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Telomeres are nucleoprotein complexes that form the ends of eukaryotic chromosomes where they protect DNA from genomic instability, prevent end-to-end fusion and limit cellular replicative capabilities. Increased telomere attrition rates, and relatively shorter telomere length, is associated with genomic instability and has been linked with several chronic diseases, malignancies and reduced longevity. Telomeric DNA is highly susceptible to oxidative damage and dietary habits may make an impact on telomere attrition rates through the mediation of oxidative stress and chronic inflammation. The aim of this study was to examine the association between leucocyte telomere length (LTL) with both the Dietary Inflammatory Index® 2014 (DII®) and the Alternative Healthy Eating Index 2010 (AHEI-2010). This is a cross-sectional analysis using baseline data from 263 postmenopausal women from the Alberta Physical Activity and Breast Cancer Prevention (ALPHA) Trial, in Calgary and Edmonton, Alberta, Canada. No statistically significant association was detected between LTL z-score and the AHEI-2010 (P = 0·20) or DII® (P = 0·91) in multivariable adjusted models. An exploratory analysis of AHEI-2010 and DII® parameters and LTL revealed anthocyanidin intake was associated with LTL (P < 0·01); however, this association was non-significant after a Bonferroni correction was applied (P = 0·27). No effect modification by age, smoking history, or recreational physical activity was detected for either relationship. Increased dietary antioxidant and decreased oxidant intake were not associated with LTL in this analysis.
Laser–solid interactions are highly suited as a potential source of high energy X-rays for nondestructive imaging. A bright, energetic X-ray pulse can be driven from a small source, making it ideal for high resolution X-ray radiography. By limiting the lateral dimensions of the target we are able to confine the region over which X-rays are produced, enabling imaging with enhanced resolution and contrast. Using constrained targets we demonstrate experimentally a
X-ray source, improving the image quality compared to unconstrained foil targets. Modelling demonstrates that a larger sheath field envelope around the perimeter of the constrained targets increases the proportion of electron current that recirculates through the target, driving a brighter source of X-rays.
Giant electromagnetic pulses (EMP) generated during the interaction of high-power lasers with solid targets can seriously degrade electrical measurements and equipment. EMP emission is caused by the acceleration of hot electrons inside the target, which produce radiation across a wide band from DC to terahertz frequencies. Improved understanding and control of EMP is vital as we enter a new era of high repetition rate, high intensity lasers (e.g. the Extreme Light Infrastructure). We present recent data from the VULCAN laser facility that demonstrates how EMP can be readily and effectively reduced. Characterization of the EMP was achieved using B-dot and D-dot probes that took measurements for a range of different target and laser parameters. We demonstrate that target stalk geometry, material composition, geodesic path length and foil surface area can all play a significant role in the reduction of EMP. A combination of electromagnetic wave and 3D particle-in-cell simulations is used to inform our conclusions about the effects of stalk geometry on EMP, providing an opportunity for comparison with existing charge separation models.
Schizotypal traits are considered a phenotypic-indicator of schizotypy, a latent personality organization reflecting a putative liability for psychosis. To date, no previous study has examined the comparability of factorial structures across samples originating from different countries and cultures. The main goal was to evaluate the factorial structure and reliability of the Schizotypal Personality Questionnaire (SPQ) scores by amalgamating data from studies conducted in 12 countries and across 21 sites.
The overall sample consisted of 27 001 participants (37.5% males, n = 4251 drawn from the general population). The mean age was 22.12 years (s.d. = 6.28, range 16–55 years). The SPQ was used. Confirmatory factor analysis (CFA) and Multilevel CFA (ML-CFA) were used to evaluate the factor structure underlying the SPQ scores.
At the SPQ item level, the nine factor and second-order factor models showed adequate goodness-of-fit. At the SPQ subscale level, three- and four-factor models displayed better goodness-of-fit indices than other CFA models. ML-CFA showed that the intraclass correlation coefficients values were lower than 0.106. The three-factor model showed adequate goodness of fit indices in multilevel analysis. The ordinal α coefficients were high, ranging from 0.73 to 0.94 across individual samples, and from 0.84 to 0.91 for the combined sample.
The results are consistent with the conceptual notion that schizotypal personality is a multifaceted construct and support the validity and utility of SPQ in cross-cultural research. We discuss theoretical and clinical implications of our results for diagnostic systems, psychosis models and cross-national mental health strategies.
