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Each year hundreds of new biomedical devices and therapies are developed to attempt to solve unmet medical needs. However, many fail due to unforeseen challenges of complex ethical, regulatory, and societal issues. We propose that a number of these issues can be effectively transformed into drivers of innovation for medical solutions if ethical analysis is considered early, iteratively, and comprehensively in the research and development process.
The science of studying diamond inclusions for understanding Earth history has developed significantly over the past decades, with new instrumentation and techniques applied to diamond sample archives revealing the stories contained within diamond inclusions. This chapter reviews what diamonds can tell us about the deep carbon cycle over the course of Earth’s history. It reviews how the geochemistry of diamonds and their inclusions inform us about the deep carbon cycle, the origin of the diamonds in Earth’s mantle, and the evolution of diamonds through time.
The Ross Ice Shelf (RIS) is host to a broadband, multimode seismic wavefield that is excited in response to atmospheric, oceanic and solid Earth source processes. A 34-station broadband seismographic network installed on the RIS from late 2014 through early 2017 produced continuous vibrational observations of Earth's largest ice shelf at both floating and grounded locations. We characterize temporal and spatial variations in broadband ambient wavefield power, with a focus on period bands associated with primary (10–20 s) and secondary (5–10 s) microseism signals, and an oceanic source process near the ice front (0.4–4.0 s). Horizontal component signals on floating stations overwhelmingly reflect oceanic excitations year-round due to near-complete isolation from solid Earth shear waves. The spectrum at all periods is shown to be strongly modulated by the concentration of sea ice near the ice shelf front. Contiguous and extensive sea ice damps ocean wave coupling sufficiently so that wintertime background levels can approach or surpass those of land-sited stations in Antarctica.
The Twins Early Development Study (TEDS) is a longitudinal twin study that recruited over 16,000 twin-pairs born between 1994 and 1996 in England and Wales through national birth records. More than 10,000 of these families are still engaged in the study. TEDS was and still is a representative sample of the population in England and Wales. Rich cognitive and emotional/behavioral data have been collected from the twins from infancy to emerging adulthood, with data collection at first contact and at ages 2, 3, 4, 7, 8, 9, 10, 12, 14, 16, 18 and 21, enabling longitudinal genetically sensitive analyses. Data have been collected from the twins themselves, from their parents and teachers, and from the UK National Pupil Database. Genotyped DNA data are available for 10,346 individuals (who are unrelated except for 3320 dizygotic co-twins). TEDS data have contributed to over 400 scientific papers involving more than 140 researchers in 50 research institutions. TEDS offers an outstanding resource for investigating cognitive and behavioral development across childhood and early adulthood and actively fosters scientific collaborations.
The Children of the Twins Early Development Study (CoTEDS) is a new prospective children-of-twins study in the UK, designed to investigate intergenerational associations across child developmental stages. CoTEDS will enable research on genetic and environmental factors that underpin parent–child associations, with a focus on mental health and cognitive-related traits. Through CoTEDS, we will have a new lens to examine the roles that parents play in influencing child development, as well as the genetic and environmental factors that shape parenting behavior and experiences. Recruitment is ongoing from the sample of approximately 20,000 contactable adult twins who have been enrolled in the Twins Early Development Study (TEDS) since infancy. TEDS twins are invited to register all offspring to CoTEDS at birth, with 554 children registered as of May 2019. By recruiting the second generation of TEDS participants, CoTEDS will include information on adult twins and their offspring from infancy. Parent questionnaire-based data collection is now underway for 1- and 2-year-old CoTEDS infants, with further waves of data collection planned. Current data collection includes the following primary constructs: child mental health, temperament, language and cognitive development; parent mental health and social relationships; parenting behaviors and feelings; and other socioecological factors. Measurement tools have been selected with reference to existing genetically informative cohort studies to ensure overlap in phenotypes measured at corresponding stages of development. This built-in study overlap is intended to enable replication and triangulation of future analyses across samples and research designs. Here, we summarize study protocols and measurement procedures and describe future plans.
Mountain glaciers integrate climate processes to provide an unmatched signal of regional climate forcing. However, extracting the climate signal via intercomparison of regional glacier mass-balance records can be problematic when methods for extrapolating and calibrating direct glaciological measurements are mixed or inconsistent. To address this problem, we reanalyzed and compared long-term mass-balance records from the US Geological Survey Benchmark Glaciers. These five glaciers span maritime and continental climate regimes of the western United States and Alaska. Each glacier exhibits cumulative mass loss since the mid-20th century, with average rates ranging from −0.58 to −0.30 m w.e. a−1. We produced a set of solutions using different extrapolation and calibration methods to inform uncertainty estimates, which range from 0.22 to 0.44 m w.e. a−1. Mass losses are primarily driven by increasing summer warming. Continentality exerts a stronger control on mass loss than latitude. Similar to elevation, topographic shading, snow redistribution and glacier surface features often exert important mass-balance controls. The reanalysis underscores the value of geodetic calibration to resolve mass-balance magnitude, as well as the irreplaceable value of direct measurements in contributing to the process-based understanding of glacier mass balance.
While echocardiographic parameters are used to quantify ventricular function in infants with single ventricle physiology, there are few data comparing these to invasive measurements. This study correlates echocardiographic measures of diastolic function with ventricular end-diastolic pressure in infants with single ventricle physiology prior to superior cavopulmonary anastomosis.
