Despite the high clinical and epidemiological relevance of persistent depression, little is known about its specific psychopathology and whether it is distinct from recurrent depression. Depression in general has been associated with blunted affective reactivity but the evidence from previous studies is inconsistent. Here, we asked whether affective reactivity might differ between persistent and recurrent depression.
Twenty patients with persistent depression, 20 patients with recurrent depression and 20 healthy controls (HC) were recruited. Both patient groups showed moderate symptom severity. All participants underwent a sad mood induction procedure. Affective reactivity was assessed with the Positive and Negative Affect Schedule (PANAS) before and after mood induction.
We found a striking difference in affective reactivity between patient groups. While the persistent group showed blunted reactivity to mood induction, the recurrent group demonstrated an affective response that was comparable to HC, with an increase in negative and a decrease in positive affect. Blunted affective reactivity was thus specifically associated with persistent in contrast to recurrent depression.
These results highlight affective reactivity as an important psychopathological feature that differs between the two patient groups. Preserved affective reactivity to emotional stimuli in the recurrent group might reflect a resilience factor against persistence of depression.View less
Most people believe in free will. Whether this belief is warranted or not, free will beliefs (FWB) are foundational for many legal systems and reducing FWB has effects on behavior from the motor to the social level. This raises the important question as to which specific FWB people hold. There are many different ways to conceptualize free will, and some might see physical determinism as a threat that might reduce FWB, while others might not. Here, we investigate lay FWB in a large, representative, replicated online survey study in the US and Singapore (n = 1800), assessing differences in FWB with unprecedented depth within and between cultures. Specifically, we assess the relation of FWB, as measured using the Free Will Inventory, to determinism, dualism and related concepts like libertarianism and compatibilism. We find that libertarian, compatibilist, and dualist, intuitions were related to FWB, but that these intuitions were often logically inconsistent. Importantly, direct comparisons suggest that dualism was more predictive of FWB than other intuitions. Thus, believing in free will goes hand-in-hand with a belief in a non-physical mind. Highlighting the importance of dualism for FWB impacts academic debates on free will, which currently largely focus on its relation to determinism. Our findings also shed light on how recent (neuro)scientific findings might impact FWB. Demonstrating physical determinism in the brain need not have a strong impact on FWB, due to a wide-spread belief in dualism.View less
While alternating current stimulation (ACS) is gaining relevance as a tool in research and approaching clinical applications, its mechanisms of action remain unclear. A review by Schutter and colleagues argues for a retinal origin of transcranial ACS' neuromodulatory effects. Interestingly, there is an alternative application form of ACS specifically targeting α-oscillations in the visual cortex via periorbital electrodes (retinofugal alternating current stimulation, rACS). To further compare these two methods and investigate retinal effects of ACS, we first aim to establish the safety and tolerability of rACS.
The goal of our research was to evaluate the safety of rACS via finite-element modeling, theoretical safety limits and subjective report.
20 healthy subjects were stimulated with rACS as well as photic stimulation and reported adverse events following stimulation. We analyzed stimulation parameters at electrode level as well as distributed metric estimates from an ultra-high spatial resolution magnetic resonance imaging (MRI)-derived finite element human head model and compared them to existing safety limits.
Topographical modeling revealed the highest current densities in the anterior visual pathway, particularly retina and optic nerve. Stimulation parameters and finite element modeling estimates of rACS were found to be well below existing safety limits. No serious adverse events occurred.
Our findings are in line with existing safety guidelines for retinal and neural damage and establish the tolerability and feasibility of rACS. In comparison to tACS, retinofugal stimulation of the visual cortex provides an anatomically circumscribed model to systematically study the mechanisms of action of ACS.View less
Serum potassium concentrations are commonly between 3.5 and 5.0 mmol/l. Standardised protocols for potassium range and supplementation in the ICU are lacking. The purpose of this retrospective analysis of ICU patients was to investigate potassium concentrations, variability and supplementation, and their association with in-hospital mortality.
