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Shiga toxin-producing Escherichia coli (STEC) infection can cause serious illness including haemolytic uraemic syndrome. The role of socio-economic status (SES) in differential clinical presentation and exposure to potential risk factors amongst STEC cases has not previously been reported in England. We conducted an observational study using a dataset of all STEC cases identified in England, 2010–2015. Odds ratios for clinical characteristics of cases and foodborne, waterborne and environmental risk factors were estimated using logistic regression, stratified by SES, adjusting for baseline demographic factors. Incidence was higher in the highest SES group compared to the lowest (RR 1.54, 95% CI 1.19–2.00). Odds of Accident and Emergency attendance (OR 1.35, 95% CI 1.10–1.75) and hospitalisation (OR 1.71, 95% CI 1.36–2.15) because of illness were higher in the most disadvantaged compared to the least, suggesting potential lower ascertainment of milder cases or delayed care-seeking behaviour in disadvantaged groups. Advantaged individuals were significantly more likely to report salad/fruit/vegetable/herb consumption (OR 1.59, 95% CI 1.16–2.17), non-UK or UK travel (OR 1.76, 95% CI 1.40–2.27; OR 1.85, 95% CI 1.35–2.56) and environmental exposures (walking in a paddock, OR 1.82, 95% CI 1.22–2.70; soil contact, OR 1.52, 95% CI 2.13–1.09) suggesting other unmeasured risks, such as person-to-person transmission, could be more important in the most disadvantaged group.
The second order nonlinear optical (NLO) properties of two different ionic selfassembled multilayer (ISAM) films combined with Ag nanoparticles have been investigated. The plasmon resonances in the Ag particles concentrate the incident light, markedly increasing in the NLO efficiencies of the films. We find that the efficiency enhancement is significantly larger in conventional ISAM films compared to films made using a hybrid covalent ISAM technique (HCISAM), even though the intrinsic bulk second order non-linear susceptibility (χ(2)) is much larger for HCISAM films. We attribute this to the interfaces in HCISAM films being much easier to disrupt by external perturbations such as the metal deposition by which the nanoparticles are fabricated. We conclude that because the plasmon decay length is very short, the plasmonic enhancement of NLO effects primarily occurs at and near the film-particle interface. To discern the importance of the interfaces, we surrounded thin ISAM and HCISAM films with NLOinactive buffer layers, which confirmed this hypothesis, particularly in the case of HCISAM films.
Extensively drug-resistant (XDR) tuberculosis (TB) poses a threat to public health due to its complicated, expensive and often unsuccessful treatment. A cluster of three XDR TB cases was detected among foreign medical students of a Romanian university. The contact investigations included tuberculin skin testing or interferon gamma release assay, chest X-ray, sputum smear microscopy, culture, drug susceptibility testing, genotyping and whole-genome sequencing (WGS), and were addressed to students, personnel of the university, family members or other close contacts of the cases. These investigations increased the total number of cases to seven. All confirmed cases shared a very similar WGS profile. Two more cases were epidemiologically linked, but no laboratory confirmation exists. Despite all the efforts done, the source of the outbreak was not identified, but the transmission was controlled. The investigation was conducted by a team including epidemiologists and microbiologists from five countries (Finland, Israel, Romania, Sweden and the UK) and from the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control. Our report shows how countries can collaborate to control the spread of XDR TB by exchanging information about cases and their contacts to enable identification of additional cases and transmission and to perform the source investigation.
An effective method for enhancing milk production efficiency in dairy cows is to increase milk yield and significant progress has been achieved through intense selection, assisted by the application of new reproductive techniques. However this increased milk yield has been accompanied by a slow but steady decline in dairy cow fertility. The two main reasons for this reducing level of fertility appear to be selection for increased milk yield and large herd sizes, although the affect of the introduction of Holstein genes needs to be investigated. In addition, other negative consequences such as an increase in the incidence of metabolic diseases and lameness have been observed. This has given rise to public concern that the high-yielding dairy cow may be under a state of metabolic stress during peak lactation and therefore the welfare and performance of other body functions are compromised.
