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In recent years, the discovery of massive quasars at
has provided a striking challenge to our understanding of the origin and growth of supermassive black holes in the early Universe. Mounting observational and theoretical evidence indicates the viability of massive seeds, formed by the collapse of supermassive stars, as a progenitor model for such early, massive accreting black holes. Although considerable progress has been made in our theoretical understanding, many questions remain regarding how (and how often) such objects may form, how they live and die, and how next generation observatories may yield new insight into the origin of these primordial titans. This review focusses on our present understanding of this remarkable formation scenario, based on the discussions held at the Monash Prato Centre from November 20 to 24, 2017, during the workshop ‘Titans of the Early Universe: The Origin of the First Supermassive Black Holes’.
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.
Surface debris covers much of the western portion of the McMurdo Ice Shelf and has a strong influence on the local surface albedo and energy balance. Differential ablation between debris-covered and debris-free areas creates an unusual heterogeneous surface of topographically low, high-ablation, and topographically raised (‘pedestalled’), low-ablation areas. Analysis of Landsat and MODIS satellite imagery from 1999 to 2018, alongside field observations from the 2016/2017 austral summer, shows that pedestalled relict lakes (‘pedestals’) form when an active surface meltwater lake that develops in the summer, freezes-over in winter, resulting in the lake-bottom debris being masked by a high-albedo, superimposed, ice surface. If this ice surface fails to melt during a subsequent melt season, it experiences reduced surface ablation relative to the surrounding debris-covered areas of the ice shelf. We propose that this differential ablation, and resultant hydrostatic and flexural readjustments of the ice shelf, causes the former supraglacial lake surface to become increasingly pedestalled above the lower topography of the surrounding ice shelf. Consequently, meltwater streams cannot flow onto these pedestalled features, and instead divert around them. We suggest that the development of pedestals has a significant influence on the surface-energy balance, hydrology and flexure of the ice shelf.
We present very detailed images of the photosphere of an AGB star obtained with the PIONIER instrument, installed at the Very Large Telescope Interferometer (VLTI). The images show a well defined stellar disc populated by a few convective patterns. Thanks to the high precision of the observations we are able to derive the contrast and granulation horizontal scale of the convective pattern for the first time in a direct way. Such quantities are then compared with scaling relations between granule size, effective temperature, and surface gravity that are predicted by simulations of stellar surface convection.
While the classical problem of a flat plate impact on a water surface at zero dead-rise angle has been studied for a long time both theoretically and experimentally, it still presents a number of challenges and unsolved questions. Hitherto, the details of the flow field – especially at early times and close to the plate edge, where the classical inviscid theory predicts a singularity in the velocity field and thus in the free surface deflection, so-called ejecta – have not been studied experimentally, which led to mutually contradicting suppositions in the literature. On one hand, it motivated Yakimov’s self-similar scaling near the plate edge. On the other hand, a removal of the singularity was previously suggested with the help of the Kutta–Joukowsky condition at the plate edge, i.e. enforcing the free surface to depart tangentially to the plate. In the present experimental study we were able to overcome challenges with optical access and investigate, for moderate Reynolds (
) and Weber (
) numbers, both the flow fields and the free surface dynamics at the early stage of the water impact, when the penetration depth is small compared to the plate size, thus allowing us to compare to the classical water impact theory valid in the short time limit. This, in particular, enabled us to uncover the effects of viscosity and surface tension on the velocity field and ejecta evolution usually neglected in theoretical studies. While we were able to confirm the far-field inviscid and the near-edge Stokes theoretical scalings of the free surface profiles, Yakimov’s scaling of the velocity field proved to be inapplicable and the Kutta–Joukowsky condition not satisfied universally in the studied range of Reynolds and Weber numbers. Since the local near-edge phenomena cannot be considered independently of the complete water impact event, the experiments were also set up to study the entirety of the water impact phenomena under realistic conditions – presence of air phase and finite depth of penetration. This allowed us to obtain insights also into other key aspects of the water impact phenomena such as air entrapment and pocketing at the later stage when the impactor bottoms out. In our experiments the volume of trapped air proved not to decrease necessarily with the impact speed, an effect that has not been reported before. The observed fast initial retraction of the trapped air film along the plate bottom turned out to be a consequence of a negative pressure impulse generated upon the abrupt deceleration of the plate. This abrupt deceleration is also the cause of the subsequent air pocketing. Quantitative measurements are complemented with basic scaling models explaining the nature of both retraction of the trapped air and air pocket formation.
