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Hendra virus (HeV) continues to cause fatal infection in horses and threaten infection in close-contact humans in eastern Australia. Species of Pteropus bats (flying-foxes) are the natural reservoir of the virus. We caught and sampled flying-foxes from a multispecies roost in southeast Queensland, Australia on eight occasions between June 2013 and June 2014. The effects of sample date, species, sex, age class, body condition score (BCS), pregnancy and lactation on HeV antibody prevalence, log-transformed median fluorescent intensity (lnMFI) values and HeV RNA status were assessed using unbalanced generalised linear models. A total of 1968 flying-foxes were sampled, comprising 1012 Pteropus alecto, 742 P. poliocephalus and 214 P. scapulatus. Sample date, species and age class were each statistically associated with HeV RNA status, antibody status and lnMFI values; BCS was statistically associated with HeV RNA status and antibody status. The findings support immunologically naïve sub-adult P. alecto playing an important role in maintaining HeV infection at a population level. The biological significance of the association between BCS and HeV RNA status, and BCS and HeV antibody status, is less clear and warrants further investigation. Contrary to previous studies, we found no direct association between HeV infection and pregnancy or lactation. The findings in P. poliocephalus suggest that HeV exposure in this species may not result in systemic infection and virus excretion, or alternatively, may reflect assay cross-reactivity with another (unidentified) henipavirus.
Overweight and obesity may increase risk of disease progression in men with prostate cancer, but there have been few studies of weight loss interventions in this patient group. Based on existing literature and patient preferences we designed a self-help diet and physical activity intervention with telephone-based dietitian support. Men treated for prostate cancer who were overweight or obese were randomised to intervention or wait-list mini-intervention groups. The intervention group had an initial group meeting, a supporting letter from their urological consultant, three telephone dietitian consultations at 4-week intervals, a pedometer and access to web-based diet and physical activity resources. At 12 weeks, men in both groups were given digital scales for providing follow-up weight measurements, and the wait-list group received a mini-intervention of the supporting letter, a pedometer and access to the web-based resources. Sixty-two men were randomised; fifty-four completed baseline and 12-week measurements, and fifty-one and twenty-seven provided measurements at 6 and 12 months, respectively. In a repeated measures model, mean (95 % CI) difference in weight change between groups (wait-list mini-intervention minus intervention) at 12 weeks was −2·13 (−3·44, −0·82) kg (P = 0·002). At 12 months the corresponding value was −2·43 (−4·50, −0·37) kg (P = 0·022). Mean (95 % CI) difference in global QoL score change between groups at 12 weeks was 12·3 (4·93, 19·7) (P = 0·002); at 12 months there were no significant differences between groups. Results suggest the potential of self-help diet and physical activity intervention with trained support for modest but sustained weight loss in this patient group.
Background: Buprenorphine/naloxone (bup/nal) is a partial opioid agonist/antagonist and recommended first line treatment for opioid use disorder (OUD). Emergency departments (EDs) are a key point of contact with the healthcare system for patients living with OUD. Aim Statement: We implemented a multi-disciplinary quality improvement project to screen patients for OUD, initiate bup/nal for eligible individuals, and provide rapid next business day walk-in referrals to addiction clinics in the community. Measures & Design: From May to September 2018, our team worked with three ED sites and three addiction clinics to pilot the program. Implementation involved alignment with regulatory requirements, physician education, coordination with pharmacy to ensure in-ED medication access, and nurse education. The project is supported by a full-time project manager, data analyst, operations leaders, physician champions, provincial pharmacy, and the Emergency Strategic Clinical Network leadership team. For our pilot, our evaluation objective was to determine the degree to which our initiation and referral pathway was being utilized. We used administrative data to track the number of patients given bup/nal in ED, their demographics and whether they continued to fill bup/nal prescriptions 30 days after their ED visit. Addiction clinics reported both the number of patients referred to them and the number of patients attending their referral. Evaluation/Results: Administrative data shows 568 opioid-related visits to ED pilot sites during the pilot phase. Bup/nal was given to 60 unique patients in the ED during 66 unique visits. There were 32 (53%) male patients and 28 (47%) female patients. Median patient age was 34 (range: 21 to 79). ED visits where bup/nal was given had a median length of stay of 6 hours 57 minutes (IQR: 6 hours 20 minutes) and Canadian Triage Acuity Scores as follows: Level 1 – 1 (2%), Level 2 – 21 (32%), Level 3 – 32 (48%), Level 4 – 11 (17%), Level 5 – 1 (2%). 51 (77%) of these visits led to discharge. 24 (47%) discharged patients given bup/nal in ED continued to fill bup/nal prescriptions 30 days after their index ED visit. EDs also referred 37 patients with OUD to the 3 community clinics, and 16 of those individuals (43%) attended their first follow-up appointment. Discussion/Impact: Our pilot project demonstrates that with dedicated resources and broad institutional support, ED patients with OUD can be appropriately initiated on bup/nal and referred to community care.
