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To characterise subjective symptoms in patients undergoing surgical repair of superior semicircular canal dehiscence.
Questionnaires assessing symptom severity and impact on function and quality of life were administered to patients before superior semicircular canal dehiscence surgery, between June 2011 and March 2016. Questionnaire sections included general quality of life, internal amplified sounds, dizziness and tinnitus, with scores of 0–100 points.
Twenty-three patients completed the questionnaire before surgery. Section scores (mean±standard deviation) were: 38.2 ± 25.2 for general quality of life, 52.5 ± 23.9 for internal amplified sounds, 35.1 ± 28.8 for dizziness, 33.3 ± 30.7 for tinnitus, and 39.8 ± 22.2 for the composite score. Cronbach's α statistic averaged 0.93 (range, 0.84–0.97) across section scores, and 0.83 for the composite score.
The Gopen–Yang Superior Semicircular Canal Dehiscence Questionnaire provides a holistic, patient-centred characterisation of superior semicircular canal dehiscence symptoms. Internal consistency analysis validated the questionnaire and provided a quantitative framework for further optimisation in the clinical setting.
Host–parasite dynamics can play a fundamental role in both the establishment success of invasive species and their impact on native wildlife. The net impact of parasites depends on their capacity to switch effectively between native and invasive hosts. Here we explore host-switching, spatial patterns and simple fitness measures in a slow-expanding invasion: the invasion of Asian house geckos (Hemidactylus frenatus) from urban areas into bushland in Northeast Australia. In bushland close to urban edges, H. frenatus co-occurs with, and at many sites now greatly out-numbers, native geckos. We measured prevalence and intensity of Geckobia mites (introduced with H. frenatus), and Waddycephalus (a native pentastome). We recorded a new invasive mite species, and several new host associations for native mites and geckos, but we found no evidence of mite transmission between native and invasive geckos. In contrast, native Waddycephalus nymphs were commonly present in H. frenatus, demonstrating this parasite's capacity to utilize H. frenatus as a novel host. Prevalence of mites on H. frenatus decreased with distance from the urban edge, suggesting parasite release towards the invasion front; however, we found no evidence that mites affect H. frenatus body condition or lifespan. Waddycephalus was present at low prevalence in bushland sites and, although its presence did not affect host body condition, our data suggest that it may reduce host survival. The high relative density of H. frenatus at our sites, and their capacity to harbour Waddycephalus, suggests that there may be impacts on native geckos and snakes through parasite spillback.
The ability to perform microbial detection and characterization in-field at extreme environments, rather than on returned samples, has the potential to improve the efficiency, relevance and quantity of data from field campaigns. To date, few examples of this approach have been reported. Therefore, we demonstrate that the approach is feasible in subglacial environments by deploying four techniques for microbial detection: real-time polymerase chain reaction; microscopic fluorescence cell counts, adenosine triphosphate bioluminescence assay and recombinant Factor C assay (to detect lipopolysaccharide). Each technique was applied to 12 subglacial ice samples, 12 meltwater samples and two snow samples from Engabreen, Northern Norway. Using this multi-technique approach, the detected biomarker levels were as expected, being highest in debris-rich subglacial ice, moderate in glacial meltwater and low in clean ice (debris-poor) and snow. Principal component analysis was applied to the resulting dataset and could be performed in-field to rapidly aid the allocation of resources for further sample analysis. We anticipate that in-field data collection will allow for multiple rounds of sampling, analysis, interpretation and refinement within a single field campaign, resulting in the collection of larger and more appropriate datasets, ultimately with more efficient science return.
The aim of this study was to estimate the amount of childhood hepatitis B virus transmission in children born in the UK, a very low-prevalence country, that is preventable only by universal hepatitis B immunization of infants. Oral fluid specimens were collected from schoolchildren aged 7–11 years in four inner city multi-ethnic areas and tested for the presence of antibody to hepatitis B core antigen (anti-HBc). Those found positive or indeterminate were followed up with testing on serum to confirm their hepatitis B status. The overall prevalence of anti-HBc in children was low [0·26%, 95% confidence interval (CI) 0·14–0·44]. The estimated average annual incidence of hepatitis B was estimated to be 29·26/100 000 children (95% CI 16·00–49·08). The total incidence that is preventable only by a universal infant immunization programme in the UK was estimated to be between 5·00 and 12·49/100 000. The study demonstrates that the extent of horizontal childhood hepatitis B virus transmission is low in children born in the UK and suggests that schools in the UK are an uncommon setting for the transmission of the virus. Targeted hepatitis B testing and immunization of migrants from intermediate- and high-prevalence countries is likely to be a more effective measure to reduce childhood transmission than a universal infant immunization programme.
We have done experimental and theoretical studies of the origins of facet formation at the solid-liquid interface in laser-beam-melted silicon films. Two laser beams were used to produce a molten zone with a closely controlled thermal profile in a thin single-crystal film of silicon, and the liquid-solid interface was observed in situ. A transition to a faceted structure was found to occur under conditions of near thermal equilibrium. The solidliquid interface was also studied theoretically by means of molecular dynamics simulations, incorporating pair- and three-body terms in the interaction potential. Similarly to the experimental system, the solid-melt interface in the simulated system breaks up into facets defined by (111) planes. The melt region in the vicinity of the faceted planes exhibits a certain degree of ordering due to the influence of the crystalline potential.
Computer simulations open new avenues in investigations of complex material systems and phenomena. The methodology, development and applications of molecular dynamics simulations are discussed and the wealth of microscopic information revealed via simulations of interphase-interfaces, liquid metals, metallic glasses and small aggregates are demonstrated.
