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Postoperative cognitive impairment is among the most common medical complications associated with surgical interventions – particularly in elderly patients. In our aging society, it is an urgent medical need to determine preoperative individual risk prediction to allow more accurate cost–benefit decisions prior to elective surgeries. So far, risk prediction is mainly based on clinical parameters. However, these parameters only give a rough estimate of the individual risk. At present, there are no molecular or neuroimaging biomarkers available to improve risk prediction and little is known about the etiology and pathophysiology of this clinical condition. In this short review, we summarize the current state of knowledge and briefly present the recently started BioCog project (Biomarker Development for Postoperative Cognitive Impairment in the Elderly), which is funded by the European Union. It is the goal of this research and development (R&D) project, which involves academic and industry partners throughout Europe, to deliver a multivariate algorithm based on clinical assessments as well as molecular and neuroimaging biomarkers to overcome the currently unsatisfying situation.
Space Infrared Telescope for Cosmology and Astrophysics (SPICA), the cryogenic infrared space telescope recently pre-selected for a ‘Phase A’ concept study as one of the three remaining candidates for European Space Agency (ESA's) fifth medium class (M5) mission, is foreseen to include a far-infrared polarimetric imager [SPICA-POL, now called B-fields with BOlometers and Polarizers (B-BOP)], which would offer a unique opportunity to resolve major issues in our understanding of the nearby, cold magnetised Universe. This paper presents an overview of the main science drivers for B-BOP, including high dynamic range polarimetric imaging of the cold interstellar medium (ISM) in both our Milky Way and nearby galaxies. Thanks to a cooled telescope, B-BOP will deliver wide-field 100–350
m images of linearly polarised dust emission in Stokes Q and U with a resolution, signal-to-noise ratio, and both intensity and spatial dynamic ranges comparable to those achieved by Herschel images of the cold ISM in total intensity (Stokes I). The B-BOP 200
m images will also have a factor
30 higher resolution than Planck polarisation data. This will make B-BOP a unique tool for characterising the statistical properties of the magnetised ISM and probing the role of magnetic fields in the formation and evolution of the interstellar web of dusty molecular filaments giving birth to most stars in our Galaxy. B-BOP will also be a powerful instrument for studying the magnetism of nearby galaxies and testing Galactic dynamo models, constraining the physics of dust grain alignment, informing the problem of the interaction of cosmic rays with molecular clouds, tracing magnetic fields in the inner layers of protoplanetary disks, and monitoring accretion bursts in embedded protostars.
The Crab pulsar was first detected soon after the discovery of pulsars, and has long been studied for its unique traits. One of these traits, giant pulses that can be upwards of 1000 times brighter than the average pulse, was key to the Crab’s initial detection. Giant pulses are only seen in a few pulsars, and their energy distributions distinguish them from normal pulsed emission. There have been many studies over a period of decades to measure the power-law slope of these energy distributions, which provide insight into the possible emission mechanism of these giant pulses.
The 42-foot telescope at Jodrell Bank Observatory monitors the Crab pulsar on a daily basis. We have single-pulse data dating back to 2012, containing roughly 1,000,000 giant pulses, the largest sample of Crab giant pulses to date. This large set of giant pulses allows us to do a range of science, including pulse-width studies and in-depth studies of giant-pulse energy distributions. The latter are particularly interesting, as close inspection of the high-energy tail of the energy distribution allows us to investigate the detectability of extragalactic giant-pulsing pulsars. Also, by calculating rates from these energy distributions, we may be able to shed light on a possible link between Fast Radio Bursts and giant pulses.
Recent spectropolarimetric surveys of bright, hot stars have found that ~10% of OB-type stars contain strong (mostly dipolar) surface magnetic fields (~kG). The prominent paradigm describing the interaction between the stellar winds and the surface magnetic field is the magnetically confined wind shock (MCWS) model. In this model, the stellar wind plasma is forced to move along the closed field loops of the magnetic field, colliding at the magnetic equator, and creating a shock. As the shocked material cools radiatively it will emit X-rays. Therefore, X-ray spectroscopy is a key tool in detecting and characterizing the hot wind material confined by the magnetic fields of these stars. Some B-type stars are found to have very short rotational periods. The effects of the rapid rotation on the X-ray production within the magnetosphere have yet to be explored in detail. The added centrifugal force due to rapid rotation is predicted to cause faster wind outflows along the field lines, leading to higher shock temperatures and harder X-rays. However, this is not observed in all rapidly rotating magnetic B-type stars. In order to address this from a theoretical point of view, we use the X-ray Analytical Dynamical Magnetosphere (XADM) model, originally developed for slow rotators, with an implementation of new rapid rotational physics. Using X-ray spectroscopy from ESA’s XMM-Newton space telescope, we observed 5 rapidly rotating B-types stars to add to the previous list of observations. Comparing the observed X-ray luminosity and hardness ratio to that predicted by the XADM allows us to determine the role the added centrifugal force plays in the magnetospheric X-ray emission of these stars.
