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Authors: Barbara Penolazzi, Fabio Del Missier, Davide Francesco Stramaccia, Anna Laura Monego, Luigi Castelli, Amalia Manzan, Marco Bertoli and Giovanni Galfano

Abstract

Background and aims

Many psychopathologies, including addictions, are characterized by inhibitory control deficits. In this regard, recent studies on substance-related disorders (SRD) have shown an impairment in the ability to inhibit potentially interfering memories, despite preserved motor inhibition. To investigate whether the same dissociation could also characterize gambling disorder (GD) in a transdiagnostic perspective, we tested both cognitive and motor inhibitory processes through dedicated tasks, for the first time in this behavioral addiction.

Methods

30 outpatients with GD and 30 healthy controls performed a go/no-go task addressing the integrity of motor inhibition, and the Retrieval Practice Paradigm, a task addressing the integrity of memory inhibition as indexed by the Retrieval-Induced Forgetting (RIF) effect. Self-report questionnaires assessing impulsivity were also administered.

Results

Whereas RIF was similar across the two groups, patients showed more commission errors in the go/no-go task, and higher self-rated scores of impulsivity than controls.

Discussion

The present findings suggest preserved memory inhibition and impaired motor response inhibition in GD, a pattern of inhibitory deficits opposite to that previously reported for SRD. Therefore, although both GD and SRD are characterized by altered inhibitory processing, a more fine-grained analysis revealed a specific inhibitory profile indicating vulnerability in different inhibitory components.

Conclusion

The present study highlights the need to investigate the multifaceted construct of inhibition more thoroughly, using performance measures able to assess its various components. This approach would enable to both better characterize different psychopathologies and orient their treatment.

Open access
Authors: Meysam Hasannejad-Bibalan, Ali Mojtahedi, Morteza Eshaghi, Mahdi Rohani, Mohammad Reza Pourshafie and Malihe Talebi

Abstract

Inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) comprises two major illnesses: Crohn's disease (CD) and ulcerative colitis (UC). Dextran sulfate sodium (DSS) mouse colitis model has been used in understanding the mechanism of IBD. This study was conducted to examine selected Lactobacillus spp. as potential IBD treatment in the DSS-induced animal model. Balb/c mice were used and colitis was induced by adding 5% dextran sodium sulfate into the drinking water for 8 days. Colon length, disease activity index (DAI) and histological analysis were measured as markers of inflammation in DSS colitis mice. The majority of the Lactobacillus species significantly prevented the shortening of the colon length compared with the DSS group. The DAI scores of mice were significantly reduced following usage of four Lactobacillus strains included: Lactobacillus plantarum 03 and 06, Lactobacillus brevis 02 and Lactobacillus rhamnosus 01. The histological analysis exhibited that oral administration of Lactobacillus strains had therapeutic effects on mice colitis. L. plantarum and L. brevis showed better therapeutic effect against DSS-induced acute colitis mice. The probiotic activities of these three isolates indicated that the probiotic effects were strain specific and none of these useful bacteria could exhibit all of the valued probiotic properties simultaneously.

Restricted access

Abstract

The aim of this paper is to analyse the relationship between unemployment benefits and durations of unemployment with respect to different approaches in social policy. The hypothesis of the research is that unemployment benefits negatively affect the duration of unemployment. An analysis of the relationship concerning unemployment benefits and duration of unemployment within the European Union Member States (EU-28) between 2006–2018 using panel data regression approach was conducted. The sample was split into sub-samples in order to get more homogeneous groups of EU-28 countries. Estimation results suggest that the more generous a social policy, the more prevalent the negative relationship between unemployment duration and unemployment benefits. Our results also revealed that the better the economic situation, the less pressure is put on unemployment benefits and on the duration of unemployment.

Open access

Abstract

With the introduction of the Water Framework Directive, the relative importance of smaller waterways increased. This statement is particularly true for Hungary, where water-quality monitoring of most smaller rivers only began 12 years ago. Due to their large number, and the lack of historical data concerning their state, systematic monitoring is a challenge.

In the current study, 101 creeks are characterized on the one hand by 13 physico-chemical quality parameters (pH, electric conductivity, chloride ion concentration, dissolved oxygen, oxygen saturation, biochemical oxygen demand, chemical oxygen demand, total organic carbon, ammonium nitrogen, total inorganic nitrogen, total nitrogen, orthophosphate and total phosphorus), on the other hand by their watershed's relief, land use, and point sources' pollution indicators. Euclidean distance between water bodies (henceforth WBs) is calculated according to normalized physico-chemical monitoring values. They are grouped into clusters using the hierarchical clustering method. Watershed characteristics are used to explain the clustering via linear discriminant analysis.

