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The thymus undergoes a critical period of growth and development early in gestation and, by mid-gestation, immature thymocytes are subject to positive and negative selection. Exposure to undernutrition during these periods may permanently affect phenotype. We measured thymulin concentrations, as a proxy for thymic size and function, in children (n = 290; aged 9–13 years) born to participants in a cluster-randomized trial of maternal vitamin A or β-carotene supplementation in rural Nepal (1994–1997). The geometric mean (95% confidence interval) thymulin concentration was 1.37 ng/ml (1.27, 1.47). A multivariate model of early-life exposures revealed a positive association with gestational age at delivery (β = 0.02; P = 0.05) and higher concentrations among children born to β-carotene-supplemented mothers (β = 0.19; P < 0.05). At ∼9–12 years of age, thymulin was positively associated with all anthropometric measures, with height retained in our multivariate model (β = 0.02; P < 0.001). There was significant seasonal variation: concentrations tended to be lower pre-monsoon (β = −0.13; P = 0.15), during the monsoon (β = −0.22; P = 0.04), and pre-harvest (β = −0.34; P = 0.01), relative to the post-harvest season. All early-life associations, except supplementation, were mediated in part by nutritional status at follow-up. Our findings underscore the known sensitivity of the thymus to nutrition, including potentially lasting effects of early nutritional exposures. The relevance of these findings to later disease risk remains to be explored, particularly given the role of thymulin in the neuroendocrine regulation of inflammation.
Maternal systemic inflammation during pregnancy may restrict embryo−fetal growth, but the extent of this effect remains poorly established in undernourished populations. In a cohort of 653 maternal−newborn dyads participating in a multi-armed, micronutrient supplementation trial in southern Nepal, we investigated associations between maternal inflammation, assessed by serum α1-acid glycoprotein and C-reactive protein, in the first and third trimesters of pregnancy, and newborn weight, length and head and chest circumferences. Median (IQR) maternal concentrations in α1-acid glycoprotein and C-reactive protein in the first and third trimesters were 0.65 (0.53–0.76) and 0.40 (0.33–0.50) g/l, and 0.56 (0.25–1.54) and 1.07 (0.43–2.32) mg/l, respectively. α1-acid glycoprotein was inversely associated with birth size: weight, length, head circumference and chest circumference were lower by 116 g (P = 2.3 × 10−6), and 0.45 (P = 3.1 × 10−5), 0.18 (P = 0.0191) and 0.48 (P = 1.7 × 10−7) cm, respectively, per 50% increase in α1-acid glycoprotein averaged across both trimesters. Adjustment for maternal age, parity, gestational age, nutritional and socio-economic status and daily micronutrient supplementation failed to alter any association. Serum C-reactive protein concentration was largely unassociated with newborn size. In rural Nepal, birth size was inversely associated with low-grade, chronic inflammation during pregnancy as indicated by serum α1-acid glycoprotein.
The origin of malnutrition in older age is multifactorial and risk factors may vary according to health and living situation. The present study aimed to identify setting-specific risk profiles of malnutrition in older adults and to investigate the association of the number of individual risk factors with malnutrition.
Data of four cross-sectional studies were harmonized and uniformly analysed. Malnutrition was defined as BMI < 20 kg/m2 and/or weight loss of >3 kg in the previous 3–6 months. Associations between factors of six domains (demographics, health, mental function, physical function, dietary intake-related problems, dietary behaviour), the number of individual risk factors and malnutrition were analysed using logistic regression.
Community (CD), geriatric day hospital (GDH), home care (HC), nursing home (NH).
CD older adults (n 1073), GDH patients (n 180), HC receivers (n 335) and NH residents (n 197), all ≥65 years.
Malnutrition prevalence was lower in CD (11 %) than in the other settings (16–19 %). In the CD sample, poor appetite, difficulties with eating, respiratory and gastrointestinal diseases were associated with malnutrition; in GDH patients, poor appetite and respiratory diseases; in HC receivers, younger age, poor appetite and nausea; and in NH residents, older age and mobility limitations. In all settings the likelihood of malnutrition increased with the number of potential individual risk factors.
