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Studies of schizophrenia with functional MRI showed hyper- and hypoactivations in various brain regions including the prefrontal cortex. Functional abnormalities have also been reported in first-degree relatives of schizophrenic patients. The aim of this study was to examine working memory related brain functions in healthy subjects, schizophrenic patients and unaffected relatives and to determine the influence of psychopathology on these processes.
A parametric n-back working memory task and functional MRI were used to examine 61 schizophrenic patients on antipsychotic medication, 11 nonpsychotic relatives of schizophrenic patients and a comparison group of 61 healthy subjects. The task difficulty was incrementally increased using a parametric task (0-back, 1-back, 2-back, and 3-back) to examine the relationship between working memory load, performance, and brain activity.
The results indicated that during the attention task (0-back) behavioral responses of patients and healthy subjects hardly differed but BOLD responses were considerably enhanced in schizophrenic patients. With increasing task difficulty differences between groups in BOLD responses diminished whereas behavioral deficits of patients increased. The examination of attention-independent working memory-functions (2- vs. 0-back) produced hypoactivations in patients, especially in frontal, temporal and subcortical brain regions. Behavioral performance and neural responses of unaffected relatives of schizophrenic patients were intermediate between schizophrenic patients and controls indicating slight brain dysfunctions. In addition, compensatory strategies were demonstrated.
These findings suggest that the genetic risk for schizophrenia is accompanied by neural inefficiency which is associated with cognitive deficits, especially in difficult tasks.
Collecting prospective data on medication adherence, course of illness, course of treatment, cost effectiveness and quality of life among patients with schizophrenia under the German health system.
The ELAN study was conducted as a multi-centre, non-interventional observation study. 374 patients with a diagnosis of schizophrenia or schizoaffective disorder (ICD-10 F2) who had been discharged with a medication of quetiapine (N=183), olanzapine (N=91) or risperidone (N=100) were included. Follow-up interviews were conducted after 6,12,18 and 24 months. Applied instruments comprised PANSS, MARS-S, EPS-M, AIMS-S, GAF, ZST and a questionnaire for quality of life.
For each follow-up, at least 80% of the original sample could be included. After two years, between 39% and 43% of patients continued to take the drug prescribed at discharge. Only between 4% and 7% of patients received no neuroleptic treatment in the last 6 months, respectively. The variety of drugs used increased during the course. Only small differences could be found regarding the defined outcome measures (PANSS, GAF, rehospitalisation rate) and side effects. Changes in medication were mostly due to insufficient efficacy or side effects. Doctor's recommendations had an important influence on patients’ decisions.
Under conditions of routine treatment, medication adherence was much greater and differences between drugs were smaller than reported in randomised controlled clinical trials. Taking into account the low sample selection bias and the small percentage of lost-to-follow-up subjects, this study provides some new insight into routine clinical treatment and outcomes in patients with schizophrenia.
The role of H2 in forming interstellar complex organics is still not clear due to the high activation energies required for “non-energetic” association reactions. In this work, we investigated the potential contribution of H2 to the hydrogenated species (HnNCO) formation on dust grains when the “energetic” processing is involved. The goal is to test whether an additional hydrogenation pathway is possible upon UV irradiation of a CO:H2 ice mixture. It is proposed that the electronically excited carbon monoxide (CO*) induced by UV-photons can react with a ground-state H2 to form HCO, ultimately enhancing the production of COMs in ice mantle.
We analyse the importance of legitimacy on public policy support by comparing how drivers of public policy attitudes evolve across the policy process consisting of the input (the processes forgoing acquisition of power and the procedures permeating political decisionmaking), throughput (the inclusion of and interactions between actors in a governance system) and output (the substantive consequences of those decisions) stages. Using unique panel data through three phases of the implementation of a congestion tax in the Swedish city of Gothenburg, we find that legitimacy is indeed important in explaining policy support. Moreover, we find a lingering effect where support in one phase depends on legitimacy both in the present and in previous phases. Hence, our study takes us one step further on the road to understand the complicated dynamic mechanisms behind the interactions between policymaking, policy support, and the legitimacy and approval of politicians and political processes.
