The Brief Infant-Toddler Social and Emotional Assessment (BITSEA) is a promising questionnaire for the early detection of psychosocial problems in toddlers. The screening accuracy and clinical application were evaluated.
In a community sample of 2-year-olds (N = 2060), screening accuracy of the BITSEA Problem scale was examined regarding a clinical CBCL1.5-5 Total Problem score. For the total population and subgroups by child’s gender and ethnicity Receiver Operating Characteristic (ROC) curves were calculated, and across a range of BITSEA Problem scores, sensitivity, specificity, likelihood ratio’s, diagnostic odds ratio and Youden’s index. Clinical application of the BITSEA was examined by evaluating the relation between the scale scores and the clinical decision of the child health professional.
The area under the ROC curve (95% confidence interval) of the Problem scale was 0.97(0.95–0.98), there were no significant differences between subgroups. The association between clinical decision and BITSEA Problem score (B = 2.5) and Competence score (B = −0.7) was significant (p<0.05).
The results indicate that the BITSEA Problem scale has good discriminative power to differentiate children with and without psychosocial problems. Referred children had less favourable scores compared to children that were not referred. The BITSEA may be helpful in the early detection of psychosocial problems.
Up to 2% of suicides in young people may occur in clusters i.e., close together in time and space. In early 2008 unprecedented attention was given by national and international news media to a suspected suicide cluster among young people living in Bridgend, Wales. This paper investigates the strength of statistical evidence for this apparent cluster, its size, and temporal and geographical limits.
Methods and findings
The analysis is based on official mortality statistics for Wales for 2000–2009 provided by the UK's Office for National Statistics (ONS). Temporo-spatial analysis was performed using Space Time Permutation Scan Statistics with SaTScan v9.1 for suicide deaths aged 15 and over, with a sub-group analysis focussing on cases aged 15–34 years. These analyses were conducted for deaths coded by ONS as: (i) suicide or of undetermined intent (probable suicides) and (ii) for a combination of suicide, undetermined, and accidental poisoning and hanging (possible suicides). The temporo-spatial analysis did not identify any clusters of suicide or undetermined intent deaths (probable suicides). However, analysis of all deaths by suicide, undetermined intent, accidental poisoning and accidental hanging (possible suicides) identified a temporo-spatial cluster (p = 0.029) involving 10 deaths amongst 15–34 year olds centred on the County Borough of Bridgend for the period 27th December 2007 to 19th February 2008. Less than 1% of possible suicides in younger people in Wales in the ten year period were identified as being cluster-related.
There was a possible suicide cluster in young people in Bridgend between December 2007 and February 2008. This cluster was smaller, shorter in duration, and predominantly later than the phenomenon that was reported in national and international print media. Further investigation of factors leading to the onset and termination of this series of deaths, in particular the role of the media, is required.
Previous population-based studies have found that delusional-like experiences (DLEs) are prevalent in the community, and are associated with a wide range of mental health disorders. The aim of the study was to investigate mental health service use by people with DLEs.
Subjects were drawn from the Australian National Survey of Mental Health and Wellbeing 2007 of 8 841community residents aged between 16 and 85 years. The Composite International Diagnostic Interview (CIDI) was used to identify DLEs. Service utilization was assessed using a module that elicited information about hospital admissions, consultations with various health professionals, and prescription medication use. This study focussed on service use for mental health problems. We used logistic regression to examine the association, adjusting for potential confounding factors.
Of 8 773 included participants, 8.4% (n = 776) positively endorsed one or more DLEs. With respect to consultations for mental health needs, individuals who endorsed DLEs were more likely to consult health professionals compared with those who did not endorse DLEs. Individuals with DLEs were also more likely to use prescription medicine. When we repeated the main analysis in a subgroup excluding any CIDI diagnosis of mental health disorders the results remained largely unchanged.
DLEs are common in the general population, and individuals with DLEs have an increased rate of accessing services for their mental health needs. Individuals endorsing both DLEs and increased help-seeking may identify a group of vulnerable people who have increased risk of developing psychotic illnesses later in life. This needs closer scrutiny in longitudinal prospective studies.
Model-based analysis of data from quantitative reverse-transcription PCR (qRT-PCR) is potentially more powerful and versatile than traditional methods. Yet existing model-based approaches cannot properly deal with the higher sampling variances associated with low-abundant targets, nor do they provide a natural way to incorporate assumptions about the stability of control genes directly into the model-fitting process.
