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Vitamin D deficiency has been commonly reported in elite athletes, but the vitamin D status of UK university athletes in different training environments remains unknown. The present study aimed to determine any seasonal changes in vitamin D status among indoor and outdoor athletes, and whether there was any relationship between vitamin D status and indices of physical performance and bone health. A group of forty-seven university athletes (indoor n 22, outdoor n 25) were tested during autumn and spring for serum vitamin D status, bone health and physical performance parameters. Blood samples were analysed for serum 25-hydroxyvitamin D (s-25(OH)D) status. Peak isometric knee extensor torque using an isokinetic dynamometer and jump height was assessed using an Optojump. Aerobic capacity was estimated using the Yo-Yo intermittent recovery test. Peripheral quantitative computed tomography scans measured radial bone mineral density. Statistical analyses were performed using appropriate parametric/non-parametric testing depending on the normality of the data. s-25(OH)D significantly fell between autumn (52·8 (sd 22·0) nmol/l) and spring (31·0 (sd 16·5) nmol/l; P < 0·001). In spring, 34 % of participants were considered to be vitamin D deficient (<25 nmol/l) according to the revised 2016 UK guidelines. These data suggest that UK university athletes are at risk of vitamin D deficiency. Thus, further research is warranted to investigate the concomitant effects of low vitamin D status on health and performance outcomes in university athletes residing at northern latitudes.
Depression is a leading cause of disability, with older people particularly susceptible to poor outcomes.
To investigate whether the prevalence of depression and antidepressant use have changed across two decades in older people.
The Cognitive Function and Ageing Studies (CFAS I and CFAS II) are two English population-based cohort studies of older people aged ≥65 years, with baseline measurements for each cohort conducted two decades apart (between 1990 and 1993 and between 2008 and 2011). Depression was assessed by the Geriatric Mental State examination and diagnosed with the Automated Geriatric Examination for Computer-Assisted Taxonomy algorithm.
In CFAS I, 7635 people aged ≥65 years were interviewed, of whom 1457 were diagnostically assessed. In CFAS II, 7762 people were interviewed and diagnostically assessed. Age-standardised depression prevalence in CFAS II was 6.8% (95% CI 6.3–7.5%), representing a non-significant decline from CFAS I (risk ratio 0.82, 95% CI 0.64–1.07, P = 0.14). At the time of CFAS II, 10.7% of the population (95% CI 10.0–11.5%) were taking antidepressant medication, more than twice that of CFAS I (risk ratio 2.79, 95% CI 1.96–3.97, P < 0.0001). Among care home residents, depression prevalence was unchanged, but the use of antidepressants increased from 7.4% (95% CI 3.8–13.8%) to 29.2% (95% CI 22.6–36.7%).
A substantial increase in the proportion of the population reporting taking antidepressant medication is seen across two decades for people aged ≥65 years. However there was no evidence for a change in age-specific prevalence of depression.
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.
Widespread and repeated use of glyphosate resulted in an increase in glyphosate-resistant (GR) weeds. This led to an urgent need for diversification of weed control programs and use of PRE herbicides with alternative sites of action. Field experiments were conducted over a 4-yr period (2015 to 2018) across three locations in Nebraska to evaluate the effects of PRE-applied herbicides on critical time for weed removal (CTWR) in GR soybean. The studies were laid out in a split-plot arrangement with herbicide regime as the main plot and weed removal timing as the subplot. The herbicide regimes used were either no PRE or premix of either sulfentrazone plus imazethapyr (350 + 70 g ai ha−1) or saflufenacil plus imazethapyr plus pyroxasulfone (26 + 70 + 120 g ai ha−1). The weed removal timings were at V1, V3, V6, R2, and R5 soybean stages, with weed-free and weedy season-long checks. Weeds were removed by application of glyphosate (1,400 g ae ha−1) or by hoeing. The results across all years and locations suggested that the use of PRE herbicides delayed CTWR in soybean. In particular, the CTWR without PRE herbicides was determined to be around the V1 to V2 (14 to 21 d after emergence [DAE]) growth stage, depending on the location and weed pressure. The use of PRE-applied herbicides delayed CTWR from about the V4 (28 DAE) stage up to the R5 (66 DAE) stage. These results suggest that the use of PRE herbicides in GR soybean could delay the need for POST application of glyphosate by 2 to 5 wk, thereby reducing the need for multiple applications of glyphosate during the growing season. Additionally, the use of PRE herbicides could provide additional modes of action needed to manage GR weeds in GR soybean.
