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Despite the fact that social deficits among individuals with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) are lifelong and impact many aspects of personal functioning, evidence-based programs for social skills training were not available until recently. The Program for the Education and Enrichment of Relational Skills (PEERS®) has been shown to effectively improve social skills for adolescents on the spectrum across different social cultures. However, the effectiveness for young adults beyond North America has yet to be examined. This study aimed to investigate the effectiveness of the PEERS intervention in Taiwanese young adults with ASD, and examine its durability and clinical correlates.
We recruited 82 cognitively-able young adults with ASD, randomized to the PEERS treatment or treatment-as-usual.
Following treatment, significant improvement was found in aspects of social deficits, autism severity, social interaction anxiety, empathy, and social skills knowledge either by self-report or coach-report. Additionally, communicative behaviors rated by observers improved throughout the sessions, showing a trend toward more appropriate eye contact, gestures, facial expression during conversation, and appropriate maintenance of conversation and reciprocity. Most effects maintained at 3-month and 6-month follow-ups. The improvement of social deficits was positively correlated with baseline severity, while gains in social skills knowledge were positively correlated with IQ. The improvement of social deficits, autism severity, and empathy were positively correlated with each other.
Overall, the PEERS intervention appears to effectively improve social functioning in Taiwanese young adults with ASD. Improvement of social response and knowledge may be predicted by baseline severity and intelligence respectively.
Poor utilisation efficiency of carbohydrate always leads to metabolic phenotypes in fish. The intestinal microbiota plays an important role in carbohydrate degradation. Whether the intestinal bacteria could alleviate high-carbohydrate diet (HCD)-induced metabolic phenotypes in fish remains unknown. Here, a strain affiliated to Bacillus amyloliquefaciens was isolated from the intestine of Nile tilapia. A basal diet (CON), HCD or HCD supplemented with B. amy SS1 (HCB) was used to feed fish for 10 weeks. The beneficial effects of B. amy SS1 on weight gain and protein accumulation were observed. Fasting glucose and lipid deposition were decreased in the HCB group compared with the HCD group. High-throughput sequencing showed that the abundance of acetate-producing bacteria was increased in the HCB group relative to the HCD group. Gas chromatographic analysis indicated that the concentration of intestinal acetate was increased dramatically in the HCB group compared with that in the HCD group. Glucagon-like peptide-1 was also increased in the intestine and serum of the HCB group. Thus, fish were fed with HCD, HCD supplemented with sodium acetate at 900 mg/kg (HLA), 1800 mg/kg (HMA) or 3600 mg/kg (HHA) diet for 8 weeks, and the HMA and HHA groups mirrored the effects of B. amy SS1. This study revealed that B. amy SS1 could alleviate the metabolic phenotypes caused by HCD by enriching acetate-producing bacteria in fish intestines. Regulating the intestinal microbiota and their metabolites might represent a powerful strategy for fish nutrition modulation and health maintenance in future.
We investigated the effects of botulinum toxin on gait in Parkinson’s disease (PD) patients with foot dystonia. Six patients underwent onabotulinum toxin A injection and were assessed by Burke–Fahn–Marsden Dystonia Rating Scale (BFMDRS), visual analog scale (VAS) of pain, Timed Up and Go (TUG), Berg Balance Test (BBT), and 3D gait analysis at baseline, 1 month, and 3 months. BFMDRS (p = 0.002), VAS (p = 0.024), TUG (p = 0.028), and BBT (p = 0.034) were improved. Foot pressures at Toe 1 (p = 0.028) and Midfoot (p = 0.018) were reduced, indicating botulinum toxin’s effects in alleviating the dystonia severity and pain and improving foot pressures during walking in PD.
