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Background: The zona incerta (ZI) is a small structure in the deep brain first identified by Auguste Forel for which robust in vivo visualization has remained elusive. The increased inherent signal from ultra-high field (7-Tesla or greater; 7T) magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) presents an opportunity to see structures not previously visible. In this study, we investigated the possibility of using quantitative T1 mapping at 7T to visualize the ZI region. Methods: We recruited healthy participants (N=32) and patients being considered for deep brain stimulation therapy as part of a prospective imaging study at 7T. Computational methods were used to process and fuse images to produce a high-resolution group average from which ZI anatomy could be delineated. Results: We pooled 7T data using image fusion methods and found that the contrast from quantitative T1 mapping was strikingly similar to classic histological staining, permitting facile identification of the ZI and nearby structures in reference to conventional stereotactic atlases. Conclusions: Using computational neuroimaging techniques, we demonstrate for the first time that the ZI is visible in vivo. Furthermore, we determined that this nuclear region can be decoupled from surrounding fibre pathways. This work paves the way for more accurate patient-specific optimization of deep brain targets for neuromodulation.
A medical information commons (MIC) is a networked data environment utilized for research and clinical applications. At three deliberations across the U.S., we engaged 75 adults in two-day facilitated discussions on the ethical and social issues inherent to sharing data with an MIC. Deliberants made recommendations regarding opt-in consent, transparent data policies, public representation on MIC governing boards, and strict data security and privacy protection. Community engagement is critical to earning the public's trust.
Local attitudes towards carnivores often reflect the degree of damage they are perceived to cause. Consequently, understanding the interactions between people and these species is essential to conservation efforts. This study investigated local perceptions of three Cerrado canid species and current chicken management practices, to identify the potential damage they cause and how this relates to peoples’ attitudes towards these species. Results from structured interviews at 50 ranches in Goiás, Brazil, highlighted that general knowledge about Cerrado canids differed significantly by species, with interviewees unable to correctly answer questions about the hoary fox Lycalopex vetulus and crab-eating fox Cerdocyon thous in comparison to the maned wolf Chrysocyon brachyurus. Chicken coops were identified as the most effective method for preventing predation, yet only 44% of respondents employed this method. Using a perceived predation measure, interviewees reported chicken predation by all three Cerrado canids even though most of these events were stated to occur during the day, outside the species’ active periods. Reported predation events were a strong predictor of attitude. Participants who experienced predation events reported they did not like having a Cerrado canid on their property. However, 86% of the respondents agreed that Cerrado canids should nevertheless be protected. Our findings support the need to incorporate the human dimension in canid and broader carnivore conservation issues.
Antimicrobial resistance is a limiting factor for the success of the treatment of infectious diseases and is associated with increased morbidity and cost. The present study aims to evaluate prescribing patterns of antimicrobials and quantify progress in relation to targets for quality improvement in the prescription of antimicrobials in Northern Ireland's secondary care sector using three repetitive point prevalence surveys (PPS) over a 6-year period: the European Surveillance of Antimicrobial Consumption (ESAC-PPS) in 2009 and 2011 and the Global-PPS on Antimicrobial Consumption and Resistance in 2015. Out of 3605 patients surveyed over the three time points, 1239 (34.4%) were treated with an antibiotic, the most frequently prescribed antibiotic groups were a combination of penicillins, including β-lactamase inhibitors. Compliance with hospital antibiotic policies in 2009, 2011 and 2015 were 54.5%, 71.5% and 79.9%, respectively. Likewise, an indication for treatment was recorded in patient notes 88.5%, 87.7% and 90.6% in 2009, 2011 and 2015, respectively, and surgical prophylactic antibiotic prescriptions for >24 h was 3.9%, 3.2% and 0.7% in 2009, 2011 and 2015, respectively. Treatment based on biomarker data was used in 61.5% of cases. In conclusion, a general trend in the improvement of key antimicrobial-related quality indicators was noted. The PPS tool provided a convenient, inexpensive surveillance system of antimicrobial consumption and should be considered an essential component to establish and maintain informed antibiotic stewardship in hospitals.