In our method, raw qPCR data are represented as molecule counts, and described using generalized linear mixed models under Poisson-lognormal error. A Markov Chain Monte Carlo (MCMC) algorithm is used to sample from the joint posterior distribution over all model parameters, thereby estimating the effects of all experimental factors on the expression of every gene. The Poisson-based model allows for the correct specification of the mean-variance relationship of the PCR amplification process, and can also glean information from instances of no amplification (zero counts). Our method is very flexible with respect to control genes: any prior knowledge about the expected degree of their stability can be directly incorporated into the model. Yet the method provides sensible answers without such assumptions, or even in the complete absence of control genes. We also present a natural Bayesian analogue of the “classic” analysis, which uses standard data pre-processing steps (logarithmic transformation and multi-gene normalization) but estimates all gene expression changes jointly within a single model. The new methods are considerably more flexible and powerful than the standard delta-delta Ct analysis based on pairwise t-tests.
Our methodology expands the applicability of the relative-quantification analysis protocol all the way to the lowest-abundance targets, and provides a novel opportunity to analyze qRT-PCR data without making any assumptions concerning target stability. These procedures have been implemented as the MCMC.qpcr package in R.
Studies suggest that neighborhood ethnic diversity may be important when it comes to understanding ethnic inequalities in mental health. The primary aim of this study was to investigate whether neighborhood ethnic diversity moderated the association between the ethnic minority status and child behavioral and emotional problems.
We included 3076 preschoolers participating in the Generation R Study, a birth cohort study in Rotterdam, the Netherlands. At child age 3-years, parents completed the Child Behavior Checklist (CBCL/1,5-5). Individual-level data, assessed with questionnaires, was combined with neighborhood-level data. Multi-level logistic regression models predicted the Odds Ratios for the CBCL total problems score as a function of maternal ethnic background and neighborhood ethnic diversity, computed with the Racial Diversity Index and categorized into tertiles. Interaction on the additive scale was assessed using Relative Access Risk due to Interaction.
Being from an ethnic minority was associated with child behavioral and emotional problems in unadjusted (OR 2.76, 95% CI 1.88–4.04) and adjusted models (OR 2.64, 95% CI 1.79–3.92). Residing in a high diversity neighborhood was associated with child behavioral and emotional problems in unadjusted (OR 2.03, 95% CI 1.13–3.64) but not in adjusted models (OR 0.89, 95% CI 0.51–1.57). When stratifying by the three levels of neighborhood ethnic diversity, ethnic inequalities in behavioral and emotional problems were greatest in low diversity neighborhoods (OR 5.24, 95%CI 2.47–11.14), smaller in high diversity neighborhoods (OR 3.15, 95% CI 1.66–5.99) and smallest in medium diversity neighborhoods (OR 1.59, 95% CI 0.90–2.82). Tests for interaction (when comparing medium to low diversity neighborhoods) trended towards negative on both the additive and multiplicative scale for the maternal-report (RERI: −3.22, 95% CI −0.70–0.59; Ratio of ORs: 0.30, 95% CI 0.12–0.76).
This study suggests that ethnic inequalities in child behavioral and emotional problems may be greatest in ethnically homogeneous neighborhoods.
After the worldwide steep increase in child and adolescent overweight and obesity during the last decades, there is now evidence of a levelling off in the prevalence in many countries in the Western world.
To examine whether there still is a plateau in the prevalence of overweight and obesity in Danish children and adolescents, or whether the prevalence is decreasing or rising again.
The trends in the prevalence rates were based on three data sets providing comparable repeated estimates: 1) the Danish Health Visitors Child Health Database (DHVCHD) with measurements on infant and childhood height and weight from 2002 to 2011 (n up to 39,984), 2) the Danish National Birth Cohort (DNBC) with maternal reports of measured infant and childhood height and weight from 1998 to 2010 (n up to 56,826) and 3) the Danish part of the Health Behaviour in School-aged Children survey (HBSC) with self-reported information on adolescent height and weight from the years 2002 to 2010 (n = 16,557). Overweight and obesity were categorized according to WHO growth standards. Trends were assessed by repeated point estimates and linear regression analyses providing regression coefficients for changes in per cent per year with 95% confidence intervals (CI).
