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Telomeres are nucleoprotein complexes that form the ends of eukaryotic chromosomes where they protect DNA from genomic instability, prevent end-to-end fusion and limit cellular replicative capabilities. Increased telomere attrition rates, and relatively shorter telomere length, is associated with genomic instability and has been linked with several chronic diseases, malignancies and reduced longevity. Telomeric DNA is highly susceptible to oxidative damage and dietary habits may make an impact on telomere attrition rates through the mediation of oxidative stress and chronic inflammation. The aim of this study was to examine the association between leucocyte telomere length (LTL) with both the Dietary Inflammatory Index® 2014 (DII®) and the Alternative Healthy Eating Index 2010 (AHEI-2010). This is a cross-sectional analysis using baseline data from 263 postmenopausal women from the Alberta Physical Activity and Breast Cancer Prevention (ALPHA) Trial, in Calgary and Edmonton, Alberta, Canada. No statistically significant association was detected between LTL z-score and the AHEI-2010 (P = 0·20) or DII® (P = 0·91) in multivariable adjusted models. An exploratory analysis of AHEI-2010 and DII® parameters and LTL revealed anthocyanidin intake was associated with LTL (P < 0·01); however, this association was non-significant after a Bonferroni correction was applied (P = 0·27). No effect modification by age, smoking history, or recreational physical activity was detected for either relationship. Increased dietary antioxidant and decreased oxidant intake were not associated with LTL in this analysis.
Laser–solid interactions are highly suited as a potential source of high energy X-rays for nondestructive imaging. A bright, energetic X-ray pulse can be driven from a small source, making it ideal for high resolution X-ray radiography. By limiting the lateral dimensions of the target we are able to confine the region over which X-rays are produced, enabling imaging with enhanced resolution and contrast. Using constrained targets we demonstrate experimentally a
X-ray source, improving the image quality compared to unconstrained foil targets. Modelling demonstrates that a larger sheath field envelope around the perimeter of the constrained targets increases the proportion of electron current that recirculates through the target, driving a brighter source of X-rays.
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.
Schizotypal traits are considered a phenotypic-indicator of schizotypy, a latent personality organization reflecting a putative liability for psychosis. To date, no previous study has examined the comparability of factorial structures across samples originating from different countries and cultures. The main goal was to evaluate the factorial structure and reliability of the Schizotypal Personality Questionnaire (SPQ) scores by amalgamating data from studies conducted in 12 countries and across 21 sites.
The overall sample consisted of 27 001 participants (37.5% males, n = 4251 drawn from the general population). The mean age was 22.12 years (s.d. = 6.28, range 16–55 years). The SPQ was used. Confirmatory factor analysis (CFA) and Multilevel CFA (ML-CFA) were used to evaluate the factor structure underlying the SPQ scores.
At the SPQ item level, the nine factor and second-order factor models showed adequate goodness-of-fit. At the SPQ subscale level, three- and four-factor models displayed better goodness-of-fit indices than other CFA models. ML-CFA showed that the intraclass correlation coefficients values were lower than 0.106. The three-factor model showed adequate goodness of fit indices in multilevel analysis. The ordinal α coefficients were high, ranging from 0.73 to 0.94 across individual samples, and from 0.84 to 0.91 for the combined sample.
The results are consistent with the conceptual notion that schizotypal personality is a multifaceted construct and support the validity and utility of SPQ in cross-cultural research. We discuss theoretical and clinical implications of our results for diagnostic systems, psychosis models and cross-national mental health strategies.
Clinicians need guidance to address the heterogeneity of treatment responses of patients with major depressive disorder (MDD). While prediction schemes based on symptom clustering and biomarkers have so far not yielded results of sufficient strength to inform clinical decision-making, prediction schemes based on big data predictive analytic models might be more practically useful.
We review evidence suggesting that prediction equations based on symptoms and other easily-assessed clinical features found in previous research to predict MDD treatment outcomes might provide a foundation for developing predictive analytic clinical decision support models that could help clinicians select optimal (personalised) MDD treatments. These methods could also be useful in targeting patient subsamples for more expensive biomarker assessments.
