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Maternal systemic inflammation during pregnancy may restrict embryo−fetal growth, but the extent of this effect remains poorly established in undernourished populations. In a cohort of 653 maternal−newborn dyads participating in a multi-armed, micronutrient supplementation trial in southern Nepal, we investigated associations between maternal inflammation, assessed by serum α1-acid glycoprotein and C-reactive protein, in the first and third trimesters of pregnancy, and newborn weight, length and head and chest circumferences. Median (IQR) maternal concentrations in α1-acid glycoprotein and C-reactive protein in the first and third trimesters were 0.65 (0.53–0.76) and 0.40 (0.33–0.50) g/l, and 0.56 (0.25–1.54) and 1.07 (0.43–2.32) mg/l, respectively. α1-acid glycoprotein was inversely associated with birth size: weight, length, head circumference and chest circumference were lower by 116 g (P = 2.3 × 10−6), and 0.45 (P = 3.1 × 10−5), 0.18 (P = 0.0191) and 0.48 (P = 1.7 × 10−7) cm, respectively, per 50% increase in α1-acid glycoprotein averaged across both trimesters. Adjustment for maternal age, parity, gestational age, nutritional and socio-economic status and daily micronutrient supplementation failed to alter any association. Serum C-reactive protein concentration was largely unassociated with newborn size. In rural Nepal, birth size was inversely associated with low-grade, chronic inflammation during pregnancy as indicated by serum α1-acid glycoprotein.
Fast ice flow is associated with the deformation of subglacial sediment. Seismic shear velocities, Vs, increase with the rigidity of material and hence can be used to distinguish soft sediment from hard bedrock substrates. Depth profiles of Vs can be obtained from inversions of Rayleigh wave dispersion curves, from passive or active-sources, but these can be highly ambiguous and lack depth sensitivity. Our novel Bayesian transdimensional algorithm, MuLTI, circumvents these issues by adding independent depth constraints to the inversion, also allowing comprehensive uncertainty analysis. We apply MuLTI to the inversion of a Rayleigh wave dataset, acquired using active-source (Multichannel Analysis of Surface Waves) techniques, to characterise sediment distribution beneath the frontal margin of Midtdalsbreen, an outlet of Norway's Hardangerjøkulen ice cap. Ice thickness (0–20 m) is constrained using co-located GPR data. Outputs from MuLTI suggest that partly-frozen sediment (Vs 500–1000 m s−1), overlying bedrock (Vs 2000–2500 m s−1), is present in patches with a thickness of ~4 m, although this approaches the resolvable limit of our Rayleigh wave frequencies (14–100 Hz). Uncertainties immediately beneath the glacier bed are <280 m s−1, implying that MuLTI cannot only distinguish bedrock and sediment substrates but does so with an accuracy sufficient for resolving variations in sediment properties.
The US Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) requires nursing homes and long-term-care facilities to document residents' vaccination status on the Resident Assessment Instrument (RAI). Vaccinating residents can prevent costly hospital admissions and deaths. CMS and public health officials use RAI data to measure vaccination rates in long-term-care residents and assess the quality of care in nursing homes. We assessed the accuracy of RAI data against medical records in 39 nursing homes in Florida, Georgia, and Wisconsin. We randomly sampled residents in each home during the 2010–2011 and 2011–2012 influenza seasons. We collected data on receipt of influenza vaccination from charts and RAI data. Our final sample included 840 medical charts with matched RAI records. The agreement rate was 0·86. Using the chart as a gold standard, the sensitivity of the RAI with respect to influenza vaccination was 85% and the specificity was 77%. Agreement rates varied within facilities from 55% to 100%. Monitoring vaccination rates in the population is important for gauging the impact of programmes and policies to promote adherence to vaccination recommendations. Use of data from RAIs is a reasonable approach for gauging influenza vaccination rates in nursing-home residents.
Selective single-walled carbon nanotube (SWNT) growth is a challenging problem, limiting their use in a wide variety of applications. Significant degrees of freedom in these experiments may lead to synthesis of multi-walled carbon nanotubes (MWNTs), which are less preferred. Thus, a method for constraining the synthesis results to only SWNTs is desired. A machine learning based approach for selectively growing SWNTs using a laser-induced chemical vapor deposition growth system is introduced. This approach models the complex relationships between the associated synthesis parameters to predict SWNT growth. The parameters under consideration include argon, ethylene, hydrogen and carbon dioxide partial pressures, growth temperature, and water vapor concentration. The catalyst consists of 10 nm of alumina and 1 nm of nickel deposited onto 10 µm diameter silicon pillars with a height of 10 µm. Determination of SWNT growth is performed through in-situ Raman spectroscopy using a 532 nm excitation laser. A total of 121 experiments are used to train a SWNT vs. MWNT classifier with a resulting model accuracy of 94.21%. The classifier model is applied to a range of simulated inputs, and the subset of these inputs that meet a >90% probability of SWNT growth are investigated further. The simulated inputs consist of 531,201,645 unique growth parameter combinations spanning the entire parameter space. A reduced dataset of 449,117 growth parameter combinations define 90% probability of SWNT growth according to the model. Randomly selected input parameters from this reduced dataset were tested experimentally, resulting in SWNT growth for all performed experiments validating the classifier model. This approach maps input growth conditions to SWNT growth selectivity using a limited set of experimental data and allows for further investigation into SWNT growth rates and chiral dependencies.
