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Here we provide an update of the 2013 report on the Nigerian Twin and Sibling Registry (NTSR). The major aim of the NTSR is to understand genetic and environmental influences and their interplay in psychological and mental health development in Nigerian children and adolescents. Africans have the highest twin birth rates among all human populations, and Nigeria is the most populous country in Africa. Due to its combination of large population and high twin birth rates, Nigeria has one of the largest twin populations in the world. In this article, we provide current updates on the NTSR samples recruited, recruitment procedures, zygosity assessment and findings emerging from the NTSR.
We examined Clostridioides difficile infection (CDI) prevention practices and their relationship with hospital-onset healthcare facility-associated CDI rates (CDI rates) in Veterans Affairs (VA) acute-care facilities.
From January 2017 to February 2017, we conducted an electronic survey of CDI prevention practices and hospital characteristics in the VA. We linked survey data with CDI rate data for the period January 2015 to December 2016. We stratified facilities according to whether their overall CDI rate per 10,000 bed days of care was above or below the national VA mean CDI rate. We examined whether specific CDI prevention practices were associated with an increased risk of a CDI rate above the national VA mean CDI rate.
All 126 facilities responded (100% response rate). Since implementing CDI prevention practices in July 2012, 60 of 123 facilities (49%) reported a decrease in CDI rates; 22 of 123 facilities (18%) reported an increase, and 41 of 123 (33%) reported no change. Facilities reporting an increase in the CDI rate (vs those reporting a decrease) after implementing prevention practices were 2.54 times more likely to have CDI rates that were above the national mean CDI rate. Whether a facility’s CDI rates were above or below the national mean CDI rate was not associated with self-reported cleaning practices, duration of contact precautions, availability of private rooms, or certification of infection preventionists in infection prevention.
We found considerable variation in CDI rates. We were unable to identify which particular CDI prevention practices (i.e., bundle components) were associated with lower CDI rates.
We present experimental results on the development of gravity currents moving onto sloping boundaries with slope angles
. Different regimes of flow development are observed depending on the slope angle and on the initial velocity and density profiles, characterized by the Richardson number
are, respectively, the velocity interface thickness, the maximum velocity difference and reduced gravity at the beginning of the slope. For
and the larger slope angle, the flow strongly accelerates, reaches a maximum at the beginning of the Kelvin–Helmholtz instability, then decelerates and re-accelerates again. For
, instability occurs earlier and velocity oscillations are less. When
the increase in velocity is smooth. The magnitude of velocity oscillation depends on the combined effect of
and slope angle, expressed by an overall acceleration parameter
, which, to first order, is given by
are, respectively, the velocity and position at instability onset. The velocity increases smoothly up to an equilibrium state when
and exhibits an irregular behaviour at larger values of
. The critical Richardson number
decreases with increasing
) which is due to wall effects and
. After the beginning of Kelvin–Helmholtz instability, entrainment rates are close to those of a mixing layer, decreasing to values of a gravity current after the mixing layer reaches the boundary. It is shown here that the interfacial instability during current development affects the bottom shear stress which can reach values of
regardless of initial conditions. By solving numerically the depth integrated governing equations, the gravity flow velocity, depth and buoyant acceleration in the flow direction can be well predicted for all the performed experiments over the full measurement domain. The numerical results for the experiments with
predict that the current requires a distance of at least
to reach a normal state of constant velocity, which is much larger than the distance
required in the case of a current with
that is commonly assumed for downslope currents.
The rocky shores of the north-east Atlantic have been long studied. Our focus is from Gibraltar to Norway plus the Azores and Iceland. Phylogeographic processes shape biogeographic patterns of biodiversity. Long-term and broadscale studies have shown the responses of biota to past climate fluctuations and more recent anthropogenic climate change. Inter- and intra-specific species interactions along sharp local environmental gradients shape distributions and community structure and hence ecosystem functioning. Shifts in domination by fucoids in shelter to barnacles/mussels in exposure are mediated by grazing by patellid limpets. Further south fucoids become increasingly rare, with species disappearing or restricted to estuarine refuges, caused by greater desiccation and grazing pressure. Mesoscale processes influence bottom-up nutrient forcing and larval supply, hence affecting species abundance and distribution, and can be proximate factors setting range edges (e.g., the English Channel, the Iberian Peninsula). Impacts of invasive non-native species are reviewed. Knowledge gaps such as the work on rockpools and host–parasite dynamics are also outlined.
