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BACKGROUND: IGTS is a rare phenomenon of paradoxical germ cell tumor (GCT) growth during or following treatment despite normalization of tumor markers. We sought to evaluate the frequency, clinical characteristics and outcome of IGTS in patients in 21 North-American and Australian institutions. METHODS: Patients with IGTS diagnosed from 2000-2017 were retrospectively evaluated. RESULTS: Out of 739 GCT diagnoses, IGTS was identified in 33 patients (4.5%). IGTS occurred in 9/191 (4.7%) mixed-malignant GCTs, 4/22 (18.2%) immature teratomas (ITs), 3/472 (0.6%) germinomas/germinomas with mature teratoma, and in 17 secreting non-biopsied tumours. Median age at GCT diagnosis was 10.9 years (range 1.8-19.4). Male gender (84%) and pineal location (88%) predominated. Of 27 patients with elevated markers, median serum AFP and Beta-HCG were 70 ng/mL (range 9.2-932) and 44 IU/L (range 4.2-493), respectively. IGTS occurred at a median time of 2 months (range 0.5-32) from diagnosis, during chemotherapy in 85%, radiation in 3%, and after treatment completion in 12%. Surgical resection was attempted in all, leading to gross total resection in 76%. Most patients (79%) resumed GCT chemotherapy/radiation after surgery. At a median follow-up of 5.3 years (range 0.3-12), all but 2 patients are alive (1 succumbed to progressive disease, 1 to malignant transformation of GCT). CONCLUSION: IGTS occurred in less than 5% of patients with GCT and most commonly after initiation of chemotherapy. IGTS was more common in patients with IT-only on biopsy than with mixed-malignant GCT. Surgical resection is a principal treatment modality. Survival outcomes for patients who developed IGTS are favourable.
A challenge to the development of foodborne illness prevention measures is determining the sources of enteric illness. Microbial subtyping source-attribution models attribute illnesses to various sources, requiring data characterizing bacterial isolate subtypes collected from human and food sources. We evaluated the use of antimicrobial resistance data on isolates of Salmonella enterica serotype Hadar, collected from ill humans, food animals, and from retail meats, in two microbial subtyping attribution models. We also compared model results when either antimicrobial resistance or pulsed-field gel electrophoresis (PFGE) patterns were used to subtype isolates. Depending on the subtyping model used, 68–96% of the human infections were attributed to meat and poultry food products. All models yielded similar outcomes, with 86% [95% confidence interval (CI) 80–91] to 91% (95% CI 88–96) of the attributable infections attributed to turkey, and 6% (95% CI 2–10) to 14% (95% CI 8–20) to chicken. Few illnesses (<3%) were attributed to cattle or swine. Results were similar whether the isolates were obtained from food animals during processing or from retail meat products. Our results support the view that microbial subtyping models are a flexible and robust approach for attributing Salmonella Hadar.
Computed tomography (CT) is an important tool in clinical diagnostic imaging enabling three-dimensional anatomic imaging at high spatial resolution with short scan times. However, X-ray attenuation differences in physiological fluids and soft tissues are relatively small, requiring the use of contrast agents to achieve sufficient imaging contrast. Recent advances in energy-sensitive X-ray detectors have made spectral (color) CT commercially feasible by unmixing the energy-dependent attenuation profile of different materials and will potentially enable molecular imaging in CT. In order to leverage these capabilities for diagnostic imaging, we are developing a spectral library of nanoparticle contrast agents with K-shell absorption edges spaced at least 10 keV apart. The objective of this study was to demonstrate the ability of spectral CT to simultaneously detect up to three different contrast agents and unmixed their signals to create color images. Gadolinium oxide (Gd), hafnium oxide (Hf) and gold (Au) were chosen due to exhibiting K-edges spaced 10-20 keV apart. Core-shell nanoparticles of each composition were synthesized by various methods to have a core diameter of 15-20 nm and were coated with a silica shell at least 2-4 nm in thickness to create a common platform for surface functionalization. The contrast agents were imaged in a soft tissue equivalent phantom using source-side method for spectral CT imaging. The source-side approach utilized monochromatic synchrotron radiation at the Argonne National Laboratory which, while not clinically applicable, served as a gold standard due to providing the highest spectral resolution. The nanoparticles designed for this study have broad applications in biomedical imaging due to their modular assembly, potential for enabling multi-modal detection, and surface functionalization with biomolecules (e.g., antibodies, peptides or enzymes) for active targeting.
