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Although both obesity and ageing are risk factors for cognitive impairment, there is no evidence in Chile on how obesity levels are associated with cognitive function. Therefore, the aim of the present study was to investigate the association between adiposity levels and cognitive impairment in older Chilean adults. This cross-sectional study includes 1384 participants, over 60 years of age, from the Chilean National Health Survey 2009–2010. Cognitive impairment was evaluated using the Mini-Mental State Examination. BMI and waist circumference (WC) were used as measures of adiposity. Compared with people with a normal BMI, the odds of cognitive impairment were higher in participants who were underweight (OR 4·44; 95 % CI 2·43, 6·45; P < 0·0001), overweight (OR 1·86; 95 % CI 1·06, 2·66; P = 0·031) and obese (OR 2·26; 95 % CI 1·31, 3·21; P = 0·003). The associations were robust after adjustment for confounding variables. Similar results were observed for WC. Low and high levels of adiposity are associated with an increased likelihood of cognitive impairment in older adults in Chile.
To identify genetic risk loci for major depressive disorder (MDD), two broad study design approaches have been applied: (1) to maximize sample size by combining data from different phenotype assessment modalities (e.g. clinical interview, self-report questionnaires) and (2) to reduce phenotypic heterogeneity through selecting more homogenous MDD subtypes. The value of these strategies has been debated. In this review, we summarize the most recent findings of large genomic studies that applied these approaches, and we highlight the merits and pitfalls of both approaches with particular attention to methodological and psychometric issues. We also discuss the results of analyses that investigated the heterogeneity of MDD. We conclude that both study designs are essential for further research. So far, increasing sample size has led to the identification of a relatively high number of genomic loci linked to depression. However, part of the identified variants may be related to a phenotype common to internalizing disorders and related traits. As such, samples containing detailed clinical information are needed to dissect depression heterogeneity and enable the potential identification of variants specific to a more restricted MDD phenotype. A balanced portfolio reconciling both study design approaches is the optimal approach to progress further in unraveling the genetic architecture of depression.
Structure and optical properties have been successfully determined for a series of niobium- and tantalum-containing layered alkaline-earth silicate compounds, Ba3(Nb6−xTax)Si4O26 (x = 0.6, 1.8, 3.0, 4.2, 5.4). The structure of this solid solution was found to be hexagonal P-62m (No. 189), with Z = 1. With x increases from 0.6 to 5.4, the lattice parameter a increases from 8.98804(8) to 9.00565(9) Å and c decreases from 7.83721(10) to 7.75212(12) Å. As a result, the volume decreases from 548.304(11) to 544.479(14) Å3. The (Nb/Ta)O6 distorted octahedra form continuous chains along the c-axis. These (Nb/Ta)O6 chains are in turn linked with the Si2O7 groups to form distorted pentagonal channels in which Ba ions were found. These Ba2+ ions have full occupancy and a 13-fold coordination environment with neighboring oxygen sites. Another salient feature of the structure is the linear Si–O–Si chains. When x in Ba3(Nb6−xTax)Si4O26 increases, the bond valence sum (BVS) values of the Ba sites increase slightly (2.09–2.20), indicating the size of the cage becoming progressively smaller (over-bonding). While SiO cages are also slightly smaller than ideal (BVS range from 4.16 to 4.19), the (Nb/Ta)O6 octahedral cages are slightly larger than ideal (BVS range from 4.87 to 4.90), giving rise to an under-bonding situation. The bandgaps of the solid solution members were measured between 3.39 and 3.59 eV, and the x = 3.0 member was modeled by density functional theory techniques to be 3.07 eV. The bandgaps of these materials indicate that they are potential candidates for ultraviolet photocatalyst.
A new era in radio astronomy will begin with the upcoming large-scale surveys planned at the Australian Square Kilometre Array Pathfinder (ASKAP). ASKAP started its Early Science programme in October 2017 and several target fields were observed during the array commissioning phase. The Scorpio field was the first observed in the Galactic Plane in Band 1 (792–1 032 MHz) using 15 commissioned antennas. The achieved sensitivity and large field of view already allow to discover new sources and survey thousands of existing ones with improved precision with respect to previous surveys. Data analysis is currently ongoing to deliver the first source catalogue. Given the increased scale of the data, source extraction and characterisation, even in this Early Science phase, have to be carried out in a mostly automated way. This process presents significant challenges due to the presence of extended objects and diffuse emission close to the Galactic Plane.
