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Gravitational waves from coalescing neutron stars encode information about nuclear matter at extreme densities, inaccessible by laboratory experiments. The late inspiral is influenced by the presence of tides, which depend on the neutron star equation of state. Neutron star mergers are expected to often produce rapidly rotating remnant neutron stars that emit gravitational waves. These will provide clues to the extremely hot post-merger environment. This signature of nuclear matter in gravitational waves contains most information in the 2–4 kHz frequency band, which is outside of the most sensitive band of current detectors. We present the design concept and science case for a Neutron Star Extreme Matter Observatory (NEMO): a gravitational-wave interferometer optimised to study nuclear physics with merging neutron stars. The concept uses high-circulating laser power, quantum squeezing, and a detector topology specifically designed to achieve the high-frequency sensitivity necessary to probe nuclear matter using gravitational waves. Above 1 kHz, the proposed strain sensitivity is comparable to full third-generation detectors at a fraction of the cost. Such sensitivity changes expected event rates for detection of post-merger remnants from approximately one per few decades with two A+ detectors to a few per year and potentially allow for the first gravitational-wave observations of supernovae, isolated neutron stars, and other exotica.
Diet has a major influence on the composition and metabolic output of the gut microbiome. Higher-protein diets are often recommended for older consumers; however, the effect of high-protein diets on the gut microbiota and faecal volatile organic compounds (VOC) of elderly participants is unknown. The purpose of the study was to establish if the faecal microbiota composition and VOC in older men are different after a diet containing the recommended dietary intake (RDA) of protein compared with a diet containing twice the RDA (2RDA). Healthy males (74⋅2 (sd 3⋅6) years; n 28) were randomised to consume the RDA of protein (0⋅8 g protein/kg body weight per d) or 2RDA, for 10 weeks. Dietary protein was provided via whole foods rather than supplementation or fortification. The diets were matched for dietary fibre from fruit and vegetables. Faecal samples were collected pre- and post-intervention for microbiota profiling by 16S ribosomal RNA amplicon sequencing and VOC analysis by head space/solid-phase microextraction/GC-MS. After correcting for multiple comparisons, no significant differences in the abundance of faecal microbiota or VOC associated with protein fermentation were evident between the RDA and 2RDA diets. Therefore, in the present study, a twofold difference in dietary protein intake did not alter gut microbiota or VOC indicative of altered protein fermentation.
Why patients with psychosis use cannabis remains debated. The self-medication hypothesis has received some support but other evidence points towards an alleviation of dysphoria model. This study investigated the reasons for cannabis use in first-episode psychosis (FEP) and whether strength in their endorsement changed over time.
FEP inpatients and outpatients at the South London and Maudsley, Oxleas and Sussex NHS Trusts UK, who used cannabis, rated their motives at baseline (n = 69), 3 months (n = 29) and 12 months (n = 36). A random intercept model was used to test the change in strength of endorsement over the 12 months. Paired-sample t-tests assessed the differences in mean scores between the five subscales on the Reasons for Use Scale (enhancement, social motive, coping with unpleasant affect, conformity and acceptance and relief of positive symptoms and side effects), at each time-point.
Time had a significant effect on scores when controlling for reason; average scores on each subscale were higher at baseline than at 3 months and 12 months. At each time-point, patients endorsed ‘enhancement’ followed by ‘coping with unpleasant affect’ and ‘social motive’ more highly for their cannabis use than any other reason. ‘Conformity and acceptance’ followed closely. ‘Relief of positive symptoms and side effects’ was the least endorsed motive.
Patients endorsed their reasons for use at 3 months and 12 months less strongly than at baseline. Little support for the self-medication or alleviation of dysphoria models was found. Rather, patients rated ‘enhancement’ most highly for their cannabis use.
The increased prevalence of metabolic syndrome in people with severe mental illness (SMI) is well documented. The International Diabetes Federation (IDF) criteria for metabolic syndrome are three or more of the following: waist circumference ( 80 cm (females), (94 cm (males) OR BMI (30, triglycerides >1.7 mmol/l or on treatment, raised blood pressure (systolic >130 mg Hg or diastolic >85 mm Hg, OR on treatment for hypertension), raised fasting blood glucose (.5.6 mmol/l) OR diagnosed type II diabetes) and reduced HDL cholesterol (< 1.03 mmol/l) OR on treatment.
The IMPACT RCT is a Department of Health funded trial of a health promotion intervention (HPI) delivered by care co-ordinators to people with SMI across South London, Kent and Sussex. The intervention is focussed on improving health by addressing modifiable lifestyle factors such as diet, physical activity, obesity, cigarette smoking, alcohol and substance use.
