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Despite established clinical associations among major depression (MD), alcohol dependence (AD), and alcohol consumption (AC), the nature of the causal relationship between them is not completely understood. We leveraged genome-wide data from the Psychiatric Genomics Consortium (PGC) and UK Biobank to test for the presence of shared genetic mechanisms and causal relationships among MD, AD, and AC.
Linkage disequilibrium score regression and Mendelian randomization (MR) were performed using genome-wide data from the PGC (MD: 135 458 cases and 344 901 controls; AD: 10 206 cases and 28 480 controls) and UK Biobank (AC-frequency: 438 308 individuals; AC-quantity: 307 098 individuals).
Positive genetic correlation was observed between MD and AD (rgMD−AD = + 0.47, P = 6.6 × 10−10). AC-quantity showed positive genetic correlation with both AD (rgAD−AC quantity = + 0.75, P = 1.8 × 10−14) and MD (rgMD−AC quantity = + 0.14, P = 2.9 × 10−7), while there was negative correlation of AC-frequency with MD (rgMD−AC frequency = −0.17, P = 1.5 × 10−10) and a non-significant result with AD. MR analyses confirmed the presence of pleiotropy among these four traits. However, the MD-AD results reflect a mediated-pleiotropy mechanism (i.e. causal relationship) with an effect of MD on AD (beta = 0.28, P = 1.29 × 10−6). There was no evidence for reverse causation.
This study supports a causal role for genetic liability of MD on AD based on genetic datasets including thousands of individuals. Understanding mechanisms underlying MD-AD comorbidity addresses important public health concerns and has the potential to facilitate prevention and intervention efforts.
High resolution Bragg-case X-ray double and triple axis diffractometry and Laue-case white beam synchrotron X-ray topography experiments have been performed on undoped  oriented float-zone GaAs crystals have been grown under microgravity conditions in space on the D2 mission. Near the seed, excellent anomalous transmission was achieved and a clear cellular structure of dislocations observed. The double and triple axis rocking curves were comparable with those from semi-insulating terrestrial material. Following a heater failure, the molten zone height dropped and reciprocal space maps revealed a long ridge of scatter transverse to the diffraction vector direction. This corresponds to the presence of a distribution of sub-grains containing little internal strain. Continued growth resulted in twin formation.
Chronic suppurative otitis media is a massive public health problem in numerous low- and middle-income countries. Unfortunately, few low- and middle-income countries can offer surgical therapy.
A six-month long programme in Cambodia focused on training local surgeons in type I tympanoplasty was instigated. Qualitative educational and quantitative surgical outcomes were evaluated in the 12 months following programme completion. A four-month long training programme in mastoidectomy and homograft ossiculoplasty was subsequently implemented, and the preliminary surgical and educational outcomes were reported.
A total of 124 patients underwent tympanoplasty by the locally trained surgeons. Tympanic membrane closure at six weeks post-operation was 88.5 per cent. Pure tone audiometry at three months showed that 80.9 per cent of patients had improved hearing, with a mean gain of 17.1 dB. The trained surgeons reported high confidence in performing tympanoplasty. Early outcomes suggest the local surgeons can perform mastoidectomy and ossiculoplasty as safely as overseas-trained surgeons, with reported surgeon confidence reflecting these positive outcomes.
The training programme has demonstrated success, as measured by surgeon confidence and operative outcomes. This approach can be emulated in other settings to help combat the global burden of chronic suppurative otitis media.
The ability of the aorta to buffer blood flow and provide diastolic perfusion (Windkessel function) is a determinant of cardiovascular health. We have reported cardiac dysfunction indicating downstream vascular abnormalities in young adult baboons who were intrauterine growth restricted (IUGR) at birth as a result of moderate maternal nutrient reduction. Using 3 T MRI, we examined IUGR offspring (eight male, eight female; 5.7 years; human equivalent 25 years) and age-matched controls (eight male, eight female; 5.6 years) to quantify distal descending aortic cross-section (AC) and distensibility (AD). ANOVA showed decreased IUGR AC/body surface area (0.9±0.05 cm2/m2v. 1.2±0.06 cm2/m2, M±s.e.m., P<0.005) and AD (1.7±0.2 v. 4.0±0.5×10−3/mmHg, P<0.005) without sex difference or group-sex interaction, suggesting intrinsic vascular pathology and impaired development persisting in adulthood. Future studies should evaluate potential consequences of these changes on coronary perfusion, afterload and blood pressure.
The Yellow Sea region is of high global importance for waterbird populations, but recent systematic bird count data enabling identification of the most important sites are relatively sparse for some areas. Surveys of waterbirds at three sites on the coast of southern Jiangsu Province, China, in 2014 and 2015 produced peak counts of international importance for 24 species, including seven globally threatened and six Near Threatened species. The area is of particular global importance for the ‘Critically Endangered’ Spoon-billed Sandpiper Calidris pygmaea (peak count across all three study sites: 62 in spring  and 225 in autumn  and ‘Endangered’ Spotted Greenshank Tringa guttifer (peak count across all three study sites: 210 in spring  and 1,110 in autumn ). The southern Jiangsu coast is therefore currently the most important migratory stopover area in the world, in both spring and autumn, for both species. Several serious and acute threats to waterbirds were recorded at these study sites. Paramount is the threat of large-scale land claim which would completely destroy intertidal mudflats of critical importance to waterbirds. Degradation of intertidal mudflat habitats through the spread of invasive Spartina, and mortality of waterbirds by entrapment in nets or deliberate poisoning are also real and present serious threats here. Collisions with, and displacement by, wind turbines and other structures, and industrial chemical pollution may represent additional potential threats. We recommend the rapid establishment of effective protected areas for waterbirds in the study area, maintaining large areas of open intertidal mudflat, and the urgent removal of all serious threats currently faced by waterbirds here.