Data from 173 patients enrolled in the Pediatric Heart Network Infant Single Ventricle enalapril trial were analysed. Those with mixed ventricular types (n = 17) and one outlier (end-diastolic pressure = 32 mmHg) were excluded from the analysis, leaving a total sample size of 155 patients. Echocardiographic measurements were correlated to end-diastolic pressure using Spearman’s test.
Median age at echocardiogram was 4.6 (range 2.5–7.4) months. Median ventricular end-diastolic pressure was 7 (range 3–19) mmHg. Median time difference between the echocardiogram and catheterisation was 0 days (range −35 to 59 days). Examining the entire cohort of 155 patients, no echocardiographic diastolic function variable correlated with ventricular end-diastolic pressure. When the analysis was limited to the 86 patients who had similar sedation for both studies, the systolic:diastolic duration ratio had a significant but weak negative correlation with end-diastolic pressure (r = −0.3, p = 0.004). The remaining echocardiographic variables did not correlate with ventricular end-diastolic pressure.
In this cohort of infants with single ventricle physiology prior to superior cavopulmonary anastomosis, most conventional echocardiographic measures of diastolic function did not correlate with ventricular end-diastolic pressure at cardiac catheterisation. These limitations should be factored into the interpretation of quantitative echo data in this patient population.
Medical residents are an important group for antimicrobial stewardship programs (ASPs) to target with interventions aimed at improving antibiotic prescribing. In this study, we compared antimicrobial prescribing practices of 2 academic medical teams receiving different ASP training approaches along with a hospitalist control group.
Retrospective cohort study comparing guideline-concordant antibiotic prescribing for 3 common infections among a family medicine (FM) resident service, an internal medicine (IM) resident service, and hospitalists.
Community teaching hospital.
Adult patients admitted between July 1, 2016, and June 30, 2017, with a discharge diagnosis of pneumonia, cellulitis, and urinary tract infections were reviewed.
All 3 medical teams received identical baseline ASP education and daily antibiotic prescribing audit with feedback via clinical pharmacists. The FM resident service received an additional layer of targeted ASP intervention that included biweekly stewardship-focused rounds with an ASP physician and clinical pharmacist leadership. Guideline-concordant prescribing was assessed based on the institution’s ASP guidelines.
Of 1,572 patients, 295 (18.8%) were eligible for inclusion (FM, 96; IM, 69; hospitalist, 130). The percentage of patients receiving guideline-concordant antibiotic selection empirically was similar between groups for all diagnoses (FM, 87.5%; IM, 87%; hospitalist, 83.8%; P = .702). No differences were observed in appropriate definitive antibiotic selection among groups (FM, 92.4%; IM, 89.1%; hospitalist, 89.9%; P = .746). The FM resident service was more likely to prescribe a guideline-concordant duration of therapy across all diagnoses (FM, 74%; IM, 56.5%; hospitalist, 44.6%; P < .001).
Adding dedicated stewardship-focused rounds into the graduate medical curriculum demonstrated increased guideline adherence specifically to duration of therapy recommendations.
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.
Apolipoprotein E (APOE) E4 is the main genetic risk factor for Alzheimer’s disease (AD). Due to the consistent association, there is interest as to whether E4 influences the risk of other neurodegenerative diseases. Further, there is a constant search for other genetic biomarkers contributing to these phenotypes, such as microtubule-associated protein tau (MAPT) haplotypes. Here, participants from the Ontario Neurodegenerative Disease Research Initiative were genotyped to investigate whether the APOE E4 allele or MAPT H1 haplotype are associated with five neurodegenerative diseases: (1) AD and mild cognitive impairment (MCI), (2) amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, (3) frontotemporal dementia (FTD), (4) Parkinson’s disease, and (5) vascular cognitive impairment.
Genotypes were defined for their respective APOE allele and MAPT haplotype calls for each participant, and logistic regression analyses were performed to identify the associations with the presentations of neurodegenerative diseases.
Our work confirmed the association of the E4 allele with a dose-dependent increased presentation of AD, and an association between the E4 allele alone and MCI; however, the other four diseases were not associated with E4. Further, the APOE E2 allele was associated with decreased presentation of both AD and MCI. No associations were identified between MAPT haplotype and the neurodegenerative disease cohorts; but following subtyping of the FTD cohort, the H1 haplotype was significantly associated with progressive supranuclear palsy.
This is the first study to concurrently analyze the association of APOE isoforms and MAPT haplotypes with five neurodegenerative diseases using consistent enrollment criteria and broad phenotypic analysis.
In recent years, the discovery of massive quasars at
has provided a striking challenge to our understanding of the origin and growth of supermassive black holes in the early Universe. Mounting observational and theoretical evidence indicates the viability of massive seeds, formed by the collapse of supermassive stars, as a progenitor model for such early, massive accreting black holes. Although considerable progress has been made in our theoretical understanding, many questions remain regarding how (and how often) such objects may form, how they live and die, and how next generation observatories may yield new insight into the origin of these primordial titans. This review focusses on our present understanding of this remarkable formation scenario, based on the discussions held at the Monash Prato Centre from November 20 to 24, 2017, during the workshop ‘Titans of the Early Universe: The Origin of the First Supermassive Black Holes’.