The optimal approach to unifocalisation in pulmonary atresia with ventricular septal defect and major aortopulmonary collateral arteries (pulmonary artery/ventricular septal defect/major aortopulmonary collaterals) remains controversial. Moreover, the impact of collateral vessel disease burden on surgical decision-making and late outcomes remains poorly defined. We investigated our centre’s experience in the surgical management of pulmonary artery/ventricular septal defect/major aortopulmonary collaterals.
Materials and methods
Between 1996 and 2015, 84 consecutive patients with pulmonary artery/ventricular septal defect/major aortopulmonary collaterals underwent unifocalisation. In all, 41 patients received single-stage unifocalisation (Group 1) and 43 patients underwent multi-stage repair (Group 2). Preoperative collateral vessel anatomy, branch pulmonary artery reinterventions, ventricular septal defect status, and late right ventricle/left ventricle pressure ratio were evaluated.
Median follow-up was 4.8 compared with 5.7 years for Groups 1 and 2, respectively, p = 0.65. Median number of major aortopulmonary collaterals/patient was 3, ranging from 1 to 8, in Group 1 compared with 4, ranging from 1 to 8, in Group 2, p = 0.09. Group 2 had a higher number of lobar/segmental stenoses within collateral vessels (p = 0.02). Group 1 had fewer catheter-based branch pulmonary artery reinterventions, with 5 (inter-quartile range from 1 to 7) per patient, compared with 9 (inter-quartile range from 4 to 14) in Group 2, p = 0.009. Among patients who achieved ventricular septal defect closure, median right ventricle/left ventricle pressure was 0.48 in Group 1 compared with 0.78 in Group 2, p = 0.03. Overall mortality was 6 (17%) in Group 1 compared with 9 (21%) in Group 2.
Single-stage unifocalisation is a promising repair strategy in select patients, achieving low rates of reintervention for branch pulmonary artery restenosis and excellent mid-term haemodynamic outcomes. However, specific anatomic substrates of pulmonary artery/ventricular septal defect/major aortopulmonary collaterals may be better suited to multi-stage repair. Preoperative evaluation of collateral vessel calibre and function may help inform more patient-specific surgical management.
Fedchenko Glacier experienced a large thickness loss since the first scientific investigations in 1928. As the largest glacier in the Pamir Mountains, this glacier plays an important role for the regional glacier mass budget. We use a series of Global Navigation Satellite Systems observations from 2009 to 2016 and TanDEM-X elevation models from 2011 to 2016 to investigate recent elevation changes. Accounting for radar wave penetration minimizes biases in elevation that can otherwise reach up to 6 m in dry snow on Fedchenko Glacier, with mean values of 3–4 m in the high accumulation regions. The seasonal elevation changes reach up to ±5 m. The glacier surface elevation decreased along its entire length over multi-year periods. Thinning rates increased between 2000 and 2016 by a factor of 1.8 compared with 1928–2000, resulting in peak values of 1.5 m a−1. Even the highest accumulation basins above 5000 m elevation have been affected by glacier thinning with change rates between −0.2 and −0.4 m a−1 from 2009 to 2016. The estimated glacier-wide mass-balance rates are −0.27 ± 0.05 m w.e. a−1 for 2000 to 2011 and −0.51 ± 0.04 m w.e. a−1 between 2011 and 2016.
To test the hypothesis that long-term care facility (LTCF) residents with Clostridium difficile infection (CDI) or asymptomatic carriage of toxigenic strains are an important source of transmission in the LTCF and in the hospital during acute-care admissions.