The nutrient choline is necessary for membrane synthesis and methyl donation, with increased requirements during lactation. The majority of immune development occurs postnatally, but the importance of choline supply for immune development during this critical period is unknown. The objective of this study was to determine the importance of maternal supply of choline during suckling on immune function in their offspring among rodents. At parturition, Sprague–Dawley dams were randomised to either a choline-devoid (ChD; n 7) or choline-sufficient (ChS, 1 g/kg choline; n 10) diet with their offspring euthanised at 3 weeks of age. In a second experiment, offspring were weaned to a ChS diet until 10 weeks of age (ChD-ChS, n 5 and ChS-ChS, n 9). Splenocytes were isolated, and parameters of immune function were measured. The ChD offspring received less choline in breast milk and had lower final body and organ weight compared with ChS offspring (P<0·05), but this effect disappeared by week 10 with choline supplementation from weaning. ChD offspring had a higher proportion of T cells expressing activation markers (CD71 or CD28) and a lower proportion of total B cells (CD45RA+) and responded less to T cell stimulation (lower stimulation index and less IFN-γ production) ex vivo (P<0·05). ChD-ChS offspring had a lower proportion of total and activated CD4+ T cells, and produced less IL-6 after mitogen stimulation compared with cells from ChS-ChS (P<0·05). Our study suggests that choline is required in the suckling diet to facilitate immune development, and choline deprivation during this critical period has lasting effects on T cell function later in life.
Hendra virus (HeV) was first described in 1994 in an outbreak of acute and highly lethal disease in horses and humans in Australia. Equine cases continue to be diagnosed periodically, yet the predisposing factors for infection remain unclear. We undertook an analysis of equine submissions tested for HeV by the Queensland government veterinary reference laboratory over a 20-year period to identify and investigate any patterns. We found a marked increase in testing from July 2008, primarily reflecting a broadening of the HeV clinical case definition. Peaks in submissions for testing, and visitations to the Government HeV website, were associated with reported equine incidents. Significantly differing between-year HeV detection rates in north and south Queensland suggest a fundamental difference in risk exposure between the two regions. The statistical association between HeV detection and stockhorse type may suggest that husbandry is a more important risk determinant than breed per se. The detection of HeV in horses with neither neurological nor respiratory signs poses a risk management challenge for attending veterinarians and laboratory staff, reinforcing animal health authority recommendations that appropriate risk management strategies be employed for all sick horses, and by anyone handling sick horses or associated biological samples.