The prevalence rates of overweight and obesity for infants, children and adolescents showed a mixed pattern of decline, stability and increase (ranging from -1.10 through 0.29 per cent per year with CI’s from -3.10 through 2.37). Overall, there were no consistent statistically significant trends upwards or downwards, although some significant downward trends in childhood and adolescence were observed.
This study, based on data from 1998 through 2011, showed that the prevalence rates of overweight and obesity among Danish infants, children and adolescents were largely still on a plateau with tendencies for a decline among children and adolescents.
From the early days of psychology, theorists have observed that parents sometimes transfer their own unfulfilled ambitions onto their child. We propose that parents are especially inclined to do so when they see their child as part of themselves, more so than as a separate individual. When parents see their child as part of themselves, their child’s achievements may easily come to function as a surrogate for parents’ own unfulfilled ambitions. In the present experiment, 73 parents (89% women, Mage = 43 years) were randomly assigned to reflect on either their own or others’ unfulfilled ambitions. Results showed that, when faced with their own unfulfilled ambitions, parents who see their child as part of themselves want their child to fulfill their unfulfilled ambitions. This study provides the first experimental evidence to suggest that parents may desire their child to redeem their broken dreams.
Exposure to traffic-related air pollution (TRAP) can adversely impact health but epidemiologic studies are limited in their abilities to assess long-term exposures and incorporate variability in indoor pollutant infiltration.
In order to examine settled house dust levels of hopanes, engine lubricating oil byproducts found in vehicle exhaust, as a novel TRAP exposure measure, dust samples were collected from 171 homes in five Canadian cities and analyzed by gas chromatography–mass spectrometry. To evaluate source contributions, the relative abundance of the highest concentration hopane monomer in house dust was compared to that in outdoor air. Geographic variables related to TRAP emissions and outdoor NO2 concentrations from city-specific TRAP land use regression (LUR) models were calculated at each georeferenced residence location and assessed as predictors of variability in dust hopanes.
Hopanes relative abundance in house dust and ambient air were significantly correlated (Pearson’s r=0.48, p<0.05), suggesting that dust hopanes likely result from traffic emissions. The proportion of variance in dust hopanes concentrations explained by LUR NO2 was less than 10% in Vancouver, Winnipeg and Toronto while the correlations in Edmonton and Windsor explained 20 to 40% of the variance. Modeling with household factors such as air conditioning and shoe removal along with geographic predictors related to TRAP generally increased the proportion of explained variability (10-80%) in measured indoor hopanes dust levels.
Hopanes can consistently be detected in house dust and may be a useful tracer of TRAP exposure if determinants of their spatiotemporal variability are well-characterized, and when home-specific factors are considered.
Air pollution; Dust; Exposure assessment; Hopanes; Land use regression; Traffic
This study aimed to explore the effectiveness of the cyber bullying prevention WebQuest course implementation.
The study adopted the quasi-experimental design with two classes made up of a total of 61 junior high school students of seventh grade. The study subjects comprised of 30 students from the experimental group and 31 students from the control group. The experimental group received eight sessions (total 360 minutes) of the teaching intervention for four consecutive weeks, while the control group did not engage in any related courses. The self-compiled questionnaire for the student’s knowledge, attitudes, and intentions toward cyber bullying prevention was adopted. Data were analysed through generalized estimating equations to understand the immediate results on the student’s knowledge, attitudes, and intentions after the intervention. The results show that the WebQuest course immediately and effectively enhanced the knowledge of cyber bullying, reduced the intentions, and retained the effects after the learning. But it produced no significant impact on the attitude toward cyber bullying.
The intervention through this pilot study was effective and positive for cyber bulling prevention. It was with small number of students. Therefore, studies with large number of students and long experimental times, in different areas and countries are warranted.
Use of selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRI) during pregnancy is common while the effect on the infant’s neurological outcome is unknown. Our objective was to determine the effects of prenatal SSRI-exposure on the infants’ neurological functioning, adjusted for maternal mental health.
A prospective observational study from May 2007 to April 2010. The study groups comprised 63 SSRI-exposed infants (SSRI group) and 44 non-exposed infants (non-SSRI group). Maternal depression and anxiety were measured using questionnaires. The main outcome measures during the first week after birth and at three to four months were the quality of the infants’ general movements (GMs) according to Prechtl and a detailed motor optimality score. We calculated odds ratios (ORs) and 95% confidence intervals (CIs) for abnormal GM quality in the SSRI and non-SSRI groups, and adjusted for maternal depression, anxiety, and other confounders. The study was registered under 53506435 in the ISRCTN.