ICU patients ≥ 18 years, with ≥ 2 serum potassium values, treated at the Charité - Universitätsmedizin Berlin between 2006 and 2018 were eligible for inclusion. We categorised into groups of mean potassium concentrations: < 3.0, 3.0-3.5, > 3.5-4.0, > 4.0-4.5, > 4.5-5.0, > 5.0-5.5, > 5.5 mmol/l and potassium variability: 1st, 2nd and ≥ 3rd standard deviation (SD). We analysed the association between the particular groups and in-hospital mortality and performed binary logistic regression analysis. Survival curves were performed according to Kaplan-Meier and tested by Log-Rank. In a subanalysis, the association between potassium supplementation and in-hospital mortality was investigated.
In 53,248 ICU patients with 1,337,742 potassium values, the lowest mortality (3.7%) was observed in patients with mean potassium concentrations between > 3.5 and 4.0 mmol/l and a low potassium variability within the 1st SD. Binary logistic regression confirmed these results. In a subanalysis of 22,406 ICU patients (ICU admission: 2013-2018), 12,892 (57.5%) received oral and/or intravenous potassium supplementation. Potassium supplementation was associated with an increase in in-hospital mortality in potassium categories from > 3.5 to 4.5 mmol/l and in the 1st, 2nd and ≥ 3rd SD (p < 0.001 each).
ICU patients may benefit from a target range between 3.5 and 4.0 mmol/l and a minimal potassium variability. Clear potassium target ranges have to be determined. Criteria for widely applied potassium supplementation should be critically discussed. Trial registration German Clinical Trials Register, DRKS00016411. Retrospectively registered 11 January 2019, http://www.drks.de/DRKS00016411.View less
Objectives: There is sparse information on the safety of early primary discharge from the emergency department (ED) after rule-out of myocardial infarction in suspected acute coronary syndrome (ACS). This prospective registry aimed to confirm randomised study results in patients at low-to-intermediate risk, with a broader spectrum of symptoms, across different institutional standards and with a range of local troponin assays including high-sensitivity cTn (hs-cTn), cardiac troponin (cTn) and point-of-care troponin (POC Tn). Design Prospective, multicentre European registry. Setting 18 emergency departments in nine European countries (Germany, Austria, Switzerland, France, Spain, UK, Turkey, Lithuania and Hungary) Participants: The final study cohort consisted of 2294 patients (57.2% males, median age 57 years) with suspected ACS. Interventions: Using the new dual markers strategy, 1477 patients were eligible for direct discharge, which was realised in 974 (42.5%) of patients. Main outcome measures: The primary endpoint was allcause mortality at 30 days. Results: Compared with conventional workup after dual marker measurement, the median length of ED stay was 60 min shorter (228 min, 95% CI: 219 to 239 min vs 288 min, 95% CI: 279 to 300 min) in the primary dual marker strategy (DMS) discharge group. All-cause mortality was 0.1% (95% CI: 0% to 0.6%) in the primary DMS discharge group versus 1.1% (95% CI: 0.6% to 1.8%) in the conventional workup group after dual marker measurement. Conventional workup instead of discharge despite negative DMS biomarkers was observed in 503 patients (21.9%) and associated with higher prevalence of ACS (17.1% vs 0.9%, p<0.001), cardiac diagnoses (55.2% vs 23.5%, p<0.001) and risk factors (p<0.01), but with a similar all-cause mortality of 0.2% (95% CI: 0% to 1.1%) versus primary DMS discharge (p=0.64). Conclusions Copeptin on top of cardiac troponin supports safe discharge in patients with chest pain or other symptoms suggestive of ACS under routine conditions with the use of a broad spectrum of local standard POC, conventional and high-sensitivity troponin assays. Trial registration number NCT02490969.View less
The success of topically applied treatments on skin relies on the efficacy of skin penetration. In order to increase particle or product penetration, mild skin barrier disruption methods can be used. We previously described cyanoacrylate skin surface stripping as an efficient method to open hair follicles, enhance particle penetration, and activate Langerhans cells. We conducted ex vivo and in vivo measurements on human skin to characterize the biological effect and quantify barrier disruption-related inflammation on a molecular level. Despite the known immunostimulatory effects, this barrier disruption and hair follicle opening method was well accepted and did not result in lasting changes of skin physiological parameters, cytokine production, or clinical side effects. Only in ex vivo human skin did we find a discrete increase in IP-10, TGF-β, IL-8, and GM-CSF mRNA. The data underline the safety profile of this method and demonstrate that the procedure per se does not cause substantial inflammation or skin damage, which is also of interest when applied to non-invasive sampling of biomarkers in clinical trials.View less
