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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.
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.
Radio survey datasets comprise an increasing number of individual observations stored as sets of multidimensional data. In large survey projects, astronomers commonly face limitations regarding: 1) interactive visual analytics of sufficiently large subsets of data; 2) synchronous and asynchronous collaboration; and 3) documentation of the discovery workflow. To support collaborative data inquiry, we present encube, a large-scale comparative visual analytics framework. encube can utilise advanced visualization environments such as the CAVE2 (a hybrid 2D and 3D virtual reality environment powered with a 100 Tflop/s GPU-based supercomputer and 84 million pixels) for collaborative analysis of large subsets of data from radio surveys. It can also run on standard desktops, providing a capable visual analytics experience across the display ecology. encube is composed of four primary units enabling compute-intensive processing, advanced visualisation, dynamic interaction, parallel data query, along with data management. Its modularity will make it simple to incorporate astronomical analysis packages and Virtual Observatory capabilities developed within our community. We discuss how encube builds a bridge between high-end display systems (such as CAVE2) and the classical desktop, preserving all traces of the work completed on either platform – allowing the research process to continue wherever you are.
Improving neurocognitive outcomes following treatment for brain metastases have become increasingly important. We propose that a brief telephone-based neurocognitive assessment may improve follow-up cognitive assessments in this palliative population. Aim: To prospectively assess the feasibility and reliability of a telephone based brief neurocognitive assessment compared to the same tests delivered face-to-face. Methods: Brain metastases patients to be treated with whole brain radiotherapy (WBRT) were assessed using a brief validated neurocognitive battery at baseline, at 1 month and 3 months following WBRT (in person and over the phone). The primary outcome was feasibility and inter-procedural (in person versus telephone) reliability. The secondary objective was to evaluate the change in neurocognitive function before and after WBRT. Results: Out of 39 patients enrolled, 82% of patients completed the baseline in-person and telephone neurocognitive assessments. However, at 1 month, only 41% of enrolled patients completed the in-person and telephone cognitive assessments and at 3 months, only 10% of patients completed them. Results pertaining to reliability and change in neurocognitive function will be updated. Conclusion: The pre-defined definition of feasibility (at least 80% completion for face to face and telephone neurocognitive assessments) was met at baseline. However, a large proportion of participants did not complete either telephone or in person neurocognitive follow-up at 1 month and at 3 months post-WBRT. Attrition remained a challenge for neurocognitive testing in this population even when a telephone-based brief assessment was used.
The Millimetre Astronomy Legacy Team 90 GHz (MALT90) survey aims to characterise the physical and chemical evolution of high-mass star-forming clumps. Exploiting the unique broad frequency range and on-the-fly mapping capabilities of the Australia Telescope National Facility Mopra 22 m single-dish telescope1, MALT90 has obtained 3′ × 3′ maps towards ~2 000 dense molecular clumps identified in the ATLASGAL 870 μm Galactic plane survey. The clumps were selected to host the early stages of high-mass star formation and to span the complete range in their evolutionary states (from prestellar, to protostellar, and on to
regions and photodissociation regions). Because MALT90 mapped 16 lines simultaneously with excellent spatial (38 arcsec) and spectral (0.11 km s−1) resolution, the data reveal a wealth of information about the clumps’ morphologies, chemistry, and kinematics. In this paper we outline the survey strategy, observing mode, data reduction procedure, and highlight some early science results. All MALT90 raw and processed data products are available to the community. With its unprecedented large sample of clumps, MALT90 is the largest survey of its type ever conducted and an excellent resource for identifying interesting candidates for high-resolution studies with ALMA.
Significant new opportunities for astrophysics and cosmology have been identified at low radio frequencies. The Murchison Widefield Array is the first telescope in the southern hemisphere designed specifically to explore the low-frequency astronomical sky between 80 and 300 MHz with arcminute angular resolution and high survey efficiency. The telescope will enable new advances along four key science themes, including searching for redshifted 21-cm emission from the EoR in the early Universe; Galactic and extragalactic all-sky southern hemisphere surveys; time-domain astrophysics; and solar, heliospheric, and ionospheric science and space weather. The Murchison Widefield Array is located in Western Australia at the site of the planned Square Kilometre Array (SKA) low-band telescope and is the only low-frequency SKA precursor facility. In this paper, we review the performance properties of the Murchison Widefield Array and describe its primary scientific objectives.
Tomography is a standard and invaluable technique that covers a large range of length scales. It gives access to the inner morphology of specimens and to the three-dimensional (3D) distribution of physical quantities such as elemental composition, crystalline phases, oxidation state, or strain. These data are necessary to determine the effective properties of investigated heterogeneous media. However, each tomographic technique relies on severe sampling conditions and physical principles that require the sample to be adequately shaped. For that purpose, a wide range of sample preparation techniques is used, including mechanical machining, polishing, sawing, ion milling, or chemical techniques. Here, we focus on the basics of tomography that justify such advanced sample preparation, before reviewing and illustrating the main techniques. Performances and limits are highlighted, and we identify the best preparation technique for a particular tomographic scale and application. The targeted tomography techniques include hard X-ray micro- and nanotomography, electron nanotomography, and atom probe tomography. The article mainly focuses on hard condensed matter, including porous materials, alloys, and microelectronics applications, but also includes, to a lesser extent, biological considerations.