We investigated the prevalence of metabolic syndrome in a sample of 212 patients for whom we had relevant baseline measures.
Data (weight, BMI, waist circumference, blood pressure, fasting HDL cholesterol, triglycerides and glucose levels) were analysed on 212 patients.
45% of the sample met IDF criteria for metabolic syndrome. Mean BMI was 30.6, glucose 6.4 mmol/L, triglycerides 2.0 mmol/L, HDL 1.2 (mmol/L), waist circumference 105.8 cm, and BP 122/82 mm Hg.
Metabolic syndrome was highly prevalent in this sample, significantly increasing the risk of physical morbidity and potentially lowering life expectancy. There is an unmet need for health promotion interventions in order to lower morbidity and mortality risk in these populations.
We describe an ultra-wide-bandwidth, low-frequency receiver recently installed on the Parkes radio telescope. The receiver system provides continuous frequency coverage from 704 to 4032 MHz. For much of the band (
), the system temperature is approximately 22 K and the receiver system remains in a linear regime even in the presence of strong mobile phone transmissions. We discuss the scientific and technical aspects of the new receiver, including its astronomical objectives, as well as the feed, receiver, digitiser, and signal processor design. We describe the pipeline routines that form the archive-ready data products and how those data files can be accessed from the archives. The system performance is quantified, including the system noise and linearity, beam shape, antenna efficiency, polarisation calibration, and timing stability.
In recent years the association between sexual dysfunction (SD) and obesity in the general population has drawn major attention. Although sexual dysfunction is common in psychosis, its relationship with weight gain and obesity remains unclear.
To investigate the association between sexual dysfunction and obesity in a cohort of patients with first episode psychosis.
Sexual function was assessed in a cohort of patients with first episode psychosis using the Sexual Function Questionnaire (SFQ). Anthropometric measures, including weight, BMI, waist, waist–hip ratio were investigated. Additionally, leptin and testosterone were investigated in male patients.
A total of 116 patients (61 males and 55 females) were included. Of these 59% of males and 67.3% of females showed sexual dysfunction (SD) according to the SFQ. In males, higher SFQ scores were significantly correlated with higher BMI (Std. β = 0.36, P = 0.01), higher leptin levels (Std. β = 0.34, P = 0.02), higher waist–hip ratio (Std. β = 0.32, P = 0.04) and lower testosterone levels (Std. β = −0.44, P = 0.002). In contrast, in females, SFQ scores were not associated with any of these factors.
While sexual dysfunction is present in both female and male patients with their first episode of psychosis, only in males is sexual dysfunction associated with increased BMI and waist–hip ratio. The association between SD, BMI, low levels of testosterone and high levels of leptin suggest that policies that lead to healthier diets and more active lifestyles can be beneficial at least, to male patients.
This study integrated an experimental medicine approach and a randomized cross-over clinical trial design following CONSORT recommendations to evaluate a cognitive training (CT) intervention for attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). The experimental medicine approach was adopted because of documented pathophysiological heterogeneity within the diagnosis of ADHD. The cross-over design was adopted to provide the intervention for all participants and make maximum use of data.
Children (n = 93, mean age 7.3 +/− 1.1 years) with or sub-threshold for ADHD were randomly assigned to CT exercises over 15 weeks, before or after 15 weeks of treatment-as-usual (TAU). Fifteen dropped out of the CT/TAU group and 12 out of the TAU/CT group, leaving 66 for cross-over analysis. Seven in the CT/TAU group completed CT before dropping out making 73 available for experimental medicine analyses. Attention, response inhibition, and working memory were assessed before and after CT and TAU.
Children were more likely to improve with CT than TAU (27/66 v. 13/66, McNemar p = 0.02). Consistent with the experimental medicine hypotheses, responders improved on all tests of executive function (p = 0.009–0.01) while non-responders improved on none (p = 0.27–0.81). The degree of clinical improvement was predicted by baseline and change scores in focused attention and working memory (p = 0.008). The response rate was higher in inattentive and combined subtypes than hyperactive-impulsive subtype (p = 0.003).
Targeting cognitive dysfunction decreases clinical symptoms in proportion to improvement in cognition. Inattentive and combined subtypes were more likely to respond, consistent with targeted pathology and clinically relevant heterogeneity within ADHD.
Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) is highly heritable and is associated with lower educational attainment. ADHD is linked to family adversity, including hostile parenting. Questions remain regarding the role of genetic and environmental factors underlying processes through which ADHD symptoms develop and influence academic attainment.