The consumption of cocoa and dark chocolate is associated with a lower risk of CVD, and improvements in endothelial function may mediate this relationship. Less is known about the effects of cocoa/chocolate on the augmentation index (AI), a measure of vascular stiffness and vascular tone in the peripheral arterioles. We enrolled thirty middle-aged, overweight adults in a randomised, placebo-controlled, 4-week, cross-over study. During the active treatment (cocoa) period, the participants consumed 37 g/d of dark chocolate and a sugar-free cocoa beverage (total cocoa = 22 g/d, total flavanols (TF) = 814 mg/d). Colour-matched controls included a low-flavanol chocolate bar and a cocoa-free beverage with no added sugar (TF = 3 mg/d). Treatments were matched for total fat, saturated fat, carbohydrates and protein. The cocoa treatment significantly increased the basal diameter and peak diameter of the brachial artery by 6 % (+2 mm) and basal blood flow volume by 22 %. Substantial decreases in the AI, a measure of arterial stiffness, were observed in only women. Flow-mediated dilation and the reactive hyperaemia index remained unchanged. The consumption of cocoa had no effect on fasting blood measures, while the control treatment increased fasting insulin concentration and insulin resistance (P= 0·01). Fasting blood pressure (BP) remained unchanged, although the acute consumption of cocoa increased resting BP by 4 mmHg. In summary, the high-flavanol cocoa and dark chocolate treatment was associated with enhanced vasodilation in both conduit and resistance arteries and was accompanied by significant reductions in arterial stiffness in women.
This study investigated the effect of water restriction on wool and blood cortisol concentrations and water consumption patterns in heat-stressed sheep. Nine Corriedale female sheep (average BW=43±6.5 kg) were individually fed diets based on maintenance requirement in metabolic crates. They were assigned to three treatments according to a Latin square design (3×3) for three periods with a 21-day duration for each period (nine sheep per treatment). Treatments included free access to water (FAW), 2 h water restriction (2hWR) and 3 h water restriction (3hWR) after feeding. Average temperature–humidity index in the experimental room was 27.9 throughout the experiment that defines heat stress conditions. Wool samples were taken at the end of each period on day 21. No differences were found in cortisol concentration in each fragment (dried, washed and residual extract) of wool (P<0.05). Total wool cortisol concentration was higher in the 3hWR group than the other treatments (P<0.05). Blood cortisol was not different among the treatments (P>0.05) and resulted in higher variable data compared with wool cortisol. Blood neutrophils and neutrophil/lymphocyte ratio suppressed in FAW and 3hWR groups compared with the 2hWR group (P<0.05). The duration of water consumption recorded after feeding in the 3hWR group was higher than in the 2hWR group when recorded in the afternoon (P<0.01). Water consumption rate was higher in the 3hWR group than in the 2hWR group (P<0.01). However, total water consumed was lower in the 3hWR group compared with other treatments (P>0.05). It can be concluded that wool cortisol provides more precise and accurate data than blood cortisol during heat stress conditions. Water restriction for 3 h after feeding can act as a stressor and is critical for sheep during heat stress as the consumption of water decreases with restriction.
To review our institutional experience with Gamma Knife (GK) stereotactic radiosurgery in treating focally recurrent high grade glial neoplasms of World Health Organization (WHO) grade III or IV.
We conducted a retrospective cohort review of all patients treated with GK for focally recurrent high grade gliomas at our institution between November 2003 and April 2013. Data on age, sex, tumor volume, location and maximal diameter, presenting clinical status, complications and clinical outcome was recorded.
A total of 33 patients were identified. Four were lost to follow-up. Average post-GK and overall survival was 20.4 months (range: 3 – 72) and 63.3 months (range: 10 – 214) respectively. For WHO grade IV gliomas, the average post-GK and overall survival was 15.8 months (range: 3 – 77) and 40.1 months (range: 13 – 148) respectively. Similarily, for WHO grade III gliomas, the average post-GK and overall survival was 34.9 months (range: 6 – 72) and 136.4 months (range: 22 – 214) respectively. Twenty-two patients (75.9%) had post-GK edema, with 14 requiring dexamethasone and eight being asymptomatic. Four patients (13.8%) had imaging defined radiation necrosis.
