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Prior evolutionary theory provided reason to suspect that measures of development and reproduction would be correlated with antisocial behaviours in human and non-human species. Behavioural genetics has revealed that most quantitative traits are heritable, suggesting that these phenotypic correlations may share genetic aetiologies. We use genome-wide association study data to estimate the genetic correlations between various measures of reproductive development (N = 52 776–318 863) and antisocial behaviour (N = 31 968). Our genetic correlation analyses demonstrate that alleles associated with higher reproductive output (number of children ever born, rg = 0.50, P = 0.0065) were positively correlated with alleles associated with antisocial behaviour, whereas alleles associated with more delayed reproductive onset (age at first birth, rg = −0.64, P = 0.0008) were negatively associated with alleles linked to antisocial behaviour. Ultimately, these findings coalesce with evolutionary theories suggesting that increased antisocial behaviours may partly represent a faster life history approach, which may be significantly calibrated by genes.
Due to concerns over increasing fluoroquinolone (FQ) resistance among gram-negative organisms, our stewardship program implemented a preauthorization use policy. The goal of this study was to assess the relationship between hospital FQ use and antibiotic resistance.
Large academic medical center.
We performed a retrospective analysis of FQ susceptibility of hospital isolates for 5 common gram-negative bacteria: Acinetobacter spp., Enterobacter cloacae, Escherichia coli, Klebsiella pneumoniae, and Pseudomonas aeruginosa. Primary endpoint was the change of FQ susceptibility. A Poisson regression model was used to calculate the rate of change between the preintervention period (1998–2005) and the postimplementation period (2006–2016).
Large rates of decline of FQ susceptibility began in 1998, particularly among P. aeruginosa, Acinetobacter spp., and E. cloacae. Our FQ restriction policy improved FQ use from 173 days of therapy (DOT) per 1,000 patient days to <60 DOT per 1,000 patient days. Fluoroquinolone susceptibility increased for Acinetobacter spp. (rate ratio [RR], 1.038; 95% confidence interval [CI], 1.005–1.072), E. cloacae (RR, 1.028; 95% CI, 1.013–1.044), and P. aeruginosa (RR, 1.013; 95% CI, 1.006–1.020). No significant change in susceptibility was detected for K. pneumoniae (RR, 1.002; 95% CI, 0.996–1.008), and the susceptibility for E. coli continued to decline, although the decline was not as steep (RR, 0.981; 95% CI, 0.975–0.987).
A stewardship-driven FQ restriction program stopped overall declining FQ susceptibility rates for all species except E. coli. For 3 species (ie, Acinetobacter spp, E. cloacae, and P. aeruginosa), susceptibility rates improved after implementation, and this improvement has been sustained over a 10-year period.
Chlamydia trachomatis (CT) infections remain highly prevalent. CT reinfection occurs frequently within months after treatment, likely contributing to sustaining the high CT infection prevalence. Sparse studies have suggested CT reinfection is associated with a lower organism load, but it is unclear whether CT load at the time of treatment influences CT reinfection risk. In this study, women presenting for treatment of a positive CT screening test were enrolled, treated and returned for 3- and 6-month follow-up visits. CT organism loads were quantified at each visit. We evaluated for an association of CT bacterial load at initial infection with reinfection risk and investigated factors influencing the CT load at baseline and follow-up in those with CT reinfection. We found no association of initial CT load with reinfection risk. We found a significant decrease in the median log10 CT load from baseline to follow-up in those with reinfection (5.6 CT/ml vs. 4.5 CT/ml; P = 0.015). Upon stratification of reinfected subjects based upon presence or absence of a history of CT infections prior to their infection at the baseline visit, we found a significant decline in the CT load from baseline to follow-up (5.7 CT/ml vs. 4.3 CT/ml; P = 0.021) exclusively in patients with a history of CT infections prior to our study. Our findings suggest repeated CT infections may lead to possible development of partial immunity against CT.
We evaluated the utility of vancomycin-resistant Enterococcus (VRE) surveillance by varying 2 parameters: admission versus weekly surveillance and perirectal swabbing versus stool sampling.
Prospective, patient-level surveillance program of incident VRE colonization.
Liver transplant surgical intensive care unit (SICU) of a tertiary-care referral medical center with a high prevalence of VRE.
All patients admitted to the SICU from June to August 2015.
We conducted a point-prevalence estimate followed by admission and weekly surveillance by perirectal swabbing and/or stool sampling. Incident colonization was defined as a negative screen followed by positive surveillance. VRE was detected by culture on Remel Spectra VRE chromogenic agar. Microbiologically-confirmed VRE bloodstream infections (BSIs) were tracked for 2 months. Statistical analyses were calculated using the McNemar test, the Fisher exact test, the t test, and the χ2 test.