Objectives: Fluency is a major problem for individuals with neurodevelopmental disorders, including fluency deficits for academic skills. The aim of this study was to determine neurocognitive predictors of academic fluency within and across domains of reading, writing, and math, in children and adults, with and without spina bifida. In addition to group differences, we expected some neurocognitive predictors (reaction time, inattention) to have similar effects for each academic fluency outcome, and others (dexterity, vocabulary, nonverbal reasoning) to have differential effects across outcomes. Methods: Neurocognitive predictors were reaction time, inattention, dexterity, vocabulary, and nonverbal reasoning; other factors included group (individuals with spina bifida, n=180; and without, n=81), age, and demographic and untimed academic content skill covariates. Univariate and multivariate regressions evaluated hypotheses. Results: Univariate regressions were significant and robust (R2=.78, .70, .73, for reading, writing, and math fluency, respectively), with consistent effects of covariates, age, reaction time, and vocabulary; group and group moderation showed small effect sizes (<2%). Multivariate contrasts showed differential prediction across academic fluency outcomes for reaction time and vocabulary. Conclusions: The novelty of the present work is determining neurocognitive predictors for an important outcome (academic fluency), within and across fluency domains, across population (spina bifida versus typical), over a large developmental span, in the context of well-known covariates. Results offer insight into similarities and differences regarding prediction of different domains of academic fluency, with implications for addressing academic weakness in spina bifida, and for evaluating similar questions in other neurodevelopmental disorders. (JINS, 2019, 25, 249–265)
The confinement of heat in the core of a magnetic fusion reactor is optimised using a multidimensional optimisation algorithm. For the first time in such a study, the loss of heat due to turbulence is modelled at every stage using first-principles nonlinear simulations which accurately capture the turbulent cascade and large-scale zonal flows. The simulations utilise a novel approach, with gyrofluid treatment of the small-scale drift waves and gyrokinetic treatment of the large-scale zonal flows. A simple near-circular equilibrium with standard parameters is chosen as the initial condition. The figure of merit, fusion power per unit volume, is calculated, and then two control parameters, the elongation and triangularity of the outer flux surface, are varied, with the algorithm seeking to optimise the chosen figure of merit. A twofold increase in the plasma power per unit volume is achieved by moving to higher elongation and strongly negative triangularity.
Dementia is a neurodegenerative disorder with global impact, with the largest proportion of cases occurring in low- and middle-income countries. It is estimated that there are 46.8 million cases globally with approximately 10 million new cases each year or a new case occurring every 3 sec (Prince et al., 2015). For comparison there are 36.7 million HIV cases with an estimated 2 million new cases each year (WHO, 2017). The rise in dementia prevalence is largely due to population ageing, with the oldest being at highest risk. To date there are no diseases modifying medications for Alzheimer's disease or the other causes of dementia. Academics and research groups are increasingly focused on prevention or delay of dementia (Brayne and Miller, 2017) and a number of organizations now prioritize dementia, indicating a strong and coherent international effort to address this problem. Examples include the World Health Organisation (WHO), which has established a Global Dementia Observatory; the World Dementia Council; the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD); the U.S. National Alzheimer's Project Act (NAPA); and the Global Council on Brain Health.
Treatment of medical patients with the inflammatory cytokine, interferon-α (IFN-α), is frequently associated with the development of clinical depressive symptomatology. Several important biological correlates of the effect of IFN-α on mood have been described, but the neuropsychological changes associated with IFN-α treatment are largely unexplored. The aim of the present preliminary study was to assess the effect of IFN-α on measures of emotional processing.