The reason for this decline in fertility is not well understood, although a nutritional influence on the initiation of oestrous cycles, follicular growth, oocyte quality and early embryonic development has been implicated. In early lactation dietary intake is unable to meet the demands of milk production and most cows enter a period of negative energy balance. Negative energy balance has a broadly similar effect to undernutrition leading to a mobilization of body reserves. Furthermore diets high in rumen degradable protein lead to an excess of rumen ammonia, which before it is converted to urea by the liver and excreted in the urine, may cause an alteration in the reproductive tract environment reducing embryo survival. Such major changes in the metabolic and endocrine systems can therefore influence fertility at a number of key points.
Possible reproductive sites where inadequate nutrition may have detrimental effects include: (i) the hypothalamic/pituitary gland where gonadotropin release may be impaired; (ii) a direct effect on the ovaries, where both follicular growth patterns and corpus luteum function may be directly influenced; (iii) the quality of the oocyte prior to ovulation may be reduced and coupled with an inadequate uterine environment will result in reduced embryo survival and (iv) there may be effects on subsequent embryo development. The initiation of normal oestrous cycles post partum is usually delayed in dairy cows with a higher genetic merit for milk production, confirming that intense selection towards high milk yield can compromise reproductive function. In addition, the effects of increased milk yield may include changes in circulating GH and insulin concentrations, which in turn alter both insulin-like growth factor (IGF) and IGF binding protein production. Nutrition has recently been shown to have a direct effect at the level of both the ovaries and the uterus to alter the expression of these growth factors.
In conclusion, further knowledge is required to determine how the metabolic changes associated with high milk output reduce fertility. Identification and understanding of the mechanisms involved and the key sites of action responsible for compromised reproductive function, will enable the identification of possible indices for future multiple-trait selection programmes.
The Foot and Mouth Disease (FMD) epidemic of 2001 clearly illustrated the fragility of the UK's farm animal genetic resources. In particular, millions of sheep were killed by the disease and by the ‘stamping out’ policy chosen for disease control. Loss of genetic resources was not evenly spread throughout the UK, nor throughout the many different sheep breeds that are native to the UK and for which the UK has a formal responsibility for protection to the United Nations. In fact, the FMD epidemic demonstrated for the first time that sheep breeds comprising large numbers of individuals which are commercially farmed, can nevertheless be at considerable risk of extinction. The breeds most affected were those restricted to geographical regions of the UK into which the FMD spread. These regionally important breeds are adapted to their particular regional environments, represent an important living heritage for the UK and are a key component in sustaining the rural economies of sheep farming communities.
The events of 2001 provided clear proof that there are two components of the UK's farm animal genetic resources demanding protection. One component is already recognised as a priority and is composed of the numerically rare breeds of all domesticated species: these are already under the protection of the Rare Breeds Survival Trust (RBST). The second component has not previously been recognised as a priority for protection. The FMD crisis proved that sheep breeds could exist as large numbers of individuals, but nevertheless face extinction due to their regional location. Urgent attention must be focussed on our Heritage Breeds of sheep. The UK has one of the greatest number of native sheep breeds of any country in the world. The Heritage Breeds provide potentially valuable genetic resources for environmental, low-input farming systems.
Heritage GeneBank was founded during the FMD epidemic specifically to protect sheep breeds at threat of extinction from the disease. A group of academic research scientists established a genetic salvage programme: collecting semen and embryos for protection in a gene bank. Germplasm from seven breeds is in long-term storage. Following the crisis, the scientists involved in the gene bank made a commitment to continue their conservation work in recognition that the Heritage Breeds of sheep in the UK continue to require protection.
This paper describes: (1) the work of Heritage GeneBank (HGB); (2) the threefold mission of The Sheep Trust, the new national charity that evolved from HGB (http://www.thesheeptrust.org); and (3) the ongoing urgent need for conservation of the UK's Heritage Breeds of sheep threatened by genetic erosion.
Hippocampal dysfunction is considered central to many neurobiological models of schizophrenia, yet there are few longitudinal in vivo neuroimaging studies that have investigated the relationship between antipsychotic treatment and morphologic changes within specific hippocampal subregions among patients with psychosis.