Objective: Idiopathic normal pressure hydrocephalus (INPH) is a neurological disorder presenting with gait, cognitive, and bladder symptoms in the context of ventricular enlargement. Although gait is the primary indicator for treatment candidacy and outcome, additional monitoring tools are needed. Line Tracing Test (LTT) and Serial Dotting Test (SDT), two psychomotor tasks, have been introduced as potential outcome measures but have not been widely studied. This preliminary study examined whether LTT and SDT are sensitive to motor dysfunction in INPH and determined if accuracy and time are important aspects of performance. Methods: Eighty-four INPH subjects and 36 healthy older adults were administered LTT and SDT. Novel error scoring procedures were developed to make scoring practical and efficient; interclass correlation showed good reliability of scoring procedures for both tasks (0.997; p<.001). Results: The INPH group demonstrated slower performance on SDT (p<.001) and made a greater number of errors on both tasks (p<.001). Combined Time/Error scores revealed poorer performance in the INPH group for original-LTT (p<.001), modified-LTT (p≤.001) and SDT (p<.001). Conclusions: These findings indicate LTT and SDT may prove useful for monitoring psychomotor skills in INPH. While completion time reflects impaired processing speed, reduced accuracy may suggest planning and self-monitoring difficulties, aspects of executive functioning known to be compromised in INPH. This is the first study to underscore the importance of performance accuracy in INPH and introduce practical/reliable error scoring for these tasks. Future work will establish reliability and validity of these measures and determine their utility as outcome tools. (JINS, 2016, 22, 341–349)
Clinicians need guidance to address the heterogeneity of treatment responses of patients with major depressive disorder (MDD). While prediction schemes based on symptom clustering and biomarkers have so far not yielded results of sufficient strength to inform clinical decision-making, prediction schemes based on big data predictive analytic models might be more practically useful.
We review evidence suggesting that prediction equations based on symptoms and other easily-assessed clinical features found in previous research to predict MDD treatment outcomes might provide a foundation for developing predictive analytic clinical decision support models that could help clinicians select optimal (personalised) MDD treatments. These methods could also be useful in targeting patient subsamples for more expensive biomarker assessments.
Approximately two dozen baseline variables obtained from medical records or patient reports have been found repeatedly in MDD treatment trials to predict overall treatment outcomes (i.e., intervention v. control) or differential treatment outcomes (i.e., intervention A v. intervention B). Similar evidence has been found in observational studies of MDD persistence-severity. However, no treatment studies have yet attempted to develop treatment outcome equations using the full set of these predictors. Promising preliminary empirical results coupled with recent developments in statistical methodology suggest that models could be developed to provide useful clinical decision support in personalised treatment selection. These tools could also provide a strong foundation to increase statistical power in focused studies of biomarkers and MDD heterogeneity of treatment response in subsequent controlled trials.
Coordinated efforts are needed to develop a protocol for systematically collecting information about established predictors of heterogeneity of MDD treatment response in large observational treatment studies, applying and refining these models in subsequent pragmatic trials, carrying out pooled secondary analyses to extract the maximum amount of information from these coordinated studies, and using this information to focus future discovery efforts in the segment of the patient population in which continued uncertainty about treatment response exists.
The accumulation of boron within the porous nickel ferrite (NiFe2O4, NFO) deposits on nuclear fuel rods is a major technological problem with important safety and economical implications. In this work, first-principles results are combined with experimental thermochemical data to analyze the energetics of vacancy formation in NFO and the possibility of B incorporation into the structure of NFO. Under solid-solid equilibrium conditions, the calculations suggest that vacancy formation and B incorporation into the NFO structure is energetically unfavorable, the main limiting factors being the narrow stability domain of NFO and the precipitation of B2O3, Fe3BO5, and Ni3B2O6 as secondary phases. Assuming solid-liquid equilibrium between NFO and the surrounding aqueous solution saturated with respect to NFO, the calculations predict that in operating PWR environment, Ni vacancies are likely to form. Under these conditions the possibility of B incorporation at the Ni vacancy sites cannot be excluded.
