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Structural and functional abnormalities of the left hemisphere, often involving the temporal lobe were frequently observed in schizophrenia. However, negative and discrepant findings were also reported. Our study aimed to investigate the presence of lateralized impairment of event-related potentials, recorded during a tonal dichotic listening task, in a group of clinically stabilized patients with schizophrenia.
The ERP component N100, related to sensory processing of stimuli and generated in the temporal lobe cortex, was investigated. A passive dichotic listening task was used in order to exclude the effect of attention impairment on the observed ERP abnormalities.
Patients with schizophrenia showed a pattern of hemispheric lateralization comparable with that observed in healthy controls. In both groups, dichotic listening inhibited the augmenting pattern of N100 amplitude with increasing tone intensity. However, patients failed to demonstrate the augmenting pattern of the N100 also with monaural tones, over the left temporal leads. This abnormality did not correlate with the severity of psychopathology. A role of antipsychotic treatment was excluded as the N100 showed a normal pattern of amplitude increase over right temporal leads.
Our results suggest a state of functional inhibition of the left auditory cortex, akin to that induced by dichotic listening, in subjects with schizophrenia, indipendent of psychopathology or drug therapy.
Clinical studies on cognitive effects of second generation antipsychotics produced disappointing findings probably due to the heterogeneity of the clinical populations under investigation, as well as to poor sensitivity of neurocognitive indices. Event-Related Potentials (ERPs) provide a functional measure of electrical brain activity time-locked to discrete stages of information processing. They have been widely used as putative biological markers of cognitive abnormalities in schizophrenia and represent useful indices in the investigation of the cognitive effects of psychotropic drugs.
The present study investigated the effect of risperidone, haloperidol and placebo on N1 and P3 in male healthy subjects.
ERPs were recorded during a three-tone oddball task in which target, standard and rare-nontarget tones were randomly presented. Subjects had to press a button when hearing a target tone. Amplitude and topography of the ERP component maps at peak latencies were compared across conditions. If a significant drug effect was obtained, changes in the cortical sources of the corresponding ERP component were analyzed using Low-Resolution Electromagnetic Tomography (LORETA).
The amplitude of N1 for attended stimuli and of P3 for rare-nontargets (P3a) was significantly increased only by risperidone. No significant change was observed in overall topographic features and in LORETA cortical sources of the same components. No significant drug effect was demonstrated for the latency of all the investigated components and for P3b amplitude.
Our findings suggest that risperidone has a favorable effect on early attention processes and automatic attention allocation.
The aim of our study is the investigation of burn-out indexes in public mental health services employees (psychiatrists, psychologists, nursing staff, care providers) working with patients affected by Bipolar Disorder in order to correlate them with patients’ indexes of satisfaction about received treatment and care.
A sample of 20 employees of mental health services (psychiatrists, psychologists, nurses) and one consisting of 22 patients with a diagnosis of Bipolar Disorder have been recruited at the Bipolar Disorders Unit of the Day Hospital of Psychiatry of the A. Gemelli Hospital in Rome. Operators have been submitted the Maslach Burnout Inventory (Emotional distress, Depersonalization, Personal satisfaction/achievement/fulfilment) while patients have been submitted the Questionnaire on Satisfaction of patient (QS)
By calculating the Spearman Correlation Coefficient the Depersonalization dimension proves highly correlated with the three subscales of QS: Doctor-Patient relationship quality (-.51); Information Quality and Doctor's therapeutic competence (-.48); Efficiency of service organization (-.58)
In our sample high levels of Depersonalization are correlated to a low satisfaction of patients. We therefore expect low levels of Depersonalization to be correlated with a higher satisfaction of the patient. Although it is not possible to generalize these results we can hypothesize that burn out negatively influences patients’ satisfaction.
Previous studies have reported that patient with schizophrenia have preserved hedonic capacity, but impaired ability to anticipate future reward (anticipatory anhedonia) that, according to some authors, may underlie other aspects of negative symptoms, such as avolition.
The aim of our study was to demonstrate an impairment of reward anticipation in patients with deficit schizophrenia (DS), characterized by primary and persistent negative symptoms, but not in those with non-deficit schizophrenia (NDS) with respect to healthy controls (HC), by means of functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI).
fMRI was recorded during the execution of the ’Monetary Incentive Delay’ task in 11 patients with DS, 23 patients with NDS and 23 HC, during the anticipation of five different outcomes, small (SR) or large (LR) reward, small (SP) or large (LP) punishment or no-outcome (NO).
The ventral striatum response to reward anticipation was preserved in subjects with schizophrenia. Only patients with DS, compared with HC, showed a significant reduction in the left caudate during the anticipation of reward. The reduced activity of the caudate correlated with the scores for avolition but not for anhedonia.