The investigation revealed that the main driver of cluster group creation is related to human impact: diffuse agricultural and point-source pollution. The first of the three clusters involved water bodies with low or no human impact; the second cluster contained those with medium-level anthropogenic disturbance, while waters with high pollution values formed the third cluster. Mean distance between heavily polluted waters was 1.5 times higher than that between those showing no or low disturbance, meaning that pristine waters are more similar to one another than polluted ones. The current number of samples per river is twice as high in cluster 1 as in cluster 3, revealing that there is room for optimization of the monitoring system. This contribution uses Hungary as a case study.

Open access

Abstract

The global coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) outbreak has necessitated physical distancing, lockdown, contact tracing, and self-quarantine so as to prevent the spread of the disease. Amid the outbreak, gaming data usage has reportedly increased in the United States, and game download volume has reached a record high in Europe. Because gaming can be used to cope with the psychological stress from the outbreak, therefore mental health professionals should be aware of how increased gaming during the pandemic may contribute to risk of gaming disorder, especially if the pandemic persists. Mental health professionals should thus formulate safe social interaction alternatives for people, particularly adolescents, who have gaming disorder risk.

Open access

Abstract

Objectives

We examined serial mediating roles of low self-control and aggression in explaining relationships between levels of inattention and hyperactivity problems (IHPs) and severity of Internet gaming disorder (IGD) features when exposed to online games among adolescents without Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) stratified by gender using three-wave longitudinal study.

Method

The sample comprised a total of 1,732 family dyads from a study that was conducted among seventh graders without diagnoses of ADHD at baseline. Levels of IHPs were assessed by the parent reported Korean version of the ADHD rating scale at baseline (wave1). Severity of IGD features was assessed by the Internet Game Use-Elicited Symptom Screen (IGUESS) at wave3. Both levels of self-control (wave1) and aggression (wave2) were assessed by self-report. The mediating role of low self-control and aggression in the relationships between level of IHPs and severity of IGD were evaluated using serial mediation analysis separately for each gender.

Results

Levels of IHPs were related directly to severity of IGD features in both genders. The indirect effects via low self-control were also significant in both genders, however, the indirect effects via aggression was significant only in women. The serial mediation effect via low self-control and aggression between levels of IHPs and IGD features was significant in both genders (men, coefficient:0.009, 95%CI 0.005–0.019; women, coefficient:0.010, 95%CI:0.005–0.026).

Conclusion

We revealed a possible mechanism underlying a serial mediation chain from low self-control to aggression explaining the effects of IHPs on severity of IGD features. However, this conclusion should be taken with a caution, because the effect sizes were very low.

Open access
Authors: Paul Delfabbro, Daniel L. King and Neophytos Georgiou

Abstract

Background

Engagement in responsible or ‘positive play’ strategies is known to be negatively associated with problem gambling, as indexed by measures such as the Problem Gambling Severity Index (PGSI). Less is known about whether positive play is associated with reduced harm or a greater ability to enjoy the recreational benefits of gambling.

Aims

This study investigated the relationship between positive play and gambling harm after controlling for PGSI scores and whether positive play moderated the relationship between PGSI scores and harm. It also examined whether positive play was related to perceived benefits associated with gambling.

Methods

The study utilised an online panel sample of 554 respondents who completed a survey that included the PGSI, measures of gambling harm drawn from Browne et al. (2016), and the newly developed Positive Play Scale (Wood et al., 2019). The study involved predominantly monthly gamblers with higher levels of gambling risk: 23% problem gamblers; 36% moderate risk; and 21% low risk gamblers.

Results

The results indicated that positive play was negatively associated with reduced gambling harm. The behavioural Positive Play subscales relating to pre-commitment and honesty and control explained additional variation in harm after controlling for PGSI scores. Higher levels of positive play also moderated and reduced the relationship between the PGSI and gambling harm. Perceived benefits were, unexpectedly, found to be higher in problem gamblers and negatively related to positive play.

Conclusion

Behavioural measures of positive play appear to be useful moderating factors in understanding the relationship between problem gambling and harm. Higher-risk gamblers appear to experience both greater costs as well as benefits from gambling, which likely reflects a stronger personal need to engage in the activity.