Tick-borne diseases (TBDs) can sometimes cause severe symptoms and lead to hospitalisation, but they often go unnoticed in the Emergency Department (ED). The aim of this study was twofold: (i) to describe the profile of patients hospitalised by TBDs; and (ii) to evaluate the data collected in the medical records from the ED in order to analyse their potential clinical consequences. A total of 84 cases that included all TBD diagnoses registered in the ED records were identified and analysed. These corresponded to all the hospitalisations by TBDs in the last 10 years (2009–2019) in two tertiary hospitals in Granada, Spain. Statistical analyses were made using RStudio. Coinciding with the absence of patient's report of exposure to ticks, 64.3% of TBDs were not suspected in the ED. Intensive care unit admission was required in 8.3% of cases, and the mortality rate was 2.4%. Non-suspected cases showed longer hospital stay (P < 0.001), treatment duration (P = 0.02) and delay in the initiation of antibiotic treatment (P < 0.001). Our findings indicate that symptoms associated with TBDs are highly non-specific. In the absence of explicit information related to potential tick exposure, TBDs are not initially suspected. As a consequence, elective treatment administration is delayed and hospitalisation time is prolonged. In conclusion, our results highlight the importance of addressing potential exposure to ticks during the ED contact with patients presenting with febrile syndrome.
In recent years, the discovery of massive quasars at
has provided a striking challenge to our understanding of the origin and growth of supermassive black holes in the early Universe. Mounting observational and theoretical evidence indicates the viability of massive seeds, formed by the collapse of supermassive stars, as a progenitor model for such early, massive accreting black holes. Although considerable progress has been made in our theoretical understanding, many questions remain regarding how (and how often) such objects may form, how they live and die, and how next generation observatories may yield new insight into the origin of these primordial titans. This review focusses on our present understanding of this remarkable formation scenario, based on the discussions held at the Monash Prato Centre from November 20 to 24, 2017, during the workshop ‘Titans of the Early Universe: The Origin of the First Supermassive Black Holes’.
Twin registries often take part in large collaborative projects and are major contributors to genome-wide association (GWA) meta-analysis studies. In this article, we describe genotyping of twin-family populations from Australia, the Midwestern USA (Avera Twin Register), the Netherlands (Netherlands Twin Register), as well as a sample of mothers of twins from Nigeria to assess the extent, if any, of genetic differences between them. Genotyping in all cohorts was done using a custom-designed Illumina Global Screening Array (GSA), optimized to improve imputation quality for population-specific GWA studies. We investigated the degree of genetic similarity between the populations using several measures of population variation with genotype data generated from the GSA. Visualization of principal component analysis (PCA) revealed that the Australian, Dutch and Midwestern American populations exhibit negligible interpopulation stratification when compared to each other, to a reference European population and to globally distant populations. Estimations of fixation indices (FST values) between the Australian, Midwestern American and Netherlands populations suggest minimal genetic differentiation compared to the estimates between each population and a genetically distinct cohort (i.e., samples from Nigeria genotyped on GSA). Thus, results from this study demonstrate that genotype data from the Australian, Dutch and Midwestern American twin-family populations can be reasonably combined for joint-genetic analysis.
