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The search for life in the Universe is a fundamental problem of astrobiology and modern science. The current progress in the detection of terrestrial-type exoplanets has opened a new avenue in the characterization of exoplanetary atmospheres and in the search for biosignatures of life with the upcoming ground-based and space missions. To specify the conditions favourable for the origin, development and sustainment of life as we know it in other worlds, we need to understand the nature of global (astrospheric), and local (atmospheric and surface) environments of exoplanets in the habitable zones (HZs) around G-K-M dwarf stars including our young Sun. Global environment is formed by propagated disturbances from the planet-hosting stars in the form of stellar flares, coronal mass ejections, energetic particles and winds collectively known as astrospheric space weather. Its characterization will help in understanding how an exoplanetary ecosystem interacts with its host star, as well as in the specification of the physical, chemical and biochemical conditions that can create favourable and/or detrimental conditions for planetary climate and habitability along with evolution of planetary internal dynamics over geological timescales. A key linkage of (astro)physical, chemical and geological processes can only be understood in the framework of interdisciplinary studies with the incorporation of progress in heliophysics, astrophysics, planetary and Earth sciences. The assessment of the impacts of host stars on the climate and habitability of terrestrial (exo)planets will significantly expand the current definition of the HZ to the biogenic zone and provide new observational strategies for searching for signatures of life. The major goal of this paper is to describe and discuss the current status and recent progress in this interdisciplinary field in light of presentations and discussions during the NASA Nexus for Exoplanetary System Science funded workshop ‘Exoplanetary Space Weather, Climate and Habitability’ and to provide a new roadmap for the future development of the emerging field of exoplanetary science and astrobiology.
We apply two methods to estimate the 21-cm bispectrum from data taken within the Epoch of Reionisation (EoR) project of the Murchison Widefield Array (MWA). Using data acquired with the Phase II compact array allows a direct bispectrum estimate to be undertaken on the multiple redundantly spaced triangles of antenna tiles, as well as an estimate based on data gridded to the uv-plane. The direct and gridded bispectrum estimators are applied to 21 h of high-band (167–197 MHz; z = 6.2–7.5) data from the 2016 and 2017 observing seasons. Analytic predictions for the bispectrum bias and variance for point-source foregrounds are derived. We compare the output of these approaches, the foreground contribution to the signal, and future prospects for measuring the bispectra with redundant and non-redundant arrays. We find that some triangle configurations yield bispectrum estimates that are consistent with the expected noise level after 10 h, while equilateral configurations are strongly foreground-dominated. Careful choice of triangle configurations may be made to reduce foreground bias that hinders power spectrum estimators, and the 21-cm bispectrum may be accessible in less time than the 21-cm power spectrum for some wave modes, with detections in hundreds of hours.
Introduction: Emergency department (ED) congestion is an ongoing threat to quality care. Traditional measures of ED efficiency use census and wait times over extended time intervals (e.g. per year, per day), failing to capture the hourly variations in ED flow. Borrowing from the traffic theory framework used to describe cars on a freeway, ED flow can instead be characterized by three fundamental parameters: flux (patients traversing a care segment per unit time), density (patients in a care segment per unit time), and duration (length of stay in a care segment). This method allows for the calculation of near-instantaneous ED flux and density. To illustrate, we examined the association between stretcher occupancy and time to physician initial assessment (PIA), seeking to identify thresholds where flux and PIA deteriorate. Methods: We used administrative data as reported to government agencies for 115,559 ED visits from April 1, 2014 to March 31, 2016 at a tertiary academic hospital. Time stamps collected at triage, PIA, and departure were verified by nosologists and used to define two care segments: awaiting assessment or receiving care. Using open-source software developed in-house, we calculated flow measures for each segment at 90-minute intervals. Graphical analysis was supplemented by regression analysis, examining PIA times of high (CTAS 1-3) or low (CTAS 4-5) acuity patients against ED occupancy (=density/staffed stretchers) adjusting for the day of the week, season and fiscal year. Results: At occupancy levels below 50%, PIA times remain stable and flux increases with density, reflecting free flow. Beyond 50% occupancy, PIA times increase linearly and flux plateaus, indicating congestion. While PIA times further deteriorate above 100% occupancy, flow is maintained, reflecting care delivery in non-traditional spaces (e.g. hallways). An inflection point where flux decreased with increased crowding was not identified, despite lengthening queues. Conclusion: The operational performance of a modern ED can be captured and visualized using techniques borrowed from the analysis of vehicular traffic. Unlike cars on a jammed roadway, patients behave more like a compressible fluid and ED care continues despite high degrees of crowding. Nevertheless, congestion begins well below 100% occupancy, presumably reflecting the need for stretcher turnover and saturation in subsegmental work processes. This methodology shows promise to analyze and mitigate the many factors contributing to ED crowding.
