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We assessed whether paternal demographic, anthropometric and clinical factors influence the risk of an infant being born large-for-gestational-age (LGA). We examined the data on 3659 fathers of term offspring (including 662 LGA infants) born to primiparous women from Screening for Pregnancy Endpoints (SCOPE). LGA was defined as birth weight >90th centile as per INTERGROWTH 21st standards, with reference group being infants ⩽90th centile. Associations between paternal factors and likelihood of an LGA infant were examined using univariable and multivariable models. Men who fathered LGA babies were 180 g heavier at birth (P<0.001) and were more likely to have been born macrosomic (P<0.001) than those whose infants were not LGA. Fathers of LGA infants were 2.1 cm taller (P<0.001), 2.8 kg heavier (P<0.001) and had similar body mass index (BMI). In multivariable models, increasing paternal birth weight and height were independently associated with greater odds of having an LGA infant, irrespective of maternal factors. One unit increase in paternal BMI was associated with 2.9% greater odds of having an LGA boy but not girl; however, this association disappeared after adjustment for maternal BMI. There were no associations between paternal demographic factors or clinical history and infant LGA. In conclusion, fathers who were heavier at birth and were taller were more likely to have an LGA infant, but maternal BMI had a dominant influence on LGA.
The VU University Medical Center, a tertiary-care hospital in the Netherlands, has adopted a dress code based on national guidelines. It includes uniforms provided by the hospital and a ‘bare-below-the-elbow’ policy for all healthcare workers (HCWs) in direct patient care. Because compliance was poor, we sought to improve adherence by interventions targeted at the main causes of noncompliance.
To measure compliance with the dress code, to assess causes of noncompliance and to assess whether a behavioral approach (combing a nominal group technique with participatory action) is effective in improving compliance
Between March 2014 and June 2016, a total of 1,920 HCWs were observed in hospital hallways for adherence to the policy, at baseline, and at follow-up measurements. Based on the outcome of the baseline measurement, a nominal group technique was applied to assess causes of noncompliance. The causes revealed served as input for interventions that were developed, prioritized, and tailored to specific groups of HCWs and specific departments through participatory action.
We identified lack of knowledge, lack of facilities, and negative attitudes as the main causes of noncompliance. The importance of each cause varied for different groups of HCWs. Tailored interventions targeted at these causes increased overall compliance by 39.6% (95% CI, 31.7–47.5).
The combination of a nominal group technique and participatory action approach is an effective method to increase and sustain compliance with hospital dress code. This combined approach may also be useful to improve adherence to other guidelines.
To investigate whether the safety culture of a hospital unit is associated with the ability to improve.
Qualitative investigation of safety culture on hospital units following a before-and-after trial on hand hygiene.
VU University Medical Center, a tertiary-care hospital in the Netherlands.
With support from hospital management, we implemented a hospital-wide program to improve compliance. Over 2 years, compliance was measured through direct observation, twice before, and 4 times after interventions. We analyzed changes in compliance from baseline, and selected units to evaluate safety culture using a positive deviance approach: the hospital unit with the highest hand hygiene compliance and 2 units that showed significant improvement (21% and 16%, respectively) were selected as high performing. Another 2 units showed no improvement and were selected as low performing. A blinded, independent observer conducted interviews with unit management, physicians, and nurses, based on the Hospital Survey on Patient Safety Culture. Safety culture was categorized as pathological (lowest level), reactive, bureaucratic, proactive, or generative (highest level).
Overall, 3 units showed a proactive or generative safety culture and 2 units had bureaucratic or pathological safety cultures. When comparing compliance and interview results, high-performing units showed high levels of safety culture, while low-performing units showed low levels of safety culture.
Safety culture is associated with the ability to improve hand hygiene. Interventions may not be effective when applied in units with low levels of safety culture. Although additional research is needed to corroborate our findings, the safety culture on a unit can benefit from enhancement strategies such as team-building exercises. Strengthening the safety culture before implementing interventions could aid improvement and prevent nonproductive interventions.
Loneliness is highly prevalent among older people, has serious health consequences and is an important predictor of mortality. Loneliness and depression may unfavourably interact with each other over time but data on this topic are scarce.
