Papyrus Berlin 8345, which comes from the Roman-period Fayum (Egypt), contains a Demotic astrological treatise aimed at foretelling an individual’s future based on the positions of the seven celestial bodies known in antiquity (Sun, Moon, Saturn, Jupiter, Mars, Venus, and Mercury) in the twelve places or compartments of the zodiac known as the dodecatropos. This paper briefly outlines the contents of the text and considers the conventions of textual division demonstrated in the papyrus. Since Demotic lacks modern punctuation, the scribe employed a host of other techniques to highlight and differentiate the various parts of the text. The manual was intended as a reference work, and the copyist therefore attempted to facilitate comfortable navigation through its different sections.View less
Background: Mental disorders impact both individuals and health systems. Symptoms and syndromes often remain undetected and untreated, resulting in chronification. Besides limited health care resources, within-person barriers such as the lack of trust in professionals, the fear of stigmatization, or the desire to cope with problems without professional help contribute to the treatment gap. Self-guided mental health apps may support treatment seeking by reducing within-person barriers and facilitating mental health literacy. Digital mental health interventions may also improve mental health related self-management skills and contribute to symptom reduction and the improvement of quality of life.
Objective: This study aims to investigate the effects of a self-guided transdiagnostic app for mental health on help seeking, reduced stigma, mental health literacy, self-management skills, mental health symptoms, and quality of life using a randomized controlled design.
Methods: Overall, 1045 participants (recruited via open, blinded, and web-based recruitment) with mild to moderate depression or anxiety-, sleep-, eating-, or somatization-related psychopathology were randomized to receive either access to a self-guided transdiagnostic mental health app (MindDoc) in addition to care as usual or care as usual only. The core features of the app were regular self-monitoring, automated feedback, and psychological courses and exercises. The coprimary outcomes were mental health literacy, mental health–related patient empowerment and self-management skills (MHPSS), attitudes toward help seeking, and actual mental health service use. The secondary outcomes were psychopathological symptom burden and quality of life. Data were collected at baseline and 8 weeks and 6 months after randomization. Treatment effects were investigated using analyses of covariance, including baseline variables as predictors and applying multiple imputation.
Results: We found small but robust between-group effects for MHPSS (Cohen d=0.29), symptoms burden (Cohen d=0.28), and quality of life (Cohen d=0.19) 8 weeks after randomization. The effects on MHPSS were maintained at follow-up. Follow-up assessments also showed robust effects on mental health literacy and preliminary evidence for the improvement of help seeking. Predictors of attrition were lower age and higher personality dysfunction. Among the non-attritors, predictors for deterioration were less outpatient treatment and higher initial symptom severity.
Conclusions: A self-guided transdiagnostic mental health app can contribute to lasting improvements in patient empowerment. Symptoms of common mental disorders and quality of life improved faster in the intervention group than in the control group. Therefore, such interventions may support individuals with symptoms of 1 or more internalizing disorders, develop health-centered coping skills, prevent chronification, and accelerate symptom improvement. Although the effects for individual users are small and predictors of attrition and deterioration need to be investigated further, the potential public health impact of a self-guided intervention can be large, given its high scalability.