This study employed a parent-offspring adoption design (N = 345) to examine the interplay between genetic susceptibility to child attention problems (birth mother ADHD symptoms) and adoptive parent (mother and father) hostility on child lower academic outcomes, via child ADHD symptoms. Questionnaires assessed birth mother ADHD symptoms, adoptive parent (mother and father) hostility to child, early child impulsivity/activation, and child ADHD symptoms. The Woodcock–Johnson test was used to examine child reading and math aptitude.
Building on a previous study (Harold et al., 2013, Journal of Child Psychology and Psychiatry, 54(10), 1038–1046), heritable influences were found: birth mother ADHD symptoms predicted child impulsivity/activation. In turn, child impulsivity/activation (4.5 years) evoked maternal and paternal hostility, which was associated with children's ADHD continuity (6 years). Both maternal and paternal hostility (4.5 years) contributed to impairments in math but not reading (7 years), via impacts on ADHD symptoms (6 years).
Findings highlight the importance of early child behavior dysregulation evoking parent hostility in both mothers and fathers, with maternal and paternal hostility contributing to the continuation of ADHD symptoms and lower levels of later math ability. Early interventions may be important for the promotion of child math skills in those with ADHD symptoms, especially where children have high levels of early behavior dysregulation.
The aim of the present study is to use the syndemic framework to investigate the risk of contracting HIV in the US population. Cross-sectional analyses are from The National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey. We extracted and aggregated data on HIV antibody test, socio-demographic characteristics, alcohol use, drug use, depression, sexual behaviours and sexually transmitted diseases from cycle 2009–2010 to 2015–2016. We carried out weighted regression among young adults (20–39 years) and adults (40–59 years) separately. In total, 5230 men and 5794 women aged 20–59 years were included in the present analyses. In total, 0.8% men and 0.2% women were tested HIV-positive. Each increasing HIV risk behaviour was associated with elevated odds of being tested HIV-positive (1.15, 95% CI 1.15–1.15) among young adults and adults (1.61, 95% CI 1.61–1.61). Multi-faceted, community-based interventions are urgently required to reduce the incidence of HIV in the USA.
Microsupercapacitors (MSCs) are miniaturized energy storage devices that can be integrated in an on-chip platform as a component of a power supply for Internet of things’ sensors. Integration of these on-chip MSCs require them to be fabricated through CMOS compatible fabrication techniques such as spin coating. One of the biggest challenges in spin coated MSCs is the poor surface adhesion. In this work, we present a CMOS compatible electrode deposition process with enhanced adhesion and retention for reduced graphene oxide (rGO) using spin coating. In order to improve the adhesion and surface uniformity of the deposited electrode material, the surface of Si/SiO2 wafers was subjected to roughening through Fe nanoparticle formation. A 4 nm thick Fe layer deposition substantially magnified the average mean surface roughness of the substrates. In comparison with substrates without the Fe deposition, the treated ones have more than 300% improvement in surface coverage and rGO mass retention after sonication testing. These results suggest that the surface roughening has a positive influence on electrode deposition via a spin-coating method.
With the recent discovery of a dozen dusty star-forming galaxies and around 30 quasars at z > 5 that are hyper-luminous in the infrared (μ LIR > 1013 L⊙, where μ is a lensing magnification factor), the possibility has opened up for SPICA, the proposed ESA M5 mid-/far-infrared mission, to extend its spectroscopic studies toward the epoch of reionisation and beyond. In this paper, we examine the feasibility and scientific potential of such observations with SPICA’s far-infrared spectrometer SAFARI, which will probe a spectral range (35–230 μm) that will be unexplored by ALMA and JWST. Our simulations show that SAFARI is capable of delivering good-quality spectra for hyper-luminous infrared galaxies at z = 5 − 10, allowing us to sample spectral features in the rest-frame mid-infrared and to investigate a host of key scientific issues, such as the relative importance of star formation versus AGN, the hardness of the radiation field, the level of chemical enrichment, and the properties of the molecular gas. From a broader perspective, SAFARI offers the potential to open up a new frontier in the study of the early Universe, providing access to uniquely powerful spectral features for probing first-generation objects, such as the key cooling lines of low-metallicity or metal-free forming galaxies (fine-structure and H2 lines) and emission features of solid compounds freshly synthesised by Population III supernovae. Ultimately, SAFARI’s ability to explore the high-redshift Universe will be determined by the availability of sufficiently bright targets (whether intrinsically luminous or gravitationally lensed). With its launch expected around 2030, SPICA is ideally positioned to take full advantage of upcoming wide-field surveys such as LSST, SKA, Euclid, and WFIRST, which are likely to provide extraordinary targets for SAFARI.
