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Excessive and persistent fear of clusters of holes, also known as trypophobia, has been suggested to reflect cortical hyperexcitability and may be associated with mental health risks. No study, however, has yet examined these associations in representative epidemiological samples.
To examine the prevalence of trypophobia in a population-representative youth sample, its association with mental health and functioning, and its interaction with external stress.
A total of 2065 young people were consecutively recruited from a household-based epidemiological youth mental health study in Hong Kong. Trypophobia, symptoms of anxiety, depression and stress, and exposure to personal stressors were assessed. Logistic regression was used to assess the relationships between trypophobia and mental health. Potential additive and interaction effects of trypophobia and high stress exposure on mental health were also tested.
The prevalence of trypophobia was 17.6%. Trypophobia was significantly associated with severe symptoms of anxiety (odds ratio (OR) = 1.83, 95% CI = 1.32–2.53), depression (OR = 1.78, 95% CI = 1.24–2.56) and stress (OR = 1.68, 95% CI = 1.11–2.53), even when accounting for sociodemographic factors, personal and family psychiatric history, resilience and stress exposure. Dose–response relationships were observed, and trypophobia significantly potentiated the effects of stress exposure on symptom outcomes, particularly for depressive symptoms. Those with trypophobia also showed significantly poorer functioning across domains and poorer health-related quality of life.
Screening for trypophobia in young people may facilitate early risk detection and intervention, particularly among those with recent stress exposure. Nevertheless, the generally small effect sizes suggest that other factors have more prominent roles in determining recent mental health outcomes in population-based samples; these should be explored in future work.
Nixtun-Ch'ich', on the western edge of Lake Peten Itza in Peten, northern Guatemala, features an axis urbis and an urban grid dating to the Middle Preclassic period (800–500 b.c.). New research reveals that Middle Preclassic constructions—five circular or oval artificial pools and planned surface drainage—facilitated or impeded the movement of water. Large limestone rubble lines at least two of the pools (aguadas) in the city's core; two pools lie on the axis urbis, demonstrating that they were central ceremonial constructions. The gridded streets facilitated drainage: they consistently slope from west to east and from the center to north and south. In some areas seeing intense water flow, the streets divide into waterways and pedestrian-ways and/or were given special paving. Many scholars argue that water management contributed to the power of despotic kings, but no evidence of such rulers exists among the Middle Preclassic Maya. Nonetheless, we believe that such systems emerged in the Middle Preclassic. Nixtun-Ch'ich' appears to have been cooperative in its organization and its water management system was a public good.
Individuals with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) are challenged not only by the defining features of social-communication deficits and restricted repetitive behaviors, but also by a myriad of psychopathology varying in severity. Different cognitive deficits underpin these psychopathologies, which could be subjected to intervention to alter the course of the disorder. Understanding domain-specific mediating effects of cognition is essential for developing targeted intervention strategies. However, the high degree of inter-correlation among different cognitive functions hinders elucidation of individual effects.
In the Philadelphia Neurodevelopmental Cohort, 218 individuals with ASD were matched with 872 non-ASD controls on sex, age, race, and socioeconomic status. Participants of this cohort were deeply and broadly phenotyped on neurocognitive abilities and dimensional psychopathology. Using structural equation modeling, inter-correlation among cognitive domains were adjusted before mediation analysis on outcomes of multi-domain psychopathology and functional level.
While social cognition, complex cognition, and memory each had a unique pattern of mediating effect on psychopathology domains in ASD, none had significant effects on the functional level. In contrast, executive function was the only cognitive domain that exerted a generalized negative impact on every psychopathology domain (p factor, anxious-misery, psychosis, fear, and externalizing), as well as functional level.
Executive function has a unique association with the severity of comorbid psychopathology in ASD, and could be a target of interventions. As executive dysfunction occurs variably in ASD, our result also supports the clinical utility of assessing executive function for prognostic purposes.
