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Use of the herbicide atrazine (ATR) is banned in the European Union; yet, it is still widely used in the USA and Australia. ATR is known to alter testosterone and oestrogen production and thus reproductive characteristics in numerous species. In this proof of concept study, we examined the effect of ATR exposure, at a supra-environmental dose (5 mg/kg bw/day), beginning on E9.5 in utero, prior to sexual differentiation of the reproductive tissues, until 26 weeks of age, on the development of the mouse penis. Notably, this is the first study to specifically investigate whether ATR can affect penis characteristics. We show that ATR exposure, beginning in utero, causes a shortening (demasculinisation) of penis structures and increases the incidence of hypospadias in mice. These data indicate the need for further studies of ATR on human reproductive development and fertility, especially considering its continued and widespread use.
Anecdotal evidence suggests the use of bolus tube feeding is increasing in the long-term home enteral tube feed (HETF) patients. A cross-sectional survey to assess the prevalence of bolus tube feeding and to characterise these patients was undertaken. Dietitians from ten centres across the UK collected data on all adult HETF patients on the dietetic caseload receiving bolus tube feeding (n 604, 60 % male, age 58 years). Demographic data, reasons for tube and bolus feeding, tube and equipment types, feeding method and patients’ complete tube feeding regimens were recorded. Over a third of patients receiving HETF used bolus feeding (37 %). Patients were long-term tube fed (4·1 years tube feeding, 3·5 years bolus tube feeding), living at home (71 %) and sedentary (70 %). The majority were head and neck cancer patients (22 %) who were significantly more active (79 %) and lived at home (97 %), while those with cerebral palsy (12 %) were typically younger (age 31 years) but sedentary (94 %). Most patients used bolus feeding as their sole feeding method (46 %), because it was quick and easy to use, as a top-up to oral diet or to mimic mealtimes. Importantly, oral nutritional supplements (ONS) were used for bolus feeding in 85 % of patients, with 51 % of these being compact-style ONS (2·4 kcal (10·0 kJ)/ml, 125 ml). This survey shows that bolus tube feeding is common among UK HETF patients, is used by a wide variety of patient groups and can be adapted to meet the needs of a variety of patients, clinical conditions, nutritional requirements and lifestyles.
To identify potential participants for clinical trials, electronic health records (EHRs) are searched at potential sites. As an alternative, we investigated using medical devices used for real-time diagnostic decisions for trial enrollment.
To project cohorts for a trial in acute coronary syndromes (ACS), we used electrocardiograph-based algorithms that identify ACS or ST elevation myocardial infarction (STEMI) that prompt clinicians to offer patients trial enrollment. We searched six hospitals’ electrocardiograph systems for electrocardiograms (ECGs) meeting the planned trial’s enrollment criterion: ECGs with STEMI or > 75% probability of ACS by the acute cardiac ischemia time-insensitive predictive instrument (ACI-TIPI). We revised the ACI-TIPI regression to require only data directly from the electrocardiograph, the e-ACI-TIPI using the same data used for the original ACI-TIPI (development set n = 3,453; test set n = 2,315). We also tested both on data from emergency department electrocardiographs from across the US (n = 8,556). We then used ACI-TIPI and e-ACI-TIPI to identify potential cohorts for the ACS trial and compared performance to cohorts from EHR data at the hospitals.
Receiver-operating characteristic (ROC) curve areas on the test set were excellent, 0.89 for ACI-TIPI and 0.84 for the e-ACI-TIPI, as was calibration. On the national electrocardiographic database, ROC areas were 0.78 and 0.69, respectively, and with very good calibration. When tested for detection of patients with > 75% ACS probability, both electrocardiograph-based methods identified eligible patients well, and better than did EHRs.
Using data from medical devices such as electrocardiographs may provide accurate projections of available cohorts for clinical trials.
Breakthrough Listen is a 10-yr initiative to search for signatures of technologies created by extraterrestrial civilisations at radio and optical wavelengths. Here, we detail the digital data recording system deployed for Breakthrough Listen observations at the 64-m aperture CSIRO Parkes Telescope in New South Wales, Australia. The recording system currently implements two modes: a dual-polarisation, 1.125-GHz bandwidth mode for single-beam observations, and a 26-input, 308-MHz bandwidth mode for the 21-cm multibeam receiver. The system is also designed to support a 3-GHz single-beam mode for the forthcoming Parkes ultra-wideband feed. In this paper, we present details of the system architecture, provide an overview of hardware and software, and present initial performance results.