T91 ferritic/martensitic (F/M) steel is an expected structural material candidate for Gen IV liquid lead-bismuth cooled nuclear reactors. However, molten lead-bismuth eutectic alloy (mLBE) often causes liquid-metal embrittlement (LME) of F/M steels. Although prior austenite grain boundaries and martensite block boundaries were reported to be preferential sites for LME, the mechanism of LME in a T91/LBE couple is yet to be comprehensively understood. In this paper, the effect of mLBE on T91 steel was investigated using micropillar compression tests. mLBE corrosion was found to cause a significant decrease in yield stress. The micropillar made from mLBE-corroded specimen was significantly sheared along high angle boundaries. In addition, EDS analysis demonstrated the presence of Pb/Bi at these high angle boundaries.
This paper reports the first successful synthesis and the structural characterization of nanocrystalline and stacking-disordered β-cristobalite AlPO4 that is chemically stabilized down to room temperature and free of crystalline impurity phases. Several batches of the title compound were synthesized and thoroughly characterized by X-ray powder diffraction (XRD), scanning electron microscopy (SEM), transmission electron microscopy, selected area electron diffraction, energy dispersive X-ray spectroscopy mapping in SEM, solid-state 31P nuclear magnetic resonance (31P-NMR) spectroscopy including the TRAPDOR method, differential thermal analysis (DTA), gas-sorption methods, optical emission spectroscopy, X-ray fluorescence spectroscopy, and ion chromatography. Parameters that are critical for the synthesis were identified and optimized. The synthesis procedure yields reproducible results and is well documented. A high-quality XRD pattern of the title compound is presented, which was collected with monochromatic copper radiation at room temperature in a wide 2θ range of 5°–100°.
Measles, mumps, rubella (MMR) and varicella zoster virus (VZV) infection can cause serious diseases and complications in the HIV-positive population. Due to successful vaccination programmes measles, mumps and congenital rubella syndrome has become neglected in Germany. However, recent outbreaks of measles have occurred from import-associated cases. In this cross-sectional study the serostatus for MMR and VZV in 2013 HIV-positive adults from three different university outpatient clinics in Bonn (n = 544), Cologne (n = 995) and Munich (n = 474) was analysed. Sera were tested for MMR- and VZV-specific immunglobulin G antibodies using commercial immunoassays. Seronegativity was found in 3% for measles, 26% for mumps, 11% for rubella and 2% for VZV. Regarding MMR, 35% of patients lacked seropositivity against at least one infectious agent. In multivariable analysis younger age was strongly associated with seronegativity against all four viruses, measles, mumps, rubella (P < 0·001, P < 0·001 and P = 0·001, respectively) and VZV (P = 0·001). In conclusion, there is high need for MMR and VZV vaccination in people living with HIV in Germany born in 1970 or later. Thus, systematic MMR and VZV antibody screening and vaccination should be implemented in the HIV-positive population to prevent serious disease and complications of vaccine-preventable diseases.
Approximately half of the variation in wellbeing measures overlaps with variation in personality traits. Studies of non-human primate pedigrees and human twins suggest that this is due to common genetic influences. We tested whether personality polygenic scores for the NEO Five-Factor Inventory (NEO-FFI) domains and for item response theory (IRT) derived extraversion and neuroticism scores predict variance in wellbeing measures. Polygenic scores were based on published genome-wide association (GWA) results in over 17,000 individuals for the NEO-FFI and in over 63,000 for the IRT extraversion and neuroticism traits. The NEO-FFI polygenic scores were used to predict life satisfaction in 7 cohorts, positive affect in 12 cohorts, and general wellbeing in 1 cohort (maximal N = 46,508). Meta-analysis of these results showed no significant association between NEO-FFI personality polygenic scores and the wellbeing measures. IRT extraversion and neuroticism polygenic scores were used to predict life satisfaction and positive affect in almost 37,000 individuals from UK Biobank. Significant positive associations (effect sizes <0.05%) were observed between the extraversion polygenic score and wellbeing measures, and a negative association was observed between the polygenic neuroticism score and life satisfaction. Furthermore, using GWA data, genetic correlations of -0.49 and -0.55 were estimated between neuroticism with life satisfaction and positive affect, respectively. The moderate genetic correlation between neuroticism and wellbeing is in line with twin research showing that genetic influences on wellbeing are also shared with other independent personality domains.