Our preliminary data suggest an involvement of the caudate in the abnormal processing of reward stimuli in patients with DS and show that avolition and anhedonia are subtended by different functional abnormalities.
This study aims to estimate Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD) prevalence in school-aged children in the province of Pisa (Italy) using the strategy of the ASD in the European Union (ASDEU) project.
A multistage approach was used to identify cases in a community sample (N = 10 138) of 7–9-year-old children attending elementary schools in Pisa – Italy. First, the number of children with a disability certificate was collected from the Local Health Authority and an ASD diagnosis was verified by the ASDEU team. Second, a Teacher Nomination form (TN) to identify children at risk for ASD was filled in by teachers who joined the study and the Social Communication Questionnaire (SCQ) was filled in by the parents of children identified as positive by the TN; a comprehensive assessment, which included the Autism Diagnostic Observation Schedule-Second Edition, was performed for children with positive TN and SCQ⩾9.
A total of 81 children who had a disability certificate also had ASD (prevalence: 0.79%, i.e. 1/126). Specifically, 66 children (57 males and nine females; 62% with intellectual disability –ID-) were certified with ASD, whereas another 15 (11 males and four females; 80% with ID) were recognised as having ASD among those certified with another neurodevelopmental disorder. Considering the population of 4417 (children belonging to schools which agreed to participate in the TN/SCQ procedure) and using only the number of children certified with ASD, the prevalence (38 in 4417) was 0.86%, i.e. one in 116. As far as this population is concerned, the prevalence rises to 1% if we consider the eight new cases (six males and two females; no subject had ID) identified among children with no pre-existing diagnoses and to 1.15%, i.e., one in 87, if probabilistic estimation is used.
This is the first population-based ASD prevalence study conducted in Italy so far and its results indicate a prevalence of ASD in children aged 7–9 years of about one in 87. This finding may help regional, national and international health planners to improve ASD policies for ASD children and their families in the public healthcare system.
We present observations of 50 deg2 of the Mopra carbon monoxide (CO) survey of the Southern Galactic Plane, covering Galactic longitudes l = 300–350° and latitudes |b| ⩽ 0.5°. These data have been taken at 0.6 arcmin spatial resolution and 0.1 km s−1spectral resolution, providing an unprecedented view of the molecular clouds and gas of the Southern Galactic Plane in the 109–115 GHz J = 1–0 transitions of 12CO, 13CO, C18O, and C17O.
We present a series of velocity-integrated maps, spectra, and position-velocity plots that illustrate Galactic arm structures and trace masses on the order of ~106 M⊙ deg−2, and include a preliminary catalogue of C18O clumps located between l = 330–340°. Together with the information about the noise statistics of the survey, these data can be retrieved from the Mopra CO website and the PASA data store.
Low birth weight programs diseases in adulthood, including adverse bone health. These diseases can have intergenerational and transgenerational origins, whereby transmission to subsequent generations occurs via both parental lines. Uteroplacental insufficiency surgery (Restricted) or sham surgery (Control) was performed on gestational day 18, in F0 Wistar–Kyoto rats. F1 Restricted males and females mated with breeders in order to generate F2 offspring of maternal and paternal lineages. F2 males and females were randomly selected for breeding to generate F3 offspring. F2 and F3 offspring did not have differences in birth weight irrespective of F1 low birth weight and parental line. Maternal line females had minor alterations to trabecular content and density at 6 months, these differences were not sustained at 12 months. Maternal line males had changes to trabecular content at 6 and 12 months; however, differences were no longer present at 16 months. Despite altered bone geometry at 12 and 16 months, bending strength remained unaffected at both ages. Bone health of paternal line females was not affected at 6 and 12 months. Paternal line males at 6 months had changes to trabecular and cortical content; cortical thickness, periosteal circumference and bending strength; however, these differences were no longer sustained at 12 and 16 months. Our data demonstrate that there is no transgenerational transmission of adverse bone health in F2 and F3 offspring, derived from low F1 birth weight females and males. Our results are novel, as bone health across generations and both parental lines has not been investigated in a model of low birth weight due to uteroplacental insufficiency.
Probably, the long-term monitoring of the solar atmosphere started in Italy with the first telescopic observations of the Sun made by Galileo Galilei in the early 17th century. His recorded observations and science results, as well as the work carried out by other following outstanding Italian astronomers inspired the start of institutional programs of regular solar observations at the Arcetri, Catania, and Rome Observatories.
These programs have accumulated daily images of the solar photosphere and chromosphere taken at various spectral bands over a time span larger than 80 years. In the last two decades, regular solar observations were continued with digital cameras only at the Catania and Rome Observatories, which are now part of the INAF National Institute for Astrophysics. At the two sites, daily solar images are taken at the photospheric G-band, Blue (λ = 409.4 nm), and Red (λ = 606.9 nm) continua spectral ranges and at the chromospheric Ca II K and Hα lines, with a 2″ spatial resolution.