Secretory immunoglobulin A (IgA) plays a critical role in gut mucosal immune defense. Initially provided by breastmilk, IgA production by the infant gut is gradually stimulated by developing gut microbiota. This study reports associations between infant fecal IgA concentrations 4 months after birth, breastfeeding status and other pre/postnatal exposures in 47 infants in the Canadian Healthy Infant Longitudinal Development cohort. Breastfed infants and first-born infants had higher median fecal IgA concentrations (23.11 v. 9.34 µg/g protein, P<0.01 and 22.19 v. 8.23 µg/g protein, P=0.04). IgA levels increased successively with exclusivity of breastfeeding (β-coefficient, 0.37, P<0.05). This statistical association was independent of maternal parity and household pets. In the absence of breastfeeding, female sex and pet exposure elevated fecal IgA to levels found in breastfed infants. In addition to breastfeeding, infant fecal IgA associations with pre/postnatal exposures may affect gut immunity and risk of allergic disease.
Despite recommendations for higher choline intakes during pregnancy and lactation, there is limited research regarding maternal intake during these important periods. In the present study, we estimated dietary choline intake during pregnancy and lactation in a population of Albertan women and the contribution of egg and milk consumption to intake. Dietary intake data were collected from the first 600 women enrolled in a prospective cohort study carried out in Alberta, Canada. During the first and/or second trimester, the third trimester and 3 months postpartum, 24 h dietary intake recall data were collected. A database was constructed including foods consumed by the cohort and used to estimate dietary choline intake. The mean total choline intake value during pregnancy was 347 (sd 149) mg/d, with 23 % of the participants meeting the adequate intake (AI) recommendation. During lactation, the mean total choline intake value was 346 (sd 151) mg/d, with 10 % of the participants meeting the AI recommendation. Phosphatidylcholine was the form of choline consumed in the highest proportion and the main dietary sources of choline were dairy products, eggs and meat. Women who consumed at least one egg in a 24 h period had higher (P< 0·001) total choline intake and were eight times more likely (95 % CI 5·2, 12·6) to meet choline intake recommendations compared with those who did not consume eggs during pregnancy. Women who reported consuming ≥ 500 ml of milk in a 24 h period were 2·8 times more likely (95 % CI 1·7, 4·8) to meet daily choline intake recommendations compared with those consuming < 250 ml of milk/d during pregnancy. Choline intake is below the recommendation levels in this population and the promotion of both egg and milk consumption may assist in meeting the daily choline intake recommendations.
In late February and early March 2002, an archaeological watching brief at Lynford Quarry, Mundford, Norfolk revealed a palaeochannel with a dark organic fill containing in situ mammoth remains and associated Mousterian stone tools and debitage buried under 2–3 m of bedded sands and gravels. Well-preserved in situ Middle Palaeolithic open air sites are very unusal in Europe and exceedingly rare within a British context. As such, the site was identified as being of national and international importance, and was subsequently excavated by the Norfolk Archaeological Unit with funding provided by English Heritage through the Aggregates Levy Sustainability Fund.
This report presents some of the initial results of the excavation. It sets out how the site was excavated, outlines the stratigraphic sequence for the site, and presents some provisional findings of the excavation based on the results of the assessment work carried out by project specialists and Norfolk Archaeological Unit staff.
Nipah virus (NiV) is a recently emerged zoonotic virus that causes severe disease in humans. The reservoir hosts for NiV, bats of the genus Pteropus (known as flying-foxes) are found across the Asia-Pacific including Australia. While NiV has not been detected in Australia, evidence for NiV infection has been found in flying-foxes in some of Australia's closest neighbours. A qualitative risk assessment was undertaken to assess the risk of NiV establishing in Australian flying-foxes through flying-fox movements from nearby regions. Events surrounding the emergence of new diseases are typically uncertain and in this study an expert opinion workshop was used to address gaps in knowledge. Given the difficulties in combining expert opinion, five different combination methods were analysed to assess their influence on the risk outcome. Under the baseline scenario where the median was used to combine opinions, the risk was estimated to be very low. However, this risk increased when the mean and linear opinion pooling combination methods were used. This assessment highlights the effects that different methods for combining expert opinion have on final risk estimates and the caution needed when interpreting these outcomes given the high degree of uncertainty in expert opinion. This work has provided a flexible model framework for assessing the risk of NiV establishment in Australian flying-foxes through bat movements which can be updated when new data become available.