The study indicates a varying relevance of certain risk factors of malnutrition in different settings. However, the relationship of the number of individual risk factors with malnutrition in all settings implies comprehensive approaches to identify persons at risk of malnutrition early.
The replacement of the finite and costly resource fish oil is an important task for aquaculture nutrition. A promising approach could be the use of plant bioactives that may have the potential to influence the metabolism and the synthesis of n-3 long chain polyunsaturated fatty acids, especially EPA (20:5n-3) and DHA (22:6n-3). In this study, the two phytochemicals resveratrol (RV) and genistein (G) were investigated for their effects on fish growth, nutrient utilization and body nutrient composition alongside their effects on whole body fatty acid (FA) composition. In a feeding trial lasting 8 weeks, rainbow trout (initial BW: 81.4±0.5 g) were held in a recirculating aquaculture system and fed six experimental diets with varying fish oil levels as plain variants or supplemented with 0.3% of dry matter (DM) of either RV or G. The six diets were as follows: diet F4 had 4% DM fish oil, diet F0 had 0% DM fish oil, diets F4+RV, F4+G, F0+RV and F0+G were equal to the diets F4 and F0, respectively, and supplemented with the phytochemicals RV and G. The feeding of the F0+RV diet resulted in reduced feed intake, growth rate and slightly reduced whole body lipid levels. At the same time, the amount of polyunsaturated FA and the n-3/n-6 ratio were significantly increased in whole body homogenates of rainbow trout fed diet F0+RV in comparison to the F0 control. The feeding of the F0+G diet led to reduced feed intake, slightly increased protein utilization but did not significantly affect the whole body FA composition. Overall, feeding the fish oil-free diet supplemented with the phytochemicals resulted in more pronounced effects on fish performance and FA composition than the single factors per se (dietary fish oil level or phytochemical). Present data indicate that G might not be of profitable use for trout nutrition. In terms of FA composition, RV could be a potentially useful complement for fish oil. However, the impairment of growth and performance parameters as observed in the present study discourages its use in trout diets.
A range of endophenotypes characterise psychosis, however there has been limited work understanding if and how they are inter-related.
This multi-centre study includes 8754 participants: 2212 people with a psychotic disorder, 1487 unaffected relatives of probands, and 5055 healthy controls. We investigated cognition [digit span (N = 3127), block design (N = 5491), and the Rey Auditory Verbal Learning Test (N = 3543)], electrophysiology [P300 amplitude and latency (N = 1102)], and neuroanatomy [lateral ventricular volume (N = 1721)]. We used linear regression to assess the interrelationships between endophenotypes.
The P300 amplitude and latency were not associated (regression coef. −0.06, 95% CI −0.12 to 0.01, p = 0.060), and P300 amplitude was positively associated with block design (coef. 0.19, 95% CI 0.10–0.28, p < 0.001). There was no evidence of associations between lateral ventricular volume and the other measures (all p > 0.38). All the cognitive endophenotypes were associated with each other in the expected directions (all p < 0.001). Lastly, the relationships between pairs of endophenotypes were consistent in all three participant groups, differing for some of the cognitive pairings only in the strengths of the relationships.
The P300 amplitude and latency are independent endophenotypes; the former indexing spatial visualisation and working memory, and the latter is hypothesised to index basic processing speed. Individuals with psychotic illnesses, their unaffected relatives, and healthy controls all show similar patterns of associations between endophenotypes, endorsing the theory of a continuum of psychosis liability across the population.
A number of laser facilities coming online all over the world promise the capability of high-power laser experiments with shot repetition rates between 1 and 10 Hz. Target availability and technical issues related to the interaction environment could become a bottleneck for the exploitation of such facilities. In this paper, we report on target needs for three different classes of experiments: dynamic compression physics, electron transport and isochoric heating, and laser-driven particle and radiation sources. We also review some of the most challenging issues in target fabrication and high repetition rate operation. Finally, we discuss current target supply strategies and future perspectives to establish a sustainable target provision infrastructure for advanced laser facilities.
