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With the recent discovery of a dozen dusty star-forming galaxies and around 30 quasars at z > 5 that are hyper-luminous in the infrared (μ LIR > 1013 L⊙, where μ is a lensing magnification factor), the possibility has opened up for SPICA, the proposed ESA M5 mid-/far-infrared mission, to extend its spectroscopic studies toward the epoch of reionisation and beyond. In this paper, we examine the feasibility and scientific potential of such observations with SPICA’s far-infrared spectrometer SAFARI, which will probe a spectral range (35–230 μm) that will be unexplored by ALMA and JWST. Our simulations show that SAFARI is capable of delivering good-quality spectra for hyper-luminous infrared galaxies at z = 5 − 10, allowing us to sample spectral features in the rest-frame mid-infrared and to investigate a host of key scientific issues, such as the relative importance of star formation versus AGN, the hardness of the radiation field, the level of chemical enrichment, and the properties of the molecular gas. From a broader perspective, SAFARI offers the potential to open up a new frontier in the study of the early Universe, providing access to uniquely powerful spectral features for probing first-generation objects, such as the key cooling lines of low-metallicity or metal-free forming galaxies (fine-structure and H2 lines) and emission features of solid compounds freshly synthesised by Population III supernovae. Ultimately, SAFARI’s ability to explore the high-redshift Universe will be determined by the availability of sufficiently bright targets (whether intrinsically luminous or gravitationally lensed). With its launch expected around 2030, SPICA is ideally positioned to take full advantage of upcoming wide-field surveys such as LSST, SKA, Euclid, and WFIRST, which are likely to provide extraordinary targets for SAFARI.
Postoperative cognitive impairment is among the most common medical complications associated with surgical interventions – particularly in elderly patients. In our aging society, it is an urgent medical need to determine preoperative individual risk prediction to allow more accurate cost–benefit decisions prior to elective surgeries. So far, risk prediction is mainly based on clinical parameters. However, these parameters only give a rough estimate of the individual risk. At present, there are no molecular or neuroimaging biomarkers available to improve risk prediction and little is known about the etiology and pathophysiology of this clinical condition. In this short review, we summarize the current state of knowledge and briefly present the recently started BioCog project (Biomarker Development for Postoperative Cognitive Impairment in the Elderly), which is funded by the European Union. It is the goal of this research and development (R&D) project, which involves academic and industry partners throughout Europe, to deliver a multivariate algorithm based on clinical assessments as well as molecular and neuroimaging biomarkers to overcome the currently unsatisfying situation.
IR spectroscopy in the range 12–230 μm with the SPace IR telescope for Cosmology and Astrophysics (SPICA) will reveal the physical processes governing the formation and evolution of galaxies and black holes through cosmic time, bridging the gap between the James Webb Space Telescope and the upcoming Extremely Large Telescopes at shorter wavelengths and the Atacama Large Millimeter Array at longer wavelengths. The SPICA, with its 2.5-m telescope actively cooled to below 8 K, will obtain the first spectroscopic determination, in the mid-IR rest-frame, of both the star-formation rate and black hole accretion rate histories of galaxies, reaching lookback times of 12 Gyr, for large statistically significant samples. Densities, temperatures, radiation fields, and gas-phase metallicities will be measured in dust-obscured galaxies and active galactic nuclei, sampling a large range in mass and luminosity, from faint local dwarf galaxies to luminous quasars in the distant Universe. Active galactic nuclei and starburst feedback and feeding mechanisms in distant galaxies will be uncovered through detailed measurements of molecular and atomic line profiles. The SPICA’s large-area deep spectrophotometric surveys will provide mid-IR spectra and continuum fluxes for unbiased samples of tens of thousands of galaxies, out to redshifts of z ~ 6.
The ecological validity of retrospective measures of social functioning is currently unknown in patients with schizophrenia. In the present study, patients with a diagnosis of non-affective psychosis were compared with controls on two measures of social functioning: the Social Functioning Scale (SFS) and daily-life measures collected with the Experience Sampling Methodology (ESM). The associations between both measures were examined in each group of participants to test for the ecological validity of the SFS.
