987 research outputs found

    Astrocytes: orchestrating synaptic plasticity?

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    Synaptic plasticity is the capacity of a preexisting connection between two neurons to change in strength as a function of neural activity. Because synaptic plasticity is the major candidate mechanism for learning and memory, the elucidation of its constituting mechanisms is of crucial importance in many aspects of normal and pathological brain function. In particular, a prominent aspect that remains debated is how the plasticity mechanisms, that encompass a broad spectrum of temporal and spatial scales, come to play together in a concerted fashion. Here we review and discuss evidence that pinpoints to a possible non-neuronal, glial candidate for such orchestration: the regulation of synaptic plasticity by astrocytes.Comment: 63 pages, 4 figure

    What we learn about bipolar disorder from large-scale neuroimaging:Findings and future directions from the ENIGMA Bipolar Disorder Working Group

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    MRI-derived brain measures offer a link between genes, the environment and behavior and have been widely studied in bipolar disorder (BD). However, many neuroimaging studies of BD have been underpowered, leading to varied results and uncertainty regarding effects. The Enhancing Neuro Imaging Genetics through Meta-Analysis (ENIGMA) Bipolar Disorder Working Group was formed in 2012 to empower discoveries, generate consensus findings and inform future hypothesis-driven studies of BD. Through this effort, over 150 researchers from 20 countries and 55 institutions pool data and resources to produce the largest neuroimaging studies of BD ever conducted. The ENIGMA Bipolar Disorder Working Group applies standardized processing and analysis techniques to empower large-scale meta- and mega-analyses of multimodal brain MRI and improve the replicability of studies relating brain variation to clinical and genetic data. Initial BD Working Group studies reveal widespread patterns of lower cortical thickness, subcortical volume and disrupted white matter integrity associated with BD. Findings also include mapping brain alterations of common medications like lithium, symptom patterns and clinical risk profiles and have provided further insights into the pathophysiological mechanisms of BD. Here we discuss key findings from the BD working group, its ongoing projects and future directions for large-scale, collaborative studies of mental illness

    The risk of lung cancer related to dietary intake of flavonoids

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    It has been hypothesized that flavonoids in foods and beverages may reduce cancer risk through antioxidation, inhibition of inflammation, and other antimutagenic and antiproliferative properties. We examined associations between intake of five flavonoid subclasses (anthocyanidins, flavan-3-ols, flavones, flavonols, flavanones) and lung cancer risk in a population-based case-control study in Montreal, Canada (1,061 cases and 1,425 controls). Flavonoid intake was estimated from a food frequency questionnaire that assessed diet two years prior to diagnosis (cases) or interview (controls). Odds ratios (ORs) and 95% confidence intervals (CIs) were estimated using unconditional logistic regression. Overall, total flavonoid intake was not associated with lung cancer risk, the effect being similar regardless of sex and smoking level. However, low flavonoid intake from food, but not from beverages, was associated with an increased risk. The adjusted ORs (95% CIs) comparing the highest versus the lowest quartiles of intake were 0.63 (0.47-0.85) for total flavonoids, 0.82 (0.61-1.11) for anthocyanidins, 0.67 (0.50-0.90) for flavan-3-ols, 0.68 (0.50-0.93) for flavones, 0.62 (0.45-0.84) for flavonols, and 0.70 (0.53-0.94) for flavanones. An inverse association with total flavone and flavanone intake was observed for squamous cell carcinoma but not adenocarcinoma. In conclusion, low flavonoid intake from food may increase lung cancer risk

    Dissecting the determinants of depressive disorders outcome: an in depth analysis of two clinical cases