Background/Aims: Airborne pollutants, such as nano-sized soot particles, are increasingly being released into the environment as a result of growing population densities and industrialization. They can absorb organic and metal compounds with potential biological activity, such as polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons and airborne pollen allergens. Local and systemic toxicities may be induced in the skin if the particulates release their harmful components upon dermal contact. Methods: In the present study, skin pretreatments with serum and/or shield as barrier formulations prior to exposure and washing with a cleanser subsequent to exposure were evaluated as a protection and decontamination strategy using laser scanning microscopy. Results: The results indicate that while the application of serum and a cleanser was insufficient for decontamination, the pretreatment with shield prior to nanoparticle exposure followed by washing led to the removal of a considerable amount of the carbon black particles. The combined application of serum and shield before the administration of carbon black particles and subsequent washing led to their elimination from the skin samples. Conclusion: The application of barrier-enhancing formulations in combination with a cleanser may reduce the penetration of harmful airborne particulates by preventing their adhesion to the skin and facilitating their removal by subsequent washing with the cleanser.View less
Background: In rare cases, patients with Alzheimer disease (AD) present at an early age and with a family history suggestive of an autosomal dominant mode of inheritance. Mutations of the presenilin-1 (PSEN1) gene are the most common causes of dementia in these patients. Early-onset and particularly familial AD patients frequently present with variable non-amnestic cognitive symptoms such as visual, language or behavioural changes as well as non-cognitive, e.g. motor, symptoms. Objective: To investigate the phenotypic variability in carriers of the PSEN1 S170F mutation. Methods: We report a family with 4 patients carrying the S170F mutation of whom 2 underwent detailed clinical examinations. We discuss our current findings in the context of previously reported S170F cases. Results: The clinical phenotype was consistent regarding initial memory impairment and early onset in the late twenties found in all S170F patients. There were frequent non-amnestic cognitive changes and, at early stages of the disease, indications of a more pronounced disturbance of visuospatial abilities as compared to face and object recognition. Non-cognitive symptoms most often included myoclonus and cerebellar ataxia. A review of the available case reports indicates some phenotypic variability associated with the S170F mutation including different constellations of symptoms such as parkinsonism and delusions. Conclusion: The variable clinical findings associated with the S170F mutation highlight the relevance of atypical phenotypes in the context of research and under a clinical perspective. CSF sampling and detection of Ap species may be essential to indicate AD pathology in unclear cases presenting with cognitive and motor symptoms at a younger age.View less
Background: Early detection of various types of nonmelanoma skin cancer has been a challenge in dermatology. Noninvasive examination procedures such as optical coherence tomography (OCT) play an increasingly important role, besides the established gold standard of histological tissue sample analysis. OCT is a noninvasive, cross-sectional, real-time technique that allows conclusions to be drawn with regard to the presence of pathologies. Objective: The objective of this study was to investigate whether it is possible to distinguish between different types of nonmelanoma skin cancer using OCT or not. Methods: A study population of a total of 25 cases, comprising 5 cases, each, of 5 tumor entities (i.e., basal cell carcinoma, superficial basal cell carcinoma, actinic keratosis, squamous cell carcinoma, and Bowen disease) was examined. Relevant lesions were scanned both centrally and peripherally in the multislice mode. All OCT images were blinded, randomized, analyzed, and evaluated by 2 clinicians experienced in OCT. Results: This study demonstrated that it is possible to determine correlations between various types of tumors and recurring tumor characteristics. Conclusion: This study showed that it is possible to distinguish between the different nonmelanoma skin cancers by using OCT, but further prospective studies have to be conducted to validate the sensitivity and specificity of the criteria.View less
