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Apolipoprotein E (APOE) E4 is the main genetic risk factor for Alzheimer’s disease (AD). Due to the consistent association, there is interest as to whether E4 influences the risk of other neurodegenerative diseases. Further, there is a constant search for other genetic biomarkers contributing to these phenotypes, such as microtubule-associated protein tau (MAPT) haplotypes. Here, participants from the Ontario Neurodegenerative Disease Research Initiative were genotyped to investigate whether the APOE E4 allele or MAPT H1 haplotype are associated with five neurodegenerative diseases: (1) AD and mild cognitive impairment (MCI), (2) amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, (3) frontotemporal dementia (FTD), (4) Parkinson’s disease, and (5) vascular cognitive impairment.
Genotypes were defined for their respective APOE allele and MAPT haplotype calls for each participant, and logistic regression analyses were performed to identify the associations with the presentations of neurodegenerative diseases.
Our work confirmed the association of the E4 allele with a dose-dependent increased presentation of AD, and an association between the E4 allele alone and MCI; however, the other four diseases were not associated with E4. Further, the APOE E2 allele was associated with decreased presentation of both AD and MCI. No associations were identified between MAPT haplotype and the neurodegenerative disease cohorts; but following subtyping of the FTD cohort, the H1 haplotype was significantly associated with progressive supranuclear palsy.
This is the first study to concurrently analyze the association of APOE isoforms and MAPT haplotypes with five neurodegenerative diseases using consistent enrollment criteria and broad phenotypic analysis.
Essential variables to consider for an efficient control strategy for invasive plants include dispersion pattern (i.e., satellite or invasion front) and patch expansion rate. These variables were demonstrated for buffelgrass [Pennisetum ciliare (L.) Link], a C4 perennial grass introduced from Africa, which has invaded broadly around the world. The study site was along a roadway in southern Arizona (USA). The P. ciliare plant distributions show the pattern of clumping associated with the satellite (nascent foci) colonization pattern (average nearest neighbor test, z-score −47.2, P<0.01). The distance between patches ranged from 0.743 to 12.8 km, with an average distance between patches of 5.6 km. Median patch expansion rate was 271% over the 3-yr monitoring period versus 136% found in other studies of established P. ciliare patches. Targeting P. ciliare satellite patches as a control strategy may exponentially reduce the areal doubling time, while targeting the largest patches may have less effect on the invasion speed.
The epidemic of prescription and non-prescription opioid misuse is of particular importance in pregnancy. The Society of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists of Canada currently recommends opioid replacement therapy with methadone or buprenorphine for opioid-dependent women during pregnancy. This vulnerable segment of the population has been shown to be at increased risk of blood-borne infectious diseases, nutritional insecurity and stress. The objective of this study was to describe an urban cohort of pregnant women on opioid replacement therapy and to evaluate potential effects on the fetus. A retrospective chart review of all women on opioid replacement therapy and their infants who delivered at The Ottawa Hospital General and Civic campuses between January 1, 2013 and March 24, 2017 was conducted. Data were collected on maternal characteristics, pregnancy outcomes, neonatal outcomes and corresponding placental pathology. Maternal comorbidities identified included high rates of infection, tobacco use and illicit substance use, as well as increased rates of placental abruption compared with national averages. Compared with national baseline averages, the mean neonatal birth weight was low, and the incidence of small for gestational age infants and congenital anomalies was high. The incidence of NAS was comparable with estimates from other studies of similar cohorts. Findings support existing literature that calls for a comprehensive interdisciplinary risk reduction approach including dietary, social, domestic, psychological and other supports to care for opioid-dependent women in pregnancy.
The National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) certifies a suite of Standard Reference Materials (SRMs) to address specific aspects of the performance of X-ray powder diffraction instruments. This report describes SRM 1879b, the third generation of this powder diffraction SRM. SRM 1879b is intended for use in the preparation of calibration standards for the quantitative analyses of cristobalite by X-ray powder diffraction in accordance with National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) Analytical Method 7500, or equivalent. A unit of SRM 1879b consists of approximately 5 g of cristobalite powder bottled in an argon atmosphere. It is certified with respect to crystalline phase purity, or amorphous phase content, and lattice parameter. Neutron powder diffraction, both time-of-flight and constant wavelength, was used to certify the phase purity using SRM 676a as an internal standard. A NIST-built diffractometer, incorporating many advanced design features was used for certification measurements for lattice parameters.