The COllaborative project of Development of Anthropometrical measures in Twins (CODATwins) project is a large international collaborative effort to analyze individual-level phenotype data from twins in multiple cohorts from different environments. The main objective is to study factors that modify genetic and environmental variation of height, body mass index (BMI, kg/m2) and size at birth, and additionally to address other research questions such as long-term consequences of birth size. The project started in 2013 and is open to all twin projects in the world having height and weight measures on twins with information on zygosity. Thus far, 54 twin projects from 24 countries have provided individual-level data. The CODATwins database includes 489,981 twin individuals (228,635 complete twin pairs). Since many twin cohorts have collected longitudinal data, there is a total of 1,049,785 height and weight observations. For many cohorts, we also have information on birth weight and length, own smoking behavior and own or parental education. We found that the heritability estimates of height and BMI systematically changed from infancy to old age. Remarkably, only minor differences in the heritability estimates were found across cultural–geographic regions, measurement time and birth cohort for height and BMI. In addition to genetic epidemiological studies, we looked at associations of height and BMI with education, birth weight and smoking status. Within-family analyses examined differences within same-sex and opposite-sex dizygotic twins in birth size and later development. The CODATwins project demonstrates the feasibility and value of international collaboration to address gene-by-exposure interactions that require large sample sizes and address the effects of different exposures across time, geographical regions and socioeconomic status.
Feed represents a substantial proportion of production costs in the dairy industry and is a useful target for improving overall system efficiency and sustainability. The objective of this study was to develop methodology to estimate the economic value for a feed efficiency trait and the associated methane production relevant to Canada. The approach quantifies the level of economic savings achieved by selecting animals that convert consumed feed into product while minimizing the feed energy used for inefficient metabolism, maintenance and digestion. We define a selection criterion trait called Feed Performance (FP) as a 1 kg increase in more efficiently used feed in a first parity lactating cow. The impact of a change in this trait on the total lifetime value of more efficiently used feed via correlated selection responses in other life stages is then quantified. The resulting improved conversion of feed was also applied to determine the resulting reduction in output of emissions (and their relative value based on a national emissions value) under an assumption of constant methane yield, where methane yield is defined as kg methane/kg dry matter intake (DMI). Overall, increasing the FP estimated breeding value by one unit (i.e. 1 kg of more efficiently converted DMI during the cow’s first lactation) translates to a total lifetime saving of 3.23 kg in DMI and 0.055 kg in methane with the economic values of CAD $0.82 and CAD $0.07, respectively. Therefore, the estimated total economic value for FP is CAD $0.89/unit. The proposed model is robust and could also be applied to determine the economic value for feed efficiency traits within a selection index in other production systems and countries.
High-starch diets (HSDs) fed to high-producing ruminants are often responsible for rumen dysfunction and could impair animal health and production. Feeding HSDs are often characterized by transient rumen pH depression, accurate monitoring of which requires costly or invasive methods. Numerous clinical signs can be followed to monitor such diet changes but no specific indicator is able to make a statement at animal level on-farm. The aim of this pilot study was to assess a combination of non-invasive indicators in dairy cows able to monitor a HSD in experimental conditions. A longitudinal study was conducted in 11 primiparous dairy cows fed with two different diets during three successive periods: a 4-week control period (P1) with a low-starch diet (LSD; 13% starch), a 4-week period with an HSD (P2, 35% starch) and a 3-week recovery period (P3) again with the LSD. Animal behaviour was monitored throughout the experiment, and faeces, urine, saliva, milk and blood were sampled simultaneously in each animal at least once a week for analysis. A total of 136 variables were screened by successive statistical approaches including: partial least squares-discriminant analysis, multivariate analysis and mixed-effect models. Finally, 16 indicators were selected as the most representative of a HSD challenge. A generalized linear mixed model analysis was applied to highlight parsimonious combinations of indicators able to identify animals under our experimental conditions. Eighteen models were established and the combination of milk urea nitrogen, blood bicarbonate and feed intake was the best to detect the different periods of the challenge with both 100% of specificity and sensitivity. Other indicators such as the number of drinking acts, fat:protein ratio in milk, urine, and faecal pH, were the most frequently used in the proposed models. Finally, the established models highlight the necessity for animals to have more than 1 week of recovery diet to return to their initial control state after a HSD challenge. This pilot study demonstrates the interest of using combinations of non-invasive indicators to monitor feed changes from a LSD to a HSD to dairy cows in order to improve prevention of rumen dysfunction on-farm. However, the adjustment and robustness of the proposed combinations of indicators need to be challenged using a greater number of animals as well as different acidogenic conditions before being applied on-farm.
