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Early-life environmental and nutritional exposures are considered to contribute to the differences in cardiovascular disease (CVD) burden. Among sub-Saharan African populations, the association between markers of early-life exposures such as leg length and sitting height and CVD risk is yet to be investigated. This study assessed the association between leg length, sitting height, and estimated 10-year atherosclerotic cardiovascular disease (ASCVD) risk among Ghanaian-born populations in Europe and Ghana. We constructed sex-specific quintiles for sitting height and leg length for 3250 participants aged 40–70 years (mean age 52 years; men 39.6%; women 60.4%) in the cross-sectional multicenter Research on Diabetes and Obesity among African Migrants study. Ten-year risk of ASCVD was estimated using the Pooled Cohort Equations; risk ≥7.5% was defined as “elevated” CVD risk. Prevalence ratios (PR) were estimated to determine the associations between sitting height, leg length, and estimated 10-year ASCVD risk. For both men and women, mean sitting height and leg length were highest in Europe and lowest in rural Ghana. Sitting height was inversely associated with 10-year ASCVD risk among all women (PR for 1 standard deviation increase of sitting height: 0.75; 95% confidence interval: 0.67, 0.85). Among men, an inverse association between sitting height and 10-year ASCVD risk was significant on adjustment for study site, adult, and parental education but attenuated when further adjusted for height. No association was found between leg length and estimated 10-year ASCVD risk. Early-life and childhood exposures that influence sitting height could be the important determinants of ASCVD risk in this adult population.
Based on the vulnerability–stress model, we aimed to (1) determine new onset of depression in individuals who had not shown evidence of depression at baseline (5 years earlier) and (2) identify social, psychological, behavioral, and somatic predictors.
Longitudinal data of N = 10 036 participants (40–79 years) were evaluated who had no evidence of depression at baseline based on Patient Health Questionnaire (PHQ-9), no history of depression, or intake of antidepressants. Multivariate logistic regression models were used to predict the onset of depression.
Prevalence of new cases of depression was 4.4%. Higher rates of women (5.1%) than men (3.8%) were due to their excess incidence <60 years of age. Regression analyses revealed significant social, psychological, behavioral, and somatic predictors: loneliness [odds ratio (OR) 2.01; 95% confidence interval (CI) 1.48–2.71], generalized anxiety (OR 2.65; 1.79–3.85), social phobia (OR 1.87; 1.34–2.57), panic (OR 1.67; 1.01–2.64), type D personality (OR 1.85; 1.47–2.32), smoking (OR 1.35; 1.05–1.71), and comorbid cancer (OR 1.58; 1.09–2.24). Protective factors were age (OR 0.88; 0.83–0.93) and social support (OR 0.93; 0.90–0.95). Stratified by sex, cancer was predictive for women; for men smoking and life events. Entered additionally, the PHQ-9 baseline score was strongly predictive (OR 1.40; 1.34–1.47), generalized anxiety became only marginally, and panic was no longer predictive. Other predictors remained significant, albeit weaker.
Psychobiological vulnerability, stress, and illness-related factors were predictive of new onset of depression, whereas social support was protective. Baseline subclinical depression was an additional risk weakening the relationship between anxiety and depression by taking their overlap into account. Vulnerability factors differed between men and women.
Cir X-1 is a young X-ray binary exhibiting X-ray flux changes of four orders of magnitude over several decades. It has been observed many times since the launch of the Chandra X-ray Observatory with high energy transmission grating spectrometer and each time the source gave us a vastly different look. At its very lowest X-ray flux we found a single 1.7 keV blackbody spectrum with an emission radius of 0.5 km. Since the neutron star in Cir X-1 is only few thousand years old we identify this as emission from an accretion column since at this youth the neutron star is assumed to be highly magnetized. At an X-ray flux of 1.8×10−11 erg cm−2 s−1 this implies a moderate magnetic field of a few times of 1011 G. The photoionized X-ray emission line properties at this low flux are consistent with B5-type companion wind. We suggest that Cir X-1 is a very young Be-star binary.