To determine whether loneliness is associated with excess mortality after 19 years of follow-up and whether the joint effect with depression confers further excess mortality.
Different aspects of loneliness were measured with the De Jong Gierveld scale and depression with the Centre for Epidemiologic Studies Depression Scale in a cohort of 2878 people aged 55–85 with 19 years of follow-up. Excess mortality hypotheses were tested with Kaplan–Meier and Cox proportional hazard analyses controlling for potential confounders.
At follow-up loneliness and depression were associated with excess mortality in older men and women in bivariate analysis but not in multivariate analysis. In multivariate analysis, severe depression was associated with excess mortality in men who were lonely but not in women.
Loneliness and depression are important predictors of early death in older adults. Severe depression has a strong association with excess mortality in older men who were lonely, indicating a lethal combination in this group.
Fatigue life is a random variable. Thus, the reliability of a conservative fatigue life prediction for a component in the helicopter dynamic system needs to be substantiated. A standard analytical substantiation method uses averaged manoeuvre loads instead of seeing manoeuvre loads as a random variable whose distribution is estimated with limited precision. This simplification may lead to inaccuracies. A new simulation-based method is developed to conservatively predict fatigue life, while also accounting for the full random distribution and uncertainty of manoeuvre loads. Both methods fully account for uncertain fatigue strength but assume that the mission profile is known or can at least be conservatively estimated. Simulations under synthetic but realistic engineering conditions demonstrate that both methods may be used for accurate substantiation of conservative fatigue life predictions. The simulations also demonstrate that, under the tested conditions, uncertainties from manoeuvre loads may be neglected in fatigue life substantiations as the resulting error is not significant with respect to uncertainties in component fatigue strength.
Reverse transcription-quantitative polymerase chain reaction (RT-qPCR) is an important technology to analyse gene expression levels during plant development or in response to different treatments. An important requirement to measure gene expression levels accurately is a properly validated set of reference genes. In this context, we analysed the potential use of 17 candidate reference genes across a diverse set of samples, including several tissues, different stages and environmental conditions, encompassing seed germination and seedling growth in Ricinus communis L. These genes were tested by RT-qPCR and ranked according to the stability of their expression using two different approaches: GeNorm and NormFinder. GeNorm and Normfinder indicated that ACT, POB and PP2AA1 comprise the optimal combination for normalization of gene expression data in inter-tissue (heterogeneous sample panel) studies. We also describe the optimal combination of reference genes for a subset of root, endosperm and cotyledon samples. In general, the most stable genes suggested by GeNorm are very consistent with those indicated by NormFinder, which highlights the strength of the selection of reference genes in our study. We also validated the selected reference genes by normalizing the expression levels of three target genes involved in energy metabolism with the reference genes suggested by GeNorm and NormFinder. The approach used in this study to identify stably expressed genes, and thus potential reference genes, was applied successfully for R. communis and it provides important guidelines for RT-qPCR studies in seeds and seedlings for other species (especially in those cases where extensive microarray data are not available).
The effect of prenatal distress on the risk of a small for gestational age (SGA) infant is uncertain. We have addressed the influences of prenatal stress, anxiety and depression on the risk of SGA. We also examined the effects of infant sex and timing of distress during pregnancy on any observed associations.
The study population comprised 5606 healthy nulliparous pregnant women who participated in the international prospective Screening for Obstetric and Pregnancy Endpoints (SCOPE) study. Women completed the Perceived Stress Scale (PSS), the short form of the Spielberger State–Trait Anxiety Inventory (STAI) and the Edinburgh Postnatal Depression Scale (EPDS) at 15 ± 1 and 20 ± 1 weeks' gestation. SGA was defined as birthweight below the 10th customized percentile. Logistic regression was used for data analysis, adjusting for several potential confounders such as maternal age, body mass index (BMI), smoking, socio-economic status and physical exercise.
The risk of SGA was increased in relation to mild [adjusted odds ratio (aOR) 1.35, 95% confidence interval (CI) 1.07–1.71], moderate (aOR 1.26, 95% CI 1.06–1.49), high (aOR 1.45, 95% CI 1.08–1.95) and very high stress scores (aOR 1.56, 95% CI 1.03–2.37); very high anxiety score (aOR 1.45, 95% CI 1.13–1.86); and very high depression score (aOR 1.14, 95% CI 1.05–1.24) at 20 ± 1 weeks' gestation. Sensitivity analyses showed that very high anxiety and very high depression increases the risk of SGA in males but not in females whereas stress increases the risk of SGA in both males and females.