Item 9 of the Patient Health Questionnaire-9 (PHQ-9) queries about thoughts of death and self-harm, but not suicidality. Although it is sometimes used to assess suicide risk, most positive responses are not associated with suicidality. The PHQ-8, which omits Item 9, is thus increasingly used in research. We assessed equivalency of total score correlations and the diagnostic accuracy to detect major depression of the PHQ-8 and PHQ-9.
We conducted an individual patient data meta-analysis. We fit bivariate random-effects models to assess diagnostic accuracy.
16 742 participants (2097 major depression cases) from 54 studies were included. The correlation between PHQ-8 and PHQ-9 scores was 0.996 (95% confidence interval 0.996 to 0.996). The standard cutoff score of 10 for the PHQ-9 maximized sensitivity + specificity for the PHQ-8 among studies that used a semi-structured diagnostic interview reference standard (N = 27). At cutoff 10, the PHQ-8 was less sensitive by 0.02 (−0.06 to 0.00) and more specific by 0.01 (0.00 to 0.01) among those studies (N = 27), with similar results for studies that used other types of interviews (N = 27). For all 54 primary studies combined, across all cutoffs, the PHQ-8 was less sensitive than the PHQ-9 by 0.00 to 0.05 (0.03 at cutoff 10), and specificity was within 0.01 for all cutoffs (0.00 to 0.01).
PHQ-8 and PHQ-9 total scores were similar. Sensitivity may be minimally reduced with the PHQ-8, but specificity is similar.
Low atmospheric pressure stunning (LAPS) is a novel approach to pre-slaughter stunning of chickens using progressive hypobaric hypoxia by the application of gradual decompression (280s cycle) according to a set of prescribed pressure curves. Low atmospheric pressure stunning produces a non-recovery state. Concerns have been raised relating to the possible pathological and welfare consequences of expansion of air in the body during LAPS. In a randomised trial, we compared the gross pathology of broilers exposed to LAPS with a control group euthanised by intravenous injection of pentobarbital sodium (60 mixed sex broilers per treatment). The birds were exposed to each treatment in triplets and all birds were subject to necropsy examination to detect and score (1 to 5, minimal to severe) haemorrhagic lesions or congestion for all major organs and cavities (e.g. air sacs, joints, ears and heart) as well as external assessment for product quality (e.g. wing tips). Behavioural data (latency to loss of posture and motionless) and chamber cycle data (temperature, humidity, pressure and oxygen availability) confirmed that LAPS had been applied in a manner representative of the commercial process. All of the organs observed were structurally intact for both treatment groups. No lesions were observed in the external ears, oral cavity, tracheal lumen, crop and air sacs of birds from either treatment group. There was no difference between treatments in the wingtips, nasal turbinates, thymus, biceps femoralis and colon. Haemorrhagic lesions were observed in the calvaria, brains, hearts and lungs of both treatment groups, but lesions in these areas were more severe in the LAPS treatment group. It was not possible to distinguish between pathological changes induced by decompression or recompression. In the barbiturate group, more severe haemorrhagic lesions were observed in the superficial pectoral muscles as well as greater congestion of the infraorbital sinuses, liver, spleens, duodenum, kidneys and gonads. These findings provide evidence that LAPS did not result in distension of the intestines and air sacs sufficient to cause changes, which were grossly visible on postmortem examination. There was also no evidence of barotrauma in the ears and sinuses. The pathological changes observed in the barbiturate treatment were as expected based on barbiturate toxicity. Low atmospheric pressure stunning appears to produce pathological changes by a variety of well-established mechanisms, and while these pathological data have limited value as welfare indicators, the results confirm that organ integrity was not compromised by the process.
