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Environmental sensors are crucial for monitoring weather conditions and the impacts of climate change. However, it is challenging to place sensors in a way that maximises the informativeness of their measurements, particularly in remote regions like Antarctica. Probabilistic machine learning models can suggest informative sensor placements by finding sites that maximally reduce prediction uncertainty. Gaussian process (GP) models are widely used for this purpose, but they struggle with capturing complex non-stationary behaviour and scaling to large datasets. This paper proposes using a convolutional Gaussian neural process (ConvGNP) to address these issues. A ConvGNP uses neural networks to parameterise a joint Gaussian distribution at arbitrary target locations, enabling flexibility and scalability. Using simulated surface air temperature anomaly over Antarctica as training data, the ConvGNP learns spatial and seasonal non-stationarities, outperforming a non-stationary GP baseline. In a simulated sensor placement experiment, the ConvGNP better predicts the performance boost obtained from new observations than GP baselines, leading to more informative sensor placements. We contrast our approach with physics-based sensor placement methods and propose future steps towards an operational sensor placement recommendation system. Our work could help to realise environmental digital twins that actively direct measurement sampling to improve the digital representation of reality.
The new United Kingdom Foundation Programme Curriculum was implemented in 2021 and emphasizes the importance of Foundation Trainees (FTs) acquiring mandatory core skills and knowledge in mental health. The primary aim of our study was to enquire if the FTs perceive the new psychiatry competencies to be important and relevant to their needs. Secondarily we compared what the curriculum is offering with what FTs wished to have been offered.
A hybrid questionnaire was delivered online via Google forms to all foundation doctors before and after their psychiatry rotation. Data collection took place between August 2021 and March 2023 from a sample of 85 FTs. The quantitative data were elicited via 5-point Likert scales that mapped FTs' perception of importance across areas of required knowledge and core psychiatric skills from ‘not at all’ important to ‘extremely’ important. The data were imported into Microsoft Excel and analysed via descriptive statistics. The qualitative component of eliciting what FTs want by using open-ended questions was analysed using content analysis.
The entry survey data show a combined median perceived importance of 4 (Very important) for recognizing, assessing, and managing mental health conditions. Out of these, personality disorder rated lowest with a median answer of 3 (Fairly important). These scores have seen a significant improvement in the exit survey with an overall combined median result of 5 (Extremely important). But not all areas have seen improvement, for example, eating disorders and Somatisation disorders remained unchanged with a median of 4. Interestingly, the median perceived importance of practicing core skills and managing clinical scenarios has not shown an improvement, but a slight decrease over a few categories, going from a median answer of 5 to 4. The qualitative data show that FTs would have liked to learn more about Child and Developmental Psychiatry, Bereavement, and acute health context teaching. They also wanted to learn communication skills and about psychiatry career paths and academic opportunities.
The overall baseline perceived importance of psychiatry competencies was satisfactory, with most conditions being rated as very important. Post placements there was a shift in responses, with the same conditions being rated as extremely important. Supraspecialised areas continue to be perceived as least important and curiously, FT's importance perception of practicing core skills in the acute setting decreased. Future research should qualitatively look at why their perceptions changed and how we can improve context teaching in a heterogeneous group.
The new United Kingdom Foundation Programme Curriculum was implemented in 2021 and emphasizes the importance of Foundation Trainees (FTs) acquiring mandatory core skills and knowledge in mental health. The primary aim of this evaluation study is to assess the effectiveness of Maudsley's Training Programme in teaching these skills. Secondarily, it looks at FTs' preferred method of acquiring the mandated competencies. Finally, it aims to shine a light on an area of program evaluation that is lacking in the literature.
An outcome analysis evaluation design was used with a pre and post-quantitative questionnaire as the preferred data collection tool. The outcome measured was confidence and corresponds to Level 2 – Learning on Kirkpatrick's Evaluation Hierarchy. Our questionnaire comprised 4 stem questions, using a 5-point anchor Likert scale. The scales were tailored to reflect the core curricular competencies. Data were collected from a sample of 85 FTs between August 2021 and March 2023 and analysed using Excel functions and a Power Shell Script to calculate measures of central tendency.