We present results from a multiwavelength study of the blazar PKS 1954–388 at radio, UV, X-ray, and gamma-ray energies. A RadioAstron observation at 1.66 GHz in June 2012 resulted in the detection of interferometric fringes on baselines of 6.2 Earth-diameters. This suggests a source frame brightness temperature of greater than 2 × 1012 K, well in excess of both equipartition and inverse Compton limits and implying the existence of Doppler boosting in the core. An 8.4-GHz TANAMI VLBI image, made less than a month after the RadioAstron observations, is consistent with a previously reported superluminal motion for a jet component. Flux density monitoring with the Australia Telescope Compact Array confirms previous evidence for long-term variability that increases with observing frequency. A search for more rapid variability revealed no evidence for significant day-scale flux density variation. The ATCA light-curve reveals a strong radio flare beginning in late 2013, which peaks higher, and earlier, at higher frequencies. Comparison with the Fermi gamma-ray light-curve indicates this followed ~ 9 months after the start of a prolonged gamma-ray high-state—a radio lag comparable to that seen in other blazars. The multiwavelength data are combined to derive a Spectral Energy Distribution, which is fitted by a one-zone synchrotron-self-Compton (SSC) model with the addition of external Compton (EC) emission.
Since W. E. B. Du Bois documented the physical and social environments of Philadelphia’s predominantly African American Seventh Ward over a century ago, there has been continued interest in understanding the distribution of social and physical environments by racial make-up of communities. Characterization of these environments allows for documentation of inequities, identifies communities which encounter heightened risk, and can inform action to promote health equity. In this paper, we apply and extend Du Bois’s approach to examine the contemporary distribution of physical environmental exposures, health risks, and social vulnerabilities in the Detroit metropolitan area, one of the most racially-segregated areas in the United States. We begin by mapping the proximity of sensitive populations to hazardous land uses, their exposure to air pollutants and associated health risks, and social vulnerabilities, as well as cumulative risk (combined proximity, exposure, and vulnerability), across Census tracts. Next, we assess, quantitatively, the extent to which communities of color experience excess burdens of environmental exposures and associated health risks, economic and age-related vulnerabilities, and cumulative risk. The results, depicted in maps presented in the paper, suggest that Census tracts with greater proportions of people of color disproportionately encounter physical environmental exposures, socioeconomic vulnerabilities, and combined risk. Quantitative tests of inequality confirm these distributions, with statistically greater exposures, vulnerabilities, and cumulative risk in Census tracts with larger proportions of people of color. Together, these findings identify communities that experience disproportionate cumulative risk in the Detroit metropolitan area and quantify the inequitable distribution of risk by Census tract relative to the proportion of people of color. They identify clear opportunities for prioritizing communities for legislative, regulatory, policy, and local actions to promote environmental justice and health equity.
Internet-based cognitive–behavioural treatment (ICBT) for anxiety disorders has shown some promise, but no study has yet examined unguided ICBT in primary care. This randomized controlled trial (RCT) investigated whether a transdiagnostic, unguided ICBT programme for anxiety disorders is effective in primary care settings, after a face-to-face consultation with a physician (MD). We hypothesized that care as usual (CAU) plus unguided ICBT would be superior to CAU in reducing anxiety and related symptoms among patients with social anxiety disorder (SAD), panic disorder with or without agoraphobia (PDA) and/or generalized anxiety disorder (GAD).
Adults (n = 139) with at least one of these anxiety disorders, as reported by their MD and confirmed by a structured diagnostic interview, were randomized. Unguided ICBT was provided by a novel transdiagnostic ICBT programme (‘velibra’). Primary outcomes were generic measures, such as anxiety and depression symptom severity, and diagnostic status at post-treatment (9 weeks). Secondary outcomes included anxiety disorder-specific measures, quality of life, treatment adherence, satisfaction, and general psychiatric symptomatology at follow-up (6 months after randomization).
