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The Murchison Widefield Array (MWA) is an open access telescope dedicated to studying the low-frequency (80–300 MHz) southern sky. Since beginning operations in mid-2013, the MWA has opened a new observational window in the southern hemisphere enabling many science areas. The driving science objectives of the original design were to observe 21 cm radiation from the Epoch of Reionisation (EoR), explore the radio time domain, perform Galactic and extragalactic surveys, and monitor solar, heliospheric, and ionospheric phenomena. All together
programs recorded 20 000 h producing 146 papers to date. In 2016, the telescope underwent a major upgrade resulting in alternating compact and extended configurations. Other upgrades, including digital back-ends and a rapid-response triggering system, have been developed since the original array was commissioned. In this paper, we review the major results from the prior operation of the MWA and then discuss the new science paths enabled by the improved capabilities. We group these science opportunities by the four original science themes but also include ideas for directions outside these categories.
Externalizing disorders are known to be partly heritable, but the biological pathways linking genetic risk to the manifestation of these costly behaviors remain under investigation. This study sought to identify neural phenotypes associated with genomic vulnerability for externalizing disorders.
One-hundred fifty-five White, non-Hispanic veterans were genotyped using a genome-wide array and underwent resting-state functional magnetic resonance imaging. Genetic susceptibility was assessed using an independently developed polygenic score (PS) for externalizing, and functional neural networks were identified using graph theory based network analysis. Tasks of inhibitory control and psychiatric diagnosis (alcohol/substance use disorders) were used to measure externalizing phenotypes.
A polygenic externalizing disorder score (PS) predicted connectivity in a brain circuit (10 nodes, nine links) centered on left amygdala that included several cortical [bilateral inferior frontal gyrus (IFG) pars triangularis, left rostral anterior cingulate cortex (rACC)] and subcortical (bilateral amygdala, hippocampus, and striatum) regions. Directional analyses revealed that bilateral amygdala influenced left prefrontal cortex (IFG) in participants scoring higher on the externalizing PS, whereas the opposite direction of influence was observed for those scoring lower on the PS. Polygenic variation was also associated with higher Participation Coefficient for bilateral amygdala and left rACC, suggesting that genes related to externalizing modulated the extent to which these nodes functioned as communication hubs.
Findings suggest that externalizing polygenic risk is associated with disrupted connectivity in a neural network implicated in emotion regulation, impulse control, and reinforcement learning. Results provide evidence that this network represents a genetically associated neurobiological vulnerability for externalizing disorders.
Posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and stress/trauma exposure are cross-sectionally associated with advanced DNA methylation age relative to chronological age. However, longitudinal inquiry and examination of associations between advanced DNA methylation age and a broader range of psychiatric disorders is lacking. The aim of this study was to examine if PTSD, depression, generalized anxiety, and alcohol-use disorders predicted acceleration of DNA methylation age over time (i.e. an increasing pace, or rate of advancement, of the epigenetic clock).
Genome-wide DNA methylation and a comprehensive set of psychiatric symptoms and diagnoses were assessed in 179 Iraq/Afghanistan war veterans who completed two assessments over the course of approximately 2 years. Two DNA methylation age indices (Horvath and Hannum), each a weighted index of an array of genome-wide DNA methylation probes, were quantified. The pace of the epigenetic clock was operationalized as change in DNA methylation age as a function of time between assessments.
Analyses revealed that alcohol-use disorders (p = 0.001) and PTSD avoidance and numbing symptoms (p = 0.02) at Time 1 were associated with an increasing pace of the epigenetic clock over time, per the Horvath (but not the Hannum) index of cellular aging.
This is the first study to suggest that posttraumatic psychopathology is longitudinally associated with a quickened pace of the epigenetic clock. Results raise the possibility that accelerated cellular aging is a common biological consequence of stress-related psychopathology, which carries implications for identifying mechanisms of stress-related cellular aging and developing interventions to slow its pace.
Hypertrophic cardiomyopathy has a range of clinical severity in children. Treatment options are limited, mainly on account of small patient size. Disopyramide is a sodium channel blocker with negative inotropic properties that effectively reduces left ventricular outflow tract gradients in adults with hypertrophic cardiomyopathy, but its efficacy in children is uncertain. A retrospective chart review of patients ⩽21 years of age with hypertrophic cardiomyopathy at our institution and treated with disopyramide was performed. Left ventricular outflow tract Doppler gradients before and after disopyramide initiation were compared as the primary outcome measure. Nine patients received disopyramide, with a median age of 5.6 years (range 6 days–12.9 years). The median left ventricular outflow tract Doppler gradient before initiation of disopyramide was 81 mmHg (range 30–132 mmHg); eight patients had post-initiation echocardiograms, in which the median lowest recorded Doppler gradient was 43 mmHg (range 15–100 mmHg), for a median % reduction of 58.2% (p=0.002). With median follow-up of 2.5 years, eight of nine patients were still alive, although disopyramide had been discontinued in six of the nine patients. Reasons for discontinuation included septal myomectomy (four patients), heart transplantation (one patient), and side effects (one patient). Disopyramide was effective for the relief of left ventricular outflow tract obstruction in children with hypertrophic cardiomyopathy, although longer-term data suggest that its efficacy is not sustained. In general, it was well tolerated. Further study in larger patient populations is warranted.