Approximately two dozen baseline variables obtained from medical records or patient reports have been found repeatedly in MDD treatment trials to predict overall treatment outcomes (i.e., intervention v. control) or differential treatment outcomes (i.e., intervention A v. intervention B). Similar evidence has been found in observational studies of MDD persistence-severity. However, no treatment studies have yet attempted to develop treatment outcome equations using the full set of these predictors. Promising preliminary empirical results coupled with recent developments in statistical methodology suggest that models could be developed to provide useful clinical decision support in personalised treatment selection. These tools could also provide a strong foundation to increase statistical power in focused studies of biomarkers and MDD heterogeneity of treatment response in subsequent controlled trials.
Coordinated efforts are needed to develop a protocol for systematically collecting information about established predictors of heterogeneity of MDD treatment response in large observational treatment studies, applying and refining these models in subsequent pragmatic trials, carrying out pooled secondary analyses to extract the maximum amount of information from these coordinated studies, and using this information to focus future discovery efforts in the segment of the patient population in which continued uncertainty about treatment response exists.
Mass changes of the Antarctic ice sheet impact sea-level rise as climate changes, but recent rates have been uncertain. Ice, Cloud and land Elevation Satellite (ICESat) data (2003–08) show mass gains from snow accumulation exceeded discharge losses by 82 ± 25 Gt a−1, reducing global sea-level rise by 0.23 mm a−1. European Remote-sensing Satellite (ERS) data (1992–2001) give a similar gain of 112 61 Gt a−1. Gains of 136 Gt a−1 in East Antarctica (EA) and 72 Gt a−1 in four drainage systems (WA2) in West Antarctic (WA) exceed losses of 97 Gt a−1 from three coastal drainage systems (WA1) and 29 Gt a−1 from the Antarctic Peninsula (AP). EA dynamic thickening of 147 Gt a−1 is a continuing response to increased accumulation (>50%) since the early Holocene. Recent accumulation loss of 11 Gt a−1 in EA indicates thickening is not from contemporaneous snowfall increases. Similarly, the WA2 gain is mainly (60 Gt a−1) dynamic thickening. In WA1 and the AP, increased losses of 66 ± 16 Gt a−1 from increased dynamic thinning from accelerating glaciers are 50% offset by greater WA snowfall. The decadal increase in dynamic thinning in WA1 and the AP is approximately one-third of the long-term dynamic thickening in EA and WA2, which should buffer additional dynamic thinning for decades.
The accumulation of boron within the porous nickel ferrite (NiFe2O4, NFO) deposits on nuclear fuel rods is a major technological problem with important safety and economical implications. In this work, first-principles results are combined with experimental thermochemical data to analyze the energetics of vacancy formation in NFO and the possibility of B incorporation into the structure of NFO. Under solid-solid equilibrium conditions, the calculations suggest that vacancy formation and B incorporation into the NFO structure is energetically unfavorable, the main limiting factors being the narrow stability domain of NFO and the precipitation of B2O3, Fe3BO5, and Ni3B2O6 as secondary phases. Assuming solid-liquid equilibrium between NFO and the surrounding aqueous solution saturated with respect to NFO, the calculations predict that in operating PWR environment, Ni vacancies are likely to form. Under these conditions the possibility of B incorporation at the Ni vacancy sites cannot be excluded.
We examined relationships between land disturbance and the extent and abundance of exotic buffelgrass (Pennisetum ciliare) at the interface of cultivated pastures and native desert lands in Sonora, Mexico. Plot and transect surveys of lands inside and outside pasture fences and general linear mixed models revealed complex relationships among buffelgrass, native vegetation, distance from pasture fences, and three categories of land disturbance (undisturbed, moderate, and severe). Results illustrate that buffelgrass invasion is extensive in lands surrounding pastures, and that buffelgrass abundance declines steeply with distance from pasture fences. The role of disturbance is weak but significant in its interaction with distance from the fence. Buffelgrass is more successful at colonizing severely disturbed lands than native vegetation, and its decline in abundance on severely disturbed lands is relatively more gradual than on other disturbance regimes, so landscapes where severely disturbed lands are interspersed with buffelgrass pastures could become centers of extensive buffelgrass invasion. In light of its potential to transform the Sonoran Desert, buffelgrass outside pastures warrants attention in a region-wide control scheme, as well as in future research, which ideally would involve remote sensing.