We read with interest the recent editorial, “The Hennepin Ketamine Study,” by Dr. Samuel Stratton commenting on the research ethics, methodology, and the current public controversy surrounding this study.1 As researchers and investigators of this study, we strongly agree that prospective clinical research in the prehospital environment is necessary to advance the science of Emergency Medical Services (EMS) and emergency medicine. We also agree that accomplishing this is challenging as the prehospital environment often encounters patient populations who cannot provide meaningful informed consent due to their emergent conditions. To ensure that fellow emergency medicine researchers understand the facts of our work so they may plan future studies, and to address some of the questions and concerns in Dr. Stratton’s editorial, the lay press, and in social media,2 we would like to call attention to some inaccuracies in Dr. Stratton’s editorial, and to the lay media stories on which it appears to be based.
Ho JD, Cole JB, Klein LR, Olives TD, Driver BE, Moore JC, Nystrom PC, Arens AM, Simpson NS, Hick JL, Chavez RA, Lynch WL, Miner JR. The Hennepin Ketamine Study investigators’ reply. Prehosp Disaster Med. 2019;34(2):111–113
Facilities for energy-dispersive x-ray fluorescence analysis have been added to an advanced version of the high-sensitivity ESCA (electron spectroscopy for chemical analysis) instrument described at the 1972 Denver Conference. Since the excitation mechanisms for electron emission and x-ray fluorescence are the same, the instrument's powerful source of primary x-rays is an asset to both types of spectroscopy. The geometrical arrangement of source, electron analyzer, and x-ray detector permits easy change from one mode of operation to the other without change of sample. While ESCA is valuable for the analysis of light elements and of surfaces apart from the bulk, x-ray fluorescence is useful for the analysis of bulk or substrate. The high excitation power makes the instrument useful also for trace analysis in solid or liquid samples. Modifications that could further enhance the usefulness of the instrument are described.
Background: Central neuropathic pain syndromes are a result of central nervous system injury, most commonly related to stroke, traumatic spinal cord injury, or multiple sclerosis. These syndromes are distinctly less common than peripheral neuropathic pain, and less is known regarding the underlying pathophysiology, appropriate pharmacotherapy, and long-term outcomes. The objective of this study was to determine the long-term clinical effectiveness of the management of central neuropathic pain relative to peripheral neuropathic pain at tertiary pain centers. Methods: Patients diagnosed with central (n=79) and peripheral (n=710) neuropathic pain were identified for analysis from a prospective observational cohort study of patients with chronic neuropathic pain recruited from seven Canadian tertiary pain centers. Data regarding patient characteristics, analgesic use, and patient-reported outcomes were collected at baseline and 12-month follow-up. The primary outcome measure was the composite of a reduction in average pain intensity and pain interference. Secondary outcome measures included assessments of function, mood, quality of life, catastrophizing, and patient satisfaction. Results: At 12-month follow-up, 13.5% (95% confidence interval [CI], 5.6-25.8) of patients with central neuropathic pain and complete data sets (n=52) achieved a ≥30% reduction in pain, whereas 38.5% (95% CI, 25.3-53.0) achieved a reduction of at least 1 point on the Pain Interference Scale. The proportion of patients with central neuropathic pain achieving both these measures, and thus the primary outcome, was 9.6% (95% CI, 3.2-21.0). Patients with peripheral neuropathic pain and complete data sets (n=463) were more likely to achieve this primary outcome at 12 months (25.3% of patients; 95% CI, 21.4-29.5) (p=0.012). Conclusion: Patients with central neuropathic pain syndromes managed in tertiary care centers were less likely to achieve a meaningful improvement in pain and function compared with patients with peripheral neuropathic pain at 12-month follow-up.