CAU plus unguided ICBT was more effective than CAU at post-treatment, with small to medium between-group effect sizes on primary (Cohen's d = 0.41–0.47) and secondary (Cohen's d = 0.16–0.61) outcomes. Treatment gains were maintained at follow-up. In the treatment group, 28.2% of those with a SAD diagnosis, 38.3% with a PDA diagnosis, and 44.8% with a GAD diagnosis at pretreatment no longer fulfilled diagnostic criteria at post-treatment.
The unguided ICBT intervention examined is effective for anxiety disorders when delivered in primary care.
In the last decade, small and compact accelerator mass spectrometry (AMS) systems became available operating at terminal voltages of 1 MV and below. This new category of instruments has become competitive for radiocarbon detection to larger tandem accelerators and many of these instruments are successfully used for 14C dating or biomedical applications. The AMS group at ETH Zurich has demonstrated that small instruments can be built, which allow measurements also of other radionuclides such as 10Be, 26Al, 129I, and the actinides. 41Ca measurements can be performed with sufficient sensitivity for biomedical applications. A summary of recent developments made at the 500kV Pelletron in Zurich is given and its performance is compared with that of a commercial compact instrument from the company High Voltage Engineering Europe (HVEE) in Amersfoort, the Netherlands, operating at 1MV at CNA in Seville, Spain, as well as with that of larger AMS facilities. It turns out that the ion optics, stripper design, and the detection system are critical for the performance.
In Germany tularemia is a re-emerging zoonotic disease. Therefore, we investigated wild animals and environmental water samples for the presence and phylogenetic diversity of Francisella tularensis in the poorly studied Berlin/Brandenburg region. The phylogenomic analysis of three isolates from wild animals revealed three new subclades within the phylogenetic tree of F. tularensis [B.71 from a raccoon dog (Nyctereutes procyonoides); B.74 from a red fox (Vulpes vulpes), and B.75 from a Eurasian beaver (Castor fiber albicus)]. The results from histological, PCR, and genomic investigations on the dead beaver showed that the animal suffered from a systemic infection. Indications were found that the bacteria were released from the beaver carcass into the surrounding environment. We demonstrated unexpectedly high and novel phylogenetic diversity of F. tularensis in Germany and the fact that the bacteria persist in the environment for at least one climatic season. These findings support a broader host species diversity than previously known regarding Germany. Our data further support the assumption derived from previous serological studies of an underestimated frequency of occurrence of the pathogen in the environment and in wild animals. F. tularensis was isolated from animal species not previously reported as natural hosts in Germany.
The stellar radial velocity dispersion profiles of elliptical galaxies can be well described by a power-law σ(r)∝r−β. We analyze a set of elliptical galaxies formed by major mergers of isolated disk galaxies with mass ratios of 1:1 and 3:1 for several orbital configurations (Johansson et al. 2009). The galaxies in our sample show a deviation from the power-law at 1 − 3Reff, which we term the σ-bump (Schauer et al. 2014). This feature is most prominent in remnants of 1:1 mergers and weakens for remnants of mergers with smaller mass ratios, indicating that the σ-bump is a signature of an equal mass merger. The σ-bump does not vanish with time but stays constant once it has formed, in contrast to shells. It can be seen under all projections, making it an observable feature in the outskirts of elliptical galaxies. We indeed identify three possible σ-bump candidates in the sample of 12 SLUGGS-survey ellipticals studied by Pota et al. (2013), who use globular clusters as tracers for the outer stellar halos (see Schauer et al. 2014, for more details). For further comparisons, we here provide for the first time a two dimensional map of the velocity dispersion of one simulated σ-bump galaxy, to identify the σ-bump in observations of kinematic maps out to several Reff. The σ-bump appears as a global ring-like feature if seen face-on and as an extended box-like feature in its edge-on projection.