We describe the motivation and design details of the ‘Phase II’ upgrade of the Murchison Widefield Array radio telescope. The expansion doubles to 256 the number of antenna tiles deployed in the array. The new antenna tiles enhance the capabilities of the Murchison Widefield Array in several key science areas. Seventy-two of the new tiles are deployed in a regular configuration near the existing array core. These new tiles enhance the surface brightness sensitivity of the array and will improve the ability of the Murchison Widefield Array to estimate the slope of the Epoch of Reionisation power spectrum by a factor of ∼3.5. The remaining 56 tiles are deployed on long baselines, doubling the maximum baseline of the array and improving the array u, v coverage. The improved imaging capabilities will provide an order of magnitude improvement in the noise floor of Murchison Widefield Array continuum images. The upgrade retains all of the features that have underpinned the Murchison Widefield Array’s success (large field of view, snapshot image quality, and pointing agility) and boosts the scientific potential with enhanced imaging capabilities and by enabling new calibration strategies.
Salmonella prevalence in UK pigs is amongst the highest in Europe, highlighting the need to investigate pig farms which have managed to maintain a low Salmonella seroprevalence. A total of 19 pig farms that had a consistently low (<10%) seroprevalence over 4 years (named Platinum farms) were compared against 38 randomly selected Control farms, chosen to match the same distribution of production types and geographical distribution of the Platinum farms. Each farm was visited and floor faeces and environmental samples were collected. It was shown that Control farms had a significantly higher median percentage of pooled faecal samples positive for Salmonella compared with the Platinum farms (12.1% and 0.4% for pooled faecal samples, respectively) and were more likely to have serovars of public health importance detected (S. Typhimurium/ monophasic variants or S. Enteritidis). Considering the comprehensive on-farm sampling, the identification of farms negative for Salmonella, along with the identification of those that had maintained low prevalence over a long period is important. The risk factor analyses identified pelleted feed, feed deliveries crossing farm perimeter and regular antibiotic use as associated with being a Control farm. Performance data indicated that Platinum farms were performing better for slaughter live weight than Controls. Limited assessments of available pig movement records suggested that the source of pigs was not key to Platinum status, but further study would be needed to confirm this finding. These results emphasise that maintaining very low prevalence on UK farms is achievable.
Vegetable and grain amaranths represent a vital source of micronutrients and protein in Asia and Africa. However, various foliar lepidopteran pests and stem-mining weevils hinder amaranth production. Insect-resistant cultivars can enhance the productivity of this crop. Here, we report on the performances of amaranth varieties screened for their resistance to insect pests under the field conditions at The World Vegetable Center stations in Asia and sub-Saharan Africa. We conducted two preliminary screening trials with a total of 263 entries from around the world in Taiwan and a third preliminary screening trial with 49 African-indigenous entries in Tanzania. Promising entries from these preliminary trials were collectively evaluated in an advanced screening trial in Tanzania, to identify lines resistant to foliar and stem-boring pests in East Africa. Four entries exhibited moderate resistance to foliar pests: TZ51 and TZ53 (Amaranthus cruentus), TZ34 (A. dubius) and TZ39 (Amaranthus sp.). Five entries showed moderate resistance to stem weevils: TZ06 and TZ27 (A. cruentus), TZ52 (A. graecizans), TZ59 (A. palmeri) and TZ07 (Amaranthus sp.). Lepidopteran pests affecting leaves were reared to adulthood and identified as Spoladea recurvalis (Crambidae), Spodoptera exigua (Noctuidae) and Spodoptera littoralis (Noctuidae). Stem weevil larvae were also reared and identified as: Neocleonus sannio Herbst, Gasteroclisus pr. rhomboidalis Boheman, Hypolixus pr. haerens Boheman and Baradine sp. (Curculionidae). These results highlight key amaranth pests in East Africa and identify insect-resistant entries that will be useful in breeding programmes and resistance studies.
Fractional anisotropy in the uncinate fasciculus and the cingulum may be biomarkers for bipolar disorder and may even be distinctly affected in different subtypes of bipolar disorder, an area in need of further research.
This study aims to establish if fractional anisotropy in the uncinate fasciculus and cingulum shows differences between healthy controls, patients with bipolar disorder type I (BD-I) and type II (BD-II), and their unaffected siblings.
Fractional anisotropy measures from the uncinate fasciculus, cingulum body and parahippocampal cingulum were compared with tractography methods in 40 healthy controls, 32 patients with BD-I, 34 patients with BD-II, 17 siblings of patients with BD-I and 14 siblings of patients with BD-II.