All infants were born around term. During the first week, abnormal GMs occurred more frequently in the SSRI group than in the non-SSRI group (59% versus 33%) and the median MOS was lower (13 versus 18). The OR for abnormal GMs in the SSRI versus the non-SSRI group was 3·0 (95% CI, 1.3 to 6.9) and increased after adjustment for confounders. At three to four months, more SSRI-exposed infants had monotonous movements (48% versus 20%) with lower median MOSs (26 versus 28). The OR for monotonous movements was 3·5 (95% CI, 1.5 to 8.6) and increased after adjusting for confounders.
Prenatal exposure to SSRI had an adverse effect on early neurological functioning as reflected by GM quality, irrespective of maternal depression and anxiety, and other confounders. Physicians should take this into account in consultation with parents.
To evaluate whether multisystemic therapy (MST) is more cost-effective than statutory interventions that are currently available for young offenders in England.
A cost-offset evaluation of MST based on data from a randomised controlled trial conducted in North London, England, comparing MST with usual services provided by two youth offending teams (YOT). Service costs were compared to cost savings in terms of rates of criminal re-offending.
108 adolescents, aged 11–17 years, were randomly allocated to MST+YOT (n = 56) or YOT alone (n = 52). Reductions in offending were evident in both groups, but were higher in the MST+YOT group. At 18-month follow-up, the MST+YOT group cost less in terms of criminal activity (£9,425 versus £11,715, p = 0.456). The MST+YOT group were significantly cheaper in terms of YOT services than the YOT group (£3,402 versus £4,619, p = 0.006), but more expensive including the cost of MST, although not significantly so (£5,687 versus £4,619, p = 0.195). The net benefit per young person for the 18-month follow-up was estimated to be £1,222 (95% CI −£5,838 to £8,283).
The results reported in this study support the finding that MST+YOT has scope for cost-savings when compared to YOT alone. However, the limitations of the study in terms of method of economic evaluation, outcome measures used and data quality support the need for further research.
Multiple studies have demonstrated that early-life exposure to pets or siblings affords protection against allergic disease; these associations are commonly attributed to the “hygiene hypothesis”. Recently, low diversity of the infant gut microbiota has also been linked to allergic disease. In this study, we characterize the infant gut microbiota in relation to pets and siblings.
The study population comprised a small sub-sample of 24 healthy, full term infants from the Canadian Healthy Infant Longitudinal Development (CHILD) birth cohort. Mothers reported on household pets and siblings. Fecal samples were collected at 4 months of age, and microbiota composition was characterized by high-throughput signature gene sequencing.
Microbiota richness and diversity tended to be increased in infants living with pets, whereas these measures were decreased in infants with older siblings. Infants living with pets exhibited under-representation of Bifidobacteriaceae and over-representation of Peptostreptococcaceae; infants with older siblings exhibited under-representation of Peptostreptococcaceae.
This study provides new evidence that exposure to pets and siblings may influence the early development of the gut microbiota, with potential implications for allergic disease. These two traditionally protective “hygiene hypothesis” factors appear to differentially impact gut microbiota composition and diversity, calling into question the clinical significance of these measures. Further research is required to confirm and expand these findings.
Infants; Gut microbiota; Gut microbiome; Hygiene hypothesis; Microflora hypothesis; Pets; Siblings; Atopy; Allergic disease; Environmental exposures
The inconsistent effect of hypothermia treatment on severe brain injury in previous trials might be because hypothermia was induced too late after injury. We aimed to assess whether very early induction of hypothermia improves outcome in patients with severe brain injury.
The National Acute Brain Injury Study: Hypothermia II (NABIS: H II) was a randomised, multicentre clinical trial of patients with severe brain injury who were enrolled within 2·5 h of injury at six sites in the USA and Canada. Patients with non-penetrating brain injury who were 16–45 years old and were not responsive to instructions were randomly assigned (1:1) by a random number generator to hypothermia or normothermia. Patients randomly assigned to hypothermia were cooled to 35°C until their trauma assessment was completed. Patients who had none of a second set of exclusion criteria were either cooled to 33°C for 48 h and then gradually rewarmed or treated at normothermia, depending upon their initial treatment assignment. Investigators who assessed the outcome measures were masked to treatment allocation. The primary outcome was the Glasgow outcome scale score at 6 months. Analysis was by modified intention to treat. This trial is registered with ClinicalTrials.gov, NCT00178711.