Entry median confidence levels were: 3 (Fairly confident) for recognition, 3 for assessment, and 2 (Slightly confident) in managing common mental health conditions. Post-training, the median confidence level in our sample increased to 4 for recognition, 4 for assessment, and 3 for management which denotes a significant positive impact. Examples of outliers are the median confidence seen in assessing Personality Disorders, which increased from 1 (Not at all important) to 3, whereas for recognizing and assessing Delirium and Substance use disorder the median did not change. Looking at teaching methods preferred by the trainees, ad-hoc training on the job and small group seminars were by far most preferred with 24% and 23.6% of responses respectively followed by Self-directed learning and Simulation with 13.8% each and the least preferred were reflective practice (Balint) and mentoring with 3.7% each.
There is a trend of FTs becoming confident post 4 months of psychiatric training in recognizing assessing and managing mental health conditions. Ad hoc and seminar teaching being is the preferred method of acquiring these skills. Moving forward, efforts should be made in evaluating training programs for FTs in psychiatry with the purpose of improving the acquisition of such skills and understanding the best way to teach these. Then, consideration should be given to how we apply these to FTs that don't rotate in psychiatry.
Childhood adversity and cannabis use are considered independent risk factors for psychosis, but whether different patterns of cannabis use may be acting as mediator between adversity and psychotic disorders has not yet been explored. The aim of this study is to examine whether cannabis use mediates the relationship between childhood adversity and psychosis.
Data were utilised on 881 first-episode psychosis patients and 1231 controls from the European network of national schizophrenia networks studying Gene–Environment Interactions (EU-GEI) study. Detailed history of cannabis use was collected with the Cannabis Experience Questionnaire. The Childhood Experience of Care and Abuse Questionnaire was used to assess exposure to household discord, sexual, physical or emotional abuse and bullying in two periods: early (0–11 years), and late (12–17 years). A path decomposition method was used to analyse whether the association between childhood adversity and psychosis was mediated by (1) lifetime cannabis use, (2) cannabis potency and (3) frequency of use.
The association between household discord and psychosis was partially mediated by lifetime use of cannabis (indirect effect coef. 0.078, s.e. 0.022, 17%), its potency (indirect effect coef. 0.059, s.e. 0.018, 14%) and by frequency (indirect effect coef. 0.117, s.e. 0.038, 29%). Similar findings were obtained when analyses were restricted to early exposure to household discord.
Harmful patterns of cannabis use mediated the association between specific childhood adversities, like household discord, with later psychosis. Children exposed to particularly challenging environments in their household could benefit from psychosocial interventions aimed at preventing cannabis misuse.
While cannabis use is a well-established risk factor for psychosis, little is known about any association between reasons for first using cannabis (RFUC) and later patterns of use and risk of psychosis.
We used data from 11 sites of the multicentre European Gene-Environment Interaction (EU-GEI) case–control study. 558 first-episode psychosis patients (FEPp) and 567 population controls who had used cannabis and reported their RFUC.
We ran logistic regressions to examine whether RFUC were associated with first-episode psychosis (FEP) case–control status. Path analysis then examined the relationship between RFUC, subsequent patterns of cannabis use, and case–control status.
Controls (86.1%) and FEPp (75.63%) were most likely to report ‘because of friends’ as their most common RFUC. However, 20.1% of FEPp compared to 5.8% of controls reported: ‘to feel better’ as their RFUC (χ2 = 50.97; p < 0.001). RFUC ‘to feel better’ was associated with being a FEPp (OR 1.74; 95% CI 1.03–2.95) while RFUC ‘with friends’ was associated with being a control (OR 0.56; 95% CI 0.37–0.83). The path model indicated an association between RFUC ‘to feel better’ with heavy cannabis use and with FEPp-control status.
Both FEPp and controls usually started using cannabis with their friends, but more patients than controls had begun to use ‘to feel better’. People who reported their reason for first using cannabis to ‘feel better’ were more likely to progress to heavy use and develop a psychotic disorder than those reporting ‘because of friends’.
First episode psychosis (FEP) patients who use cannabis experience more frequent psychotic and euphoric intoxication experiences compared to controls. It is not clear whether this is consequent to patients being more vulnerable to the effects of cannabis use or to their heavier pattern of use. We aimed to determine whether extent of use predicted psychotic-like and euphoric intoxication experiences in patients and controls and whether this differs between groups.
