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TwinsUK is the largest cohort of community-dwelling adult twins in the UK. The registry comprises over 14,000 volunteer twins (14,838 including mixed, single and triplets); it is predominantly female (82%) and middle-aged (mean age 59). In addition, over 1800 parents and siblings of twins are registered volunteers. During the last 27 years, TwinsUK has collected numerous questionnaire responses, physical/cognitive measures and biological measures on over 8500 subjects. Data were collected alongside four comprehensive phenotyping clinical visits to the Department of Twin Research and Genetic Epidemiology, King’s College London. Such collection methods have resulted in very detailed longitudinal clinical, biochemical, behavioral, dietary and socioeconomic cohort characterization; it provides a multidisciplinary platform for the study of complex disease during the adult life course, including the process of healthy aging. The major strength of TwinsUK is the availability of several ‘omic’ technologies for a range of sample types from participants, which includes genomewide scans of single-nucleotide variants, next-generation sequencing, metabolomic profiles, microbiomics, exome sequencing, epigenetic markers, gene expression arrays, RNA sequencing and telomere length measures. TwinsUK facilitates and actively encourages sharing the ‘TwinsUK’ resource with the scientific community — interested researchers may request data via the TwinsUK website (http://twinsuk.ac.uk/resources-for-researchers/access-our-data/) for their own use or future collaboration with the study team. In addition, further cohort data collection is planned via the Wellcome Open Research gateway (https://wellcomeopenresearch.org/gateways). The current article presents an up-to-date report on the application of technological advances, new study procedures in the cohort and future direction of TwinsUK.
Medical equipment can transmit pathogenic bacteria to patients. This single-institution point prevalence study aimed to characterise the types and relative amount of bacteria found on surgical loupes, headlights and their battery packs.
Surgical loupes, headlights and battery packs of 16 otolaryngology staff and residents were sampled, cultured and quantified. Plate scores were summed for each equipment type, and the total was divided by the number of users to generate mean bacterial burden scores. Residents completed a questionnaire regarding their equipment cleaning practices.
The contamination rates of loupes, headlights and battery packs were 68.75 per cent, 100 per cent and 75 per cent, respectively. Battery packs cultured more bacteria (1.58 per swab ± 1.00) than loupes (0.75 per swab ± 0.66; p = 0.024). Headlights had non-significantly greater growth (1.50 per swab ± 0.71) than loupes (p = 0.052). Bacterial growth was significantly higher from inner surfaces of loupes (p = 0.035) and headlights (p = 0.037). Potentially pathogenic bacteria were cultured from the equipment of five participants, including: Pantoea agglomerans, Acinetobacter radioresistens, Staphylococcus aureus, Acinetobacter calcoaceticus baumannii complex and Moraxella osloensis.
This study demonstrates that surgical loupes and headlights used in otolaryngology harbour non-pathogenic skin flora and potentially pathogenic bacteria.
Transoral laser microsurgery is an increasingly common treatment modality for glottic carcinoma. This study aimed to determine the effect of age, gender, stage and time on voice-related quality of life using the Voice Handicap Index-10.
Primary early glottic carcinoma patients treated with transoral laser microsurgery were included in the study. Self-reported Voice Handicap Index testing was completed pre-operatively, three months post-operatively, and yearly at follow-up appointments.
Voice Handicap Index improvement was found to be dependent on age and tumour stage, while no significant differences were found in Voice Handicap Index for gender. Voice Handicap Index score was significantly improved at 12 months and 24 months. Time versus Voice Handicap Index modelling revealed a preference for non-linear over linear regression.
Age and stage are important factors, as younger patients with more advanced tumours show greater voice improvement post-operatively. Patient's Voice Handicap Index is predicted to have 95 per cent of maximal improvement by 5.5 months post-operatively.
The instrumentation developed for poly crystalline diffractometry using the storage ring at the Stanford Synchrotron Radiation Laboratory is described. A pair of automated vertical scan diffractometers was used for a Si (111) channel monochromator and the powder specimens. The parallel beam powder diffraction was defined by horizontal parallel slits which had several times higher intensity than a receiving slit at the same resolution. The patterns were obtained with 2:1 scanning with’ a selected monochromatic beam, and an energy dispersive diffraction method in which the monochromator is step-scanned, and the specimen and scintillation counter are fixed. Both methods use the same instrumentation.