Young people are most vulnerable to suicidal behaviours but least likely to seek help. A more elaborate study of the intrinsic and extrinsic correlates of suicidal ideation and behaviours particularly amid ongoing population-level stressors and the identification of less stigmatising markers in representative youth populations is essential.
Participants (n = 2540, aged 15–25) were consecutively recruited from an ongoing large-scale household-based epidemiological youth mental health study in Hong Kong between September 2019 and 2021. Lifetime and 12-month prevalence of suicidal ideation, plan, and attempt were assessed, alongside suicide-related rumination, hopelessness and neuroticism, personal and population-level stressors, family functioning, cognitive ability, lifetime non-suicidal self-harm, 12-month major depressive disorder (MDD), and alcohol use.
The 12-month prevalence of suicidal ideation, ideation-only (no plan or attempt), plan, and attempt was 20.0, 15.4, 4.6, and 1.3%, respectively. Importantly, multivariable logistic regression findings revealed that suicide-related rumination was the only factor associated with all four suicidal outcomes (all p < 0.01). Among those with suicidal ideation (two-stage approach), intrinsic factors, including suicide-related rumination, poorer cognitive ability, and 12-month MDE, were specifically associated with suicide plan, while extrinsic factors, including coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) stressors, poorer family functioning, and personal life stressors, as well as non-suicidal self-harm, were specifically associated with suicide attempt.
Suicide-related rumination, population-level COVID-19 stressors, and poorer family functioning may be important less-stigmatising markers for youth suicidal risks. The respective roles played by not only intrinsic but also extrinsic factors in suicide plan and attempt using a two-stage approach should be considered in future preventative intervention work.
The incidence of preterm birth (PTB), delivery before 37 completed weeks of gestation, is rising in most countries. Several recent small clinical trials of myo-inositol supplementation in pregnancy, which were primarily aimed at preventing gestational diabetes, have suggested an effect on reducing the incidence of PTB as a secondary outcome, highlighting the potential role of myo-inositol as a preventive agent. However, the underlying molecular mechanisms by which myo-inositol might be able to do so remain unknown; these may occur through directly influencing the onset and progress of labour, or by suppressing stimuli that trigger or promote labour. This paper presents hypotheses outlining the potential role of uteroplacental myo-inositol in human parturition and explains possible underlying molecular mechanisms by which myo-inositol might modulate the uteroplacental environment and inhibit preterm labour onset. We suggest that a physiological decline in uteroplacental inositol levels to a critical threshold with advancing gestation, in concert with an increasingly pro-inflammatory uteroplacental environment, permits spontaneous membrane rupture and labour onset. A higher uteroplacental inositol level, potentially promoted by maternal myo-inositol supplementation, might affect lipid metabolism, eicosanoid production and secretion of pro-inflammatory chemocytokines that overall dampen the pro-labour uteroplacental environment responsible for labour onset and progress, thus reducing the risk of PTB. Understanding how and when inositol may act to reduce PTB risk would facilitate the design of future clinical trials of maternal myo-inositol supplementation and definitively address the efficacy of myo-inositol prophylaxis against PTB.
Brief measurements of the subjective experience of stress with good predictive capability are important in a range of community mental health and research settings. The potential for large-scale implementation of such a measure for screening may facilitate early risk detection and intervention opportunities. Few such measures however have been developed and validated in epidemiological and longitudinal community samples. We designed a new single-item measure of the subjective level of stress (SLS-1) and tested its validity and ability to predict long-term mental health outcomes of up to 12 months through two separate studies.
We first examined the content and face validity of the SLS-1 with a panel consisting of mental health experts and laypersons. Two studies were conducted to examine its validity and predictive utility. In study 1, we tested the convergent and divergent validity as well as incremental validity of the SLS-1 in a large epidemiological sample of young people in Hong Kong (n = 1445). In study 2, in a consecutively recruited longitudinal community sample of young people (n = 258), we first performed the same procedures as in study 1 to ensure replicability of the findings. We then examined in this longitudinal sample the utility of the SLS-1 in predicting long-term depressive, anxiety and stress outcomes assessed at 3 months and 6 months (n = 182) and at 12 months (n = 84).