Trial Registration: German Clinical Trials Register DRKS00022531; https://drks.de/search/de/trial/DRKS00022531
JMIR Ment Health 2023;10:e45068View less
We report temporally shaped vortex phase laser pulses for two-photon excited fluorescence of dyes. The particularly tailored pulses are generated by first utilizing a temporal pulse shaper and subsequently a two-dimensional spatial pulse shaper. Various vortex phase shaped structures are demonstrated by combining different two-dimensional phase patterns. Moreover, perpendicular polarization components are used to achieve an enhanced radial two-photon excited fluorescence contrast by applying third order phase functions on the temporal pulse shaper. Particularly, the spatial fluorescence structure is modulated with a combination of Gaussian and vortex phase shaped pulses by modifying only the phase on the temporal modulator. Thereby, interference structures with high spatial resolution arise. The introduced method to generate temporally shaped vortex phase tailored pulses will provide new perspectives for biophotonic applications.View less
Pollarding oak trees is a traditional silvopastoral technique practiced across wide areas of the northern Zagros mountains, a unique and vast semi-arid forest area with a strong cultural and ecological significance. So far, the effects of pollarding on tree structure in terms of DBH (diameter at breast height)~H (height) relationships within the typical pollarding cycle, which often lasts 4 years, has not been scientifically described. Here, we combine field inventories of DBH with H obtained from photogrammetric UAV flights for the first time to assess DBH~H relationships within this system. We conducted the research at six pollarded forest sites throughout the Northern Zagros. The sampling encompassed all three main species of coppice oak trees. In the case of multi-stem trees, we used the maximum DBH of each tree that formed a unique crown. A linear relationship between UAV and extracted H and the maximum DBH of pollarded trees explained a notable part of the variation in maximum DBH (R2 = 0.56), and more complex and well-known nonlinear allometries were also evaluated, for which the accuracies were in the same range as the linear model. This relationship proved to be stable across oak species, and the pollarding stage had a notable effect on the DBH~H relationship. This finding is relevant for future attempts to inventory biomass using remote sensing approaches across larger areas in northern Zagros, as well as for general DBH estimations within stands dominated by pollarded, multi-stem coppice structures.View less
G protein-coupled receptor 83 (GPR83) is a class A G protein-coupled receptor with predominant expression in the cerebellum and proposed function in the regulation of food intake and in anxiety-like behavior. The neuropeptide PEN has been suggested as a specific GPR83 ligand. However, conflicting reports exist about whether PEN is indeed able to bind and activate GPR83. This study was initiated to evaluate PEN as a potential ligand of GPR83. Employing several second messenger and other GPCR activation assays as well as a radioligand binding assay, and using multiple GPR83 plasmids and PEN peptides from different sources, no experimental evidence was found to support a role of PEN as a GPR83 ligand.View less
Examinations of total viable counts (TVCs) and Salmonella spp. on the skin of individual pigs during the slaughter process are useful to identify abattoir-specific risk factors for (cross-)contamination. At seven process stages (lairage to before chilling), pigs were bacteriologically investigated by repeatedly sampling the same animals using the agar contact method. The mean TVC of all pigs increased significantly at the first three tested process stages (mean count, after delivery: 5.70 log cfu/cm2, after showering: 6.27 log cfu/cm2, after stunning: 6.48 log cfu/cm2). Significant mean TVC reductions occurred after scalding/dehairing (mean count: 3.71 log cfu/cm2), after singeing/flaming (2.70 log cfu/cm2), and after evisceration (2.44 log cfu/cm2) compared with the respective preceding process stages. At the end of the slaughter line and before chilling, the mean TVC was 2.33 log cfu/cm2, showing that the slaughter process reduced contamination significantly. The slaughter process effectively reduced even very high levels of incoming TVCs, since at the individual animal level, at the end of the slaughter process, there was no difference in the TVCs of animals with initially high and initially low TVCs. Additionally, 12 Salmonella spp. isolates were recovered from 12 different pigs, but only until the stage after scalding/dehairing. Overall, the agar contact method used is valuable for detecting hygiene deficiencies at slaughter, and is animal-equitable, practical, and suitable for use on live animals.View less
Hindu nationalism operates on a global scale today. Evinced by the transnational networks of the Sangh Parivar and the replication of strategies such as amending textbooks and patriotic rewriting of history, politics and discourse of Hindu nationalism are not solely contained to the territorial boundary of the nation. In this globalized battle for and against Hindu nationalism, the United States of America serves as an important site. In light of this, this article puts together existing scholarship on diasporic Hindu nationalism with late nineteenth-and early twentieth-century deterritorial history of Indian nationalism to present a broader framework for historicizing Indian activism in the US. It argues that while long-distance Hindu nationalism in the US cannot be traced before the 1970s, examining the early experiences of Indian activists in the US offers useful insights with which to evaluate the ongoing battles of Hindu nationalism in the US and opens another field of enquiry: Hindutva’s counterpublic.View less
