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The Interplay of Genes and Environment across Multiple Studies (IGEMS) is a consortium of 18 twin studies from 5 different countries (Sweden, Denmark, Finland, United States, and Australia) established to explore the nature of gene–environment (GE) interplay in functioning across the adult lifespan. Fifteen of the studies are longitudinal, with follow-up as long as 59 years after baseline. The combined data from over 76,000 participants aged 14–103 at intake (including over 10,000 monozygotic and over 17,000 dizygotic twin pairs) support two primary research emphases: (1) investigation of models of GE interplay of early life adversity, and social factors at micro and macro environmental levels and with diverse outcomes, including mortality, physical functioning and psychological functioning; and (2) improved understanding of risk and protective factors for dementia by incorporating unmeasured and measured genetic factors with a wide range of exposures measured in young adulthood, midlife and later life.
In early October 2014, 7 months after the 2014–2015 Ebola epidemic in West Africa began, a cluster of reported deaths in Koinadugu, a remote district of Sierra Leone, was the first evidence of Ebola virus disease (Ebola) in the district. Prior to this event, geographic isolation was thought to have prevented the introduction of Ebola to this area. We describe our initial investigation of this cluster of deaths and subsequent public health actions after Ebola was confirmed, and present challenges to our investigation and methods of overcoming them. We present a transmission tree and results of whole genome sequencing of selected isolates to identify the source of infection in Koinadugu and demonstrate transmission between its villages. Koinadugu's experience highlights the danger of assuming that remote location and geographic isolation can prevent the spread of Ebola, but also demonstrates how deployment of rapid field response teams can help limit spread once Ebola is detected.
The spoon-billed sandpiper Calidris pygmaea, a migratory Arctic-breeding shorebird, is one of the rarest birds and its population has declined since the 1970s. We surveyed its most important known wintering area in the Upper Gulf of Mottama in Myanmar to estimate recent (2009–2016) changes in its numbers there. The total number of small shorebirds present in the Upper Gulf was counted and the proportion of them that were spoon-billed sandpipers was estimated from sample scans. These two quantities were multiplied together to give the estimated number of spoon-billed sandpipers in each of 4 years. Total numbers of combined small shorebird species tripled from 21,000 to 63,000 between 2009 and 2016, coincident with efforts to reduce hunting pressure on waterbirds. However, the proportion of small shorebirds that were spoon-billed sandpipers declined and their estimated absolute numbers fell by about half, from 244 to 112 individuals. It is probable that loss of intertidal habitat and shorebird hunting elsewhere on the migration route of the spoon-billed sandpipers wintering at Mottama is causing a continued decline, although this is occurring at a less rapid rate than that recorded from Arctic Russia before 2010. The number of spoon-billed sandpipers wintering on the Upper Gulf of Mottama remains the highest single-site total for this species from any known wintering site. Preventing resurgence of illegal shorebird hunting and ensuring long-term protection of the intertidal feeding habitats and roost sites in the Gulf are high priorities if extinction of this species is to be averted.
Continuous surveillance of surgical-site infection (SSI) is labor intensive. We developed a semiautomatic surveillance system partly assisted by surgeons. Most patients who developed postdischarge SSI were readmitted, which allowed us to limit postdischarge surveillance to this group. This procedure significantly reduced workload while maintaining high sensitivity and specificity for SSI diagnosis.
Approximately half of the variation in wellbeing measures overlaps with variation in personality traits. Studies of non-human primate pedigrees and human twins suggest that this is due to common genetic influences. We tested whether personality polygenic scores for the NEO Five-Factor Inventory (NEO-FFI) domains and for item response theory (IRT) derived extraversion and neuroticism scores predict variance in wellbeing measures. Polygenic scores were based on published genome-wide association (GWA) results in over 17,000 individuals for the NEO-FFI and in over 63,000 for the IRT extraversion and neuroticism traits. The NEO-FFI polygenic scores were used to predict life satisfaction in 7 cohorts, positive affect in 12 cohorts, and general wellbeing in 1 cohort (maximal N = 46,508). Meta-analysis of these results showed no significant association between NEO-FFI personality polygenic scores and the wellbeing measures. IRT extraversion and neuroticism polygenic scores were used to predict life satisfaction and positive affect in almost 37,000 individuals from UK Biobank. Significant positive associations (effect sizes <0.05%) were observed between the extraversion polygenic score and wellbeing measures, and a negative association was observed between the polygenic neuroticism score and life satisfaction. Furthermore, using GWA data, genetic correlations of -0.49 and -0.55 were estimated between neuroticism with life satisfaction and positive affect, respectively. The moderate genetic correlation between neuroticism and wellbeing is in line with twin research showing that genetic influences on wellbeing are also shared with other independent personality domains.
