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GravityCam is a new concept of ground-based imaging instrument capable of delivering significantly sharper images from the ground than is normally possible without adaptive optics. Advances in optical and near-infrared imaging technologies allow images to be acquired at high speed without significant noise penalty. Aligning these images before they are combined can yield a 2.5–3-fold improvement in image resolution. By using arrays of such detectors, survey fields may be as wide as the telescope optics allows. Consequently, GravityCam enables both wide-field high-resolution imaging and high-speed photometry. We describe the instrument and detail its application to provide demographics of planets and satellites down to Lunar mass (or even below) across the Milky Way. GravityCam is also suited to improve the quality of weak shear studies of dark matter distribution in distant clusters of galaxies and multiwavelength follow-ups of background sources that are strongly lensed by galaxy clusters. The photometric data arising from an extensive microlensing survey will also be useful for asteroseismology studies, while GravityCam can be used to monitor fast multiwavelength flaring in accreting compact objects and promises to generate a unique data set on the population of the Kuiper belt and possibly the Oort cloud.
Ca homoeostasis is important to human health and tightly controlled by powerful hormonal mechanisms that display ethnic variation. Ethnic variations could occur also in Arctic populations where the traditional Inuit diet is low in Ca and sun exposure is limited. We aimed to assess factors important to parathyroid hormone (PTH) and Ca in serum in Arctic populations. We included Inuit and Caucasians aged 50–69 years living in the capital city in West or in rural East Greenland. Lifestyle factors were assessed by questionnaires. The intake of Inuit diet was assessed from a FFQ. 25-Hydroxyvitamin D (25OHD2 and 25OHD3) levels were measured in serum as was albumin, Ca and PTH. The participation rate was 95 %, with 101 Caucasians and 434 Inuit. Median serum 25OHD (99·7 % was 25OHD3) in Caucasians/Inuit was 42/64 nmol/l (25, 75 percentiles 25, 54/51, 81) (P<0·001). Total Ca in serum was 2·33/2·29 mmol/l (25, 75 percentiles 2·26, 2·38/2·21, 2·36) (P=0·01) and PTH was 2·7/2·2 pmol/l (25, 75 percentiles 2·2, 4·1/1·7, 2·7) (P<0·001). The 69/97 Caucasians/Inuit with serum 25OHD <50 nmol/l differed in PTH (P=0·001) that rose with lower 25OHD levels in Caucasians, whereas this was not the case in Inuit. Ethnic origin influenced PTH (β=0·27, P<0·001) and Ca (β=0·22, P<0·001) in multivariate linear regression models after adjustment for age, sex, BMI, smoking, alcohol and diet. In conclusion, ethnic origin influenced PTH, PTH response to low vitamin D levels and Ca levels in populations in Greenland. Recommendations are to evaluate mechanisms underlying the ethnic influence on Ca homoeostasis and to assess the impact of transition in dietary habits on Ca homoeostasis and skeletal health in Arctic populations.
Our understanding of the complex relationship between schizophrenia symptomatology and etiological factors can be improved by studying brain-based correlates of schizophrenia. Research showed that impairments in value processing and executive functioning, which have been associated with prefrontal brain areas [particularly the medial orbitofrontal cortex (MOFC)], are linked to negative symptoms. Here we tested the hypothesis that MOFC thickness is associated with negative symptom severity.
This study included 1985 individuals with schizophrenia from 17 research groups around the world contributing to the ENIGMA Schizophrenia Working Group. Cortical thickness values were obtained from T1-weighted structural brain scans using FreeSurfer. A meta-analysis across sites was conducted over effect sizes from a model predicting cortical thickness by negative symptom score (harmonized Scale for the Assessment of Negative Symptoms or Positive and Negative Syndrome Scale scores).
Meta-analytical results showed that left, but not right, MOFC thickness was significantly associated with negative symptom severity (βstd = −0.075; p = 0.019) after accounting for age, gender, and site. This effect remained significant (p = 0.036) in a model including overall illness severity. Covarying for duration of illness, age of onset, antipsychotic medication or handedness weakened the association of negative symptoms with left MOFC thickness. As part of a secondary analysis including 10 other prefrontal regions further associations in the left lateral orbitofrontal gyrus and pars opercularis emerged.
Using an unusually large cohort and a meta-analytical approach, our findings point towards a link between prefrontal thinning and negative symptom severity in schizophrenia. This finding provides further insight into the relationship between structural brain abnormalities and negative symptoms in schizophrenia.