Significant increases in excess all-cause mortality, particularly in the elderly, were observed during the winter of 2014/15 in England. With influenza A(H3N2) the dominant circulating influenza A subtype, this paper determines the contribution of influenza to this excess controlling for weather. A standardised multivariable Poisson regression model was employed with weekly all-cause deaths the dependent variable for the period 2008–2015. Adjusting for extreme temperature, a total of 26 542 (95% CI 25 301–27 804) deaths in 65+ and 1942 (95% CI 1834–2052) in 15–64-year-olds were associated with influenza from week 40, 2014 to week 20, 2015. This is compatible with the circulation of influenza A(H3N2). It is the largest estimated number of influenza-related deaths in England since prior to 2008/09. The findings highlight the potential health impact of influenza and the important role of the annual influenza vaccination programme that is required to protect the population including the elderly, who are vulnerable to a severe outcome.
To assess knowledge about infection prevention among nursing home personnel and identify gaps potentially addressable through a quality improvement collaborative.
Baseline knowledge assessment of catheter-associated urinary tract infection, asymptomatic bacteriuria, antimicrobial stewardship, and general infection prevention practices for healthcare-associated infections.
Nursing homes across 14 states participating in the national “Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality Safety Program for Long-Term Care: Healthcare-Associated Infections/Catheter-Associated Urinary Tract Infection.”
Each facility aimed to obtain responses from at least 10 employees (5 licensed and 5 unlicensed). We assessed the percentage of correct responses.
A total of 184 (78%) of 236 participating facilities provided 1 response or more. Of the 1,626 respondents, 822 (50.6%) were licensed; 117 facilities (63.6%) were for-profit. While 99.1% of licensed personnel recognized the definition of asymptomatic bacteriuria, only 36.1% knew that pyuria could not distinguish a urinary tract infection from asymptomatic bacteriuria. Among unlicensed personnel, 99.6% knew to notify a nurse if a resident developed fever or confusion, but only 27.7% knew that cloudy, smelly urine should not routinely be cultured. Although 100% of respondents reported receiving training in hand hygiene, less than 30% knew how long to rub hands (28.5% licensed, 25.2% unlicensed) or the most effective agent to use (11.7% licensed, 10.6% unlicensed).
This national assessment demonstrates an important need to enhance infection prevention knowledge among healthcare personnel working in nursing homes to improve resident safety and quality of care.
The South African coast contains abundant estuaries and lagoons, most of which originated as river valleys incised during Quaternary sea-level fall and subsequently drowned and/or infilled during rising interglacial sea levels. This chapter discusses these changes and highlights the geomorphological and sedimentological evolution of several southern African estuaries during the Pleistocene to present. The development, infilling and positioning of incised valley systems is mainly controlled by sea-level variation as well as fluvial and marine sediment supply. Most contemporary estuaries in southern Africa show dramatic responses to shorter term sea-level fluctuations and sediment supply during the Holocene. Barring anthropogenic interference, the dynamic behaviour of estuaries, dictated by their transient position and geomorphic character within an incised valley, is considered to fluctuate on centennial to millennial timescales.
Although peri-conceptional folic acid (FA) supplementation can prevent a proportion of neural tube defects (NTD), there is increasing evidence that many NTD are FA non-responsive. The vitamin-like molecule inositol may offer a novel approach to preventing FA-non-responsive NTD. Inositol prevented NTD in a genetic mouse model, and was well tolerated by women in a small study of NTD recurrence. In the present study, we report the Prevention of Neural Tube Defects by Inositol (PONTI) pilot study designed to gain further experience of inositol usage in human pregnancy as a preliminary trial to a future large-scale controlled trial to evaluate efficacy of inositol in NTD prevention. Study subjects were UK women with a previous NTD pregnancy who planned to become pregnant again. Of 117 women who made contact, ninety-nine proved eligible and forty-seven agreed to be randomised (double-blind) to peri-conceptional supplementation with inositol plus FA or placebo plus FA. In total, thirty-three randomised pregnancies produced one NTD recurrence in the placebo plus FA group (n 19) and no recurrences in the inositol plus FA group (n 14). Of fifty-two women who declined randomisation, the peri-conceptional supplementation regimen and outcomes of twenty-two further pregnancies were documented. Two NTD recurred, both in women who took only FA in their next pregnancy. No adverse pregnancy events were associated with inositol supplementation. The findings of the PONTI pilot study encourage a large-scale controlled trial of inositol for NTD prevention, but indicate the need for a careful study design in view of the unwillingness of many high-risk women to be randomised.