A total of 126 participants with a non-affective psychotic disorder and 109 controls completed the SFS and a 6-day momentary ESM protocol assessing various aspects of social functioning. Multiple linear and multilevel regression analyses were performed to test for group differences in social functioning level and examine associations between the two assessment techniques.
Lower social functioning was observed in patients compared with controls on retrospective and momentary measures. The SFS interpersonal domain (social engagement/withdrawal and interpersonal behaviour dimensions) was associated with the percentage of time spent alone and negative appraisal of social interactions. The SFS activity domain (pro-social and recreational activities dimensions) was negatively associated with time spent in leisure activities.
The SFS showed some degree of ecological validity at assessing broad aspects of social functioning. Low scores on the SFS social engagement/withdrawal and interpersonal behaviour dimensions captured social isolation and social avoidance in daily life, but not lack of interest in socializing. Ecological validity of the SFS activity domain was low. ESM offers a rich alternative to classical assessment techniques of social functioning.
Anxiety disorders are common, and cognitive–behavioural therapy (CBT) is a first-line treatment. Candidate gene studies have suggested a genetic basis to treatment response, but findings have been inconsistent.
To perform the first genome-wide association study (GWAS) of psychological treatment response in children with anxiety disorders (n = 980).
Presence and severity of anxiety was assessed using semi-structured interview at baseline, on completion of treatment (post-treatment), and 3 to 12 months after treatment completion (follow-up). DNA was genotyped using the Illumina Human Core Exome-12v1.0 array. Linear mixed models were used to test associations between genetic variants and response (change in symptom severity) immediately post-treatment and at 6-month follow-up.
No variants passed a genome-wide significance threshold (P=5×10–8) in either analysis. Four variants met criteria for suggestive significance (P<5×10–6) in association with response post-treatment, and three variants in the 6-month follow-up analysis.
This is the first genome-wide therapygenetic study. It suggests no common variants of very high effect underlie response to CBT. Future investigations should maximise power to detect single-variant and polygenic effects by using larger, more homogeneous cohorts.
We previously reported an association between 5HTTLPR genotype and
outcome following cognitive–behavioural therapy (CBT) in child anxiety
(Cohort 1). Children homozygous for the low-expression short-allele
showed more positive outcomes. Other similar studies have produced mixed
results, with most reporting no association between genotype and CBT
To replicate the association between 5HTTLPR and CBT outcome in child
anxiety from the Genes for Treatment study (GxT Cohort 2,
n = 829).
Logistic and linear mixed effects models were used to examine the
relationship between 5HTTLPR and CBT outcomes. Mega-analyses using both
cohorts were performed.
There was no significant effect of 5HTTLPR on CBT outcomes in Cohort 2.
Mega-analyses identified a significant association between 5HTTLPR and
remission from all anxiety disorders at follow-up (odds ratio 0.45,
P = 0.014), but not primary anxiety disorder
The association between 5HTTLPR genotype and CBT outcome did not
replicate. Short-allele homozygotes showed more positive treatment
outcomes, but with small, non-significant effects. Future studies would
benefit from utilising whole genome approaches and large, homogenous
There is limited evidence on the acceptability, feasibility and cost-effectiveness of task-sharing interventions to narrow the treatment gap for mental disorders in sub-Saharan Africa. The purpose of this article is to describe the rationale, aims and methods of the Africa Focus on Intervention Research for Mental health (AFFIRM) collaborative research hub. AFFIRM is investigating strategies for narrowing the treatment gap for mental disorders in sub-Saharan Africa in four areas. First, it is assessing the feasibility, acceptability and cost-effectiveness of task-sharing interventions by conducting randomised controlled trials in Ethiopia and South Africa. The AFFIRM Task-sharing for the Care of Severe mental disorders (TaSCS) trial in Ethiopia aims to determine the acceptability, affordability, effectiveness and sustainability of mental health care for people with severe mental disorder delivered by trained and supervised non-specialist, primary health care workers compared with an existing psychiatric nurse-led service. The AFFIRM trial in South Africa aims to determine the cost-effectiveness of a task-sharing counselling intervention for maternal depression, delivered by non-specialist community health workers, and to examine factors influencing the implementation of the intervention and future scale up. Second, AFFIRM is building individual and institutional capacity for intervention research in sub-Saharan Africa by providing fellowship and mentorship programmes for candidates in Ethiopia, Ghana, Malawi, Uganda and Zimbabwe. Each year five Fellowships are awarded (one to each country) to attend the MPhil in Public Mental Health, a joint postgraduate programme at the University of Cape Town and Stellenbosch University. AFFIRM also offers short courses in intervention research, and supports PhD students attached to the trials in Ethiopia and South Africa. Third, AFFIRM is collaborating with other regional National Institute of Mental Health funded hubs in Latin America, sub-Saharan Africa and south Asia, by designing and executing shared research projects related to task-sharing and narrowing the treatment gap. Finally, it is establishing a network of collaboration between researchers, non-governmental organisations and government agencies that facilitates the translation of research knowledge into policy and practice. This article describes the developmental process of this multi-site approach, and provides a narrative of challenges and opportunities that have arisen during the early phases. Crucial to the long-term sustainability of this work is the nurturing and sustaining of partnerships between African mental health researchers, policy makers, practitioners and international collaborators.