A total of 29 patients experiencing a first episode of psychosis with little or no prior antipsychotic exposure received structural neuroimaging examinations at illness onset and then following 12 weeks of treatment with either risperidone or aripiprazole in a double-blind randomized clinical trial. In addition, 29 healthy volunteers received structural neuroimaging examinations at baseline and 12-week time points. We manually delineated six hippocampal subregions [i.e. anterior cornu ammonis (CA) 1–3, posterior CA1–3, subiculum, dentate gyrus/CA4, entorhinal cortex, and fimbria] from 3T magnetic resonance images using an established method with high inter- and intra-rater reliability.
Following antipsychotic treatment patients demonstrated significant reductions in dentate gyrus/CA4 volume and increases in subiculum volume. Healthy volunteers demonstrated non-significant volumetric changes in these subregions across the two time points. We observed a significant quadratic (i.e. inverted U) association between changes in dentate gyrus/CA4 volume and cumulative antipsychotic dosage between the scans.
This study provides the first evidence to our knowledge regarding longitudinal in vivo volumetric changes within specific hippocampal subregions in patients with psychosis following antipsychotic treatment. The finding of a non-linear relationship between changes in dentate gyrus/CA4 subregion volume and antipsychotic exposure may provide new avenues into understanding dosing strategies for therapeutic interventions relevant to neurobiological models of hippocampal dysfunction in psychosis.
Historical and reconstructed snow-cover data show evidence of a gradual increase in snow cover over the continental interior of North America (NA) during much of the 20th century, primarily in response to increasing snowfall. A rapid decrease in Canadian-prairies snow cover after 1970 is not observed over the Great Plains. Analysis of snow-cover-climate relationships revealed systematic increases in the sensitivity of snow cover to Northern Hemisphere (NH) temperatures over the 1940-65 period. This change is mainly due to an increase in snowfall-temperature sensitivity during this period. Seasonal analysis revealed that the observed increase in snow-cover and snowfall temperature sensitivity is primarily a spring phenomenon. A marked increase in the importance of the spring period is observed around 1960, which coincides with a well-documented change in atmospheric circulation over NA. The post-1960 period is characterized by a significant inverse relationship between snow cover and hemispheric air temperature over the Canadian prairies and northern Great Plains regions.
Sediments from the Antarctic continental margin may provide detailed palaeoenvironmental records for Antarctic shelf waters during the late Quaternary. Here we present results from a palaeoenvironmental study of two sediment cores recovered from the continental shelf off Mac. Robertson Land, East Antarctica. These gravity cores were collected approximately 90 km apart from locations on the inner and outer shelf. Both cores are apparently undisturbed sequences of diatom ooze mixed with fine, quartz-rich sand. Core stratigraphies have been established from radiocarbon analyses of bulk organic carbon. Down-core geochemical determinations include the lithogenic components AÍ and Fe, biogenic components opal and organic carbon, and palaco-redox proxies Mn, Mo and U. We use the geochemical data to infer past variations in the deposition of biogenic and lithogenic materials, and the radiocarbon dates to estimate average sediment accumulation rates. The Holocene record of the outer-shelf core suggests three episodes of enhanced diatom export production at about 1.8, 3.8 and 5.5 ka BP, as well as less pronounced bloom episodes which occurred over a shorter period. Average sediment accumulation rates at this location range from 13.7 cm ka−1 in the late Pleistocene early Holocene to 82 cm ka−1 in the late Holocene, and suggest that the inferred episodes of enhanced biogenic production lasted 100-1000 years. in contrast, data for the inner-shelf core suggest that there has been a roughly constant proportion of biogenic and lithogenic material accumulating during the middle to late Holocene, with a greater proportion of biogenic material relative to the outer shelf. Notably, there is an approximately 7-fold increase in average sediment accumulation rate (from 24.5 to 179 cm ka−1) at this inner-shelf location between the middle and late Holocene, with roughly comparable increases in the mass accumulation rates of both biogenic and lithogenic material. This may represent changes in sediment transport processes, or reflect real increases in pelagic sedimentation in this region during the Holocene. Our results suggest quite different sedimentation regimes in these two shelf locations during the middle to late Holocene.