The stability of VFB catholytes was investigated using both light-scattering measurements and visual observation. V2O5 precipitates after an induction time τ which shows an Arrhenius variation with temperature. The value of τ increases with increasing [S] and with decreasing [VV] but the activation energy remains constant with a value of (1.791±0.020) eV. Plots of ln τ against [S] and [VV] show good linearity and the slopes give values of βS = 2.073 M-1 and βV5 = –3.434 M-1 for the fractional rates of variation of τ with [S] and [VV], respectively. Combining the Arrhenius Equation with the observed log-linear variation of τ with [S] and [VV] provides a model for simulating the stability of catholytes. The addition of H3PO4 has a strong stabilizing effect on catholytes at higher temperatures. For example, at 50°C the induction time for precipitation for a typical catholyte is enhanced ∼ 12.5-fold by 0.1 M added H3PO4. At concentrations of H3PO4 less than ∼0.04 M, the precipitation time increases with increasing concentration at all temperatures investigated (30–70°C). At higher concentrations, induction time begins to decrease with increasing concentration of H3PO4: the changeover concentration depends on the temperature. Experiments at 70°C using other phosphate additives (sodium triphosphate, Na5P3O10, and sodium hexametaphosphate, (NaPO3)6) showed similar results to H3PO4.
The US Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA) gives food safety regulators increased authority to require implementation of safety measures to reduce the contamination of produce. To evaluate the future impact of FSMA on food safety, a better understanding is needed regarding outbreaks attributed to the consumption of raw produce. Data reported to the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's Foodborne Disease Outbreak Surveillance System during 1998–2013 were analysed. During 1998–2013, there were 972 raw produce outbreaks reported resulting in 34 674 outbreak-associated illnesses, 2315 hospitalisations, and 72 deaths. Overall, the total number of foodborne outbreaks reported decreased by 38% during the study period and the number of raw produce outbreaks decreased 19% during the same period; however, the percentage of outbreaks attributed to raw produce among outbreaks with a food reported increased from 8% during 1998–2001 to 16% during 2010–2013. Raw produce outbreaks were most commonly attributed to vegetable row crops (38% of outbreaks), fruits (35%) and seeded vegetables (11%). The most common aetiologic agents identified were norovirus (54% of outbreaks), Salmonella enterica (21%) and Shiga toxin-producing Escherichia coli (10%). Food-handling errors were reported in 39% of outbreaks. The proportion of all foodborne outbreaks attributable to raw produce has been increasing. Evaluation of safety measures to address the contamination on farms, during processing and food preparation, should take into account the trends occurring before FSMA implementation.
Bovine herpes virus 1 (BHV-1) manifests as a latent viral infection putatively affecting bovines. Understanding its effect on cattle herds is critical to maintaining sustainable beef and dairy production systems, as well as aiding in the development of herd health policies. The primary objective of the current study was, therefore, to use a whole-farm bio-economic model to evaluate the effect of herd seroprevalence to BHV-1 on the productive and economic performance of a spring calving beef cow herd. As part of a wider epidemiological study of herd pathogen status, a total of 4240 cows from 134 spring calving beef cow herds across the Republic of Ireland were blood sampled to measure the seroprevalence to BHV-1. Using data from a national breeding database, productive and reproductive performance indicators were used to parameterize a single year, static and deterministic whole-farm bio-economic model. A spring-calving, pasture-based suckler beef cow production system with an emphasis on calf-to-weanling production was simulated. The impact of BHV-1 seropositivity on whole-farm technical and economic performance was relatively small, with a marginal drop in the net margin of 4% relative to a baseline seronegative herd. Subsequent risk factors for increased pathogenicity were considered such as total herd size, percentage of intra-herd movements and vaccination status for BHV-1. In contrast to all others, scenarios representing herds that were either small in size or those which indicated an active vaccination policy for BHV-1 had no reduction in net margin against the baseline as a result of seropositivity to BHV-1.