The SLS-1 demonstrated good content and face validity. Findings from the two studies showed that SLS-1 was moderately to strongly correlated with a range of mental health outcomes, including depressive, anxiety, stress and distress symptoms. We also demonstrated its ability to explain the variance explained in symptoms beyond other known personal and psychological factors. Using the longitudinal sample in study 2, we further showed the significant predictive capability of the SLS-1 for long-term symptom outcomes for up to 12 months even when accounting for demographic characteristics.
The findings altogether support the validity and predictive utility of the SLS-1 as a brief measure of stress with strong indications of both concurrent and long-term mental health outcomes. Given the value of brief measures of mental health risks at a population level, the SLS-1 may have potential for use as an early screening tool to inform early preventative intervention work.
Disease-related malnutrition is prevalent among older adults; therefore, identifying the modifiable risk factors in the diet is essential for the prevention and management of disease-related malnutrition. The present study examined the cross-sectional association between dietary patterns and malnutrition in Chinese community-dwelling older adults aged ≥65 years in Hong Kong. Dietary patterns, including Diet Quality Index International (DQI-I), Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension (DASH), the Mediterranean Diet Score, ‘vegetable–fruit’ pattern, ‘snack–drink–milk product’ pattern and ‘meat–fish’ pattern, were estimated and generated from a validated food frequency questionnaire. Malnutrition was classified according to the modified Global Leadership Initiative on Malnutrition (GLIM) criteria based on two phenotypic components (low body mass index and reduced muscle mass) and one aetiologic component (inflammation/disease burden). The association between the tertile or level of adherence of each dietary pattern and modified GLIM criteria was analysed using adjusted binary logistic regression models. Data of 3694 participants were available (49 % men). Malnutrition was present in 397 participants (10⋅7 %). In men, a higher DQI-I score, a higher ‘vegetable–fruit’ pattern score and a lower ‘meat–fish’ pattern score were associated with a lower risk of malnutrition. In women, higher adherence to the DASH diet was associated with a lower risk of malnutrition. After the Bonferroni correction, the association remained statistically significant only in men for the DQI-I score. To conclude, a higher DQI-I score was associated with a lower risk of malnutrition in Chinese older men. Nutritional strategies for the prevention and management of malnutrition could potentially be targeted on dietary quality.
Bipolar disorder is associated with premature mortality, but evidence is mostly derived from Western countries. There has been no research evaluating shortened lifespan in bipolar disorder using life-years lost (LYLs), which is a recently developed mortality metric taking into account illness onset for life expectancy estimation. The current study aimed to examine the extent of premature mortality in bipolar disorder patients relative to the general population in Hong Kong (HK) in terms of standardised mortality ratio (SMR) and excess LYLs, and changes of mortality rate over time.
This population-based cohort study investigated excess mortality in 12 556 bipolar disorder patients between 2008 and 2018, by estimating all-cause and cause-specific SMRs, and LYLs. Trends in annual SMRs over the 11-year study period were assessed. Study data were retrieved from a territory-wide medical-record database of HK public healthcare services.
Patients had higher all-cause [SMR: 2.60 (95% CI: 2.45–2.76)], natural-cause [SMR: 1.90 (95% CI: 1.76–2.05)] and unnatural-cause [SMR: 8.63 (95% CI: 7.34–10.03)] mortality rates than the general population. Respiratory diseases, cardiovascular diseases and cancers accounted for the majority of deaths. Men and women with bipolar disorder had 6.78 (95% CI: 6.00–7.84) years and 7.35 (95% CI: 6.75–8.06) years of excess LYLs, respectively. The overall mortality gap remained similar over time, albeit slightly improved in men with bipolar disorder.