The B fields in OB stars (BOB) survey is an ESO large programme collecting spectropolarimetric observations for a large number of early-type stars in order to study the occurrence rate, properties, and ultimately the origin of magnetic fields in massive stars. As of July 2014, a total of 98 objects were observed over 20 nights with FORS2 and HARPSpol. Our preliminary results indicate that the fraction of magnetic OB stars with an organised, detectable field is low. This conclusion, now independently reached by two different surveys, has profound implications for any theoretical model attempting to explain the field formation in these objects. We discuss in this contribution some important issues addressed by our observations (e.g., the lower bound of the field strength) and the discovery of some remarkable objects.
A synthesis of the upper Moscovian sedimentological and palaeontological record of terrestrial habitats across the Variscan foreland and adjacent intramontane basins (an area which is referred to here as Variscan Euramerica) suggests a contraction and progressive westward shift of the coal swamps. These changes can be correlated with pulses of tectonic activity (tectonic phases) resulting from the northwards migration of the Variscan Front. This tectonic activity caused disruption to the landscapes and drainage patterns where the coal swamps were growing, which became less suitable to growth of the dominant plants of the swamps, the arborescent lycopsids. They were progressively replaced by vegetation dominated by marattialean ferns, which through a combination of slower growth and larger canopies resulted in less evapo-transpiration. This in turn caused localised reductions in rainfall, which further affected the ability of the lycopsids to dominate the swamp vegetation. These changes were initially localised and where the coal swamps were able to survive the lycopsids and pteridosperms show little change in either species diversity or biogeography, indicating that at this time there was minimal regional-scale climate change taking place. By Asturian times, however, the process had accelerated and the swamps in Variscan Euramerica became progressively replaced by predominantly conifer and cordaite vegetation that favoured much drier substrates. Except in localised pockets in intramontane basins of the Variscan Mountains, the last development of coal swamps in Variscan Euramerica was of early Cantabrian age. Further west, lycopsid-dominated coal swamps persisted for a little longer. The last remnants of the lycopsid-dominated coal swamps in the Illinois Basin disappeared probably by middle-late Cantabrian times, as the cycle of contracting wetlands and regional reductions in rainfall generated its own momentum, and no longer needed the impetus of tectonic instability. This tectonically-driven decline in the Euramerican coal swamps was probably responsible for an annual increase in atmospheric CO2 of c. 0.37 ppm, and may have been implicated in the marked increase in global temperatures near the Moscovian – Kasimovian boundary, and the onset of the Late Pennsylvanian interglacial.
A layered composite coating material with favorable properties for application as a transparent conductor is presented. It is composed of layers of three nanoscopic materials, namely zinc oxide nanoparticles, single wall nanotubes, and graphene oxide nanosheets. The electrically conducting layer consists of single wall nanotubes (SWNTs). The layer of zinc oxide nanoparticles acts as a primer. It increases the adhesion and the stability of the films against mechanical stresses. The top layer of graphene oxide enhances the conductivity of such coatings. Such three-layer composite coatings show better conductivity (without compromising transparency) and improved mechanical stability compared to pure SWNT films. The processes used in the preparation of such coatings are easily scalable.