We analysed data on patients who had ever used cannabis (n = 655) and controls who had ever used cannabis (n = 654) across 15 sites from six countries in the EU-GEI study (2010–2015). We used multiple regression to model predictors of cannabis-induced experiences and to determine if there was an interaction between caseness and extent of use.
Caseness, frequency of cannabis use and money spent on cannabis predicted psychotic-like and euphoric experiences (p ⩽ 0.001). For psychotic-like experiences (PEs) there was a significant interaction for caseness × frequency of use (p < 0.001) and caseness × money spent on cannabis (p = 0.001) such that FEP patients had increased experiences at increased levels of use compared to controls. There was no significant interaction for euphoric experiences (p > 0.5).
FEP patients are particularly sensitive to increased psychotic-like, but not euphoric experiences, at higher levels of cannabis use compared to controls. This suggests a specific psychotomimetic response in FEP patients related to heavy cannabis use. Clinicians should enquire regarding cannabis related PEs and advise that lower levels of cannabis use are associated with less frequent PEs.
Environmental information from place-names has largely been overlooked by geoarchaeologists and fluvial geomorphologists in analyses of the depositional histories of rivers and floodplains. Here, new flood chronologies for the rivers Teme, Severn, and Wye are presented, modelled from stable river sections excavated at Broadwas, Buildwas, and Rotherwas. These are connected by the Old English term *wæsse, interpreted as ‘land by a meandering river which floods and drains quickly’. The results reveal that, in all three places, flooding during the early medieval period occurred more frequently between AD 350–700 than between AD 700–1100, but that over time each river's flooding regime became more complex including high magnitude single events. In the sampled locations, the fluvial dynamics of localized flood events had much in common, and almost certainly differed in nature from other sections of their rivers, refining our understanding of the precise nature of flooding which their names sought to communicate. This study shows how the toponymic record can be helpful in the long-term reconstruction of historic river activity and for our understanding of past human perceptions of riverine environments.
Daily use of high-potency cannabis has been reported to carry a high risk for developing a psychotic disorder. However, the evidence is mixed on whether any pattern of cannabis use is associated with a particular symptomatology in first-episode psychosis (FEP) patients.
We analysed data from 901 FEP patients and 1235 controls recruited across six countries, as part of the European Network of National Schizophrenia Networks Studying Gene-Environment Interactions (EU-GEI) study. We used item response modelling to estimate two bifactor models, which included general and specific dimensions of psychotic symptoms in patients and psychotic experiences in controls. The associations between these dimensions and cannabis use were evaluated using linear mixed-effects models analyses.
In patients, there was a linear relationship between the positive symptom dimension and the extent of lifetime exposure to cannabis, with daily users of high-potency cannabis having the highest score (B = 0.35; 95% CI 0.14–0.56). Moreover, negative symptoms were more common among patients who never used cannabis compared with those with any pattern of use (B = −0.22; 95% CI −0.37 to −0.07). In controls, psychotic experiences were associated with current use of cannabis but not with the extent of lifetime use. Neither patients nor controls presented differences in depressive dimension related to cannabis use.
Our findings provide the first large-scale evidence that FEP patients with a history of daily use of high-potency cannabis present with more positive and less negative symptoms, compared with those who never used cannabis or used low-potency types.
Internationally, intimate partner violence (IPV) cohorts have demonstrated associations with depression and anxiety. However, this association has not yet been described in a UK population, nor has the association with serious mental illness (SMI).
To explore the relationship between IPV exposure and mental illness in a UK population.
We designed a retrospective cohort study whereby we matched 18 547 women exposed to IPV to 74 188 unexposed women. Outcomes of interest (anxiety, depression and SMI) were identified through clinical codes.
At baseline, 9174 (49.5%) women in the exposed group had some form of mental illness compared with 17 768 (24.0%) in the unexposed group, described as an adjusted odds ratio of 2.62 (95% CI 2.52–2.72). Excluding those with mental illness at baseline, 1254 exposed women (incidence rate 46.62 per 1000 person-years) went on to present with any type of mental illness compared with 3119 unexposed women (incidence rate 14.93 per 1000 person-years), with an aIRR of 2.77 (95% CI 2.58–2.97). Anxiety (aIRR 1.99, 95% CI 1.80–2.20), depression (aIRR 3.05, 95% CI 2.81–3.31) and SMI (aIRR 3.08, 95% CI 2.19–4.32) were all associated with exposure to IPV.