Systems suitable for evaluating the nitrogen status of feeds for ruminants must consider (i) the requirements of the animal's tissues for nitrogenous substances, (ii) the amount and nature of the nitrogenous substances absorbed by the animal and (iii) the efficiency with which absorbed nitrogen is used for various body functions. Such systems must also include aspects of energy utilization because, in ruminants, both the tissue needs for nitrogen and the flow of protein to the intestines are affected by energy availability. Several systems which attempt to include all three considerations in more or less detail have recently been proposed (Burroughs, Nelson and Mertens, 1975; Satter and Roffler, 1975, 1977; Kaufmann, 1977; Jarrige, Journet and Vérité, 1978; Fox, Sniffen, Van Soest and Robinson, 1979; Agricultural Research Council (ARC), 1980; Chalupa, 1980).
Phased Array Feed (PAF) technology is the next major advancement in radio astronomy in terms of combining high sensitivity and large field of view. The Focal L-band Array for the Green Bank Telescope (FLAG) is one of the most sensitive PAFs developed so far. It consists of 19 dual-polarization elements mounted on a prime focus dewar resulting in seven beams on the sky. Its unprecedented system temperature of ~17 K will lead to a 3 fold increase in pulsar survey speeds as compared to contemporary single pixel feeds. Early science observations were conducted in a recently concluded commissioning phase of the FLAG where we clearly demonstrated its science capabilities. We observed a selection of normal and millisecond pulsars and detected giant pulses from PSR B1937+21.
This paper presents latest thinking from the Institute and Faculty of Actuaries’ Model Risk Working Party and follows on from their Phase I work, Model Risk: Daring to Open the Black Box. This is a more practical paper and presents the contributors’ experiences of model risk gained from a wide range of financial and non-financial organisations with suggestions for good practice and proven methods to reduce model risk. After a recap of the Phase I work, examples of model risk communication are given covering communication: to the Board; to the regulator; and to external stakeholders. We present a practical framework for model risk management and quantification with examples of the key actors, processes and cultural challenge. Lessons learned are then presented from other industries that make extensive use of models and include the weather forecasting, software and aerospace industries. Finally, a series of case studies in practical model risk management and mitigation are presented from the contributors’ own experiences covering primarily financial services.
The accurate and precise collection of three-dimensional (3D) context and provenience data is of critical importance for archaeologists. Traditional square-hole methods are being augmented by new digital techniques to increase the accuracy and precision with which 3D data are collected. Structure from Motion (SfM) photogrammetry is an emerging digital technique that is becoming more widespread for collecting 3D data of archaeological sites and features. We are using handheld digital cameras and ground-based SfM to record accurate and precise 3D context and provenience data at the scale of the excavation unit and profile during rockshelter excavations in the Lower Pecos Canyonlands of Texas. By combining SfM with traditional excavation methods, we collect 3D data on excavation units, layers, features, and profiles without excavating in grid-bound square units. SfM provides a straightforward and flexible method to excavate based on the stratigraphy and logistical pragmatics, which further aids in assigning precise context and provenience to recovered artifacts and samples. This article describes how ground-based SfM serves as a basic recording tool during excavation and shows that, by applying ground-based SfM methods to excavation, archaeologists can collect more, and more accurate, data than with traditional square-hole methods.
Previous findings have been mixed regarding the relationship between maternal depressive symptoms and child cognitive development. The objective of this study was to systematically review relevant literature and to perform a meta-analysis.
Three electronic databases (PubMed, EMBASE, PsycINFO) were searched. Initial screening was conducted independently by two reviewers. Studies selected for detailed review were read in full and included based on a set of criteria. Data from selected studies were abstracted onto a standardized form. Meta-analysis using the inverse variance approach and random-effects models was conducted.
The univariate analysis of 14 studies revealed that maternal depressive symptoms are related to lower cognitive scores among children aged ⩽56 months (Cohen's d = −0.25, 95% CI −0.39 to −0.12). The synthesis of studies controlling for confounding variables showed that the mean cognitive score for children 6–8 weeks post-partum whose mothers had high depressive symptoms during the first few weeks postpartum was approximately 4.2 units lower on the Mental Developmental Index (MDI) of the Bayley Scales of Infant and Toddler Development (BSID) compared with children with non-symptomatic mothers (B̂ = −4.17, 95% CI −8.01 to −0.32).