These findings suggest that prenatal stress, anxiety and depression measured at 20 weeks' gestation increase the risk of SGA. The effects of maternal anxiety and depression on SGA were strongest in male infants.
Endothelial dysfunction (ED), low-grade inflammation (LGI) and oxidative stress (OxS) may be involved in the pathobiology of depression. Previous studies on the association of these processes in depression have yielded contradictory results. We therefore investigated comprehensively, in a population-based cohort study, the association between ED, LGI and OxS on the one hand and depressive symptoms on the other.
We used data from the Hoorn Study and determined biomarkers of ED [flow-mediated dilatation (FMD), von Willebrand factor, soluble intercellular adhesion molecule 1 (sICAM-1), soluble vascular cell adhesion molecule 1, soluble thrombomodulin and soluble endothelial selectin], LGI [C-reactive protein, tumour necrosis factor-α, interleukin 6, interleukin 8, serum amyloid A, myeloperoxidase (MPO) and sICAM-1] and OxS (oxidized low density lipoprotein and MPO). Depressive symptoms were quantified by the Center for Epidemiologic Studies Depression Scale (CES-D) questionnaire (n = 493; age 68 years; 49.9% female). Regression analyses were performed with the use of biomarker Z scores. Adjustments were made for age, sex and glucose metabolism status (cohort stratification variables) and prior cardiovascular disease, hypertension, waist-to-hip ratio, cholesterol levels, education level, physical activity, dietary habits, and the use of antihypertensive and/or lipid-lowering medication and/or metformin (potential confounders).
After adjustment for age, sex and glucose metabolism status, one standard deviation increase in the ED Z score was associated with a 1.9 [95% confidence interval (CI) 0.7–3.1] higher CES-D score. Additional adjustments did not materially change this result. LGI and OxS were not associated with the CES-D score.
ED, as quantified by an array of circulating biomarkers and FMD, was independently associated with depressive symptoms. This study supports the hypothesis that ED plays an important role in the pathobiology of depression.
Accurate food and nutrient intake assessment is essential for investigating diet–disease relationships. In the present study, food and nutrient intake assessment among European adolescents using 24 h recalls (mean of two recalls) and a FFQ (separately and the combination of both) were evaluated using concentration biomarkers. Biomarkers included were vitamin C, β-carotene, DHA+EPA, vitamin B12 (cobalamin and holo-transcobalamin) and folate (erythrocyte folate and plasma folate). For the evaluation of the food intake assessment 390 adolescents were included, while 697 were included for the nutrient intake assessment evaluation. Spearman rank and Pearson correlations, and validity coefficients, which are correlations between intake estimated and habitual true intake, were calculated. Correlations were higher between frequency of food consumption (from the FFQ) and concentration biomarkers than between mean food intake (from the recalls) and concentration biomarkers, especially for DHA+EPA (r 0·35 v. r 0·27). Most correlations were higher among girls than boys. For boys, the highest validity coefficients were found for frequency of fruit consumption (0·88) and for DHA+EPA biomarker (0·71). In girls, the highest validity coefficients were found for fruit consumption frequency (0·76), vegetable consumption frequency (0·74), mean fruit intake (0·90) and DHA+EPA biomarker (0·69). After exclusion of underreporters, correlations slightly improved. Correlations between usual food intakes, adjusted for food consumption frequency, and concentration biomarkers were higher than correlations between mean food intakes and concentration biomarkers. In conclusion, two non-consecutive 24 h recalls in combination with a FFQ seem to be appropriate to rank subjects according to their usual food intake.
Cannabis use by people with schizophrenia has been found to be associated with family distress and poor clinical outcomes. Interventions to reduce drug use in this patient group have had limited efficacy. This study evaluated the effectiveness of a novel intervention for parents of young adults with recent-onset schizophrenia consisting of family-based motivational interviewing and interaction skills (Family Motivational Intervention, FMI) in comparison with routine family support (RFS).