Bipolar disorder is associated with increased premature mortality and substantially reduced lifespan in a predominantly Chinese population, with excess deaths mainly attributed to natural causes. Persistent mortality gap underscores an urgent need for targeted interventions to improve physical health of patients with bipolar disorder.
We examined the association of generational status and age at immigration with later life cognitive outcomes in a diverse sample of Latinos and Asian Americans.
Baseline data were obtained from the Kaiser Healthy Aging and Diverse Life Experiences (KHANDLE) study, and a prospective cohort is initiated in 2017.
Older adults in Northern California.
Our cohort consisted of Asians (n = 411) and Latinos (n = 340) who were on average 76 years old (SD = 6.8).
We used multivariable linear regression models to estimate associations between generational status and age at immigration (collapsed into one five-level variable) with measures of verbal episodic memory, semantic memory, and executive function, adjusting for age, gender, race and ethnicity, and own- and parental education.
Generational status and age at immigration were associated with cognitive outcomes in a graded manner. Compared to third-generation or higher immigrants, first-generation immigration in adulthood was associated with lower semantic memory (β = −0.96; 95% CI: −1.12, −0.81) than immigration in adolescence (β = −0.68; 95% CI: −0.96, −0.41) or childhood (β = −0.28; 95% CI: −0.49, −0.06). Moreover, immigration in adulthood was associated with lower executive function (β = −0.63; 95% CI: −0.78, −0.48) than immigration in adolescence (β = −0.49; 95% CI: −0.75, −0.23). Similarly, compared to third-generation individuals, first-generation immigrants had lower executive functioning scores.
Our study supports the notion that sociocontextual influences in early life impact later life cognitive scores. Longitudinal studies are needed to further clarify how immigration characteristics affect cognitive decline.
While involving patients in health technology assessment (HTA) has become increasingly common and important around the world, little is known about the optimal methods of evaluating patients’ involvement (PI) in HTA. This scoping review was undertaken to provide an overview of currently available methods for the evaluation of PI, specifically the impact of PI on HTA recommendations.
A literature search was conducted using nine databases as well as a grey literature search of the websites of 26 organizations related to the conduct, practice or research of HTA to identify articles, reports and abstracts related to the evaluation of PI impact in HTA.
We identified 1,248 unique citations, six of which met our eligibility criteria. These six records (five articles, and one report) were all published after 2012. Four assessed the impact of patient experience submissions on final HTA recommendations; one evaluated the impact of direct involvement on HTA committees, and one assessed impact of multiple forms of involvement. Methods of evaluation included quantitative analyses of reimbursement decisions, qualitative interviews with those directly involved in an assessment, surveys of patient groups and committee members, and the review of HTA reports.
Quantitative evaluation of PI based on associations with funding decisions may not be feasible or fully capture the relevant impact of PI in the assessment of health technologies. Rather, a combination of both qualitative and quantitative strategies may allow for the most comprehensive assessment of the impact of PI on HTA recommendations when possible.
The risk factors of criminal behavior in patients with schizophrenia are not well explored. This study is to explore the risk factors for criminal behavior in patients with schizophrenia in rural China.
We used data from a 14-year prospective follow-up study (1994-2008) of criminal behavior among a cohort (n=510) of patients with schizophrenia in Xinjin County, Chengdu, China.
There were 489 patients (95.9%) who were followed up from 1994 to 2008. The rate of criminal behavior was 13.5% among these patients with schizophrenia during the follow-up period. Compared with female subjects (6 cases, 20.0%), male patients had significantly higher rate of violent criminal behavior (e.g., arson, sexual assault, physical assault, and murder) (24 cases, 80.0%) (p< 0.001). Bivariate analyses showed that the risk of criminal behavior was significantly associated with being unmarried, of younger age, previous violent behavior, homelessness, lower family economic status, no family caregivers, and higher scores on measures (PANSS) of positive, negative, and total symptoms of illness. In multiple logistic regression analyses being unmarried and previous violent behavior were identified as independent predictors of increased criminal behavior in persons with schizophrenia.