The results indicated that maternal depressive symptoms are related to lower cognitive scores in early infancy, after adjusting for confounding factors. An integrated approach for supporting child cognitive development may include program efforts that promote maternal mental health in addition to family economic wellbeing, responsive caregiving, and child nutrition.
Virkisjökull is a rapidly retreating outlet glacier draining the western flanks of Öræfajökull in SE Iceland. Since 2011 there have been continuous measurements of flow in the proglacial meltwater channel and regular campaigns to sample stable isotopes δ2H and δ18O from the river, ice, moraine springs and groundwater. The stable isotopes provide reliable end members for glacial ice and shallow groundwater. Analysis of data from 2011 to 2014 indicates that although ice and snowmelt dominate summer riverflow (mean 5.3–7.9 m3 s−1), significant flow is also observed in winter (mean 1.6–2.4 m3 s−1) due primarily to ongoing glacier icemelt. The stable isotope data demonstrate that the influence of groundwater discharge from moraines and the sandur aquifer increases during winter and forms a small (15–20%) consistent source of baseflow to the river. The similarity of hydrological response across seasons reflects a highly efficient glacial drainage system, which makes use of a series of permanent englacial channels within active and buried ice throughout the year. The study has shown that the development of an efficient year round drainage network within the lower part of the glacier has been coincident with the stagnation and subsequent rapid retreat of the glacier.
Salivary gland transfer surgery can reduce xerostomia in oropharyngeal squamous cell carcinoma patients undergoing primary chemoradiation. A potential drawback of salivary gland transfer is the treatment delay associated with the surgery, and its complications. This study aimed to determine whether the treatment delay affects patient survival and to evaluate patient quality of life after salivary gland transfer.
A retrospective analysis of 138 patients (salivary gland transfer group, n = 58; non-salivary gland transfer group, n = 80) was performed. Patient survival was compared between these groups using multivariate analysis. Salivary gland transfer patients were further evaluated for surgical complications and for quality of life using the head and neck module of the European Organization for Research and Treatment of Cancer Quality of Life Questionnaire.
Salivary gland transfer and non-salivary gland transfer patients had comparable baseline clinical characteristics. Salivary gland transfer patients experienced a median treatment delay of 16.5 days before chemoradiation (p = 0.035). Multivariate analysis showed that this did not, however, correspond to a survival disadvantage (p = 0.24 and p = 0.97 for disease-free and disease-specific survival, respectively). A very low complication rate was reported for the salivary gland transfer group (1.7 per cent). Questionnaire scores for the item ‘xerostomia’ were very low in salivary gland transfer patients.
The treatment delay associated with salivary gland transfer surgery does not negatively affect patient survival. Oropharyngeal squamous cell patients have an excellent quality of life after salivary gland transfer.
The recent upgrade of the Arecibo planetary radar system, combined with the huge increase in the near-Earth asteroid (NEA) discovery rate by large survey programs, has greatly increased our ability to observe these objects with radar. Radar provides size, shape, rotation, and trajectory information, and in most cases is the only ground-based technique that spatially resolves near-Earth objects. While the resolution of radar images (typically 7.5m) is not as high as for the very best spacecraft images, spacecraft can visit only a few such objects, and radar observations greatly increase our understanding of the diversity of near-Earth objects, at orders of magnitude lower cost. The single clearest result of these observations is the great variety of near-Earth objects, with binary systems, very fast and very slow rotations, spheres, “bifurcated” objects, and “shards”, suggesting that a similar variety of production and delivery mechanisms deliver these objects to near-Earth orbit. Spacecraft mission planning should take into account this variety, and concentrate on broad coverage of a wide range of objects.
Merkel cell carcinoma is a rare, aggressive neurocutaneous malignancy. This study investigated whether patients with Merkel cell carcinoma in the head and neck had poorer outcomes than patients with Merkel cell carcinoma located elsewhere.