The main effects were found in both the right and left uncinate fasciculus, with patients with BD-I showing significantly lower fractional anisotropy than both patients with BD-II and healthy controls. Participants with BD-II did not differ from healthy controls. Siblings showed similar effects in the left uncinate fasciculus. In a subsequent complementary analysis, we investigated the association between fractional anisotropy in the uncinate fasciculus and polygenic risk for bipolar disorder and psychosis in a large cohort (n = 570) of healthy participants. However, we found no significant association.
Fractional anisotropy in the uncinate fasciculus differs significantly between patients with BD-I and patients with BD-II and healthy controls. This supports the hypothesis of differences in the physiological sub-tract between bipolar disorder subtypes. Similar results were found in unaffected siblings, suggesting the potential for this biomarker to represent an endophenotype for BD-I. However, fractional anisotropy in the uncinate fasciculus seems unrelated to polygenic risk for bipolar disorder or psychosis.
Simulation models are used widely in pharmacology, epidemiology and health economics (HEs). However, there have been no attempts to incorporate models from these disciplines into a single integrated model. Accordingly, we explored this linkage to evaluate the epidemiological and economic impact of oseltamivir dose optimisation in supporting pandemic influenza planning in the USA. An HE decision analytic model was linked to a pharmacokinetic/pharmacodynamics (PK/PD) – dynamic transmission model simulating the impact of pandemic influenza with low virulence and low transmissibility and, high virulence and high transmissibility. The cost-utility analysis was from the payer and societal perspectives, comparing oseltamivir 75 and 150 mg twice daily (BID) to no treatment over a 1-year time horizon. Model parameters were derived from published studies. Outcomes were measured as cost per quality-adjusted life year (QALY) gained. Sensitivity analyses were performed to examine the integrated model's robustness. Under both pandemic scenarios, compared to no treatment, the use of oseltamivir 75 or 150 mg BID led to a significant reduction of influenza episodes and influenza-related deaths, translating to substantial savings of QALYs. Overall drug costs were offset by the reduction of both direct and indirect costs, making these two interventions cost-saving from both perspectives. The results were sensitive to the proportion of inpatient presentation at the emergency visit and patients’ quality of life. Integrating PK/PD–EPI/HE models is achievable. Whilst further refinement of this novel linkage model to more closely mimic the reality is needed, the current study has generated useful insights to support influenza pandemic planning.
The mid-infrared range contains many spectral features associated with large molecules and dust grains such as polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons and silicates. These are usually very strong compared to fine-structure gas lines, and thus valuable in studying the spectral properties of faint distant galaxies. In this paper, we evaluate the capability of low-resolution mid-infrared spectroscopic surveys of galaxies that could be performed by SPICA. The surveys are designed to address the question how star formation and black hole accretion activities evolved over cosmic time through spectral diagnostics of the physical conditions of the interstellar/circumnuclear media in galaxies. On the basis of results obtained with Herschel far-infrared photometric surveys of distant galaxies and Spitzer and AKARI near- to mid-infrared spectroscopic observations of nearby galaxies, we estimate the numbers of the galaxies at redshift z > 0.5, which are expected to be detected in the polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbon features or dust continuum by a wide (10 deg2) or deep (1 deg2) blind survey, both for a given observation time of 600 h. As by-products of the wide blind survey, we also expect to detect debris disks, through the mid-infrared excess above the photospheric emission of nearby main-sequence stars, and we estimate their number. We demonstrate that the SPICA mid-infrared surveys will efficiently provide us with unprecedentedly large spectral samples, which can be studied further in the far-infrared with SPICA.
IR spectroscopy in the range 12–230 μm with the SPace IR telescope for Cosmology and Astrophysics (SPICA) will reveal the physical processes governing the formation and evolution of galaxies and black holes through cosmic time, bridging the gap between the James Webb Space Telescope and the upcoming Extremely Large Telescopes at shorter wavelengths and the Atacama Large Millimeter Array at longer wavelengths. The SPICA, with its 2.5-m telescope actively cooled to below 8 K, will obtain the first spectroscopic determination, in the mid-IR rest-frame, of both the star-formation rate and black hole accretion rate histories of galaxies, reaching lookback times of 12 Gyr, for large statistically significant samples. Densities, temperatures, radiation fields, and gas-phase metallicities will be measured in dust-obscured galaxies and active galactic nuclei, sampling a large range in mass and luminosity, from faint local dwarf galaxies to luminous quasars in the distant Universe. Active galactic nuclei and starburst feedback and feeding mechanisms in distant galaxies will be uncovered through detailed measurements of molecular and atomic line profiles. The SPICA’s large-area deep spectrophotometric surveys will provide mid-IR spectra and continuum fluxes for unbiased samples of tens of thousands of galaxies, out to redshifts of z ~ 6.