The risk factors for criminal behavior among patients with schizophrenia should be understood within a particular social context. Criminal behavior may be predicted by specific characteristics of patients with schizophrenia in rural community. The findings of risk factors for criminal behavior should be considered in planning community mental health care and interventions for high-risk patients and their families.
Adherence problems are an inherent issue with any bio-psycho-social-spiritual prescription for any disease or behvaioural entity. It is all the more important in a patient with severe mental illness like Schizophrenia with limited insight. In several countries various interventions have been studied to address adherence problems in psychosis. Such as compliance therapy, family and psycho educational interventions, telephonic prompting and also legislative measures like Community Treatment Orders (CTO) have to date shown inconsistent and only modest benefits. Incentives based interventions have been tested for both preventive measures and also for adherence problems in chronic diseases. The Institute of Mental Health, Singapore has implemented a Pilot Supervision Programme (PSP) that incentivise patient engagement through quarterly vouchers as well as minimising barriers to accessing service by waiving off certain treatment fees whilst also offering them intensive intervention for one year. Our Pilot Programme, that focused on high risk patients with diagnosis of severe mental illness needing involuntary admission with history of either prolonged or repeated admissions, has begun recruiting patients since October 2012. The comparison was done between pre and post intervention phase. Total of 58 patients (95% suffering from schizophrenia or schizoaffective disorder) accepted into the treatment programme and of that nearly half of them have completed 6 months interventions. The results are promising with more than 50% improvemnt in length of stay, number of admissions and psychiatric emergency room visits, making significant impact on our high risk patients with severe mental illness.
To describe the infection control preparedness measures undertaken for coronavirus disease (COVID-19) due to SARS-CoV-2 (previously known as 2019 novel coronavirus) in the first 42 days after announcement of a cluster of pneumonia in China, on December 31, 2019 (day 1) in Hong Kong.
A bundled approach of active and enhanced laboratory surveillance, early airborne infection isolation, rapid molecular diagnostic testing, and contact tracing for healthcare workers (HCWs) with unprotected exposure in the hospitals was implemented. Epidemiological characteristics of confirmed cases, environmental samples, and air samples were collected and analyzed.
From day 1 to day 42, 42 of 1,275 patients (3.3%) fulfilling active (n = 29) and enhanced laboratory surveillance (n = 13) were confirmed to have the SARS-CoV-2 infection. The number of locally acquired case significantly increased from 1 of 13 confirmed cases (7.7%, day 22 to day 32) to 27 of 29 confirmed cases (93.1%, day 33 to day 42; P < .001). Among them, 28 patients (66.6%) came from 8 family clusters. Of 413 HCWs caring for these confirmed cases, 11 (2.7%) had unprotected exposure requiring quarantine for 14 days. None of these was infected, and nosocomial transmission of SARS-CoV-2 was not observed. Environmental surveillance was performed in the room of a patient with viral load of 3.3 × 106 copies/mL (pooled nasopharyngeal and throat swabs) and 5.9 × 106 copies/mL (saliva), respectively. SARS-CoV-2 was identified in 1 of 13 environmental samples (7.7%) but not in 8 air samples collected at a distance of 10 cm from the patient’s chin with or without wearing a surgical mask.
Appropriate hospital infection control measures was able to prevent nosocomial transmission of SARS-CoV-2.
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.
Societies vary in how they approach the challenges of increased population, inequality, and occupational specialization. The city of Nixtun-Ch'ich’ and its satellite, T'up, in Peten, Guatemala exhibit orthogonal urban grids—a trait absent from all other known Maya cities. Such grids require extensive planning and the ability to mobilize the population. The present data suggests that Nixtun-Ch'ich’ was substantially larger than any of the surrounding settlements and was, therefore, a primate center during the Middle Preclassic period. The extensive urban planning of the site, as well as that of T'up suggests centralized planning. Yet, we have not encountered evidence of a central ruler propagated as a unifying symbol of the polity. The gridded public streets and lack of a rulership cult suggest that Nixtun-Ch'ich’ had a more collaborative social system.
