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The COllaborative project of Development of Anthropometrical measures in Twins (CODATwins) project is a large international collaborative effort to analyze individual-level phenotype data from twins in multiple cohorts from different environments. The main objective is to study factors that modify genetic and environmental variation of height, body mass index (BMI, kg/m2) and size at birth, and additionally to address other research questions such as long-term consequences of birth size. The project started in 2013 and is open to all twin projects in the world having height and weight measures on twins with information on zygosity. Thus far, 54 twin projects from 24 countries have provided individual-level data. The CODATwins database includes 489,981 twin individuals (228,635 complete twin pairs). Since many twin cohorts have collected longitudinal data, there is a total of 1,049,785 height and weight observations. For many cohorts, we also have information on birth weight and length, own smoking behavior and own or parental education. We found that the heritability estimates of height and BMI systematically changed from infancy to old age. Remarkably, only minor differences in the heritability estimates were found across cultural–geographic regions, measurement time and birth cohort for height and BMI. In addition to genetic epidemiological studies, we looked at associations of height and BMI with education, birth weight and smoking status. Within-family analyses examined differences within same-sex and opposite-sex dizygotic twins in birth size and later development. The CODATwins project demonstrates the feasibility and value of international collaboration to address gene-by-exposure interactions that require large sample sizes and address the effects of different exposures across time, geographical regions and socioeconomic status.
The majority of paediatric Clostridioides difficile infections (CDI) are community-associated (CA), but few data exist regarding associated risk factors. We conducted a case–control study to evaluate CA-CDI risk factors in young children. Participants were enrolled from eight US sites during October 2014–February 2016. Case-patients were defined as children aged 1–5 years with a positive C. difficile specimen collected as an outpatient or ⩽3 days of hospital admission, who had no healthcare facility admission in the prior 12 weeks and no history of CDI. Each case-patient was matched to one control. Caregivers were interviewed regarding relevant exposures. Multivariable conditional logistic regression was performed. Of 68 pairs, 44.1% were female. More case-patients than controls had a comorbidity (33.3% vs. 12.1%; P = 0.01); recent higher-risk outpatient exposures (34.9% vs. 17.7%; P = 0.03); recent antibiotic use (54.4% vs. 19.4%; P < 0.0001); or recent exposure to a household member with diarrhoea (41.3% vs. 21.5%; P = 0.04). In multivariable analysis, antibiotic exposure in the preceding 12 weeks was significantly associated with CA-CDI (adjusted matched odds ratio, 6.25; 95% CI 2.18–17.96). Improved antibiotic prescribing might reduce CA-CDI in this population. Further evaluation of the potential role of outpatient healthcare and household exposures in C. difficile transmission is needed.
Simulation models are used widely in pharmacology, epidemiology and health economics (HEs). However, there have been no attempts to incorporate models from these disciplines into a single integrated model. Accordingly, we explored this linkage to evaluate the epidemiological and economic impact of oseltamivir dose optimisation in supporting pandemic influenza planning in the USA. An HE decision analytic model was linked to a pharmacokinetic/pharmacodynamics (PK/PD) – dynamic transmission model simulating the impact of pandemic influenza with low virulence and low transmissibility and, high virulence and high transmissibility. The cost-utility analysis was from the payer and societal perspectives, comparing oseltamivir 75 and 150 mg twice daily (BID) to no treatment over a 1-year time horizon. Model parameters were derived from published studies. Outcomes were measured as cost per quality-adjusted life year (QALY) gained. Sensitivity analyses were performed to examine the integrated model's robustness. Under both pandemic scenarios, compared to no treatment, the use of oseltamivir 75 or 150 mg BID led to a significant reduction of influenza episodes and influenza-related deaths, translating to substantial savings of QALYs. Overall drug costs were offset by the reduction of both direct and indirect costs, making these two interventions cost-saving from both perspectives. The results were sensitive to the proportion of inpatient presentation at the emergency visit and patients’ quality of life. Integrating PK/PD–EPI/HE models is achievable. Whilst further refinement of this novel linkage model to more closely mimic the reality is needed, the current study has generated useful insights to support influenza pandemic planning.