In late December 2019, patients of atypical pneumonia due to an unidentified microbial agent were reported in Wuhan, Hubei Province, China. Subsequently, a novel coronavirus was identified as the causative pathogen which was named SARS-CoV-2. As of 12 February 2020, more than 44 000 cases of SARS-CoV-2 infection have been confirmed in China and continue to expand. Provinces, municipalities and autonomous regions of China have launched first-level response to major public health emergencies one after another from 23 January 2020, which means restricting movement of people among provinces, municipalities and autonomous regions. The aim of this study was to explore the correlation between the migration scale index and the number of confirmed coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) cases and to depict the effect of restricting population movement. In this study, Excel 2010 was used to demonstrate the temporal distribution at the day level and SPSS 23.0 was used to analyse the correlation between the migration scale index and the number of confirmed COVID-19 cases. We found that since 23 January 2020, Wuhan migration scale index has dropped significantly and since 26 January 2020, Hubei province migration scale index has dropped significantly. New confirmed COVID-19 cases per day in China except for Wuhan gradually increased since 24 January 2020, and showed a downward trend from 6 February 2020. New confirmed COVID-19 cases per day in China except for Hubei province gradually increased since 24 January 2020, and maintained at a high level from 24 January 2020 to 4 February 2020, then showed a downward trend. Wuhan migration scale index from 9 January to 22 January, 10 January to 23 January and 11 January to 24 January was correlated with the number of new confirmed COVID-19 cases per day in China except for Wuhan from 22 January to 4 February. Hubei province migration scale index from 10 January to 23 January and 11 January to 24 January was correlated with the number of new confirmed COVID-19 cases per day in China except for Hubei province from 22 January to 4 February. Our findings suggested that people who left Wuhan from 9 January to 22 January, and those who left Hubei province from 10 January to 24 January, led to the outbreak in the rest of China. The ‘Wuhan lockdown’ and the launching of the first-level response to this major public health emergency may have had a good effect on controlling the COVID-19 epidemic. Although new COVID-19 cases continued to be confirmed in China outside Wuhan and Hubei provinces, in our opinion, these are second-generation cases.
To explore whether and how group cognitive-behavioural therapy (GCBT) plus medication differs from medication alone for the treatment of generalised anxiety disorder (GAD).
Hundred and seventy patients were randomly assigned to the GCBT plus duloxetine (n=89) or duloxetine group (n=81). The primary outcomes were Hamilton Anxiety Scale (HAMA) response and remission rates. The explorative secondary measures included score reductions from baseline in the HAMA total, psychic, and somatic anxiety subscales (HAMA-PA, HAMA-SA), the Hamilton Depression Scale, the Severity Subscale of Clinical Global Impression Scale, Global Assessment of Functioning, and the 12-item Short-Form Health Survey. Assessments were conducted at baseline, 4-week, 8-week, and 3-month follow-up.
At 4 weeks, HAMA response (GCBT group 57.0% vs. control group 24.4%, p=0.000, Cohen’s d=0.90) and remission rates (GCBT group 21.5% vs. control group 6.2%, p=0.004; d=0.51), and most secondary outcomes (all p<0.05, d=0.36−0.77) showed that the combined therapy was superior. At 8 weeks, all the primary and secondary significant differences found at 4 weeks were maintained with smaller effect sizes (p<0.05, d=0.32−0.48). At 3-month follow-up, the combined therapy was only significantly superior in the HAMA total (p<0.045, d=0.43) and HAMA-PA score reductions (p<0.001, d=0.77). Logistic regression showed superiority of the combined therapy for HAMA response rates [odds ratio (OR)=2.12, 95% confidence interval (CI) 1.02−4.42, p=0.04] and remission rates (OR=2.80, 95% CI 1.27−6.16, p=0.01).
Compared with duloxetine alone, GCBT plus duloxetine showed significant treatment response for GAD over a shorter period of time, particularly for psychic anxiety symptoms, which may suggest that GCBT was effective in changing cognitive style.