A 6-month cohort study with identification of transmission events was conducted based on tracking of patient movement combined with restriction endonuclease analysis (REA) and whole-genome sequencing (WGS).
Veterans Affairs hospital and affiliated LTCF.
The study included 29 LTCF residents identified as asymptomatic carriers of toxigenic C. difficile based on every other week perirectal screening and 37 healthcare facility-associated CDI cases (ie, diagnosis >3 days after admission or within 4 weeks of discharge to the community), including 26 hospital-associated and 11 LTCF-associated cases.
Of the 37 CDI cases, 7 (18·9%) were linked to LTCF residents with LTCF-associated CDI or asymptomatic carriage, including 3 of 26 hospital-associated CDI cases (11·5%) and 4 of 11 LTCF-associated cases (36·4%). Of the 7 transmissions linked to LTCF residents, 5 (71·4%) were linked to asymptomatic carriers versus 2 (28·6%) to CDI cases, and all involved transmission of epidemic BI/NAP1/027 strains. No incident hospital-associated CDI cases were linked to other hospital-associated CDI cases.
Our findings suggest that LTCF residents with asymptomatic carriage of C. difficile or CDI contribute to transmission both in the LTCF and in the affiliated hospital during acute-care admissions. Greater emphasis on infection control measures and antimicrobial stewardship in LTCFs is needed, and these efforts should focus on LTCF residents during hospital admissions.
A novel, alloy-agnostic, nanofunctionalization process has been utilized to produce metal matrix composites (MMCs) via additive manufacturing, providing new geometric freedom for MMC design. MMCs were produced with the addition of tungsten carbide nanoparticles to commercially available AlSi10Mg alloy powder. Tungsten carbide was chosen due to the potential for coherent crystallographic phases that were identified utilizing a lattice-matching approach to promote wetting and increase dislocation interactions. Structures were produced with evenly distributed strengthening phases leading to tensile strengths >385 MPa and a 50% decrease in wear rate over the commercially available AlSi10Mg alloy at only 1 vol% loading of tungsten carbide.
Rib bone biopsy samples are often used to estimate changes in skeletal mineral reserves in cattle but differences in sampling procedures and the bone measurements reported often make interpretation and comparisons among experiments difficult. ‘Full-core’ rib bone biopsy samples, which included the external cortical bone, internal cortical bone and trabecular bone (CBext, CBint and Trab, respectively), were obtained from cattle known to be in phosphorus (P) adequate (Padeq) or severely P-deficient (Pdefic) status. Experiments 1 and 2 examined growing steers and Experiment 3 mature breeder cows. The thickness of cortical bone, specific gravity (SG), and the amount and concentration of ash and P per unit fresh bone volume, differed among CBext, CBint and Trab bone. P concentration (mg/cc) was closely correlated with both SG and ash concentrations (pooled data, r=0.99). Thickness of external cortical bone (CBText) was correlated with full-core P concentration (FC-Pconc) (pooled data, r=0.87). However, an index, the amount of P in CBext per unit surface area of CBext (PSACB; mg P/mm2), was more closely correlated with the FC-Pconc (pooled data, FC-Pconc=37.0+146×PSACB; n=42, r=0.94, RSD=7.7). Results for measured or estimated FC-Pconc in 10 published studies with cattle in various physiological states and expected to be Padeq or in various degrees of Pdefic status were collated and the ranges of FC-Pconc indicative of P adequacy and P deficiency for various classes of cattle were evaluated. FC-Pconc was generally in the range 130 to 170 and 100 to 120 mg/cc fresh bone in Padeq mature cows and young growing cattle, respectively. In conclusion, the FC-Pconc could be estimated accurately from biopsy samples of CBext. This allows comparisons between studies where full-core or only CBext biopsy samples of rib bone have been obtained to estimate changes in the skeletal P status of cattle and facilitates evaluation of the P status of cattle.