Enrolment occurred from December, 2005, to June, 2009, when the trial was terminated for futility. Follow-up was from June, 2006, to December, 2009. 232 patients were initially randomised a mean of 1·6 h (SD 0·5) after injury: 119 to hypothermia and 113 to normothermia. 97 patients (52 in the hypothermia group and 45 in the normothermia group) did not meet any of the second set of exclusion criteria. The mean time to 35°C for the 52 patients in the hypothermia group was 2·6 h (SD 1·2) and to 33°C was 4·4 h (1·5). Outcome was poor (severe disability, vegetative state, or death) in 31 of 52 patients in the hypothermia group and 25 of 56 in the normothermia group (relative risk [RR] 1·08, 95% CI 0·76–1·53; p=0·67). 12 patients in the hypothermia group died compared with eight in the normothermia group (RR 1·30, 95% CI 0·58–2·52; p=0·52).
This trial did not confirm the utility of hypothermia as a primary neuroprotective strategy in patients with severe traumatic brain injury.
National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke.
This report summarizes a meeting held in Boulder, CO USA (19–20 October 2012) on fungal community analyses using ultra-high-throughput sequencing of the internal transcribed spacer (ITS) region of the nuclear ribosomal RNA (rRNA) genes. The meeting was organized as a two-day workshop, with the primary goal of supporting collaboration among researchers for improving fungal ITS sequence resources and developing recommendations for standard ITS primers for the research community.
Online game is an increasingly popular source of entertainment for all ages, with relatively prevalent negative consequences. Addiction is a problem that has received much attention. This research aims to develop a measure of online game addiction for Indonesian children and adolescents. The Indonesian Online Game Addiction Questionnaire draws from earlier theories and research on the internet and game addiction. Its construction is further enriched by including findings from qualitative interviews and field observation to ensure appropriate expression of the items. The measure consists of 7 items with a 5-point Likert Scale. It is validated by testing 1,477 Indonesian junior and senior high school students from several schools in Manado, Medan, Pontianak, and Yogyakarta. The validation evidence is shown by item-total correlation and criterion validity. The Indonesian Online Game Addiction Questionnaire has good item-total correlation (ranging from 0.29 to 0.55) and acceptable reliability (α = 0.73). It is also moderately correlated with the participant's longest time record to play online games (r = 0.39; p<0.01), average days per week in playing online games (ρ = 0.43; p<0.01), average hours per days in playing online games (ρ = 0.41; p<0.01), and monthly expenditure for online games (ρ = 0.30; p<0.01). Furthermore, we created a clinical cut-off estimate by combining criteria and population norm. The clinical cut-off estimate showed that the score of 14 to 21 may indicate mild online game addiction, and the score of 22 and above may indicate online game addiction. Overall, the result shows that Indonesian Online Game Addiction Questionnaire has sufficient psychometric property for research use, as well as limited clinical application.
Concerns have developed for the possible negative health effects of radiofrequency electromagnetic field (RF-EMF) exposure to children’s brains. The purpose of this longitudinal study was to investigate the association between mobile phone use and symptoms of Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) considering the modifying effect of lead exposure.
A total of 2,422 children at 27 elementary schools in 10 Korean cities were examined and followed up 2 years later. Parents or guardians were administered a questionnaire including the Korean version of the ADHD rating scale and questions about mobile phone use, as well as socio-demographic factors. The ADHD symptom risk for mobile phone use was estimated at two time points using logistic regression and combined over 2 years using the generalized estimating equation model with repeatedly measured variables of mobile phone use, blood lead, and ADHD symptoms, adjusted for covariates.
The ADHD symptom risk associated with mobile phone use for voice calls but the association was limited to children exposed to relatively high lead.
The results suggest that simultaneous exposure to lead and RF from mobile phone use was associated with increased ADHD symptom risk, although possible reverse causality could not be ruled out.
The gut microbiota is essential to human health throughout life, yet the acquisition and development of this microbial community during infancy remains poorly understood. Meanwhile, there is increasing concern over rising rates of cesarean delivery and insufficient exclusive breastfeeding of infants in developed countries. In this article, we characterize the gut microbiota of healthy Canadian infants and describe the influence of cesarean delivery and formula feeding.