A revised application of Ostrom's (Ostrom, 2007) Social-Ecological System (SES) framework to Hardin's ‘tragedy of the commons’ (Hardin, G. (1968), Science, 162(3859): 1243–1248) demonstrates that its institutional structure is more complex than either Hardin or Ostrom had imagined. The ‘tragedy’ arises from several interacting resources and institutions. If the grass on the pasture was not subject to appropriation, the cattle were not privately owned, or property- and contract-enforcement institutions supporting market exchange were absent, then the ‘tragedy of the commons’ would not have arisen regardless of the open-access pasture. This paper highlights the utility of the SES framework and the care required to apply it precisely to specific social-ecological situations.
Depressive symptoms are prominent psychopathological features of Huntington's disease (HD), making a negative impact on social functioning and well-being.
We compared the frequencies of a history of depression, previous suicide attempts and current subthreshold depression between 61 early-stage HD participants and 40 matched controls. The HD group was then split based on the overall HD group's median Hospital Anxiety and Depression Scale-depression score into a group of 30 non-depressed participants (mean 0.8, s.d. = 0.7) and a group of 31 participants with subthreshold depressive symptoms (mean 7.3, s.d. = 3.5) to explore the neuroanatomy underlying subthreshold depressive symptoms in HD using voxel-based morphometry (VBM) and diffusion tensor imaging (DTI).
Frequencies of history of depression, previous suicide attempts or current subthreshold depressive symptoms were higher in HD than in controls. The severity of current depressive symptoms was also higher in HD, but not associated with the severity of HD motor signs or disease burden. Compared with the non-depressed HD group DTI revealed lower fractional anisotropy (FA) values in the frontal cortex, anterior cingulate cortex, insula and cerebellum of the HD group with subthreshold depressive symptoms. In contrast, VBM measures were similar in both HD groups. A history of depression, the severity of HD motor signs or disease burden did not correlate with FA values of these regions.
Current subthreshold depressive symptoms in early HD are associated with microstructural changes – without concomitant brain volume loss – in brain regions known to be involved in major depressive disorder, but not those typically associated with HD pathology.
The study of dwarf galaxies in groups is a powerful tool for investigating galaxy evolution, chemical enrichment and environmental effects on these objects. Here we present results obtained for dwarf galaxies in the Centaurus A complex, a dense nearby (∼4 Mpc) group that contains two giant galaxies and about 60 dwarf companions of different morphologies and stellar contents. We use archival optical (HST/ACS) and near-infrared (VLT/ISAAC) data to derive physical properties and evolutionary histories from the resolved stellar populations of these dwarf galaxies. In particular, for early-type dwarfs we are able to construct metallicity distribution functions, find population gradients and quantify the intermediate-age star formation episodes. For late-type dwarfs, we compute recent (∼1 Gyr) star formation histories and study their stellar distribution. We then compare these results with properties of the dwarfs in our Milky Way and in other groups. Our work will ultimately lead to a better understanding of the evolution of dwarf galaxies.
In this work, material compositional design and optimized film processing methods, were employed to simultaneously lower the dielectric loss and enhance the dielectric tunability of Ba0.6Sr0.4TiO3 (BST) based thin films without compromising the device impedance matching (εr<500) and device control voltage (<10 V) requirements. The films compositional design was achieved by Mg doping BST from 3 to 10 mol % via the metalorganic solution deposition (MOSD) technique and post-deposition annealing in an oxygen ambience. The films dielectric loss at these doping levels was identical, tanδ ∼0.007 and the permittivity values ranged from 339 to 220. Device quality values of tunability, 40 and 32 %, for the 3 and 7 mol% doped BST films, respectively, were achieved by elevating the applied bias to 474 kV/cm. This device quality tuning is compatible with voltage requirements of current semiconductor based systems. The results suggest that the low level acceptor doping from 3 to 7 mol%, optimized precursor solution concentration (0.43 M), and oxygenated post-deposition thermal processing were found to work in concert to lower dielectric loss, limit defect density concentration, optimize film microstructure, and eliminate undesirable film/electrode interfacial phases. The enhanced dielectric and insulating properties of the 3–7 mol% Mg doped BST thin films make them excellent candidates for integration into tunable devices.