The chemical evolution of a star- and planet-forming system begins in the prestellar phase and proceeds across the subsequent evolutionary phases. The chemical trail from cores to protoplanetary disks to planetary embryos can be studied by comparing distant young protostars and comets in our Solar System. One particularly chemically rich system that is thought to be analogous to our own is the low-mass IRAS 16293-2422. ALMA-PILS observations have made the study of chemistry on the disk scales (<100 AU) of this system possible. Under the assumption that comets are pristine tracers of the outer parts of the innate protosolar disk, it is possible to compare the composition of our infant Solar System to that of IRAS 16293-2422. The Rosetta mission has yielded a wealth of unique in situ measurements on comet 67P/C-G, making it the best probe to date. Herein, the initial comparisons in terms of the chemical composition and isotopic ratios are summarized. Much work is still to be carried out in the future as the analysis of both of these data sets is still ongoing.
This observational study aims to investigate the microbiological quality of commercially prepared lightly cooked foods with a major component of food of animal origin and collected as would be served to a consumer. A total of 356 samples were collected from catering (92%), retail (7%) or producers (1%) and all were independent of known incidents of foodborne illness. Using standard methods, all samples were tested for: the presence of Campylobacter spp. and Salmonella spp. and enumerated for levels of, Bacillus spp. including B. cereus, Clostridium perfringens, Listeria spp. including L. monocytogenes, Staphylococcus aureus, Escherichia coli, Enterobacteriacea and aerobic colony count (ACC). Results were interpreted as unsatisfactory, borderline or satisfactory according to the Health Protection Agency guidelines for assessing the microbiological safety of ready-to-eat foods placed on the market. Amongst all samples, 70% were classified as satisfactory, 18% were borderline and 12% were of unsatisfactory microbiological quality. Amongst the unsatisfactory samples, six (2%) were potentially injurious to health due to the presence of: Salmonella spp. (one duck breast); Campylobacter spp. (two duck breast and one chicken liver pâté); L. monocytogenes at 4·3 × 103 cfu (colony-forming units)/g (one duck confit with foie gras ballotin) and C. perfringens at 2·5 × 105 cfu/g (one chicken liver pâté). The remaining unsatisfactory samples were due to high levels of indicator E. coli, Enterobacteriaceae or ACC.
The purpose of this study was to investigate the microbiological quality of liver pâté. During 2012–13, a total of 870 samples, unrelated to the investigation of food-poisoning outbreaks, were collected either at retail (46%), catering (53%) or the point of manufacture (1%) and were tested using standard methods to detect Salmonella spp. or Campylobacter spp., and to enumerate for Listeria spp., including Listeria monocytogenes, Clostridium perfringens, coagulase-positive staphylococci including Staphylococcus aureus, Bacillus spp., including Bacillus cereus, Escherichia coli, Enterobacteriaceae, and aerobic colony counts (ACCs). Seventy-three percent of samples were of satisfactory microbiological quality, 18% were borderline and 9% unsatisfactory. Salmonella spp. or Campylobacter spp. was not recovered from any sample. The most common causes of unsatisfactory results were elevated ACCs (6% of the samples) and high Enterobacteriaceae counts (4% of samples). The remaining unsatisfactory results were due to elevated counts of: E. coli (three samples); B. cereus (one sample at 2·6 × 105 cfu/g); or L. monocytogenes (one sample at 2·9 × 103 cfu/g). Pâté from retail was less likely to be contaminated with L. monocytogenes than samples collected from catering and samples from supermarkets were of significantly better microbiological quality than those from catering establishments.
Five cases of STEC O157 phage type (PT) 21/28 reported consumption of raw cows' drinking milk (RDM) produced at a dairy farm in the South West of England. STEC O157 PT21/28 was isolated from faecal specimens from milking cows on the implicated farm. Whole genome sequencing (WGS) showed that human and cattle isolates were the same strain. Further analysis of WGS data confirmed that sequences of isolates from an additional four cases (who did not report consumption of RDM when first questioned) fell within the same five single nucleotide polymorphism cluster as the initial five cases epidemiologically linked to the consumption of RDM. These four additional cases identified by WGS were investigated further and were, ultimately, associated with the implicated farm. The RDM outbreak strain encoded stx2a, which is associated with increased pathogenicity and severity of symptoms. Further epidemiological analysis showed that 70% of isolates within a wider cluster containing the outbreak strain were from cases residing in, or linked to, the same geographical region of England. During this RDM outbreak, use of WGS improved case ascertainment and provided insights into the evolution of a highly pathogenic clade of STEC O157 PT21/28 stx2a associated with the South West of England.