In total, 91 patients underwent VRE surveillance testing. The point prevalence of VRE colonization was 60.9%; VRE prevalence on admission was 30.1%. Weekly surveillance identified an additional 7 of 28 patients (25.0%) with incident colonization. VRE BSIs were more common in VRE-colonized patients than in noncolonized patients (8 of 43 vs 2 of 48; P=.028). In a direct comparison, perirectal swabs were more sensitive than stool samples in detecting VRE (64 of 67 vs 56 of 67; P=.023). Compliance with perirectal swabbing was 89% (201 of 226) compared to 56% (127 of 226) for stool collection (P≤0.001).
We recommend weekly VRE surveillance over admission-only screening in high-burden units such as liver transplant SICUs. Perirectal swabs had greater collection compliance and sensitivity than stool samples, making them the preferred methodology. Further work may have implications for antimicrobial stewardship and infection control.
UK Biobank is a well-characterised cohort of over 500 000 participants that offers unique opportunities to investigate multiple diseases and risk factors.
An online mental health questionnaire completed by UK Biobank participants was expected to expand the potential for research into mental disorders.
An expert working group designed the questionnaire, using established measures where possible, and consulting with a patient group regarding acceptability. Case definitions were defined using operational criteria for lifetime depression, mania, anxiety disorder, psychotic-like experiences and self-harm, as well as current post-traumatic stress and alcohol use disorders.
157 366 completed online questionnaires were available by August 2017. Comparison of self-reported diagnosed mental disorder with a contemporary study shows a similar prevalence, despite respondents being of higher average socioeconomic status than the general population across a range of indicators. Thirty-five per cent (55 750) of participants had at least one defined syndrome, of which lifetime depression was the most common at 24% (37 434). There was extensive comorbidity among the syndromes. Mental disorders were associated with high neuroticism score, adverse life events and long-term illness; addiction and bipolar affective disorder in particular were associated with measures of deprivation.
The questionnaire represents a very large mental health survey in itself, and the results presented here show high face validity, although caution is needed owing to selection bias. Built into UK Biobank, these data intersect with other health data to offer unparalleled potential for crosscutting biomedical research involving mental health.
Declaration of interest
G.B. received grants from the National Institute for Health Research during the study; and support from Illumina Ltd. and the European Commission outside the submitted work. B.C. received grants from the Scottish Executive Chief Scientist Office and from The Dr Mortimer and Theresa Sackler Foundation during the study. C.S. received grants from the Medical Research Council and Wellcome Trust during the study, and is the Chief Scientist for UK Biobank. M.H. received grants from the Innovative Medicines Initiative via the RADAR-CNS programme and personal fees as an expert witness outside the submitted work.
Long half-life biologically active fission products, such as technetium-99, present particular problems for the disposal of spent nuclear fuel (SNF). Technetium is present in relatively high concentrations in fuel (approx. 1kg tonne-1 SNF) and has very high mobility in oxidizing environments. Technetium is therefore generally removed from SNF either by solvent extraction and reduction, during the PUREX process, or by sorption via ion exchange processes. Historically technetium has been disposed of via dilution and dispersion in the sea but stringent regulations now mean that the preferred long term option is immobilization in a highly stable and durable matrix. In this contribution we have looked at the synthesis of fluorite derivative crystalline host phases based on the zirconolite structure. Samples have been characterised by X-ray diffraction (XRD), scanning electron microscopy (SEM), energy dispersive spectroscopy (EDX), thermo-gravimetric analysis (TG), and mass spectroscopy (MS). We have used Mo as an inactive surrogate for Tc.
Embedding experiments within surveys has reinvigorated survey research. Several survey experiments are generally embedded within a survey, and analysts treat each of these experiments as self-contained. We investigate whether experiments are self-contained or if earlier treatments affect later experiments, which we call “experimental spillover.” We consider two types of bias that might be introduced by spillover: mean and inference biases. Using a simple procedure, we test for experimental spillover in two data sets: the 1991 Race and Politics Survey and a survey containing several experiments pertaining to foreign policy attitudes. We find some evidence of spillover and suggest solutions to avoid bias.
Administrative and surveillance data are used frequently in healthcare epidemiology and antimicrobial stewardship (HE&AS) research because of their wide availability and efficiency. However, data quality issues exist, requiring careful consideration and potential validation of data. This methods paper presents key considerations for using administrative and surveillance data in HE&AS, including types of data available and potential use, data limitations, and the importance of validation. After discussing these issues, we review examples of HE&AS research using administrative data with a focus on scenarios when their use may be advantageous. A checklist is provided to help aid study development in HE&AS using administrative data.
