segregated Schottky Barrier (DSSB) and Schottky Barrier (SB) vertical silicon nanowire (VSiNW) diodes were fabricated on p-type Si substrate using CMOS-compatible processes to investigate the effects of segregated dopants at the silicide/silicon interface and different annealing processes on nickel silicide formation in DSSB VSiNW diodes. With segregated dopants at the silicide/silicon interface, VSiNW diodes showed higher on-current, due to an enhanced carrier tunneling, and much lower leakage current. This can be attributed to the altered energy bands caused by the accumulated Arsenic dopants at the interface. Moreover, DSSB VSiNW diodes also gave ideality factor much closer to unity and exhibited lower electron SBH (ΦBn) than SB VSiNW diodes. This proved that interfacial accumulated dopants could impede the inhomogeneous nature of the Schottky diodes and simultaneously, minimize the effect of Fermi level pinning and ionization of surface defect states. Comparing the impact of different silicide formation annealing using DSSB VSiNW diodes, the 2-step anneal process reduces the silicide intrusion length within the SiNW by ~ 5X and the silicide interface was smooth along the (100) direction. Furthermore, the 2-step DSSB VSiNW diode also exhibited much lower leakage current and an ideality factor much closer to unity, as compared to 1-step DSSB VSiNW diode.
Over the past 3 years, we have conducted a survey of 100 square degrees of the southern Galactic plane with the Mopra radiotelescope (HOPS). The survey includes observations of multiple spectral lines in the 12 mm band, with the most important being the water maser transition at 22.2 GHz and the non-metastable inversion transitions of ammonia. We report on initial results from HOPS, including the detection of 540 water masers, about two-thirds of which appear to be new detections. We also find widespread emission in the NH3 (1,1) line, as well as detec tions in the NH3 (2,2), (3,3), (6,6) and (9,9) lines.
Catechol-O-methyltransferase (COMT) Val158Met has been associated with activity of the mesial temporal lobe during episodic memory and it may weakly increase risk for schizophrenia. However, how this variant affects parahippocampal and hippocampal physiology when dopamine transmission is perturbed is unclear. The aim of the present study was to compare the effects of the COMT Val158Met genotype on parahippocampal and hippocampal physiology during encoding of recognition memory in patients with schizophrenia and in healthy subjects.
Using blood oxygen level-dependent (BOLD) functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI), we studied 28 patients with schizophrenia and 33 healthy subjects matched for a series of sociodemographic and genetic variables while they performed a recognition memory task.
We found that healthy subjects had greater parahippocampal and hippocampal activity during memory encoding compared to patients with schizophrenia. We also found different activity of the parahippocampal region between healthy subjects and patients with schizophrenia as a function of the COMT genotype, in that the predicted COMT Met allele dose effect had an opposite direction in controls and patients.
Our results demonstrate a COMT Val158Met genotype by diagnosis interaction in parahippocampal activity during memory encoding and may suggest that modulation of dopamine signaling interacts with other disease-related processes in determining the phenotype of parahippocampal physiology in schizophrenia.
Health Canada maintains detector networks across Canada. One of these networks consists of NaI(Tl) detectors that measure air KERMA . Located beside the NaI(Tl) detector in Ottawa is a radioxenon analyzer  that measures the activity concentration of 131m, 133m, 133, 135Xe directly. The ICRU-accepted KERMA to activity concentration conversion factor for 133Xe, for a semi-infinite cloud measured 1 m off the ground, is 9.68 pGy/hr per Bq/m3 . However, on various dates, the two detectors in Ottawa reported a conversion value of 2.6 ± 0.2 pGy/hr per Bq/m3; we have resolved this discrepancy  and have expanded on the study of other isotopes by focusing on the NaI(Tl) detector. Greater accuracy in the conversion value between the air KERMA and activity concentration will assist meteorological modellers in verifying their models . Two Monte Carlo methods were used in this investigation. The first is the analogue geometry where the detector is immersed in a semi-infinite radioactive source. A second method is to apply a reciprocal transform of the analogue geometry. This expedited the calculation of larger clouds. By using these two methods together, we have calculated new values for KERMA rate to activity concentration for 4 of isotopes of noble gases, namely 131mXe, 133mXe, 85Kr, 85mKr, 135Xe.
The hard tick Ixodes ricinus (Ixodidae) is the sole animal thus far shown to harbour an intra-mitochondrial bacterium, which has recently been named Midichloria mitochondrii. The objectives of this work were (i) to screen ixodid ticks for Midichloria-related bacteria and (ii) to determine whether these bacteria exploit the intra-mitochondrial niche in other tick species. Our main goal was to discover further models of this peculiar form of symbiosis. We have thus performed a PCR screening for Midichloria-related bacteria in samples of ixodid ticks collected in Italy, North America and Iceland. A total of 7 newly examined species from 5 genera were found positive for bacteria closely related to M. mitochondrii. Samples of the tick species Rhipicephalus bursa, found positive in the PCR screening, were analysed with transmission electron microscopy, which revealed the presence of bacteria both in the cytoplasm and in the mitochondria of the oocytes. There is thus evidence that bacteria invade mitochondria in at least 2 tick species. Phylogenetic analysis on the bacterial 16S rRNA gene sequences generated from positive specimens revealed that the bacteria form a monophyletic group within the order Rickettsiales. The phylogeny of Midichloria symbionts and related bacteria does not appear completely congruent with the phylogeny of the hosts.
The objective of this study was to address the impact of heterogeneity of infectious period and contagiousness on Salmonella transmission dynamics in dairy cattle populations. We developed three deterministic SIR-type models with two basic infected stages (clinically and subclinically infected). In addition, model 2 included long-term shedders, which were defined as individuals with low contagiousness but long infectious period, and model 3 included super-shedders (individuals with high contagiousness and long infectious period). The simulated dynamics, basic reproduction number (R0) and critical vaccination threshold were studied. Clinically infected individuals were the main force of infection transmission for models 1 and 2. Long-term shedders had a small impact on the transmission of the infection and on the estimated vaccination thresholds. The presence of super-shedders increases R0 and decreases the effectiveness of population-wise strategies to reduce infection, making necessary the application of strategies that target this specific group.
The aim of this paper attempts to apply the differential quadrature (DQ) method for solving two-dimensional natural convection in an inclined cavity. The velocity-vorticity formulation is used to represent the mass, momentum, and energy conservations of the fluid medium in an inclined cavity. We employ a coupled technique for four field variables involving two velocities, one vorticity and one temperature components. In this method, the velocity Poisson equation, continuity equation, vorticity transport equation and energy equation are all solved as a coupled system of equations so as to we are capable of predicting four field variables accurately. The main advantage of present approach is that coupling the velocity and the vorticity equations allows the determination of the boundary values implicitly without requiring the explicit specification of the vorticity values at the boundary walls. A natural convection in a cavity with different angle of inclinations for Rayleigh number equal to 103, 104, 105 and 106 and H/L aspect ratios varying from 1 to 3 is investigated. It is shown that with the use of the present algorithm the benchmark results for temperature and flow fields could be obtained using a coarse mesh grid.