In this article we examine whether and how changes in personal bankruptcy laws, viewed as a shock to employees’ expected personal wealth, affect corporate policies. Following a reform in personal bankruptcy laws that limits individuals’ access to bankruptcy protection, firms more affected by this regulation reform increase labor costs, reduce investment, and engage in less risk taking. The effects are stronger when employees have more bargaining power. Furthermore, firms in industries characterized by high unemployment risk reduce leverage. These results support the view that firms choose more conservative policies to mitigate employees’ expected welfare losses.
We examine the effects of a temporary suspension of short-sale price tests on the options market. Consistent with the notion that put option trading substitutes for short selling, we find a significant reduction in put option volume. In addition, pressure on put option prices significantly declines, violations of the put-call parity become significantly less frequent, and option volume becomes less informed. Our findings add clarity to a long-standing debate on whether investors use options to circumvent equity short-selling restrictions.
Several studies have suggested that higher carotenoid levels may be beneficial for atherosclerosis patients, but few studies have examined this relationship in the Chinese population. This cross-sectional study examined the association between the levels of carotenoids in diet and serum and carotid intima–media thickness (IMT) in Chinese adults aged 50–75 years in Guangzhou, China. Dietary intake was assessed using a FFQ. HPLC was used to assay the serum concentrations of α-carotene, β-carotene, lutein+zeaxanthin, β-cryptoxanthin and lycopene. The IMT at the common carotid artery (CCA) and bifurcation of the carotid artery was measured by B-mode ultrasound. A total of 3707 and 2947 participants were included in the analyses of dietary and serum carotenoids. After adjustment for demographic, socio-economic and lifestyle factors, all the serum carotenoids levels except lycopene were found to be inversely associated with the IMT at the CCA and bifurcation (Ptrend<0·001 to 0·013) in both men and women. The absolute mean differences in the IMT between the subjects in the extreme quartiles of serum carotenoid levels were 0·034 mm (α-carotene), 0·037 mm (β-carotene), 0·032 mm (lutein+zeaxanthin), 0·030 mm (β-cryptoxanthin), 0·015 mm (lycopene) and 0·035 mm (total carotenoids) at the CCA; the corresponding values were 0·025, 0·053 0·043, 0·050, 0·011 and 0·042 mm at the bifurcation. The favourable associations were also observed between dietary carotenoids (except lycopene) and the CCA IMT. In conclusion, elevated carotenoid levels in diet and serum are associated with lower carotid IMT values (particular at the CCA) in Chinese adults.
Background: Among patients with schizophrenia, there is evidence of a negative association between self-stigma and subjective quality of life (SQoL), and self-esteem was an important mediator in the association. We attempted to use a longitudinal study to investigate the aforementioned mediation on a sample with schizophrenia. Methods: We used longitudinal data retrieved from medical records of a psychiatric centre between June 2014 and December 2015. In the data, we retrieved information of self-stigma using the Self-Stigma Scale — Short; SQoL, using the WHO questionnaire on the Quality of Life — Short Form; and self-esteem, using the Rosenberg Self-Esteem Scale. All the measures were evaluated five times. Linear mixed-effect models accompanied by Sobel tests were used to tackle the mediating effects. Results: Data from 74 patients (57 males) with schizophrenia were eligible for analysis; their mean (SD) age was 39.53 (10.67); mean age of onset was 22.95 (8.38). Self-esteem was a mediator for patients in physical (p = .039), psychological (p = .003), and social SQoL (p = .004), but not in environment SQoL (p = .051). Conclusion: Based on our findings, mental health professionals could tailor different programs to patients with schizophrenia, such as self-stigma reduction and self-esteem improvement programs. However, treatment as a whole should be sensitive to both self-stigma and self-esteem. Also, we should consider individuals’ health and wellbeing from social perspectives of disability rather than the medical model of disability emphasising symptoms and medications.
To develop a theoretical model explaining the longitudinal changes in the caregiving process for family caregivers of persons with mild cognitive impairment (MCI) in Taiwan.