Autoimmune diseases are associated with substantial morbidity and mortality, yet the etiology remains unclear. Depression has been implicated as a risk factor for various immune-related disorders but little is known about the risk of autoimmune disease. This study examined the association between depression and the risk of autoimmune disease, and investigated the temporal and dose-response nature of these relationships.
A prospective population-based study including approximately 1.1 million people was conducted using linked Danish registries. Depression and autoimmune diseases were diagnosed by physicians and documented in medical records. In total, 145 217 individuals with depression were identified between 1995 and 2012. Survival analyses were used to estimate the relative risk of autoimmune disease among those with, compared to without, depression. Analyses were adjusted for gender, age, and co-morbid mental disorders.
Depression was associated with a significantly increased risk of autoimmune disease [incidence rate ratio (IRR) 1.25, 95% CI 1.19–1.31], compared to those without a history of depression. Results suggest a general increased risk of autoimmune diseases following the onset of depression during first year (IRR 1.29, 95% CI 1.05–1.58), which remained elevated for the ensuing 11 years and beyond (IRR 1.53, 95% CI 1.34–1.76). Findings did not support a dose-response relationship.
Depression appears to be associated with an increased risk of a range of autoimmune diseases. Depression may play a role in the etiology of certain autoimmune conditions. If replicated, findings could highlight additional clinical implications in the treatment and management of depression. Future studies are needed to investigate the possible social, genetic, and neurobiological underpinnings of these relationships.
Submillimetre observations of externally irradiated low-mass protostellar envelopes show that the gas temperature in the envelopes is dominated by the external irradiation. Detailed studies of the protostar IRS7B in Corona Australis also show that the chemistry is strongly affected by the irradiation, depleting the abundances of complex organic molecules.
An increase in pertussis has been observed in several countries over the last decades, especially in adult populations. The seroprevalence of pertussis was determined in a cross-sectional study of the adult population in the Copenhagen area, Denmark, conducted between 2006 and 2008. Specific IgG antibodies against pertussis toxin (PT) were measured in 3440 persons resulting in an age-standardized seroprevalence of 3·0% (95% confidence interval 1·9–4·7) using an IgG anti-PT cut-off of 75 IU/ml. By using antibody decay profiles from longitudinal data the estimated seroincidence was 143/1000 person-years. In contrast, an incidence of 0·03/1000 person-years was estimated from the official data of notified cases during the same period. Of the investigated risk factors, only age and education were significantly associated with pertussis infection. This study indicates that pertussis is highly underestimated in the adult population in Denmark, which has implications for future prevention strategies, including raising the awareness of pertussis.
The prototype telescope and instruments for the Stellar Observations Network Group (SONG) are nearing completion at the Observatorio del Teide on Tenerife. In this contribution we describe the current status (autumn 2013) of the telescope and its instrumentation. Preliminary performance characteristics are presented for the high-resolution spectrograph based on daytime observations of the Sun and a 4 hour test series obtained for the sub-giant β Aquilae.
We report on a new survey of metallicities, ages, and Galactic orbits for a complete, magnitude-limited, and kinematically unbiased all-sky sample of 16 682 nearby F- and G-dwarfs. Our ∼ 63 000 new, accurate radial velocities for nearly 13 500 of the stars, combined with Hipparcos parallaxes and Tycho-2 proper motions, complete the kinematic data for 14 139 stars and allow us to identify most of the binary stars in the sample. Isochrone ages have been determined whenever reliable results are possible, with particular attention to realistic error estimates.
Among the basic properties of the Galactic disk that can be reinvestigated from our data are the metallicity distribution of G-dwarfs and the age–metallicity and age–velocity relations of the solar neighbourhood. We confirm the lack of metal-poor G-dwarfs relative to classical model predictions (the 'G-dwarf problem'), the near-constancy of the mean metallicity since the formation of the thin disk, and the appearance of the kinematic signature of the thick disk ∼ 10 Gyr ago.
