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Shiga toxin-producing Escherichia coli (STEC) infection can cause serious illness including haemolytic uraemic syndrome. The role of socio-economic status (SES) in differential clinical presentation and exposure to potential risk factors amongst STEC cases has not previously been reported in England. We conducted an observational study using a dataset of all STEC cases identified in England, 2010–2015. Odds ratios for clinical characteristics of cases and foodborne, waterborne and environmental risk factors were estimated using logistic regression, stratified by SES, adjusting for baseline demographic factors. Incidence was higher in the highest SES group compared to the lowest (RR 1.54, 95% CI 1.19–2.00). Odds of Accident and Emergency attendance (OR 1.35, 95% CI 1.10–1.75) and hospitalisation (OR 1.71, 95% CI 1.36–2.15) because of illness were higher in the most disadvantaged compared to the least, suggesting potential lower ascertainment of milder cases or delayed care-seeking behaviour in disadvantaged groups. Advantaged individuals were significantly more likely to report salad/fruit/vegetable/herb consumption (OR 1.59, 95% CI 1.16–2.17), non-UK or UK travel (OR 1.76, 95% CI 1.40–2.27; OR 1.85, 95% CI 1.35–2.56) and environmental exposures (walking in a paddock, OR 1.82, 95% CI 1.22–2.70; soil contact, OR 1.52, 95% CI 2.13–1.09) suggesting other unmeasured risks, such as person-to-person transmission, could be more important in the most disadvantaged group.
The role that vitamin D plays in pulmonary function remains uncertain. Epidemiological studies reported mixed findings for serum 25-hydroxyvitamin D (25(OH)D)–pulmonary function association. We conducted the largest cross-sectional meta-analysis of the 25(OH)D–pulmonary function association to date, based on nine European ancestry (EA) cohorts (n 22 838) and five African ancestry (AA) cohorts (n 4290) in the Cohorts for Heart and Aging Research in Genomic Epidemiology Consortium. Data were analysed using linear models by cohort and ancestry. Effect modification by smoking status (current/former/never) was tested. Results were combined using fixed-effects meta-analysis. Mean serum 25(OH)D was 68 (sd 29) nmol/l for EA and 49 (sd 21) nmol/l for AA. For each 1 nmol/l higher 25(OH)D, forced expiratory volume in the 1st second (FEV1) was higher by 1·1 ml in EA (95 % CI 0·9, 1·3; P<0·0001) and 1·8 ml (95 % CI 1·1, 2·5; P<0·0001) in AA (Prace difference=0·06), and forced vital capacity (FVC) was higher by 1·3 ml in EA (95 % CI 1·0, 1·6; P<0·0001) and 1·5 ml (95 % CI 0·8, 2·3; P=0·0001) in AA (Prace difference=0·56). Among EA, the 25(OH)D–FVC association was stronger in smokers: per 1 nmol/l higher 25(OH)D, FVC was higher by 1·7 ml (95 % CI 1·1, 2·3) for current smokers and 1·7 ml (95 % CI 1·2, 2·1) for former smokers, compared with 0·8 ml (95 % CI 0·4, 1·2) for never smokers. In summary, the 25(OH)D associations with FEV1 and FVC were positive in both ancestries. In EA, a stronger association was observed for smokers compared with never smokers, which supports the importance of vitamin D in vulnerable populations.
Disordered eating (DE) is a widespread, serious problem. Efficacious prevention programs that can be delivered at-scale are needed.
A pragmatic randomized controlled trial of two online programs was conducted. Participants were young-adult women from Australia and New Zealand seeking to improve their body image. Media Smart-Targeted (MS-T) and Student Bodies (SB) were both 9-module interventions released weekly, whilst control participants received positive body image information. Primary [Eating Disorder Examination–Questionnaire (EDE-Q) Global], secondary (DE risk factors) and tertiary (DE) outcome measures were completed at baseline, post-program, 6- and 12-month follow-up.
