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Replicate radiocarbon (14C) measurements of organic and inorganic control samples, with known Fraction Modern values in the range Fm = 0–1.5 and mass range 6 μg–2 mg carbon, are used to determine both the mass and radiocarbon content of the blank carbon introduced during sample processing and measurement in our laboratory. These data are used to model, separately for organic and inorganic samples, the blank contribution and subsequently “blank correct” measured unknowns in the mass range 25–100 μg. Data, formulas, and an assessment of the precision and accuracy of the blank correction are presented.
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 mammal family Tenrecidae (Afrotheria: Afrosoricida) is endemic to Madagascar. Here we present the conservation priorities for the 31 species of tenrec that were assessed or reassessed in 2015–2016 for the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Six species (19.4%) were found to be threatened (4 Vulnerable, 2 Endangered) and one species was categorized as Data Deficient. The primary threat to tenrecs is habitat loss, mostly as a result of slash-and-burn agriculture, but some species are also threatened by hunting and incidental capture in fishing traps. In the longer term, climate change is expected to alter tenrec habitats and ranges. However, the lack of data for most tenrecs on population size, ecology and distribution, together with frequent changes in taxonomy (with many cryptic species being discovered based on genetic analyses) and the poorly understood impact of bushmeat hunting on spiny species (Tenrecinae), hinders conservation planning. Priority conservation actions are presented for Madagascar's tenrecs for the first time since 1990 and focus on conserving forest habitat (especially through improved management of protected areas) and filling essential knowledge gaps. Tenrec research, monitoring and conservation should be integrated into broader sustainable development objectives and programmes targeting higher profile species, such as lemurs, if we are to see an improvement in the conservation status of tenrecs in the near future.
The American College of Cardiology Quality Network enables national benchmarking and collaborative quality improvement through vetted metrics. We describe here our initial experience with the Quality Network.
Quarterly data for metrics pertaining to chest pain, Kawasaki disease, tetralogy of Fallot, elevated body mass index, and others were shared with the collaboratives for benchmarking. National improvement efforts focussed on counselling for elevated body mass index and 22q11.2 testing in tetralogy of Fallot. Improvement strategies included developing multi-disciplinary workgroups, educational materials, and electronic health record advances.
Chest pain metric performance was high compared with national means: obtaining family history (90–100% versus 51–77%), electrocardiogram (100% versus 89–99%), and echocardiogram for exertional complaints (95–100% versus 74–96%). Kawasaki metric performance was high, including obtaining coronary measurements (100% versus 85–97%), prescribing aspirin (100% versus 86–99%), follow-up with imaging (100% versus 85–98%), and documenting no activity restriction without coronary aneurysms (83–100% versus 64–93%). Counselling for elevated body mass index was variable (25–75% versus 31–50%) throughout quality improvement efforts. Testing for 22q11.2 deletion in tetralogy of Fallot patients was consistently above the national mean (60–85% versus 54–68%) with improved genetics data capture.
The Quality Network promotes meaningful benchmarking and collaborative quality improvement. Our high performance for chest pain and Kawasaki metrics is likely related to previous improvement efforts in chest pain management and a dedicated Kawasaki team. Uptake of counselling for elevated body mass index is variable; stronger engagement among numerous providers is needed. Recommendations for 22q11.2 testing in tetralogy of Fallot were widely recognised and implemented.
A total of 592 people reported gastrointestinal illness following attendance at Street Spice, a food festival held in Newcastle-upon-Tyne, North East England in February/March 2013. Epidemiological, microbiological and environmental investigations were undertaken to identify the source and prevent further cases. Several epidemiological analyses were conducted; a cohort study; a follow-up survey of cases and capture re-capture to estimate the true burden of cases. Indistinguishable isolates of Salmonella Agona phage type 40 were identified in cases and on fresh curry leaves used in one of the accompaniments served at the event. Molecular testing indicated entero-aggregative Escherichia coli and Shigella also contributed to the burden of illness. Analytical studies found strong associations between illness and eating food from a particular stall and with food items including coconut chutney which contained fresh curry leaves. Further investigation of the food supply chain and food preparation techniques identified a lack of clear instruction on the use of fresh uncooked curry leaves in finished dishes and uncertainty about their status as a ready-to-eat product. We describe the investigation of one of the largest outbreaks of food poisoning in England, involving several gastrointestinal pathogens including a strain of Salmonella Agona not previously seen in the UK.
A 10-year descriptive analysis of morbidity and mortality associated with water-related activities in the Top End, Northern Territory (NT), Australia.
An outdoor, water-orientated lifestyle characterises the Top End due to its tropical climate, lengthy coastline, many inland-waterways, and common domestic-pool ownership. However, the water holds many dangers: from drowning to the prospect of crocodile attacks.