Laboratory tasks to delineate anxiety disorder features are used to refine classification and inform our understanding of etiological mechanisms. The present study examines laboratory measures of response inhibition, specifically the inhibition of a pre-potent motor response, in clinical anxiety. Data on associations between anxiety and response inhibition remain inconsistent, perhaps because of dissociable effects of clinical anxiety and experimentally manipulated state anxiety. Few studies directly assess the independent and interacting effects of these two anxiety types (state v. disorder) on response inhibition. The current study accomplished this goal, by manipulating state anxiety in healthy and clinically anxious individuals while they complete a response inhibition task.
The study employs the threat-of-shock paradigm, one of the best-established manipulations for robustly increasing state anxiety. Participants included 82 adults (41 healthy; 41 patients with an anxiety disorder). A go/nogo task with highly frequent go trials was administered during alternating periods of safety and shock threat. Signal detection theory was used to quantify response bias and signal-detection sensitivity.
There were independent effects of anxiety and clinical anxiety on response inhibition. In both groups, heightened anxiety facilitated response inhibition, leading to reduced nogo commission errors. Compared with the healthy group, clinical anxiety was associated with excessive response inhibition and increased go omission errors in both the safe and threat conditions.
Response inhibition and its impact on go omission errors appear to be a promising behavioral marker of clinical anxiety. These results have implications for a dimensional view of clinical anxiety.
Prior studies have suggested a relationship between atopy and mental health, although methodological barriers have limited the generalizability of these findings. The objective of this study was to investigate the relationship between early-life atopy and vulnerability to mental health problems among youth in the community.
Data were drawn from the Raine Study (N = 2868), a population-based birth cohort study in Western Australia. Logistic regression and generalized estimating equations were used to examine the relationship between atopy at ages 1–5 years [using parent report and objective biological confirmation (sera IgE)], and the range of internalizing and externalizing mental health problems at ages 5–17 years.
Atopy appears to be associated with increased vulnerability to affective and anxiety problems, compared to youth without atopy. These associations remained significant after adjusting for a range of potential confounders. No relationship was evident between atopy and attention deficit hyperactivity disorder or externalizing problems.
Findings are the first linking atopy (measured by both parent report and objective verification) with increased vulnerability to affective and anxiety problems. Therefore, replication is required. If replicated, future research aimed at understanding the possible biological and/or social and environmental pathways underlying these links is needed. Such information could shed light on shared pathways that could lead to more effective treatments for both atopy and internalizing mental health problems.
Current calibration methods for single and replicate 14C dates are compared. Various forms of tabular and graphic output are discussed. Results from all the methods show reasonable agreement but further methodological development and improvements in computer output are required. Comparison of existing techniques for a series of non-contemporaneous dates showed less agreement amongst participants on this issue. We recommend that calibrated dates should be presented as a combination of graphs and ranges, in preference to mean and standard deviation.
I describe a project to survey ∼ 13 square degrees of the sky at 15μm and 90μm with the Infrared Space Observatory (ISO). The European Large Area ISO Survey (ELAIS) is a collaboration involving 19 European institutes (in addition to the authors and others at their institutes the following people and others their institutes are involved I. Gonzalez-Serrano, E. Kontizas, K. Mandolesi, J. Masegosa, K. Mattila, H. Norgaard-Nielsen, I. Perez-Fournon, M. Ward) and is the largest open time project being undertaken by ISO. We expect to detect at least 1000 extra-galactic objects and a similar number of Galactic sources.
We present an overview of the survey for radio emission from active stars that has been in progress for the last six years using the observatories at Fleurs, Molonglo, Parkes and Tidbinbilla. The role of complementary optical observations at the Anglo-Australian Observatory, Mount Burnett, Mount Stromlo and Siding Spring Observatories and Mount Tamborine are also outlined. We describe the different types of star that have been included in our survey and discuss some of the problems in making the radio observations.
Ultracompact H II regions are small, dense regions of ionised gas surrounding high-mass stars which are still embedded in their natal molecular clouds. A survey of such regions has been commenced in an attempt to improve our understanding of the processes of high-mass star formation. The initial stages of the survey have involved selection of likely candidates from the IRAS Point Source Catalogue, correlation with radio continuum emission at 4·85 GHz and subsequent observations of methanol maser emission at 6·668 GHz. Preliminary results of the methanol maser survey are given.