In a trial with 75 patients who used cannabis and received treatment for recent-onset schizophrenia, 97 parents were randomly assigned to either FMI (n=53) or RFS (n=44). Assessments were conducted at baseline and 3 months after completion of the family intervention by an investigator who remained blind throughout the study about the assignment of the parents.
At follow-up, patients' frequency and quantity of cannabis use was significantly more reduced in FMI than in RFS (p<0.05 and p<0.04 respectively). Patients' craving for cannabis was also significantly reduced in FMI whereas there was a small increase in RFS (p=0.01). There was no difference between FMI and RFS with regard to patients' other substance use and general level of functioning. Both groups showed significant improvements in parental distress and sense of burden.
Training parents in motivational interviewing and interaction skills is feasible and effective in reducing cannabis use among young adults with recent-onset schizophrenia. However, FMI was not more effective than RFS in increasing patients' general level of functioning and in reducing parents' stress and sense of burden.
Necessity plays a significant role in any legal system as unpredictable or extraordinary situations can require the adoption of measures departing from the normally applicable law in order to protect basic values and fundamental interests. International law is not an exception. The admissibility of the adoption of measures on grounds of necessity has been accepted by international courts and tribunals, in state practice, including international conventions, as well as in doctrine.
Cannabis use is common in patients with recent-onset schizophrenia and this is associated with poor disease outcome. More insight in the cognitive-motivational processes related to cannabis use in schizophrenia may inform treatment strategies. The present study is the first known to compare implicit and explicit cannabis associations in individuals with and without psychotic disorder.
Participants consisted of 70 patients with recent-onset psychotic disorder and 61 healthy controls with various levels of cannabis use. Three Single-Category Implicit Association Tests (SC-IAT) were used to assess ‘relaxed’, ‘active’ and ‘negative’ implicit associations towards cannabis use. Explicit expectancies of cannabis use were assessed with a questionnaire using the same words as the SC-IAT.
There were no differences in implicit associations between patients and controls; however, patients scored significantly higher on explicit negative affect expectancies than controls. Both groups demonstrated strong negative implicit associations towards cannabis use. Explicit relaxed expectancies were the strongest predictors of cannabis use and craving. There was a trend for implicit active associations to predict craving.
The findings indicate that patients suffering from schizophrenia have associations towards cannabis similar to controls, but they have stronger negative explicit cannabis associations. The strong negative implicit associations towards cannabis could imply that users of cannabis engage in a behaviour they do not implicitly like. Explicit relaxing expectancies of cannabis might be an important mediator in the continuation of cannabis use in patients and controls.
The combination of the collecting power of an ELT with an ultra-stable high resolution spectrograph opens up the possibility to measure for the first time directly the dynamical effect of the acceleration of the Universe. CODEX will also provide unique opportunities for advance in many other branches of astrophysics. The CODEX design is based on an array of several identical spectrographs. It is highly modular and can be easily adapted to a large range of sky apertures and telescope diameters. CODEX is designed to work as a seeing limited instrument. The requirements for the telescope are moderate and clearly identified.
Background. A limited number of psychotherapy sessions in combination with medication is preferable to pharmacotherapy only in the treatment of ambulatory patients with major depression. Whether there is a relation between the number of sessions and the efficacy of the treatment is uncertain.
Method. Randomized clinical trial comparing two treatment conditions in outpatients with major depression. All patients studied had a baseline score of at least 14 points on the 17-item Hamilton Depression Rating Scale. The two conditions consist of 8-session or 16-session Short Psychodynamic Supportive Psychotherapy, both in combination with pharmacotherapy. Efficacy was assessed using the 17-item HDRS, the CGI of Severity and of Improvement, the depression subscale of the SCL-90 and the Quality of Life Depression Scale.
Results. The rate of change would seem to indicate that eight sessions are preferable for both moderately and severely depressed patients, although the results converged again at the end. Furthermore, in terms of satisfaction with the number of sessions and drop-out percentages during treatment, no differences were found between the conditions.
Conclusion. In the light of the outcome analysis (faster remission after fewer sessions), a short version of the psychotherapy treatment in a combined course of treatment seems to be justified.
