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UK Biobank is a well-characterised cohort of over 500 000 participants including genetics, environmental data and imaging. An online mental health questionnaire was designed for UK Biobank participants to expand its potential.
Describe the development, implementation and results of this questionnaire.
An expert working group designed the questionnaire, using established measures where possible, and consulting a patient group. Operational criteria were agreed for defining likely disorder and risk states, including lifetime depression, mania/hypomania, generalised anxiety disorder, unusual experiences and self-harm, and current post-traumatic stress and hazardous/harmful alcohol use.
A total of 157 366 completed online questionnaires were available by August 2017. Participants were aged 45–82 (53% were ≥65 years) and 57% women. Comparison of self-reported diagnosed mental disorder with a contemporary study shows a similar prevalence, despite respondents being of higher average socioeconomic status. Lifetime depression was a common finding, with 24% (37 434) of participants meeting criteria and current hazardous/harmful alcohol use criteria were met by 21% (32 602), whereas other criteria were met by less than 8% of the participants. There was extensive comorbidity among the syndromes. Mental disorders were associated with a high neuroticism score, adverse life events and long-term illness; addiction and bipolar affective disorder in particular were associated with measures of deprivation.
The UK Biobank questionnaire represents a very large mental health survey in itself, and the results presented here show high face validity, although caution is needed because of selection bias. Built into UK Biobank, these data intersect with other health data to offer unparalleled potential for crosscutting biomedical research involving mental health.
When 2017 Hurricane Harvey struck the coastline of Texas on August 25, 2017, it resulted in 88 fatalities and more than US $125 billion in damage to infrastructure. The floods associated with the storm created a toxic mix of chemicals, sewage and other biohazards, and over 6 million cubic meters of garbage in Houston alone. The level of biohazard exposure and injuries from trauma among persons residing in affected areas was widespread and likely contributed to increases in emergency department (ED) visits in Houston and cities receiving hurricane evacuees. We investigated medical surge resulting from these evacuations in Dallas–Fort Worth (DFW) metroplex EDs.
We used data sourced from the North Texas Syndromic Surveillance Region 2/3 in ESSENCE to investigate ED visit surge following the storm in DFW hospitals because this area received evacuees from the 60 counties with disaster declarations due to the storm. We used the interrupted time series (ITS) analysis to estimate the magnitude and duration of the ED surge. ITS was applied to all ED visits in DFW and visits made by patients residing in any of the 60 counties with disaster declarations due to the storm. The DFW metropolitan statistical area included 55 hospitals. Time series analyses examined data from March 1, 2017–January 6, 2018 with focus on the storm impact period, August 14–September 15, 2017. Data from before, during, and after the storm were visualized spatially and temporally to characterize magnitude, duration, and spatial variation of medical surge attributable to Hurricane Harvey.
During the study period overall, ED visits in the DFW area rose immediately by about 11% (95% CI: 9%, 13%), amounting to ~16 500 excess total visits before returning to the baseline on September 21, 2017. Visits by patients identified as residing in disaster declaration counties to DFW hospitals rose immediately by 127% (95% CI: 125%, 129%), amounting to 654 excess visits by September 29, 2017, when visits returned to the baseline. A spatial analysis revealed that evacuated patients were strongly clustered (Moran’s I = 0.35, P < 0.0001) among 5 of the counties with disaster declarations in the 11-day window during the storm surge.
The observed increase in ED visits in DFW due to Hurricane Harvey and ensuing evacuation was significant. Anticipating medical surge following large-scale hurricanes is critical for community preparedness planning. Coordinated planning across stakeholders is necessary to safeguard the population and for a skillful response to medical surge needs. Plans that address hurricane response, in particular, should have contingencies for support beyond the expected disaster areas.
Hurricane Maria caused catastrophic damage in Puerto Rico, increasing the risk for morbidity and mortality in the post-impact period. We aimed to establish a syndromic surveillance system to describe the number and type of visits at 2 emergency health-care settings in the same hospital system in Ponce, Puerto Rico.