Background: Primary peritoneal serous papillary carcinoma is a rare malignant epithelial tumor which was first described in 1959. Peritoneal serous papillary carcinoma arises from the peritoneal epithelium and originates from a single or multicentric focus of the peritoneum involving the peritoneum of the abdomen and pelvis. The involvement of retroperitoneal lymph nodes occurs in 64% of the patients diagnosed with this malignancy. So far, there is no report about inguinal lymph node metastasis in this disease. Case Report: We present a rare case of a 63-year-old female patient who developed singular inguinal lymph node metastasis 1 year after cytoreductive surgery and hyperthermic intraperitoneal chemotherapy due to peritoneal serous papillary carcinoma. The lymph node metastasis was found by computed tomography (CT) scan and was resected and histologically confirmed. The postoperative course was uneventful, and the patient was discharged on postoperative day 1. The last CT scan 24 months after initial cytoreduction and 12 months after lymph node resection showed no further tumor recurrence. Conclusion: This case report should raise the awareness of potentially unexpected presentation of extraperitoneal metastasis and highlights the importance of patient follow-up including clinical examination and CT scans of thorax/abdomen/pelvis following a systematic schedule.View less
Psoriasis is prone to relapses and requires long-term therapy that may induce a range of adverse effects; therefore, an efficient and early detection of relapses is desirable. In this study, photoacoustic imaging and confocal laser scanning microscopic (CLSM) methods were investigated for their suitability in psoriasis follow-up examinations. Using a high-resolution photoacoustic system, the vascular structures of 11 psoriatic patients and 6 healthy volunteers were investigated. No differences were detected with respect to the average vessel diameter and vasculature per unit volume in the tissue of healthy volunteers and non-lesional and lesional skin areas of psoriatic patients. By means of CLSM, the diameters of the dermal papillae of 6 volunteers and 6 psoriatic patients were determined. The diameters of the dermal papillae of the healthy volunteers (0.074 +/- 0.006 mm) revealed no significant difference when compared to non-lesional skin areas of psoriatic patients (0.079 +/- 0.005 mm). The results obtained for the lesions in psoriatic patients showed a significant difference (Wilcoxon test, p = 0.028) between the diameters of the dermal papillae of the lesional skin areas 0.114 +/- 0.012 mm) and the non-lesional skin areas (0.079 +/- 0.005 mm). Thus, CLSM can be applied for monitoring psoriasis follow-up examinations.View less
Introduction: To evaluate graft- and patient survival after paediatric kidney transplantation and detecting influence factors, which affect the post-transplant time. Materials and Methods: We analysed long-term survival rates and complications after paediatric kidney transplantation and searched for predictive parameters for graft function. Results: In 132 patients, 143 kidney transplantations were performed. Graft failure occurred in 25%. Chronic rejections were the leading cause of graft loss (42.9%). Graft survival rates were 92.2% after 1 year, 85.5% after 5 years, 71.1% after 10 years and 62.1% after 15 years. The following parameters strongly influenced graft survival: number of transplants (p = 0.014), year of transplant (p < 0.0001 for 1997-2005), Epo-therapy post-transplant (p = 0.001), hypotension donor (p = 0.027), cold ischemia time (p = 0.023), anastomosis time >50 min (p = 0.008), delayed graft function (p = 0.003) and deceased donation (p = 0.039). The percentage of patients who died was 5.6%. Overall patient survival rates were 99.3% after 1 year, 95.2% after 5 years, 94.2% after 10 years and 90.7% after 15 years. Various types of infections (42.9%) were the main causes of death. Conclusions: The main causes of death after kidney transplantations in paediatric recipients are malignancy and infections. To avoid vascular complications especially in young recipients (< 9 years), the cold ischemia time should be as short as possible.View less
Background/Aim: Inadequate fluid intake is assumed to be a trigger of water-loss dehydration, which is a major health risk in aged and geriatric populations. Thus, there is a need to search for easy to use diagnostic tests to identify dehydration. Our overall aim was to investigate whether skin barrier parameters could be used for predicting fluid intake and/or hydration status in geriatric patients. Methods: An explorative observational comparative study was conducted in a geriatric hospital including patients aged 65 years and older. We measured 3-day fluid intake, skin barrier parameters, Overall Dry Skin Score, serum osmolality, cognitive and functional health, and medications. Results: Forty patients were included (mean age 78.45 years and 65% women) with a mean fluid intake of 1,747 mL/day. 20% of the patients were dehydrated and 22.5% had an impending dehydration according to serum osmolality. Multivariate analysis suggested that skin surface pH and epidermal hydration at the face were associated with fluid intake. Serum osmolality was associated with epidermal hydration at the leg and skin surface pH at the face. Fluid intake was not correlated with serum osmolality. Diuretics were associated with high serum osmolality. Conclusions: Approximately half of the patients were diagnosed as being dehydrated according to osmolality, which is the current reference standard. However, there was no association with fluid intake, questioning the clinical relevance of this measure. Results indicate that single skin barrier parameters are poor markers for fluid intake or osmolality. Epidermal hydration might play a role but most probably in combination with other tests.View less