A method for using synchrotron-radiation parallel-beam X-ray diffractometry for precision measurement of scattering angles and lattice parameters is described. The important advantages of the method are the high P/B made possible by wavelength selection and high source intensity, the symmetrical profiles and the absence of most systematic errors making it unnecessary to use standards. Profile fitting with a pseudo-Voigt function is used to determine 2θ to 0.0001º. The zero-angle correction and lattice parameter were determined from least-squares refinement and the average accuracy of observed-calculated 2θs was 0.0020°. Average values of ∆d/d = ∆a/a directly calculated from the individual hkl measurements ranged from 2x 10-5 to 5.7 x 10-5. The precision estimated from the standard deviation of the mean is in the 10-6 range and 1 ppm precision was obtained for Si. The determination of the exact wavelength selected remains to be solved, but ratios of lattice spacings to standards such as NBS SRM 640a can be determined.
Background: When measuring young Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy (DMD) patients’ health-related quality of life (HRQoL), parent-proxy reports are heavily relied on. Therefore, it is imperative that the relationship between parent-proxy and child self-report HRQoL is understood. This study examined the level of agreement between children and their parent-proxy rating of the child’s HRQoL. Methods: We used FOR-DMD clinical trial baseline data. HRQoL, measured using the PedsQL inventory, was reported by 178 parent and child (ages 4 to 7 years) dyads. Intracorrelation coefficients (ICC) measured absolute agreement while paired t-tests determined differences in the average HRQoL ratings between groups. Results: The level of agreement between child and parent-proxy ratings of HRQoL was poor for the generic PedsQL scale (ICC: 0.29) and its subscales; and, similarly low for the neuromuscular disease module (ICC:0.16). On average, parents rated their child’s HRQoL as poorer than the children rated themselves in all scales except for psychosocial and school functioning. Conclusions: Child and parent-proxy HRQoL ratings are discordant in this study sample, as occurs in other chronic pediatric diseases. This should be taken into account when interpreting clinical and research HRQoL findings in this population. Future studies should examine reasons for parents’ perception of poorer HRQoL than that reported by their children.
Introduction: Ultrasound-guided intravenous (UGIV) insertion performed by nurses has been shown to be more effective than the blind approach for patients with difficult intravenous (IV) access in the emergency department (ED). While both the single-operator (SO) (where a single operator holds the IV and probe) and dual-operator (DO) (where a second operator holds the probe) techniques have been described, the DO is more resource-intensive, requiring a second operator to be present. The objective of this study is to compare the first-attempt cannulation success rates between a SO and DO technique in ED patients with predicted difficult access. Methods: We conducted a randomized controlled non-inferiority trial using a convenience sample of adult ED patients. Participating ED nurses received a one-hour UGIV training session including didactic and practical training on simulated arms. Patients were enrolled if they met any of three criteria for difficult access: (1) history of difficult access, (2) no visible or palpable veins, or (3) two failed blind attempts. Patients requiring active resuscitation, lack of suitable veins on US, or those unable to consent or comply with the procedure were excluded. Eligible patients were randomized to the SO or DO technique and a maximum of two UGIV attempts were allowed. The primary outcome was first-attempt success rate. Additional outcomes included overall success rate, number of attempts, time to successful cannulation, patient pain scores, operator ease of use scores, and complications 30 minutes after insertion. The chi-square test was used to compare success rates between groups and t-tests used for all other secondary outcomes. Results: 42 eligible patients have been approached for our study. 14 were excluded due to lack of visible veins on US or due to ongoing resuscitation. A total of 33 UGIV attempts were performed on 28 patients (17 in SO group, 16 in DO group). There was no statistically significant difference in first attempt success rates between the SO group of 76.5% (95% CI [50.1% to 93.2%]) and the DO group of 68.8% (95% CI [41.3% to 89%]) (p=0.62). There were also no statistically significant differences between the SO and DO groups in time to cannulation (140 vs 165 seconds, p=0.36), patient preference on a 10-point scale (7.0 vs 7.9, p=0.49), patient pain score (6.3 vs 6.6, p=0.87) or nursing ease of use (5.3 vs 6.5 p=0.23) respectively. There were no complications noted in either arm of the study. Conclusion: To date, the SO technique appears to be non-inferior to the DO technique for successful UGIV cannulation. Our results support the use of the SO technique, reducing the need for additional nursing resources when performing this procedure.
We present preliminary analysis of new HST observations of the transiting extrasolar planet HD 209458b. Photometric observations were obtained with the Fine Guidance Sensor (FGS) on the Hubble Space Telescope (HST), providing milli-mag precision and high time resolution (40 Hz). The FGS photometry allows us to derive precise stellar/orbital parameters (ephemeris, inclination, limb darkening) and planetary radius, and also allows a search for the presence of planetary rings and satellites. We discuss preliminary results and two approaches to modelling the observations.