A longitudinal, grounded theory approach using in-depth face-to-face interviews and an open-ended interview guide. We conducted 42 interviews over a two-year period; each participant was interviewed at least once every six months. All participants were interviewed in their home. The participants total of 13 family caregivers of persons with MCI.
One core theme emerged: “protective preparation.” This reflected the family caregiving process of preparation for a further decline in cognitive function, and protection from the impact of low self-esteem, accidents, and symptoms of comorbidities for the family member with MCI. Protective preparation contained three components: ambivalent normalization, vigilant preparation, and protective management.
Interventions to help family caregivers manage the changes in persons with MCI can reduce caregiver burden. Our findings could provide a knowledge base for use by healthcare providers to develop and implement strategies to reduce caregiver burden for family caregivers of persons with MCI.
The purpose of this study was to investigate the effects of 8-week green tea extract (GTE) supplementation on promoting postexercise muscle glycogen resynthesis and systemic energy substrate utilisation in young college students. A total of eight healthy male participants (age: 22·0 (se 1·0) years, BMI: 24·2 (se 0·7) kg/m2, VO2max: 43·2 (se 2·4) ml/kg per min) participated in this study. GTE (500 mg/d for 8 weeks) was compared with placebo in participants in a double-blind/placebo-controlled and crossover study design with an 8-week washout period. Thereafter, all participants performed a 60-min cycling exercise (75 % VO2max) and consumed a carbohydrate-enriched meal immediately after exercise. Vastus lateralis muscle samples were collected immediately (0 h) and 3 h after exercise, and blood and gaseous samples were collected during the 3-h postexercise recovery period. An 8-week oral GTE supplementation had no effects on further promoting muscle glycogen resynthesis in exercised human skeletal muscle, but the exercise-induced muscle GLUT type 4 (GLUT4) protein content was greater in the GTE supplementation trial (P<0·05). We observed that, during the postexercise recovery period, GTE supplementation elicited an increase in energy reliance on fat oxidation compared with the placebo trial (P<0·05), although there were no differences in blood glucose and insulin responses between the two trials. In summary, 8-week oral GTE supplementation increases postexercise systemic fat oxidation and exercise-induced muscle GLUT4 protein content in response to an acute bout of endurance exercise. However, GTE supplementation has no further benefit on promoting muscle glycogen resynthesis during the postexercise period.
Cancer patients with depression or anxiety have poor survival, and the interaction between mental and physical problems in older patients may exacerbate this problem. K-ras oncogene (KRAS) mutation may play a role in the development of psychosocial distress and may be associated with poor survival of metastatic colorectal cancer (mCRC) patients. This study investigated the association between KRAS gene mutations and psychosocial morbidity to explore the possible cancer/psychosis relationship in older mCRC patients.
In this study, 62 newly diagnosed mCRC patients were recruited and completed the Hospital Anxiety and Depression Scale (HADS). Demographic data were also collected, and clinicopathological data were retrieved from medical records. KRAS mutations were assessed via PCR analysis of tissue specimens from the patients.
The results showed that 28 of the 62 participants (45.2%) had positive screens for possible depression, and 45 of the 62 participants (72.6%) had positive screens for anxiety. The KRAS mutation rate was 40.3% (25/62), and 19 of the 25 patients with KRAS mutations (76.0%) had probable depression, whereas only 24.3% of the patients with wild-type KRAS were probably depressed (p < 0.05). The KRAS mutation was associated with higher HADS depression scores, independent of gender and performance status (p < 0.05), but not with higher HADS anxiety or total scores.
KRAS mutations were associated with depression severity and higher rates of probable depression in older mCRC patients. Depression should be assessed and treated as early as possible in older mCRC patients with the KRAS mutation. Further studies are needed to verify our current findings using a larger sample size.
