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Infectious diseases, such as Helicobacter pylori, which produce systemic inflammation may be one key factor in the onset of autoimmunity. The association between H. pylori and antinuclear antibodies (ANA), a marker of autoimmunity, has been understudied. Data from the 1999–2000 National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey were used to evaluate the cross-sectional association between H. pylori seroprevalence and ANA positivity in US adults aged ≥20 years. ANA was measured in a 1:80 dilution of sera by indirect immunofluorescence using HEp-2 cells (positive ⩾3). H. pylori immunoglobulin G enzyme-linked immunosorbent assays were used to categorise individuals as seropositive or seronegative. H. pylori seropositivity and ANA positivity were common in the adult US population, with estimated prevalences of 33.3% and 9.9%, respectively. Both were associated with increasing age. H. pylori seropositivity was associated with higher odds of ANA (prevalence odds ratio = 1.89, 95% confidence interval = 1.08–3.33), adjusted for age, sex, race/ethnicity, educational attainment and body mass index. H. pylori infection may be one key factor in the loss of self-tolerance, contributing to immune dysfunction.
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.
Outpatient central venous catheters (CVCs) are being used more frequently; however, data describing mechanical complications and central-line–associated bloodstream infections (CLABSI) in the outpatient setting are limited. We performed a retrospective observational cohort study to understand the burden of these complications to elucidate their impact on the healthcare system.
Data were retrospectively collected on patients discharged from Vanderbilt University Medical Center with a CVC in place and admitted into the care of Vanderbilt Home Care Services. Risk factors for medically attended catheter-associated complications (CACs) and outpatient CLABSIs were analyzed.
A CAC developed in 143 patients (21.9%), for a total of 165 discrete CAC events. Among these, 76 (46%) required at least 1 visit to the emergency department or an inpatient admission, while the remaining 89 (54%) required an outpatient clinic visit. The risk for developing a CAC was significantly increased in female patients, patients with a CVC with >1 lumen, and patients receiving total parenteral nutrition. The absolute number of CLABSIs identified in the study population was small at 16, or 2.4% of the total cohort.
Medically attended catheter complications were common among outpatients discharged with a CVC, and reduction of these events should be the focus of outpatient quality improvement programs.
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.
Proxies have the potential to accelerate feed efficiency (residual feed intake (RFI); kg dry matter/day) improvement, assisting with the reduction of beef cattle feed costs and environmental impact. Heart rate (HR) (beats per minute (BPM)) is associated with feed efficiency and influenced by autonomic activity and peripheral metabolism, suggesting HR could be used as a proxy for feed efficiency. Objectives were to assess associations between overnight HR, lying patterns and RFI, and between acute stress HR and RFI. Heifer calves (n=107; 408±28 days of age, 341±42.2 kg) and yearling heifers (n=36; 604±92 days of age, 539±52.2 kg) were exposed to a performance test to determine productive performance. Overnight HR (electrode based) and lying patterns (accelerometer based) were monitored on a subgroup of heifer calves (n=40; 20 lowest RFI; 20 highest RFI). In the 10-min acute stress assessment, all heifers were individually exposed to the opening and closing of an umbrella and HR before (HRBEF), in response to (HRMAX), after (HRAFT) and change (HRCHG; HRAFT−HRBEF) as a result of exposure were determined. Using polynomial regression, rate of HR decrease pre-exposure (β1) and rates of HR increase (β2) and decrease (β3, β4) post-exposure were determined. Heifer calves in the overnight assessment were classified into equal RFI groups (low RFI; high RFI) and HR means were treated as repeated measures and compared using multiple regression. In the acute stress assessment, heifers were classified within cattle category into equal RFI groups (low RFI; high RFI) and means and polynomial regression parameters were compared using multiple regression. Low-RFI heifer calves had a lower overnight HR (69.2 v. 72.6 BPM), similar HR change from lying to standing intervals (8.9 v. 9.2 BPM) and similar time lying (61.1% v. 64.5%) compared with high-RFI heifer calves. Low-RFI heifer calves had a higher absolute HRMAX (162.9 v. 145.7 BPM) and β2 (−0.34 v. −0.20) than high-RFI heifer calves. Low-RFI yearling heifers had similar acute stress HR means and a lower β1 (0.003 v. 0.006) than high-RFI yearling heifers. Overnight HR and acute stress HR are potential indicators of RFI in heifer calves. However, acute stress HR results varied in yearling heifers, suggesting previous handling experience and/or age influence stress response. Pending further development (predictive ability, repeatability), the acute stress assessment could have potential for on-farm application as a feed efficiency proxy in young heifers with minimal handling experience.
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.
We implemented a direct-observer hand hygiene audit program that used trained observers, wireless data entry devices, and an intranet portal. We improved the reliability and utility of the data by standardizing audit processes, regularly retraining auditors, developing an audit guidance tool, and reporting weighted composite hand hygiene compliance scores.