The profitability of pig production is constrained by high incidences of peri-parturient and pre-weaning piglet mortality. Supplementing sows with either progesterone or caffeine during the last week of gestation can reduce stillbirths and improve piglet performance. However, the consequences of combining these two substances has not been investigated. The aim of the current study was to determine the effect of oral supplementation of sows with progesterone (regumate) and caffeine at the end of gestation on the timing and progression of farrowing, as well as piglet survival and growth to weaning. From days 111 to 113 of gestation, 20 Large White pregnant sows (parity 3.0±0.45) received 5 ml of Regumate Porcine (0.4 w/v oral solution; MSD Animal Health) daily on top of their morning ration. Sows were stratified according to parity and predicted farrowing date, and allocated at random to receive a diet supplemented with either 0 g caffeine/kg diet (CONT) or 2.4 g of caffeine/kg diet (CAFF) from day 113 of gestation until parturition (n=10 sows/treatment). Treatment did not affect total litter size; however, CONT sows gave birth to more live and fewer dead piglets compared with CAFF sows; 14.5±0.73 v. 11.7±1.03 and 0.7±0.20 v. 3.2±0.77; P<0.05). Mean, minimum and maximum piglet birthweight were unaffected by treatment. Compared with the control, caffeine increased the proportion of piglets with a birthweight <1 kg (0.16±0.05 v. 0.05±0.02; P=0.072) and decreased the proportion of live born piglets surviving to day 5 postpartum (0.77±0.06 v. 0.90±0.02; P<0.05) and to weaning (0.74±0.06 v. 0.90±0.02; P<0.05). Overall, the current data provided the first evidence that caffeine supplementation of sows receiving progesterone to prevent premature farrowing impaired piglet survival during, and shortly after parturition. This negative outcome may be linked to extended farrowing durations and an increase in the proportion of very light piglets at birth. These data provide compelling, albeit preliminary, evidence that caffeine and progesterone should not be used together at the end of gestation.
Fetal growth restriction (FGR) and preterm birth are frequent co-morbidities, both are independent risks for brain injury. However, few studies have examined the mechanisms by which preterm FGR increases the risk of adverse neurological outcomes. We aimed to determine the effects of prematurity and mechanical ventilation (VENT) on the brain of FGR and appropriately grown (AG, control) lambs. We hypothesized that FGR preterm lambs are more vulnerable to ventilation-induced acute brain injury. FGR was surgically induced in fetal sheep (0.7 gestation) by ligation of a single umbilical artery. After 4 weeks, preterm lambs were euthanized at delivery or delivered and ventilated for 2 h before euthanasia. Brains and cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) were collected for analysis of molecular and structural indices of early brain injury. FGRVENT lambs had increased oxidative cell damage and brain injury marker S100B levels compared with all other groups. Mechanical ventilation increased inflammatory marker IL-8 within the brain of FGRVENT and AGVENT lambs. Abnormalities in the neurovascular unit and increased blood–brain barrier permeability were observed in FGRVENT lambs, as well as an altered density of vascular tight junctions markers. FGR and AG preterm lambs have different responses to acute injurious mechanical ventilation, changes which appear to have been developmentally programmed in utero.
For the first time, valence electron energy-loss spectroscopy (VEELS) was applied to individual single-crystalline SnO2 nanowires to investigate the dielectric function, band gap, and optical absorption coefficient. The results are compared with data from optical techniques such as spectroscopic ellipsometry and UV-Vis, and theoretical calculations from variations of density functional theory. The data obtained agree well with the standard optical and theoretical techniques. The dielectric function and optical absorption coefficient are given up to 20 eV, which otherwise requires a synchrotron source and large single crystals via optical methods. The energy loss function is given up to 40 eV, which gives a useful comparison to previous theoretical studies in an energy range that cannot be achieved via optical measurements. The comparison gives confidence in the accuracy of this method for exploring spatially-resolved measurements in individual nanoparticles or more complex nanostructures that are otherwise difficult to measure accurately using optical techniques.
Childbirth is a potent trigger for the onset of psychiatric illness in women including postpartum depression (PPD) and postpartum psychosis (PP). Medical complications occurring during pregnancy and/or childbirth have been linked to postpartum psychiatric illness and sociodemographic factors. We evaluated if pregnancy and obstetrical predictors have similar effects on different types of postpartum psychiatric disorders.
A population-based cohort study using Danish registers was conducted in 392 458 primiparous women with a singleton delivery between 1995 and 2012 and no previous psychiatric history. The main outcome was first-onset postpartum psychiatric episodes. Incidence rate ratios (IRRs) were calculated for any psychiatric contact in four quarters for the first year postpartum.