The Millimetre Astronomy Legacy Team 90 GHz (MALT90) survey aims to characterise the physical and chemical evolution of high-mass star-forming clumps. Exploiting the unique broad frequency range and on-the-fly mapping capabilities of the Australia Telescope National Facility Mopra 22 m single-dish telescope1, MALT90 has obtained 3′ × 3′ maps towards ~2 000 dense molecular clumps identified in the ATLASGAL 870 μm Galactic plane survey. The clumps were selected to host the early stages of high-mass star formation and to span the complete range in their evolutionary states (from prestellar, to protostellar, and on to
regions and photodissociation regions). Because MALT90 mapped 16 lines simultaneously with excellent spatial (38 arcsec) and spectral (0.11 km s−1) resolution, the data reveal a wealth of information about the clumps’ morphologies, chemistry, and kinematics. In this paper we outline the survey strategy, observing mode, data reduction procedure, and highlight some early science results. All MALT90 raw and processed data products are available to the community. With its unprecedented large sample of clumps, MALT90 is the largest survey of its type ever conducted and an excellent resource for identifying interesting candidates for high-resolution studies with ALMA.
Depression and anxiety are major causes of absence from work and underperformance in the workplace. Cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT) can be effective in treating such problems and online versions offer many practical advantages. The aim of the study was to investigate the effectiveness of a computerized CBT intervention (MoodGYM) in a workplace context.
The study was a phase III two-arm, parallel randomized controlled trial whose main outcome was total score on the Work and Social Adjustment Scale (WSAS). Depression, anxiety, psychological functioning, costs and acceptability of the online process were also measured. Most data were collected online for 637 participants at baseline, 359 at 6 weeks marking the end of the intervention and 251 participants at 12 weeks post-baseline.
In both experimental and control groups depression scores improved over 6 weeks but attrition was high. There was no evidence for a difference in the average treatment effect of MoodGYM on the WSAS, nor for a difference in any of the secondary outcomes.
This study found no evidence that MoodGYM was superior to informational websites in terms of psychological outcomes or service use, although improvement to subthreshold levels of depression was seen in nearly half the patients in both groups.
By reprocessing the NICMOS coronagraphic archive using improved PSF subtraction methods, we have obtained new images of 5 debris disks, all previously unseen using classical PSF subtractions. Three of the disks are edge on and two appear to be ring like, one of which is extremely asymmetric.
Their stellar hosts are nearby, young F and G type stars (40-90 pc, 12–30 Myr), including one that is a close analog to the young sun at roughly the age at which terrestrial planets were assembling. This is a 25% increase in the sample of debris disks seen in scattered light. Analysis and modeling of the disk geometries is in process. Given these systems' youth, proximity, and brightness (V = 7.2 to 8.5), these will be superb targets for investigating planet formation, and are perfect targets for studies with GPI, SPHERE and JWST.
