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This paper presents a review of the current status of photodiode array systems adapted for Energy Dispersive EXAFS (EDE) using a synchrotron radiation source. The performance of a conventional Reticon PDA is compared with that of a hybrid CCD. The specification of a new detector system for EDE is discussed in the light of experience gained with current linear detectors.
The Sahara was wetter and greener during multiple interglacial periods of the Quaternary, when some have suggested it featured very large (mega) lakes, ranging in surface area from 30,000 to 350,000 km2. In this paper, we review the physical and biological evidence for these large lakes, especially during the African Humid Period (AHP) 11–5 ka. Megalake systems from around the world provide a checklist of diagnostic features, such as multiple well-defined shoreline benches, wave-rounded beach gravels where coarse material is present, landscape smoothing by lacustrine sediment, large-scale deltaic deposits, and in places, tufas encrusting shorelines. Our survey reveals no clear evidence of these features in the Sahara, except in the Chad basin. Hydrologic modeling of the proposed megalakes requires mean annual rainfall ≥1.2 m/yr and a northward displacement of tropical rainfall belts by ≥1000 km. Such a profound displacement is not supported by other paleo-climate proxies and comprehensive climate models, challenging the existence of megalakes in the Sahara. Rather than megalakes, isolated wetlands and small lakes are more consistent with the Sahelo-Sudanian paleoenvironment that prevailed in the Sahara during the AHP. A pale-green and discontinuously wet Sahara is the likelier context for human migrations out of Africa during the late Quaternary.
Acute respiratory infections cause significant morbidity and mortality accounting for 5.8 million deaths worldwide. In Australia, influenza-like illness (ILI), defined as cough, fever and fatigue is a common presentation in general practice and results in reduced productivity and lost working days. Little is known about the epidemiology of ILI in working-age adults. Using data from the ASPREN influenza surveillance network in Australia (2010–2013) we found that working-age adults made up 45.2% of all ILI notifications with 55% of samples positive for at least one respiratory virus. Viruses most commonly detected in our study included influenza A (20.6%), rhinovirus (18.6%), influenza B (6.2%), human meta-pneumovirus (3.4%), respiratory syncytial virus (3.1%), para-influenza virus (2.6%) and adenovirus (1.3%). We also demonstrated that influenza A is the predominant virus that increases ILI (by 1.2% per month for every positive influenza A case) in working-age adults during autumn–winter months while other viruses are active throughout the year. Understanding the epidemiology of viral respiratory infections through a year will help clinicians make informed decisions about testing, antibiotic and antiviral prescribing and when the beginning of the ‘flu season’ can be more confidently predicted.
Introduction: Frailty is an overarching concept in geriatric medicine. However its utility in the emergency department (ED) was not well understood. Objectives were to derive and validate an ED specific frailty index (FI-ED), using a cumulative deficits model; and to evaluate its ability to predict adverse outcomes. Methods: This was a large multinational prospective cohort study using data from: The Management of Older Persons in Emergency Departments (MOPED) and the interRAI study. The FI-ED was derived from the Canadian sample and validated in the multinational sample. Inclusion criteria were all patients ≥75 years old presenting to an ED. The FI-ED used 24 variables identified in the interRAI ED-Contact Assessment tool, a brief focussed geriatric assessment. Its ability to predict adverse outcomes were analysed by logistic regression with odds ratio (OR). Results: There were 3903 participants: 2153 in the derivation sample and 1750 in the validation sample. In the derivation sample, increasing FI-ED was significantly associated with admission (OR 1.43 [95% CI 1.34-1.52]), death in hospital (OR 1.55 [1.38-1.73]), prolonged hospital stay (OR 1.37 [1.22-1.54]), needs for Comprehensive Geriatric Assessment (OR 1.51 [1.41-1.60]) and discharge to long-term care (OR 1.30 [1.16-1.47]). In the validation sample, results were similar except for long-term care disposition (OR 0.84 [0.75 0.85]). Conclusion: The FI-ED conformed to characteristics previously reported in other geriatric populations. It was accurately derived and validated from a brief geriatric assessment feasible in the ED and can be used to predict adverse outcomes.
A computer code is reported that models two-dimensional flow of a snow-avalanche cross-section over a down-slope structure of arbitrary cross-sectional shape. Impact forces and pressure are predicted, and the flow pattern past the structure may be arrayed pictorially. The model is applied to the prediction of forces on rectangular obstacles which are of fractional height to the nominal avalanche flow depth for avalanche flow speeds up to 20 m/s. The program is applied to modeling an experiment by Salm of impact of snow blocks upon a slope-normal wall in order to demonstrate the accuracy of the code in comparison to impact-force histories measured by Salm. Difference between the experimental results and the computer simulation is less than 21%, and supporting discussion is given on factors that may account for the difference.