This paper introduces a new way to investigate in situ processes, the wireless multi-sensor probe, as part of an environmental sensor network. Instruments are housed within a ‘probe’ which can move freely and so behave like a clast. These were deployed in the ice and till at Briksdalsbreen, Norway. The sensors measure temperature, resistivity, case stress, tilt angle and water pressure and send their data to a base station on the glacier surface via radio links. These data are then forwarded by radio to a reference station with mains power 2.5 km away, from where they are sent to a web server in the UK. The system deployed during 2004/05 was very successful and a total of 859 probe days worth of data from the ice and till were collected, along with GPS, weather and diagnostic data about the system.
A legionellosis outbreak at an industrial site was investigated to identify and control the source. Cases were identified from disease notifications, workplace illness records, and from clinicians. Cases were interviewed for symptoms and risk factors and tested for legionellosis. Implicated environmental sources were sampled and tested for legionella. We identified six cases with Legionnaires’ disease and seven with Pontiac fever; all had been exposed to aerosols from the cooling towers on the site. Nine cases had evidence of infection with either Legionella pneumophila serogroup (sg) 1 or Legionella longbeachae sg1; these organisms were also isolated from the cooling towers. There was 100% DNA sequence homology between cooling tower and clinical isolates of L. pneumophila sg1 using sequence-based typing analysis; no clinical L. longbeachae isolates were available to compare with environmental isolates. Routine monitoring of the towers prior to the outbreak failed to detect any legionella. Data from this outbreak indicate that L. pneumophila sg1 transmission occurred from the cooling towers; in addition, L. longbeachae transmission was suggested but remains unproven. L. longbeachae detection in cooling towers has not been previously reported in association with legionellosis outbreaks. Waterborne transmission should not be discounted in investigations for the source of L. longbeachae infection.
In 1990, two selection lines of Merino sheep were established for low and high behavioural reactivity (calm and nervous temperament) at the University of Western Australia. Breeding records consistently showed that calm ewes weaned 10% to 19% more lambs than the nervous ewes. We hypothesise that calm ewes could have a higher ovulation rate than nervous ewes and/or calm ewes could have a lower rate of embryo mortality than nervous ewes. We tested these hypotheses by comparing the ovulation rate and the rate of embryo mortality between the calm and nervous lines before and after synchronisation and artificial insemination. Merino ewes from the temperament selection lines (calm, n=100; nervous, n=100) were synchronised (early breeding season) for artificial insemination (day 0) (intravaginal sponges containing fluogestone acetate and eCG immediately after sponge withdrawal). On day-17 and 11 ovarian cyclicity and corpora lutea, and on days 30 and 74 pregnancies and embryos/foetuses were determined by ultrasound. Progesterone, insulin and leptin concentrations were determined in blood plasma samples from days 5, 12 and 17. Ovarian cyclicity before and after oestrus synchronisation did not differ between the lines, but ovulation rate did (day-17: calm 1.63; nervous 1.26; P<0.01; day 11: calm 1.83; nervous 1.57; P<0.05). Ovulation rate on day 11 in nervous ewes was higher than on day-17. Loss of embryos by day 30 was high (calm: 71/150; nervous: 68/130); but nervous ewes had a lower proportion (15/47) of multiple pregnancies compared with calm ewes (30/46; P<0.01). Reproductive loss between days 30 and 74 represented 7.3% of the overall loss. Temperament did not affect concentrations of progesterone, but nervous ewes had higher insulin (32.0 pmol/l±1.17 SEM; P=0.013) and lower leptin (1.18 μg/l±0.04 SEM; P=0.002) concentrations than calm ewes (insulin: 27.8 pmol/l±1.17 SEM; leptin: 1.35 μg/l±0.04 SEM). The differences in reproductive outcomes between the calm and nervous ewes were mainly due to a higher ovulation rate in calm ewes. We suggest that reproduction in nervous ewes is compromised by factors leading up to ovulation and conception, or the uterine environment during early pregnancy, that reflect differences in energy utilisation.
Evidence from the Ross embayment, Antarctica, suggests an abrupt cooling and a concomitant increase in sea-ice cover at about 6000 BP (6 ka). Stable-isotope (δD) concentrations in the Taylor Dome ice core, at the western edge of the Ross embayment, decline rapidly after 6 ka, and continue to decline through the late Holocene. Methanesulfonic acid concentrations at Taylor Dome show opposite trends to δD Sediment cores from the western Ross Sea show a percentage minimum for the sea-ice diatom Fragilariopsis curta between 9 and 6 ka, whenTaylor Dome δD values are highest, followed by an increase through the late Holocene. Radiocarbon dates from raised beach deposits indicate that the retreat of ice shelves in the Ross embayment ceased at about 6 ka, coincident with the environmental changes inferred from the sediment and ice-core records. The similarity in timing suggests an important role for climate in controlling the evolution of ice-shelf margins following the end of the last glaciation.