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Historically, the development of XRF spectrometers has followed 2 main paths which are characterized by the means of spectral resolution they use. Those employing diffraction crystals and Braggs law to disperse the X-ray wavelengths are known as wavelength dispersive (WDX), whilst those usinq only the energy resolution of the detector, as enerqy dispersive (EDX). In the past these two have not normally been directly compared, because the WDX systems have always been the more expensive.
In low- and middle-income countries (LMIC) in general and sub-Sahara African (SSA) countries in particular, there is both a large treatment gap for mental disorders and a relative paucity of empirical evidence about how to fill this gap. This is more so for severe mental disorders, such as psychosis, which impose an additional vulnerability for human rights abuse on its sufferers. A major factor for the lack of evidence is the few numbers of active mental health (MH) researchers on the continent and the distance between the little evidence generated and the policy-making process.
The Partnership for Mental Health Development in Africa (PaM-D) aimed to bring together diverse MH stakeholders in SSA, working collaboratively with colleagues from the global north, to create an infrastructure to develop MH research capacity in SSA, advance global MH science by conducting innovative public health-relevant MH research in the region and work to link research to policy development. Participating SSA countries were Ghana, Kenya, Liberia, Nigeria and South Africa. The research component of PaM-D focused on the development and assessment of a collaborative shared care (CSC) program between traditional and faith healers (T&FHs) and biomedical providers for the treatment of psychotic disorders, as a way of improving the outcome of persons suffering from these conditions. The capacity building component aimed to develop research capacity and appreciation of the value of research in a broad range of stakeholders through bespoke workshops and fellowships targeting specific skill-sets as well as mentoring for early career researchers.
In the research component of PaM-D, a series of formative studies were implemented to inform the development of an intervention package consisting of the essential features of a CSC for psychosis implemented by primary care providers and T&FHs. A cluster randomised controlled trial was next designed to test the effectiveness of this package on the outcome of psychosis. In the capacity-building component, 35 early and mid-career researchers participated in the training workshops and several established mentor-mentee relationships with senior PaM-D members. At the end of the funding period, 60 papers have been published and 21 successful grant applications made.
The success of PaM-D in energising young researchers and implementing a cutting-edge research program attests to the importance of partnership among researchers in the global south working with those from the north in developing MH research and service in LMIC.
Limitations of access have long restricted exploration and investigation of the cavities beneath ice shelves to a small number of drillholes. Studies of sea-ice underwater morphology are limited largely to scientific utilization of submarines. Remotely operated vehicles, tethered to a mother ship by umbilical cable, have been deployed to investigate tidewater-glacier and ice-shelf margins, but their range is often restricted. The development of free-flying autonomous underwater vehicles (AUVs) with ranges of tens to hundreds of kilometres enables extensive missions to take place beneath sea ice and floating ice shelves. Autosub2 is a 3600 kg, 6.7 m long AUV, with a 1600 m operating depth and range of 400 km, based on the earlier Autosub1 which had a 500 m depth limit. A single direct-drive d.c. motor and five-bladed propeller produce speeds of 1–2 m s−1. Rear-mounted rudder and stern-plane control yaw, pitch and depth. The vehicle has three sections. The front and rear sections are free-flooding, built around aluminium extrusion space-frames covered with glass-fibre reinforced plastic panels. The central section has a set of carbon-fibre reinforced plastic pressure vessels. Four tubes contain batteries powering the vehicle. The other three house vehicle-control systems and sensors. The rear section houses subsystems for navigation, control actuation and propulsion and scientific sensors (e.g. digital camera, upward-looking 300 kHz acoustic Doppler current profiler, 200 kHz multibeam receiver). The front section contains forward-looking collision sensor, emergency abort, the homing systems, Argos satellite data and location transmitters and flashing lights for relocation as well as science sensors (e.g. twin conductivity–temperature–depth instruments, multibeam transmitter, sub-bottom profiler, AquaLab water sampler). Payload restrictions mean that a subset of scientific instruments is actually in place on any given dive. The scientific instruments carried on Autosub are described and examples of observational data collected from each sensor in Arctic or Antarctic waters are given (e.g. of roughness at the underside of floating ice shelves and sea ice).
For the NASA Crustal Dynamics Project VLBI network, signals from quasars are recorded simultaneously at widely separated antennas. It is well known that hydrogen maser frequency standards provide the stable frequency reference used to precisely measure the difference in arrival time of the radio signals at the different antennas, enabling the determination of precise distances between the antennas. This paper reviews the practical requirements for maser support of VLBI for the Crustal Dynamics Project and describes the means used to meet these requirements for a network of eight fixed and three mobile stations which participate in approximately 200 VLBI experiments per year at locations in North America and the Pacific.