Our recent efforts using primarily nanodiamonds as lubricant additives are discussed. For traditional high performance engine oils, our results show a reduction in friction for steel surfaces for both laboratory experiments under controlled conditions and in a pilot study of passenger cars under typical driving conditions. Examination of the surfaces suggests that surface polishing at the sub-micron scale may be responsible for these results. A separate set of experiments using a quartz crystal microbalance to measure dissipation and drag due to friction has shown that when added to water the charge of the nanodiamond acquired from surface functionalization can have a large influence on uptake and friction at the water-metal interface. More importantly, these results suggest the possibility of creating nanodiamonds with controllable frictional drag at the solid-liquid interface through surface processing. Companion simulation results for nanodiamonds in water sliding between diamond surfaces are also presented. Future possibilities for further understanding and tuning the properties of nanodiamonds as lubricant additives through synergistic experiments and modeling are also discussed.
Synergistic compositions of detonation nanodiamond (ND) particles in the form of 100nm aggregates in combination with molybdenum dialkyldithiophosphate were used as additives to 10W40 oils. Ring-on-disk tribological tests were performed under high load conditions using friction pairs with different hardnesses, namely normalized-normalized (“soft/soft”) and normalized-quenched (“soft/hard”) steel samples. For the “soft/hard” steel friction pair NDs provide significant reduction in both the coefficient of friction and wear as well as demonstrate polishing. For the “soft/soft” steel friction pair, however, no difference in the coefficients of friction was observed when the base oil was used with or without ND. In the test with oil containing the ND additive, the wear scar in the disk was wider, but more shallow, than in the test with pure oil. Current tests indicate that the significance of the reduction of friction and wear of the sliding surfaces in the presence of the ND additive in oil strongly depends on the hardness of the friction surfaces and most probably is connected with ND polishing effect.
Dogs can be infected by a wide range of Bartonella spp., but limited studies have been conducted in tropical urban and rural dog populations. We aimed to determine Bartonella antibody prevalence in 455 domestic dogs from four tropical countries and detect Bartonella DNA in a subset of these dogs. Bartonella antibodies were detected in 38 (8·3%) dogs, including 26 (10·1%) from Colombia, nine (7·6%) from Brazil, three (5·1%) from Sri Lanka and none from Vietnam. DNA extraction was performed for 26 (63%) of the 41 seropositive and 10 seronegative dogs. Four seropositive dogs were PCR positive, including two Colombian dogs, infected with B. rochalimae and B. vinsonii subsp. berkhoffii, and two Sri Lankan dogs harbouring sequences identical to strain HMD described in dogs from Italy and Greece. This is the first detection of Bartonella infection in dogs from Colombia and Sri Lanka and identification of Bartonella strain HMD from Asia.
The scaling of the flux and maximum energy of laser-driven sheath-accelerated protons has been investigated as a function of laser pulse energy in the range of 15–380 mJ at intensities of 1016–1018 W/cm2. The pulse duration and target thickness were fixed at 40 fs and 25 nm, respectively, while the laser focal spot size and drive energy were varied. Our results indicate that while the maximum proton energy is dependent on the laser energy and laser spot diameter, the proton flux is primarily related to the laser pulse energy under the conditions studied here. Our measurements show that increasing the laser energy by an order of magnitude results in a more than 500-fold increase in the observed proton flux. Whereas, an order of magnitude increase in the laser intensity generated by decreasing the laser focal spot size, at constant laser energy, gives rise to less than a tenfold increase in observed proton flux.
In recent years infection caused by Salmonella serotype Enteritidis (SE) phage type 4 has spread through Europe but has been uncommon in the USA. The first recognized outbreak of this strain in the USA occurred in a Chinese restaurant in El Paso, Texas, in April 1993; no source was identified. In September 1993, a second outbreak caused by SE phage type 4 was associated with the same restaurant. To determine the cause of the second outbreak, we compared food exposures of the 19 patients with that of two control groups. Egg rolls were the only item significantly associated with illness in both analyses (first control group: oddsratio [OR] 8·2, 95% confidence interval [CI] 2·3–31·6; second control group: OR 13·1, 95% CI 2·1–97·0). Retrospective analysis of the April outbreak also implicated egg rolls (OR 32·4, 95% CI 9·1–126·6). Egg roll batter was made from pooled shell eggs and was left at room temperature throughout the day. These two outbreaks of SE phage type 4 likely could have been prevented by using pasteurized eggs and safe food preparation practices.