We included a subset of 24 term infants from the Canadian Healthy Infant Longitudinal Development (CHILD) birth cohort. Mode of delivery was obtained from medical records, and mothers were asked to report on infant diet and medication use. Fecal samples were collected at 4 months of age, and we characterized the microbiota composition using high-throughput DNA sequencing.
We observed high variability in the profiles of fecal microbiota among the infants. The profiles were generally dominated by Actinobacteria (mainly the genus Bifidobacterium) and Firmicutes (with diverse representation from numerous genera). Compared with breastfed infants, formula-fed infants had increased richness of species, with overrepresentation of Clostridium difficile. Escherichia–Shigella and Bacteroides species were underrepresented in infants born by cesarean delivery. Infants born by elective cesarean delivery had particularly low bacterial richness and diversity.
These findings advance our understanding of the gut microbiota in healthy infants. They also provide new evidence for the effects of delivery mode and infant diet as determinants of this essential microbial community in early life.
Unintentional falls and poisonings are major causes of death and disability among infants. Although guidelines are available to prevent these injuries, safety behaviours are not performed by parents, causing unnecessary risks. Little is known about safety behaviours of first-time parents and whether they behave according to these guidelines.
The objective of this study was to compare safety behaviours of first-time parents with those of non-first-time parents and to determine correlates of unsafe behaviour of parents of infants. We used self-report questionnaires to assess safety behaviours in a cross-sectional study sample.
A total of 1439 parents visiting a preventive youth healthcare centre in the Netherlands were invited to complete a questionnaire with regard to the prevention of falls and poisonings. Parents were categorized into first-time parents and non-first-time parents. Correlates of parents' child safety behaviours were determined using multiple logistic regression analyses.
Most respondents were mothers (93.2%); 48.2% of families were first-time parents. The mean age of the infants was 7.2 months (SD 1.1; range 4–12), 51.8% were boys, and 34.5% of infants could crawl. First-time parents were more likely not to have a stair gate installed (OR 16.46; 95% CI 12.36–21.93); were more likely to store cleaning products unsafely (OR 4.55; 95% CI 3.59–5.76); and were more likely to store medicines unsafely (OR 2.90; 95% CI 2.31–3.63) than non-first-time parents. First-time parents were more likely to not have a window guard installed (OR 1.52; 95% CI 1.08–2.15) (all P<0.05).
First-time parents are not well prepared for the safety of their infant, causing unnecessary risks. The various parents' safety behaviours were influenced by different variables, for example, age of the infant, crawling of the infant, mother's educational level, mother's ethnicity, self-efficacy, vulnerability, severity.
Anorexia nervosa (AN) is usually marked by difficult recovery.
To elicit, describe and characterize factors involved in successful AN remission for at least five years and post-recovery life.
A qualitative study design using semi-structured interviews according to grounded theory methodology was used. An intentional sample of 15 information rich AN patients was selected using two sampling procedures: the criterion and “snowball” techniques. Qualitative interviews were audiotaped, transcribed, and entered into a content analysis. Researchers coded transcripts and developed themes.
Four core parameters were found to be associated with remission: (i) ‘motivation to change/stimuli’; (ii) ‘empowerment/autonomy’; (iii) ‘media related factors’; (iv) ‘treatment factors’. Clinical remission can be associated with residual symptoms.
The recovery model involves not only one, but rather a set of inter-active variables, each one can partially explain remission. Media factors can take a new role on recovery. Remission, however, can be followed by remnants of the disease and functional limitations.
Psychotic disorders are thought to represent altered neural function. However, research has failed to map diagnostic categories to alterations in neural networks. It is proposed that the basic unit of psychotic psychopathology is the moment-to-moment expression of subtle anomalous experiences of subclinical psychosis, and particularly its tendency to persist from moment-to-moment in daily life, under the influence of familial, environmental, emotional and cognitive factors.