Detection of targets distributed randomly in space is a task common to both robotic and biological systems. Lévy search has previously been used to characterize T cell search in the immune system. We use a robot swarm to evaluate the effectiveness of a Lévy search strategy and map the relationship between search parameters and target configurations. We show that the fractal dimension of the Lévy search which optimizes search efficiency depends strongly on the distribution of targets but only weakly on the number of agents involved in search. Lévy search can therefore be tuned to the target configuration while also being scalable. Implementing search behaviors observed in T cells in a robot swarm provides an effective, adaptable, and scalable swarm robotic search strategy. Additionally, the adaptability and scalability of Lévy search may explain why Lévy-like movement has been observed in T cells in multiple immunological contexts.
Inspired by my experiences in archives and research fields in Northern Nigeria, this essay analyzes four overlapping phenomena: archival fragmentation, the politicization of data and research transactions, the proliferation of memoirs and other texts of self-representation, and the question of sensing the African past beyond the recognized oral, written, and ethnographic corpus. At once familiar and novel, these trends present both problems and possibilities for historians of postcolonial Africa, and need to be negotiated carefully. I propose, in preliminary terms, that a complementary methodology of what I call sensing is not only possible but necessary if we want to fully capture the pace and flavor of postcolonial African experiences.
When Paul asks for the incestuous man at Corinth to be handed over to Satan is he calling for mere physical expulsion from the community or is he calling for something more? We argue in this paper that the nature of the man's offense—i.e., an ostentatious display of sexual immorality that also receives theological justification from the perpetrator—demanded a harsher sentence beyond mere physical exclusion. Drawing on the book of Job, we show that the disciplinary practice Paul advocates in 1 Corinthians 5 is a spiritual practice that aims to remove the spiritual protection enjoyed by the incestuous man while he remained in the body of Christ, thereby exposing him to Satan's attacks. Paul's hope was that the affliction suffered by the man at the hands of Satan as a result of this exposure would lead to his repentance and ultimate salvation.
This article examines the textual arguments offered for and against the reading Jesus Barabbas in Matthew 27.16–17. While siding with the position that the longer reading, Jesus Barabbas, stood in the original text of Matthew's Gospel, this article argues against the tendency of scholars to deduce from the longer reading that a historical figure called ‘Jesus’ with the patronymic ‘Barabbas’ was released by Pilate, and that this man's name was suppressed by Christian tradition out of reverence for the name Jesus.
Using 0.5 ps pulses of 5.9 eV light to excite electron-hole concentrations varied up to 2x1020 e-h/cm3 corresponding to energy deposition within electron tracks, we measure dipole-dipole quenching rate constants K2 in SrI2 and CsI. We previously reported determination of K2 directly from the time dependence of quenched STE luminescence in CsI. The nonlinear quenching rate decreases rapidly within a few tens of picoseconds as the host excitation density drops below the Förster threshold. In the present work, we measure the dependence of integrated light yield on excitation density in the activated scintillators SrI2:Eu2+ and CsI:Tl+. The “z-scan” method of yield vs. irradiance is applicable to a wider range of materials, e.g. when the quenching population is not the main light-emitting population. Furthermore, because of using an integrating sphere and photomultiplier for light detection, the signal-to-noise is substantially better than the time-resolved method using a streak camera. As a result, both 2nd and 3rd orders of quenching (dipole-dipole and Auger) can be distinguished. Detailed comparison of SrI2 and CsI is of fundamental importance to help understand why SrI2 achieves substantially better proportionality than CsI in scintillator applications. The laser measurements, in contrast to scintillation, allow evaluating the rate constants of nonlinear quenching in a population which has small enough spatial gradient to suppress the effect of carrier diffusion.
To describe the implementation of an institution-wide, multiple-step intervention to curtail the epidemic spread of carbapenem-resistant Klebsiella pneumoniae (CRKP).
Consecutive intervention analyses.
Patients and Setting.
All patients admitted to a 775-bed tertiary care medical center in Jerusalem, Israel, from 2006 through 2010.
The effects of 4 interventions were assessed: (1) a policy of isolation for patients colonized or infected with CRKP in single rooms, which was started in March 2006; (2) cohorting of CRKP patients with dedicated nursing staff and screening of patients neighboring a patient newly identified as a carrier of CRKP, which was started in March 2007; (3) weekly active surveillance of intensive care unit patients, which was started during August 2008; and (4) selective surveillance of patients admitted to the emergency department, which was started in March 2009. Interrupted regression analysis and change-point analysis were used to assess the effect of each intervention on the CRKP epidemic.