Latin America Treatment and Innovation Network in Mental Health (LATIN-MH) is a research hub located in Brazil and Peru that conducts a research project to help reduce the treatment gap in mental health in Latin America (LA). Besides its research core, LATIN-MH has a Capacity Building (CB) component that aims to help young researchers receive the specific training to contribute to the growing scientific production in mental health in LA.
LATIN-MH proposal in CB includes a series of actions to prepare professionals in the research area. The main proposals are described here, which include online study groups, promotion of scientific meetings, hands-on training in different levels and sharing of information.
LATIN-MH CB activities are at its initial stages but the proposed activities were well evaluated by the participants. The first participating fellows who finished their fellowships are contributing elsewhere in the mental treatment and human resources formation area.
The repercussion of LATIN-MH actions in CB and its evaluation, particularly on the formation of human resources and dissemination of information, show that the hub is contributing to the critic formation of young researchers and the circulation of important information.
Lower and middle income countries (LMICs) are home to >80% of the global population, but mental health researchers and LMIC investigator led publications are concentrated in 10% of LMICs. Increasing research and research outputs, such as in the form of peer reviewed publications, require increased capacity building (CB) opportunities in LMICs. The National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH) initiative, Collaborative Hubs for International Research on Mental Health reaches across five regional ‘hubs’ established in LMICs, to provide training and support for emerging researchers through hub-specific CB activities. This paper describes the range of CB activities, the process of monitoring, and the early outcomes of CB activities conducted by the five research hubs.
The indicators used to describe the nature, the monitoring, and the early outcomes of CB activities were developed collectively by the members of an inter-hub CB workgroup representing all five hubs. These indicators included but were not limited to courses, publications, and grants.
Results for all indicators demonstrate a wide range of feasible CB activities. The five hubs were successful in providing at least one and the majority several courses; 13 CB recipient-led articles were accepted for publication; and nine grant applications were successful.
The hubs were successful in providing CB recipients with a wide range of CB activities. The challenge remains to ensure ongoing CB of mental health researchers in LMICs, and in particular, to sustain the CB efforts of the five hubs after the termination of NIMH funding.
This paper briefly describes the principle of operation and science goals of the AMANDA high energy neutrino telescope located at the South Pole, Antarctica. Results from an earlier phase of the telescope, called AMANDA-BIO, demonstrate both reliable operation and the broad astrophysical reach of this device, which includes searches for a variety of sources of ultrahigh energy neutrinos: generic point sources, Gamma-Ray Bursts and diffuse sources. The predicted sensitivity and angular resolution of the telescope were confirmed by studies of atmospheric muon and neutrino backgrounds. We also report on the status of the analysis from AMANDA-II, a larger version with far greater capabilities. At this stage of analysis, details of the ice properties and other systematic uncertainties of the AMANDA-II telescope are under study, but we have made progress toward critical science objectives. In particular, we present the first preliminary flux limits from AMANDA-II on the search for continuous emission from astrophysical point sources, and report on the search for correlated neutrino emission from Gamma Ray Bursts detected by BATSE before decommissioning in May 2000. During the next two years, we expect to exploit the full potential of AMANDA-II with the installation of a new data acquisition system that records full waveforms from the in-ice optical sensors.
The Darwin region in northern Australia has experienced rapid population growth in recent years, and with it, an increased incidence of melioidosis. Previous studies in Darwin have associated the environmental presence of Burkholderia pseudomallei, the causative agent of melioidosis, with anthropogenic land usage and proximity to animals. In our study, we estimated the occurrence of B. pseudomallei and Burkholderia spp. relatives in faecal matter of wildlife, livestock and domestic animals in the Darwin region. A total of 357 faecal samples were collected and bacteria isolated through culture and direct DNA extraction after enrichment in selective media. Identification of B. pseudomallei, B. ubonensis, and other Burkholderia spp. was carried out using TTS1, Bu550, and recA BUR3–BUR4 quantitative PCR assays, respectively. B. pseudomallei was detected in seven faecal samples from wallabies and a chicken. B. cepacia complex spp. and Pandoraea spp. were cultured from wallaby faecal samples, and B. cenocepacia and B. cepacia were also isolated from livestock animals. Various bacteria isolated in this study represent opportunistic human pathogens, raising the possibility that faecal shedding contributes to the expanding geographical distribution of not just B. pseudomallei but other Burkholderiaceae that can cause human disease.
