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Smoking prevalence is higher amongst individuals with schizophrenia and depression compared with the general population. Mendelian randomisation (MR) can examine whether this association is causal using genetic variants identified in genome-wide association studies (GWAS).
We conducted two-sample MR to explore the bi-directional effects of smoking on schizophrenia and depression. For smoking behaviour, we used (1) smoking initiation GWAS from the GSCAN consortium and (2) we conducted our own GWAS of lifetime smoking behaviour (which captures smoking duration, heaviness and cessation) in a sample of 462690 individuals from the UK Biobank. We validated this instrument using positive control outcomes (e.g. lung cancer). For schizophrenia and depression we used GWAS from the PGC consortium.
There was strong evidence to suggest smoking is a risk factor for both schizophrenia (odds ratio (OR) 2.27, 95% confidence interval (CI) 1.67–3.08, p < 0.001) and depression (OR 1.99, 95% CI 1.71–2.32, p < 0.001). Results were consistent across both lifetime smoking and smoking initiation. We found some evidence that genetic liability to depression increases smoking (β = 0.091, 95% CI 0.027–0.155, p = 0.005) but evidence was mixed for schizophrenia (β = 0.022, 95% CI 0.005–0.038, p = 0.009) with very weak evidence for an effect on smoking initiation.
These findings suggest that the association between smoking, schizophrenia and depression is due, at least in part, to a causal effect of smoking, providing further evidence for the detrimental consequences of smoking on mental health.
Starting in 2016, we initiated a pilot tele-antibiotic stewardship program at 2 rural Veterans Affairs medical centers (VAMCs). Antibiotic days of therapy decreased significantly (P < .05) in the acute and long-term care units at both intervention sites, suggesting that tele-stewardship can effectively support antibiotic stewardship practices in rural VAMCs.
Young people with 22q11.2 deletion syndrome (22q11.2DS) are at high risk for neurodevelopmental disorders. Sleep problems may play a role in this risk but their prevalence, nature and links to psychopathology and cognitive function remain undescribed in this population.
Sleep problems, psychopathology, developmental coordination and cognitive function were assessed in 140 young people with 22q11.2DS (mean age = 10.1, s.d. = 2.46) and 65 unaffected sibling controls (mean age = 10.8, s.d.SD = 2.26). Primary carers completed questionnaires screening for the children's developmental coordination and autism spectrum disorder.
Sleep problems were identified in 60% of young people with 22q11.2DS compared to 23% of sibling controls (OR 5.00, p < 0.001). Two patterns best-described sleep problems in 22q11.2DS: restless sleep and insomnia. Restless sleep was linked to increased ADHD symptoms (OR 1.16, p < 0.001) and impaired executive function (OR 0.975, p = 0.013). Both patterns were associated with elevated symptoms of anxiety disorder (restless sleep: OR 1.10, p = 0.006 and insomnia: OR 1.07, p = 0.045) and developmental coordination disorder (OR 0.968, p = 0.0023, and OR 0.955, p = 0.009). The insomnia pattern was also linked to elevated conduct disorder symptoms (OR 1.53, p = 0.020).
Clinicians and carers should be aware that sleep problems are common in 22q11.2DS and index psychiatric risk, cognitive deficits and motor coordination problems. Future studies should explore the physiology of sleep and the links with the neurodevelopment in these young people.
X-Ray Fluorescence (XRF) Analysis is an established analytical technique, widely used in industry and research laboratories for accurate, reproducible, and timely analysis of liquid (aqueous and non-aqueous) and solid samples. Modern X-ray spectrometers are of many types, ranging from inexpensive, simple systems for single element analysis to complex, expensive, automated systems capable of providing thousands of determinations per week. Automated data handling is now relatively commonplace, as are sample changers and matrix correction techniques. For proper application of the technique, it is still necessary to prepare the sample in a suitable manner and present it to the spectrometer so that quantitative information can be obtained. This step, sample preparation, is the most labor intensive portion of the analysis.
We are engaged in a study of the ash produced by combustion of lignite in a 750-MW power station. The aim is to follow the transport of elements with Z> 16 from the mine, through: a) the combustion process, b) emissionto the atmosphere or c) deposition in a land fill, d) transport in the environment and e) subsequent uptake by animals and humans. The resulting data will be used to estimate potential adverse impact on human health caused by operation of the power station.