In 1990, a Salmonella enteritidis (SE) outbreak occurred in a restaurant chain in Pennsylvania. To determine its cause(s), we conducted a case-control study and a cohort study at one restaurant, and a survey of restaurants. Egg dishes were associated with illness (P = 0.03). Guests from one hotel eating at the restaurant had a diarrhocal attack rate of 14%, 4.7-fold higher than among those not eating there (P = 0.04). There were no differences in egg handling between affected and unaffected restaurants. Eggs supplied to affected restaurants were medium grade AA eggs from a single farm, and were reportedly refrigerated during distribution. Human and hen SE isolates were phage type 8 and had similar plasmid profiles and antibiograms. We estimate the prevalence of infected eggs during the outbreak to be as high as 1 in 12. Typical restaurant egg-handling practices and refrigeration during distribution appear to be insufficient by themselves to prevent similar outbreaks.
Palynological studies document forest disappearance during the late Holocene in the tropical Maya lowlands of northern Guatemala. The question remains as to whether this vegetation change was driven exclusively by anthropogenic deforestation, as previously suggested, or whether it was partly attributable to climate changes. We report multiple palaeoclimate and palaeoenvironment proxies (pollen, geochemical, sedimentological) from sediment cores collected in Lake Petén Itzá, northern Guatemala. Our data indicate that the earliest phase of late Holocene tropical forest reduction in this area started at ∼ 4500 cal yr BP, simultaneous with the onset of a circum-Caribbean drying trend that lasted for ∼ 1500 yr. This forest decline preceded the appearance of anthropogenically associated Zea mays pollen. We conclude that vegetation changes in Petén during the period from ∼ 4500 to ∼ 3000 cal yr BP were largely a consequence of dry climate conditions. Furthermore, palaeoclimate data from low latitudes in North Africa point to teleconnective linkages of this drying trend on both sides of the Atlantic Ocean.
Transmission electron microscopy (TEM) and specialized dislocation-density based crystal-plasticity formulations and finite-element schemes were used to investigate the effects of nano-sized precipitates and micro-sized Mn-bearing particles on the behavior of Al-Cu-Mg-Ag alloys. By accurately representing crystallography and the morphology of the different precipitates, accurate predictions can be obtained that indicate that the nano-sized Ω and θ’ precipitates promote ductility and toughness by inhibiting shear-strain localization; whereas the micro-sized dispersed particles intensify localization. Collectively, the precipitates and dispersed particles, however, promote the strengthening of the alloy.
The velocity fluctuations of particles in a low-Reynolds-number fluidized bed have important similarities and differences with the velocity fluctuations in a low-Reynolds-number sedimenting suspension. We show that, like sedimentation, the velocity fluctuations in a fluidized bed are described well by the balance between density fluctuations due to Poisson statistics and Stokes drag. However, unlike sedimentation, the correlation length of the fluctuations in a fluidized bed increases with volume fraction. We argue that this difference arises because the relaxation time of density fluctuations is completely different in the two systems.
We examined the contributions of genetic and environmental factors to body mass index (BMI) over approximately 28 years. Participants were 693 male, predominantly middle-class, twins (355 monozygotic, 338 dizygotic) from the Vietnam Era Twin Registry. The phenotypic correlation between age 20 and age 48 BMI was 0.52; the genetic correlation was 0.60. Most of the remaining variance at both times was accounted for by nonshared environmental factors. Since genetic factors are not perfectly correlated, this indicates that other genes affect BMI at one or both time points, leaving room for further exploration of the genetics of body mass stability. Mean BMI increased significantly from 22.7 (normal) to 27.8 (overweight). Overweight BMI at age 20 predicted midlife adult onset diabetes (adjusted odds ratio = 4.62, 95% CI 1.91 to 11.18), but not hypertension. Depending on one's vantage point, the results indicate elements of both stability and change in BMI. Very similar phenotypic and genetic correlations were observed over a similar time period in a WW II twin sample, but without the substantial mean increase in BMI. It seems unlikely that different genes influence BMI in the two cohorts. Therefore, we argue that nonshared environmental factors are probably primarily responsible for the secular increase in midlife BMI. Our results also provide prospective evidence that early excess BMI may have serious long-term health consequences, and that this risk is not limited to minorities or adults of lower socioeconomic status.
Energies for symmetric tilt grain boundaries in pure Al and in Al with substitutional Pb defects at coincident sites along the grain boundaries were calculated using a modified embedded atom method potential and density functional theory. The agreement between the analytic potential, the first principles calculations and experiment is reasonably good for the pure system. For the Al-Pb system both the analytic potential and first principles calculations predict that Pb segregation to the interface is energetically preferred compared to the dilute solution. The application of a disclination structural unit model to calculating grain boundary energies over the entire range of tilt angles is also explained.