The paper is related to an adaptive satellite communication system for data transmission from small, low cost, low Earth orbit satellites. Tests run in a set-up consisting of a number of software-defined radio (SDR) modules operating as a satellite, a ground station, and a satellite channel simulator, have shown that by changing modulation scheme and code rate one can obtain increase of amount of data which can be downloaded from a satellite during a single pass over a ground station approximately by a factor of 2. To determine data rates obtainable in an SDR system using a common personal computer as a digital signal processing device, execution times of particular processing steps involved in the reception process were measured.
A power MOSFET-based push–pull configuration nanosecond-pulse generator has been designed, constructed, and characterized to permeabilize cells for biological and medical applications. The generator can deliver pulses with durations ranging from 80 ns up to 1 µs and pulse amplitudes up to 1.4 kV. The unit has been tested for in vitro experiments on a medulloblastoma cell line. Following the exposure of cells to 100, 200, and 300 ns electric field pulses, permeabilization tests were carried out, and viability tests were conducted to verify the performance of the generator. The maximum temperature rise of the biological load was also calculated based on Joule heating energy conservation and experimental validation. Our results indicate that the developed device has good capabilities to achieve well-controlled electro-manipulation in vitro.
Childhood maltreatment (CM) plays an important role in the development of major depressive disorder (MDD). The aim of this study was to examine whether CM severity and type are associated with MDD-related brain alterations, and how they interact with sex and age.
Within the ENIGMA-MDD network, severity and subtypes of CM using the Childhood Trauma Questionnaire were assessed and structural magnetic resonance imaging data from patients with MDD and healthy controls were analyzed in a mega-analysis comprising a total of 3872 participants aged between 13 and 89 years. Cortical thickness and surface area were extracted at each site using FreeSurfer.
CM severity was associated with reduced cortical thickness in the banks of the superior temporal sulcus and supramarginal gyrus as well as with reduced surface area of the middle temporal lobe. Participants reporting both childhood neglect and abuse had a lower cortical thickness in the inferior parietal lobe, middle temporal lobe, and precuneus compared to participants not exposed to CM. In males only, regardless of diagnosis, CM severity was associated with higher cortical thickness of the rostral anterior cingulate cortex. Finally, a significant interaction between CM and age in predicting thickness was seen across several prefrontal, temporal, and temporo-parietal regions.
Severity and type of CM may impact cortical thickness and surface area. Importantly, CM may influence age-dependent brain maturation, particularly in regions related to the default mode network, perception, and theory of mind.
Workforce shortages in psychiatry are common worldwide. The international literature provides insights into factors influencing decisions to train in psychiatry but is predominately survey based. This national cohort study aimed to identify the characteristics of doctors who were most likely to apply to psychiatry training programmes. The sample comprised doctors who entered UK medical schools in 2007/8 and who made first-time specialty training applications in 2015. The association between application to psychiatry and doctors' sociodemographic and educational characteristics was examined using multivariable logistic regression.
Those most likely to apply were White, privately educated older doctors with below average performance at medical school.
To reduce workforce shortages, psychiatry must make itself more attractive to all doctors, especially those from underrepresented groups such as state-educated Black and minority ethnic individuals. Otherwise, national policies to widen participation in the study of medicine by such groups may exacerbate the current recruitment crisis.
