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Cognitive impairments, especially in higher order cognitive functions, are core features of schizophrenia. Importantly, despite their early onset, long-lasting presence, and serious impact on the life quality of patients and their families, cognitive deficits are still mostly incurable and their specific causes are still unknown. In this context, mouse/rat models with cautious and well-designed translational valence constitute an invaluable instrument in dissecting the selective nature of schizophrenia-relevant cognitive deficits, including their genetic, environmental, and neuronal/cellular mechanisms. Moreover, these models are also crucial for the implementation of more effective therapeutical strategies. Thus, based on clinical evidence in schizophrenia, here we will specifically address cognitive domains such as executive control, working memory, attention, and social cognition. We first briefly present human tasks commonly used to measure each of these domains; thereafter, we describe relevant equivalent tasks developed and now available for use in rodents.

Objective: To verify the efficacy of Cognitive Pragmatic Treatment (CPT), a new rehabilitation training program for improving communicative-pragmatic abilities. Design: The CPT program consists of 24 group sessions, concerned with improving several communication modalities, theory of mind (ToM), and cognitive components that can affect pragmatic performance, such as awareness and executive functions. Participants: A sample of 15 adults with severe traumatic brain injury. Main Measures: Improvements were evaluated before and after training, using the equivalent forms of the Assessment Battery for Communication (ABaCo), a tool for evaluating comprehension and production of a wide range of pragmatic phenomena. A neuropsychological and ToM assessment was also conducted. Results: The patients' performance improved after training, in terms of both comprehension and production, in all the communication modalities assessed by the ABaCo, that is, linguistic, extralinguistic, paralinguistic, and social appropriateness abilities. The follow-up showed that the improvement of patients persists after 3 months from the end of the training. Conclusions: The results suggest that the CPT program is efficacious in improving communicative-pragmatic abilities in individuals with TBI, and that improvements at this level are still detectable even in chronic patients years after the injury.

Background: The diagnostic framework and clinical reasoning process in Chinese medicine emphasizes the contextual and qualitative nature of a patient's illness. Chinese medicine assessment data may help interpret clinical outcomes. Objectives: As part of a study aimed at assessing the validity and improving the inter-rater reliability of the Chinese diagnostic process, a structured assessment instrument was developed for use in clinical trials of acupuncture and other Chinese medical therapies. Study design: To foster collaboration and maximize resources and information, an interdisciplinary advisory team was assembled. Under the guidance of two group process facilitators, and in order to establish whether the assessment instrument was consistent with accepted Chinese medicine diagnostic categories (face validity) and included the full range of each concept's meaning (content validity), a panel of Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) expert clinicians was convened and their responses were organized using the Delphi process, an iterative, anonymous, idea-generating and consensus-building process. An aggregate rating measure was obtained by taking the mean of mean ratings for each question across all 10 experts. Results: Over three rounds, the overall rating increased from 7.4 (SD = 1.3) in Round 1 to 9.1 (SD = 0.5) in Round 3. The level of agreement among clinicians was measured by a decrease in SD. Conclusions: The final instrument TEAMSI-TCM (Traditional East Asian Medicine Structured Interview, TCM version) uses the pattern differentiation model characteristic of TCM. This modular, dynamic version was specifically designed to assess women, with a focus on gynecologic conditions; with modifications it can be adapted for use with other populations and conditions. TEAMSI-TCM is a prescriptive instrument that guides clinicians to use the proper indicators, combine them in a systematic manner, and generate conclusions. In conjunction with treatment manualization and training it may serve to increase inter-rater reliability and inter-trial reproducibility in Chinese medicine clinical trials. Testing of the validity and reliability of this instrument currently is underway.
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Mindfulness training involves the cultivation of nonjudgemental attention to unwanted thoughts, feelings and bodily experiences via meditation and may help ameliorate both psychological and physical symptoms of chronic disease. Clinical trials have shown that mindfulness training improves the psychological well-being of people with rheumatoid arthritis(RA). However, there is limited evidence for its efficacy on disease activity outcomes in RA. Given evidence linking increased mindfulness to improved immune markers, mindfulness training may reduce disease activity in patients with RA by enhancing their immune function. The aim of this randomised controlled trial was to examine the effects of a standardised mindfulness-based stress reduction (MBSR) intervention on RA disease activity.