PPD and postpartum acute stress reactions were associated with pregnancy and obstetrical complications. For PPD, hyperemesis gravidarum [IRR 2.69, 95% confidence interval (CI) 1.93–3.73], gestational hypertension (IRR 1.84, 95% CI 1.33–2.55), pre-eclampsia (IRR 1.45, 95% CI 1.14–1.84) and Cesarean section (C-section) (IRR 1.32, 95% CI 1.13–1.53) were associated with increased risk. For postpartum acute stress, hyperemesis gravidarum (IRR 1.93, 95% CI 1.38–2.71), preterm birth (IRR 1.51, 95% CI 1.30–1.75), gestational diabetes (IRR 1.42, 95% CI 1.03–1.97) and C-section (IRR 1.36, 95% CI 1.20–1.55) were associated with increased risk. In contrast, risk of PP was not associated with pregnancy or obstetrical complications.
Pregnancy and obstetrical complications can increase the risk for PPD and acute stress reactions but not PP. Identification of postpartum women requiring secondary care is needed to develop targeted approaches for screening and treatment. Future work should focus on understanding the contributions of psychological stressors and underlying biology on the development of postpartum psychiatric illness.
The Dark Energy Survey is undertaking an observational programme imaging 1/4 of the southern hemisphere sky with unprecedented photometric accuracy. In the process of observing millions of faint stars and galaxies to constrain the parameters of the dark energy equation of state, the Dark Energy Survey will obtain pre-discovery images of the regions surrounding an estimated 100 gamma-ray bursts over 5 yr. Once gamma-ray bursts are detected by, e.g., the Swift satellite, the DES data will be extremely useful for follow-up observations by the transient astronomy community. We describe a recently-commissioned suite of software that listens continuously for automated notices of gamma-ray burst activity, collates information from archival DES data, and disseminates relevant data products back to the community in near-real-time. Of particular importance are the opportunities that non-public DES data provide for relative photometry of the optical counterparts of gamma-ray bursts, as well as for identifying key characteristics (e.g., photometric redshifts) of potential gamma-ray burst host galaxies. We provide the functional details of the DESAlert software, and its data products, and we show sample results from the application of DESAlert to numerous previously detected gamma-ray bursts, including the possible identification of several heretofore unknown gamma-ray burst hosts.
An association has been found between receipt of harsh parenting in childhood and adult health problems. However, this research has been principally retrospective, has treated children as passive recipients of parental behavior, and has overlooked individual differences in youth responsivity to harsh parenting. In a 10-year multiple-wave prospective study of African American families, we addressed these issues by focusing on the influence of polymorphisms in the oxytocin receptor gene (OXTR), variants of which appear to buffer or amplify responses to environmental stress. The participants were 303 youths, with a mean age of 11.2 at the first assessment, and their parents, all of whom were genotyped for variations in the rs53576 (A/G) polymorphism. Teachers rated preadolescent (ages 11 to 13) emotionally intense and distractible temperaments, and adolescents (ages 15 and 16) reported receipt of harsh parenting. Allostatic load was assessed during young adulthood (ages 20 and 21). Difficult preadolescent temperament forecast elevated receipt of harsh parenting in adolescence, and adolescents who experienced harsh parenting evinced high allostatic load during young adulthood. However, these associations emerged only among children and parents who carried A alleles of the OXTR genotype. The results suggest the oxytocin system operates along with temperament and parenting to forecast young adults’ allostatic load.
The movements of fluid–fluid interfaces and the common curve are an important aspect of two-fluid-phase flow through porous media. The focus of this work is to develop, apply and evaluate methods to simulate two-fluid-phase flow in porous medium systems at the microscale and to demonstrate how these results can be used to support evolving macroscale models. Of particular concern is the problem of spurious velocities that confound the accurate representation of interfacial dynamics in such systems. To circumvent this problem, a combined level-set and lattice-Boltzmann method is advanced to simulate and track the dynamics of the fluid–fluid interface and of the common curve during simulations of two-fluid-phase flow in porous media. We demonstrate that the interface and common curve velocities can be determined accurately, even when spurious currents are generated in the vicinity of interfaces. Static and dynamic contact angles are computed and shown to agree with existing slip models. A resolution study is presented for dynamic drainage and imbibition in a sphere pack, demonstrating the sensitivity of averaged quantities to resolution.
Euclid is the next ESA mission devoted to cosmology. It aims at observing most of the extragalactic sky, studying both gravitational lensing and clustering over ~15,000 square degrees. The mission is expected to be launched in year 2020 and to last six years. The sheer amount of data of different kinds, the variety of (un)known systematic effects and the complexity of measures require efforts both in sophisticated simulations and techniques of data analysis. We review the mission main characteristics, some aspects of the the survey and highlight some of the areas of interest to this meeting.