Open access

Abstract

Toddalia asiatica (Linn) Lam (T. asiatica) as a traditional Miao medicine was investigated to find rational alternative medicinal parts for T. asiatica root bark and its antitumor chemical constituents by quantitative pharmacognostic microscopy, high performance liquid chromatography (HPLC) fingerprint and multivariate statistical analysis. A bivariate correlation analysis method based on microscopic characteristics and content of chemical constituents was established for the first time, there were some regular discoveries between powder microscopic characteristics and common chromatographic peaks of T. asiatica through quantitative pharmacognostic microscopy, cork cells, calcium oxalate square crystal, brown clump, starch granule and phloem fiber, as powder microscopic characteristics may be placed where the main chemical constitutes were enriched. Scores plot of principal component analysis (PCA) and dendrogram of hierarchical clustering analysis (HCA) showed that 18 T. asiatica samples were distinguished correctly, clustered clearly into two main groups as follows: S01∼S03 (root bark) and S07∼S09 (stem bark) in cluster 1, S04∼S06 and S10∼S18 in cluster 2. Nineteen common peaks were obtained in HPLC fingerprint of T. asiatica, loadings plot of PCA indicated seven compounds played important roles in different part of samples (P10 > P08 > P07 > P14 > P16 > P17 > P19), peaks 04, 06, 07, 08, 10 were identified as hesperidin, 4-methoxycinnamic acid, toddalolactone, isopimpinlline and pimpinellin. MTT assay was used to determine the inhibitory activity of different medicinal parts of T. asiatica on human breast cancer MCF-7 cells, all parts of T. asiatica had different inhibitory effects on MCF-7 cell lines, root and stem barks of T. asiatica showed the best inhibitory activity. The relationship between chemical constituents and the inhibitions on MCF-7 cell had been established, significant antitumor constituents of T. asiatica were identified by correlation analysis, the order of the antitumor effect of the main compounds was P07 (toddalolactone) > P16 > P06 (4-methoxycinnamic acid), P11 > P18 > P10 (pimpinellin) > P08 (isopimpinellin) > P01 > P19 > P14 > P04 (hesperidin) > P17, which were antitumor chemical constituents of T. asiatica root bark. T. asiatica stem bark was the most rational alternative medicinal part for T. asiatica root bark.

Open access
Authors: Ramia Z. Al Bakain, Yahya S. Al-Degs, James V. Cizdziel and Mahmoud A. Elsohly

Abstract

In this research, cannabis varieties represent 23 USA States were assayed by GC-FID to generate their complex chemical profiles informative for plants clustering. Results showed that 45 cannabinoids and terpenoids were quantified in all plant samples, where 8 cannabinoids and 18 terpenoids were identified. Among organics, Δ9-THC, CBN (cannabinoids) and Fenchol (terpenoid) not only showed the highest levels overall contents, but also were the most important compounds for cannabis clustering. Among States, Washington, Oregon, California and Hawaii have the highest cannabis content. GC-FID data were subjected to PCA and HCA to find (1) the variations among cannabis chemical profiles as a result of growing environment, (2) to reveal the compounds that were responsible for grouping cultivars between clusters and (3) finally, to facilitate the future profile prediction and States clustering of unknown cannabis based on the chemical profile. The 23 cannabis USA States were grouped into three clusters based on only Δ9-THC, CBN, C1 and Fenchol content. Cannabis classification based on GC-profile will meet the practical needs of cannabis applications in clinical research, industrial production, patients' self-production, and contribute to the standardization of commercially-available cannabis cultivars in USA.

Open access

Abstract

Background

Although family history of psychiatric disorders has often been considered potentially useful in understanding clinical presentations in patients, it is less clear what a positive family history means for people who gamble in the general community. We sought to understand the clinical and cognitive impact of having a first-degree relative with a substance use disorder (SUD) in a sample of non-treatment seeking young adults.

Methods

576 participants (aged 18–29 years) who gambled at least five times in the preceding year undertook clinical and neurocognitive evaluations. Those with a first-degree relative with a SUD were compared to those without on a number of demographic, clinical and cognitive measures. We used Partial Least Squares (PLS) regression to identify which variables (if any) were significantly associated with family history of SUDs, controlling for the influence of other variables on each other.

Results

180 (31.3%) participants had a first-degree family member with a SUD. In terms of clinical variables, family history of SUD was significantly associated with higher rates of substance use (alcohol, nicotine), higher rates of problem gambling, and higher occurrence of mental health disorders. Family history of SUD was also associated with more set-shifting problems (plus higher rates of obsessive-compulsive tendencies), lower quality of decision-making, and more spatial working memory errors.

Conclusions

These results indicate that gamblers with a first-degree family member with a SUD may have a unique clinical and cognition presentation. Understanding these differences may be relevant to developing more individualized treatment approaches for disordered gambling. Compulsivity may be important as a proxy of vulnerability towards addiction.

Open access