Background It is proposed that some individuals with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) can ‘compensate’ for their underlying difficulties (e.g. in theory of mind; ToM), thus demonstrating relatively few behavioural symptoms, despite continued core cognitive deficits. The mechanisms underpinning compensation are largely unexplored, as is its potential impact on mental health. This study aimed to estimate compensation patterns in ASD, by contrasting overt social behaviour with ToM task performance, in order to compare the characteristics of ‘Low’ and ‘High’ Compensators. Methods A total of 136 autistic adolescents, from the ongoing Social Relationships Study, completed a range of cognitive tasks, the Autistic Diagnostic Observation Schedule (ADOS) and a self-report anxiety questionnaire. Participants were assigned compensation group status; High Compensators demonstrated good ADOS scores despite poor ToM performance, while Low Compensators demonstrated similarly poor ToM, accompanied by poor ADOS scores. Results High Compensators demonstrated better IQ and executive function (EF), but greater self-reported anxiety, compared with Low Compensators. Such differences were not found when comparing individuals who had good versus poor ADOS scores, when ToM performance was good. Other core autistic characteristics (weak central coherence, nonsocial symptoms) did not differentiate the High and Low Compensators. Conclusions IQ, EF and anxiety appear to be implicated in the processes by which certain autistic young people can compensate for their underlying ToM difficulties. This tendency to compensate does not appear to reflect the severity of ‘hit’ for ASD per se, suggesting that well-compensated individuals are not experiencing a milder form of ASD. The construct of compensation in ASD has implications for research and clinical practice.

Strictement liée aux préceptes bouddhistes, la médecine tibétaine est une science millénaire qui se fonde sur des textes traditionnels et sur les enseignements oraux de maîtres érudits. Sa pratique se développe au Tibet comme à l'étranger. La matière médicale est vaste et inventoriée dans les textes médicaux. Son emploi de la part des médecins pour la fabrication des médicaments se reconduit en partie à la tradition. Toutefois, la pratique médicale est constamment en évolution et il existe aussi des usages régionaux. Par ce travail conduit à travers différents terrains d'études, nous enquêtons sur la façon dont de la matière médicale est conçue, désignée et classée par les médecins, sur ses propriétés thérapeutiques et enfin sur les médicaments et leur fabrication, sur les formules, analysant les tendances actuelles et les problématiques liées à cette activité. Ces données seront ensuite comparées avec les informations fournies par les sources écrites. Tibetan medicine is an old science, which is strictly related to Buddhism and relies both on traditional texts and oral knowledge. These medical practices are renowned in Tibet as elsewhere in the world. The Tibetan materia medica is conspicuous and is classified in traditional texts. Substances are used for the preparation of medicines. Although their processing mostly relies on traditional instructions, practices are in evolution and regional trends survive. Through the comparison of the written instructions and the information directly collected on the field in different Tibetan regions, we analyse how the Tibetan pharmacopoeia is designated, identified and classified by traditional doctors. We focus on therapeutic properties of medicinal substances and on the compounding of medicines, analysing the formulae and the production process. We also evaluate the contemporary evolutions associated to these activities.

This article accounts for an environmental standpoint to be part of the post-human approach by accessing the post-human as a post-humanism, a post-anthropocentrism and a post-dualism. The main goal of this paper is to call for a post-anthropocentric turn by emphasizing the fact that the Anthropocene and the actual ecological collapse are only the symptoms; it is time to address the causes, which have been detected in the anthropocentric worldview based on an autonomous conception of the human as a self-defying agent. An urgent answer to this scenario lays in philosophy, and specifically, in a theoretical and pragmatic post-anthropocentric shift in the current perception of the human. This article reflects on the ideal, but also uneasy, practices of letting go of anthropocentric privileges. Such changes can only result by fully acknowledging the human species in relation to the environment. The Anthropocene shall thus be addressed, together with sustainable forms of producing (less), recycling and co-existing with other species, with a socio-political and cultural shift: a passage from humanism to post-humanism, here underlined in its specific meaning of post-anthropocentrism. The methodology of this article develops as an assemblage of theoretical thinking, creative writing and artistic image analysis.

Posthumanism is a theoretical frame, as well as an empirical one, which can apply to any field of enquiry, starting from our location as a species, to the individual gaze. Posthumanism addresses the question «who am I?» in conjunction with other related questions, such as: «what am I?» and «where and when are we?»