IPV remains a significant public health issue in the UK. We have demonstrated the significant recorded mental health burden associated with IPV in primary care, at both baseline and following exposure. Clinicians must be aware of this association to reduce mental illness diagnostic delay and improve management of psychological outcomes in this group of patients.
Public discourse about science and belief is permeated by all manner of labels: terms like ‘creationism’, ‘intelligent design’, ‘Darwinism’ and ‘New Atheism’. Some of these labels describe a belief about evolution. Others signify a conviction about how science and religion relate. Still others describe an organization, social movement, cultural trend or group of people. In a few cases, the same label (eg ‘creationist’ or ‘New Atheist’) serves all of these functions, with the term being used to describe both a set of beliefs and the population that supposedly holds these beliefs. Labels also, as we will see, feature in social-scientific research, where they often form the basis of survey questions designed to measure people's understanding and acceptance of aspects of science. What is not typically questioned, however, is what people actually think about such labels. Are people aware of these terms? Do they identify with them, referring to themselves as ‘creationists’ or ‘New Atheists’? Do these labels accurately represent people's perspectives? Often, in both academic and popular discussions of science and belief, the implied answer to questions such as these is ‘Yes’. Commentators commonly describe certain religious groups as dominated by ‘creationists’, in the process assuming that this population holds a certain set of beliefs. This chapter, however, challenges such assumptions. Building on an emerging body of sociological scholarship (Evans, 2011, 2018; Hill, 2014; Kaden et al, 2017; see also Hill, Chapter 2, this volume), we highlight a gap between scholarly and popular categorizations of evolution belief and the views that people actually hold.
We look at the way in which labels were used in 123 interviews and 16 focus groups carried out with members of the public and scientists working in the life, biological and medical sciences in the UK and Canada. In these interviews, which focused on the theme of religion and evolution, we asked participants whether they were aware of, or identified with, any labels used to describe belief about evolution, and examined the way participants did, or did not, use terms such as ‘creationism’, ‘intelligent design’, ‘Darwinism’ and so on. Using these data, the chapter advances three related arguments. The first is that, in general, people who are not involved with organizations directly concerned with science and religion-related questions (and even some of those who are) do not identify with commonly used labels.
This wide-ranging book critically reviews the ways in which religious and non-religious belief systems interact with scientific methods, traditions and theories. Moving beyond the traditional focus on the United States, the book shows how debates about science and belief are firmly embedded in political conflict, class, community and culture.
Summarizing the sociological study of science and religion a little over 10 years ago, John H. Evans and Michael S. Evans (2008: 88) wrote:
Although we know of no study of the comparative coherence of sociological research areas, we suspect that the field of religion and science is one of the muddiest in all of sociology. The conceptual source of this muddiness lies in the long-running academic assumption that religion and science always conflict and that they conflict over competing truth claims about the world. It is therefore hard for sociologists to analyze the relationship dispassionately because sociology itself was born as a scientific alternative to religion.
While, as we will see shortly, there have been notable developments since this was written, Evans and Evans's point still stands. Sociological exploration of questions to do with science and religion (or, as we prefer to phrase it, science and belief) is extremely limited and scattered across largely isolated sub-disciplines. Beyond the US (where most research has focused), it would be hard to even describe it as a ‘field of study’, so limited and disjointed has research been to date. This is surprising in many ways because science and religion has been an abiding subject of public debate for many decades in many parts of the world, and there are numerous ways in which it intersects with sociologists’ concerns. Religious voices play a prominent role in many conflicts over science, from stem cell research to, most famously, evolution. There has also been a trend towards religious groups – from evangelicals (Toumey, 1994) to Muslim revivalists (Unsworth, Chapter 12, this volume), to Hindu nationalists (Thomas, Chapter 6, this volume) – justifying their beliefs by making a claim on science (von Stuckrad, 2014). At the same time, science has been deeply entangled in debates about secularization; many non-religious people see science as central to their identity (Lee, Chapter 8, this volume), while humanist and secularist organizations have regularly characterized themselves as ‘fighting in the name of science’ (Kind, Chapter 9, this volume). Yet, this subject has been on the margins of sociology for many years.
It is hard to understand why this is without, as Evans and Evans say, taking into account the influence of what historians refer to as the ‘conflict thesis’.