A preliminary orbit has been derived for the high luminosity, 27-d classical Cepheid T Mon. Velocities for the hot companion have been measured from an HST GHRS spectrum and 3 IUE spectra. The companion velocities are inconsistent with binary orbital motion and it is likely that the companion is itself a short period binary. The HST spectrum also shows that the companion is a chemically peculiar star, probably magnetic.
The linear polarization of the Crab pulsar as a function of pulse phase was observed by the High Speed Photometer on the Hubble Space Telescope in March, 1993. Observations were obtained in a bandpass centered on 2770 A using a 0.25 ms sample time, corresponding to a time resolution of 0.0075 in pulse phase. The UV polarization of the pulsar [Fig. 1] is strikingly similar to that observed in the visible (cf. Smith et al. 1988). The same values of polarization and the same swing of position angle occur through the main and secondary pulses. The polarization pulse profile must be essentially wavelength independent at frequencies above the infrared.
Bars are thought to play a crucial role in the fueling of AGN (see e.g., Mundell et al., in these proceedings and references therein), and as part of a project to investigate this, we have studied the neutral hydrogen structure in the bar of the Seyfert 1.5 galaxy NGC 4151.
High-sensitivity VLA observations have enabled us to image the neutral hydrogen emission from the bar of NGC 4151 in unprecedented detail, and is a continuation of the work by Pedlar et al. (1992).
Figure 1 shows images of integrated neutral hydrogen emission. The large scale emission extends over approximately 20 kpc and the outer part consists of a well-defined two-armed spiral which originates from a fat bar at a radius of about 5 kpc. The bar shows complex structure, including two sharp features which are reminiscent of the shocks seen in many simulations, e.g., Athanassoula (1992). These features appear to join the central 1-kpc ring discovered by Vila-Vilaró et al. (1994), and for which there appears a partial counterpart in neutral hydrogen emission.
Cryptosporidium, a parasite known to cause large drinking and recreational water outbreaks, is tolerant of chlorine concentrations used for drinking water treatment. Human laboratory-based surveillance for enteric pathogens detected a cryptosporidiosis outbreak in Baker City, Oregon during July 2013 associated with municipal drinking water. Objectives of the investigation were to confirm the outbreak source and assess outbreak extent. The watershed was inspected and city water was tested for contamination. To determine the community attack rate, a standardized questionnaire was administered to randomly sampled households. Weighted attack rates and confidence intervals (CIs) were calculated. Water samples tested positive for Cryptosporidium species; a Cryptosporidium parvum subtype common in cattle was detected in human stool specimens. Cattle were observed grazing along watershed borders; cattle faeces were observed within watershed barriers. The city water treatment facility chlorinated, but did not filter, water. The community attack rate was 28·3% (95% CI 22·1–33·6), sickening an estimated 2780 persons. Watershed contamination by cattle probably caused this outbreak; water treatments effective against Cryptosporidium were not in place. This outbreak highlights vulnerability of drinking water systems to pathogen contamination and underscores the need for communities to invest in system improvements to maintain multiple barriers to drinking water contamination.
We examine the roles of actuaries in UK life offices, along with trends, challenges to and opportunities for actuaries. We carry out an analysis of senior roles in life offices, a questionnaire survey and interviews with relevant senior personnel. We find that actuaries occupy many important roles in life offices and are regarded as having good industry knowledge and technical skills, especially in financial modelling. There are fewer executive directors and more non-executive directors of life offices who are actuaries compared with the position in 1990. A higher proportion of reserved roles is outsourced to consultants than was the case in 1990. Only a small number of Actuarial Function Holders are directors. Actuaries are more siloed than was the case in the past, although actuaries are well represented in the finance and risk functions of many offices. Although actuarial work in connection with the preparation for Solvency II will decline, there will be important ongoing requirements for actuaries following Solvency II implementation. We also see opportunities for actuaries in four areas: in risk management, in financial analysis and management based on Solvency II and international financial reporting standards, in connection with “big data”, and in product development and the customer proposition. There are implications for the examination syllabus, continuing professional development and research.