A Model of Functional Brain Connectivity and Background Noise as a Biomarker for Cognitive Phenotypes: Application to Autism.

A model of functional brain connectivity and background noise as a biomarker for cognitive phenotypes: application to autism.

PLoS One. 2013; 8(4): e61493
Domínguez LG, Velázquez JL, Galán RF

We present an efficient approach to discriminate between typical and atypical brains from macroscopic neural dynamics recorded as magnetoencephalograms (MEG). Our approach is based on the fact that spontaneous brain activity can be accurately described with stochastic dynamics, as a multivariate Ornstein-Uhlenbeck process (mOUP). By fitting the data to a mOUP we obtain: 1) the functional connectivity matrix, corresponding to the drift operator, and 2) the traces of background stochastic activity (noise) driving the brain. We applied this method to investigate functional connectivity and background noise in juvenile patients (n?=?9) with Asperger’s syndrome, a form of autism spectrum disorder (ASD), and compared them to age-matched juvenile control subjects (n?=?10). Our analysis reveals significant alterations in both functional brain connectivity and background noise in ASD patients. The dominant connectivity change in ASD relative to control shows enhanced functional excitation from occipital to frontal areas along a parasagittal axis. Background noise in ASD patients is spatially correlated over wide areas, as opposed to control, where areas driven by correlated noise form smaller patches. An analysis of the spatial complexity reveals that it is significantly lower in ASD subjects. Although the detailed physiological mechanisms underlying these alterations cannot be determined from macroscopic brain recordings, we speculate that enhanced occipital-frontal excitation may result from changes in white matter density in ASD, as suggested in previous studies. We also venture that long-range spatial correlations in the background noise may result from less specificity (or more promiscuity) of thalamo-cortical projections. All the calculations involved in our analysis are highly efficient and outperform other algorithms to discriminate typical and atypical brains with a comparable level of accuracy. Altogether our results demonstrate a promising potential of our approach as an efficient biomarker for altered brain dynamics associated with a cognitive phenotype. HubMed – addiction


Motivational Influences in Persons Found Not Criminally Responsible on Account of Mental Disorder: A Review of Legislation and Research.

Behav Sci Law. 2013 Apr 24;
Penney SR, Morgan A, Simpson AI

This paper provides a review of the legislative reforms and case law that have impacted the defense of Not Criminally Responsible on Account of Mental Disorder (NCRMD) in Canada over the past three decades. As in other jurisdictions internationally, we observe that legislative reforms of procedural, as opposed to substantive, aspects of the NCRMD defense have impacted the manner in which NCRMD criteria are applied in common practice. More people are being declared NCRMD in recent years, and there is greater heterogeneity in the offending and psychiatric profiles of these individuals, suggesting that NCRMD criteria are being applied more liberally over time. In light of the substantial growth of the forensic mental health system over the past two decades, witnessed both in Canada and abroad, we propose that the study of motivational influences underlying the offending behaviors of persons with serious mental illness (SMI) is necessary to begin disentangling symptom-based offending from violent and antisocial behaviors that may have other motives. This, in turn, can help to determine legal issues, better define the nature of each person’s offending and treatment needs, and provide a more fine-grained analysis of the drivers behind the growth experienced by the forensic system. Copyright © 2013 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd. HubMed – addiction


Developmental issues of university students in Hong Kong.

Int J Adolesc Med Health. 2013 Mar 27; 1-7
Shek DT, Cheung BP

Abstract Four domains of developmental issues of university students in Hong Kong are examined in this paper. First, behavioral and lifestyle problems of university students are identified, including alcohol consumption, Internet addiction, cyber-pornography, irregular sleep patterns, and interpersonal violence. Second, the mental health problems of university students, including suicidal ideation, depression and anxiety problems, are outlined. Third, issues on self-determination (including establishment of personal goals), self-confidence, and materialism of the students are reviewed. Fourth, issues related to students’ connection to the society, including egocentrism and civic engagement, are discussed. The views of employers about university graduates in Hong Kong are also examined. With the emergence of developmental issues among Hong Kong university students, it is argued that promoting the psychosocial competencies of university students via positive youth development programs is an important strategy in addressing such issues. HubMed – addiction


Constructing a Theory- and Evidence-Based Treatment Rationale for Complex eHealth Interventions: Development of an Online Alcohol Intervention Using an Intervention Mapping Approach.

JMIR Res Protoc. 2013; 2(1): e6
Brendryen H, Johansen A, Nesvåg S, Kok G, Duckert F

Due to limited reporting of intervention rationale, little is known about what distinguishes a good intervention from a poor one. To support improved design, there is a need for comprehensive reports on novel and complex theory-based interventions. Specifically, the emerging trend of just-in-time tailoring of content in response to change in target behavior or emotional state is promising.The objective of this study was to give a systematic and comprehensive description of the treatment rationale of an online alcohol intervention called Balance.We used the intervention mapping protocol to describe the treatment rationale of Balance. The intervention targets at-risk drinking, and it is delivered by email, mobile phone text messaging, and tailored interactive webpages combining text, pictures, and prerecorded audio.The rationale of the current treatment was derived from a self-regulation perspective, and the overarching idea was to support continued self-regulation throughout the behavior change process. Maintaining the change efforts over time and coping adaptively during critical moments (eg, immediately before and after a lapse) are key factors to successful behavior change. Important elements of the treatment rationale to achieving these elements were: (1) emotion regulation as an inoculation strategy against self-regulation failure, (2) avoiding lapses by adaptive coping, and (3) avoiding relapse by resuming the change efforts after a lapse. Two distinct and complementary delivery strategies were used, including a day-to-day tunnel approach in combination with just-in-time therapy. The tunnel strategy was in accordance with the need for continuous self-regulation and it functions as a platform from which just-in-time therapy was launched. Just-in-time therapy was used to support coping during critical moments, and started when the client reports either low self-efficacy or that they were drinking above target levels.The descriptions of the treatment rationale for Balance, the alcohol intervention reported herein, provides an intervention blueprint that will aid in interpreting the results from future program evaluations. It will ease comparisons of program rationales across interventions, and may assist intervention development. By putting just-in-time therapy within a complete theoretical and practical context, including the tunnel delivery strategy and the self-regulation perspective, we have contributed to an understanding of how multiple delivery strategies in eHealth interventions can be combined. Additionally, this is a call for action to improve the reporting practices within eHealth research. Possible ways to achieve such improvement include using a systematic and structured approach, and for intervention reports to be published after peer-review and separately from evaluation reports. HubMed – addiction


IMPAD-22: A checklist for authors of qualitative nursing research manuscripts.

Nurse Educ Today. 2013 Apr 20;
Salzmann-Erikson M

OBJECTIVE: The aim of this paper is to develop a checklist for authors preparing qualitative nursing research manuscripts, specifically focusing on the method section. DESIGN: Literature review. DATA SOURCES: 15 articles were purposefully selected from three different nursing journals. REVIEW METHODS: Evans’ four step process was used to synthesize the method sections of the included articles. RESULTS: Four main categories were identified 1) Ingress and Methodology, 2) Participants, 3) Approval, and 4) Data: Collection and Management. Based on the categories and sub-categories, a 22-item checklist was developed. DISCUSSION AND CONCLUSIONS: Earlier guidelines for formal reporting were developed for qualitative research in general. The main advantage and contribution of IMPAD is that it provides a 22-item checklist specifically aimed towards the method section, and furthermore, it was developed specifically for authors within the field of nursing research. HubMed – addiction