In a general population twin sample (n = 579) and in a study of patients with psychotic disorder (n = 57), their non-psychotic siblings (n = 59) and unrelated controls (n = 75), the experience sampling paradigm (ESM; repetitive, random sampling of momentary mental states and context) was applied. We analysed, in a within-person prospective design, (i) transfer of momentary anomalous experience at time point (t–1) to time point (t) in daily life, and (ii) moderating effects of negative affect, positive affect, daily stressors, IQ and childhood trauma. Additionally, (iii) familial associations between persistence of momentary anomalous experience and psychotic symptomatology were investigated. Higher level of schizotypy in the twins (but not higher level of psychotic symptoms in patients) predicted more persistence of momentary anomalous experience in daily life, both within subjects and across relatives. Persistence of momentary anomalous experience was highest in patients, intermediate in their siblings and lowest in controls. In both studies, persistence of momentary anomalous experience was moderated by higher levels of negative affect, daily stressors and childhood trauma (only in twins), and by lower levels of positive affect. The study of alterations in the moment-to-moment transfer of subtle anomalous experience of psychosis, resulting in their persistence, helps to explain why psychotic and emotional dysregulation tend to cluster in a single phenotype such as schizophrenia, and how familial and environmental risks increase the risk of expression of psychosis from, first, subtle momentary anomalous experience to, second, observable clinical symptoms.
In the face of severe faculty shortages in resource-constrained countries, medical schools look to e-learning for improved access to medical education. This paper summarizes the literature on e-learning in low- and middle-income countries (LMIC), and presents the spectrum of tools and strategies used.
Researchers reviewed literature using terms related to e-learning and pre-service education of health professionals in LMIC. Search terms were connected using the Boolean Operators “AND” and “OR” to capture all relevant article suggestions. Using standard decision criteria, reviewers narrowed the article suggestions to a final 124 relevant articles.
Of the relevant articles found, most referred to e-learning in Brazil (14 articles), India (14), Egypt (10) and South Africa (10). While e-learning has been used by a variety of health workers in LMICs, the majority (58%) reported on physician training, while 24% focused on nursing, pharmacy and dentistry training. Although reasons for investing in e-learning varied, expanded access to education was at the core of e-learning implementation which included providing supplementary tools to support faculty in their teaching, expanding the pool of faculty by connecting to partner and/or community teaching sites, and sharing of digital resources for use by students. E-learning in medical education takes many forms. Blended learning approaches were the most common methodology presented (49 articles) of which computer-assisted learning (CAL) comprised the majority (45 articles). Other approaches included simulations and the use of multimedia software (20 articles), web-based learning (14 articles), and eTutor/eMentor programs (3 articles). Of the 69 articles that evaluated the effectiveness of e-learning tools, 35 studies compared outcomes between e-learning and other approaches, while 34 studies qualitatively analyzed student and faculty attitudes toward e-learning modalities.
E-learning in medical education is a means to an end, rather than the end in itself. Utilizing e-learning can result in greater educational opportunities for students while simultaneously enhancing faculty effectiveness and efficiency. However, this potential of e-learning assumes a certain level of institutional readiness in human and infrastructural resources that is not always present in LMICs. Institutional readiness for e-learning adoption ensures the alignment of new tools to the educational and economic context.
E-learning; Low- and middle-income countries; Medical education; Resource constrained
Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) is a complex and heterogeneous childhood disorder that often coexists with other psychiatric and somatic disorders. Recently, a link between ADHD and body weight dysregulation has been reported and often interpreted as impaired self-regulation that is shared between the two conditions. The objective of this study is to investigate the relation between body weight/BMI and cognitive, emotional and motor characteristics in children with ADHD.
284 ADHD children were stratified by weight status/BMI according to WHO classification and compared with regard to their neurocognitive characteristics, motivational style, and motor profile as assessed by a comprehensive battery of tests. All comparisons were adjusted for demographic characteristics of relevance including, socioeconomic status (SES).
Both Obese and overweight ADHD children exhibited significantly lower SES compared to normal weight ADHD children. No significant differences were observed between the three groups with regards to their neurocognitive, emotional and motor profile.
Our findings provide evidence that differences in weight/BMI are not accounted for by cognitive, motivational and motor profiles. Socio-economic characteristics are strongly associated with overweight and obesity in ADHD children and may inform strategies aimed at promoting healthier weight.
The purpose of this study is to examine the use of prescribed psychoactive medications in a prospective cohort of children shortly after they entered foster homes; and to identify demographics, maltreatment history, psychiatric diagnoses including ADHD comorbidity, and level of aggression that contribute to prescribed use of stimulant and atypical antipsychotic medication over time.
The sample included N = 252 children (nested in 95 sibling groups) followed for three years up to 4 yearly waves.