Cognitive dysfunction is common in major depressive disorder (MDD) and a critical determinant of health outcome. Anhedonia is a criterion item toward the diagnosis of a major depressive episode (MDE) and a well-characterized domain in MDD. We sought to determine the extent to which variability in self-reported cognitive function correlates with anhedonia.
A post hoc analysis was conducted using data from (N=369) participants with a Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, 4th Edition, Text Revision (DSM-IV-TR)-defined diagnosis of MDD who were enrolled in the International Mood Disorders Collaborative Project (IMDCP) between January 2008 and July 2013. The IMDCP is a collaborative research platform at the Mood Disorders Psychopharmacology Unit, University of Toronto, Toronto, Canada, and the Cleveland Clinic, Cleveland, Ohio. Measures of cognitive function, anhedonia, and depression severity were analyzed using linear regression equations.
A total of 369 adults with DSM-IV-TR–defined MDD were included in this analysis. Self-rated cognitive impairment [ie, as measured by the Adult ADHD Self-Report Scale (ASRS)] was significantly correlated with a proxy measure of anhedonia (r=0.131, p=0.012). Moreover, total depression symptom severity, as measured by the total Montgomery–Åsberg Depression Rating Scale (MADRS) score, was also significantly correlated with self-rated measures of cognitive dysfunction (r=0.147, p=0.005). The association between anhedonia and self-rated cognitive dysfunction remained significant after adjusting for illness severity (r=0.162, p=0.007).
These preliminary results provide empirical data for the testable hypothesis that anhedonia and self-reported cognitive function in MDD are correlated yet dissociable domains. The foregoing observation supports the hypothesis of overlapping yet discrete neurobiological substrates for these domains.
Duverger’s Law suggests that two parties will dominate under first-past-the-post (FPTP) within an electoral district, but the law does not necessarily establish two-party competition at the national level. United States is unique among FPTP countries in having the only durable and nearly pure, two-party system. Following this observation, we answer two questions. First, what contributes to the same two parties competing in districts all across the country and at different levels of office? Second, why is the US two-party system so durable over time, dominated by the same two parties? That is, “Why two parties?” As an answer, we propose the APP: ambition, the presidency, and policy. The presidency with its national electorate and electoral rules that favor two-party competition establishes two national major parties, which frames the opportunity structure that influences party affiliation decisions of ambitious politicians running for lower offices. Control over the policy agenda helps reinforce the continuation of a particular two-party system in equilibrium by blocking third parties through divergence on the main issue dimension and the suppression of latent issue dimensions that could benefit new parties. The confluence of the three factors explains why the United States is so uniquely a durable two-party system.
In nature, biomolecules guide the formation of hierarchically-ordered, lightweight, inorganic-organic composites such as corals, shells, teeth and bones. M13 bacteriophage has been used to mimic bio-inspired material development due to its rigid, nanoscale rod-like morphology. Liquid-crystalline monolayers of genetically engineered phage have been used to template crystallization of thin layers of inorganic and metallic materials. We have created thin films composed of engineered M13 phage capable of binding inorganic components. We employed both a dip-cast and a drop-cast film fabrication method on both smooth and rough gold, silica and glass casting surfaces to create thin films and 3D structures of various degrees of hierarchical order. We have found the engineered M13 phage and the inorganic mineral significantly affected both film morphology and the mechanical properties of the film. Similarly, film fabrication parameters such as solution chemistry, temperature, and pulling speed affected film properties. Using a calcium phosphate biomineralized 4E phage, film thickness increased linearly with the number of layers/dips in the phage solution. The stiffness of these composites (Young's modulus) were >80 GPa for mineralized, multilayer films. These materials are an order of magnitude stiffer than the biological equivalent collagen. Stiffness, however, does not appear to increase in a multilayer film beyond a saturation point. Ultimately, we have developed a platform for phage-based bio-composites for developing high performance materials.
Formation of patterned metal and semiconductor (e.g. silicon) nanowires is achieved using anodic aluminum oxide (AAO) templates with porous structures of different heights resulting from an initial step difference made by etching the aluminum (Al) thin film with a photoresist developer prior to the anodization process. This approach allows for the growth of vertically aligned nanowire arrays on a metal substrate, instead of an oriented semiconductor substrate, using an electroplating or a chemical vapor deposition (CVD) process. The vertically aligned metal and semiconductor nanowires defined on a metal substrate could be applied to the realization of vertical 3D transistors, field emission devices, or nano-micro sensors for biological applications.