282 research outputs found

    Judgements of Solomon: anxieties and defences of social workers involved in care proceedings

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    Evidence from focus group discussions with social workers in child care and child protection was collected for a research project exploring decision-making in care proceedings and seeking a better understanding of the causes of delay in the process. Here this material is used to examine social workers’ feelings about their work and to explore the anxieties they expressed. Isabel Menzies’s work on containing anxiety in institutions is used to provide a conceptual framework for thinking about the ways in which individuals’ unconscious defences against anxiety may affect the structure, policies and practices of the organization in which they work. It is suggested that this dimension needs to be taken into account in understanding difficulties which arise in putting policy into practice

    The impact of the Art Therapy Large Group, an educational tool in the training of art therapists, on post-qualification professional practice

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    This article reports the findings of a Likert scale survey that was sent to past graduates of the MA Art Psychotherapy, Goldsmiths, University of London asking them about the relevance of their experience in the Art Therapy Large Group (ATLG) to their subsequent employment as art therapists or work in another capacity. The ATLG comprises all the students and staff in a psychodynamically based experiential group that meets six times during the year. Survey questions were drawn from previously devised theory and related to learning relevant to the workplace and the development of professional identity. Though there was a low response rate (20%), there were some significant findings, namely that graduates found the ATLG to be helpful in their work, whether this was art therapy or non-art therapy work, and that those who had studied part-time were much more positive about the applicability of their learning in the group to their work than those who had studied full-time. The findings suggest that the ATLG has a particular role in meeting key performance indicators in professional regulation and teaching and in quality assurance and employability policies in higher education. Finally, the potential for the use of the ATLG beyond the university in the public, private and voluntary sectors is suggested

    Temporal and Spatial Regulation of CRE Recombinase Expression in Gonadotrophin-Releasing Hormone Neurones in the Mouse

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    Gonadotrophin-releasing hormone (GnRH) neurones located within the brain are the final neuroendocrine output regulating the reproductive hormone axis. Their small number and scattered distribution in the hypothalamus make them particularly difficult to study in vivo. The Cre/loxP system is a valuable tool to delete genes in specific cells and tissues. We report the production of two mouse lines that express the CRE bacteriophage recombinase in a GnRH-specific manner. The first line, the GnRH-CRE mouse, contains a transgene in which CRE is under the control of the murine GnRH promoter and targets CRE expression specifically to GnRH neurones in the hypothalamus. The second line, the GnRH-CRETeR mouse, uses the same murine GnRH promoter to target CRE expression to GnRH neurones, but is modified to be constitutively repressed by a tetracycline repressor (TetR) expressed from a downstream tetracycline repressor gene engineered within the transgene. GnRH neurone-specific CRE expression can therefore be induced by treatment with doxycycline which relieves repression by TetR. These GnRH-CRE and GnRH-CRETeR mice can be used to study the function of genes expressed specifically in GnRH neurones. The GnRH-CRETeR mouse can be used to study genes that may have distinct roles in reproductive physiology during the various developmental stages

    Endocrine disruptors and abnormalities of pubertal development

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    Onset and development of puberty is regulated by the neuroendocrine system. Population-based studies worldwide have observed secular trends towards earlier puberty development. These changes are apparently caused by environmental factors such as improved socio-economic status, improved health care and nutrition. However, they may also partly result from endocrine-disrupting chemicals in the environment. Epidemiological studies have investigated the relationship between pubertal development and exposure to endocrine-disrupting chemicals (polychlorinated biphenyls, polybrominated biphenyls, 1,1,1-trichloro-2,2-bis(p-chlorophenyl)ethane, phthalate esters, furans and the pesticide endosulfan). Associations with both perinatal and postnatal exposure have been reported. Studies in experimental animals support some of these findings and point to differential endocrine regulatory mechanisms linked to pubertal development acting in the perinatal and the pre-pubertal period. Pubertal development is naturally associated with growth and body composition. There is increasing evidence for a link between prenatal development and pubertal onset. In girls born small for gestational age (SGA), pubertal onset and age at menarche often are advanced, especially if there has been an extensive catch-up growth during the first months of life. In utero growth retardation may have multiple causes including exposure to xenobiotic substances as was suggested for some endocrine-disrupting chemicals. An abnormal perinatal environment of children born SGA may alter the endocrine status and the sensitivity of the receptors for endocrine and metabolic signalling that may have effects on maturation of brain and gonads. However, the causal pathways and the molecular mechanisms that may link the pubertal growth pattern of children born SGA, pubertal development and endocrine-disrupting chemicals need further study