In this context, we have extended and optimised a novel source finding tool, named Caesar, to allow extraction of both compact and extended sources from radio maps. A number of developments have been done driven by the analysis of the Scorpio map and in view of the future ASKAP Galactic Plane survey. The main goals are the improvement of algorithm performances and scalability as well as of software maintainability and usability within the radio community. In this paper, we present the current status of Caesar and report a first systematic characterisation of its performance for both compact and extended sources using simulated maps. Future prospects are discussed in the light of the obtained results.
Global warming and the associated glacier retreat recently revealed the entrance to an ice–rock tunnel, at an altitude of ~3600 m a.s.l., in the uppermost portion of the Forni Glacier in the Central Italian Alps. The tunnel served as an entrance to an Austro-Hungarian cableway station excavated in the rocks during the Great War just behind the frontline. A comprehensive geophysical survey, based on seismic and ground-penetrating radar profiling, was then undertaken to map other possible World War I (WWI) remains still embedded in the ice. The ice–rock interface was reconstructed over the entire saddle and in the uppermost portion of the glacier. A prominent linear reflector was surprisingly similar to the common response of buried pipes. The reflector orientation, almost longitudinal to the slope, does not seem to be compatible with a glacial conduit or with other natural features. Numerical simulations of a series of possible targets constrained interpretation to a partly water-filled rounded shape cavity. The presence of a preserved WWI tunnel connecting Mount Vioz and Punta Linke could be considered a realistic hypothesis. The Forni glacier could be still considered polythermal and comprised of cold ice without basal sliding in its top portion.
The rocky shores of the north-east Atlantic have been long studied. Our focus is from Gibraltar to Norway plus the Azores and Iceland. Phylogeographic processes shape biogeographic patterns of biodiversity. Long-term and broadscale studies have shown the responses of biota to past climate fluctuations and more recent anthropogenic climate change. Inter- and intra-specific species interactions along sharp local environmental gradients shape distributions and community structure and hence ecosystem functioning. Shifts in domination by fucoids in shelter to barnacles/mussels in exposure are mediated by grazing by patellid limpets. Further south fucoids become increasingly rare, with species disappearing or restricted to estuarine refuges, caused by greater desiccation and grazing pressure. Mesoscale processes influence bottom-up nutrient forcing and larval supply, hence affecting species abundance and distribution, and can be proximate factors setting range edges (e.g., the English Channel, the Iberian Peninsula). Impacts of invasive non-native species are reviewed. Knowledge gaps such as the work on rockpools and host–parasite dynamics are also outlined.
We provide an update on diagnostic methods for the detection of urogenital schistosomiasis (UGS) in men and highlight that satisfactory urine-antigen diagnostics for UGS lag much behind that for intestinal schistosomiasis, where application of a urine-based point-of-care strip assay, the circulating cathodic antigen (CCA) test, is now advocated. Making specific reference to male genital schistosomiasis (MGS), we place greater emphasis on parasitological detection methods and clinical assessment of internal genitalia with ultrasonography. Unlike the advances made in defining a clinical standard protocol for female genital schistosomiasis, MGS remains inadequately defined. Whilst urine filtration with microscopic examination for ova of Schistosoma haematobium is a convenient but error-prone proxy of MGS, we describe a novel low-cost sampling and direct visualization method for the enumeration of ova in semen. Using exemplar clinical cases of MGS from our longitudinal cohort study among fishermen along the shoreline of Lake Malawi, the portfolio of diagnostic needs is appraised including: the use of symptomatology questionnaires, urine analysis (egg count and CCA measurement), semen analysis (egg count, circulating anodic antigen measurement and real-time polymerase chain reaction analysis) alongside clinical assessment with portable ultrasonography.
We establish that a random sum of independent and identically distributed (i.i.d.) random quantities has a log-concave cumulative distribution function (cdf) if (i) the random number of terms in the sum has a log-concave probability mass function (pmf) and (ii) the distribution of the i.i.d. terms has a non-increasing density function (when continuous) or a non-increasing pmf (when discrete). We illustrate the usefulness of this result using a standard actuarial risk model and a replacement model.
We apply this fundamental result to establish that a compound renewal process observed during a random time interval has a log-concave cdf if the observation time interval and the inter-renewal time distribution have log-concave densities, while the compounding distribution has a decreasing density or pmf. We use this second result to establish the optimality of a so-called (s,S) policy for various inventory models with a stock-out cost coefficient of dimension [$/unit], significantly generalizing the conditions for the demand and leadtime processes, in conjunction with the cost structure in these models. We also identify the implications of our results for various algorithmic approaches to compute optimal policy parameters.