Gamma Knife SRS affords an extension of local tumor control, acceptable morbidity, and potentially prolonged survival, for highly selected patients with focally recurrent high grade glial neoplasms.
Gamma Knife (GK) radiosurgery for pituitary adenomas can offer a means of tumor and biologic control with acceptable risk and low complication rates.
Retrospective review of all the patients treated at our center with GK for pituitary adenomas from Nov 2003 to June 2011.
We treated a total of 86 patients. Ten were lost to follow-up. Mean follow was 32.8 months. There were 21 (24.4%) growth hormone secreting adenomas (GH), 8 (9.3%) prolactinomas (PRL), 8 (9.3%) adrenocorticotropic hormone secreting (ACTH) adenomas, 2 (2.3%) follicle stimulating hormone/luteinizing hormone secreting (FSH/LH) adenomas, and 47 (54.7%) null cell pituitary adenomas that were treated. Average maximum tumor diameter and volume was 2.21cm and 5.41cm3, respectively. The average dose to the 50% isodose line was 14.2 Gy and 23.6 Gy for secreting and non-secreting adenomas respectively. Mean maximal optic nerve dose was 8.87 Gy. Local control rate was 75 of 76 (98.7%), for those with followup. Thirty-three (43.4%) patients experienced arrest of tumor growth, while 42 (55.2%) patients experienced tumor regression. Of the 39 patients with secreting pituitary tumors, 6 were lost to follow-up. Improved endocrine status occurred in 16 (50.0%), while 14 (43.8%) demonstrated stability of hormone status on continued pre-operative medical management. Permanent complications included: panhypopituitarism (4), hypothyroidism (4), hypocortisolemia (1), diabetes insipidus (1), apoplexy (1), visual field defect (2), and diplopia (1).
Gamma Knife radiosurgery is a safe and effective means of achieving tumor growth control and endocrine remission/stability in pituitary adenomas.
To review our institutional experience with Gamma Knife (GK) stereotactic radiosurgery in treating large vestibular schwannomas (VS) of 3 to 4 cm diameter.
We conducted a retrospective cohort review of all patients treated with GK for VS at our institution between November 2003 and March 2012. Data on age, sex, VS volume, location and maximal diameter, House-Brackmann (HB) facial nerve scores pre and post-GK, Gardner-Robertson (GR) hearing score pre and post-GK, GK treatment parameters, VS response time, complications and clinical outcome was recorded.
A total of 28 patients during the defined time period were identified. Three patients were lost to follow-up. Mean follow-up was 34.5 months. Tumor control occurred in 92%, and was maintained in 85.7% at two years. Facial nerve or hearing preservation occurred in all treated compared to pre-GK status, as per HB and GR grading. Transient complications occurred in 80%. Temporary vestibular dysfunction occurred in seven patients (28%). One patient (4%) had the permanent complication of worsening pre-GK hemifacial spasm. Four patients (16%) developed hydrocephalus post-GK.
GK stereotactic radiosurgery as a primary treatment modality for large VS can provide acceptable tumor control rates with good facial nerve and hearing preservation, and low complication rates.
Social contact is one of the most effective strategies for improving inter-group relations and is supported by decades of positive evidence. Several studies specifically support social contact interventions as a way of reducing stigma against people with mental health problems. Despite the effectiveness of this approach, some social groups have few opportunities for social contact in the real world.
Using the England Time to Change anti-stigma campaign as an example, we investigate the feasibility and effectiveness of delivering social contact interventions at the mass population level to reduce stigma and discrimination against people with mental health problems.
To investigate: (i) the feasibility of scaling up social contact interventions to reduce stigma and discrimination against people with mental health problems and (ii) the effectiveness of mass population social contact interventions to: improve intended stigmatising behaviour, increase willingness to disclose mental health problems and to promote engagement in antistigma activities.
Two types of mass participation social contact programmes within England's Time to Change campaign were evaluated via self-report questionnaire. Participants at social contact events were asked about the occurrence and quality of contact, attitudes, readiness to discuss mental health, and intended behaviour towards people with mental health problems.
Findings on feasibility and effectiveness of social contact programmes will be presented.