The Parkes pulsar data archive currently provides access to 144044 data files obtained from observations carried out at the Parkes observatory since the year 1991. Around 105 files are from surveys of the sky, the remainder are observations of 775 individual pulsars and their corresponding calibration signals. Survey observations are included from the Parkes 70 cm and the Swinburne Intermediate Latitude surveys. Individual pulsar observations are included from young pulsar timing projects, the Parkes Pulsar Timing Array and from the PULSE@Parkes outreach program. The data files and access methods are compatible with Virtual Observatory protocols. This paper describes the data currently stored in the archive and presents ways in which these data can be searched and downloaded.
No standard definition exists for surveillance and characterization of the epidemiology of bloodstream infections (BSIs) after cardiac catheterization (CC) procedures. We proposed a novel case definition and determined the epidemiology and risk factors of BSIs after CC procedure using this new definition.
Vancomycin-resistant enterococci (VRE) have become a public health concern with implications for patient mortality and costs. Hospital antibiotic usage may impact VRE incidence, but the relationship is poorly understood. Animal investigations suggest that ceftriaxone may be associated with VRE proliferation. We measured antimicrobial usage and VRE bloodstream infection (VRE-BSI) incidence to test our hypothesis that increased ceftriaxone usage would be associated with a higher incidence of VRE-BSI.
Retrospective cohort study.
University of Alabama at Birmingham Medical Center, a 900-bed urban tertiary care hospital.
All patients admitted during the study period contributed data.
We conducted a retrospective analysis of antimicrobial usage and VRE-BSI from 2005 to 2008 (43 months). Antimicrobial usage was quantified as days of therapy (DOTs) per 1,000 patient-days. VRE-BSI incidence was calculated as cases per 1,000 patient-days. Negative binomial regression with adjustment for correlation between consecutive observations was used to measure the association between antimicrobial usage and VRE-BSI incidence at the hospital- and care-unit levels.
VRE-BSI incidence increased from 0.06 to 0.17 infections per 1,000 patient-days. Hospital VRE-BSI incidence was associated with prior-month ceftriaxone DOTs (incidence rate ratio, 1.38 per 10 DOTs; P = .005). After controlling for ceftriaxone, prior-month cephalosporin usage (class) was not predictive of VRE-BSI (P = .70). Similarly, prior-month usage of piperacillin-tazobactam, ceftazidime, cefepime, cefazolin, or vancomycin was not predictive of VRE-BSI when considered individually (P ≥ .4 for all comparisons). The final model suggests that type of intensive care unit was related to VRE-BSI incidence.
Ceftriaxone usage in the prior month, but not cephalosporin (class) or vancomycin usage, was related to VRE-BSI incidence. These findings suggest that an antimicrobial stewardship program that limits ceftriaxone may reduce nosocomial VRE-BSI incidence.
A synthetic strategy to couple selectively an ionic complementary thiol
modified octapeptide, that is able to gel at low temperature, to the
thermoresponsive polymer poly(N-isopropylacrylamide) (pNIPAAm) with
controlled molecular weight and narrow polydispersity is described. The
polymer was synthesized by atom transfer radical polymerization (ATRP)
affording halogen functionalized chain ends. This allowed subsequent
coupling to a thiol terminated ionic complementary octapeptide
via nucleophile substitution. Results indicated that the
peptide was covalently attached to the polymer and that both the
coil-globule phase transition of pNIPAAm and the gelation properties of the
peptide were retained in the conjugated product. This method provides a
versatile route for the synthesis of a range of bioconjugate materials with
controlled architecture and dual self-assembling and thermoresponsive
Interferon-alpha (IFN-α) treatment for infectious disease and cancer causes high rates of depression and fatigue, and has been used to investigate the impact of inflammatory cytokines on brain and behavior. However, little is known about the transcriptional impact of chronic IFN-α on immune cells in vivo and its relationship to IFN-α-induced behavioral changes.
Genome-wide transcriptional profiling was performed on peripheral blood mononuclear cells (PBMCs) from 21 patients with chronic hepatitis C virus (HCV) either awaiting IFN-α therapy (n=10) or at 12 weeks of IFN-α treatment (n=11).
Significance analysis of microarray data identified 252 up-regulated and 116 down-regulated gene transcripts. Of the up-regulated genes, 2′-5′-oligoadenylate synthetase 2 (OAS2), a gene linked to chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS), was the only gene that was differentially expressed in patients with IFN-α-induced depression/fatigue, and correlated with depression and fatigue scores at 12 weeks (r=0.80, p=0.003 and r=0.70, p=0.017 respectively). Promoter-based bioinformatic analyses linked IFN-α-related transcriptional alterations to transcription factors involved in myeloid differentiation, IFN-α signaling, activator protein-1 (AP1) and cAMP responsive element binding protein/activation transcription factor (CREB/ATF) pathways, which were derived primarily from monocytes and plasmacytoid dendritic cells. IFN-α-treated patients with high depression/fatigue scores demonstrated up-regulation of genes bearing promoter motifs for transcription factors involved in myeloid differentiation, IFN-α and AP1 signaling, and reduced prevalence of motifs for CREB/ATF, which has been implicated in major depression.
Depression and fatigue during chronic IFN-α administration were associated with alterations in the expression (OAS2) and transcriptional control (CREB/ATF) of genes linked to behavioral disorders including CFS and major depression, further supporting an immune contribution to these diseases.