This study tested whether the association between interparental conflict and adolescent externalizing symptoms was moderated by a polygenic composite indexing low dopamine activity (i.e., 7-repeat allele of DRD4; Val alleles of COMT; 10-repeat variants of DAT1) in a sample of seventh-grade adolescents (Mean age = 13.0 years) and their parents. Using a longitudinal, autoregressive design, observational assessments of interparental conflict at Wave 1 predicted increases in a multi-informant measurement of youth externalizing symptoms 2 years later at Wave 3 only for children who were high on the hypodopaminergic composite. Moderation was expressed in a “for better” or “for worse” form hypothesized by differential susceptibility theory. Thus, children high on the dopaminergic composite experienced more externalizing problems than their peers when faced with more destructive conflicts but also fewer externalizing problems when exposed to more constructive interparental conflicts. Mediated moderation findings indicated that adolescent reports of their emotional insecurity in the interparental relationship partially explained the greater genetic susceptibility experienced by these children. More specifically, the dopamine composite moderated the association between Wave 1 interparental conflict and emotional insecurity 1 year later at Wave 2 in the same “for better” or “for worse” pattern as externalizing symptoms. Adolescent insecurity at Wave 2, in turn, predicted their greater externalizing symptoms 1 year later at Wave 3. Post hoc analyses further revealed that the 7-repeat allele of the dopamine receptor D4 (DRD4) gene was the primary source of plasticity in the polygenic composite. Results are discussed as to how they advance process-oriented Gene x Environment models of emotion regulation.
Introduction: September 2017 saw the launch of the British Columbia (BC) Emergency Medicine Network (EM Network), an innovative clinical network established to improve emergency care across the province. The intent of the EM Network is to support the delivery of evidence-informed, patient-centered care in all 108 Emergency Departments and Diagnostic & Treatment Centres in BC. After one year, the Network undertook a formative evaluation to guide its growth. Our objective is to describe the evaluation approach and early findings. Methods: The EM Network was evaluated on three levels: member demographics, online engagement and member perceptions of value and progress. For member demographics and online engagement, data were captured from member registration information on the Network's website, Google Analytics and Twitter Analytics. Membership feedback was sought through an online survey using a social network analysis tool, PARTNER (Program to Analyze, Record, and Track Networks to Enhance Relationships), and semi-structured individual interviews. This framework was developed based on literature recommendations in collaboration with Network members, including patient representatives. Results: There are currently 622 EM Network members from an eligible denominator of approximately 1400 physicians (44%). Seventy-three percent of the Emergency Departments and Diagnostic and Treatment Centres in BC currently have Network members, and since launch, the EM Network website has been accessed by 11,154 unique IP addresses. Online discussion forum use is low but growing, and Twitter following is high. There are currently 550 Twitter followers and an average of 27 ‘mentions’ of the Network by Twitter users per month. Member feedback through the survey and individual interviews indicates that the Network is respected and credible, but many remain unaware of its purpose and offerings. Conclusion: Our findings underscore that early evaluation is useful to identify development needs, and for the Network this includes increasing awareness and online dialogue. However, our results must be interpreted cautiously in such a young Network, and thus, we intend to re-evaluate regularly. Specific action recommendations from this baseline evaluation include: increasing face-to-face visits of targeted communities; maintaining or accelerating communication strategies to increase engagement; and providing new techniques that encourage member contributions in order to grow and improve content.
The mammal family Tenrecidae (Afrotheria: Afrosoricida) is endemic to Madagascar. Here we present the conservation priorities for the 31 species of tenrec that were assessed or reassessed in 2015–2016 for the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Six species (19.4%) were found to be threatened (4 Vulnerable, 2 Endangered) and one species was categorized as Data Deficient. The primary threat to tenrecs is habitat loss, mostly as a result of slash-and-burn agriculture, but some species are also threatened by hunting and incidental capture in fishing traps. In the longer term, climate change is expected to alter tenrec habitats and ranges. However, the lack of data for most tenrecs on population size, ecology and distribution, together with frequent changes in taxonomy (with many cryptic species being discovered based on genetic analyses) and the poorly understood impact of bushmeat hunting on spiny species (Tenrecinae), hinders conservation planning. Priority conservation actions are presented for Madagascar's tenrecs for the first time since 1990 and focus on conserving forest habitat (especially through improved management of protected areas) and filling essential knowledge gaps. Tenrec research, monitoring and conservation should be integrated into broader sustainable development objectives and programmes targeting higher profile species, such as lemurs, if we are to see an improvement in the conservation status of tenrecs in the near future.