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The past decade has seen the development of services for adults presenting with symptoms of autism spectrum disorder (ASD) in the UK. Compared with children, little is known about the phenotypic and genetic characteristics of these patients.
This e-cohort study aimed to examine the phenotypic and genetic characteristics of a clinically presenting sample of adults diagnosed with ASD by specialist services.
Individuals diagnosed with ASD as adults were recruited by the National Centre for Mental Health and completed self-report questionnaires, interviews and provided DNA; 105 eligible individuals were matched to 76 healthy controls. We investigated demographics, social history and comorbid psychiatric and physical disorders. Samples were genotyped, copy number variants (CNVs) were called and polygenic risk scores were calculated.
Of individuals with ASD, 89.5% had at least one comorbid psychiatric diagnosis, with depression (62.9%) and anxiety (55.2%) being the most common. The ASD group experienced more neurological comorbidities than controls, particularly migraine headache. They were less likely to have married or be in work, and had more alcohol-related problems. There was a significantly higher load of autism common genetic variants in the adult ASD group compared with controls, but there was no difference in the rate of rare CNVs.
This study provides important information about psychiatric comorbidity in adult ASD, which may inform clinical practice and patient counselling. It also suggests that the polygenic load of common ASD-associated variants may be important in conferring risk within the non-intellectually disabled population of adults with ASD.
The goal of the present study was to use a methodology that accurately and reliably describes the availability, price and quality of healthy foods at both the store and community levels using the Nutrition Environment Measures Survey in Stores (NEMS-S), to propose a spatial methodology for integrating these store and community data into measures for defining objective food access.
Two hundred and sixty-five retail food stores in and within 2 miles (3·2 km) of Flint, Michigan, USA, were mapped using ArcGIS mapping software.
A survey based on the validated NEMS-S was conducted at each retail food store. Scores were assigned to each store based on a modified version of the NEMS-S scoring system and linked to the mapped locations of stores. Neighbourhood characteristics (race and socio-economic distress) were appended to each store. Finally, spatial and kernel density analyses were run on the mapped store scores to obtain healthy food density metrics.
Regression analyses revealed that neighbourhoods with higher socio-economic distress had significantly lower dairy sub-scores compared with their lower-distress counterparts (β coefficient=−1·3; P=0·04). Additionally, supermarkets were present only in neighbourhoods with <60 % African-American population and low socio-economic distress. Two areas in Flint had an overall NEMS-S score of 0.
By identifying areas with poor access to healthy foods via a validated metric, this research can be used help local government and organizations target interventions to high-need areas. Furthermore, the methodology used for the survey and the mapping exercise can be replicated in other cities to provide comparable results.
Precision agriculture (PA) may improve the sustainability of Chinese agriculture. Ten experts were interviewed and 34 farm workers surveyed regarding their understanding, attitudes and perceptions towards PA. PA technologies were considered inaccessible, unsuitable and unnecessary for smaller farms. High cost, lack of perceived benefits, and skills and capability required to adopt PA represented barriers to adoption. Financial incentives/subsidies, the need for tangible benefits and tailored solutions to be demonstrated to farmers, and agronomic and peer support were desired. Future research should further explore PA with Chinese stakeholders and end-users in China, to inform future socio-technological developments.
A range of precision farming technologies are used commercially for variable rate applications of nitrogen (N) for cereals, yet these usually adjust N rates from a pre-set value, rather than predicting economically optimal N requirements on an absolute basis. This paper reports chessboard experiments set up to examine variation in N requirements, and to develop and test systems for its prediction, and to assess its predictability. Results showed very substantial variability in fertiliser N requirements within fields, typically >150 kg ha−1, and large variation in optimal yields, typically >2 t ha−1. Despite this, calculated increases in yield and gross margin with N requirements perfectly matched across fields were surprisingly modest (compared to the uniform average rate). Implications are discussed, including the causes of the large remaining variation in grain yield, after N limitations were removed.
Low heart rate variability (HRV) predicts sudden cardiac death. Long-chain (LC) n-3 PUFA (C20–C22) status is positively associated with HRV. This cross-sectional study investigated whether vegans aged 40–70 years (n 23), whose diets are naturally free from EPA (20 : 5n-3) and DHA (22 : 6n-3), have lower HRV compared with omnivores (n 24). Proportions of LC n-3 PUFA in erythrocyte membranes, plasma fatty acids and concentrations of plasma LC n-3 PUFA-derived lipid mediators were significantly lower in vegans. Day-time interbeat intervals (IBI), adjusted for physical activity, age, BMI and sex, were significantly shorter in vegans compared with omnivores (mean difference −67 ms; 95 % CI −130, −3·4, P<0·05), but there were no significant differences over 24 h or during sleep. Vegans had higher overall HRV, measured as 24 h standard deviation of normal-to-normal intervals (SDNN) (mean adjusted difference 27 ms; 95 % CI 1, 52, P=0·039). Conversely, vegans presented with decreased 8 h day-time HRV: mean adjusted difference in SDNN −20 ms; 95 % CI −37, −3, P=0·021, with no differences during nocturnal sleep. Day-time parameters of beat-to-beat HRV (root of the mean of the sum of the squares of differences between adjacent normal-to-normal intervals, percentage of adjacent normal-to-normal intervals that differ by >50 % and high-frequency power) were similarly lower in vegans, with no differences during sleep. In conclusion, vegans have higher 24 h SDNN, but lower day-time HRV and shorter day-time IBI relative to comparable omnivores. Vegans may have reduced availability of precursor markers for pro-resolving lipid mediators; it remains to be determined whether there is a direct link with impaired cardiac function in populations with low-n-3 status.