A technology platform is described for the integration of low-loss inductors, capacitors, and MEMS capacitors on a high-resistivity Si substrate. Using this platform the board space area taken up by e.g. a DCS PA output impedance matching circuit can be reduced by 50%. The losses of passive components that are induced by the semi-conducting Si substrate can effectively be suppressed using a combination of surface amorphisation and the use of poly crystalline Si substrates. A MEM switchable capacitor with a capacitance switching factor of 40 and an actuation voltage of 5V is demonstrated. A continuous tuneable dual-gap capacitor is demonstrated with a tuning ratio of 9 using actuation voltages below 15V.
Understanding the pattern in which adult drosophilids of different species are distributed across and within different vegetation types is necessary for accurate interpretation of their local ecology and diversity. Such studies have been conducted mainly in temperate regions, and there is no basis for extrapolating their conclusions to tropical areas. This study describes the vertical distribution (0-20 m) of drosophilids attracted to banana baits in five different vegetation types in subtropical eastern Australia including open woodland, and rain-forest types. The distribution of most of the 15 common species could be characterized three-dimensionally by vegetation type and height above forest floor. Only one species, Scaptodrosophila lativittata, was common in all vegetation types and it was a canopy species in rain forests and a ground-level species in open woodland. Vertical distribution of some species clearly matched that of their larval hosts, but it did not in others. For example, the fungivore Leucophenga scutellata was mostly trapped well above the forest floor, yet it breeds at ground level, suggesting behavioural mode can influence vertical distributions. We conclude that the vertical dimension, although still poorly understood in relation to drosophilid habitats, needs to be taken into account when conducting and interpreting studies aimed at understanding drosophilid populations and communities in the subtropics.
A generalized interval mapping (GIM) method to map quantitative trait loci (QTL) for binary
polygenic traits in a multi-family half-sib design is developed based on threshold theory and
implemented using a Newton–Raphson algorithm. Statistical power and bias of QTL mapping for
binary traits by GIM is compared with linear regression interval mapping (RIM) using simulation.
Data on 20 paternal half-sib families were simulated with two genetic markers that bracketed an
additive QTL. Data simulated and analysed were: (1) data on the underlying normally distributed
liability (NDL) scale, (2) binary data created by truncating NDL data based on three thresholds
yielding data sets with three different incidences, and (3) NDL data with polygenic and QTL
effects reduced by a proportion equal to the ratio of the heritabilities on the binary versus NDL
scale (reduced-NDL). Binary data were simulated with and without systematic environmental
(herd) effects in an unbalanced design. GIM and RIM gave similar power to detect the QTL and
similar estimates of QTL location, effects and variances. Presence of fixed effects caused differences
in bias between RIM and GIM, where GIM showed smaller bias which was affected less by
incidence. The original NDL data had higher power and lower bias in QTL parameter estimates
than binary and reduced-NDL data. RIM for reduced-NDL and binary data gave similar power
and estimates of QTL parameters, indicating that the impact of the binary nature of data on QTL
analysis is equivalent to its impact on heritability.
Quaternary and older geological deposits are a natural archive for past climate-driven changes in the sedimentary environment and thus form a context for understanding present-day and future changes. Changes in climate produce variations in the sedimentary sequences which make up the geological archive. Any change may be reflected in many sedimentological and geochemical parameters. These can include sediment colour, density, grain size, carbonate content, and clay mineralogy, as well as geochemical elements, such as sulphur or barium, which respond to palaeoredox conditions or palaeoproductivity (e.g. van Os et al., 1994). All these sedimentological and geochemical factors can also influence the magnetic properties of sediments. Conversely, magnetic properties can be used as proxy parameters for many environmental processes. Such application of magnetic principles is called ‘environmental magnetism’. The magnetic properties of sediments are, naturally, the result of many complex and non-linear processes, such as diagenesis which involves dissolution, mobilization, and precipitation. The discipline of environmental magnetism must thus necessarily utilize data from other branches of the earth sciences. Also, to further our understanding of the sedimentary and geochemical processes involved, a precise chronostratigraphic framework is mandatory. Accurate time control is essential for constraining all kinds of processes, in particular their timing and rates of change.
A major breakthrough in Quaternary chronology – with a resolution and accuracy of several kyr – has come from establishing astronomical (polarity) time-scales (APTS).