The European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) identified extended-spectrum β-lactamase/AmpC β-lactamase (ESBL/AmpC)-producing E. coli as one of the main priority hazards for poultry. Different studies detected ESBL-producing E. coli at broiler fattening farms and in abattoirs, concluding that poultry meat is a potential source of human infection. Broiler breast skin samples taken in three abattoirs with different scalding techniques were examined for ESBL-producing Escherichia (E.) coli and their phylogenetic groups. A total of 307 ESBL-producing E. coli isolates were found, and the abattoir with conventional immersion scalding with thermal treatment of the water had the lowest incidence. Phylogroups D/E and B1 were mostly detected, while phylogroups C, D, and E were not detected. Phylogroup B2 was detected in low proportions. The phylogroups B2 and D are important as they have been associated with urinary tract infections in humans, but were only detected in low proportions at different processing stages in this study. Since the risk for the consumer of being infected via chicken meat with ESBL-producing E. coli and E. coli of highly pathogenic phylogroups cannot be excluded, good kitchen hygiene is of great importance.View less
Campylobacteriosis cases in humans are of global concern, with high prevalence rates in the poultry reservoir considered the most important source of infection. Research findings show Campylobacters’ ability to enter a viable but non-culturable (VBNC) state, remaining “viable” but unable to grow on culture media. We explored the persistence of VBNC states in specific environments, particularly at broiler farms, as this state may lead to an underestimation of the present Campylobacter prevalence. For VBNC detection, a propidium monoazide PMA-dye viability qPCR (v-qPCR) was used in combination with cultivation methods. We examined samples collected from broiler farm barns and their surroundings, as well as chicken manure from experimental pens. In addition, the tenacity of culturable and VBNC-Campylobacter was studied in vitro in soil and water. In a total of three visits, Campylobacter was not detected either culturally or by v-qPCR (no Campylobacter DNA) in the environment of the broiler farms. In four visits, however, VBNC-Campylobacter were detected both inside and outside the barns. The overall prevalence in environmental samples was 15.9% for VBNC-Campylobacter, 62.2% for Campylobacter DNA, and 1.2% for culturable C. jejuni. In the experimental pens, no cultivable C. jejuni was detected in chicken manure after 24 h. Strikingly, “VBNC-Campylobacter” persisted even after 72 h. “VBNC-Campylobacter” were confirmed in barn surroundings and naturally contaminated chicken manure. Laboratory studies revealed that VBNC-Campylobacter can remain intact in soil for up to 28 days and in water for at least 63 days, depending on environmental conditions.View less
Human food-borne infections with the enteropathogen Campylobacter jejuni are becoming increasingly prevalent worldwide. Since antibiotics are usually not indicated in campylobacteriosis, alternative treatment regimens are important. We here investigated potential disease-alleviating effects of menthol and of extracts from tormentil, raspberry leaves, and loosestrife in acute murine campylobacteriosis. Therefore, C. jejuni-infected microbiota-depleted IL-10−/− mice were orally treated with the compounds alone or all in combination from day 2 until day 6 post-infection. Whereas neither treatment regimen affected gastrointestinal pathogen loads, the combination of compounds alleviated C. jejuni-induced diarrheal symptoms in diseased mice on day 6 post-infection. Furthermore, the therapeutic application of tormentil and menthol alone and the combination of the four compounds resulted in lower colonic T cell numbers in infected mice when compared to placebo counterparts. Notably, pro-inflammatory cytokines measured in mesenteric lymph nodes taken from C. jejuni-infected mice following tormentil, menthol, and combination treatment did not differ from basal concentrations. However, neither treatment regimen could dampen extra-intestinal immune responses, including systemic pro-inflammatory cytokine secretion on day 6 post-infection. In conclusion, the combination of menthol and of extracts from tormentil, raspberry leaves, and loosestrife constitutes an antibiotic-independent approach to alleviate campylobacteriosis symptoms.View less