The biological mechanisms underlying psychiatric diagnoses are not well defined. Clinical diagnosis based on categorical systems exhibit high levels of heterogeneity and co-morbidity. The Research Domain Criteria (RDoC) attempts to reconceptualize psychiatric disorders into transdiagnostic functional dimensional constructs based on neurobiological measures and observable behaviour. By understanding the underlying neurobiology and pathophysiology of the relevant processes, the RDoC aims to advance biomarker development for disease prediction and treatment response. This important evolving dimensional framework must also consider environmental factors. Emerging evidence suggests that gut microbes (microbiome) play a physiological role in brain diseases by modulating neuroimmune, neuroendocrine and neural signalling pathways between the gut and the brain. The integration of the gut microbiome signature as an additional dimensional component of the RDoC may enhance precision psychiatry.
The fragmented ecosystems along the Niagara Escarpment World Biosphere Reserve provide important habitats for biota including lichens. Nonetheless, the Reserve is disturbed by dense human populations and associated air pollution. Here we investigated patterns of lichen diversity within urban and rural sites at three different locations (Niagara, Hamilton, and Owen Sound) along the Niagara Escarpment in Ontario, Canada. Our results indicate that both lichen species richness and community composition are negatively correlated with increasing human population density and air pollution. However, our quantitative analysis of community composition using canonical correspondence analysis (CCA) indicates that human population density and air pollution is more independent than might be assumed. The CCA analysis suggests that the strongest environmental gradient (CCA1) associated with lichen community composition includes regional pollution load and climatic variables; the second gradient (CCA2) is associated with local pollution load and human population density factors. These results increase the knowledge of lichen biodiversity for the Niagara Escarpment and urban and rural fragmented ecosystems as well as along gradients of human population density and air pollution; they suggest a differential influence of regional and local pollution loads and population density factors. This study provides baseline knowledge for further research and conservation initiatives along the Niagara Escarpment World Biosphere Reserve.
We present results of two observing campaigns aimed at characterising variability of the L2 brown dwarf Kelu-1. The first campaign in March 2000 detected photometric variability at the 1.2% level, with a strong period of 1.8 hours. Followup spectroscopic observations with the VLT in February 2002 show no evidence of significant variability in the dust sensitive molecular lines, but do show evidence for variability in the EW(Hα) with a period of 1.8 hours. Radial velocity measurements rule out a close substellar companion. Kelu-1 appears to be a single brown dwarf with a rotation period of 1.8 hours.
In view of the broad range of topics covered by Commission 48 and the consequent inevitable overlap with other commissions, it is not feasible to produce a comprehensive self-contained report. The commission therefore restricts its report to a selected list of accessible recent review articles and conference reports, where up-to-date summaries of various topics can be found. Such a list is given below.
The topic of this paper really falls somewhere between this session on active galaxies and the session on clusters. What I will report is really a cluster phenomenon but one which depends on the presence of a dominant, massive galaxy in the cluster. Specifically, we have detected several X-ray emission lines from the vicinity of M87 in the Virgo Cluster and NGC 1275 in Perseus. The lines are indicative of material which is cooler than the bulk of the intracluster gas. This material is most likely accreting onto the central galaxy with the accretion rate controlled by the rate of radiative cooling.
The observations I am reporting were made with the Focal Plane Crystal Spectrometer (FPCS)on the Einstein Observatory. The instrument is a Bragg crystal spectrometer which has a resolving power (E/ΔE) of 50 to 500 over the energy range of 0.2 to 3 keV. It operates much like an optical scanner in that it has a narrow passband which is swept over some restricted spectral range containing an emission line. Detailed descriptions are given elsewhere (Canizares et al. 1977, 1979, Giacconi et al. 1979).
The use of underground geological repositories, such as in radioactive waste disposal (RWD) and in carbon capture (widely known as Carbon Capture and Storage; CCS), constitutes a key environmental priority for the 21st century. Based on the identification of key scientific questions relating to the geophysics, geochemistry and geobiology of geodisposal of wastes, this paper describes the possibility of technology transfer from high-technology areas of the space exploration sector, including astrobiology, planetary sciences, astronomy, and also particle and nuclear physics, into geodisposal. Synergies exist between high technology used in the space sector and in the characterization of underground environments such as repositories, because of common objectives with respect to instrument miniaturization, low power requirements, durability under extreme conditions (in temperature and mechanical loads) and operation in remote or otherwise difficult to access environments.