Small–scale modeling of flow and impact of snow avalanches is demonstrated to be both feasible and accurate. Geometric, kinematic, and force variables are scaled correctly under equivalence of Froude number between prototype and model using sifted snow as the model fluid. Physical and computer–simulated impact processes show correspondence, so that computer modeling is demonstrated to be a viable tool in flow and impact predictions.
A modified Bingham numerical model is developed and tested for the simulation of the motion of snow avalanches. This two-dimensional, incompressible model takes the form of a two-viscosity system in which a large viscosity is employed in the low stress regions of the flow and a smaller viscosity is used in the high stress regions. The model involves three parameters: the two viscosities, and the value of the stress for the transition between the two flow regimes. A simple no-slip boundary condition is used at the interface between the flowing snow and the stationary snow surface. Model parameters are evaluated by simulating the motion of the leading edge of the flowing snow, velocity versus depth information, and debris distribution of small snow test experiments.
Reported are results of incorporating recent snow avalanche processes into hydrodynamic uniform flow equations, used to model motion of snow avalanches. Actual modifications include the relating of dissipative coefficients of the flow model to slab release depth, the representation of the material as a locking fluid, and the mini-segmentation of the avalanche path at low flow speeds in order to numerically accomodate viscous transition and avalanche cessation of motion. The purpose in looking at different formulations of the uniform flow hydrodynamic flow equations is to reduce the variation in the drag coefficients when the theory is applied to different avalanche paths, as compared to what has been previous experience. The model that reduced parameter variation the most was one in which the total drag force decreased in an intermediate velocity range, a mechanism that has had recent experimental verification.
A numerical computer model, based on the finite differencing of the Navier-Stokes fluid equations, is used to simulate snow-avalanche flow. In order to verify and calibrate the numerical model, snow-flow tests 0.20 m deep with flow velocities between 0-18 m/s were conducted. Data concerning position, velocity, and flow depth versus time were collected and compared to model runs on the computer. The frictional force on moving snow is investigated and found to be modeled by a term that is proportional to the square of the flow velocity.
Data from experimental tests of snow-block impact against vertical barriers are used to establish values of parameters in order to computer-model the impact mechanics. The results show that total impulse, impact force, and duration of impact can be modeled by accurate specification of the kinematic viscosity in the fluid representation. In modeling the highly transient impact, kinematic viscosity of the material is determined to vary linearly with the impact velocity. This non-physical condition is attributed to lack of accountability of compressibility effects in the computer model, and reduces modeling to an empirical approach. A biviscous modeling of the impact process is in near correspondence to linear viscous modeling, due to dominant importance of block momentum on impact rather than fluidity of material in the impact region.
Experiments on the behavior of the active granular layer between flowing snow and sintered basal snow were performed by laboratory simulation of the layer. Layer thickness, its velocity profile, kinematic viscosity, and shear locking stress were estimated fron low-velocity tests. Variation in these parameters over a temperature range from -5 to -18°C, for overburden pressures of 1180 and 2360 N m−2, and for surface hardness in the range 0.4 to 4.0 N m−2 were evaluated. Results show strong dependence between surface hardness and layer viscosity, and near linear dependence between shear locking stress and overburden pressures.
It has been suggested that zoonotic transmission of Staphylococcus aureus (SA) and methicillin-resistant S. aureus (MRSA) can occur between owners and their pets within the same household. However, the influence that pet-ownership could have in the biodiversity of SA/MRSA strains circulating among owners is not fully understood. The objective of this study was to perform a molecular epidemiological analysis to evaluate and compare the biodiversity of SA/MRSA strains in dog-owning and non-dog-owning healthy households within the same community. Antimicrobial resistance, SCCmec type, USA type and clonality were assessed. Overall, 33·1% (165/499) of human subjects carried SA and 2·8% (14/499) carried MRSA. Among dogs, 7·1% (8/113) carried SA but none were MRSA positive. No difference was detected in the diversity index of SA/MRSA pulsotypes between dog-owning and non-dog-owning households; but, a marked variation was still observed in the pulsotypes circulating in each type of household. Additionally, simultaneous carriage of the same SA pulsotype in owner(s) and dog was observed in 57% of households with positive humans and pets. These results demonstrate that dogs can indeed participate in the circulation of SA/MRSA pulsotypes within a home and that the presence of a pet does not seem to favour certain strains within their household.