A retrospective study was performed of patients with Merkel cell carcinoma treated at the Jewish General Hospital in Montréal, Canada, from 1993 to 2013. Associations between clinicopathological characteristics and disease-free and disease-specific survival rates were examined according to the Kaplan–Meier method.
Twenty-seven patients were identified. Although basic clinicopathological characteristics and treatments were similar between head and neck and non-head and neck Merkel cell carcinoma groups, disease-free and disease-specific survival rates were significantly lower in the head and neck Merkel cell carcinoma group (log-rank test; p = 0.043 and p = 0.001, respectively). Mortality was mainly due to distant metastasis.
Patients with head and neck Merkel cell carcinoma had poorer survival rates than patients with non-head and neck Merkel cell carcinoma in our study. The tendency to obtain close margins, a less predictable metastatic pattern, and/or intrinsic tumour factors related to the head and neck may explain this discrepancy.
According to diathesis–stress models, personality traits, such as negative emotionality (NE) and positive emotionality (PE), may moderate the effects of stressors on the development of depression. However, relatively little empirical research has directly examined whether NE and PE act as diatheses in the presence of stressful life events, and no research has examined whether they moderate the effect of disaster exposure on depressive symptoms. Hurricane Sandy, the second costliest hurricane in US history, offers a unique opportunity to address these gaps.
A total of 318 women completed measures of NE and PE 5 years prior to Hurricane Sandy. They were also assessed for lifetime depressive disorders on two occasions, the latter occurring an average of 1 year before the hurricane. Approximately 8 weeks after the disaster (mean = 8.40, s.d. = 1.48 weeks), participants completed a hurricane stress exposure questionnaire and a measure of current depressive symptoms.
Adjusting for lifetime history of depressive disorders, higher levels of stress from Hurricane Sandy predicted elevated levels of depressive symptoms, but only in participants with high levels of NE or low levels of PE.
These findings support the role of personality in the development of depression and suggest that personality traits can be useful in identifying those most vulnerable to major stressors, including natural disasters.
A NIST SRM certified to address the issue of crystallite size measurement through a line profile analysis has been under development for several years. In order to prepare the feedstock for the SRM, nano-crystalline zinc oxide was produced from thermal decomposition of zinc oxalate. The thermal processing parameters were chosen to yield particles in two size ranges, one with a distribution centered at approximately 15 nm and another centered at 60 nm. Certification data were collected on a NIST-built diffractometer equipped with a Johansson incident beam monochromator and scintillation detector. Data were analyzed using whole powder pattern modeling to determine microstructural data. The analysis shows domains to be in the form of discs of a fairly small aspect ratio. While both materials exhibit the effects of stacking faults through broadening of specific hkl reflections, their presence in the 60 nm is more difficult to discern. Images of the crystallites obtained with transmission electron microscopy are consistent with the results from the X-ray diffraction analyses.
The Herschel Space Observatory carried out observations at far-infrared wavelengths, which significantly increased our knowledge of the interstellar medium and the star-formation process in the Milky Way and external galaxies, as well as our understanding of astrochemistry.
Absorption features, known, e.g., from observations at millimeter wavelengths, are more commonly observed in the far-infrared, in particular toward strong dust continuum sources. The lowest energy transitions are not only observed at LSR-velocities related to the source, but often also at velocities associated with diffuse molecular clouds along the line of sight toward the background source.
Unbiased spectral line surveys of the massive and very luminous Galactic Center sources Sagittarius B2(M) and (N) were carried out across the entire frequency range of the high-resolution Heterodyne Instrument for Far-Infrared Astronomy (HIFI). An absorption feature was detected toward both sources at about 617.531 GHz, corresponding to 20.599 cm−1, 485.47 μm, or 2.5539 meV. This feature is unique in its appearance at all velocity components associated with diffuse foreground molecular clouds, together with its conspicuous absence at velocities related to the sources themselves. The carriers of at least a substantial part of the DIBs are thought to reside in the diffuse interstellar medium. Therefore, we consider this absorption feature to be a far-infrared DIB analog.
Subsequent dedicated observations confirmed that the line is present only in the foreground clouds on the line of sight toward other massive star-forming regions in the Galactic disk. There is indication that the feature has substructure, possibly of fine or hyperfine nature. Attempts to assign the feature to atomic or molecular species have been unsuccessful so far.