In a factory population the occurrence of reactions to tetanus toxoid was recorded after 6740 injections. The incidence of general reactions was 0·3 % and of local reactions 2·6%. The local reaction rate to the first injection of the basic immunization course was 0·9%, to the second injection 2·7%, and to the third injection 7·4%. To booster injections the rate was 1·6%. The local reaction rate was appreciably higher in women than in men – 14·4 % and 5·7 % respectively in the case of the third injection – and the incidence among women increased with age.
Tetanus vaccine containing 10 Lf of toxoid caused fewer reactions than one containing 20 Lf, but a reduction in the content of aluminium adjuvant did not affect the reaction rate.
Almost all reactors were found to have a satisfactory serum antitoxin concentration at the time of the reaction or developed a satisfactory immunity within 1–6 months.
Skin tests were made in 32 hypersensitive patients. Neither the diluent, thiomersal preservative, nor the culture medium appeared to be responsible for hypersensitivity. The degree of hypersensitivity elicited by a special highly purified toxoid was only very slightly less than that elicited by the commercially pure toxoid. It is suggested that reactions are largely due to the toxoid antigen itself rather than to impurities or other components of the vaccine.
Quadruple vaccine containing 75 D antigen units of killed type 1 poliovirus was given to children at ages 2, 3 and 4 months followed by a booster dose at 15 months.
The serological response to the primary course was difficult to assess owing to maternal antibody. Antibody titres to the type 1 component after the booster dose were very satisfactory and about 10 times higher than those observed in a similar group of children given attenuated vaccine. Response to the poliovirus types 2 and 3 in the quadruple vaccine was less satisfactory.
Graded doses of attenuated poliovirus type 1 were fed to the children 2 months after the primary course and 1 month after the booster dose. Children who had received no poliovaccine and children immunized with attenuated vaccine were included for comparison.
Immunization with killed vaccine did not greatly affect the size of the minimal infecting dose of live virus but reduced both the duration of the subsequent infection and the titre of virus in the faeces.
The epidemiological significance of these findings is discussed.
A single intranasal dose of 107.0 EID50 recombinant WRL 105 strain live attenuated influenza vaccine was administered intranasally to 193 volunteers either as nose drops or by one of three spray devices which produced sprays of differing physical characteristics. In volunteers with homologous haemagglutinating inhibiting antibody titres of ⋜ 20 before vaccination, seroconversion rates varied widely from 80% following the administration of drops to 71%, 57% and 28% with the three spray devices.
In the week following vaccination 16 (22%) of 74 volunteers who were found to show a fourfold or greater antibody response took analgesics to control symptoms in comparison with 4 (7%) of 58 volunteers who exhibited no sero-logical response to vaccination (P < 0.05). However, neither the occurrence of upper respiratory nor systemic symptoms were significantly different in these two groups and the degree of attenuation of the recombinant WRL 105 strain appears to be acceptable for future use.
It is unclear if research findings support clinical opinion that cannabis use leads to worse outcomes in people with psychosis, or whether this impression is confounded by other factors.
To systematically review the evidence pertaining to whether cannabis affects outcome of psychotic disorders.
We searched 10 relevant databases (to November 2006), reference lists of included studies and contacted experts. We included 13 longitudinal studies from 15 303 references. Data extraction and quality assessment were conducted independently and in duplicate.
Cannabis use was consistently associated with increased relapse and non-adherence. Associations with other outcome measures were more disparate. Few studies adjusted for baseline illness severity, and most made no adjustment for alcohol, or other potentially important confounders. Adjusting for even a few confounders often resulted in substantial attenuation of results.
Confidence that most associations reported were specifically due to cannabis is low. Despite clinical opinion, it remains important to establish whether cannabis is harmful, what outcomes are particularly susceptible, and how such effects are mediated. Studies to examine this further are eminently feasible.
In first-episode schizophrenia, longer duration of untreated psychosis (DUP) predicts poorer outcomes.
To address whether the relationship between DUP and outcome is a direct causal one or the result of association between symptoms and/or cognitive functioning and social functioning at the same time point.
Symptoms, social function and cognitive function were assessed in 98 patients with first-episode schizphrenia at presentation and 1 year later.
There was no significant clinical difference between participants with short and long DUP at presentation. Linear regression analyses revealed that longer DUP significantly predicted more severe positive and negative symptoms and poorer social function at 1 year, independent of scores at presentation. Path analyses revealed independent direct relationships between DUP and social function, core negative symptoms and positive symptoms. There was no significant association between DUP and cognition.