Baseline was completed by 608 women (M age = 20.71 years); 33 were excluded leaving 575 randomized to: MS-T (N = 191); SB (N = 190) or control (N = 194). Only 66% of those randomized to MS-T or SB accessed the intervention and were included in analyses with controls; 78% of this sample completed measures subsequent to baseline. Primary intent-to-treat (ITT) analyses revealed no differences between groups, while measure completer analyses found MS-T had significantly lower EDE-Q Global than controls at 12-month follow-up. Secondary ITT analyses found MS-T participants reported significantly higher quality of life–mental relative to both SB and controls (6-month follow-up), while MS-T and controls had lower clinical impairment relative to SB (post-program). Amongst measure completers, MS-T scored significantly lower than controls and SB on 5 variables. Of those with baseline DE, MS-T participants were significantly less likely than controls to have DE at 12-month follow-up.
Given both programs were not therapist-moderated, MS-T has potential to achieve reductions in DE risk at low implementation costs.
Tonsillectomy is a common procedure with significant post-operative pain. This study was designed to compare post-operative pain, returns to a normal diet and normal activity, and duration of regular analgesic use in Coblation and bipolar tonsillectomy patients.
A total of 137 patients, aged 2–50 years, presenting to a single institution for tonsillectomy or adenotonsillectomy were recruited. Pain level, diet, analgesic use, return to normal activity and haemorrhage data were collected.
Coblation tonsillectomy was associated with significantly less pain than bipolar tonsillectomy on post-operative days 1 (p = 0.005), 2 (p = 0.006) and 3 (p = 0.010). Mean pain scores were also significantly lower in the Coblation group (p = 0.039). Coblation patients had a significantly faster return to normal activity than bipolar tonsillectomy patients (p < 0.001).
Coblation tonsillectomy is a less painful technique compared to bipolar tonsillectomy in the immediate post-operative period and in the overall post-operative period. This allows a faster return to normal activity and decreased analgesic requirements.
The Molonglo Observatory Synthesis Telescope (MOST) is an 18000 m2 radio telescope located 40 km from Canberra, Australia. Its operating band (820–851 MHz) is partly allocated to telecommunications, making radio astronomy challenging. We describe how the deployment of new digital receivers, Field Programmable Gate Array-based filterbanks, and server-class computers equipped with 43 Graphics Processing Units, has transformed the telescope into a versatile new instrument (UTMOST) for studying the radio sky on millisecond timescales. UTMOST has 10 times the bandwidth and double the field of view compared to the MOST, and voltage record and playback capability has facilitated rapid implementaton of many new observing modes, most of which operate commensally. UTMOST can simultaneously excise interference, make maps, coherently dedisperse pulsars, and perform real-time searches of coherent fan-beams for dispersed single pulses. UTMOST operates as a robotic facility, deciding how to efficiently target pulsars and how long to stay on source via real-time pulsar folding, while searching for single pulse events. Regular timing of over 300 pulsars has yielded seven pulsar glitches and three Fast Radio Bursts during commissioning. UTMOST demonstrates that if sufficient signal processing is applied to voltage streams, innovative science remains possible even in hostile radio frequency environments.
The Square Kilometre Array will be an amazing instrument for pulsar astronomy. While the full SKA will be sensitive enough to detect all pulsars in the Galaxy visible from Earth, already with SKA1, pulsar searches will discover enough pulsars to increase the currently known population by a factor of four, no doubt including a range of amazing unknown sources. Real time processing is needed to deal with the 60 PB of pulsar search data collected per day, using a signal processing pipeline required to perform more than 10 POps. Here we present the suggested design of the pulsar search engine for the SKA and discuss challenges and solutions to the pulsar search venture.
The class of radio transients called Fast Radio Bursts (FRBs) encompasses enigmatic single pulses, each unique in its own way, hindering a consensus for their origin. The key to demystifying FRBs lies in discovering many of them in order to identity commonalities – and in real time, in order to find potential counterparts at other wavelengths. The recently upgraded UTMOST in Australia, is undergoing a backend transformation to rise as a fast transient detection machine. The first interferometric detections of FRBs with UTMOST, place their origin beyond the near-field region of the telescope thus ruling out local sources of interference as a possible origin. We have localised these bursts to much better than the ones discovered at the Parkes radio telescope and have plans to upgrade UTMOST to be capable of much better localisation still.
With the changing distribution of infectious diseases, and an increase in the burden of non-communicable diseases, low- and middle-income countries, including those in Africa, will need to expand their health care capacities to effectively respond to these epidemiological transitions. The interrelated risk factors for chronic infectious and non-communicable diseases and the need for long-term disease management, argue for combined strategies to understand their underlying causes and to design strategies for effective prevention and long-term care. Through multidisciplinary research and implementation partnerships, we advocate an integrated approach for research and healthcare for chronic diseases in Africa.