Mussels are typical macrofouling organisms in the world. In this study, the interaction between the settlement of Mytilus coruscus plantigrades and bacterial community on coloured substrata was determined. Bacterial communities in biofilms developed on seven coloured substrata were analysed by Illumina Miseq sequencing. The mussel settlement response to coloured substrata with no biofilms was also examined. Flavobacteria, Alphaproteobacteria and Gammaproteobacteria were the first, second and third most dominant groups in seven biofilm samples. The results suggest that the inducing activities of these biofilms on plantigrade settlement varied with coloured substrata and the lowest percentage of settlement was observed on biofilms on the green substratum. High-throughput sequencing showed that bacterial community in biofilms also changed with the substratum colour. No significant difference in the inducing activity on plantigrade settlement was observed between the coloured substrata with no biofilms. Thus, difference in plantigrade settlement response may be correlated to the changes in bacterial community on coloured substrata. This finding extends current knowledge of interaction among mussel settlement and bacterial community variability.
To investigate the reciprocal relationship between unhealthy eating behaviours and depressive symptoms from childhood to adolescence.
Unhealthy eating behaviours were measured by the frequencies of eating foods with excess salt, sugar or fat in the past week. Depressive symptoms in the past two weeks were measured using a seven-item scale. Hierarchical linear growth models were used to analyse longitudinal associations between unhealthy eating behaviours and depressive symptoms. Time-fixed variables (sex, parents’ education level and household monthly income) and time-varying variables (parents’ marital status, family activities, body weight, vegetable or fruit consumption, exercising and smoking) were controlled for.
The Child and Adolescent Behaviors in Long-Term Evolution study, which commenced in 2001 and has annual follow-up.
Students (n 2630) followed from 2nd grade (8 years old in 2002) to 11th grade.
The frequency of unhealthy eating behaviours in the previous year and the difference between the frequency in the previous and successive year were positively associated with the initiation and growth rate of depressive symptoms. Depressive symptoms in the previous year and the difference in depressive symptoms between the previous and successive year were positively associated with the initial state and growth rate of unhealthy eating behaviours.
Our results suggest a reciprocal relationship between depressive symptoms and unhealthy eating behaviours. This relationship should be considered when developing programmes targeting depressive symptoms and unhealthy diet in children and adolescents.
Previous studies have suggested that vitamin E (VE) may affect bone health, but the findings have been inconclusive. We examined the relationship between VE status (in both diet and serum) and bone mineral density (BMD) among Chinese adults. This community-based study included 3203 adults (2178 women and 1025 men) aged 40–75 years from Guangzhou, People’s Republic of China. General and dietary intake information were collected using structured questionnaire interviews. The serum α-tocopherol (TF) level was quantified by reversed-phase HPLC. The BMD of the whole body, the lumbar spine and left hip sites (total, neck, trochanter, intertrochanter and Ward’s triangle) were measured using dual-energy X-ray absorptiometry. In women, the dietary intake of VE was significantly and positively associated with BMD at the lumbar spine, total hip, intertrochanter and femur neck sites after adjusting for covariates (Ptrend: 0·001–0·017). Women in quartile 3 of VE intake typically had the highest BMD; the covariate-adjusted mean BMD were 2·5, 3·06, 3·41 and 3·54 % higher, respectively, in quartile 3 (v. 1) at the four above-mentioned sites. Similar positive associations were observed between cholesterol-adjusted serum α-TF levels and BMD at each of the studied bone sites (Ptrend: 0·001–0·022). The covariate-adjusted mean BMD were 1·24–4·83 % greater in quartile 4 (v. 1) in women. However, no significant associations were seen between the VE levels (dietary or serum) and the BMD at any site in men. In conclusion, greater consumption and higher serum levels of VE are associated with greater BMD in Chinese women but not in Chinese men.