We measured changes in emotional processing over 6–8 weeks in 17 patients receiving IFN-α as part of their treatment for hepatitis C virus infection. Emotional processing tasks included those which have previously been shown to be sensitive to the effects of depression and antidepressant treatment, namely facial expression recognition, emotional categorisation and the dot probe attentional task.
Following IFN-α, patients were more accurate at detecting facial expressions of disgust; they also showed diminished attentional vigilance to happy faces. IFN-α produced the expected increases in scores on depression rating scales, but there was no correlation between these scores and the changes in emotional processing.
Our preliminary findings suggest that IFN-α treatment produces negative biases in emotional processing, and this effect is not simply a consequence of depression. It is possible that increased recognition of disgust may represent a neuropsychological marker of depressive disorders related to inflammation.
Recent studies have improved our understanding of nearshore marine ecosystems surrounding Ascension Island (central Atlantic Ocean), but little is known about Ascension's benthic environment beyond its shallow coastal waters. Here, we report the first detailed physical and biological examination of the seabed surrounding Ascension Island at 100–1000 m depth. Multibeam swath data were used to map fine scale bathymetry and derive seabed slope and rugosity indices for the entire area. Water temperature and salinity profiles were obtained from five Conductivity, Temperature, Depth (CTD) deployments, revealing a spatially consistent thermocline at 80 m depth. A camera lander (Shelf Underwater Camera System; SUCS) provided nearly 400 images from 21 sites (100 m transects) at depths of 110–1020 m, showing high variability in the structure of benthic habitats and biological communities. These surveys revealed a total of 95 faunal morphotypes (mean richness >14 per site), complemented by 213 voucher specimens constituting 60 morphotypes collected from seven targeted Agassiz trawl (AGT) deployments. While total faunal density (maximum >300 m−2 at 480 m depth) increased with rugosity, characteristic shifts in multivariate assemblage structure were driven by depth and substratum type. Shallow assemblages (~100 m) were dominated by black coral (Antipatharia sp.) on rocky substrata, cup corals (Caryophyllia sp.) and sea urchins (Cidaris sp.) were abundant on fine sediment at intermediate depths (250–500 m), and shrimps (Nematocarcinus spp.) were common at greater depths (>500 m). Other ubiquitous taxa included serpulid and sabellid polychaetes and brittle stars (Ophiocantha sp.). Cold-water corals (Lophelia cf. pertusa), indicative of Vulnerable Marine Ecosystems (VMEs) and representing substantial benthic carbon accumulation, occurred in particularly dense aggregations at <350 m but were encountered as deep as 1020 m. In addition to enhancing marine biodiversity records at this locality, this study provides critical baseline data to support the future management of Ascension's marine environment.
Capturing service users’ perspectives can highlight additional and different concerns to those of clinicians, but there are no up to date, self-report psychometrically sound measures of side effects of antipsychotic medications.
To develop a psychometrically sound measure to identify antipsychotic side effects important to service users, the Maudsley Side Effects (MSE) measure.
An initial item bank was subjected to a Delphi exercise (n = 9) with psychiatrists and pharmacists, followed by service user focus groups and expert panels (n = 15) to determine item relevance and language. Feasibility and comprehensive psychometric properties were established in two samples (N43 and N50). We investigated whether we could predict the three most important side effects for individuals from their frequency, severity and life impact.
MSE is a 53-item measure with good reliability and validity. Poorer mental and physical health, but not psychotic symptoms, was related to side-effect burden. Seventy-nine percent of items were chosen as one of the three most important effects. Severity, impact and distress only predicted ‘putting on weight’ which was more distressing, more severe and had more life impact in those for whom it was most important.
MSE is a self-report questionnaire that identifies reliably the side-effect burden as experienced by patients. Identifying key side effects important to patients can act as a starting point for joint decision making on the type and the dose of medication.