Leibovich et al. argue persuasively that researchers should not assume that approximate number system (ANS) tasks harness an innate sense of number. However, some studies have reported a causal link between ANS tasks and mathematics performance, implicating the ANS in the development of numerical skills. Here we report a p-curve analysis, which indicates that these experimental studies do not contain evidential value.
IAU Commission 6 “Astronomical Telegrams” had a single business meeting during Honolulu General Assembly of the IAU. It took place on Tuesday, 11 August 2015. The meeting was attended by Hitoshi Yamaoka (President), Daniel Green (Director of the Central Bureau for Astronomical Telegrams, CBAT, via Skype), Steven Chesley (JPL), Paul Chodas (JPL), Alan Gilmore (Canterbury University), Shinjiro Kouzuma (Chukyo University), Paolo Mazzali (Co-Chair of the Supernova Working Group), Elena Pian (Scuola Normale Superiore di Pisa), Marion Schmitz (chair IAU Working Group Designations + NED), David Tholen (University of Hawaii), Jana Ticha (Klet Observatory), Milos Tichy (Klet Observatory), Giovanni Valsecchi (INAF\slash Italy), Gareth Williams (Minor Planet Center). Apologies: Nikolai Samus (General Catalogue of Variable Stars, GCVS).
Poly(3,4-ethylenedioxythiophene) (PEDOT) is an organic conducting polymer that has been the focus of significant research over the last decade, in both energy and biological applications. Most commonly, PEDOT is doped by the artificial polymer polystyrene sulfonate due to the excellent electrical characteristics yielded by this pairing. The biopolymer dextran sulphate (DS) has been recently reported as a promising alternative to PEDOT:PSS for biological application, having electrical properties rivaling PEDOT:PSS, complimented by the potential bioactivity of the polysaccharide. In this work we compared chemical and electrochemical polymerisations of PEDOT:DS in terms of their impact on the electrical, morphological and biological properties of the resultant PEDOT:DS films. Post-growth cyclic voltammograms and UV-Vis analyses revealed comparable redox behaviour and absorbance profiles for the two synthesis approaches. Despite good intrinsic conductivity of particles, the addition of chemically produced PEDOT:DS did not markedly enhance the bulk conductivity of aqueous solutions due to the lack of interconnectivity between adjacent PEDOT:DS particles at achievable concentrations. Scanning electron microscopy revealed significantly greater roughness in films cast from chemically produced PEDOT:DS compared to electropolymerised samples, attributable to the formation of solution phase nanoparticles prior to casting. In cell studies with the L929 cell line, electrochemical polymerisation of PEDOT:DS afforded better integrity of resultant films for surface seeding, whilst chemically polymerised PEDOT:DS appeared to localised at the proliferating cells, suggesting possible applications in drug delivery.
We describe a laboratory plasma physics experiment at Los Alamos National Laboratory that uses two merging supersonic plasma jets formed and launched by pulsed-power-driven railguns. The jets can be formed using any atomic species or mixture available in a compressed-gas bottle and have the following nominal initial parameters at the railgun nozzle exit: ne ≈ ni ~ 1016 cm−3, Te ≈ Ti ≈ 1.4 eV, Vjet ≈ 30–100 km/s, mean charge
≈ 1, sonic Mach number Ms ≡ Vjet/Cs > 10, jet diameter = 5 cm, and jet length ≈20 cm. Experiments to date have focused on the study of merging-jet dynamics and the shocks that form as a result of the interaction, in both collisional and collisionless regimes with respect to the inter-jet classical ion mean free path, and with and without an applied magnetic field. However, many other studies are also possible, as discussed in this paper.