Dogs can be infected by a wide range of Bartonella spp., but limited studies have been conducted in tropical urban and rural dog populations. We aimed to determine Bartonella antibody prevalence in 455 domestic dogs from four tropical countries and detect Bartonella DNA in a subset of these dogs. Bartonella antibodies were detected in 38 (8·3%) dogs, including 26 (10·1%) from Colombia, nine (7·6%) from Brazil, three (5·1%) from Sri Lanka and none from Vietnam. DNA extraction was performed for 26 (63%) of the 41 seropositive and 10 seronegative dogs. Four seropositive dogs were PCR positive, including two Colombian dogs, infected with B. rochalimae and B. vinsonii subsp. berkhoffii, and two Sri Lankan dogs harbouring sequences identical to strain HMD described in dogs from Italy and Greece. This is the first detection of Bartonella infection in dogs from Colombia and Sri Lanka and identification of Bartonella strain HMD from Asia.
The scaling of the flux and maximum energy of laser-driven sheath-accelerated protons has been investigated as a function of laser pulse energy in the range of 15–380 mJ at intensities of 1016–1018 W/cm2. The pulse duration and target thickness were fixed at 40 fs and 25 nm, respectively, while the laser focal spot size and drive energy were varied. Our results indicate that while the maximum proton energy is dependent on the laser energy and laser spot diameter, the proton flux is primarily related to the laser pulse energy under the conditions studied here. Our measurements show that increasing the laser energy by an order of magnitude results in a more than 500-fold increase in the observed proton flux. Whereas, an order of magnitude increase in the laser intensity generated by decreasing the laser focal spot size, at constant laser energy, gives rise to less than a tenfold increase in observed proton flux.
We derive mass changes of the Greenland ice sheet (GIS) for 2003–07 from ICESat laser altimetry and compare them with results for 1992–2002 from ERS radar and airborne laser altimetry. The GIS continued to grow inland and thin at the margins during 2003–07, but surface melting and accelerated flow significantly increased the marginal thinning compared with the 1990s. The net balance changed from a small loss of 7 ± 3 Gt a−1 in the 1990s to 171 ± 4 Gt a−1 for 2003–07, contributing 0.5 mm a−1 to recent global sea-level rise. We divide the derived mass changes into two components: (1) from changes in melting and ice dynamics and (2) from changes in precipitation and accumulation rate. We use our firn compaction model to calculate the elevation changes driven by changes in both temperature and accumulation rate and to calculate the appropriate density to convert the accumulation-driven changes to mass changes. Increased losses from melting and ice dynamics (17–206 Gt a−1) are over seven times larger than increased gains from precipitation (10–35 Gt a−1) during a warming period of ∼2 K (10 a)−1 over the GIS. Above 2000 m elevation, the rate of gain decreased from 44 to 28 Gt a−1, while below 2000 m the rate of loss increased from 51 to 198 Gt a−1. Enhanced thinning below the equilibrium line on outlet glaciers indicates that increased melting has a significant impact on outlet glaciers, as well as accelerating ice flow. Increased thinning at higher elevations appears to be induced by dynamic coupling to thinning at the margins on decadal timescales.
Rashkind balloon atrial septostomy is a common cardiac procedure aimed at improving systemic oxygenation in newborns with cyanotic congenital cardiac defects, such as transposition of the great arteries. Recent reports on the safety of this procedure were from limited series at single institutions. We analysed two complementary national databases to evaluate clinically relevant outcomes of this procedure.