Data were retrospectively collected from two sources: the Trauma Registry (TR), Royal Darwin Hospital, NT and the National Coronial Information System. Inclusion criteria: all mortality or injury with an Injury Severity Score (ISS) ≥9 from water-related activity in the Top End. Exclusion criteria: envenomation. Data included: demographics, geographical location, time/mechanism of injury, injury narrative/outcome, alcohol consumption, ISS, and Indigenous race.
Ninety-five deaths occurred from 1/1/2005–12/31/2014; 87 prehospital (92%). The leading three mechanisms of injury for the 138 TR admissions were drowning (40%), falling/diving (35%), and watercraft events (14%). Median age 27 (0-90); 78% males. There were 74 children (<16 years) including 20 deaths. Indigenous Australians represent 30% of the NT population, but had 43% of deaths and 12% of admissions. Deaths from crocodile attacks are increasing with 14 deaths from 2005-2014, compared to 10 deaths from 1971-2004 (Caldicutt). Alcohol was recorded in 31% of admissions and 52% of deaths in those age >16. The Top End’s crude rate of drowning averaged over 10 years was 4.36/100,000/annum, compared to 1.31/100,000/annum in Australia.
Alcohol plays a major role in the Top End’s water-related harm, associated with all mechanisms and over one-half of adult deaths. Also striking is increasing crocodile fatalities, possibly caused by population recovery from endangered to plentiful, since hunting ceased in 1971. Local authorities/advocates push water-safety and crocodile-awareness programs. However, the lure of tropical waters combined with alcohol remains a risk to life and limb. Further public health campaigns focusing on these issues are called for.
The local electrode atom probe (LEAP) has become the primary instrument used for atom probe tomography measurements. Recent advances in detector and laser design, together with updated hit detection algorithms, have been incorporated into the latest LEAP 5000 instrument, but the implications of these changes on measurements, particularly the size and chemistry of small clusters and elemental segregations, have not been explored. In this study, we compare data sets from a variety of materials with small-scale chemical heterogeneity using both a LEAP 3000 instrument with 37% detector efficiency and a 532-nm green laser and a new LEAP 5000 instrument with a manufacturer estimated increase to 52% detector efficiency, and a 355-nm ultraviolet laser. In general, it was found that the number of atoms within small clusters or surface segregation increased in the LEAP 5000, as would be expected by the reported increase in detector efficiency from the LEAP 3000 architecture, but subtle differences in chemistry were observed which are attributed to changes in the way multiple hit detection is calculated using the LEAP 5000.
Canopy-forming fucoid algae have an important role as ecosystem engineers on rocky intertidal shores, where they increase the abundance of species otherwise limited by exposure during low tide. The facilitative relationship between Ascophyllum nodosum and associated organisms was explored using a frond breakage experiment (100%, 50%, 25%, 0% intact-frond treatments) in southern England, to assess the consequences of disturbance. Understorey substratum temperature was on average 3°C higher in 0% and 25% intact-frond treatments than in plots with 50% and 100% intact fronds. Light (as PAR during low tide) doubled in 0% intact-frond treatments in comparison to other treatments (which had similar light levels). Mobile invertebrate species richness declined by on average 1 species per m2 in the treatments with only 25% and 0% intact fronds, and the abundance of Littorina obtusata declined by 2.4–4.2 individuals per m2 in the treatments with 25 and 0% intact fronds. Sessile taxa, including Osmundea pinnatifida and encrusting coralline algae, declined by half on average in the 0% intact-frond treatment. These results suggest that the ability of Ascophyllum to mediate environmental conditions to the understorey is the mechanism responsible for species distributed in the understorey (autogenic ecosystem engineering). The results of this study imply that a pulse disturbance resulting in a 50% breakage of Ascophyllum fronds significantly increases temperature and decreases the abundance of mobile invertebrates usually associated with Ascophyllum. Sessile taxa associated with Ascophyllum can, however, withstand disturbances down to 25% intact Ascophyllum fronds.
The purpose of this study was to evaluate a programme of lesion surgery carried out on patients with treatment-resistant depression (TRD).
This was a retrospective study looking at clinical and psychometric data from 45 patients with TRD who had undergone bilateral stereotactic anterior capsulotomy surgery over a period of 15 years, with the approval of the Mental Health Act Commission (37 with unipolar depression and eight with bipolar disorder). The Beck Depression Inventory (BDI) before and after surgery was used as the primary outcome measure. The Montgomery–Asberg Depression Rating Scale was administered and cognitive aspects of executive and memory functions were also examined. We carried out a paired-samples t test on the outcome measures to determine any statistically significant change in the group as a consequence of surgery.
Patients improved on the clinical measure of depression after surgery by −21.20 points on the BDI with a 52% change. There were no significant cognitive changes post-surgery. Six patients were followed up in 2013 by phone interview and reported a generally positive experience. No major surgical complications occurred.