We investigated a mixed outbreak of Legionnaires' disease (LD) and Pontiac fever (PF) at a military base to identify the outbreak's environmental source as well as known legionellosis risk factors. Base workers with possible legionellosis were interviewed and, if consenting, underwent testing for legionellosis. A retrospective cohort study collected information on occupants of the buildings closest to the outbreak source. We identified 29 confirmed and probable LD and 38 PF cases. All cases were exposed to airborne pathogens from a cooling tower. Occupants of the building closest to the cooling tower were 6·9 [95% confidence interval (CI) 2·2–22·0] and 5·5 (95% CI 2·1–14·5) times more likely to develop LD and PF, respectively, than occupants of the next closest building. Thorough preventive measures and aggressive responses to outbreaks, including searching for PF cases in mixed legionellosis outbreaks, are essential for legionellosis control.
Human demands for food and fish meal are often in direct competition with forage needs of marine mammals, birds and piscivorous harvested fish. Here, two well-developed ecosystem models for the California Current on the West Coast of the USA were used to test the impacts on other parts of the ecosystem of harvesting euphausiids, forage fish, mackerel and mesopelagic fish such as myctophids. Depleting individual forage groups to levels that led to maximum sustainable yield of those groups may have both positive and negative effects on other species in the California Current. The most common impacts were on predators of forage groups, some of which showed declines of >20% under the scenarios that involved depletion of forage groups to 40% of unfished levels. Depletion of euphausiids and forage fish, which each comprise >10% of system biomass, had the largest impact on other species. Depleting euphausiids to 40% of unfished levels altered the abundance of 13–30% of the other functional groups by >20%; while depleting forage fish to 40% altered the abundance of 20–50% of the other functional groups by >20%. There are clear trade-offs between the harvest of forage groups and the ability of the California Current to sustain other trophic levels. Though higher trophic level species, such as groundfish, are often managed on the basis of reference points that can reduce biomass to below half of unfished levels, this level of forage species removal is likely to impact the abundance of other target species, protected species and the structure of the ecosystem.
The present study compared the effects of feeding uncooked pea fractions (embryo v. seed coat) on glucose homeostasis in glucose-intolerant rats and examined potential mechanisms influencing glucose homeostasis. Rats were made glucose intolerant by high-fat feeding, after which diets containing both high-fat and pea fractions were fed for 4 weeks. Rats fed diets containing uncooked pea seed coats low (non-coloured seed coat; NSC) or high (coloured seed coat; CSC) in proanthocyanidins but not embryos had improved oral glucose tolerance (P < 0·05). NSC also lowered fasting and glucose-stimulated insulin secretion (P < 0·05), decreased β-cell mass by 50 % (P < 0·05) and lowered levels of malondialdehyde, a marker of oxidative stress. Furthermore, NSC decreased the mucosal thickness of the colon by 25 % (P < 0·05), which might affect fibre fermentation and other gut functions. Small but statistically significant (P < 0·05) effects consistent with enhanced glucose transport or metabolism were observed in the skeletal muscle of rats fed NSC or CSC, for example, increased levels of AMP-dependent kinase or akt. We conclude that pea seed coats are the fraction exerting beneficial effects on glucose tolerance. Most of the changes were small in amplitude, suggesting that additive effects on multiple tissues may be important. NSC content appeared to have the most beneficial effects in improving glucose homeostasis but our ability to detect the effect of flavonoids may have been limited by their low concentration in the diet.
The potential to instrumentalize drug use based upon the detection of very many different drug states undoubtedly exists, and such states may play a role in psychiatric and many other drug uses. Nevertheless, nonaddictive drug use is potentially more parsimoniously explained in terms of sensation seeking/impulsivity and drug expectations. Cultural factors also play a major role in nonaddictive drug use.