Malaria is one of the most serious infectious diseases with most of the severe disease caused by Plasmodium falciparum (Pf). Naturally acquired immunity develops over time after repeated infections and the development of antimalarial antibodies is thought to play a crucial role. Neonates and young infants are relatively protected from symptomatic malaria through mechanisms that are poorly understood. The prevailing paradigm is that maternal antimalarial antibodies transferred to the fetus in the last trimester of pregnancy protect the infant from early infections. These antimalarial antibodies wane by approximately 6 months of age leaving the infant vulnerable to malaria, however direct evidence supporting this epidemiologically based paradigm is lacking. As infants are the target population for future malaria vaccines, understanding how they begin to develop immunity to malaria and the gaps in their responses is key. This review summarizes the antimalarial antibody responses detected in infants and how they change over time. We focus primarily on Pf antibody responses and will briefly mention Plasmodium vivax responses in infants.
Studying how individual neuronal cells grow and interact with each other is of fundamental importance for understanding the functions of the nervous system. However, the mechanism of axonal navigation to their target region and their specific interactions with guidance factors such as membrane-bound proteins, chemical and temperature gradients, mechanical guidance cues, etc. are not well understood. Here we describe a new approach for controlling the adhesion, growth and interconnectivity of cortical neurons on Au surfaces. Specifically, we use Atomic Force Microscopy (AFM) nanolithography to immobilize growth-factor proteins at well-defined locations on Au surfaces. These surface-immobilized proteins act as a) adhesion proteins for neuronal cells (i.e. well-defined locations where the cells “stick” to the surface), and b) promoters/inhibitors for the growth of neurites. Our results show that protein patterns can be used to confine neuronal cells and to control their growth and interconnectivity on Au surfaces. We also show that AFM nanolithography presents unique advantages for this type of work, such as high degree of control over location and shape of the protein patterns, and application of proteins in aqueous solutions (protein buffers), such that the proteins are very likely to retain their folding conformation/bioactivity.
The new Core-XAS (X-ray absorption spectroscopy) beamline (B18) at Diamond aims to provide a reliable spectrometer for a broad scientific community. With this in mind, B18 has been built as a general-purpose beamline and offers to users a variety of sample environments and detection methods. Here we will present the first commissioning results and some of the capabilities of this versatile instrument.
Synchrotron based μ-XRF, μ-XAS and μ-XRD have made a major impact in the field of environmental science in the last ten years. One of the first seven ‘day one’ beamlines on the Diamond Light Source is a microfocus spectroscopy beamline, beamline I18. Here the current status of the beamline and the opportunities it presents in the field of environmental science are described, with results from two of the first experiments also included. The first is based on the use of bonemeal to remediate soil. We used Zn K-edge and Pb L3-edge spectroscopy to characterize the speciation of these two elements on a soil after bonemeal treatment. The results are compared with bulk measurements taken on the whole soil and standard materials. The second experiment described here is a study of the speciation and association of Ni in a laterite from Moa Bay, Cuba. Here the differences in the Ni speciation associated with Mn oxides are examined and compared with Fe oxides phases.
We present observations of the Rosette Nebula and its near environment in the CO 3–2 transition obtained with an angular resolution of 20″. The gas dynamics of the region are complex; we find (1) a ring of gas expanding at about 20 km s−1, (2) a number of collimated outflow sources, and (3) a chain of dust clumps having a velocity gradient along its length.
Although the clinical benefits of dietary supplementation with n-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFA) has been recognised for a number of years, the molecular mechanisms by which particular PUFA affect metabolism of cells within the synovial joint tissues are not understood. This study set out to investigate how n-3 PUFA and other classes of fatty acids affect both degradative and inflammatory aspects of metabolism of articular cartilage chondrocytes using an in vitro model of cartilage degradation. Using well-established culture models, cartilage explants from normal bovine and human osteoarthritic cartilage were supplemented with either n-3 or n-6 PUFA, and cultures were subsequently treated with interleukin 1 to initiate catabolic processes that mimic cartilage degradation in arthritis. Results show that supplementation specifically with n-3 PUFA, but not n-6 PUFA, causes a decrease in both degradative and inflammatory aspects of chondrocyte metabolism, whilst having no effect on the normal tissue homeostasis. Collectively, our data provide evidence supporting dietary supplementation of n-3 PUFA, which in turn may have a beneficial effect of slowing and reducing inflammation in the pathogenesis of degenerative joint diseases in man.