With the limitations of an uncontrolled, observational study, our data suggest that capsulotomy can be an effective treatment for otherwise TRD. Performance on neuropsychological tests did not deteriorate.
Echinococcus granulosus (sensu lato) is now recognized as an assemblage of cryptic species, which differ considerably in morphology, development, host specificity (including infectivity/pathogenicity for humans) and other aspects. One of these species, E. granulosus sensu stricto (s.s.), is now clearly identified as the principal agent causing cystic echinococcosis in humans. Previous studies of a small section of the cox1 and nadh1 genes identified two variants of E. granulosus s.s. to be present in Australia; however, no further work has been carried out to characterize the microdiversity of the parasite in its territory. We have analysed the sequence of the full length of the cox1 gene (1609 bp) from 37 isolates of E. granulosus from different hosts and geographic regions of Australia. The analysis shows that seven haplotypes of E. granulosus s.s. not previously described were found, together with five haplotypes known to be present in other parts of the world, including the haplotype EG01 which is widespread and present in all endemic regions. These data extend knowledge related to the geographical spread and host range of E. granulosus s.s. in a country such as Australia in which the parasite established around 200 years ago.
Culture does not change because we desire to change it. Culture changes when the organization is transformed; the culture reflects the realities of people working together every day.
– Frances Hesselbein
Have you ever had a job you loved and felt empowered to fulfill your responsibilities? If so, what was it about your co-workers, your manager/supervisor, and your work environment that made your experience so positive? Perhaps you've never felt that way about a job and, instead, you've dreaded heading to work every morning. Your boss might have rarely recognized your efforts. It's possible you weren't sure how to perform your job, but felt uncomfortable asking for help. Your co-workers might have seemed like characters from the movie Mean Girls. In this perfect storm of the forces of disengagement, we suspect you didn't last too long at that job. Or you felt overwhelmed with too much to do, with too little support, as depicted in the illustration on the next page.
According to a 2013 survey, more than half of workers in the United States were dissatisfied with their jobs. This statistic is alarming; after all, we spend approximately one-third of our waking hours and energy at work, plus dissatisfied employees tend to find new employers. Because we spend so much of our time and energy at work, the organizational culture can have a profound impact on our lives and the lives of those around us. If work cultures support interdependent, prosocial behavior instead of individualism and competition, we believe the business world, indeed our everyday lives, will be more positive and productive for almost everyone.
Any organization's mission will benefit from employees who care about their work and their colleagues. It's a win-win scenario. What factors influence employee job satisfaction? Aside from the obvious – job security, pay, and benefits (e.g., health insurance) – employees report that feeling safe at work, having a positive relationship with their immediate supervisor, and communicating openly and cooperatively with other employees and senior management contribute significantly to their work satisfaction. The bad news: In many organizational cultures, managers/supervisors struggle with these very issues, resulting in unacceptably high rates of employee dissatisfaction and turnover and a climate of distrust.
Imagine these disgruntled employees as supervisors who are responsible for mentoring newly recruited employees.
Recent meta-analyses of resting-state networks in major depressive disorder (MDD) implicate network disruptions underlying cognitive and affective features of illness. Heterogeneity of findings to date may stem from the relative lack of data parsing clinical features of MDD such as phase of illness and the burden of multiple episodes.
Resting-state functional magnetic resonance imaging data were collected from 17 active MDD and 34 remitted MDD patients, and 26 healthy controls (HCs) across two sites. Participants were medication-free and further subdivided into those with single v. multiple episodes to examine disease burden. Seed-based connectivity using the posterior cingulate cortex (PCC) seed to probe the default mode network as well as the amygdala and subgenual anterior cingulate cortex (sgACC) seeds to probe the salience network (SN) were conducted.
Young adults with remitted MDD demonstrated hyperconnectivity of the left PCC to the left inferior frontal gyrus and of the left sgACC to the right ventromedial prefrontal cortex (PFC) and left hippocampus compared with HCs. Episode-independent effects were observed between the left PCC and the right dorsolateral PFC, as well as between the left amygdala and right insula and caudate, whereas the burden of multiple episodes was associated with hypoconnectivity of the left PCC to multiple cognitive control regions as well as hypoconnectivity of the amygdala to large portions of the SN.
This is the first study of a homogeneous sample of unmedicated young adults with a history of adolescent-onset MDD illustrating brain-based episodic features of illness.