Pancreatic neuroendocrine tumours (pNETs) represent rare neoplasms of all NETs often presenting without functional activity. Many sporadic non-functioning pNET patients are already metastatic at the time of diagnosis, and the therapeutic approach to such patients is mostly palliative. In this international, multicentre, retrospective cohort study, we assessed the prognostic value of a set of anthropometric, clinical, biochemical, radiological and pathological parameters at baseline and the impact of the therapeutic strategies on the survival of patients with sporadic grade 1/2, stage IV, non-functioning pNETs. Three hundred and twelve consecutive patients diagnosed between 1993 and 2010 were included. The median overall survival (OS) was 6.6 years and survival at 5 and 10 years was 62 and 34% respectively. On univariate analysis, Eastern Cooperative Oncology Group (ECOG) status > 2, grade 2, bilobar hepatic metastases, synchronous metastases, and high chromogranin A, alkalinephosphatase and lactic-dehydrogenase were associated with a significant reduction of OS. Palliative/curative surgery and loco-regional hepatic interventions were significant factors improving OS. On multivariate analysis, ECOG status >= 2, synchronous metastases, Ki-67 >= 10%, and high alkalinephosphatase correlated significantly with an increased risk of death. Both palliative/curative surgery and loco-regional hepatic interventions had a positive impact on OS. Although most parameters did not prove to be independent OS predictors at multivariate analysis, they showed a tendency towards that. Future prospective studies including larger patient populations may give greater clarity. We believe the integration of these parameters has the potential to provide a reliable prognostic score for the stratification of patients with sporadic well-differentiated metastatic non-functioning pNETs.View less
Background: Transfusion emergencies and critical situations require specifically designed devices to simplify and optimize the standard procedures. In addition, matching antigens over and above ABO-Rh-K would be beneficial. Methods: Routine blood samples were collected in four immunohematology centers and tested with the new MDmulticard Basic Extended Phenotype for the simultaneous detection of the Duffy, Kidd, and Ss antigens, according to the principle of the lateral flow. Results were compared with those obtained using routine serology methods. Discrepancies were analyzed by molecular techniques/genotyping. Results: 310 samples were tested (167 donors; 75 patients; 28 subjects with positive direct antiglobulin test (DAT); 15 newborns; 25 previously transfused patients). The 285 samples with non-mixed-field reaction yielded 1,710 antigen results with 8 discrepancies (0.47%) six of which in DAT-positive subjects: three false-positive (Fy(a)) for MDmulticard, and two false-positive (Fy(a)) plus three false-negative (Fy(b)) for the reference methods (MDmulticard PPA for donors/patients/newborns: 99.82%; negative percent agreement: 100%; sensitivity: 100%; specificity: 99.39%, positive predictive value: 99.75%; negative predictive value: 100%). The MDmulticard detected mixed-field in 15 antigen reactions from 13 transfused patients, undetected by the comparative method, with the opposite result in 8 antigens (5 patients). Conclusion: The MDmulticard Basic Extended Phenotype met the criteria prescribed for the testing of donor, patient, DAT-positive, and newborn samples in transfusion laboratory routine.View less
Several studies indicate the functional importance of the motor cortex for higher cognition, language and semantic processing, and place the neural substrate of these processes in sensorimotor action-perception circuits linking motor, sensory and perisylvian language regions. Interestingly, in individuals with autism spectrum disorder (ASD), semantic processing of action and emotion words seems to be impaired and is associated with hypoactivity of the motor cortex during semantic processing. In this study, the relationship between semantic processing, fine motor skills and clinical symptoms was investigated in 19 individuals with ASD and 22 typically-developing matched controls. Participants completed two semantic decision tasks involving words from different semantic categories, a test of alexithymia (the Toronto Alexithymia Scale), and a test of fine motor skills (the Purdue Pegboard Test). A significant Group × Word Category interaction in accuracy (p < 0.05) demonstrated impaired semantic processing for action words, but not object words in the autistic group. There was no significant group difference when processing abstract emotional words or abstract neutral words. Moreover, our study revealed deficits in fine motor skills as well as evidence for alexithymia in the ASD group, but not in neurotypical controls. However, these motor deficits did not correlate significantly with impairments in action-semantic processing. We interpret the data in terms of an underlying dysfunction of the action-perception system in ASD and its specific impact on semantic language processing.View less