Background: Research has suggested that female athletes have a higher incidence of concussion compared to their male counterparts. As such, programs designed to improve knowledge and attitudes of concussion should target this high-risk population. Previous work demonstrated the effect of a novel Concussion-U educational presentation on knowledge and attitudes of concussion amongst male Bantam and Midget AAA hockey players. The objective of this study was to determine if the same presentation was effective in improving the knowledge and attitudes of concussion in a cohort of elite female hockey players. Methods: 26 elite female high-school aged (14-17) hockey players from the province of New Brunswick consented to participate in the study. Each participant completed a modified version of Rosenbaum and Arnett’s Concussion Knowledge and Attitudes Survey questionnaire immediately before and after a Concussion-U educational presentation. Results were compared across the two time-points to assess the effectiveness of the presentation. Results: Concussion knowledge and attitude scores significantly (p<.001) increased from pre-presentation to post-presentation by 12.5% and 13.4%, respectively. Conclusions: A Concussion-U educational presentation resulted in increased knowledge and improved attitudes towards concussion in elite female hockey players. Future research should examine the long-term retention of these improvements.
During 1990 we surveyed the southern sky using a multi-beam receiver at frequencies of 4850 and 843 MHz. The half-power beamwidths were 4 and 25 arcmin respectively. The finished surveys cover the declination range between +10 and −90 degrees declination, essentially complete in right ascension, an area of 7.30 steradians. Preliminary analysis of the 4850 MHz data indicates that we will achieve a five sigma flux density limit of about 30 mJy. We estimate that we will find between 80 000 and 90 000 new sources above this limit. This is a revised version of the paper presented at the Regional Meeting by the first four authors; the surveys now have been completed.
Reintroductions are used to re-establish populations of species within their indigenous range, but their outcomes are variable. A key decision when developing a reintroduction strategy is whether to include a temporary period of confinement prior to release. Pre-release confinement is primarily used for the purpose of quarantine or as a delayed-release tactic to influence the performance or behaviour of founders post-release. A common difference between these approaches is that quarantine tends to be conducted in ex situ captivity, whereas delayed releases tend to involve in situ confinement at the release site. Although these practices are commonly viewed independently, it may be possible for a single confinement period to be used for both purposes. We tested whether temporarily holding wild eastern bettongs Bettongia gaimardi in ex situ captivity for 95–345 days prior to release (delayed release) influenced their body mass, pouch occupancy or survival during the first 1.5 years post-release, compared to founders released without confinement (immediate release). Our results suggest that exposing founders to captivity did not alter their body mass or performance post-release, despite being heavier and having fewer pouch young when released. We conclude that, for this species, ex situ captivity does not represent a tactical opportunity to improve post-release performance but can be used for quarantine without affecting the probability of establishment.
Genetic and environmental contributions to preferences for rational and experiential thinking were examined in 100 pairs of monozygotic and 73 pairs of same-sex dizygotic Australian twins. Univariate analyses for experiential thinking and working memory capacity (WMC) revealed genetic effects accounted for 44% and 39% of the variability respectively, with non-shared environmental effects accounting for the balance. For rational thinking, the univariate models produced ambiguous results about the relative roles of heritability and shared environment, but a subsequent Cholesky analysis suggested genetic effects accounted for 34%, with the balance, 66%, explained by the non-shared environment. The Cholesky analysis revealed that shared genetic effects accounted for 60%, and non-shared environment accounted for 40% of the relationship between preference for rational thinking and WMC.
The main purpose of this study was to investigate the psychological and functional impact attributed to acoustic neuroma symptoms.
Materials and methods:
A sample of 207 acoustic neuroma patients completed a study-specific questionnaire about the severity, frequency, and psychological and functional impact of 9 acoustic neuroma symptoms.
The survey response rate was 56.4 per cent. All symptoms had some degree of psychological impact for the majority of participants; hearing loss was the symptom most often reported to have a severe psychological impact. The majority of respondents reported functional impact attributed to hearing loss, balance disturbance, dizziness, eye problems, headache and fatigue; balance disturbance was the symptom most often reported to have a severe functional impact. For most symptoms, psychological and functional impact were related to severity and frequency.