We discuss the stellar halos of massive elliptical galaxies, as revealed by our ambitious integral-field spectroscopic survey MASSIVE. We show that metallicity drops smoothly as a function of radius out to ~ 2.5 Re, while the [α/Fe] abundance ratios stay flat. The stars in the outskirts likely formed rapidly (to explain the high ratio of alpha to Fe) but in a relatively shallow potential (to explain the low metallicities). This is consistent with expectations for a two-phase growth of massive galaxies, in which the second phase involves accretion of small satellites. We also show some preliminary study of the gas content of these most MASSIVE galaxies.
Several private boarding schools in England have established universal influenza vaccination programmes for their pupils. We evaluated the impact of these programmes on the burden of respiratory illnesses in boarders. Between November 2013 and May 2014, age-specific respiratory disease incidence rates in boarders were compared between schools offering and not offering influenza vaccine to healthy boarders. We adjusted for age, sex, school size and week using negative binomial regression. Forty-three schools comprising 14 776 boarders participated. Almost all boarders (99%) were aged 11–17 years. Nineteen (44%) schools vaccinated healthy boarders against influenza, with a mean uptake of 48·5% (range 14·2–88·5%). Over the study period, 1468 respiratory illnesses were reported in boarders (5·66/1000 boarder-weeks); of these, 33 were influenza-like illnesses (ILIs, 0·26/1000 boarder-weeks) in vaccinating schools and 95 were ILIs (0·74/1000 boarder-weeks) in non-vaccinating schools. The impact of vaccinating healthy boarders was a 54% reduction in ILI in all boarders [rate ratio (RR) 0·46, 95% confidence interval (CI) 0·28–0·76]. Disease rates were also reduced for upper respiratory tract infections (RR 0·72, 95% CI 0·61–0·85) and chest infections (RR 0·18, 95% CI 0·09–0·36). These findings demonstrate a significant impact of influenza vaccination on ILI and other clinical endpoints in secondary-school boarders. Additional research is needed to investigate the impact of influenza vaccination in non-boarding secondary-school settings.
This study aimed to report the bone-anchored hearing aid uptake and the reasons for their rejection by unilateral sensorineural deafness patients.
A retrospective review of 90 consecutive unilateral sensorineural deafness patients referred to the Greater Manchester Bone-Anchored Hearing Aid Programme between September 2008 and August 2011 was performed.
In all, 79 (87.8 per cent) were deemed audiologically suitable: 24 (30.3 per cent) eventually had a bone-anchored hearing aid implanted and 55 (69.6 per cent) patients declined. Of those who declined, 26 (47.3 per cent) cited perceived limited benefits, 18 (32.7 per cent) cited reservations regarding surgery, 13 (23.6 per cent) preferred a wireless contralateral routing of sound device and 12 (21.8 per cent) cited cosmetic reasons. In all, 32 (40.5 per cent) suitable patients eventually chose the wireless contralateral routing of sound device.
The uptake rate was 30 per cent for audiologically suitable patients. Almost half of suitable patients did not perceive a sufficient benefit to proceed to device implantation and a significant proportion rejected it. It is therefore important that clinicians do not to rush to implant all unilateral sensorineural hearing loss patients with a bone-anchored hearing aid.
Lithographically fabricated gold nanowires are optically excited with 532nm CW laser and the local temperature change is measured in air, pure water and various concentration aqueous solutions of ionic solutes NaCl, Na2SO4 and MgSO4 using the thermal sensor film of Al0.94Ga0.06N embedded with Er3+ ions. The interface thermal resistance for heat transfer from the excited nanowires into the surrounding liquid is determined from the slopes of the temperature change versus laser intensity plots obtained for the nanowire excitation under various solutions. Addition of ionic solute molecules into the solution decreases the interface thermal resistance and hence leads to increased heat dissipation into the surrounding liquid. Interface thermal resistance decreases exponentially with the ionic strength of solution and saturates around zero for solution ionic strength of 0.3M and higher.