The Helicon-Cathode(HelCat) device is a medium-size linear experiment suitable for a wide range of basic plasma science experiments in areas such as electrostatic turbulence and transport, magnetic relaxation, and high power microwave (HPM)-plasma interactions. The HelCat device is based on dual plasma sources located at opposite ends of the 4 m long vacuum chamber – an RF helicon source at one end and a thermionic cathode at the other. Thirteen coils provide an axial magnetic field B ⩾ 0.220 T that can be configured individually to give various magnetic configurations (e.g. solenoid, mirror, cusp). Additional plasma sources, such as a compact coaxial plasma gun, are also utilized in some experiments, and can be located either along the chamber for perpendicular (to the background magnetic field) plasma injection, or at one of the ends for parallel injection. Using the multiple plasma sources, a wide range of plasma parameters can be obtained. Here, the HelCat device is described in detail and some examples of results from previous and ongoing experiments are given. Additionally, examples of planned experiments and device modifications are also discussed.
The Gaia Science Alerts project (GSA) aims to augment a precision survey of the Milky Way with a controlled, precision survey of all classes of transient phenomena. While onboard BP/RP spectra from Gaia will ultimately allow us to classify many Gaia Alerts based on Gaia data alone, in the initial phases of the GSA project it is necessary to verify and classify discoveries with ground-based spectroscopic followup. In this article, we describe a subset of the ongoing Gaia Alerts followup programmes, and some of the initial science results from this work.
IAU Commission 6 “Astronomical Telegrams” had a single business meeting during the Beijing General Assembly of the IAU. It took place on Friday, August 24, 2012. The meeting was attended by five C6 members (N. N. Samus; D. W. E. Green; S. Nakano; J. Ticha; and H. Yamaoka). Also present was Prof. F. Genova as a representative of the IAU Division B. She told the audience about the current restructuring of IAU Commissions and Divisions and consequences for the future of C6.
As earlier, the main activity of the Commission was performed by the Central Bureau for Astronomical Telegrams (CBAT), effectively directed by Dan Green. These three years were a difficult period for the Bureau and thus for the Commission because the Bureau unexpectedly had to move from the Smithsonian Astrophysical Observatory, its home since 1965, to the Harvard University's Department of Earth and Planetary Sciences. This move caused many serious administrative and logistical problems, effectively solved by the CBAT Director, Dan Green, and CBAT Director Emeritus, Brian Marsden. A great shock, not only for our commission but for the whole astronomical community, was Brian's death on November 18, 2010.
To report a large outbreak of Clostridium difficile infection (CDI; ribotype 027) between June 2007 and August 2008, describe infection control measures, and evaluate the impact of restricting the use of fluoroquinolones in controlling the outbreak.
Outbreak investigation in 3 acute care hospitals of the Northern Health and Social Care Trust in Northern Ireland.
Implementation of a series of CDI control measures that targeted high-risk antibiotic agents (ie, restriction of fluoroquinolones), infection control practices, and environmental hygiene.
A total of 318 cases of CDI were identified during the outbreak, which was the result of the interaction between C. difficile ribotype 027 being introduced into the affected hospitals for the first time and other predisposing risk factors (ranging from host factors to suboptimal compliance with antibiotic guidelines and infection control policies). The 30-day all-cause mortality rate was 24.5%; however, CDI was the attributable cause of death for only 2.5% of the infected patients. Time series analysis showed that restricting the use of fluoroquinolones was associated with a significant reduction in the incidence of CDI (coefficient, —0.054; lag time, 4 months; P = .003).
These findings provide additional evidence to support the value of antimicrobial stewardship as an essential element of multifaceted interventions to control CDI outbreaks. The present CDI outbreak was ended following the implementation of an action plan improving communication, antibiotic stewardship, infection control practices, environmental hygiene, and surveillance.
The President verbally reported that the only scientific matter that he dealt with during the triennium as an appeal over the withholding of a supernova designation from an object observed only in the infra-red with no supporting spectrum.