Of the acoustic neuroma symptoms investigated, hearing loss and balance disturbance were the most likely to have a severe psychological and functional impact, respectively.
Spectroscopic observations of transiting exoplanets have provided the first indications of their atmospheric structure and composition. Optimal estimation retrievals have been successfully applied to solar system planets to determine the temperature, composition and aerosol properties of their atmospheres, and have recently been applied to exoplanets. We show the effectiveness of the technique when combined with simulated observations from the proposed space telescope EChO, and also discuss the difficulty of constraining a complex system with sparse data and large uncertainties, using the super-Earth GJ 1214b as an example.
Achieving an understanding of the extent of micronutrient adequacy across Europe is a major challenge. The main objective of the present study was to collect and evaluate the prevalence of low micronutrient intakes of different European countries by comparing recent nationally representative dietary survey data from Belgium, Denmark, France, Germany, The Netherlands, Poland, Spain and the United Kingdom. Dietary intake information was evaluated for intakes of Ca, Cu, I, Fe, Mg, K, Se, Zn and the vitamins A, B1, B2, B6, B12, C, D, E and folate. The mean and 5th percentile of the intake distributions were estimated for these countries, for a number of defined sex and age groups. The percentages of those with intakes below the lower reference nutrient intake and the estimated average requirement were calculated. Reference intakes were derived from the UK and Nordic Nutrition Recommendations. The impact of dietary supplement intake as well as inclusion of apparently low energy reporters on the estimates was evaluated. Except for vitamin D, the present study suggests that the current intakes of vitamins from foods lead to low risk of low intakes in all age and sex groups. For current minerals, the study suggests that the risk of low intakes is likely to appear more often in specific age groups. In spite of the limitations of the data, the present study provides valuable new information about micronutrient intakes across Europe and the likelihood of inadequacy country by country.
The new 1 m f/4 fast-slew Zadko Telescope was installed in June 2008 about 70 km north of Perth, Western Australia. It is the only metre-class optical facility at this southern latitude between the east coast of Australia and South Africa, and can rapidly image optical transients at a longitude not monitored by other similar facilities. We report on first imaging tests of a pilot program of minor planet searches, and Target of Opportunity observations triggered by the Swift satellite. In 12 months, 6 gamma-ray burst afterglows were detected, with estimated magnitudes; two of them, GRB 090205 (z = 4.65) and GRB 090516 (z = 4.11), are among the most distant optical transients imaged by an Australian telescope. Many asteroids were observed in a systematic 3-month search. In September 2009, an automatic telescope control system was installed, which will be used to link the facility to a global robotic telescope network; future targets will include fast optical transients triggered by high-energy satellites, radio transient detections, and LIGO gravitational wave candidate events. We also outline the importance of the facility as a potential tool for education, training, and public outreach.
Syndromic surveillance is vital for monitoring public health during mass gatherings. The London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games represents a major challenge to health protection services and community surveillance. In response to this challenge the Health Protection Agency has developed a new syndromic surveillance system that monitors daily general practitioner out-of-hours and unscheduled care attendances. This new national system will fill a gap identified in the existing general practice-based syndromic surveillance systems by providing surveillance capability of general practice activity during evenings/nights, over weekends and public holidays. The system will complement and supplement the existing tele-health phone line, general practitioner and emergency department syndromic surveillance systems. This new national system will contribute to improving public health reassurance, especially to meet the challenges of the London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games.
Spatiotemporal brain activation profiles were obtained from 27 middle school students experiencing difficulties in reading comprehension as well as word-level skills (RD) and 23 age- and IQ-matched non-reading impaired students during performance of an oral pseudoword reading task using Magnetoencephalography (MEG). Based on their scores on standardized reading fluency tests 1 year later, students with RD who showed significant improvement were classified as Adequate Responders (AR) whereas those not demonstrating such gains were classified as Inadequate Responders (IR). At baseline, activation profiles of the AR group featured increased activity in the left supramarginal and angular gyri, as well as in the superior and middle temporal gyri, bilaterally compared to IR. The degree of activity in these regions was a significant predictor of the amount of subsequent gains in reading fluency. These results extend previous functional brain imaging findings of beginning readers, suggesting that recruitment of brain areas that typically serve as key components of the brain circuit for reading is an important factor in determining response to intervention in older struggling readers. (JINS, 2011, 17, 875–885)