There has been a recent shift towards a tunable phase shifter for microwave antenna design. Barium strontium titanate [BaxSr(1-x)TiO3] thin films are the principal materials of interest in these applications, primarily because of their low loss, high dielectric constant and large tunability. Both magnesium doped and undoped films were made, and they were deposited on MgO or Pt-Si substrates using metal organic solution deposition and pulsed laser deposition. Residual stress within these materials is known to have a drastic effect on the material, electrical, and dielectric properties. This becomes of particular importance in thin film materials, where the residual stress can be several orders of magnitude higher than in bulk materials. The residual stress in the films was measured in three ways. A Tencor stress analysis system was employed to measure the change in the substrate curvature due to the film stress, and a nano-indentation method was used to calculate the residual stress in a system by measuring the maximum penetration, the force at maximum penetration, and the slope of the initial unloading curve. These methods were validated using XRD lattice calculations. Stresses as high as 2 GPa were observed under certain conditions. The results also show that the surface region of the films is not stress free at these thicknesses (∼200 nm) as was mathematically suggested.
Over the past several years there has been a tremendous growth and development of thin film deposition technology in the electronics industry. Ferroelectric thin films have been recognized for their unique dielectric properties and appear to be desirable for tunable microwave device applications. Among the most promising candidates for such applications are Ba(1−x)SrxTiO3[BST] and BST-based thin films. In this work pure BST and acceptor doped BST-based thin films were fabricated on (100) MgO substrates via pulsed laser deposition [PLD]. X-ray diffraction (XRD) in conjunction with the atomic force microscope (AFM) were used to analyze the film crystalinity and surface morphology. The dielectric properties were characterized at both 100 kHz and 20 GHz. The MIM capacitor configuration was used to attain the dielectric properties at 100 kHz and the microwave measurements, S11 reflection parameters, were achieved via interdigitated capacitor design with Au/Ag top electrodes. The parallel resistor-capacitor models were used to determine the microwave capacitance and Q factors and the permittivity was calculated using a modified conformal-mapping partial-capacitance method using the dimension of the capacitors. Our results demonstrated that the low frequency and microwave frequency dielectric properties were strongly influenced by the film composition. Specifically, the Mg doping served to lower the dissipation factor, permittivity, and tunability of the BST based films at both frequencies. This work demonstrates that the BST based thin films possessed excellent microstructural, structural, and dielectric properties. The structure-process-property correlations of the pulsed laser deposited BST and acceptor doped BST-based thin films are discussed in detail.
We report up to 6 wt% storage of H2 at 2 atm and T = 77 K in processed bundles of single-walled carbon nanotubes. The hydrogen storage isotherms are completely reversible; D2 isotherms confirmed this anomalous low-pressure adsorption and also revealed the effects of quantum mechanical zero point motion. We propose that our postsynthesis treatment of the sample improves access for hydrogen to the central pores within individual nanotubes and may also create a roughened tube surface with an increased binding energy for hydrogen. Such an enhancement may be needed to understand the strong adsorption at low pressure. We obtained an experimental isosteric heat qst = 125 ± 5 meV. Calculations are also presented that indicate disorder in the tube wall enhances the binding energy of H2.
The Fezzan Project completed its five-year fieldwork cycle in 2001. The geographical research team located numerous additional palaeolake sites within the Edeyen Ubari, using a combination of Remote Sensing technology and field visits. Additional samples were taken for analysis and dating from many lake edge locations, relating to both the large Pleistocene lake and to the numerous smaller Holocene lakes that have been identified by the team. The excavations at Old Germa were taken down through Garamantian occupation levels to the natural subsoil below the earliest cultural horizon. The earliest activity, represented by a few mudbrick walls and hearths built directly on the natural soil, is believed to date to c. 400-300 BC. Traces of several phases of Garamantian buildings were uncovered, along with numerous rubbish pits, which yielded a rich assemblage of finds, including, for the first time, examples of Garamantian figurines, small 3-D sculptures of humans and animals. Work on the various classes of finds (pottery, small finds, lithics and other stone artefacts, metallurgical evidence, etc.) complemented the excavation work. In addition, a small amount of further survey work was carried out on sites in the Wadi al-Ajal, along with a contour survey of Old Germa and standing building survey at a number of other sites.
We report (6 wt %) storage of H2 at T=77 K in processed bundles of single-walled carbon nanotubes at P=2 atmospheres. The hydrogen storage isotherms are completely reversible. D2 isotherms confirm this anomalous low-pressure adsorption and further reveal the effects of quantum mechanical zero point motion. We propose that our post-synthesis treatment of the sample not only improves access for hydrogen to the central pores within individual nanotubes, but also may create a roughened tube surface with an enhanced binding energy for hydrogen. Such an enhancement is needed to understand the strong adsorption at low pressure. We obtain an experimental isosteric heat qst=125 ± 5 meV for processed SWNT materials.