Solar activity, as manifested by its many equatorial as well as high-latitude components of short-term variability is regulated by the Sun’s dynamo. This constitutes an intricate interplay between the solar toroidal and poloidal magnetic field components. The dynamo originates in the tachocline, which is a thin layer situated about 200,000 km beneath the solar surface. The dynamo is a non-linear system with deterministic chaotic elements, hence in principle unpredictable. Yet there are regularities in the past behaviour, such as the Grand Maxima (example: the recent high maximum of the 2nd half of the 20th century) the Grand Minima (e.g. the Maunder Minimum between 1650 and 1710) and the Regular Oscillations such as those between 1730 and 1923. Their occurrences are described by a phase diagram in which a specific point can be identified: the Transition Point. This diagram plays an essential role in determining the future solar activity. Guided by its quasi-regularities and by recent measurements of the solar magnetic fields we find that the Sun is presently undergoing a transition between the past Grand Maximum and a forthcoming period of Regular Oscillations. We forecast that this latter period will start in a few years and will continue for at least one Gleissberg cycle and that the next solar maximum (expected for 2014) will be low (Rmax ~ 68).
We discuss the heliospheric drivers of Sun-climate interaction and find that the low-latitude magnetic regions contribute most to tropospheric temperatures but that also the influence of the - so far always neglected - polar activity is significant. Subtraction of these components from the observed temperatures of the past 400 years shows a residual series of relative peaks and dips in the temperature. These tops and lows last for periods of the order of the Gleissberg cycle. One of these is the recent period of global warming, which, from this point of view, is not an exceptional period.
The aim of this study was to evaluate the quality of life in patients with vascular chronic Q fever at time of diagnosis and during follow-up. Based upon the SF-36 questionnaire, the mean physical and mental health of each patient were assessed at 3-month intervals for up to 18 months. A total of 26 patients were included in the study. At time of diagnosis, the mean physical health and mental health score was 50·6 [95% confidence interval (CI) 46·7–54·4] and 44·6 (95% CI 41·6–47·5), respectively. During treatment, the mean physical health score declined significantly by 1·7 points each 3 months (P < 0·001) to 40·8 (95% CI 34·4–45·1). The mean mental health score significantly and steadily increased towards 51·2 (95% CI 46·9–54·3) during follow-up (P = 0·026). A total of 23% of patients were cured after 18 months of follow-up. In conclusion, quality of life at time of diagnosis for patients with vascular chronic Q fever is lower compared to a similar group of patients, matched for age and gender, with an aortic abdominal aneurysmal disease, and physical health decreases further after starting treatment. Considering the low percentage of cure, the current treatment of vascular chronic Q fever patients may require a separate strategy from that of endocarditis in order to increase survival.
Polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbon (PAH) molecules have been long considered promising candidates for the carriers of the diffuse interstellar bands (DIBs). The PAH-DIB hypothesis, however, raises two major issues. First, the number of interstellar PAH species is potentially orders of magnitude larger than the number of DIBs. Second, the absorption spectrum of a PAH is in general dominated by bands found at UV wavelengths while, conversely, DIBs are absent from the UV wavelength domain and arise at visible and near IR wavelengths. These issues do not necessarily weaken the PAH-DIB hypothesis and can actually allow us to refine it. In that context, we analyze the UV/vis absorption spectra of PAH molecules isolated in Ne matrices and propose that polyynyl-substituted PAHs, or similar species, are valid candidates for the carriers of the DIBs. Finally, a possible lifecycle for DIB-carrying PAHs is presented.
The electronic spectroscopy of various polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbon (PAH) molecules has been studied in the laboratory at low temperatures using both molecular beam and matrix isolation spectroscopy techniques. While molecular beam spectra can be readily compared to astronomical observations, the band positions measured in Ne and Ar matrices are extrapolated to obtain rather good estimates for the same transitions in the gas phase. Absolute absorption cross sections are determined for gas-phase and matrix spectra by comparing them with calibrated solution spectra. All laboratory results are analyzed and discussed in view of the role that PAHs can play as carriers of the diffuse interstellar bands (DIBs). Our studies suggest that regular neutral PAHs are not responsible for any of the known strong DIBs.
Hydrogenated amorphous carbons (HACs) are considered as laboratory analogues to cosmic
carbonaceous nanoparticles in the interstellar medium (ISM). The optical properties of
nano-sized HACs may be influenced by the UV processing. The variation of the internal
structure leads to dramatic changes in the spectral properties in the FUV-VIS range. This
scenario can explain some astronomical features such as the interstellar UV bump at 4.6
μm-1. The spectrum of HACs, irradiated by a dose of UV
irradiation that corresponds to 21–33% of the average dose of the UV radiation in diffuse
ISM, exhibits a new band centered at 4.6 μm-1. This result
confirms, for the first time, the suggestion by Mennella et al. (1996)
that irradiated HACs might be considered as the carriers of the interstellar UV bump at
4.6 μm-1. However, the amount of carbon needed to reproduce
this band is higher than that available for interstellar carbon dust grains. So the ideal
structure of irradiated HACs that would produce a band of sufficient strength has still to
be searched for.