In 2014/2015, International Medical Corps (IMC) operated two Ebola Treatment Units (ETUs) in Liberia and three in Sierra Leone when the Ebola virus disease epidemic killed over 11,000 people across Liberia, Sierra Leone and Guinea. As Ebola cases declined in Liberia, IMC Psychosocial teams transitioned to working in communities highly affected by the epidemic. This article describes IMC's experience with developing and implementing a community-based mental health and psychosocial group intervention in a rural, severely affected Liberian town – Mawah – where 46 out of approximately 800 community members were infected, 39 of whom died. In this paper, we present how the group intervention, named ‘Social Reconnection Groups’, was developed and implemented. We then discuss intervention strengths, challenges, key lessons learnt and recommendations for how Social Reconnection Groups can be adapted for use in similar settings.
The linear stability of high-Reynolds-number corrugated jets is investigated by solving the compressible Rayleigh equation linearized about the time-averaged flow field. A Floquet ansatz is used to account for periodicity of this base flow in the azimuthal direction. The origin of multiple unstable solutions, which are known to appear in these non-circular configurations, is traced through gradual perturbations of a parametrized base-flow profile. It is shown that all unstable modes are corrugated jet continuations of the classical Kelvin–Helmholtz modes of circular jets, highlighting that the same instability mechanism, modified by corrugations, leads to the growth of disturbances in such flows. It is found that under certain conditions the eigenvalues may form saddles in the complex plane and display axis switching in their eigenfunctions. A parametric study is also conducted to understand how penetration and number of corrugations impact stability. The effect of these geometric properties on growth rates and phase speeds of the multiple unstable modes is explored, and the results provide guidelines for the development of nozzle configurations that more effectively modify the Kelvin–Helmholtz instability.
Dense granular flows can spontaneously self-channelise by forming a pair of parallel-sided static levees on either side of a central flowing channel. This process prevents lateral spreading and maintains the flow thickness, and hence mobility, enabling the grains to run out considerably further than a spreading flow on shallow slopes. Since levees commonly form in hazardous geophysical mass flows, such as snow avalanches, debris flows, lahars and pyroclastic flows, this has important implications for risk management in mountainous and volcanic regions. In this paper an avalanche model that incorporates frictional hysteresis, as well as depth-averaged viscous terms derived from the
-rheology, is used to quantitatively model self-channelisation and levee formation. The viscous terms are crucial for determining a smoothly varying steady-state velocity profile across the flowing channel, which has the important property that it does not exert any shear stresses at the levee–channel interfaces. For a fixed mass flux, the resulting boundary value problem for the velocity profile also uniquely determines the width and height of the channel, and the predictions are in very good agreement with existing experimental data for both spherical and angular particles. It is also shown that in the absence of viscous (second-order gradient) terms, the problem degenerates, to produce plug flow in the channel with two frictionless contact discontinuities at the levee–channel margins. Such solutions are not observed in experiments. Moreover, the steady-state inviscid problem lacks a thickness or width selection mechanism and consequently there is no unique solution. The viscous theory is therefore a significant step forward. Fully time-dependent numerical simulations to the viscous model are able to quantitatively capture the process in which the flow self-channelises and show how the levees are initially emplaced behind the flow head. Both experiments and numerical simulations show that the height and width of the channel are not necessarily fixed by these initial values, but respond to changes in the supplied mass flux, allowing narrowing and widening of the channel long after the initial front has passed by. In addition, below a critical mass flux the steady-state solutions become unstable and time-dependent numerical simulations are able to capture the transition to periodic erosion–deposition waves observed in experiments.
Cerrado sensu stricto (a physiognomy of the Cerrado domain, the Brazilian savanna) is subject to the annual occurrence of fire. Data on the epiphytic community in this physiognomy is scarce, as is evaluation of the influence of fire on its structure and composition. The aim of this study was to describe the structure of the vascular epiphyte community and its relationships with phorophytes in the Cerrado domain, Southeast Region of Brazil, after the passage of fire. We found the greatest abundance of epiphytes in the upper strata (65% of the individuals occurring above 3 m in height) and the dominance of three generalist species (Tillandsia streptocarpa, T. recurvata and Epiphyllum phyllanthus), suggesting that fire has an influence on the structure and composition of the epiphytic community.