The study aims to assess whether supplementation with the probiotic Lactobacillus rhamnosus HN001 (HN001) can reduce the prevalence of gestational diabetes mellitus (GDM). A double-blind, randomised, placebo-controlled parallel trial was conducted in New Zealand (NZ) (Wellington and Auckland). Pregnant women with a personal or partner history of atopic disease were randomised at 14–16 weeks’ gestation to receive HN001 (6×109 colony-forming units) (n 212) or placebo (n 211) daily. GDM at 24–30 weeks was assessed using the definition of the International Association of Diabetes and Pregnancy Study Groups (IADPSG) (fasting plasma glucose ≥5·1 mmol/l, or 1 h post 75 g glucose level at ≥10 mmol/l or at 2 h ≥8·5 mmol/l) and NZ definition (fasting plasma glucose ≥5·5 mmol/l or 2 h post 75 g glucose at ≥9 mmol/l). All analyses were intention-to-treat. A total of 184 (87 %) women took HN001 and 189 (90 %) women took placebo. There was a trend towards lower relative rates (RR) of GDM (IADPSG definition) in the HN001 group, 0·59 (95 % CI 0·32, 1·08) (P=0·08). HN001 was associated with lower rates of GDM in women aged ≥35 years (RR 0·31; 95 % CI 0·12, 0·81, P=0·009) and women with a history of GDM (RR 0·00; 95 % CI 0·00, 0·66, P=0·004). These rates did not differ significantly from those of women without these characteristics. Using the NZ definition, GDM prevalence was significantly lower in the HN001 group, 2·1 % (95 % CI 0·6, 5·2), v. 6·5 % (95 % CI 3·5, 10·9) in the placebo group (P=0·03). HN001 supplementation from 14 to 16 weeks’ gestation may reduce GDM prevalence, particularly among older women and those with previous GDM.
Salmonella is a leading cause of bacterial foodborne illness. We report the collaborative investigative efforts of US and Canadian public health officials during the 2013–2014 international outbreak of multiple Salmonella serotype infections linked to sprouted chia seed powder. The investigation included open-ended interviews of ill persons, traceback, product testing, facility inspections, and trace forward. Ninety-four persons infected with outbreak strains from 16 states and four provinces were identified; 21% were hospitalized and none died. Fifty-four (96%) of 56 persons who consumed chia seed powder, reported 13 different brands that traced back to a single Canadian firm, distributed by four US and eight Canadian companies. Laboratory testing yielded outbreak strains from leftover and intact product. Contaminated product was recalled. Although chia seed powder is a novel outbreak vehicle, sprouted seeds are recognized as an important cause of foodborne illness; firms should follow available guidance to reduce the risk of bacterial contamination during sprouting.
Antibiotic resistance is a major threat to public health. Resistance is largely driven by antibiotic usage, which in many cases is unnecessary and can be improved. The impact of decreasing overall antibiotic usage on resistance is unknown and difficult to assess using standard study designs. The objective of this study was to explore the potential impact of reducing antibiotic usage on the transmission of multidrug-resistant organisms (MDROs).
We used agent-based modeling to simulate interactions between patients and healthcare workers (HCWs) using model inputs informed by the literature. We modeled the effect of antibiotic usage as (1) a microbiome effect, for which antibiotic usage decreases competing bacteria and increases the MDRO transmission probability between patients and HCWs and (2) a mutation effect that designates a proportion of patients who receive antibiotics to subsequently develop a MDRO via genetic mutation.
Intensive care unit
Absolute reduction in overall antibiotic usage by experimental values of 10% and 25%
Reducing antibiotic usage absolutely by 10% (from 75% to 65%) and 25% (from 75% to 50%) reduced acquisition rates of high-prevalence MDROs by 11.2% (P<.001) and 28.3% (P<.001), respectively. We observed similar effect sizes for low-prevalence MDROs.
In a critical care setting, where up to 50% of antibiotic courses may be inappropriate, even a moderate reduction in antibiotic usage can reduce MDRO transmission.