We implemented a hurricane surveillance system by interviewing patients with a short questionnaire about the reason for visit at a hospital emergency department and associated urgent care clinic in the 6 mo after Hurricane Maria. We then evaluated the system by comparing findings with data from the electronic medical record (EMR) system for the same time period.
The hurricane surveillance system captured information from 5116 participants across the 2 sites, representing 17% of all visits captured in the EMR for the same period. Most visits were associated with acute illness/symptoms (79%), followed by injury (11%). The hurricane surveillance and EMR data were similar, proportionally, by sex, age, and visit category.
The hurricane surveillance system provided timely and representative data about the number and type of visits at 2 sites. This system, or an adapted version using available electronic data, should be considered in future disaster settings.
As demonstrated by neuroimaging data, the human brain contains systems that control responses to threat. The revised Reinforcement Sensitivity Theory of personality predicts that individual differences in the reactivity of these brain systems produce anxiety and fear-related personality traits. Here we discuss some of the challenges in testing this theory and, as an example, present a pilot study that aimed to dissociate brain activity during pursuit by threat and goal conflict. We did this by translating the Mouse Defense Test Battery for human fMRI use. In this version, dubbed the Joystick Operated Runway Task (JORT), we repeatedly exposed 24 participants to pursuit and goal conflict, with and without threat of electric shock. The runway design of JORT allowed the effect of threat distance on brain activation to be evaluated independently of context. Goal conflict plus threat of electric shock caused deactivation in a network of brain areas that included the fusiform and middle temporal gyri, as well as the default mode network core, including medial frontal regions, precuneus and posterior cingulate gyrus, and laterally the inferior parietal and angular gyri. Consistent with earlier research, we also found that imminent threat activated the midbrain and that this effect was significantly stronger during the simple pursuit condition than during goal conflict. Also consistent with earlier research, we found significantly greater hippocampal activation during goal conflict than pursuit by imminent threat. In conclusion, our results contribute knowledge to theories linking anxiety disorders to altered functioning in defensive brain systems and also highlight challenges in this research domain.
As the IAU heads towards its second century, many changes have simultaneously transformed Astronomy and the human condition world-wide. Amid the amazing recent discoveries of exoplanets, primeval galaxies, and gravitational radiation, the human condition on Earth has become blazingly interconnected, yet beset with ever-increasing problems of over-population, pollution, and never-ending wars. Fossil-fueled global climate change has begun to yield perilous consequences. And the displacement of people from war-torn nations has reached levels not seen since World War II.
The combination of sensitivity and large sky coverage of the ALFALFA HI survey has enabled the detection of difficult to observe low mass galaxies in large numbers, including dwarf galaxies overlooked in optical surveys. Three different, but connected, studies of dwarf galaxies from the ALFALFA survey are of particular interest: SHIELD (Survey of HI in Extremely Low-mass Dwarfs), candidate gas-rich ultra-faint dwarf galaxies, and the (Almost) Dark population. SHIELD is a systematic multiwavelength study of all dwarf galaxies from ALFALFA with MHI < 107.2M⊙ and clear optical counterparts. Candidate gas-rich ultra-faint dwarf galaxies extend the dwarf galaxy population to even lower masses. These galaxies are identified as isolated HI clouds with no discernible optical counterpart but subsequent observations reveal that some are extremely faint, gas-dominated galaxies. Leo P, discovered first as an HI detection, and then found to be an actively star-forming galaxy, bridges the gap between these candidate galaxies and the SHIELD sample. The (Almost) Dark sample consists of galaxies whose optical counterparts are overlooked in current optical surveys but which are clear detections in ALFALFA. This sample includes field gas-rich ultra-diffuse galaxies. Coma P, with a peak surface brightness of only ∼26.4 mag arcsec−2 in g’, demonstrates the sort of extreme low surface brightness galaxy that can be discovered in an HI survey.