Dependence of individual reproduction upon the size of the whole population is studied in a general branching process context. The particular feature under scrutiny is that of reproduction changing from supercritical in small populations to subcritical in large populations. The transition occurs when the population size passes a critical threshold, known in ecology as the carrying capacity. We show that populations either die out directly, never coming close to the carrying capacity, or grow quickly towards the carrying capacity, subsequently lingering around it for a time that is expected to be exponentially long in terms of a carrying capacity tending to infinity.
Infrared spectroscopy is the best astronomical tool for studying the composition of cosmic dust. Thanks to the Herschel satellite, dust properties from the FIR to mm wavelength range will be sampled in different astrophysical environments. In the laboratory, the study of the temperature and structural dependence of FIR absorption of cosmic dust analogs including agglomeration is essential to interpret observational spectra. For crystalline materials, FIR single phonon bands are temperature dependent due to the anharmonicity of the vibrational potentials. This strong temperature dependence of the FIR bands’ positions can be used as a thermometer of the dust temperature. In amorphous material, the FIR absorption is dominated by disorder-induced single phonon processes and in the submillimeter and millimeter range by highly temperature-dependent low energy processes, e.g. tunneling transitions in two-level systems. The effect of these processes on the FIR absorptivity in amorphous silicates will be demonstrated.
Carbonaceous grains represent a major component of cosmic dust. The review will summarize
new results in laboratory investigations of carbonaceous dust components. The
nanometer-sized carbon particles are supposed to represent a blend of differently
structured carbon including graphitic, diamond-like, fullerene-like and chain-like
components on a subnanometer or nanometer scale. Recent models used to explain the
structure of gas-phase condensed carbon nano-particles are discussed. Possible formation
pathways of carbonaceous grains from molecular components and clusters and the role of
polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) and fullerenes are disclosed.
Shiga toxin-producing Escherichia coli (STEC) bacteria can cause outbreaks and sporadic cases of gastroenteritis in humans. Ruminants are seen as the main reservoir. The aim of this study was to evaluate the spatial association between reported human STEC O157 infections in The Netherlands and different livestock densities. Data were collected at the municipality level and a spatial regression analysis was performed. Between April 1999 and December 2008, 409 symptomatic sporadic cases were registered. Adding an interaction term between season, age, and livestock density showed an increased risk of STEC cases in summer for living in areas with cattle, in particular for young children. In conclusion, cattle, but not pigs or poultry, are indicated as an important source for human STEC O157 infections in rural areas. The association is probably due to direct or indirect contact with cattle, resulting in symptomatic infections, especially in young children.
Of eight acute infections in German tourists caused by sandfly fever virus, serotype Toscana (TOS). and diagnosed clinically and serologically, seven were acquired during visits to Tuscany, Italy, and one to Coimbra, Portugal. An indirect immunofluorescence assay (IFA) using infected cells, and a newly developed enzyme-immunoassay (EIA) using crude virus antigen prepared from infected Vero-E6 cells was used to detect anti-TOS IgM and IgG. In a seroepidemiological survey of 859 health care workers and medical students, anti-TOS IgG was detected in 1·0% by IFA, and in 0·7% by EIA. In 2034 German patients hospitalized for various diseases, 1·6% were positive for anti-TOS IgG by IFA, and 0·8% by EIA. Anti-TOS IgG was detected in 43 samples of commercial immunoglobulins at titres of 10–1000 by EIA. Although the seroprevalence of antibodies to TOS is low in Germany, TOS infection should be considered in patients returning from endemic areas who complain of fever, and headaches, and have symptoms of meningitis.
Effective infection control measures during norovirus outbreaks are urgently needed in places where vulnerable individuals gather. In the present study, the effect of a number of measures was investigated in daily practice. Forty-nine Dutch nursing homes were monitored prospectively for norovirus outbreaks during two winter seasons. A total of 37 norovirus outbreaks were registered. Control measures were most effective when implemented within 3 days after onset of disease of the first patient. Measures targeted at reduced transmission between persons, via aerosols, and via contaminated surfaces reduced illness in staff and in residents. Reducing illness in staff results in fewer costs for sick leave and substitution of staff and less disruption in the care of residents. The effect of control measures on outbreak duration was limited. This is the first intervention study examining the effect of control measures. Further research is needed to extend and refine the conclusions.