X-ray microscopy is a field that has developed rapidly in recent years. Two different approaches have been used. Zone plates have been employed to produce focussed beams with sizes as low as 0.07 pm for x-ray energies below 1 keV. Images of biological materials and elemental maps for major and minor low Z have been produced using above and below absorption edge differences. At higher energies collimators and focussing mirrors have been used to make small diameter beams for excitation of characteristic K— or L-x rays of all elements in the periodic
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.
Mental disorders may emerge as the result of interactions between observable symptoms. Such interactions can be analyzed using network analysis. Several recent studies have used network analysis to examine eating disorders, indicating a core role of overvaluation of weight and shape. However, no studies to date have applied network models to binge-eating disorder (BED), the most prevalent eating disorder.
We constructed a cross-sectional graphical LASSO network in a sample of 788 individuals with BED. Symptoms were assessed using the Eating Disorders Examination Interview. We identified core symptoms of BED using expected influence centrality.
Overvaluation of shape emerged as the symptom with the highest centrality. Dissatisfaction with weight and overvaluation of weight also emerged as highly central symptoms. On the other hand, behavioral symptoms such as binge eating, eating in secret, and dietary restraint/restriction were less central. The network was stable, allowing for reliable interpretations (centrality stability coefficient = 0.74).
Overvaluation of shape and weight emerged as core symptoms of BED. This trend is consistent with past network analyses of eating disorders more broadly, as well as literature that suggests a primary role of shape and weight concerns in BED. Although DSM-5 diagnostic criteria for BED does not currently include a cognitive criterion related to body image or shape/weight overvaluation, our results provide support for including shape/weight overvaluation as a diagnostic specifier.
The island of Bonaire is a long-established Marine Protected Area (MPA), the reefs of which were extensively mapped in the early 1980s. Satellite remote sensing techniques were used to construct reef maps for 2008–2009. Metrics describing the spatial structure of coral habitat at the landscape scale – including coral cover, fragmentation, patch size and connectivity between patches – were calculated and compared between these two time periods. Changes were evaluated in and out of the MPAs and in areas exposed and sheltered from storm damage. Overall, coral cover has declined during the past three decades, being replaced by sand, but the decline has not been as drastic as elsewhere in the Caribbean. Fragmentation of the reef habitat has occurred, resulting in smaller and more disparate patches, but these changes were not associated with exposure along the coastline. However, total coral cover was maintained in sheltered areas, whereas it declined along exposed shorelines. Human protection of reefs by marine reserves had variable effects on coral cover and fragmentation. One of two no-diving marine reserves showed increases in coral cover accompanied by decreases in the number of patches of coral and an increase in the size of individual patches over the time period, while the second reserve exhibited the opposite trend. Advances in satellite remote sensing techniques allow for a more rapid assessment of changes in reefs at the landscape level, which can be used to identify spatial changes in the reef environment, including areas of coral decline.
Brain tumor behavior is driven by aberrations in the genome and epigenome. Many of these changes, such as IDH mutations in diffuse low-grade glioma (DLGG), are common amongst the same class of tumour and can be incorporated into the diagnostic criteria. However, any given tumor may have other, less common genomic aberrations that are essential for its biological behavior and may inform on underlying aberrant cellular pathways, and potential therapeutic agents. Precision oncology is a genomics-based approach which profiles these alterations to better manage cancer patients and has established itself within the practice of oncology and is slowly making its way into neuro-oncology. The BC Cancer’s Personalized OncoGenomics (POG) program has profiled 16 adult tumours originating from the central nervous system using whole genome and transcriptome analysis (WGTA), for the first time, within a meaningful clinical timeframe/setting. As expected, primary genomic drivers were consistent with their respective diagnoses, though secondary drivers were found to be unique to each tumour. Although these analyses did not result in altered clinical management for these patients, primarily due to availability of drug or clinical trials, they highlight the heterogeneity of secondary drivers in cancers and provide clinicians with meaningful biological information. Lastly, the data generated by POG has highlighted the frequency and complexity of novel driver fusions which are predicted to behave similarly to canonical driver events in their respective tumours. The information available to clinicians through POG has provided paramount knowledge into the biology of each unique tumour.