The Ultra-Fast Flash Observatory (UFFO) Pathfinder for Gamma-Ray Bursts (GRBs) consists
of two telescopes. The UFFO Burst Alert & Trigger Telescope (UBAT) handles the
detection and localization of GRBs, and the Slewing Mirror Telescope (SMT) conducts the
measurement of the UV/optical afterglow. UBAT is equipped with an X-ray detector, analog
and digital signal readout electronics that detects X-rays from GRBs and determines the
location. SMT is equipped with a stepping motor and the associated electronics to rotate
the slewing mirror targeting the GRBs identified by UBAT. First the slewing mirror points
to a GRB, then SMT obtains the optical image of the GRB using the intensified CCD and its
readout electronics. The UFFO Data Acquisition system (UDAQ) is responsible for the
overall function and operation of the observatory and the communication with the satellite
main processor. In this paper we present the design and implementation of the electronics
of UBAT and SMT as well as the architecture and implementation of UDAQ.
LOFT (Large Observatory For X-ray Timing) is one of the four candidate missions currently
under assessment study for the M3 mission in ESAs Cosmic Vision program to be launched in
2024. LOFT will carry two instruments with prime sensitivity in the 2–30 keV range: a 10
m2 class large area detector (LAD) with a <1° collimated field of view
and a wide field monitor (WFM) instrument. The WFM is based on the coded mask principle,
and 5 camera units will provide coverage of more than 1/3 of the sky. The prime goal of
the WFM is to detect transient sources to be observed by the LAD. With its wide field of
view and good energy resolution of <500 eV, the WFM will be an excellent instrument
for detecting and studying GRBs and X-ray flashes. The WFM will be able to detect
~150 gamma ray bursts per year, and a burst alert system will enable the
distribution of ~100 GRB positions per year with a ~1 arcmin location
accuracy within 30 s of the burst.
We have developed a sheep model to facilitate studies of the fetal programming effects of mismatched perinatal and postnatal nutrition. During the last trimester of gestation, twenty-one twin-bearing ewes were fed a normal diet fulfilling norms for energy and protein (NORM) or 50 % of a normal diet (LOW). From day 3 postpartum to 6 months (around puberty) of age, one twin lamb was fed a conventional (CONV) diet and the other a high-carbohydrate–high-fat (HCHF) diet, resulting in four groups of offspring: NORM-CONV; NORM-HCHF; LOW-CONV; LOW-HCHF. At 6 months of age, half of the lambs (all males and three females) were slaughtered for further examination and the other half (females only) were transferred to a moderate sheep diet until slaughtered at 24 months of age (adulthood). Maternal undernutrition during late gestation reduced the birth weight of LOW offspring (P< 0·05), and its long-term effects were increased adrenal size in male lambs and adult females (P< 0·05), increased neonatal appetite for fat-(P= 0·004) rather than carbohydrate-rich feeds (P< 0·001) and reduced deposition of subcutaneous fat in both sexes (P< 0·05). Furthermore, LOW-HCHF female lambs had markedly higher visceral:subcutaneous fat ratios compared with the other groups (P< 0·001). Postnatal overfeeding (HCHF) resulted in obesity (>30 % fat in soft tissue) and widespread ectopic lipid deposition. In conclusion, our sheep model revealed strong pre- and postnatal impacts on growth, food preferences and fat deposition patterns. The present findings support a role for subcutaneous adipose tissue in the development of visceral adiposity, which in humans is known to precede the development of the metabolic syndrome in human adults.
The negative effect of invasive species on native species, communities, and ecosystems is widely recognized, and the economic effects in the United States are estimated to be billions of dollars annually. Studies often examine traits of nonnative species or examine what makes a particular habitat invasible. To better understand the factors governing invasions, we used the flora of Nebraska to characterize and compare native and nonnative plant occurrences throughout the state. In addition, we assessed four critical landscape predictors of nonnative plant richness: human population size and three land cover attributes that included percentage of grassland, percentage of agriculture, and percentage of public lands. Results indicated that individual plant species richness has increased by about 35% through invasions (primarily of annuals from the family Poaceae). In addition, human population density, percentage of agriculture, and percentage of public lands all show a positive association with nonnative plant richness. Successful plant invasions may change the composition of species communities, basic ecological functions, and the delivery of ecosystem services. Thus, identifying the factors that influence such variation in distribution patterns can be fundamental to recognizing the present and potential future extent of nonnative plant infestations and, in turn, developing appropriate management programs.