Published data on a select group of SiO maser sources have been analyzed for velocity variations as a function of phase. No apparent correlation was found to a level of about 2 km/s. This places constraints on the location of the maser molecules. Such a correlation should be present at some level. The implications for future high resolution infrared measurements are discussed.
The public health burden of alcohol is unevenly distributed across the life course, with levels of use, abuse, and dependence increasing across adolescence and peaking in early adulthood. Here, we leverage this temporal patterning to search for common genetic variants predicting developmental trajectories of alcohol consumption. Comparable psychiatric evaluations measuring alcohol consumption were collected in three longitudinal community samples (N = 2,126, obs = 12,166). Consumption-repeated measurements spanning adolescence and early adulthood were analyzed using linear mixed models, estimating individual consumption trajectories, which were then tested for association with Illumina 660W-Quad genotype data (866,099 SNPs after imputation and QC). Association results were combined across samples using standard meta-analysis methods. Four meta-analysis associations satisfied our pre-determined genome-wide significance criterion (FDR < 0.1) and six others met our ‘suggestive’ criterion (FDR <0.2). Genome-wide significant associations were highly biological plausible, including associations within GABA transporter 1, SLC6A1 (solute carrier family 6, member 1), and exonic hits in LOC100129340 (mitofusin-1-like). Pathway analyses elaborated single marker results, indicating significant enriched associations to intuitive biological mechanisms, including neurotransmission, xenobiotic pharmacodynamics, and nuclear hormone receptors (NHR). These findings underscore the value of combining longitudinal behavioral data and genome-wide genotype information in order to study developmental patterns and improve statistical power in genomic studies.
The Murchison Widefield Array is a Square Kilometre Array Precursor. The telescope is located at the Murchison Radio–astronomy Observatory in Western Australia. The MWA consists of 4 096 dipoles arranged into 128 dual polarisation aperture arrays forming a connected element interferometer that cross-correlates signals from all 256 inputs. A hybrid approach to the correlation task is employed, with some processing stages being performed by bespoke hardware, based on Field Programmable Gate Arrays, and others by Graphics Processing Units housed in general purpose rack mounted servers. The correlation capability required is approximately 8 tera floating point operations per second. The MWA has commenced operations and the correlator is generating 8.3 TB day−1 of correlation products, that are subsequently transferred 700 km from the MRO to Perth (WA) in real-time for storage and offline processing. In this paper, we outline the correlator design, signal path, and processing elements and present the data format for the internal and external interfaces.
The Australian dairy herd size has doubled over the last 20 years substantially increasing the time that farmers require for individual animal attention to monitor and intervene with events such as calving. Technology will help focus this limited labour resource on individual cows that require assistance. The objective of this experiment was to first determine the profiles of rumination duration and level of activity as determined by sensors between, and within, days around calving and second to use these data to predict the day of calving for pasture-based dairy cows. After 2 weeks from the expected calving date, 27 cows were fitted with SCR HR LD Tags, located in 40×90 m2 paddock and offered ad libitum oaten hay and 2 kg grain-based concentrate/cow per day until calving. Hourly activity and rumination data for each cow, as determined by the SCR tags, were fitted with linear mixed models and all parameters were estimated using restricted maximum likelihood. Rumination duration decreased by 33% over the day prior and the day of calving, with the decline in rumination duration starting the day prepartum. Activity levels were maintained prepartum but increased in the days postpartum. The day of calving was recorded and used to determine the gold standard positive (the day before calving) and negative (all other) dates. A threshold rumination level of 0.9 (decline in rumination duration of 10%) gave the optimal combination of 70% sensitivity and 70% specificity. This experiment shows the potential to use rumination duration to predict the day of calving and the opportunity to use sensor data to monitor animal health.
Altered corticostriatothalamic encoding of reinforcement is a core feature of depression. Here we examine reinforcement learning in late-life depression in the theoretical framework of the vascular depression hypothesis. This hypothesis attributes the co-occurrence of late-life depression and poor executive control to prefrontal/cingulate disconnection by vascular lesions.
Our fMRI study compared 31 patients aged ⩾60 years with major depression to 16 controls. Using a computational model, we estimated neural and behavioral responses to reinforcement in an uncertain, changing environment (probabilistic reversal learning).
Poor executive control and depression each explained distinct variance in corticostriatothalamic response to unexpected rewards. Depression, but not poor executive control, predicted disrupted functional connectivity between the striatum and prefrontal cortex. White-matter hyperintensities predicted diminished corticostriatothalamic responses to reinforcement, but did not mediate effects of depression or executive control. In two independent samples, poor executive control predicted a failure to persist with rewarded actions, an effect distinct from depressive oversensitivity to punishment. The findings were unchanged in a subsample of participants with vascular disease. Results were robust to effects of confounders including psychiatric comorbidities, physical illness, depressive severity, and psychotropic exposure.
Contrary to the predictions of the vascular depression hypothesis, altered encoding of rewards in late-life depression is dissociable from impaired contingency learning associated with poor executive control. Functional connectivity and behavioral analyses point to a disruption of ascending mesostriatocortical reward signals in late-life depression and a failure of cortical contingency encoding in elderly with poor executive control.