The maintenance of the physical and emotional safety of children about to be returned to their families following serious abuse is a complex and significant problem. This paper describes a treatment offered to such families which makes use of a residential setting, and which involved intensive work over the period of a week. This approach was cost effective, allowed for greater creativity by child protection workers, and impacted significantly on the lives of the families. This paper offers a philosophical as well as practical framework for treating at risk families in which a child is about to be returned.
Innate-like B1a lymphocytes arise from long-lived progenitors produced exclusively by fetal stem cells. Any insults coinciding with this early lymphopoietic wave could have a permanent impact on the B1a population and its unique protein products, the natural antibodies (NAb). We investigated early life nutritional influences on NAb concentrations of pre-adolescent children (n=290) in rural Nepal for whom we had extensive information on exposures from pregnancy and early infancy. Infant size and growth were strongly associated with NAb concentrations at 9–13 years of age among males (e.g., for neonatal weight: βBOYS=0.43; P<0.001), but not females (e.g., for neonatal weight: βGIRLS=−0.16; P=0.26). In females, season of birth was associated with NAb concentrations, with marked reductions among girls born during the pre-monsoon (March–May; βGIRLS=−0.39; P=0.01) and pre-harvest (September–November; βGIRLS=−0.35; P=0.03) seasons. Our findings suggest that nutritional or other environmental influences on immune development may vary by sex, with potential consequences for immune function during infancy and long-term risk of immune-mediated disease.
A series of (HfN)1−x(TaN)x, ceramics with x representing the starting powder blend compositions of 0.0, 18.8, 28.1, and 46.7 at.%, have been fabricated by vacuum plasma spraying. During the plasma spraying, the mixture lost approximately 25 at.% nitrogen facilitating the precipitation of metallic and metal-rich nitride phases. These specimens underwent static air oxidation exposure up to 1700 °C. In general, it was found that the addition of tantalum nitrides to the hafnium nitrides resulted in poorer oxidation behavior. However, the 18.8 at.% specimen deviated from this trend and had the lowest observed mass change. This specimen formed a dark-colored oxide scale, indexed as Hf6Ta2O17, which acted as a passivation layer. Within the scale, hafnium oxynitride phases were observed. A transformation pathway in forming these rhombohedral oxynitride phases is proposed by the filling in of oxygen in the light element interstitial locations of the rhombohedral ε-Hf3N2 and ζ-Hf4N3 structures.
The Herschel Space Observatory was the fourth cornerstone mission in the European Space Agency (ESA) science programme with excellent broad band imaging capabilities in the sub-mm and far-infrared part of the spectrum. Although the spacecraft finished its observations in 2013, it left a large legacy dataset that is far from having been fully scrutinised and still has a large potential for new scientific discoveries. This is specifically true for the photometric observations of the PACS and SPIRE instruments. Some source catalogues have already been produced by individual observing programs, but there are many observations that risk to remain unexplored. To maximise the science return of the SPIRE and PACS data sets, we are in the process of building the Herschel Point Source Catalogue (HPSC) from all primary and parallel mode observations. Our homogeneous source extraction enables a systematic and unbiased comparison of sensitivity across the different Herschel fields that single programs will generally not be able to provide. The catalogue will be made available online through archives like the Herschel Science Archive (HSA), the Infrared Science Archive (IRSA), and the Strasbourg Astronomical Data Center (CDS).
In this paper, we present several dielectric waveguide (DWG) setups that enable the transition between radar front ends and antennas in challenging, industrial environments. Apart from good propagation behavior, DWG provide a nearly dispersion free transmission over large distances. Furthermore, they can be used as an electrical insulator in places with critical creep distances, in high temperature environments, and for applications with limited installation space. Fundamentals concerning the ideal propagation mode and adequate waveguide–fiber transitions are presented. Results of electromagnetic simulations as well as measurements on manufactured DWG are discussed in detail. The presented excellent propagation behavior proves the effectiveness of the proposed setup.