    The Fetal Hypothalamus Has the Potential to Generate Cells with a Gonadotropin Releasing Hormone (GnRH) Phenotype

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    Neurospheres (NS) are colonies of neural stem and precursor cells capable of differentiating into the central nervous system (CNS) cell lineages upon appropriate culture conditions: neurons, and glial cells. NS were originally derived from the embryonic and adult mouse striatum subventricular zone. More recently, experimental evidence substantiated the isolation of NS from almost any region of the CNS, including the hypothalamus. Here we report a protocol that enables to generate large quantities of NS from both fetal and adult rat hypothalami. We found that either FGF-2 or EGF were capable of inducing NS formation from fetal hypothalamic cultures, but that only FGF-2 is effective in the adult cultures. The hypothalamic-derived NS are capable of differentiating into neurons and glial cells and most notably, as demonstrated by immunocytochemical detection with a specific anti-GnRH antibody, the fetal cultures contain cells that exhibit a GnRH phenotype upon differentiation. This in vitro model should be useful to study the molecular mechanisms involved in GnRH neuronal differentiation

    Hypothalamic Neuroendocrine Functions in Rats with Dihydrotestosterone-Induced Polycystic Ovary Syndrome: Effects of Low-Frequency Electro-Acupuncture

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    Adult female rats continuously exposed to androgens from prepuberty have reproductive and metabolic features of polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS). We investigated whether such exposure adversely affects estrous cyclicity and the expression and distribution of gonadotropin-releasing hormone (GnRH), GnRH receptors, and corticotrophin-releasing hormone (CRH) in the hypothalamus and whether the effects are mediated by the androgen receptor (AR). We also assessed the effect of low-frequency electro-acupuncture (EA) on those variables. At 21 days of age, rats were randomly divided into three groups (control, PCOS, and PCOS EA; n = 12/group) and implanted subcutaneously with 90-day continuous-release pellets containing vehicle or 5α-dihydrostestosterone (DHT). From age 70 days, PCOS EA rats received 2-Hz EA (evoking muscle twitches) five times/week for 4–5 weeks. Hypothalamic protein expression was measured by immunohistochemistry and western blot. DHT-treated rats were acyclic, but controls had regular estrous cycles. In PCOS rats, hypothalamic medial preoptic AR protein expression and the number of AR- and GnRH-immunoreactive cells were increased, but CRH was not affected; however, GnRH receptor expression was decreased in both the pituitary and hypothalamus. Low-frequency EA restored estrous cyclicity within 1 week and reduced the elevated hypothalamic GnRH and AR expression levels. EA did not affect GnRH receptor or CRH expression. Interestingly, nuclear AR co-localized with GnRH in the hypothalamus. Thus, rats with DHT-induced PCOS have disrupted estrous cyclicity and an increased number of hypothalamic cells expressing GnRH, most likely mediated by AR activation. Repeated low-frequency EA normalized estrous cyclicity and restored GnRH and AR protein expression. These results may help explain the beneficial neuroendocrine effects of low-frequency EA in women with PCOS

    The role of proteomics in depression research

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    Depression is a severe neuropsychiatric disorder affecting approximately 10% of the world population. Despite this, the molecular mechanisms underlying the disorder are still not understood. Novel technologies such as proteomic-based platforms are beginning to offer new insights into this devastating illness, beyond those provided by the standard targeted methodologies. Here, we will show the potential of proteome analyses as a tool to elucidate the pathophysiological mechanisms of depression as well as the discovery of potential diagnostic, therapeutic and disease course biomarkers

    Multivalent bicyclic peptides are an effective antiviral modality that can potently inhibit SARS-CoV-2.

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    COVID-19 has stimulated the rapid development of new antibody and small molecule therapeutics to inhibit SARS-CoV-2 infection. Here we describe a third antiviral modality that combines the drug-like advantages of both. Bicycles are entropically constrained peptides stabilized by a central chemical scaffold into a bi-cyclic structure. Rapid screening of diverse bacteriophage libraries against SARS-CoV-2 Spike yielded unique Bicycle binders across the entire protein. Exploiting Bicycles' inherent chemical combinability, we converted early micromolar hits into nanomolar viral inhibitors through simple multimerization. We also show how combining Bicycles against different epitopes into a single biparatopic agent allows Spike from diverse variants of concern (VoC) to be targeted (Alpha, Beta, Delta and Omicron). Finally, we demonstrate in both male hACE2-transgenic mice and Syrian golden hamsters that both multimerized and biparatopic Bicycles reduce viraemia and prevent host inflammation. These results introduce Bicycles as a potential antiviral modality to tackle new and rapidly evolving viruses
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