Recent advancements in the study of the protein complex photosystem II have clarified the sequence of events leading to the formation of oxygen during the S3 → S4 → S0 transition, wherein the inorganic Mn4Ca(µ-O)6(OHx)4 cluster finishes photo-catalyzing the water splitting reaction (Greife et al., Nature 2023, 617, 623–628; Bhowmick et al., Nature 2023, 617, 629–636). During this final step, a tyrosine radical (TyrZ), stable for a couple of milliseconds, oxidizes a cluster-bound oxygen while the hydrogen bonding patterns of nearby waters shift a proton away. A treatment of this redox reaction within the context of accepted transition state theories predicts rate constants that are significantly higher than experimentally recovered values (1012 s−1 versus 103 s−1). In an effort to understand this disparity, temperature-dependent experiments have revealed large entropic contributions to the rates with only a moderate enthalpy of activation. We suggest that the entropic source may be related to the observed proton rearrangements, and further possible near isoenergetic variations in the nearby extended H-bonding network delaying the realization of an ‘ideal’ transition state. In the following, we explore this relation in the context of Eyring’s transition state theory and Marcus’ electron transfer theory and evaluate their compatibility with the experimental evidence.View less
Temporary binding of visual features enables objects to be stored and maintained in the visual working memory as a singular structure, irrespective of its inherent complexity. Although working memory capacity is reduced in aging, previous behavioral studies suggest that binding is preserved. Using event-related brain potentials (ERPs), we tested whether stimulus encoding is different in younger (N = 26, mean age = 28.5) and older (N = 22; mean age = 67.4) participants in a change detection task. The processing costs of binding were defined by the difference between feature-alone (color or shape) and feature-binding (color–shape) conditions. The behavioral data revealed that discrimination ability was reduced in the feature-binding condition, and that this effect was more attenuated in older participants. A corresponding ERP effect was not found in early components related to visual feature detection and processing (posterior N1 and frontal P2). However, the late positive complex (LPC) was more often expressed in the feature-binding condition, and the increase in amplitude was more pronounced in older participants. The LPC can be related to attentional allocation processes which might support the maintenance of the more complex stimulus representation in the binding task. However, the selective neural overactivation in the encoding phase observed in older participants does not prevent swap errors in the subsequent retrieval phase.View less
The worsening of antibiotic resistance is a multifactorial process. One aspect of this is the counterfeiting of antibiotic medications. This is supposed to be particularly high in developing countries, including Nigeria. Therefore, the potency of some antibiotic drugs dispensed in community pharmacies in Gwale, Kano, Nigeria, was investigated in this case study. Three products, each from different manufacturers, with the active ingredients of ceftriaxone, gentamicin, ciprofloxacin, and metronidazole, respectively, were included in this study. By means of a disc-diffusion assay, the effect against the typed strains Staphylococcus aureus (ATCC 25923) and Escherichia coli (ATCC 25922) as well as Clostridium tetani isolated from soil was tested. Clinical isolates of S. aureus and E. coli were also used. While antibiotics, with the exception of ciprofloxacin-containing preparations against C. tetani, showed acceptable efficacy against the typed strains by comparison with the clinical science laboratory references, a predominant failure was observed with the clinical isolates. Thus, the investigated drug preparations can be considered of acceptable quality for the treatment of susceptible bacterial infections. This excludes counterfeits in the sampled preparations. However, the insufficient efficacy against clinical isolates further documents the severity of nosocomial bacteria.View less
The aim of this study was to develop and optimize a chiral HPLC-MS/MS method for quantitative analysis of (R)-/(S)-salbutamol and (R)-/(S)-salbutamol-4′-O-sulfate in human urine to allow for bioanalytical quantitation of the targeted analytes and investigations of stereoselectivity in the sulfonation pathway of human phase Ⅱ metabolism. For analytical method development, a systematic screening of columns and mobile phases to develop a separation via enantiomerically selective high performance liquid chromatography was performed. Electrospray ionization settings were optimized via multiple-step screening and a full factorial design-of-experiment. Both approaches were performed matrix-assisted and the predicted values were compared. The full factorial design was superior in terms of prediction power and knowledge generation. Performing a longitudinal excretion study in one healthy volunteer allowed for the calculation of excretion rates for all four targeted analytes. For this proof-of-concept, either racemic salbutamol or enantiopure levosalbutamol was administered perorally or via inhalation, respectively. A strong preference for sulfonation of (R)-salbutamol for inhalation and peroral application was found in in vivo experiments. In previous studies phenol sulfotransferase 1A3 was described to be mainly responsible for salbutamol sulfonation in humans. Thus, in vitro and in silico investigations of the stereoselectivity of sulfotransferase 1A3 complemented the study and confirmed these findings.View less
Background: Follow-up imaging in intracerebral hemorrhage is not standardized and radiologists rely on different imaging modalities to determine hematoma growth. This study assesses the volumetric accuracy of different imaging modalities (MRI, CT angiography, postcontrast CT) to measure hematoma size.