The discovery of the first electromagnetic counterpart to a gravitational wave signal has generated follow-up observations by over 50 facilities world-wide, ushering in the new era of multi-messenger astronomy. In this paper, we present follow-up observations of the gravitational wave event GW170817 and its electromagnetic counterpart SSS17a/DLT17ck (IAU label AT2017gfo) by 14 Australian telescopes and partner observatories as part of Australian-based and Australian-led research programs. We report early- to late-time multi-wavelength observations, including optical imaging and spectroscopy, mid-infrared imaging, radio imaging, and searches for fast radio bursts. Our optical spectra reveal that the transient source emission cooled from approximately 6 400 K to 2 100 K over a 7-d period and produced no significant optical emission lines. The spectral profiles, cooling rate, and photometric light curves are consistent with the expected outburst and subsequent processes of a binary neutron star merger. Star formation in the host galaxy probably ceased at least a Gyr ago, although there is evidence for a galaxy merger. Binary pulsars with short (100 Myr) decay times are therefore unlikely progenitors, but pulsars like PSR B1534+12 with its 2.7 Gyr coalescence time could produce such a merger. The displacement (~2.2 kpc) of the binary star system from the centre of the main galaxy is not unusual for stars in the host galaxy or stars originating in the merging galaxy, and therefore any constraints on the kick velocity imparted to the progenitor are poor.
We present techniques developed to calibrate and correct Murchison Widefield Array low-frequency (72–300 MHz) radio observations for polarimetry. The extremely wide field-of-view, excellent instantaneous (u, v)-coverage and sensitivity to degree-scale structure that the Murchison Widefield Array provides enable instrumental calibration, removal of instrumental artefacts, and correction for ionospheric Faraday rotation through imaging techniques. With the demonstrated polarimetric capabilities of the Murchison Widefield Array, we discuss future directions for polarimetric science at low frequencies to answer outstanding questions relating to polarised source counts, source depolarisation, pulsar science, low-mass stars, exoplanets, the nature of the interstellar and intergalactic media, and the solar environment.
PSR J0337+1715 is a millisecond radio pulsar in a hierarchical stellar triple system with two white dwarfs. This system is a unique and excellent laboratory in which to test the strong equivalence principle (SEP) of general relativity. An initial SEP-violation test was performed using direct 3-body numerical integration of the orbit in order to model the more than 25000 pulse times of arrival (TOAs) from three radio telescopes: Arecibo, Green Bank and Westerbork. In this work I present our efforts to quantify the effects of systematics in the TOAs and timing residuals, which limit the precision of an SEP test. In particular, we apply Fourier-based techniques to the timing residuals in order to isolate the effects of systematics that can masquerade as an SEP violation.
The millisecond pulsar PSR J0337+1715 is in a mildly relativistic hierarchical triple system with two white dwarfs. This offers the possibility of testing the universality of free fall: does the neutron star fall with the same acceleration as the inner white dwarf in the gravity of the outer white dwarf? We have carried out an intensive pulsar timing campaign, yielding some 27000 pulse time-of-arrival (TOA) measurements with a median uncertainty of 1.2 μs. Here we describe our analysis procedure and timing model.
We present low-frequency spectral energy distributions of 60 known radio pulsars observed with the Murchison Widefield Array telescope. We searched the GaLactic and Extragalactic All-sky Murchison Widefield Array survey images for 200-MHz continuum radio emission at the position of all pulsars in the Australia Telescope National Facility (ATNF) pulsar catalogue. For the 60 confirmed detections, we have measured flux densities in 20 × 8 MHz bands between 72 and 231 MHz. We compare our results to existing measurements and show that the Murchison Widefield Array flux densities are in good agreement.
Using cyclic voltammetry (CV) and electrochemical impedance spectroscopy (EIS), it was shown for four different types of carbon that electrode treatments at negative potentials enhance the kinetics of VIV-VV and inhibit the kinetics of VII-VIII while electrode treatments at positive potentials inhibit the kinetics of VIV-VV and enhance the kinetics of VII-VIII. These observations may explain conflicting reports in the literature. The potentials required for activation and deactivation of electrodes were examined in detail. The results suggest that interchanging the positive and negative electrodes in a vanadium flow battery (VFB) would reduce the overpotential at the negative electrode and so improve the performance. This is supported by flow-cell experiments. Thus, periodic catholyte-anolyte interchange, or equivalent alternatives such as battery overdischarge, show promise of improving the voltage efficiency of VFBs.