This study suggests that social contact interventions can be used by anti-stigma campaigns to reduce stigma and discrimination against people with mental health problems. Further investigation is needed regarding the maintenance of these changes
It is well known that the cadmium chloride annealing treatment is an essential step in the manufacture of efficient thin film cadmium telluride solar cells. It has been recognized that the combination of annealing at ∼4000C together with the addition of cadmium chloride at the surface induces re-crystallisation of the cadmium telluride layer and also affects the n-type cadmium sulfide. We have applied advanced micro-structural characterization techniques to distinguish the effect of the annealing and the cadmium chloride treatments on the properties of the cadmium telluride deposited via close space sublimation (CSS) and relate these observations to device performance. Transmission electron microscopy (TEM) has shown a variation in stacking fault density with annealing temperature and annealing time. Stacking faults observed within the cadmium telluride grains in TEM were partially removed post annealing; these findings show that temperature alone has a role in the reduction of stacking faults. However, since we have previously observed almost complete removal of stacking faults with annealing in combination with cadmium chloride, the cadmium chloride is essential to defect removal and high efficiency cells.
Stereotactic radiosurgery offers a unique and effective means of controlling cavernous sinus meningiomas with a low rate of complications.
We retrospectively reviewed all cavernous sinus meningiomas treated with Gamma Knife (GK) radiosurgery between November 2003 and April 2011 at our institution.
Thirty patients were treated, four were lost to follow- up. Presenting symptoms included: headache (9), trigeminal nerve dysesthesias/paresthesias (13), abducens nerve palsy (11), oculomotor nerve palsy (8), Horner's syndrome (2), blurred vision (9), and relative afferent pupillary defect (1). One patient was asymptomatic with documented tumor growth. Treatment planning consisted of MRI and CT in 17 of 30 patients (56.7%), the remainder were planned with MRI alone (44.3%). There were 8 males (26.7%) and 22 females (73.3%). Twelve patients had previous surgical debulking prior to radiosurgery. Average diameter and volume at time of radiosurgery was 3.4 cm and 7.9 cm3 respectively. Average dose at the 50% isodose line was 13.5 Gy. Follow-up was available in 26 patients. Average follow-up was 36.1 months. Mean age 55.1 years. Tumor size post GK decreased in 9 patients (34.6%), remained stable in 15 patients (57.7%), and continued to grow in 2 (7.7%). Minor transient complications occurred in 12 patients, all resolving. Serious permanent complications occurred in 5 patients: new onset trigeminal neuropathic pain (2), frame related occipital neuralgia (1), worsening of pre-GK seizures (1), and panhypopituitarism (1).
GK offers an effective treatment method for halting meningioma progression in the cavernous sinus, with an acceptable permanent complication rate.
We report the results of a consecutive series of patients treated with Gamma Knife (GK) Surgery for cerebral arteriovenous malformations (AVMs).
We retrospectively reviewed 69 patients treated with GK for cerebral AVMs between November 2003 and April 2009, recording clinical data, treatment parameters, and AVM obliteration rates in order to assess our effectiveness with GK in treating these lesions.
Ten patients were lost to follow-up. Presentations included: seizure (24), hemorrhage (18), persistent headache (12), progressing neurological signs (10), and incidental (9). In 24 patients (34.8%) treatment planning consisted of digital subtraction angiography (DSA), magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), and computed tomogram (CT) angiography (CTA). Currently we rely predominantly on CTA and/or MRI scanning only. Fourty-one patients have been followed for a minimum of 3 years; average age 40.9yr., 58.5% males. Average dose at the 50% isodose line was 20.3 Gy (range 16 to 26.4 Gy). Obliteration was observed in 87.8% by MRI, CT, or DSA. Not all obliteration was confirmed by DSA. Complications occurred in 12 of 59 (20.3%) patients, and in 11 of 41 (26.8%) with 3 year follow-up. Major (temporary) complications for the 59 included symptomatic cerebral edema (7), seizure (2), and hemorrhage (1). Major permanent complications occurred in one patient suffering a cranial nerve V deafferentation, and in two patients suffering a hemorrhage.
GKS for cerebral AVM's offers an effective and safe method of treatment, with low permanent complication rate.
The significance of the potential impacts of microbial activity on the transport properties of host rocks for geological repositories is an area of active research. Most recent work has focused on granitic environments. This paper describes pilot studies investigating changes in transport properties that are produced by microbial activity in sedimentary rock environments in northern Japan. For the first time, these short experiments (39 days maximum) have shown that the denitrifying bacteria, Pseudomonas denitrificans, can survive and thrive when injected into flow-through column experiments containing fractured diatomaceous mudstone and synthetic groundwater under pressurized conditions. Although there were few significant changes in the fluid chemistry, changes in the permeability of the biotic column, which can be explained by the observed biofilm formation, were quantitatively monitored. These same methodologies could also be adapted to obtain information from cores originating from a variety of geological environments including oil reservoirs, aquifers and toxic waste disposal sites to provide an understanding of the impact of microbial activity on the transport of a range of solutes, such as groundwater contaminants and gases (e.g. injected carbon dioxide).