Better understanding of interplay among symptoms, cognition and functioning in first-episode psychosis (FEP) is crucial to promoting functional recovery. Network analysis is a promising data-driven approach to elucidating complex interactions among psychopathological variables in psychosis, but has not been applied in FEP.
This study employed network analysis to examine inter-relationships among a wide array of variables encompassing psychopathology, premorbid and onset characteristics, cognition, subjective quality-of-life and psychosocial functioning in 323 adult FEP patients in Hong Kong. Graphical Least Absolute Shrinkage and Selection Operator (LASSO) combined with extended Bayesian information criterion (BIC) model selection was used for network construction. Importance of individual nodes in a generated network was quantified by centrality analyses.
Our results showed that amotivation played the most central role and had the strongest associations with other variables in the network, as indexed by node strength. Amotivation and diminished expression displayed differential relationships with other nodes, supporting the validity of two-factor negative symptom structure. Psychosocial functioning was most strongly connected with amotivation and was weakly linked to several other variables. Within cognitive domain, digit span demonstrated the highest centrality and was connected with most of the other cognitive variables. Exploratory analysis revealed no significant gender differences in network structure and global strength.
Our results suggest the pivotal role of amotivation in psychopathology network of FEP and indicate its critical association with psychosocial functioning. Further research is required to verify the clinical significance of diminished motivation on functional outcome in the early course of psychotic illness.
Item 9 of the Patient Health Questionnaire-9 (PHQ-9) queries about thoughts of death and self-harm, but not suicidality. Although it is sometimes used to assess suicide risk, most positive responses are not associated with suicidality. The PHQ-8, which omits Item 9, is thus increasingly used in research. We assessed equivalency of total score correlations and the diagnostic accuracy to detect major depression of the PHQ-8 and PHQ-9.
We conducted an individual patient data meta-analysis. We fit bivariate random-effects models to assess diagnostic accuracy.
16 742 participants (2097 major depression cases) from 54 studies were included. The correlation between PHQ-8 and PHQ-9 scores was 0.996 (95% confidence interval 0.996 to 0.996). The standard cutoff score of 10 for the PHQ-9 maximized sensitivity + specificity for the PHQ-8 among studies that used a semi-structured diagnostic interview reference standard (N = 27). At cutoff 10, the PHQ-8 was less sensitive by 0.02 (−0.06 to 0.00) and more specific by 0.01 (0.00 to 0.01) among those studies (N = 27), with similar results for studies that used other types of interviews (N = 27). For all 54 primary studies combined, across all cutoffs, the PHQ-8 was less sensitive than the PHQ-9 by 0.00 to 0.05 (0.03 at cutoff 10), and specificity was within 0.01 for all cutoffs (0.00 to 0.01).
PHQ-8 and PHQ-9 total scores were similar. Sensitivity may be minimally reduced with the PHQ-8, but specificity is similar.
To accurately predict the probabilities of impact damage to aircraft from runway debris, it is important to understand and quantify the aerodynamic forces that contribute to runway debris lofting. These lift and drag forces were therefore measured in experiments with various bodies spun over a range of angular velocities and Reynolds numbers. For a smooth sphere, the Magnus effect was observed for ratios of spin speed to flow speed between 0.3 and 0.4, but a negative Magnus force was observed at high Reynolds numbers as a transitional boundary layer region was approached. Similar relationships between lift and spin rate were found for both cube- and cylinder-shaped test objects, particularly with a ratio of spin speed to flow speed above 0.3, which suggested comparable separation patterns between rapidly spinning cubes and cylinders. A tumbling smooth ellipsoid had aerodynamic characteristics similar to that of a smooth sphere at a high spin rate. Surface roughness in the form of attached sandpaper increased the average lift on the cylinder by 24%, and approximately doubled the lift acting on the ellipsoid in both rolling and tumbling configurations.