Films of Al and Al2O3 were formed by physical vapor deposition (PVD) and ion beam assisted deposition (IBAD) onto (100) Si, glass and graphite substrates. Ion to atom arrival rate (R) ratios for IBAD varied from 0.004 to 0.1 and film thicknesses varied from 150 to 1000 nm. The O/Al ratio of oxide films and the oxygen content of Al films decreased with increasing R ratio. Al incorporation into both types of films increased with R ratio up to a value of ∼4 at% at R=0.1. Al films were crystalline with a strong (111) fiber texture becoming more pronounced with increasing R ratio. Film morphology is characterized by large columnar grains at R=0, with a breakup of the columnar structure by R=0.04. Al2O3 films are amorphous under all deposition conditions. Average film stress for PVD Al2O3 films is tensile with a value of 0.68 GPa, becoming compressive at ∼1.3 eV/atom and saturating at a value of ∼-0.65 GPa at R=0.04. Indentation experiments of Al2O3/(100)Si with a 300 g Vickers indenter showed that the changes in crack length are consistent with a model in which the residual film stress is controlling.
The implantation of Au into A1203 followed by thermal annealing at 1100°C leads to dramatic changes in the optical properties. The linear and nonlinear optical properties are correlated to the presence of small Au precipitates which form during annealing.
Microwave remote plasma oxidation were used to study the oxidation of Si and SiGe samples at a lower temperature. C–V measurements were performed to investigate the trap density, and the corresponding bonding structures of thin oxide were revealed by FTIR analysis. SIMS depth profiles were used to reveal the extent of the Ge segregation in SiGe samples. The system can grow ultra thin SiO2 with lower effective trap density. And Ge segregation can be largely suppressed by atomic oxygen oxidation at a lower temperature.
X-ray topography and transmission electron microscopy were used to quantify misfit-dislocation spacings in as-grown Si1-xGex films formed by Limited Reaction Processing (LRP), which is a chemical vapor deposition technique. These analysis techniques were also used to study dislocation formation during annealing of material grown by both LRP and by molecular beam epitaxy (MBE). The thickness at which misfit dislocations first appear in as-grown material was similar for both growth techniques. The thermal stability of capped and uncapped films was also investigated after rapid thermal annealing in the range of 625 to 1000°C. Significantly fewer misfit dislocations were observed in samples containing an epitaxial silicon cap. Some differences in the number of misfit dislocation generated in CVD and MBE films were observed after annealing uncapped layers at temperatures between 625 and 825°C.
Application of the elastic continuum theory of dislocations to modeling of phenomena associated with elastic strain relaxation in strained layer epitaxial heterostructures is discussed. The concept of critical thickness for onset of strain relaxation in a strained epitaxial layer is first reviewed, and some extensions to periodic arrays of dislocations and to multiple layers are described. Then, two issues are addressed that arise when the assumptions underlying the critical thickness concept are not met. One issue concerns the nucleation of dislocations at the growth surface of an epitaxial film, particularly the influence of surface irregularities on the activation energy for surface nucleation. A second issue concerns the kinetics of glide of a threading dislocation as it lays down an interface misfit dislocation when the layer thickness exceeds the critical thickness. A generalized driving force for the glide process is defined, and a relationship between this force and the glide speed is proposed.
The perpendicular x-ray strain of epitaxial CoSi2 films grown on Si(111) substrates at ∼ 600°C by MBE was measured at various temperatures. Within experimental error margins, the strain decreases linearly with rising temperature at a rate of (1.3±0.1) × 10-5/°C from room temperature up to 600°C. Over that temperature range and the duration of a complete measurement (∼5h to ∼ 2h), these strain values remain reversible. At 593°C, the x-ray strain is -0.85%, which is about the strain that a stress-free CoSi2 film on Si(111) would have at that temperature. This results show that the stress in the epitaxial CoSi2 film is fully relaxed at the growth temperature. Strains below the growth temperature are induced in the film by the difference in the linear coefficient of thermal expansion of CoSi2 and Si. They were calculated by assuming that the density of misfit dislocations formed at the growth temperature remains constant. The slope of the strain-temperature dependence obtained that way agrees with the measured slope if the unknown Possion ratio of CoSi2 is assumed to be VcoSi2 = 0.35. A film stress of ∼ 0.8 GPa at room temperature was calculated using the above value for the Possion ratio, 130 GPa for the Young modulus, and the measured x-ray strain.
GaAs films grown on silicon substrates suffer from a high density of threading dislocations. One technique to reduce these dislocations is the use of strained layered superlattices (SLS) InGaAs-GaAsP as buffer. We found that the effectiveness and interactions of the SLS with the threading dislocations strongly depend on the dislocation type and the strain field of the superlattices. Because of the high dislocation density in GaAs/Si, the SLS acts as a medium for dislocation interactions and annihilations. Highly strained SLS (∼ 2%) is required to bend the dislocations and keep them bent at the strained interfaces. We found that the combination between annealing and a highly strained superlattice coupled with selective epitaxy is an effective approach to reduce the threading dislocations in GaAs grown on Si. Transmission electron microscopy is used to study these effects.
There is general international acceptance of the need to demonstrate that the environment is protected from ionising radiation. In some countries requirements and guidelines for the protection of non-human biota are already in place. As a consequence a number of models and approaches have been proposed for the estimation of the exposure of non-human biota to ionising radiation. The IAEA EMRAS programme's Biota Working Group has conducted the most comprehensive intercomparison of the predictions of these approaches to date. In this paper, we present an overview of the activities of the Biota Working Group concentrating on its conclusions and recommendations.