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    Clinicians face everyday the complexity of depression. Available pharmacotherapies and psychotherapies improve patients suffering in a large part of subjects, however up to half of patients do not respond to treatment. Clinicians may forecast to a good extent if a given patient will respond or not, based on a number of data and sensations that emerge from face to face assessment. Conversely, clinical predictors of non response emerging from literature are largely unsatisfactory. Here we try to fill this gap, suggesting a comprehensive assessment of patients that may overcome the limitation of standardized assessments and detecting the factors that plausibly contribute to so marked differences in depressive disorders outcome. For this aim we present and discuss two clinical cases. Mr. A was an industrial manager who came to psychiatric evaluation with a severe depressive episode. His employment was demanding and the depressive episode undermined his capacity to manage it. Based on standardized assessment, Mr. A condition appeared severe and potentially dramatic. Mrs. B was a housewife who came to psychiatric evaluation with a moderate depressive episode. Literature predictors would suggest Mrs. B state as associated with a more favourable outcome. However the clinician impression was not converging with the standardized assessment and in fact the outcome will reverse the prediction based on the initial formal standard evaluation. Although the present report is based on two clinical cases and no generalizability is possible, a more detailed analysis of personality, temperament, defense mechanisms, self esteem, intelligence and social adjustment may allow to formalize the clinical impressions used by clinicians for biologic and pharmacologic studies

    Functionality and feedback: a realist synthesis of the collation, interpretation and utilisation of patient-reported outcome measures data to improve patient care

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    Background: The feedback of patient-reported outcome measures (PROMs) data is intended to support the care of individual patients and to act as a quality improvement (QI) strategy. Objectives: To (1) identify the ideas and assumptions underlying how individual and aggregated PROMs data are intended to improve patient care, and (2) review the evidence to examine the circumstances in which and processes through which PROMs feedback improves patient care. Design: Two separate but related realist syntheses: (1) feedback of aggregate PROMs and performance data to improve patient care, and (2) feedback of individual PROMs data to improve patient care. Interventions: Aggregate ‚Äď feedback and public reporting of PROMs, patient experience data and performance data to hospital providers and primary care organisations. Individual ‚Äď feedback of PROMs in oncology, palliative care and the care of people with mental health problems in primary and secondary care settings. Main outcome measures: Aggregate ‚Äď providers‚Äô responses, attitudes and experiences of using PROMs and performance data to improve patient care. Individual ‚Äď providers‚Äô and patients‚Äô experiences of using PROMs data to raise issues with clinicians, change clinicians‚Äô communication practices, change patient management and improve patient well-being. Data sources: Searches of electronic databases and forwards and backwards citation tracking. Review methods: Realist synthesis to identify, test and refine programme theories about when, how and why PROMs feedback leads to improvements in patient care. Results: Providers were more likely to take steps to improve patient care in response to the feedback and public reporting of aggregate PROMs and performance data if they perceived that these data were credible, were aimed at improving patient care, and were timely and provided a clear indication of the source of the problem. However, implementing substantial and sustainable improvement to patient care required system-wide approaches. In the care of individual patients, PROMs function more as a tool to support patients in raising issues with clinicians than they do in substantially changing clinicians‚Äô communication practices with patients. Patients valued both standardised and individualised PROMs as a tool to raise issues, but thought is required as to which patients may benefit and which may not. In settings such as palliative care and psychotherapy, clinicians viewed individualised PROMs as useful to build rapport and support the therapeutic process. PROMs feedback did not substantially shift clinicians‚Äô communication practices or focus discussion on psychosocial issues; this required a shift in clinicians‚Äô perceptions of their remit. Strengths and limitations: There was a paucity of research examining the feedback of aggregate PROMs data to providers, and we drew on evidence from interventions with similar programme theories (other forms of performance data) to test our theories. Conclusions: PROMs data act as ‚Äėtin openers‚Äô rather than ‚Äėdials‚Äô. Providers need more support and guidance on how to collect their own internal data, how to rule out alternative explanations for their outlier status and how to explore the possible causes of their outlier status. There is also tension between PROMs as a QI strategy versus their use in the care of individual patients; PROMs that clinicians find useful in assessing patients, such as individualised measures, are not useful as indicators of service quality. Future work: Future research should (1) explore how differently performing providers have responded to aggregate PROMs feedback, and how organisations have collected PROMs data both for individual patient care and to improve service quality; and (2) explore whether or not and how incorporating PROMs into patients‚Äô electronic records allows multiple different clinicians to receive PROMs feedback, discuss it with patients and act on the data to improve patient care