Tunable microwave devices will play an important role in future wireless systems, in which high-frequency bands, e.g. millimeter waves, will become promising, due to its huge spectrum availability. At such frequency bands, liquid crystals (LCs) exhibit low microwave loss, which is excellent compared with the other tuning elements. In this paper, LC-based microwave components are fabricated by using low temperature co-fired ceramic technology, allowing the integration of the LC into microwave structures. The first component, the amplitude tuner, controls the signal's amplitude by using the interference concept, which exhibits a tunable attenuation range from 11 dB to 30 dB at 30 GHz. The second component is a 3-pole tunable bandpass filter, which is realized by using a substrate integrated waveguide topology, enabling a device with comparatively high-quality factors (Q-factors). The measurement results show Q-factors in the range of 68 to 100 for a frequency tuning of 29.4–30.1 GHz, i.e. a tuning range of 700 MHz, accompanied by an insertion loss 2 dB to 4 dB.
A range of endophenotypes characterise psychosis, however there has been limited work understanding if and how they are inter-related.
This multi-centre study includes 8754 participants: 2212 people with a psychotic disorder, 1487 unaffected relatives of probands, and 5055 healthy controls. We investigated cognition [digit span (N = 3127), block design (N = 5491), and the Rey Auditory Verbal Learning Test (N = 3543)], electrophysiology [P300 amplitude and latency (N = 1102)], and neuroanatomy [lateral ventricular volume (N = 1721)]. We used linear regression to assess the interrelationships between endophenotypes.
The P300 amplitude and latency were not associated (regression coef. −0.06, 95% CI −0.12 to 0.01, p = 0.060), and P300 amplitude was positively associated with block design (coef. 0.19, 95% CI 0.10–0.28, p < 0.001). There was no evidence of associations between lateral ventricular volume and the other measures (all p > 0.38). All the cognitive endophenotypes were associated with each other in the expected directions (all p < 0.001). Lastly, the relationships between pairs of endophenotypes were consistent in all three participant groups, differing for some of the cognitive pairings only in the strengths of the relationships.
The P300 amplitude and latency are independent endophenotypes; the former indexing spatial visualisation and working memory, and the latter is hypothesised to index basic processing speed. Individuals with psychotic illnesses, their unaffected relatives, and healthy controls all show similar patterns of associations between endophenotypes, endorsing the theory of a continuum of psychosis liability across the population.
We present results from a multiwavelength study of the blazar PKS 1954–388 at radio, UV, X-ray, and gamma-ray energies. A RadioAstron observation at 1.66 GHz in June 2012 resulted in the detection of interferometric fringes on baselines of 6.2 Earth-diameters. This suggests a source frame brightness temperature of greater than 2 × 1012 K, well in excess of both equipartition and inverse Compton limits and implying the existence of Doppler boosting in the core. An 8.4-GHz TANAMI VLBI image, made less than a month after the RadioAstron observations, is consistent with a previously reported superluminal motion for a jet component. Flux density monitoring with the Australia Telescope Compact Array confirms previous evidence for long-term variability that increases with observing frequency. A search for more rapid variability revealed no evidence for significant day-scale flux density variation. The ATCA light-curve reveals a strong radio flare beginning in late 2013, which peaks higher, and earlier, at higher frequencies. Comparison with the Fermi gamma-ray light-curve indicates this followed ~ 9 months after the start of a prolonged gamma-ray high-state—a radio lag comparable to that seen in other blazars. The multiwavelength data are combined to derive a Spectral Energy Distribution, which is fitted by a one-zone synchrotron-self-Compton (SSC) model with the addition of external Compton (EC) emission.
The bearded fireworm, Hermodice carunculata, is a common species in the marine annelid taxon Amphinomidae. It has a widespread distribution throughout the Atlantic, Gulf of Mexico, the Caribbean, Mediterranean and Red Seas. We review its environmental tolerances, defence mechanisms and feeding habits to evaluate its potential to survive in changing ocean conditions, to increasingly emerge as a nuisance species and to invade new geographic areas. Hermodice carunculata tolerates a wide range of environmental conditions, including temperature, salinity, oxygen saturation and various types of pollution. It has few natural predators because it is protected by its sharp chaetae and probably by toxins. Hermodice carunculata is best known for consuming live cnidarians, and has been implicated in transmitting coral pathogens, but it also feeds non-selectively on detritus. In the short term, we predict that H. carunculata will be able to withstand many future ecological challenges and possibly contribute to coral reef decline. In the long term, ocean acidification may negatively impact its defence mechanisms and survival. Its invasive potential may be significant. We highlight the gaps in our knowledge about the reproduction and development of this species, the nature and origin of its toxins and role of microbes in their feeding behaviour and defensive strategies.