Coinfection with human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) and viral hepatitis is associated with high morbidity and mortality in the absence of clinical management, making identification of these cases crucial. We examined characteristics of HIV and viral hepatitis coinfections by using surveillance data from 15 US states and two cities. Each jurisdiction used an automated deterministic matching method to link surveillance data for persons with reported acute and chronic hepatitis B virus (HBV) or hepatitis C virus (HCV) infections, to persons reported with HIV infection. Of the 504 398 persons living with diagnosed HIV infection at the end of 2014, 2.0% were coinfected with HBV and 6.7% were coinfected with HCV. Of the 269 884 persons ever reported with HBV, 5.2% were reported with HIV. Of the 1 093 050 persons ever reported with HCV, 4.3% were reported with HIV. A greater proportion of persons coinfected with HIV and HBV were males and blacks/African Americans, compared with those with HIV monoinfection. Persons who inject drugs represented a greater proportion of those coinfected with HIV and HCV, compared with those with HIV monoinfection. Matching HIV and viral hepatitis surveillance data highlights epidemiological characteristics of persons coinfected and can be used to routinely monitor health status and guide state and national public health interventions.
Compulsory admission can be experienced as devaluing and stigmatising by people with mental illness. Emotional reactions to involuntary hospitalisation and stigma-related stress may affect recovery, but longitudinal data are lacking. We, therefore, examined the impact of stigma-related emotional reactions and stigma stress on recovery over a 2-year period.
Shame and self-contempt as emotional reactions to involuntary hospitalisation, stigma stress, self-stigma and empowerment, as well as recovery were assessed among 186 individuals with serious mental illness and a history of recent involuntary hospitalisation.
More shame, self-contempt and stigma stress at baseline were correlated with increased self-stigma and reduced empowerment after 1 year. More stigma stress at baseline was associated with poor recovery after 2 years. In a longitudinal path analysis more stigma stress at baseline predicted poorer recovery after 2 years, mediated by decreased empowerment after 1 year, controlling for age, gender, symptoms and recovery at baseline.
Stigma stress may have a lasting detrimental effect on recovery among people with mental illness and a history of involuntary hospitalisation. Anti-stigma interventions that reduce stigma stress and programs that enhance empowerment could improve recovery. Future research should test the effect of such interventions on recovery.
Objectives: To evaluate prospective and retrospective memory abilities in Operation Enduring Freedom (OEF), Operation Iraqi Freedom (OIF), and Operation New Dawn (OND) Veterans with and without a self-reported history of blast-related mild traumatic brain injury (mTBI). Methods: Sixty-one OEF/OIF/OND Veterans, including Veterans with a self-reported history of blast-related mTBI (mTBI group; n=42) and Veterans without a self-reported history of TBI (control group; n=19) completed the Memory for Intentions Test, a measure of prospective memory (PM), and two measures of retrospective memory (RM), the California Verbal Learning Test-II and the Brief Visuospatial Memory Test-Revised. Results: Veterans in the mTBI group exhibited significantly lower PM performance than the control group, but the groups did not differ in their performance on RM measures. Further analysis revealed that Veterans in the mTBI group with current PTSD (mTBI/PTSD+) demonstrated significantly lower performance on the PM measure than Veterans in the control group. PM performance by Veterans in the mTBI group without current PTSD (mTBI/PTSD-) was intermediate between the mTBI/PTSD+ and control groups, and results for the mTBI/PTSD- group were not significantly different from either of the other two groups. Conclusions: Results suggest that PM performance may be a sensitive marker of cognitive dysfunction among OEF/OIF/OND Veterans with a history of self-reported blast-related mTBI and comorbid PTSD. Reduced PM may account, in part, for complaints of cognitive difficulties in this Veteran cohort, even years post-injury. (JINS, 2018, 24, 324–334)
The calving interval (CI) can potentially impact the economic results of dairy farms. This study highlighted the most profitable CI and innovated by describing this optimum as a function of the feeding system of the farm. On-farm data were used to represent real farm conditions. A total of 1832 accounts of farms recorded from 2007 to 2014 provided economic, technical and feeding information per herd and per year. A multiple correspondence analysis created four feeding groups: extensive, low intensive, intensive and very intensive herds. The gross margin and some of its components were corrected to account for the effect of factors external to the farm, such as the market, biological status, etc. Then the corrected gross margin (cGMc) and its components were modelled by CI parameters in each feeding system by use of GLM. The relationship between cGMc and the proportion of cows with CI<380 days in each feeding group showed that keeping most of the cows in the herd with CI near to 1 year was not profitable for most farms (for the very intensive farms there was no effect of the proportion). Moreover, a low proportion of cows (0% to 20%) with a near-to-1-year CI was not profitable for the extensive and low intensive farms. Extending the proportion of cows with CI beyond 459 days until 635 days (i.e. data limitation) caused no significant economic loss for the extensive and low intensive farms, but was not profitable for the intensive and very intensive farms. Variations of the milk and feeding components explained mainly these significant differences of gross margin. A link between the feeding system and persistency, perceptible in the milk production and CI shown by the herd, could explain the different relationships observed between the extent of CI and the economic results in the feeding groups. This herd-level study tended to show different economic optima of CI as a function of the feeding system. A cow-level study would specify these tendencies to give CI objectives to dairy breeders as a function of their farm characteristics.