Obesity and hyperlipidaemia increase the risk of CVD. Some strains of probiotics have been suggested to have potential applications in cardiovascular health by lowering serum LDL-cholesterol. In this work, high-fat diet-induced hyperlipidaemia in hamsters was treated with different doses (5×108 and 2·5×109 cells/kg per d) of heat-killed Lactobacillus reuteri GMNL-263 (Lr263) by oral gavage for 8 weeks. The serum lipid profile analysis showed that LDL-cholesterol and plasma malondialdehyde (P-MDA) were reduced in the GMNL-263 5×108 cells/kg per d treatment group. Total cholesterol and P-MDA were reduced in the GMNL-263 2·5×109 cells/kg per d treatment group. In terms of heart function, the GMNL-263 2·5×109 cells/kg per d treatments improved the ejection fraction from 85·71 to 91·81 % and fractional shortening from 46·93 to 57·92 % in the high-fat diet-fed hamster hearts. Moreover, the GMNL-263-treated, high-fat diet-fed hamster hearts exhibited reduced Fas-induced myocardial apoptosis and a reactivated IGF1R/PI3K/Akt cell survival pathway. Interestingly, the GMNL-263 treatments also enhanced the heat-shock protein 27 expression in a dose-dependent manner, but the mechanism for this increase remains unclear. In conclusion, supplementary heat-killed L. reuteri GMNL-263 can slightly reduce serum cholesterol. The anti-hyperlipidaemia effects of GMNL-263 may reactivate the IGF1R/PI3K/Akt cell survival pathway and reduce Fas-induced myocardial apoptosis in high-fat diet-fed hamster hearts.
It is common for patients to experience positive and negative psychological changes (e.g., posttraumatic growth or demoralization) after being diagnosed with cancer. Although demoralization and posttraumatic growth are both related to meaning-making, little attention has been paid to the associations among these concepts. The current study investigated the relationship between demoralization, posttraumatic growth, and meaning-making (focusing on sense-making and benefit-finding during the experience of illness) in cancer patients.
Some 200 cancer patients (with lung cancer, lymphoma, or leukemia) at the MacKay Memorial Hospital in New Taipei completed the Demoralization Scale–Mandarin Version (DS–MV), the Chinese Posttraumatic Growth Inventory (CPTGI), and a self-designed questionnaire for assessing sense-making and benefit-finding.
Demoralization was negatively correlated with posttraumatic growth, sense-making, benefit-finding, and time-since-diagnosis. Multiple regression analysis showed that meaning-making had different effects on demoralization and posttraumatic growth. The interactions of sense-making with either benefit-finding or time-since-diagnosis significantly predicted demoralization. Individuals with relatively higher sense-making and benefit-finding or shorter time-since-diagnosis experienced less demoralization.
Significance of Results:
The suffering of cancer may turn on the psychological process of demoralization, posttraumatic growth, and meaning-making in patients. Cancer patients who evidenced higher posttraumatic growth experienced less demoralization. Trying to identify positive changes in the experience of cancer may be a powerful way to increase posttraumatic growth. As time goes by, patients experienced less demoralization. Facilitating sense-making can have similar effects. Cancer patients with less benefit-finding experience higher demoralization, but sense-making buffers this effect.
The effect of gamma radiation in vacuum on the isothermal crystallization kinetics of syndiotactic polystyrene (sPS) was investigated via differential scanning calorimetry (DSC), Fourier transform infrared spectroscopy (FTIR), and x-ray diffraction (XRD). Amorphous sPS samples were irradiated in vacuum, heated to 310 °C, cooled down to crystallization temperatures (Tcs) from 220 to 260 °C, and annealed for different times. Upon reheating, overlapping endothermic melting peaks depicted the various crystallization forms, α, β, and β′. The endotherms were resolved using Gaussian functions relating enthalpy changes to the endothermic envelope. Isothermal crystallization kinetic data were analyzed using Avrami's model with Gaussian functions. The extent of crystallization of β and β′ forms increased with increasing crystallization time and temperature, while that of α form decreased. Crystallization half-time followed a modified Arrhenius equation. Crystallization activation energies for the β and β′ forms of sPS increased with increasing radiation doses. The results are compared to those of air irradiated sPS reported in the literature.