Patient isolation alone failed to control the spread of CRKP, with incidence increasing to a peak of 30 new cases per 1,000 hospital beds per month. Institution of patient cohorting led to a steep decline in the incidence of CRKP acquisition (P< .001). Introduction of active surveillance interventions was followed by a decrease in the incidence of CRKP-positive clinical cultures but an increase in the incidence of CRKP-positive screening cultures. The mean prevalence of CRKP positivity for the period after cohorting began showed a statistically significant change from the mean prevalence in the preceding period (P< .001).
The cohorting of patients with dedicated staff, combined with implementation of focused active surveillance, effectively terminated the epidemic spread of CRKP. Cohorting reduced cross-infection within the hospital, and active surveillance allowed for earlier detection of carrier status. Both interventions should be considered in attempts to contain a hospital epidemic.
Pediatric multiple sclerosis (MS), once considered a rare childhood illness, has been increasingly recognized as a disabling acquired pediatric neurological disease requiring early recognition and intervention. Males get affected with before puberty while females are more often hit around or after puberty. Race, ethnicity, and ancestry may also influence disease susceptibility and course differently. Epidemiological data clearly indicate that adult MS is a geographically related disease, with disease rates rising with an increased distance from the equator in both northern and southern hemispheres. A few candidates have been identified as associated with pediatric MS in a few epidemiological studies (neurotropic viruses, Chlamydia pneumonia, passive smoking). Seroepidemiologic and pathologic evidences have strongly suggested that prior infection with members of the Herpesviridae family may be associated with the development of MS in adulthood. The most studied member of the Herpesviridae family in MS patients has been Epstein-Barr virus (EBV).
A family of low melting temperature tin fluorophosphate glasses that can incorporate certain organic compounds has been under investigation. The glasses are comprised principally of SnF2, SnO, and P2O5; the addition of small amounts (< 5%) of Pb improves chemical durability. These materials are dense, reasonably water durable, and easily fabricated. Photoluminescence properties of glasses doped with pyrene, POPOP, stilbene 420 and several other organic molecules were studied. All of the doped glasses exhibited intense photoluminescence. Pyrene doped glass was found to have monomer-triplet and dimer-excimer pyrene species present, depending on the dopant concentration. Scintillation properties of the glasses were also investigated. Generally a very fast (~1 ns or less) but weak luminescence was observed. Results of these studies suggest that higher concentrations of the dyes must be incorporated into the glass and more efficient energy transfer from the glass host to the organic fluor must be attained for these materials to be useful as fast scintillators.
Over the years a number of scintillator materials have been developed for a wide variety of nuclear detection applications in industry, high energy physics, and medical instrumentation. To expand the list of useful scintillators, we are pursuing the following systematic, comprehensive search: (1) select materials with good gamma-ray interaction properties from the 200,000 data set NIST crystal diffraction file, (2) synthesize samples (doped and undoped) in powdered or single crystal form, (3) test the samples using sub-nanosecond pulsed x-rays to measure important scintillation properties such as rise times, decay times, emission wavelengths, and light output, (4) prepare large, high quality crystals of the most promising candidates, and (5) test the crystals as gamma-ray detectors in representative configurations. An important parallel effort is the computation of electronic energy levels of activators and the band structure of intrinsic and host crystals to aid in the materials selection process.
Nanocrystalline diamond (NCD) has been grown on oxide coated silicon wafers by microwave plasma assisted chemical vapour deposition using a novel seeding technique followed by optimised growth conditions, and leads to a highly-dense form of this material with grain sizes around 100nm for films approximately 1.5 microns thick. The electrical properties of these films have been investigated using Impedance Spectroscopy, which enables the contributions from sources characterised by differing capacitances, such as grain boundaries and grain interiors, to be isolated. After an initial acid clean the electrical properties of the film are not stable, and both grain boundaries and grains themselves contribute to the frequency dependant impedance values recorded. However, following mild oxidation grain boundary conduction is completely removed and the films become highly resistive (>1013 ohm/sq). This is most unusual, as conduction through NCD material is more normally dominated by grain boundary effects. Interestingly, the AC properties of these films are also excellent with a dielectric loss value (tan δ) as low as 0.002 for frequencies up to 10MHz. The dielectric properties of these NCD films are therefore as good as high quality free-standing (large grain) polycrystalline diamond films, and not too dissimilar to single crystal diamond, and are therefore ideally suited to future ‘silicon-on-diamond’ applications.