We examine the game theoretic properties of a model of crime first introduced by Short et al. (2010 Phys. Rev. E82, 066114) as the SBD Adversarial Game. We identify the rationalizable strategies and one-shot equilibria under multiple equilibrium refinements. We further show that SBD's main result about the effectiveness of defecting-punishers (“Informants”) in driving the system to evolve to the cooperative equilibrium under an imitation dynamic generalizes to a best response dynamic, though only under certain parameter regimes. The nature of this strategy's role, however, differs significantly between the two dynamics: in the SBD imitation dynamic, Informants are sufficient but not necessary to achieve the cooperative equilibrium, while under the best response dynamic, Informants are necessary but not sufficient for convergence to cooperation. Since a policy of simply converting citizens to Informants will not guarantee success under best response dynamics, we identify alternative strategies that may help the system reach cooperation in this case, e.g., the use of moderate but not too severe punishments on criminals.
In this paper we describe a perfect simulation algorithm for the stable M/G/c queue. Sigman (2011) showed how to build a dominated coupling-from-the-past algorithm for perfect simulation of the super-stable M/G/c queue operating under first-come-first-served discipline. Sigman's method used a dominating process provided by the corresponding M/G/1 queue (using Wolff's sample path monotonicity, which applies when service durations are coupled in order of initiation of service). The method exploited the fact that the workload process for the M/G/1 queue remains the same under different queueing disciplines, in particular under the processor sharing discipline, for which a dynamic reversibility property holds. We generalise Sigman's construction to the stable case by comparing the M/G/c queue to a copy run under random assignment. This allows us to produce a naïve perfect simulation algorithm based on running the dominating process back to the time it first empties. We also construct a more efficient algorithm that uses sandwiching by lower and upper processes constructed as coupled M/G/c queues started respectively from the empty state and the state of the M/G/c queue under random assignment. A careful analysis shows that appropriate ordering relationships can still be maintained, so long as service durations continue to be coupled in order of initiation of service. We summarise statistical checks of simulation output, and demonstrate that the mean run-time is finite so long as the second moment of the service duration distribution is finite.
Cryptosporidium, a parasite known to cause large drinking and recreational water outbreaks, is tolerant of chlorine concentrations used for drinking water treatment. Human laboratory-based surveillance for enteric pathogens detected a cryptosporidiosis outbreak in Baker City, Oregon during July 2013 associated with municipal drinking water. Objectives of the investigation were to confirm the outbreak source and assess outbreak extent. The watershed was inspected and city water was tested for contamination. To determine the community attack rate, a standardized questionnaire was administered to randomly sampled households. Weighted attack rates and confidence intervals (CIs) were calculated. Water samples tested positive for Cryptosporidium species; a Cryptosporidium parvum subtype common in cattle was detected in human stool specimens. Cattle were observed grazing along watershed borders; cattle faeces were observed within watershed barriers. The city water treatment facility chlorinated, but did not filter, water. The community attack rate was 28·3% (95% CI 22·1–33·6), sickening an estimated 2780 persons. Watershed contamination by cattle probably caused this outbreak; water treatments effective against Cryptosporidium were not in place. This outbreak highlights vulnerability of drinking water systems to pathogen contamination and underscores the need for communities to invest in system improvements to maintain multiple barriers to drinking water contamination.
Although rare, typhoid fever cases acquired in the United States continue to be reported. Detection and investigation of outbreaks in these domestically acquired cases offer opportunities to identify chronic carriers. We searched surveillance and laboratory databases for domestically acquired typhoid fever cases, used a space–time scan statistic to identify clusters, and classified clusters as outbreaks or non-outbreaks. From 1999 to 2010, domestically acquired cases accounted for 18% of 3373 reported typhoid fever cases; their isolates were less often multidrug-resistant (2% vs. 15%) compared to isolates from travel-associated cases. We identified 28 outbreaks and two possible outbreaks within 45 space–time clusters of ⩾2 domestically acquired cases, including three outbreaks involving ⩾2 molecular subtypes. The approach detected seven of the ten outbreaks published in the literature or reported to CDC. Although this approach did not definitively identify any previously unrecognized outbreaks, it showed the potential to detect outbreaks of typhoid fever that may escape detection by routine analysis of surveillance data. Sixteen outbreaks had been linked to a carrier. Every case of typhoid fever acquired in a non-endemic country warrants thorough investigation. Space–time scan statistics, together with shoe-leather epidemiology and molecular subtyping, may improve outbreak detection.