Methods: 28 patients with acute spontaneous intracerebral hemorrhage referred to a tertiary stroke center were retrospectively included between 2018 and 2019. Inclusion criteria were (1) spontaneous intracerebral hemorrhage (supra- or infratentorial), (2) noncontrast CT imaging performed on admission, (3) follow-up imaging (CT angiography, postcontrast CT, MRI), and (4) absence of hematoma expansion confirmed by a third cranial image within 6 days. Two independent raters manually measured hematoma volume by drawing a region of interest on axial slices of admission noncontrast CT scans as well as on follow-up imaging (CT angiography, postcontrast CT, MRI) using a semi-automated segmentation tool (Visage image viewer; version 7.1.10). Results were compared using Bland-Altman plots.
Results: Mean admission hematoma volume was 18.79 +/- 19.86 cc. All interrater and intrarater intraclass correlation coefficients were excellent (1; IQR 0.98-1.00). In comparison to hematoma volume on admission noncontrast CT volumetric measurements were most accurate in patients who received postcontrast CT (bias of - 2.47%, SD 4.67: n = 10), while CT angiography often underestimated hemorrhage volumes (bias of 31.91%, SD 45.54; n = 20). In MRI sequences intracerebral hemorrhage volumes were overestimated in T2* (bias of - 64.37%, SD 21.65; n = 10). FLAIR (bias of 6.05%, SD 35.45; n = 13) and DWI (bias of-14.6%, SD 31.93; n = 12) over- and underestimated hemorrhagic volumes.
Conclusions: Volumetric measurements were most accurate in postcontrast CT while CT angiography and MRI sequences often substantially over- or underestimated hemorrhage volumes.View less
Background: Long-term prescriptions of strong opioids for chronic noncancer pain-which are not supported by scientific evidence-suggest miscalibrated risk perceptions among those who prescribe, dispense, and take opioids. Because risk perceptions and behaviors can differ depending on whether people learn about risks through description or experience, we investigated the effects of descriptive versus simulated-experience educative formats on physicians' risk perceptions of strong opioids and their prescription behavior for managing chronic noncancer pain.
Methods: Three hundred general practitioners and 300 pain specialists in Germany-enrolled separately in two independent exploratory randomized controlled online trials-were randomly assigned to either a descriptive format (fact box) or a simulated-experience format (interactive simulation).
Primary endpoints: Objective risk perception (numerical estimates of opioids' benefits and harms), actual prescriptions of seven therapy options for managing chronic pain.
Secondary endpoint: Implementation of intended prescriptions of seven therapy options for managing chronic pain.
Results: Both formats improved the proportion of correct numerical estimates of strong opioids' benefits and harms immediately after intervention, with no notable differences between formats. Compared to description, simulated experience led to significantly lower reported actual prescription rates for strong and/or weak opioids, and was more effective at increasing prescription rates for non-drug-based therapies (e.g., means of opioid reduction) from baseline to follow-up for both general practitioners and pain specialists. Simulated experience also resulted in a higher implementation of intended behavior for some drug-based and non-drug-based therapies.