    BHPR research: qualitative1.‚ÄÉComplex reasoning determines patients' perception of outcome following foot surgery in rheumatoid arhtritis

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    Background: Foot surgery is common in patients with RA but research into surgical outcomes is limited and conceptually flawed as current outcome measures lack face validity: to date no one has asked patients what is important to them. This study aimed to determine which factors are important to patients when evaluating the success of foot surgery in RA Methods: Semi structured interviews of RA patients who had undergone foot surgery were conducted and transcribed verbatim. Thematic analysis of interviews was conducted to explore issues that were important to patients. Results: 11 RA patients (9 ‚ôā, mean age 59, dis dur = 22yrs, mean of 3 yrs post op) with mixed experiences of foot surgery were interviewed. Patients interpreted outcome in respect to a multitude of factors, frequently positive change in one aspect contrasted with negative opinions about another. Overall, four major themes emerged. Function: Functional ability & participation in valued activities were very important to patients. Walking ability was a key concern but patients interpreted levels of activity in light of other aspects of their disease, reflecting on change in functional ability more than overall level. Positive feelings of improved mobility were often moderated by negative self perception ("I mean, I still walk like a waddling duck‚ÄĚ). Appearance: Appearance was important to almost all patients but perhaps the most complex theme of all. Physical appearance, foot shape, and footwear were closely interlinked, yet patients saw these as distinct separate concepts. Patients need to legitimize these feelings was clear and they frequently entered into a defensive repertoire ("it's not cosmetic surgery; it's something that's more important than that, you know?‚ÄĚ). Clinician opinion: Surgeons' post operative evaluation of the procedure was very influential. The impact of this appraisal continued to affect patients' lasting impression irrespective of how the outcome compared to their initial goals ("when he'd done it ... he said that hasn't worked as good as he'd wanted to ... but the pain has gone‚ÄĚ). Pain: Whilst pain was important to almost all patients, it appeared to be less important than the other themes. Pain was predominately raised when it influenced other themes, such as function; many still felt the need to legitimize their foot pain in order for health professionals to take it seriously ("in the end I went to my GP because it had happened a few times and I went to an orthopaedic surgeon who was quite dismissive of it, it was like what are you complaining about‚ÄĚ). Conclusions: Patients interpret the outcome of foot surgery using a multitude of interrelated factors, particularly functional ability, appearance and surgeons' appraisal of the procedure. While pain was often noted, this appeared less important than other factors in the overall outcome of the surgery. Future research into foot surgery should incorporate the complexity of how patients determine their outcome Disclosure statement: All authors have declared no conflicts of interes

    Differential cross section measurements for the production of a W boson in association with jets in proton‚Äďproton collisions at ‚ąös = 7 TeV

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    Measurements are reported of differential cross sections for the production of a W boson, which decays into a muon and a neutrino, in association with jets, as a function of several variables, including the transverse momenta (pT) and pseudorapidities of the four leading jets, the scalar sum of jet transverse momenta (HT), and the difference in azimuthal angle between the directions of each jet and the muon. The data sample of pp collisions at a centre-of-mass energy of 7 TeV was collected with the CMS detector at the LHC and corresponds to an integrated luminosity of 5.0 fb[superscript ‚ąí1]. The measured cross sections are compared to predictions from Monte Carlo generators, MadGraph + pythia and sherpa, and to next-to-leading-order calculations from BlackHat + sherpa. The differential cross sections are found to be in agreement with the predictions, apart from the pT distributions of the leading jets at high pT values, the distributions of the HT at high-HT and low jet multiplicity, and the distribution of the difference in azimuthal angle between the leading jet and the muon at low values.United States. Dept. of EnergyNational Science Foundation (U.S.)Alfred P. Sloan Foundatio

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