Melioidosis is an infectious disease caused by Burkholderia pseudomallei, a bacterium endemic in Southeast Asia and northern Australia. In New Caledonia, sporadic cases were first described in 2005; since then, more cases have been identified. To improve our understanding of melioidosis epidemiology in New Caledonia, we compared the local cases and B. pseudomallei isolates with those from endemic areas. Nineteen melioidosis cases have been diagnosed in New Caledonia since 1999, mostly severe and with frequent bacteraemia, leading to three (16%) fatalities. All but one occurred in the North Province. Besides sporadic cases caused by non-clonal strains, we also identified a hotspot of transmission related to a clonal group of B. pseudomallei that is phylogenetically related to Australian strains.
Suicide is a devastating public health problem and very few biological treatments have been found to be effective for quickly reducing the intensity of suicidal ideation (SI). We have previously shown that a single dose of ketamine, a glutamate N-methyl-d-aspartate (NMDA) receptor antagonist, is associated with a rapid reduction in depressive symptom severity and SI in patients with treatment-resistant depression.
We conducted a randomized, controlled trial of ketamine in patients with mood and anxiety spectrum disorders who presented with clinically significant SI (n = 24). Patients received a single infusion of ketamine or midazolam (as an active placebo) in addition to standard of care. SI measured using the Beck Scale for Suicidal Ideation (BSI) 24 h post-treatment represented the primary outcome. Secondary outcomes included the Montgomery–Asberg Depression Rating Scale – Suicidal Ideation (MADRS-SI) score at 24 h and additional measures beyond the 24-h time-point.
The intervention was well tolerated and no dropouts occurred during the primary 7-day assessment period. BSI score was not different between the treatment groups at 24 h (p = 0.32); however, a significant difference emerged at 48 h (p = 0.047). MADRS-SI score was lower in the ketamine group compared to midazolam group at 24 h (p = 0.05). The treatment effect was no longer significant at the end of the 7-day assessment period.
The current findings provide initial support for the safety and tolerability of ketamine as an intervention for SI in patients who are at elevated risk for suicidal behavior. Larger, well-powered studies are warranted.
Whether contact precautions (CP) are required to control the endemic transmission of methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) or vancomycin-resistant Enterococcus (VRE) in acute care hospitals is controversial in light of improvements in hand hygiene, MRSA decolonization, environmental cleaning and disinfection, fomite elimination, and chlorhexidine bathing.
To provide a framework for decision making around use of CP for endemic MRSA and VRE based on a summary of evidence related to use of CP, including impact on patients and patient care processes, and current practices in use of CP for MRSA and VRE in US hospitals.
A literature review, a survey of Society for Healthcare Epidemiology of America Research Network members on use of CP, and a detailed examination of the experience of a convenience sample of hospitals not using CP for MRSA or VRE.
Hospital epidemiologists and infection prevention experts.
No high quality data support or reject use of CP for endemic MRSA or VRE. Our survey found more than 90% of responding hospitals currently use CP for MRSA and VRE, but approximately 60% are interested in using CP in a different manner. More than 30 US hospitals do not use CP for control of endemic MRSA or VRE.
Higher quality research on the benefits and harms of CP in the control of endemic MRSA and VRE is needed. Until more definitive data are available, the use of CP for endemic MRSA or VRE in acute care hospitals should be guided by local needs and resources.
Infect Control Hosp Epidemiol 2015;36(10):1163–1172
A stochastic algorithm for bound-constrained global optimization is described. The method can be applied to objective functions that are nonsmooth or even discontinuous. The algorithm forms a partition on the search region using classification and regression trees (CART), which defines a region where the objective function is relatively low. Further points are drawn directly from the low region before a new partition is formed. Alternating between partition and sampling phases provides an effective method for nonsmooth global optimization. The sequence of iterates generated by the algorithm is shown to converge to an essential global minimizer with probability one under mild conditions. Nonprobabilistic results are also given when random sampling is replaced with points taken from the Halton sequence. Numerical results are presented for both smooth and nonsmooth problems and show that the method is effective and competitive in practice.
High-redshift quasars are unique probes of the evolution of supermassive black holes and the intergalactic medium at the end of the epoch of reionization. We present the optical spectra of eight new z ~ 6 quasars selected from the Panoramic Survey Telescope & Rapid Response System 1 (Pan-STARRS1). Details of the selection strategy can be found in Bañados et al. (2014). With this work we increase the number of known quasars at z < 5.7 by more than 10%. The quasars discovered here span a large range of luminosities (19.6 ≤ zP1 ≤ 21.2) and are remarkably heterogeneous in their spectral features: half of them show bright emission lines whereas the other half show weak or no Lyα emission line. We find a larger fraction of weak–line emission quasars than in lower redshift studies, although still based on low number statistics, this may imply that the quasar population could be more diverse than previously thought.