To explore perceived factors that impede or facilitate healthful eating within the home environment among overweight/obese adolescents.
In the present qualitative photovoice study, participants were instructed to take photographs of things that made it easier or harder to make healthful food choices at home. Digital photographs were reviewed and semi-structured interviews were conducted to promote discussion of the photographs. Data were analysed using constant comparative analysis.
Vancouver, Canada, in 2012–2013.
Twenty-two overweight/obese adolescents who completed a family-based lifestyle modification intervention.
The mean age of participants was 14 (sd 1·9) years, 77 % were female and their mean BMI Z-score was 2·4 (sd 0·6). Adolescents talked about six aspects of the home environment that influenced their eating habits (in order of frequency): home cooking, availability and accessibility of foods/beverages, parenting practices, family modelling, celebrations and screen use/studying. In general, homes with availability of less healthful foods, where family members also liked to eat less healthful foods and where healthier foods were less abundant or inaccessible were described as barriers to healthful eating. Special occasions and time spent studying or in front of the screen were also conducive to less healthful food choices. Home cooked meals supported adolescents in making healthier food choices, while specific parenting strategies such as encouragement and restriction were helpful for some adolescents.
Adolescents struggled to make healthful choices in their home environment, but highlighted parenting strategies that were supportive. Targeting the home food environment is important to enable healthier food choices among overweight/obese adolescents.
Antipsychotic medications can contribute to neurocognitive and motor impairments, but specific links to individualized pharmacological treatment regimens are unclear. In 68 participants with stabilized first-episode psychosis (FEP), we investigated the links between neuropsychological functions and an established anticholinergic potency index and a new D2 antagonist potency index developed in our lab. Each participant's psychiatric medication regimen was converted into estimated receptor antagonist loads based upon specific medication dosage(s) and reported in vitro brain muscarinic cholinergic and D2 receptor antagonism. In addition to the global neuropsychological impairments of FEP participants, the findings supported the hypothesized links between receptor antagonist loads and specific deficits. Higher anticholinergic load was associated with poorer delayed verbal memory but was not related to motor functioning. In contrast, higher D2 load was associated with poorer motor functioning but not verbal memory. These selective antagonist load associations explained 19% of the variance in motor functioning and 17% of the variance in delayed verbal memory. Evidently, some of the neuropsychological impairments found in persons with FEP are selectively related to the specific pharmacodynamics and the dosing of their medication regimens. Moreover, these effects can be readily estimated from practical and inexpensive indices. (JINS, 2012, 18, 1–11)
Depression following myocardial infarction (MI) independently increases risk for early cardiac morbidity and mortality. Studies suggest that somatic, but not cognitive, depressive symptoms are responsible for the increased risk. However, the effects of somatic depressive symptoms at follow-up, after sufficient time has elapsed to allow for physical recovery from the initial infarction, are not known. Our aim was to examine the relationship between cognitive and somatic depressive symptom dimensions at baseline and 12 months post-MI and subsequent mortality and cardiovascular morbidity.
Patients were 2442 depressed and/or socially isolated men and women with acute MI included in the Enhancing Recovery in Coronary Heart Disease (ENRICHD) clinical trial. We used principal components analysis (PCA) of the Beck Depression Inventory (BDI) items to derive subscales measuring cognitive and somatic depressive symptom dimensions, and Cox regression with Bonferroni correction for multiple testing to examine the contribution of these dimensions to all-cause mortality, cardiovascular mortality, and first recurrent non-fatal MI.
After adjusting for medical co-morbidity and Bonferroni correction, the somatic depressive symptom dimension assessed proximately following MI did not significantly predict any endpoints. At 12 months post-MI, however, this dimension independently predicted subsequent all-cause [hazard ratio (HR) 1.43, 95% confidence interval (CI) 1.13–1.81] and cardiovascular mortality (HR 1.60, 95% CI 1.17–2.18). No significant associations were found between the cognitive depressive symptom dimension and any endpoints after Bonferroni correction.