Methods for estimating vaccine effectiveness (VE) against severe influenza are not well established. We used the screening method to estimate VE against influenza resulting in intensive care unit (ICU) admission in England and Scotland in 2011/2012. We extracted data on confirmed influenza ICU cases from severe influenza surveillance systems, and obtained their 2011/2012 trivalent influenza vaccine (TIV) status from primary care. We compared case vaccine uptake with population vaccine uptake obtained from routine monitoring systems, adjusting for age group, specific risk group, region and week. Of 60 influenza ICU cases reported, vaccination status was available for 56 (93%). Adjusted VE against ICU admission for those aged ⩾65 years was −10% [95% confidence interval (CI) −207 to 60], consistent with evidence of poor protection from the 2011/2012 TIV in 2011/2012. Adjusted VE for those aged <65 years in risk groups was −296% (95% CI −930 to −52), suggesting significant residual confounding using the screening method in those subject to selective vaccination.
A survey of the Milky Way disk and the Magellanic System at the wavelengths of the 21-cm atomic hydrogen (H i) line and three 18-cm lines of the OH molecule will be carried out with the Australian Square Kilometre Array Pathfinder telescope. The survey will study the distribution of H i emission and absorption with unprecedented angular and velocity resolution, as well as molecular line thermal emission, absorption, and maser lines. The area to be covered includes the Galactic plane (|b| < 10°) at all declinations south of δ = +40°, spanning longitudes 167° through 360°to 79° at b = 0°, plus the entire area of the Magellanic Stream and Clouds, a total of 13 020 deg2. The brightness temperature sensitivity will be very good, typically σT≃ 1 K at resolution 30 arcsec and 1 km s−1. The survey has a wide spectrum of scientific goals, from studies of galaxy evolution to star formation, with particular contributions to understanding stellar wind kinematics, the thermal phases of the interstellar medium, the interaction between gas in the disk and halo, and the dynamical and thermal states of gas at various positions along the Magellanic Stream.
The thermal conductance of a gold/water interface has been found to change as a function of the surrounding’s adhesion energy. We measure the thermal conductance of a lithographically prepared gold nanowire with a thin film nanoscale thermal sensor composed of AlGaN:Er3+. The temperature of the nanowire is measured as a function of incident laser intensity. The slope of this plot is inversely proportional to the thermal conductance of the nanoparticle/surrounding’s interface. We show that the conductance of the nanoparticle/water interface increases with the molality of the solution. This was tested with multiple solutes including NaCl, and D-Glucose. The interfacial conductance of pure water is reported to be 44 MW/m2K and the conductance saturates to 100 MW/m2K at a molality of 0.21 m.
Several European countries have timely all-cause mortality monitoring. However, small changes in mortality may not give rise to signals at the national level. Pooling data across countries may overcome this, particularly if changes in mortality occur simultaneously. Additionally, pooling may increase the power of monitoring populations with small numbers of expected deaths, e.g. younger age groups or fertile women. Finally, pooled analyses may reveal patterns of diseases across Europe. We describe a pooled analysis of all-cause mortality across 16 European countries. Two approaches were explored. In the ‘summarized’ approach, data across countries were summarized and analysed as one overall country. In the ‘stratified’ approach, heterogeneities between countries were taken into account. Pooling using the ‘stratified’ approach was the most appropriate as it reflects variations in mortality. Excess mortality was observed in all winter seasons albeit slightly higher in 2008/09 than 2009/10 and 2010/11. In the 2008/09 season, excess mortality was mainly in elderly adults. In 2009/10, when pandemic influenza A(H1N1) dominated, excess mortality was mainly in children. The 2010/11 season reflected a similar pattern, although increased mortality in children came later. These patterns were less clear in analyses based on data from individual countries. We have demonstrated that with stratified pooling we can combine local mortality monitoring systems and enhance monitoring of mortality across Europe.