As the concept of ecosystem services is applied more widely in conservation, its users will encounter the issue of poverty alleviation. Policy initiatives involving ecosystem services are often marked by their use of win-win narratives that conceal the trade-offs they must entail. Modelling this paper on an earlier essay about conservation and poverty, we explore the different views that underlie apparent agreement. We identify five positions that reflect different mixes of concern for ecosystem condition, poverty and economic growth, and we suggest that acknowledging these helps to uncover the subjacent goals of policy interventions and the trade-offs they involve in practice. Recognizing their existence and foundations can ultimately support the emergence of more legitimate and robust policies.
UK Biobank is a well-characterised cohort of over 500 000 participants that offers unique opportunities to investigate multiple diseases and risk factors.
An online mental health questionnaire completed by UK Biobank participants was expected to expand the potential for research into mental disorders.
An expert working group designed the questionnaire, using established measures where possible, and consulting with a patient group regarding acceptability. Case definitions were defined using operational criteria for lifetime depression, mania, anxiety disorder, psychotic-like experiences and self-harm, as well as current post-traumatic stress and alcohol use disorders.
157 366 completed online questionnaires were available by August 2017. Comparison of self-reported diagnosed mental disorder with a contemporary study shows a similar prevalence, despite respondents being of higher average socioeconomic status than the general population across a range of indicators. Thirty-five per cent (55 750) of participants had at least one defined syndrome, of which lifetime depression was the most common at 24% (37 434). There was extensive comorbidity among the syndromes. Mental disorders were associated with high neuroticism score, adverse life events and long-term illness; addiction and bipolar affective disorder in particular were associated with measures of deprivation.
The questionnaire represents a very large mental health survey in itself, and the results presented here show high face validity, although caution is needed owing to selection bias. Built into UK Biobank, these data intersect with other health data to offer unparalleled potential for crosscutting biomedical research involving mental health.
Declaration of interest
G.B. received grants from the National Institute for Health Research during the study; and support from Illumina Ltd. and the European Commission outside the submitted work. B.C. received grants from the Scottish Executive Chief Scientist Office and from The Dr Mortimer and Theresa Sackler Foundation during the study. C.S. received grants from the Medical Research Council and Wellcome Trust during the study, and is the Chief Scientist for UK Biobank. M.H. received grants from the Innovative Medicines Initiative via the RADAR-CNS programme and personal fees as an expert witness outside the submitted work.
Whether monozygotic (MZ) and dizygotic (DZ) twins differ from each other in a variety of phenotypes is important for genetic twin modeling and for inferences made from twin studies in general. We analyzed whether there were differences in individual, maternal and paternal education between MZ and DZ twins in a large pooled dataset. Information was gathered on individual education for 218,362 adult twins from 27 twin cohorts (53% females; 39% MZ twins), and on maternal and paternal education for 147,315 and 143,056 twins respectively, from 28 twin cohorts (52% females; 38% MZ twins). Together, we had information on individual or parental education from 42 twin cohorts representing 19 countries. The original education classifications were transformed to education years and analyzed using linear regression models. Overall, MZ males had 0.26 (95% CI [0.21, 0.31]) years and MZ females 0.17 (95% CI [0.12, 0.21]) years longer education than DZ twins. The zygosity difference became smaller in more recent birth cohorts for both males and females. Parental education was somewhat longer for fathers of DZ twins in cohorts born in 1990–1999 (0.16 years, 95% CI [0.08, 0.25]) and 2000 or later (0.11 years, 95% CI [0.00, 0.22]), compared with fathers of MZ twins. The results show that the years of both individual and parental education are largely similar in MZ and DZ twins. We suggest that the socio-economic differences between MZ and DZ twins are so small that inferences based upon genetic modeling of twin data are not affected.