Longer DUP predicts poor social function independently of symptoms. The findings underline the importance of taking account of the phenomenological overlap between measures of negative symptoms and social function when investigating the effects of DUP.
It has been suggested that some psychotic symptoms reflect ‘aberrant salience’, related to dysfunctional reward learning. To test this hypothesis we investigated whether patients with schizophrenia showed impaired learning of task-relevant stimulus–reinforcement associations in the presence of distracting task-irrelevant cues.
We tested 20 medicated patients with schizophrenia and 17 controls on a reaction time game, the Salience Attribution Test. In this game, participants made a speeded response to earn money in the presence of conditioned stimuli (CSs). Each CS comprised two visual dimensions, colour and form. Probability of reinforcement varied over one of these dimensions (task-relevant), but not the other (task-irrelevant). Measures of adaptive and aberrant motivational salience were calculated on the basis of latency and subjective reinforcement probability rating differences over the task-relevant and task-irrelevant dimensions respectively.
Participants rated reinforcement significantly more likely and responded significantly faster on high-probability-reinforced relative to low-probability-reinforced trials, representing adaptive motivational salience. Patients exhibited reduced adaptive salience relative to controls, but the two groups did not differ in terms of aberrant salience. Patients with delusions exhibited significantly greater aberrant salience than those without delusions, and aberrant salience also correlated with negative symptoms. In the controls, aberrant salience correlated significantly with ‘introvertive anhedonia’ schizotypy.
These data support the hypothesis that aberrant salience is related to the presence of delusions in medicated patients with schizophrenia, but are also suggestive of a link with negative symptoms. The relationship between aberrant salience and psychotic symptoms warrants further investigation in unmedicated patients.
The impact of co-morbid substance use in first-episode schizophrenia has not been fully explored.
This naturalistic follow-up of a cohort of 152 people with first-episode schizophrenia examined substance use and clinical outcome in terms of symptoms and social and neuropsychological function.
Data were collected on 85 (56%) of the patient cohort after a median period of 14 months. Over the follow-up period, the proportion of smokers rose from 60% at baseline to 64%. While 30% reported lifetime problem drinking of alcohol at baseline, only 15% had problem drinking at follow-up. Furthermore, while at baseline 63% reported lifetime cannabis use and 32% were currently using the drug, by the follow-up assessment the latter figure had fallen to 18.5%. At follow-up, persistent substance users had significantly more severe positive and depressive symptoms and greater overall severity of illness. A report of no lifetime substance use at baseline was associated with greater improvement in spatial working memory (SWM) at follow-up.
Past substance use may impede recovery of SWM performance in people with schizophrenia in the year or so following first presentation to psychiatric services. The prevalence of substance use other than tobacco tends to diminish over this period, in the absence of specific interventions. Persistent substance use in first-episode schizophrenia is associated with more severe positive and depressive symptoms but not negative symptoms, and should be a target for specific treatment intervention.
Substance use may be a risk factor for the onset of schizophrenia.
To examine the association between substance use and age at onset in a UK, inner-city sample of people with recent-onset schizophrenia.
The study sample consisted of 152 people recruited to the West London First-Episode Schizophrenia Study. Self-reported data on drug and alcohol use, as well as information on age at onset of psychosis, were collected. Mental state, cognition (IQ, memory and executive function) and social function were also assessed.
In total, 60% of the participants were smokers, 27% reported a history of problems with alcohol use, 35% reported current substance use (not including alcohol), and 68% reported lifetime substance use (cannabis and psychostimulants were most commonly used). Cannabis use and gender had independent effects on age at onset of psychosis, after adjusting for alcohol misuse and use of other drugs.
The strong association between self-reported cannabis use and earlier onset of psychosis provides further evidence that schizophrenia may be precipitated by cannabis use and/or that the early onset of symptoms is a risk factor for cannabis use.
Studies of chronic schizophrenia suggest that there are subgroups with different profiles of cognitive impairment.
To determine whether such heterogeneity is present at illness onset and any relationship to clinical variables.
Ninety-three community patients with first-episode schizophrenia and 50 healthy volunteers were assessed for premorbid (Revised National Adult Reading Test) and current IQ, memory and executive function.
Half of those with schizophrenia had preserved IQ in the normal range but there was evidence of a specific impairment in spatial working memory even in those with high/average IQ; 37 out of 93 (40%) had generalised cognitive decline. Those with low premorbid IQ were significantly younger at illness onset. For the entire group, age at onset correlated positively with premorbid but not current IQ.
At illness onset, cognitive heterogeneity is present in people with schizophrenia, with a high proportion having undergone general cognitive decline. However, working memory impairment may be a common feature. Lower premorbid IQ is a risk factor for an earlier onset.