The unusually strong earthquake in Japan on 11 March 2011 and the following extreme
tsunami caused enormous damage in the buildings of Fukushima Dai-ichi Nuclear Power Plant
(NPP) situated on the Pacific coastline of Japan. The accident led to the release of a
large amount of radioactive material into the environment. According to the measurements
of the Radiological Monitoring and Data Acquisitions Network (RAMDAN) the radioactive
plume reached Hungary on 24 March 2011. The main volatile fission products –
131I, 134Cs, and 137Cs radioisotopes – were measurable in aerosol
and fallout samples in Hungary. Their activity concentration in air reached the maximum
value in the last days of March and returned to the background level in the first half of
May. As a consequence of respiration of contaminated air, a maximum of 1 Bq per capita of
131I could be accumulated in the thyroid gland of the Hungarian population during the
given period. The calculated upper limits of the committed effective dose from inhalation
of 131I were 4 nSv and 10 nSv to the Hungarian adults and infants,
respectively. These values are a hundred thousand times less than the annual radiation
dose from natural sources to the Hungarian population. The radiation dose from radioactive
caesium isotopes originating from Fukushima was even less, around 1 nSv on average, to
Hungarian residents. No health deterioration can be expected from this radiation
Rangea is the type genus of the Rangeomorpha, an extinct clade near the base of the evolutionary tree of large, complex organisms which prospered during the late Neoproterozoic. It represents an iconic Ediacaran taxon, but the relatively few specimens previously known significantly hindered an accurate reconstruction. Discovery of more than 100 specimens of Rangea in two gutter casts recovered from Farm Aar in southern Namibia significantly expands this data set, and the well preserved internal and external features on these specimens permit new interpretations of Rangea morphology and lifestyle. Internal structures of Rangea consist of a hexaradial axial bulb that passes into an axial stalk extending the length of the fossil. The axial bulb is typically filled with sediment, which becomes increasingly loosely packed and porous distally, with the end of the stalk typically preserved as an empty, cylindrical cone. This length of the axial structure forms the structural foundation for six vanes arranged radially around the axis, with each vane consisting of a bilaminar sheet composed of a repetitive pattern of elements exhibiting at least three orders of self-similar branching. Rangea was probably an epibenthic frond that rested upright on the sea bottom, and all known fossil specimens were transported prior to their final burial in storm deposits.
Serological surveys for diphtheria were conducted in six European countries including Czech Republic, Hungary, Ireland, Latvia, Luxembourg, Slovakia and one country outside Europe, Israel. For each country, a nationally representative population sample was collected across the entire age range and was tested for antibodies to diphtheria toxin. Although each national laboratory used its preferred assay, the results were all standardized to those of the in vitro neutralization test and expressed in international units (IU) which allowed comparative analyses to be performed. The results showed that increasing age is related to a gradual increase in seronegative subjects (<0·01 IU/ml of diphtheria antitoxin antibodies). This may reflect waning immunity following childhood vaccination without repeated booster vaccinations in adults. Differences in seronegativity were also found according to gender. In subjects aged 1–19 years, geometric mean titres of antitoxin are clearly related to the different vaccination schedules used in the participating countries. Although clinical disease remains rare, the susceptibility to diphtheria observed in these serosurveys highlights the importance of strengthened surveillance.
The aim of this study was to determine the effect of prepartum somatotropin injection in late-pregnant Holstein heifers on metabolism, milk production and resumption of postpartum ovulation. For this study, 31 late-pregnant Holstein heifers were used. The heifers were assigned randomly into two treatments: (1) 500 mg sc injections of somatotropin (somatotropin treatment, n = 15) at −35 and −21 days, and, if pertinent, at −7 days from expected calving date and (2) no treatment (control group, n = 16). Blood samples were collected weekly from −5 to 7 weeks after calving. Heifers with progesterone concentrations in plasma above 1 ng/ml in two consecutive postpartum samples were considered as having resumed ovarian activity. A higher proportion (P = 0.04) of heifers treated with somatotropin resumed ovarian activity in the first 7 weeks post partum (73.3%; 11/15) compared with the control group (37.5%; 6/16). A higher number (P = 0.02) of heifers in the somatotropin treatment group also ovulated during the first postpartum follicular wave (53.3%; 8/15) compared with the control group (12.5%; 2/16), as indicated by the number of heifers ovulating in the first 3 weeks post partum. Pregnancy rate was not affected by treatments (P > 0.10) and averaged 40.0% (6/15) in somatotropin-treated and 25.0% (4/16) in control heifers when evaluated up to 150 days in milk. Somatotropin treatment increased the average daily milk production by 2.8 kg/cow per day (P < 0.0001) and reduced the somatic cell count (P = 0.009). Plasma IGF-I was higher (P < 0.05) for somatotropin-treated heifers in the prepartum period. Insulin and body condition score were higher (P < 0.05) and non-esterified fatty acids were lower (P < 0.05) for somatotropin-treated cows in the early postpartum period. In conclusion, somatotropin injection during the prepartum period in late-pregnant Holstein heifers was able to increase the proportion of heifers resuming ovarian activity early post partum, inspite of higher milk production.