Conclusions: The two formats, which recruit different cognitive processes, may serve different risk-communication goals: If the goal is to improve exact risk perception, descriptive and simulated-experience formats are likely to be equally suitable. If, however, the goal is to boost less risky prescription habits, simulated experience may be the better choice.View less
Background: Entrustable professional activities (EPAs) have been defined to promote the workplace participation of undergraduate medical students, generally in the context of high-income countries with a focus on the secondary and tertiary health care sectors. These EPAs have limited applicability to training and health care contexts in low- to middle-income countries that have a focus on primary health care, for instance, the context of community medicine. The purpose of this article is to report the process and results of defining EPAs for undergraduate medical training in a community health care setting.
Methods: A modified Delphi study was performed to develop EPAs for the training of medical students in community medicine during their first and second years of education at the Marilia Medical School (FAMEMA), Brazil. The supervision level was operationalized in terms of a student's ability to perform the EPA autonomously in an effective and safe manner with supervision readily available on request. Panellists (9 physicians and 6 nurses) rated the completeness of the proposed list of EPAs and EPA categories on four-point Likert scales. The threshold for consensus among panellists was a mean content validity index of at least 80%.
Results: Consensus was reached after two Delphi rounds, resulting in 11 EPAs for undergraduate medical education and training in community medicine. These EPAs were organized into three overarching EPA domains: integrality of care for individual health needs in all phases of the life cycle (5 EPAs), integrality of care for family health needs (3 EPAs), and integrality of care for community health needs (3 EPAs). For each EPA, descriptions of the following categories were created: title; specifications and limitations; conditions and implications of the entrustment decision; knowledge, skills, and attitudes; links to competencies; and assessment sources.
Conclusion: The resulting 11 EPAs for training medical students in community medicine expand the application of the EPA framework to both early undergraduate medical education and the context of primary health care. This report can support and guide other medical schools in their attempts to train students in primary health care contexts and to incorporate EPAs into their curricula.View less
Background: Acquiring medical knowledge is a key competency for medical students and a lifelong requirement for physicians. Learning techniques can improve academic success and help students cope with stressors. To support students' learning process medical faculties should know about learning techniques. The purpose of this study is to analyse the preferred learning techniques of female and male as well as junior and senior medical students and how these learning techniques are related to perceived learning difficulties.
Methods: In 2019, we conducted an online survey with students of the undergraduate, competency-based curriculum of medicine at Charite - Universitatsmedizin Berlin. We chose ten learning techniques of high, moderate and low utility according to Dunlosky et al. (2013) and we asked medical students to rate their preferred usage of those techniques using a 5-point Likert scale. We applied t-tests to show differences in usage between female and male as well as junior and senior learners. Additionally, we conducted a multiple regression analysis to explore the predictive power of learning techniques regarding perceived difficulties.
Results: A total of 730 medical students (488 women, 242 men, M-age = 24.85, SD = 4.49) use three techniques the most: 'highlighting' (low utility), 'self-explanation' (moderate utility) and 'practice testing' (high utility). Female students showed a significantly higher usage of low-utility learning techniques (t(404.24) = -7.13, p < .001) and a higher usage of high-utility learning techniques (t(728) = -2.50, p < .05) than male students (M = 3.55, SD = .95). Compared to junior students (second to sixth semester; M = 3.65, SD = .71), senior students (seventh semester to final clerkship year; M = 3.52, SD = .73) showed a lower use of low-utility learning techniques (t(603) = 2.15, p < .05). Usage of low-utility techniques is related to more difficulties (beta = .08, t(724) = 2.13, p < .05). Usage of moderate-utility techniques is related to less learning difficulties (beta = -.13, t(599) = -3.21, p < .01).
Conclusions: Students use a wide range of low-, moderate- and high-utility learning techniques. The use of learning techniques has an influence on the difficulties perceived by students. Therefore, they could benefit from knowing about and using high-utility learning techniques to facilitate their learning. Faculties should inform their students about effective learning and introduce them to useful learning techniques.View less