Nearly all (89%) met criteria for at least one of eight psychiatric diagnoses and 31% (75/252) used one or more prescribed psychoactive medications. Over half (55%) were diagnosed with Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD); of these 38% used stimulants and 36% used atypical antipsychotics. Of the 75 medicated children, 19% received ≥3 different classes of drugs over the course of the study. Stimulants (69%) and atypical antipsychotics (65%) were the most frequently used drugs among medicated children. Adjusted odds ratios (AOR) showed that male gender (AOR = 3.2; 95% CI = 1.5–9.3), African American vs Latino ethnicity (AOR = 5.4; 95% CI = 2.1–14.2), ADHD regardless of Oppositional Defiant (ODD) or Conduct (CD) comorbidity (AOR = 6.0, 95% CI = 1.3–27.5), ODD or CD (AOR = 11.1, 95% CI = 2.1–58.6), and Separation Anxiety (AOR = 2.0, 95% CI = 1.0–4.0) psychiatric disorders were associated with the use of prescribed stimulants; while male gender (AOR = 3.8, 95% CI = 1.5–9.3), African American vs Latino (AOR = 5.1, 95% CI = 1.2–9.2) or Mixed/Other ethnicity (AOR = 3.3, 95% CI = 1.9–13.7), ADHD regardless of ODD or CD comorbidity (AOR = 5.8, 95% CI = 1.2–28.7), ODD or CD (AOR = 13.9, 95% CI = 3.3–58.5), Major Depression/Dysthymia (AOR = 2.8, 95% CI = 1.1–6.7) psychiatric disorders, and history of sexual abuse (AOR = 4.6, 95% CI = 1.3–18.4) were associated with the use of prescribed atypical antipsychotics.
The aggressive use of atypical antipsychotics, which has unknown metabolic risks, suggests that the efficacy and safety of such treatment strategies for psychiatrically ill children in foster care should be monitored.
The Effort Index (EI) of the Repeatable Battery for the Assessment of Neuropsychological Status (RBANS) was developed to identify inadequate effort. Although researchers have examined its validity, the reliability of the EI has not been evaluated. The current study examined the temporal stability of the EI across 1 year in two independent samples of older adults. One sample consisted of 445 cognitively intact older adults (mean age = 72.89; 59% having 12–15 years of education) and the second sample consisted of 51 individuals diagnosed with amnestic Mild Cognitive Impairment (mean age = 82.41; 41% having 12–15 years of education). For both samples, the EI was found to have low stability (Spearman's ρ = .32–.36). When participants were divided into those whose EI stayed stable or improved versus those whose EI worsened (i.e., declining effort) on retesting, it was observed that individuals with lower baseline RBANS Total scores tended to worsen on the EI across time. Overall, the findings suggest low temporal stability of the EI in two geriatric samples. In particular, individuals with poorer cognition at baseline could present with poorer effort across time. These findings also suggest the need to further examine the temporal stability of other effort measures.
Malingering/symptom validity testing; Elderly/geriatrics/aging; Mild cognitive impairment
Obesity in pregnancy is associated with increased risk of complications and adverse outcomes in mother and child. Childhood adverse experiences are known to have numerous negative physical and emotional sequelae. We aimed to examine if exposure to abuse and/or neglect in childhood increased the likelihood of pre-pregnancy obesity.
Demographic and clinical data including weight, height, mental health as measured by the General Health Questionnaire and exposure to childhood trauma as measured by the childhood trauma questionnaire was collected from 239 women attending antenatal care at an Australian tertiary hospital.
More than one quarter of women were obese prior to pregnancy and approximately 20% of women self reported experiencing moderate to severe physical, sexual or emotional abuse. Almost 60% of women scored in the clinical range on the GHQ. Pre-pregnancy obesity in women attending antenatal care was associated with a self-reported history of emotional or physical abuse with those exposed to moderate or severe emotional or physical abuse having increased odds of being obese prior to pregnancy (O.R. and 95% CI: 2.40; 1.19–4.84 and 2.38; 1.18–4.79 respectively). There was no significant association between other forms of childhood maltreatment, demographic or current mental health status and pre-pregnancy obesity.
The high rates of obesity, mental health problems and self reported childhood maltreatment in the Australian antenatal population are serious public health concerns due to the extra health risks conferred on mother and offspring. Exposure to physical or emotional abuse during childhood increases the likelihood of obesity in women attending antenatal care. Further research is required to determine reasons for this association.