This paper describes the system architecture of a newly constructed radio telescope – the Boolardy engineering test array, which is a prototype of the Australian square kilometre array pathfinder telescope. Phased array feed technology is used to form multiple simultaneous beams per antenna, providing astronomers with unprecedented survey speed. The test array described here is a six-antenna interferometer, fitted with prototype signal processing hardware capable of forming at least nine dual-polarisation beams simultaneously, allowing several square degrees to be imaged in a single pointed observation. The main purpose of the test array is to develop beamforming and wide-field calibration methods for use with the full telescope, but it will also be capable of limited early science demonstrations.
Bioimpedance spectroscopy (BIS) has been used to track changes in total body water (TBW). Accurate TBW estimations can be influenced by both methodological and biological factors. One methodological variation that contributes to BIS TBW errors is the electrode placement. The purpose of the present study was to compare the reproducibility and validity of fixed-distance electrode placements (5 cm) with the standard single-site electrode placements. Twenty-nine subjects (fifteen men and fourteen women) participated in the reproducibility study, while sixty-nine subjects (thirty-three men and thirty-six women) participated in the validity study. The reproducibility study included two measurements that were taken 24 h apart, while the validity study consisted of a 12-week exercise intervention with measurements taken at weeks 1 and 12. TBW was estimated using BIS and 2H techniques. Reproducibility results indicated that fixed-distance electrodes reduced the day-to-day standard error of the measurement in men (from 1·13 to 0·81 litres) but not in women (0·47 litres). sem values were lower for women than for men, suggesting that BIS TBW estimates are sex dependent. Validity results produced similar accurate findings (mean difference < 0·21 litres). However, fixed-distance electrodes improved delta TBW errors (mean difference improvements>0·04 litres in men, women, and men and women combined). When tracking changes in TBW, fixed-distance electrodes may reduce reproducibility errors and allow for smaller changes to be detected. However, the reduction of reproducibility errors may be greater for men than for women. Therefore, reproducibility calculations should be based on the sex of the sample population.
The Venerable Bede occupies a pivotal place and moment in the history of Western education. By the seventh century public schools no longer existed in Europe; only scattered remnants of the liberal aristocratic educational system of the Roman empire remained in northern Italy and Spain, none at all in Gaul and Britain. Bede's lifetime coincides with the revival of education and the beginnings of a new medieval Christian culture in the West. Bede's monastery of Wearmouth-Jarrow is the nodal point and Bede the intellectual force that link the civilization of the ancient world with the Carolingian renaissance, which fuelled in its turn the renaissances of the twelfth and the fifteenth and sixteenth centuries. In Britain, the old educational system had disappeared without leaving a trace. Missionaries from the continent and from Ireland, beginning with the Gregorian mission under Augustine in 597, carried out their work of conversion most effectively through the establishment of monasteries. Monks had to be trained for their vocation; monastic schools followed inevitably. Irish models of scholarship and monastic education exerted their influence throughout the seventh century. There was no formal division of the curriculum into subjects along the lines of the seven liberal arts of late classical antiquity. Pupils learned what they needed to know by a kind of apprenticeship system.
Escherichia coli O 27 H 7 was found in 16 stool samples submitted during a Caribbean cruise (Cruise Z) by 29 patients reporting with diarrhoea. A retrospective search revealed E. coli O 27 H 7 in 11 of 20 and 2 of 14 stool cultures from patients on two previous cruises (Y and X respectively) and in a culture from fresh cream (Cruise Y). The repeated occurrence of E. coli O 27 H 7 in the absence of any other apparent cause suggested that this serotype may have been responsible for the diarrhoea. The results of pathogenicity tests suggested that this strain elaborated heat-stable (ST) enterotoxin.
The possibility that food may have been the vector is discussed.
The aquaporins (AQPs) are a family of small integral membrane proteins 28-35kDa in size, sub classified into 2 groups; those selectively permeated by water (the aquaporins; AQP0, AQP1, AQP2, AQP4, AQP5, AQP6 and AQP8) or by water and small organic osmolytes such as glycerol and urea (the aquaglyceroporins; AQP3, AQP7, AQP9 and AQP10). AQPs are expressed in a variety of epithelial tissues where they are responsible for rapid water movement driven by osmotic gradients. The mammary gland produces and secretes milk which consists of water, lipids, electrolytes, vitamins, sugars and specific milk proteins. However, little is known about AQP expression, distribution and function in mammary tissue or about the process of water transport across the mammary epithelium. The only information available relates to the identification of AQP1 and AQP3 in capillary endothelia and epithelial cells of mouse mammary glands respectively (Matsuzaki et al., 2005). Since water delivery to the mammary gland is critical for milk production, which is of major economic importance to the dairy industry, it is necessary to understand the underlying physiology involved. The aim of this study was to determine the expression and distribution of AQPs within the bovine mammary gland.