Giant electromagnetic pulses (EMP) generated during the interaction of high-power lasers with solid targets can seriously degrade electrical measurements and equipment. EMP emission is caused by the acceleration of hot electrons inside the target, which produce radiation across a wide band from DC to terahertz frequencies. Improved understanding and control of EMP is vital as we enter a new era of high repetition rate, high intensity lasers (e.g. the Extreme Light Infrastructure). We present recent data from the VULCAN laser facility that demonstrates how EMP can be readily and effectively reduced. Characterization of the EMP was achieved using B-dot and D-dot probes that took measurements for a range of different target and laser parameters. We demonstrate that target stalk geometry, material composition, geodesic path length and foil surface area can all play a significant role in the reduction of EMP. A combination of electromagnetic wave and 3D particle-in-cell simulations is used to inform our conclusions about the effects of stalk geometry on EMP, providing an opportunity for comparison with existing charge separation models.
An emerging recombinant norovirus GII.P16/GII.4 Sydney 2012 strain caused a gastroenteritis outbreak amongst attendees at a large health function in regional New South Wales, Australia. This was the third outbreak caused by the recombinant GII.P16/GII.4 Sydney 2012 strain in this region in 2017, which appears to be emerging as a common strain in the Hunter New England region.
The thermal insulation of pigs (Sus scrofa) is considered poor (Mount and Ingram, 1965) as they do not have a thick coat and have a variable subcutaneous fat thickness. Ventilation rates in animal houses are often reduced in colder weather to maintain an optimal thermal environment. However this may fail to remove atmospheric pollutants (e.g. Menses, 1987).
The morphology of englacial drainage networks and their temporal evolution are poorly characterised, particularly within cold ice masses. At present, direct observations of englacial channels are restricted in both spatial and temporal resolution. Through novel use of a terrestrial laser scanning (TLS) system, the interior geometry of an englacial channel in Austre Brøggerbreen, Svalbard, was reconstructed and mapped. Twenty-eight laser scan surveys were conducted in March 2016, capturing the glacier surface around a moulin entrance and the uppermost 122 m reach of the adjoining conduit. The resulting point clouds provide detailed 3-D visualisation of the channel with point accuracy of 6.54 mm, despite low (<60%) overall laser returns as a result of the physical and optical properties of the clean ice, snow, hoar frost and sediment surfaces forming the conduit interior. These point clouds are used to map the conduit morphology, enabling extraction of millimetre-to-centimetre scale geometric measurements. The conduit meanders at a depth of 48 m, with a sinuosity of 2.7, exhibiting teardrop shaped cross-section morphology. This improvement upon traditional surveying techniques demonstrates the potential of TLS as an investigative tool to elucidate the nature of glacier hydrological networks, through reconstruction of channel geometry and wall composition.
To identify developmental sub-groups of depressive symptoms during the second decade of life, a critical period of brain development, using data from a prospective birth cohort. To test whether childhood intelligence and inflammatory markers are associated with subsequent persistent depressive symptoms.
IQ, a proxy for neurodevelopment, was measured at age 8 years. Interleukin 6 (IL-6) and C-reactive protein, typical inflammatory markers, were measured at age 9 years. Depressive symptoms were measured six times between 10 and 19 years using the short mood and feelings questionnaire (SMFQ), which were coded as binary variable and then used in latent class analysis to identify developmental sub-groups of depressive symptoms.
Longitudinal SMFQ data from 9156 participants yielded three distinct population sub-groups of depressive symptoms: no symptoms (81.2%); adolescent-onset symptoms (13.2%); persistent symptoms (5.6%). Lower IQ and higher IL-6 levels in childhood were independently associated with subsequent persistent depressive symptoms in a linear, dose–response fashion, but not with adolescent-onset symptoms. Compared with the group with no symptoms the adjusted odds ratio for persistent depressive symptoms per s.d. increase in IQ was 0.80 (95% CI, 0.68–0.95); that for IL-6 was 1.20 (95% CI, 1.03–1.39). Evidence for an association with IL-6 remained after controlling for initial severity of depressive symptoms at 10 years. There was no evidence that IL-6 moderated or mediated the IQ-persistent depressive symptom relationship.
The results indicate potentially important roles for two distinct biological processes, neurodevelopment and inflammation, in the aetiology of persistent depressive symptoms in young people.