Solar observation in Italy, which benefits from over 2500 hours of yearly sunshine, currently aims at the operational monitoring of solar activity and long-term variability and at the continuation of the historical series as well. Existing instruments will be soon enriched by the SAMM double channel telescope equipped with magneto-optical filters that will enable the tomography of the solar atmosphere with simultaneous observations at the K I 769.9 nm and Na I D 589.0 nm lines. In this contribution, we present the available observations and outline their scientific relevance.
The increased use of the MATRICS Consensus Cognitive Battery (MCCB) to investigate cognitive dysfunctions in schizophrenia fostered interest in its sensitivity in the context of family studies. As various measures of the same cognitive domains may have different power to distinguish between unaffected relatives of patients and controls, the relative sensitivity of MCCB tests for relative–control differences has to be established. We compared MCCB scores of 852 outpatients with schizophrenia (SCZ) with those of 342 unaffected relatives (REL) and a normative Italian sample of 774 healthy subjects (HCS). We examined familial aggregation of cognitive impairment by investigating within-family prediction of MCCB scores based on probands’ scores.
Multivariate analysis of variance was used to analyze group differences in adjusted MCCB scores. Weighted least-squares analysis was used to investigate whether probands’ MCCB scores predicted REL neurocognitive performance.
SCZ were significantly impaired on all MCCB domains. REL had intermediate scores between SCZ and HCS, showing a similar pattern of impairment, except for social cognition. Proband's scores significantly predicted REL MCCB scores on all domains except for visual learning.
In a large sample of stable patients with schizophrenia, living in the community, and in their unaffected relatives, MCCB demonstrated sensitivity to cognitive deficits in both groups. Our findings of significant within-family prediction of MCCB scores might reflect disease-related genetic or environmental factors.
Mycobacterium avium sp. avium (MAA), M. avium sp. hominissuis (MAH), and M. avium sp. paratuberculosis (MAP) are the main members of the M. avium complex (MAC) causing diseases in several hosts. The aim of this study was to describe the genetic diversity of MAC isolated from different hosts. Twenty-six MAH and 61 MAP isolates were recovered from humans and cattle, respectively. GenoType CM® and IS1311-PCR were used to identify Mycobacterium species. The IS901-PCR was used to differentiate between MAH and MAA, while IS900-PCR was used to identify MAP. Genotyping was performed using a mycobacterial interspersed repetitive-unit-variable-number tandem-repeat (MIRU-VNTR) scheme (loci: 292, X3, 25, 47, 3, 7, 10, 32) and patterns (INMV) were assigned according to the MAC-INMV database (http://mac-inmv.tours.inra.fr/). Twenty-two (22/26, 84·6%) MAH isolates were genotyped and 16 were grouped into the following, INMV 92, INMV 121, INMV 97, INMV 103, INMV 50, and INMV 40. The loci X3 and 25 showed the largest diversity (D: 0·5844), and the global discriminatory index (Hunter and Gaston discriminatory index, HGDI) was 0·9300. MAP (100%) isolates were grouped into INMV 1, INMV 2, INMV 11, INMV 8, and INMV 5. The HGDI was 0·6984 and loci 292 and 7 had the largest D (0·6980 and 0·5050). MAH presented a higher D when compared with MAP. The MIRU-VNTR was a useful tool to describe the genetic diversity of both MAH and MAP as well as to identify six new MAH patterns that were conveniently reported to the MAC-INMV database. It was also demonstrated that, in the geographical region studied, human MAC cases were produced by MAH as there was no MAA found among the human clinical samples.
We present two pilot studies for the search and characterization of accretion events in star-forming dwarf galaxies. Our strategy consists of two complementary approaches: i) the direct search for stellar substructures around dwarf galaxies through deep wide-field imaging, and ii) the characterization of the chemical properties in these systems up to large galacto-centric distances. We show our results for two star-forming dwarf galaxies, the starburst irregular NGC 4449, and the extremely metal-poor dwarf DDO 68.
We investigated the stellar density substructures around four metal-poor globular clusters (NGC 6266, NGC 6626, NGC 6642, and NGC 6723) in the Galactic bulge. Wide-field near-infrared (JHKs) imaging data were obtained from WFCAM of UKIRT telescope. Field stars contamination around the globular clusters was reduced by using a statistical weighted filtering algorithm. Tidal stripping stellar substructures in the form of tidal tail (NGC 6266 and NGC 6626) or small density lobes/chunk (NGC 6642 and NGC 6723) were found around the four globular clusters in the two-dimensional density contour maps. We also find the overdensity features, which deviate from the theoretical models, in the outer region of radial density profiles. The observed results imply that the four globular clusters have experienced a strong tidal force or the bulge/disk shock effect of the Galaxy.