The stability of vanadium flow battery (VFB) catholytes was investigated using both lightscattering measurements and visual observation. V2O5 precipitates after an induction time τ which shows an Arrhenius variation with temperature. The value of τ increases with increasing concentration of sulfate and with decreasing concentration of VV but the activation energy remains constant with a value of (1.791±0.020) eV. Plots of ln τ against [S] and [VV] show good linearity and the slopes give values of βS = 2.073 M-1 and βV5 = –3.434 M-1 for the fractional rates of variation of τ with [S] and [VV], respectively. Combining the Arrhenius Equation with the observed log-linear variation of τ with [S] and [VV] provides a model for simulating the stability of catholytes.
The current experiment was undertaken to investigate the effect of including white clover (Trifolium repens L.; WC) into perennial ryegrass (Lolium perenne L.; PRG) swards (PRG/WC) receiving 250 kg nitrogen (N) per hectare (ha) per year compared with PRG only swards receiving 250 kg N/ha/year, in an intensive grass-based spring calving dairy production scenario. Forty spring-calving cows were allocated to graze either a PRG/WC or PRG sward (n = 20) from 6 February to 31 October 2012. Fresh herbage was offered daily (17 kg dry matter (DM)/cow) supplemented with concentrate in times of herbage deficit (total supplementation 507 kg/cow). Pre-grazing herbage mass (HM), sward WC content and milk production were measured for the duration of the experiment. Herbage DM intake was estimated in May, July and September. Pre-grazing HM (±s.e.) was similar (1467 ± 173·1 kg DM/ha) for both treatments, as was cumulative herbage production (14 158 ± 769 kg DM/ha). Average WC content of the PRG/WC swards was 236 ± 30 g/kg DM. The PRG/WC cows had greater average daily milk yield and milk solids yield from June onwards. Cumulative milk yield and milk solids yield were greater for the PRG/WC cows compared with the PRG cows (5048 and 4789 ± 34·3 kg milk yield/cow, and 400 and 388 ± 1·87 kg milk solids/cow, respectively). Cows had similar DM intake in all measurements periods (15·1 ± 0·42 kg DM/cow/day). In conclusion, including WC in N-fertilized PRG swards increased milk production from cows grazing the PRG/WC swards compared with PRG, particularly in the second half of the lactation.
The Perth Astronomy Research Group (PARG), consisting of members from Curtin University of Technology, Perth Observatory and the University of Western Australia, is in the process of developing an automated supernova search system, using the 61-cm Lowell-Perth reflector, a CCD camera and an 80386-based computer for image analysis. Computer control of the telescope and dome, a liquid-nitrogen-cooled CCD camera, and modified VISTA image analysis software will be completed in late 1990, allowing initial semi-automatic searching of external galaxies, together with CCD photometry of flare stars and newly discovered supernovae. Full-scale automation will be introduced subsequently, in collaboration with the Berkeley group. This paper describes the project, and reports on its current status.
Early patterns of gut colonization may predispose children to adult disease. Exposures in utero and during delivery are associated with the infant gut microbiome. Although ~35% of women carry group B strep (GBS; Streptococcus agalactiae) during pregnancy, it is unknown if GBS presence influences the infant gut microbiome. As part of a population-based, general risk birth cohort, stool specimens were collected from infant’s diapers at research visits conducted at ~1 and 6 months of age. Using the Illumina MiSeq (San Diego, CA) platform, the V4 region of the bacterial 16S rRNA gene was sequenced. Infant gut bacterial community compositional differences by maternal GBS status were evaluated using permutational multivariate analysis of variance. Individual operational taxonomic units (OTUs) were tested using a zero-inflated negative binomial model. Data on maternal GBS and infant gut microbiota from either 1 (n=112) or 6-month-old stool (n=150) specimens was available on 262 maternal-child pairs. Eighty women (30.5%) were GBS+, of who 58 (72.5%) were given intrapartum antibiotics. After adjusting for maternal race, prenatal antifungal use and intrapartum antibiotics, maternal GBS status was statistically significantly associated with gut bacterial composition in the 6 month visit specimen (Canberra R2=0.008, P=0.008; Unweighted UniFrac R2=0.010, P=0.011). Individual OTU tests revealed that infants of GBS+ mothers were significantly enriched for specific members of the Clostridiaceae, Ruminococcoceae, and Enterococcaceae in the 6 month specimens compared with infants of GBS- mothers. Whether these taxonomic differences in infant gut microbiota at 6 months lead to differential predisposition for adult disease requires additional study.