Methods and results
We performed an analysis of transposition of the great artery patients nationwide using 15 years of the Nationwide In-patient Sample and three complementary years of the Kids’ Inpatient Database. Variables included gender, race, age, and co-existing diagnoses. Outcomes included mortality, length of stay, and hospital charges. Comparison between patients undergoing Rashkind procedure or not was performed using Pearson’s chi-square and Kruskal–Wallis tests. We identified 8681 patients with transposition of the great arteries, of whom 1742 (20%) underwent Rashkind procedure. Patients undergoing Rashkind procedure had lower mortality (10% versus 12%, p = 0.021), despite higher median co-morbidities and longer median length of stay. Rashkind procedure was not associated with increased risk of necrotising enterocolitis (1% versus 1%, p = 0.630), but was associated with nearly twice the risk of clinically recognised stroke (1% versus 0%, p = 0.046).
This study represents the largest national analysis of transposition of the great artery patients to date, with a subset treated with Rashkind procedure. Patients not undergoing Rashkind procedure had higher mortality. Rashkind procedure was not associated with increased risk of necrotising enterocolitis, but was associated with twice the risk of stroke.
Nanodiamonds (NDs) have desirable chemical, physical and biological properties that lend them to a wide range of applications. ND’s facile surface chemistry, for example, can be used to create a high affinity for adsorbing various biological molecules. However, NDs, which are commercially available from multiple vendors, show inconsistencies with surface groups, aggregate sizes and impurity contents that may limit adsorption. We explore adsorption mechanisms of molecules to NDs in efforts to expand ND applications to drug delivery agents, bio-labels and enterosorbents. In doing so, several types of NDs and modification methods are evaluated to increase adsorption capacity and selectivity of propidium iodide and aflatoxin B1. Capacities and binding strengths of target molecules are assessed by Langmuir isotherms and transform calculations. UV-Vis spectroscopy shows our modification treatments are successful in increasing ND adsorption capacities. Additionally, cyclic voltammetry measurements, used to monitor in-situ adsorption, show electrochemical detection even after binding.
We examined the contributions of genetic and environmental factors to body mass index (BMI) over approximately 28 years. Participants were 693 male, predominantly middle-class, twins (355 monozygotic, 338 dizygotic) from the Vietnam Era Twin Registry. The phenotypic correlation between age 20 and age 48 BMI was 0.52; the genetic correlation was 0.60. Most of the remaining variance at both times was accounted for by nonshared environmental factors. Since genetic factors are not perfectly correlated, this indicates that other genes affect BMI at one or both time points, leaving room for further exploration of the genetics of body mass stability. Mean BMI increased significantly from 22.7 (normal) to 27.8 (overweight). Overweight BMI at age 20 predicted midlife adult onset diabetes (adjusted odds ratio = 4.62, 95% CI 1.91 to 11.18), but not hypertension. Depending on one's vantage point, the results indicate elements of both stability and change in BMI. Very similar phenotypic and genetic correlations were observed over a similar time period in a WW II twin sample, but without the substantial mean increase in BMI. It seems unlikely that different genes influence BMI in the two cohorts. Therefore, we argue that nonshared environmental factors are probably primarily responsible for the secular increase in midlife BMI. Our results also provide prospective evidence that early excess BMI may have serious long-term health consequences, and that this risk is not limited to minorities or adults of lower socioeconomic status.
The timing and degree of reliance on maize agriculture in the Four Corners region of the American Southwest has been a central issue in studies that examine the origins of Puebloan society. Both diffusionist (various, but see Wills 1995) and migrationist (Berry and Berry 1986; Matson 1991) models have been proposed to explain the processes responsible for the movement of maize (Zea mays) north into the Four Corners region. This paper reports bone collagen stable carbon and nitrogen isotope values with paired accelerator radiocarbon dates on a large collection of human remains from western Basketmaker II/III sites in Marsh Pass and other areas of northeastern Arizona, as well as data on a small number of Puebloan remains including Chacoan Great House burials. The results make clear that Basketmaker II people were heavily dependent on maize by 400 B.C. Moreover, their degree of dependence is similar to that of Pueblo II and III farmers of the Four Corners region. These findings and the apparent rapidity of maize dependence support a migrationist model for the origins of maize farming in the northern Southwest.