Various foods are associated with effects against metabolic diseases such as insulin resistance and type 2 diabetes; however, their mechanisms of action are mostly unclear. Fatty acids may contribute by acting as precursors of signalling molecules or by direct activity on receptors. The medium- and long-chain NEFA receptor FFA1 (free fatty acid receptor 1, previously known as GPR40) has been linked to enhancement of glucose-stimulated insulin secretion, whereas FFA4 (free fatty acid receptor 4, previously known as GPR120) has been associated with insulin-sensitising and anti-inflammatory effects, and both receptors are reported to protect pancreatic islets and promote secretion of appetite and glucose-regulating hormones. Hypothesising that FFA1 and FFA4 mediate therapeutic effects of dietary components, we screened a broad selection of NEFA on FFA1 and FFA4 and characterised active compounds in concentration–response curves. Of the screened compounds, pinolenic acid, a constituent of pine nut oil, was identified as a relatively potent and efficacious dual FFA1/FFA4 agonist, and its suitability for further studies was confirmed by additional in vitro characterisation. Pine nut oil and free and esterified pure pinolenic acid were tested in an acute glucose tolerance test in mice. Pine nut oil showed a moderately but significantly improved glucose tolerance compared with maize oil. Pure pinolenic acid or ethyl ester gave robust and highly significant improvements of glucose tolerance. In conclusion, the present results indicate that pinolenic acid is a comparatively potent and efficacious dual FFA1/FFA4 agonist that exerts antidiabetic effects in an acute mouse model. The compound thus deserves attention as a potential active dietary ingredient to prevent or counteract metabolic diseases.
Hospitalizations for acute bacterial skin and skin structure infection (ABSSSI) are common. Optimizing antibiotic use for ABSSSIs requires an understanding of current management. The objective of this study was to evaluate antibiotic prescribing practices and factors affecting prescribing in a diverse group of hospitals
Multicenter, retrospective cohort study.
Seven community and academic hospitals.
Children and adults hospitalized between June 2010 and May 2012 for cellulitis, wound infection, or cutaneous abscess were eligible. The primary endpoint was a composite of 2 prescribing practices representing potentially avoidable antibiotic exposure: (1) use of antibiotics with a broad spectrum of activity against gram-negative bacteria or (2) treatment duration greater than 10 days.
A total of 533 cases were included: 320 with nonpurulent cellulitis, 44 with wound infection or purulent cellulitis, and 169 with abscess. Of 492 cases with complete prescribing data, the primary endpoint occurred in 394 (80%) cases and varied significantly across hospitals (64%–97%; P < .001). By logistic regression, independent predictors of the primary endpoint included wound infection or purulent cellulitis (odds ratio [OR], 5.12 [95% confidence interval (CI)], 1.46–17.88), head or neck involvement (OR, 2.83 [95% CI, 1.17–6.82]), adult cases (OR, 2.20 [95% CI, 1.18–4.11]), and admission to a community hospital (OR, 1.90 [95% CI, 1.05–3.44]).
Among patients hospitalized for ABSSSI, use of antibiotics with broad gram-negative activity or treatment courses longer than 10 days were common. There may be substantial opportunity to reduce antibiotic exposure through shorter courses of therapy targeting gram-positive bacteria.
Infect Control Hosp Epidemiol 2014;35(10):1241–1250
Hardwood forests in eastern North America are being colonized by multiple nonnative plant and animal species. Colonization rates can be affected by stand structure and distance from edge. We sampled earthworm densities and understory plant species cover in transects located in paired old- and second-growth forests in Indiana. Two 100-m transects were established within each forest stand during late April to early May in each year. One transect was placed parallel to and within 5 m of a south- or west-facing edge. The second transect was placed parallel to the first. but at no less than 100 m from any edge. Nonnative earthworms and plants were found in forest edge and interior regardless of structural stage (second-growth vs. old-growth). The number of native plant species decreased linearly as the densities of adult Lumbricus and Aporrectodea earthworms and the percent cover of multiflora rose (an invasive plant species) increased. Densities of L. terrestris and Aporrectodea earthworms and percent cover of multiflora rose cumulatively explained 39% of the variation in the number of native plant species found in transects across the state. However, multivariate analyses suggested that the species composition of Indiana understory plant communities was affected more by geography than by earthworm densities. Our results suggest that nonnative earthworms and plants are ubiquitous in Indiana hardwood forests and that they may reduce the number of native plant species.
The aim of this study was to retrospectively assess the value of whole genome sequencing (WGS) compared to conventional typing methods in the investigation and control of an outbreak of Shigella sonnei in the Orthodox Jewish (OJ) community in the UK. The genome sequence analysis showed that the strains implicated in the outbreak formed three phylogenetically distinct clusters. One cluster represented cases associated with recent exposure to a single strain, whereas the other two clusters represented related but distinct strains of S. sonnei circulating in the OJ community across the UK. The WGS data challenged the conclusions drawn during the initial outbreak investigation and allowed cases of dysentery to be implicated or ruled out of the outbreak that were previously misclassified. This study showed that the resolution achieved using WGS would have clearly defined the outbreak, thus facilitating the promotion of infection control measures within local schools and the dissemination of a stronger public health message to the community.