On 2 March 2016, several small en échelon tabular icebergs calved from the seaward front of the McMurdo Ice Shelf, and a previously inactive rift widened and propagated by ~3 km, ~25% of its previous length, setting the stage for the future calving of a ~14 km2 iceberg. Within 24 h of these events, all remaining land-fast sea ice that had been stabilizing the ice shelf broke-up. The events were witnessed by time-lapse cameras at nearby Scott Base, and put into context using nearby seismic and automatic weather station data, satellite imagery and subsequent ground observation. Although the exact trigger of calving and rifting cannot be identified definitively, seismic records reveal superimposed sets of both long-period (>10 s) sea swell propagating into McMurdo Sound from storm sources beyond Antarctica, and high-energy, locally-sourced, short-period (<10 s) sea swell, in the 4 days before the fast ice break-up and associated ice-shelf calving and rifting. This suggests that sea swell should be studied further as a proximal cause of ice-shelf calving and rifting; if proven, it suggests that ice-shelf stability is tele-connected with far-field storm conditions at lower latitudes, adding a global dimension to the physics of ice-shelf break-up.
Heat stress has a significant impact on all livestock and poultry species causing economic losses and animal well-being concerns. Providing shade is one heat-abatement strategy that has been studied for years. Material selected to provide shade for animals greatly influences the overall stress reduction provided by shade. A study was conducted to quantify both the environment and animal response, when cattle had no shade access during summertime exposure or were given access to shade provided by three different materials. A total of 32 Black Angus heifers were assigned to one of the four treatment pens according to weight (eight animals per pen). Each pen was assigned a shade treatment: No Shade, Snow Fence, 60% Aluminet Shade Cloth and 100% Shade Cloth. In the shaded treatment pens, the shade structure covered ~40% of the pen (7.5 m2/animal). Animals were moved to a different treatment every 2 weeks in a 4×4 Latin square design to ensure each treatment was applied to each group of animals. Both environmental parameters and physiological responses were measured during the experiment. Environmental parameters included dry-bulb temperature, relative humidity, wind speed, black globe temperature (BGT), solar radiation (SR) and feedlot surface temperature. Animal response measurements included manual respiration rate (RRm), electronic respiration rate (RRe), vaginal temperature (body temperature (BT)), complete blood count (CBC) and plasma cortisol. The environmental data demonstrated changes proportional to the quality of shade offered. However, the animal responses did not follow this same trend. Some of the data suggest that any amount of shade was beneficial to the animals. However, Snow Fence may not offer adequate protection to reduce BT. For some of the parameters (BT, CBC and cortisol), 60% Aluminet and 100% Shade Cloth offers similar protection. The 60% Aluminet lowered RRe the most during extreme conditions. When considering all parameters, environmental and physiological, 60% Aluminet Shade Cloth offered reductions of BGT, SR, feedlot surface temperature and the best (or equal to the best) overall protection for the animals (RRe, RRm, BT, blood parameters).