To determine the impact of recurrent Clostridium difficile infection (RCDI) on patient behaviors following illness.
Using a computer algorithm, we searched the electronic medical records of 7 Chicago-area hospitals to identify patients with RCDI (2 episodes of CDI within 15 to 56 days of each other). RCDI was validated by medical record review. Patients were asked to complete a telephone survey. The survey included questions regarding general health, social isolation, symptom severity, emotional distress, and prevention behaviors.
In total, 119 patients completed the survey (32%). On average, respondents were 57.4 years old (standard deviation, 16.8); 57% were white, and ~50% reported hospitalization for CDI. At the time of their most recent illness, patients rated their diarrhea as high severity (58.5%) and their exhaustion as extreme (30.7%). Respondents indicated that they were very worried about getting sick again (41.5%) and about infecting others (31%). Almost 50% said that they have washed their hands more frequently (47%) and have increased their use of soap and water (45%) since their illness. Some of these patients (22%–32%) reported eating out less, avoiding certain medications and public areas, and increasing probiotic use. Most behavioral changes were unrelated to disease severity.
Having had RCDI appears to increase prevention-related behaviors in some patients. While some behaviors are appropriate (eg, handwashing), others are not supported by evidence of decreased risk and may negatively impact patient quality of life. Providers should discuss appropriate prevention behaviors with their patients and should clarify that other behaviors (eg, eating out less) will not affect their risk of future illness.
We question whether the increasingly popular, radical idea of turning half the Earth into a network of protected areas is either feasible or just. We argue that this Half-Earth plan would have widespread negative consequences for human populations and would not meet its conservation objectives. It offers no agenda for managing biodiversity within a human half of Earth. We call instead for alternative radical action that is both more effective and more equitable, focused directly on the main drivers of biodiversity loss by shifting the global economy from its current foundation in growth while simultaneously redressing inequality.
We are grateful to ten Kate & von Hase (2016) and Dempsey & Collard (2016) for their insightful and constructive responses to our article on biodiversity offsetting (Apostolopoulou & Adams, 2015a). They agree with us that conservationists need to think very carefully about offsetting and its implications for nature conservation. They differ substantially in where that thinking should lead. Ten Kate & von Hase believe that offsetting is fine if it is done properly. Dempsey & Collard are profoundly uneasy about its implications, and go deeper into the way conservation is folded into economic development, ‘smoothing the way for new industrial scale projects’.
U–Pb ages of zircon from bentonites within the upper Cretaceous Bastion Ridge and Kanguk formations, Sverdrup Basin, provide constraints on sedimentation rates, biostratigraphic correlations, timing of Oceanic Anoxic Event 2 (OAE2) in the High Arctic, and the late magmatic history of the High Arctic Large Igneous Province (HALIP). A late Cenomanian to early Turonian age for the base of the Kanguk Formation is confirmed that supports correlations of the global OAE2 in the High Arctic. Sedimentation rates varied from 19 m Ma−1 between 93 and 91 Ma to 26 m Ma−1 between 91 and 83 Ma at Axel Heiberg Island. At Ellef Ringnes Island, the lower Kanguk Formation records high rates of ~70 m Ma−1 between 94 and 93 Ma, which decrease to rates comparable to those of the upper Axel Heiberg section. Differences in sedimentation rates may reflect differences in setting prior to the major transgression in the latest Cenomanian to early Turonian. The timing of Arctic occurrences of the Scaphites nigricollensis and Scaphites depressus ammonite zones is shown to be broadly comparable to that of lower-latitude occurrences within the Western Interior Seaway. An eruption frequency of 0.5–2.5 Ma characterizes the late alkaline phase of HALIP magmatism. Volcanic bed thicknesses of 10–50 cm suggest ash transport distances of less than 1000 km. Long-lived volcanic centres, in the area of the Alpha Ridge, northern Ellesmere Island or northern Greenland, were the likely source of volcanic ash over a period of 10–15 Ma.