Millions of people worldwide are suffering from allergic inflammatory airway disorders. These conditions are regarded as a consequence of multiple imbalanced immune events resulting in an inadequate response with the exact underlying mechanisms still being a subject of ongoing research. Several cell populations have been proposed to be involved but it is becoming increasingly evident that group 2 innate lymphoid cells (ILC2s) play a key role in the initiation and orchestration of respiratory allergic inflammation. ILC2s are important mediators of inflammation but also tissue remodeling by secreting large amounts of signature cytokines within a short time period. Thereby, ILC2s instruct innate but also adaptive immune responses. Here, we will discuss the recent literature on allergic inflammation of the respiratory tract with a focus on ILC2 biology. Furthermore, we will highlight different therapeutic strategies to treat pulmonary allergic inflammation and their potential influence on ILC2 function as well as discuss the perspective of using human ILC2s for diagnostic purposes.View less
There is increasing evidence that T lymphocytes play a key role in controlling endogenous regeneration. Regeneration appears to be impaired in case of local accumulation of CD8+ effector T cells (TEFF), impairing endogenous regeneration by increasing a primary "useful" inflammation toward a damaging level. Thus, rescuing regeneration by regulating the heightened pro-inflammatory reaction employing regulatory CD4+ T (TReg) cells could represent an immunomodulatory option to enhance healing. Hypothesis was that CD4+ TReg might counteract undesired effects of CD8+ TEFF. Using adoptive TReg transfer, bone healing was consistently improved in mice possessing an inexperienced immune system with low amounts of CD8+ TEFF. In contrast, mice with an experienced immune system (high amounts of CD8+ TEFF) showed heterogeneous bone repair with regeneration being dependent upon the individual TEFF/TReg ratio. Thus, the healing outcome can only be improved by an adoptive TReg therapy, if an unfavorable TEFF/TReg ratio can be reshaped; if the individual CD8+ TEFF percentage, which is dependent on the individual immune experience can be changed toward a favorable ratio by the TReg transfer. Remarkably, also in patients with impaired fracture healing the TEFF/TReg ratio was higher compared to uneventful healers, validating our finding in the mouse osteotomy model. Our data demonstrate for the first time the key-role of a balanced TEFF/TReg response following injury needed to reach successful regeneration using bone as a model system. Considering this strategy, novel opportunities for immunotherapy in patients, which are at risk for impaired healing by targeting TEFF cells and supporting TReg cells to enhance healing are possible.View less
Takotsubo cardiomyopathy (TTC) is an acute and reversible cardiac wall motion abnormality of the left myocardium. Although many studies focused on etiology, diagnostic and treatment of TTC, precise clinical guidelines on TTC are not available. Research revealed emotional and physical triggering factors of TTC and emphasized the association of TTC with psychiatric and particularly acute neurological disorders. Similar clinical presentation of acute coronary syndrome (ACS) and TTC patients, makes an anamnestic screening for TTC risk factors necessary. In psychiatric anamnesis affective disorders and chronic anxiety disorders are presumably for TTC. Subarachnoid hemorrhages and status epilepticus are typical acute neurological associated with a higher risk for TTC. Moreover, magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) studies reveled brain alterations of the limbic system and reduced connectivity of central autonomic nervous system structures. Diagnosis of TTC is made by elevation of cardiac enzymes, electrocardiogram (ECG) and visualization of myocardial wall motion. Major differential diagnoses like acute coronary syndrome and myocarditis are hereby in synopsis with anamnesis with respect of possible emotional and physical triggering factors of TTC ruled out. In most cases the TTC typical wall motion abnormalities resolve in weeks and therapy is only necessary in hemodynamic instable patients and if rare complications, like cardiac wall ruptures occur. Recently, the two-parted International expert consensus document on Takotsubo syndrome was published, providing a detailed characterization of TTC and allows clinicians to understand this cardiac dysfunction with a multidisciplinary view.View less