The assembly of the halo yields fundamental information on the formation and evolution of galaxies: this was quite exhaustively discussed at this very important symposium. I present a brief personal summary of the meeting, outlining those points that I found more exciting and suggestive. I also remarked a few areas that were possibly not enough expanded. I found this research field extremely interesting and I think there are great expectations for new developments in the next few years, thanks to the new large spectroscopic surveys and the ESA GAIA satellite.
Resolved stellar spectroscopy can obtain knowledge about chemical enrichment processes back to the earliest times, when the oldest stars were formed. In this contribution I will review the early (chemical) evolution of the Milky Way halo from an observational perspective. In particular, I will discuss our understanding of the origin of the peculiar abundance patterns in various subclasses of extremely metal-poor stars, taking into account new data from our abundance and radial velocity monitoring programs, and their implications for our understanding of the formation and early evolution of both the Milky Way halo and the satellite dwarf galaxies therein. I conclude by presenting the “Pristine” survey, a program on the Canada-France-Hawaii Telescope to study this intriguing epoch much more efficiently.
Models of galaxy formation in a hierarchical universe predict substantial scatter in the halo-to-halo stellar properties, owing to stochasticity in galaxies' merger histories. Currently, only few detailed observations of stellar halos are available, mainly for the Milky Way and M31. We present the stellar halo color/metallicity and density profiles of red giant branch stars out to ~60 kpc along the minor axis of six massive nearby Milky Way-like galaxies beyond the Local Group from the Galaxy Halos, Outer disks, Substructure, Thick disks and Star clusters (GHOSTS) HST survey. This enlargement of the sample of galaxies with observations of stellar halo properties is needed to understand the range of possible halo properties, i.e. not only the mean properties but also the halo-to-halo scatter, what a ‘typical’ halo looks like, and how similar the Milky Way halo is to other halos beyond the Local Group.
The detection and characterization of debris in the integral-of-motion space is a promising avenue to uncover the hierarchical formation of the Milky Way. Yet, the fact that the integrals do not remain constant during the assembly process adds considerable complexity to this approach. Indeed, in time-dependent potentials tidal substructures tend to be effaced from the integral-of-motion space through an orbital diffusion process, which naturally leads to the formation of a ‘smooth’ stellar halo. In this talk I will introduce a new probability theory that describes the evolution of collisionless systems subject to a time-dependent potential. The new theory can be used to reconstruct the hierarchical assembly of our Galaxy through modelling the observed distribution of accreted stars in the integral-of-motion space.
In this contribution the hypothesis that the Galactic globular clusters with substantial internal [Fe/H] abundance ranges are the former nuclei of disrupted dwarf galaxies is discussed. Evidence considered includes the form of the metallicity distribution function, the occurrence of large diffuse outer envelopes in cluster density profiles, and the presence of ([s-process/Fe], [Fe/H]) correlations. The hypothesis is shown to be plausible but with the caveat that if significantly more than the current nine clusters known to have [Fe/H] spreads are found, then re-evaluation will be required.
In this study, we aim to trace formation of the primordial globular cluster, ultra faint dwarf galaxy, and ultra compact dwarf in a cosmological context of a high-resolution hydrodynamic zoom-in simulation. We show that the baryon-dominated systems have experienced more interactions with the mini halos before infalling to the main halo.
Galaxies in group and cluster environments are subject to ram pressure stripping by the hot intracluster medium, resulting in gas loss and the eventual suppression of star formation. Recent Chandra observations of galaxies in group and cluster environments show that 60 - 80% of these galaxies have compact (1-4 kpc), hot (~ 1 keV) X-ray coronae centered on their cores. These coronae have survived stripping and evaporation in the cluster, and their long-term survival poses a test of our understanding of the physical processes in the ICM. In this poster, I summarize results from Vijayaraghavan & Ricker (2015), where we simulated the evolution of populations of galaxies and their hot coronal gas in group and cluster environments, and evaluated their detectability with existing and future X-ray catalogs.
Throughout most of the Local Group, globular clusters (GCs) remain recognisable as extended objects in ground-based images taken in good seeing conditions. However, studying the full extent of the GC systems is challenging because of the large sky area that needs to be surveyed and recent years have seen dramatic progress in our knowledge of GC populations in nearby galaxies, thanks to large imaging surveys. At the same time, techniques for deriving detailed abundances from integrated-light spectra of GCs are maturing so that detailed comparisons of the chemical composition for GCs in different galaxies can now be made. Such comparisons may shed important light on the properties of proto-galactic fragments that were accreted onto galaxy halos. Nevertheless, our census of Local Group GCs probably remains far from complete, in particular at low luminosities and for very extended clusters.