A range of endophenotypes characterise psychosis, however there has been limited work understanding if and how they are inter-related.
This multi-centre study includes 8754 participants: 2212 people with a psychotic disorder, 1487 unaffected relatives of probands, and 5055 healthy controls. We investigated cognition [digit span (N = 3127), block design (N = 5491), and the Rey Auditory Verbal Learning Test (N = 3543)], electrophysiology [P300 amplitude and latency (N = 1102)], and neuroanatomy [lateral ventricular volume (N = 1721)]. We used linear regression to assess the interrelationships between endophenotypes.
The P300 amplitude and latency were not associated (regression coef. −0.06, 95% CI −0.12 to 0.01, p = 0.060), and P300 amplitude was positively associated with block design (coef. 0.19, 95% CI 0.10–0.28, p < 0.001). There was no evidence of associations between lateral ventricular volume and the other measures (all p > 0.38). All the cognitive endophenotypes were associated with each other in the expected directions (all p < 0.001). Lastly, the relationships between pairs of endophenotypes were consistent in all three participant groups, differing for some of the cognitive pairings only in the strengths of the relationships.
The P300 amplitude and latency are independent endophenotypes; the former indexing spatial visualisation and working memory, and the latter is hypothesised to index basic processing speed. Individuals with psychotic illnesses, their unaffected relatives, and healthy controls all show similar patterns of associations between endophenotypes, endorsing the theory of a continuum of psychosis liability across the population.
Differences between verbal and non-verbal cognitive development from childhood to adulthood may differentiate between those with and without psychotic symptoms and affective symptoms in later life. However, there has been no study exploring this in a population-based cohort.
The sample was drawn from the MRC National Survey of Health and Development, and consisted of 2384 study members with self-reported psychotic experiences and affective symptoms at the age of 53 years, and with complete cognitive data at the ages of 8 and 15 years. The association between verbal and non-verbal cognition at age 8 years and relative developmental lag from age 8 to 15 years, and both adult outcomes were tested with the covariates adjusted, and mutually adjusted for verbal and non-verbal cognition.
Those with psychotic experiences [thought interference (n = 433), strange experience (n = 296), hallucination (n = 88)] had lower cognition at both the ages of 8 and 15 years in both verbal and non-verbal domains. After mutual adjustment, lower verbal cognition at age 8 years and greater verbal developmental lag were associated with higher likelihood of psychotic experiences within individuals, whereas there was no association between non-verbal cognition and any psychotic experience. In contrast, those with case-level affective symptoms (n = 453) had lower non-verbal cognition at age 15 years, and greater developmental lag in the non-verbal domain. After adjustment, lower non-verbal cognition at age 8 years and greater non-verbal developmental lag were associated with higher risk of case-level affective symptoms within individuals.
These results suggest that cognitive profiles in childhood and adolescence differentiate psychiatric disease spectra.
The summer extent of the Arctic sea-ice cover has decreased in recent decades and there have been alterations in the timing and duration of the summer melt season. These changes in ice conditions have affected the partitioning of solar radiation in the Arctic atmosphere–ice–ocean system. the impact of sea-ice changes on solar partitioning is examined on a pan-Arctic scale using a 25 km × 25 km Equal-Area Scalable Earth Grid for the years 1979–2007. Daily values of incident solar irradiance are obtained from NCEP reanalysis products adjusted by ERA-40, and ice concentrations are determined from passive microwave satellite data. the albedo of the ice is parameterized by a five-stage process that includes dry snow, melting snow, melt pond formation, melt pond evolution, and freeze-up. the timing of these stages is governed by the onset dates of summer melt and fall freeze-up, which are determined from satellite observations. Trends of solar heat input to the ice were mixed, with increases due to longer melt seasons and decreases due to reduced ice concentration. Results indicate a general trend of increasing solar heat input to the Arctic ice–ocean system due to declines in albedo induced by decreases in ice concentration and longer melt seasons. the evolution of sea-ice albedo, and hence the total solar heating of the ice–ocean system, is more sensitive to the date of melt onset than the date of fall freeze-up. the largest increases in total annual solar heat input from 1979 to 2007, averaging as much as 4%a–1, occurred in the Chukchi Sea region. the contribution of solar heat to the ocean is increasing faster than the contribution to the ice due to the loss of sea ice.