ObjectivesThere is growing evidence that mindfulness has positive consequences for both psychological and physical health in both clinical and non-clinical populations. The potential benefits of mindfulness underpin a range of therapeutic intervention approaches designed to increase mindfulness in both clinical and community contexts. Self-guided mindfulness-based interventions may be a way to increase access to the benefits of mindfulness. This study explored whether a brief, online, mindfulness-based intervention can increase mindfulness and reduce perceived stress and anxiety/depression symptoms within a student population. Method One hundred and four students were randomly allocated to either immediately start a two-week, self-guided, online, mindfulness-based intervention or a wait-list control. Measures of mindfulness, perceived stress and anxiety/depression were administered before and after the intervention period. Results Intention to treat analysis identified significant group by time interactions for mindfulness skills, perceived stress and anxiety/depression symptoms. Participation in the intervention was associated with significant improvements in all measured domains, where no significant changes on these measures were found for the control group. Conclusions This provides evidence in support of the feasibility and effectiveness of shorter self-guided mindfulness-based interventions. The limitations and implications of this study for clinical practice are discussed.

ObjectivesThere is growing evidence that mindfulness has positive consequences for both psychological and physical health in both clinical and non-clinical populations. The potential benefits of mindfulness underpin a range of therapeutic intervention approaches designed to increase mindfulness in both clinical and community contexts. Self-guided mindfulness-based interventions may be a way to increase access to the benefits of mindfulness. This study explored whether a brief, online, mindfulness-based intervention can increase mindfulness and reduce perceived stress and anxiety/depression symptoms within a student population. Method One hundred and four students were randomly allocated to either immediately start a two-week, self-guided, online, mindfulness-based intervention or a wait-list control. Measures of mindfulness, perceived stress and anxiety/depression were administered before and after the intervention period. Results Intention to treat analysis identified significant group by time interactions for mindfulness skills, perceived stress and anxiety/depression symptoms. Participation in the intervention was associated with significant improvements in all measured domains, where no significant changes on these measures were found for the control group. Conclusions This provides evidence in support of the feasibility and effectiveness of shorter self-guided mindfulness-based interventions. The limitations and implications of this study for clinical practice are discussed.

During adolescence and early adulthood, individuals deal with important developmental changes, especially in the context of complex social interactions. Previous studies demonstrated that those changes have a significant impact on the social decision making process, in terms of a progressive increase of intentionality comprehension of others, of the sensitivity to fairness, and of the impermeability to decisional biases. However, neither adolescents nor adults reach the ideal level of maximization and of rationality of the homo economicus proposed by classical economics theory, thus remaining more close to the model of the “bounded rationality” proposed by cognitive psychology. In the present study, we analyzed two aspects of decision making in 110 participants from early adolescence to young adulthood: the sensitivity to fairness and the permeability to decisional biases (Outcome Bias and Hindsight Bias). To address these questions, we adopted a modified version of the Ultimatum Game task, where participants faced fair, unfair, and hyperfair offers from proposers described as generous, selfish, or neutral. We also administered two behavioral tasks testing the influence of the Outcome Bias and of the Hindsight Bias in the evaluation of the decision. Our behavioral results highlighted that the participants are still partially consequentialist, as the decisional process is influenced by a complex balance between the outcome and the psychological description of the proposer. As regards cognitive biases, the Outcome Bias and the Hindsight Bias are present in the whole sample, with no relevant age differences.

During spring and summer 1998 at the clinic of the Tibetan refugees' settlement of Dhorpatan (Baglung District, central Nepal) the authors conducted a field study on Tibetan pharmacology and materia medica. Moving to an unfamiliar environment, learned practitioners of Tibetan medicine on the basis of their experience and through the analysis of various plant and environmental features are able to identify the materia medica of the region. This is the case of Dhorpatan, where at the beginning of the 1990s a Tibetan doctor coming from Khyungbo (east Tibet, China) selected the plants that can be employed in therapeutics. As far as the identification criteria are concerned, our field data show that the evaluation of plant morphology is only the first step of the identification process. In fact our informant takes into consideration plant taste, scent and environment of growth, stressing that these features are crucial to assess plant therapeutic properties. Owing to the isolation of the area and to the difficulty of getting all the drugs required, compromises on the identification have to be made. This implies the selection of a few plants that do not have the best therapeutic properties and are substitutes of low quality. The comparison between the botanical identification of the plants selected in Dhorpatan and the ones described in a modern Tibetan pharmacopoeia showed a significant similarity.

In today's #WiseGirl video, I talk with Law Professor Rhonda Magee. We discuss mindfulness, social justice, the process of inquiry, systemic and judicial oppression and liberation, and where opportunity lies in personal mindfulness practice as well as in opening to the larger picture of our shared, relational being.