This study aimed to evaluate the transcriptional changes occurring in isolated perfused mammary alveolar tissue in response to inoculation with S. agalactiae and to identify the most affected biological functions and pathways after 3 h. Four udders taken at slaughter from cows with healthy mammary gland were perfused ex situ with warmed and gassed Tyrode's solution. Mammary alveolar tissue samples were taken from the left fore and rear quarters (IQ-inoculated quarters) before inoculation (hour 0) and at 3 h post inoculation (hpi) and at the same times from control right fore and rear quarters (not inoculated: NIQ). A total of 1756 differentially expressed genes (DEGs) were identified between IQ and NIQ at 3 hpi using edgeR package. Within this set of DEGs, 952 were up regulated and mainly involved with innate immune response and inflammatory response, e.g., CD14, CCL5, TLR2, IL-8, SAA3, as well as in transcriptional regulation such as FOS, STAT3 and NFKBIA. Genes down-regulated (804) included those involved with lipid synthesis e.g., APOC2, SCD, FABP3 and FABP4. The most affected pathways were chemokine signaling, Wnt signaling and complement and coagulation cascades, which likely reflects the early stage response of mammary tissue to S. agalactiae infection. No significant gene expression changes were detected by RNA-Seq in the others contrasts. Real time-PCR confirmed the increase in mRNA abundance of immune-related genes: TLR2, TLR4, IL-1β, and IL-10 at 3 hpi between IQ and NIQ. The expression profiles of Casp1 and Bax for any contrasts were unaffected whereas Bcl2 was increased in IQ, which suggests no induction of apoptosis during the first hours after infection. Results provided novel information regarding the early functional pathways and gene network that orchestrate innate immune responses to S. agalactiae infection. This knowledge could contribute to new strategies to enhance resistance to this disease, such as genomic selection.
The search for life in the Universe is a fundamental problem of astrobiology and modern science. The current progress in the detection of terrestrial-type exoplanets has opened a new avenue in the characterization of exoplanetary atmospheres and in the search for biosignatures of life with the upcoming ground-based and space missions. To specify the conditions favourable for the origin, development and sustainment of life as we know it in other worlds, we need to understand the nature of global (astrospheric), and local (atmospheric and surface) environments of exoplanets in the habitable zones (HZs) around G-K-M dwarf stars including our young Sun. Global environment is formed by propagated disturbances from the planet-hosting stars in the form of stellar flares, coronal mass ejections, energetic particles and winds collectively known as astrospheric space weather. Its characterization will help in understanding how an exoplanetary ecosystem interacts with its host star, as well as in the specification of the physical, chemical and biochemical conditions that can create favourable and/or detrimental conditions for planetary climate and habitability along with evolution of planetary internal dynamics over geological timescales. A key linkage of (astro)physical, chemical and geological processes can only be understood in the framework of interdisciplinary studies with the incorporation of progress in heliophysics, astrophysics, planetary and Earth sciences. The assessment of the impacts of host stars on the climate and habitability of terrestrial (exo)planets will significantly expand the current definition of the HZ to the biogenic zone and provide new observational strategies for searching for signatures of life. The major goal of this paper is to describe and discuss the current status and recent progress in this interdisciplinary field in light of presentations and discussions during the NASA Nexus for Exoplanetary System Science funded workshop ‘Exoplanetary Space Weather, Climate and Habitability’ and to provide a new roadmap for the future development of the emerging field of exoplanetary science and astrobiology.
The COllaborative project of Development of Anthropometrical measures in Twins (CODATwins) project is a large international collaborative effort to analyze individual-level phenotype data from twins in multiple cohorts from different environments. The main objective is to study factors that modify genetic and environmental variation of height, body mass index (BMI, kg/m2) and size at birth, and additionally to address other research questions such as long-term consequences of birth size. The project started in 2013 and is open to all twin projects in the world having height and weight measures on twins with information on zygosity. Thus far, 54 twin projects from 24 countries have provided individual-level data. The CODATwins database includes 489,981 twin individuals (228,635 complete twin pairs). Since many twin cohorts have collected longitudinal data, there is a total of 1,049,785 height and weight observations. For many cohorts, we also have information on birth weight and length, own smoking behavior and own or parental education. We found that the heritability estimates of height and BMI systematically changed from infancy to old age. Remarkably, only minor differences in the heritability estimates were found across cultural–geographic regions, measurement time and birth cohort for height and BMI. In addition to genetic epidemiological studies, we looked at associations of height and BMI with education, birth weight and smoking status. Within-family analyses examined differences within same-sex and opposite-sex dizygotic twins in birth size and later development. The CODATwins project demonstrates the feasibility and value of international collaboration to address gene-by-exposure interactions that require large sample sizes and address the effects of different exposures across time, geographical regions and socioeconomic status.