A number of laser facilities coming online all over the world promise the capability of high-power laser experiments with shot repetition rates between 1 and 10 Hz. Target availability and technical issues related to the interaction environment could become a bottleneck for the exploitation of such facilities. In this paper, we report on target needs for three different classes of experiments: dynamic compression physics, electron transport and isochoric heating, and laser-driven particle and radiation sources. We also review some of the most challenging issues in target fabrication and high repetition rate operation. Finally, we discuss current target supply strategies and future perspectives to establish a sustainable target provision infrastructure for advanced laser facilities.
The German twin family study ‘TwinLife’ was designed to enhance our understanding of the development of social inequalities over the life course. The interdisciplinary project investigates mechanisms of social inequalities across the lifespan by taking into account psychological as well as social mechanisms, and their genetic origin as well as the interaction and covariation between these factors. Main characteristics of the study are: (1) a multidimensional perspective on social inequalities, (2) the assessment of developmental trajectories in childhood, adolescence, and young adulthood in a longitudinal design by using (3) a combination of a multi-cohort cross-sequential and an extended twin family design, while (4) capturing a large variation of behavioral and environmental factors in a representative sample of about 4,000 German twin families. In the present article, we first introduce the theoretical and empirical background of the TwinLife study, and second, describe the design, content, and implementation of TwinLife. Since the data will be made available as scientific use file, we also illustrate research possibilities provided by this project to the scientific community.
In Germany tularemia is a re-emerging zoonotic disease. Therefore, we investigated wild animals and environmental water samples for the presence and phylogenetic diversity of Francisella tularensis in the poorly studied Berlin/Brandenburg region. The phylogenomic analysis of three isolates from wild animals revealed three new subclades within the phylogenetic tree of F. tularensis [B.71 from a raccoon dog (Nyctereutes procyonoides); B.74 from a red fox (Vulpes vulpes), and B.75 from a Eurasian beaver (Castor fiber albicus)]. The results from histological, PCR, and genomic investigations on the dead beaver showed that the animal suffered from a systemic infection. Indications were found that the bacteria were released from the beaver carcass into the surrounding environment. We demonstrated unexpectedly high and novel phylogenetic diversity of F. tularensis in Germany and the fact that the bacteria persist in the environment for at least one climatic season. These findings support a broader host species diversity than previously known regarding Germany. Our data further support the assumption derived from previous serological studies of an underestimated frequency of occurrence of the pathogen in the environment and in wild animals. F. tularensis was isolated from animal species not previously reported as natural hosts in Germany.
Data on gender-specific profiles of cognitive functions in patients with Parkinson's disease (PD) are rare and inconsistent, and possible disease-confounding factors have been insufficiently considered.
The LANDSCAPE study on cognition in PD enrolled 656 PD patients (267 without cognitive impairment, 66% male; 292 with mild cognitive impairment, 69% male; 97 with PD dementia, 69% male). Raw values and age-, education-, and gender-corrected Z scores of a neuropsychological test battery (CERAD-Plus) were compared between genders. Motor symptoms, disease duration, l-dopa equivalent daily dose, depression - and additionally age and education for the raw value analysis - were taken as covariates.
Raw-score analysis replicated results of previous studies in that female PD patients were superior in verbal memory (word list learning, p = 0.02; recall, p = 0.03), while men outperformed women in visuoconstruction (p = 0.002) and figural memory (p = 0.005). In contrast, gender-corrected Z scores showed that men were superior in verbal memory (word list learning, p = 0.02; recall, p = 0.02; recognition, p = 0.04), while no difference was found for visuospatial tests. This picture could be observed both in the overall analysis of PD patients as well as in a differentiated group analysis.