Somatic symptoms of depression at 12 months post-MI in patients at increased psychosocial risk predicted subsequent mortality. Psychosocial interventions aimed at improving cardiac prognosis may be enhanced by targeting somatic depressive symptoms, with particular attention to somatic symptom severity at 12 months post-MI.
The microstructure of narrow metal conductors in the electrical interconnections on IC chips has often been identified as of major importance in the reliability of these devices. The stresses and stress gradients that develop in the conductors as a result of thermal expansion differences in the materials and of electromigration at high current densities are believed to be strongly dependent on the details of the grain structure. The present work discusses new techniques based on microbeam x-ray diffraction (MBXRD) that have enabled measurement not only of the microstructure of totally encapsulated conductors but also of the local stresses in them on a micron and submicron scale. White x-rays from the Advanced Light Source were focused to a micron spot size by Kirkpatrick-Baez mirrors. The sample was stepped under the micro-beam and Laue images obtained at each sample location using a CCD area detector. Microstructure and local strain were deduced from these images. Cu lines with widths ranging from 0.8 [.proportional]m to 5 [.proportional]m and thickness of 1 [.proportional]m were investigated. Comparisons are made between the capabilities of MBXRD and the well established techniques of broad beam XRD, electron back scatter diffraction (EBSD) and focused ion beam imagining (FIB).
Ion beam sputter-deposition has been used to produce high temperature superconducting (HTSC) thin films with controlled orientation. Room temperature scanning tunneling microscopy (STM) studies of ion beam sputter-deposited Y-Ba-Cu-O thin films indicate that the growth mode depends on whether the films are a- or c-axis oriented. The c-axis oriented films appear to grow by a screw dislocation mechanism, producing layered spirals similar to those observed in films grown by plasma sputtering and laser ablation-deposition. STM images of the a-axis oriented films show a growth mode which appears to produce layered structures perpendicular to the substrate with no spirals. Scanning tunneling spectroscopy (STS) studies of the a- and c-axis oriented films tend to reflect the anisotropy of the Y-Ba-Cu-O structure. Both the c-axis and the a-axis oriented films have semiconducting characteristics, possibly due to a native oxide, with a band gap estimated to be 1.4 eV. The c-axis oriented film, however, exhibits more fine structure in its density of states. This apparent anisotropie band structure reflects the anisotropie Y-Ba-Cu-O microstructure and superconducting characteristics. Investigations with x-ray photcelectron spectroscopy (XPS) establish a substantial chemical difference between the two surfaces inferring more substantial native oxides and air-induced by-products on the a-axis oriented film.
In order to better understand the mechanics of metallization structures having very fine features, we performed in-situ, temperature-dependent X-ray strain measurements on Al-Cu films patterned into gratings with linewidths of 0.2-0.8μm, with and without a dielectric covering In comparison with earlier work on coarser structures, we find larger strains and less hysteresis, indicating an increased yield stress. The stress in unpassivated lines is almost independent of the linewidth. The slope of the stress/temperature curves for passivated lines increases with decreasing linewidth, so that the compressive stress at 500°C reaches 900MPa for the narrowest lines. The tensile stress at RT is smaller for the narrower lines, suggesting that these lines may not stress-void as much as wider ones. The significance of these results for stress voiding and electromigration will be discussed.
Electroplated Cu films undergo a remarkable recrystallization at room temperature that has been associated with dislocations and defects arising from the influence of surface-active additives during plating. In the process of plating, the composition of the bath changes as the organic additives are depleted by incorporation into the Cu films or electrolytic decomposition and replenished by fresh additions. Given the sensitivity of the plating process to low concentrations of additives, the properties of the plated Cu might be expected to differ between a freshly prepared bath and an older bath that has processed thousands of wafers and achieved a steady state composition of additives and by-products.
In this paper we compare the recrystallization rates of Cu films deposited from two such baths on wafers with damascene trenches of widths from 0.3 to 5 μm. Films deposited from the older bath consistently recrystallize at a faster rate for all trench widths and both barrier materials (Ta, TaN) studied. The concentration of impurities is comparable in the two films. Therefore, the difference in rates is likely due to a difference in defect densities in the film due to different adsorbate/surface interactions during plating. Although the recrystallization rates vary, X-ray diffraction pole figure analysis of films plated from the two baths show no differences in texture. Sidewall growth components are visible in both sets of samples. Data on the influence of the barrier material and trench width on recrystallization rates are also presented.