The dietary inclusion of feed additives to improve the carcass characteristics of the final product is of great importance for the pork production chain. The aim of our study was to evaluate the effects of the association of ractopamine (RAC) and conjugated linoleic acid (CLA) on the performance traits of finishing pigs during the last 26 days prior to slaughter. In total, 810 commercial hybrid barrows were used. Animals were distributed among treatments according to a randomised block design in a 3 × 3 factorial arrangement, with three RAC levels (0, 5 or 10 ppm) and three CLA levels (0, 0.3 or 0.6%). Pigs fed the diet with 5 ppm RAC had higher average daily feed intake (ADFI) (2.83 kg; P < 0.05) when compared with those fed 10 ppm RAC and the control diet (2.75 and 2.74 kg, respectively). Lower ADFI values (P < 0.01) were observed with the diets containing CLA compared with the control diet with no CLA (2.73 and 2.75 v. 2.85 kg/day, respectively). The average daily weight gain of pigs fed 5 and 10 ppm RAC was +148 and +173 g/dayhigher (P < 0.001), respectively, than those fed the control diet. Dietary RAC levels influenced (P < 0.001) feed conversion ratio (FCR), which was reduced as RAC levels increased, with the pigs fed 10, 5 and 0 ppm RAC presenting FCR values of 2.57, 2.71 and 3.05, respectively. FCR also improved (P < 0.05) with the inclusion of 0.6% CLA relative to the control diet (2.70 v. 2.84, respectively). There was a significant interaction between CLA × RAC levels (P < 0.01) for final BW, loin eye area (LEA) (P < 0.05) and backfat thickness (BT) (P < 0.05). The treatments containing 10 ppm RAC + 0.6% or 0.3% CLA increased LEA and reduced BT. In conclusion, the level of 10 ppm inclusion of RAC increased the overall performance parameters of pigs and therefore improved production efficiency. The combined use of RAC and CLA promoted a lower feed conversion ratio as well as better quantitative carcass traits, as demonstrated by the higher LEA and lower BT. The dietary inclusion of CLA at 0.3% improved feed efficiency, however, without affecting LEA or BT yields.
Although radiocarbon (14C) dating is commonly used for archeological music instruments, little research has been conducted on modern instruments (16th–19th centuries). New technology, based on the Mini Carbon Dating System (MICADAS), enables some of the recurring challenges (e.g. sampling size) to be circumvented and paves the way for a new field of investigation. We here address the Indian instrumentarium, about which very little is known. We investigate the making and the restoration phases of two vina, a kinnari vina (E.1444), and a rudra vina or bin (E.997.24.1). By comparing 14C measurements made on several samplings of elements of the instruments with museological information, we were able to specify a unique calibrated interval of ages [1666 AD–1690 AD] for the kinnari vina, with a restoration phase [1678 AD–1766 AD] for the upper nut. The bin is likely attributed to the [1650 AD–1683 AD] interval.
We apply two methods to estimate the 21-cm bispectrum from data taken within the Epoch of Reionisation (EoR) project of the Murchison Widefield Array (MWA). Using data acquired with the Phase II compact array allows a direct bispectrum estimate to be undertaken on the multiple redundantly spaced triangles of antenna tiles, as well as an estimate based on data gridded to the uv-plane. The direct and gridded bispectrum estimators are applied to 21 h of high-band (167–197 MHz; z = 6.2–7.5) data from the 2016 and 2017 observing seasons. Analytic predictions for the bispectrum bias and variance for point-source foregrounds are derived. We compare the output of these approaches, the foreground contribution to the signal, and future prospects for measuring the bispectra with redundant and non-redundant arrays. We find that some triangle configurations yield bispectrum estimates that are consistent with the expected noise level after 10 h, while equilateral configurations are strongly foreground-dominated. Careful choice of triangle configurations may be made to reduce foreground bias that hinders power spectrum estimators, and the 21-cm bispectrum may be accessible in less time than the 21-cm power spectrum for some wave modes, with detections in hundreds of hours.