Normative data corrected for gender and other sociodemographic variables are relevant, since they may elucidate a markedly different cognitive profile compared to raw scores. Our study also suggests that verbal memory decline is stronger in women than in men with PD. Future studies are needed to replicate these findings, examine the progression of gender-specific cognitive decline in PD and define different underlying mechanisms of this dysfunction.
Bipolar disorder is a highly heritable polygenic disorder. Recent
enrichment analyses suggest that there may be true risk variants for
bipolar disorder in the expression quantitative trait loci (eQTL) in the
We sought to assess the impact of eQTL variants on bipolar disorder risk
by combining data from both bipolar disorder genome-wide association
studies (GWAS) and brain eQTL.
To detect single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) that influence
expression levels of genes associated with bipolar disorder, we jointly
analysed data from a bipolar disorder GWAS (7481 cases and 9250 controls)
and a genome-wide brain (cortical) eQTL (193 healthy controls) using a
Bayesian statistical method, with independent follow-up replications. The
identified risk SNP was then further tested for association with
hippocampal volume (n = 5775) and cognitive performance
(n = 342) among healthy individuals.
Integrative analysis revealed a significant association between a brain
eQTL rs6088662 on chromosome 20q11.22 and bipolar disorder (log Bayes
factor = 5.48; bipolar disorder P =
5.85×10–5). Follow-up studies across multiple independent
samples confirmed the association of the risk SNP (rs6088662) with gene
expression and bipolar disorder susceptibility (P =
3.54×10–8). Further exploratory analysis revealed that
rs6088662 is also associated with hippocampal volume and cognitive
performance in healthy individuals.
Our findings suggest that 20q11.22 is likely a risk region for bipolar
disorder; they also highlight the informative value of integrating
functional annotation of genetic variants for gene expression in
advancing our understanding of the biological basis underlying complex
disorders, such as bipolar disorder.
Objectives: One of the most prominent features of schizophrenia is relatively lower general cognitive ability (GCA). An emerging approach to understanding the roots of variation in GCA relies on network properties of the brain. In this multi-center study, we determined global characteristics of brain networks using graph theory and related these to GCA in healthy controls and individuals with schizophrenia. Methods: Participants (N=116 controls, 80 patients with schizophrenia) were recruited from four sites. GCA was represented by the first principal component of a large battery of neurocognitive tests. Graph metrics were derived from diffusion-weighted imaging. Results: The global metrics of longer characteristic path length and reduced overall connectivity predicted lower GCA across groups, and group differences were noted for both variables. Measures of clustering, efficiency, and modularity did not differ across groups or predict GCA. Follow-up analyses investigated three topological types of connectivity—connections among high degree “rich club” nodes, “feeder” connections to these rich club nodes, and “local” connections not involving the rich club. Rich club and local connectivity predicted performance across groups. In a subsample (N=101 controls, 56 patients), a genetic measure reflecting mutation load, based on rare copy number deletions, was associated with longer characteristic path length. Conclusions: Results highlight the importance of characteristic path lengths and rich club connectivity for GCA and provide no evidence for group differences in the relationships between graph metrics and GCA. (JINS, 2016, 22, 240–249)
The Herschel Space Observatory was the fourth cornerstone mission in the European Space Agency (ESA) science programme with excellent broad band imaging capabilities in the sub-mm and far-infrared part of the spectrum. Although the spacecraft finished its observations in 2013, it left a large legacy dataset that is far from having been fully scrutinised and still has a large potential for new scientific discoveries. This is specifically true for the photometric observations of the PACS and SPIRE instruments. Some source catalogues have already been produced by individual observing programs, but there are many observations that risk to remain unexplored. To maximise the science return of the SPIRE and PACS data sets, we are in the process of building the Herschel Point Source Catalogue (HPSC) from all primary and parallel mode observations. Our homogeneous source extraction enables a systematic and unbiased comparison of sensitivity across the different Herschel fields that single programs will generally not be able to provide. The catalogue will be made available online through archives like the Herschel Science Archive (HSA), the Infrared Science Archive (IRSA), and the Strasbourg Astronomical Data Center (CDS).