While our fascination with understanding the past is sufficient to warrant an increased focus on synthesis, solutions to important problems facing modern society require understandings based on data that only archaeology can provide. Yet, even as we use public monies to collect ever-greater amounts of data, modes of research that can stimulate emergent understandings of human behavior have lagged behind. Consequently, a substantial amount of archaeological inference remains at the level of the individual project. We can more effectively leverage these data and advance our understandings of the past in ways that contribute to solutions to contemporary problems if we adapt the model pioneered by the National Center for Ecological Analysis and Synthesis to foster synthetic collaborative research in archaeology. We propose the creation of the Coalition for Archaeological Synthesis coordinated through a U.S.-based National Center for Archaeological Synthesis. The coalition will be composed of established public and private organizations that provide essential scholarly, cultural heritage, computational, educational, and public engagement infrastructure. The center would seek and administer funding to support collaborative analysis and synthesis projects executed through coalition partners. This innovative structure will enable the discipline to address key challenges facing society through evidentially based, collaborative synthetic research.
Whether monozygotic (MZ) and dizygotic (DZ) twins differ from each other in a variety of phenotypes is important for genetic twin modeling and for inferences made from twin studies in general. We analyzed whether there were differences in individual, maternal and paternal education between MZ and DZ twins in a large pooled dataset. Information was gathered on individual education for 218,362 adult twins from 27 twin cohorts (53% females; 39% MZ twins), and on maternal and paternal education for 147,315 and 143,056 twins respectively, from 28 twin cohorts (52% females; 38% MZ twins). Together, we had information on individual or parental education from 42 twin cohorts representing 19 countries. The original education classifications were transformed to education years and analyzed using linear regression models. Overall, MZ males had 0.26 (95% CI [0.21, 0.31]) years and MZ females 0.17 (95% CI [0.12, 0.21]) years longer education than DZ twins. The zygosity difference became smaller in more recent birth cohorts for both males and females. Parental education was somewhat longer for fathers of DZ twins in cohorts born in 1990–1999 (0.16 years, 95% CI [0.08, 0.25]) and 2000 or later (0.11 years, 95% CI [0.00, 0.22]), compared with fathers of MZ twins. The results show that the years of both individual and parental education are largely similar in MZ and DZ twins. We suggest that the socio-economic differences between MZ and DZ twins are so small that inferences based upon genetic modeling of twin data are not affected.
Patient-reported outcomes and epidemiological studies in adults with tetralogy of Fallot are lacking. Recruitment and longitudinal follow-up investigation across institutions is particularly challenging. Objectives of this study were to assess the feasibility of recruiting adult patients with tetralogy of Fallot for a patient-reported outcomes study, describe challenges for recruitment, and create an interactive, online tetralogy of Fallot registry.
Adult patients living with tetralogy of Fallot, aged 18–58 years, at the University of North Carolina were identified using diagnosis code query. A survey was designed to collect demographics, symptoms, history, and birth mother information. Recruitment was attempted by phone (Part I, n=20) or by email (Part II, n=20). Data analysis included thematic grouping of recruitment challenges and descriptive statistics. Feasibility threshold was 75% for recruitment and for data fields completed per patient.
In Part I, 60% (12/20) were successfully contacted and eight (40%) were enrolled. Demographics and birth mother information were obtained for all enrolled patients. In Part II, 70% (14/20) were successfully contacted; 30% (6/20) enrolled and completed all data fields linked to REDCap database; the median time for survey completion was 8 minutes. Half of the patients had cardiac operations/procedures performed at more than one hospital. Automatic electronic data entry from the online survey was uncomplicated.
Although recruitment (54%) fell below our feasibility threshold, enrolled individuals were willing to complete phone or online surveys. Incorrect contact information, privacy concerns, and patient-reported time constraints were challenges for recruitment. Creating an online survey and linked database is technically feasible and efficient for patient-reported outcomes research.
Measurements made by an underwater glider deployed near the Ross Ice Shelf were used to identify the presence of Ice Shelf Water (ISW), which is defined as seawater with its potential temperature lower than its surface freezing point temperature. Properties logged by the glider included in situ temperature, electrical conductivity, pressure, GPS location at surfacings and time. For most of the first 30 recorded dives of its deployment, evidence suggests the glider was prevented from surfacing due to being under the ice shelf. For dives under the ice shelf, farthest from the ice shelf front, ISW layers of varying thicknesses and depth locations were observed; between 2 m thick (centred at 231 m depth) to >93 m thick (centred at >360 m). For dives under the ice shelf, close to the ice shelf front, either no ISW was observed or ISW layers were centred at shallower depths (116–127 m). Thicker ISW layers (e.g. up to 250 m thickness centred at 421 m) were observed for some glider dives in open water in front of the Ross Ice Shelf. No in situ supercooling (water colder than the pressure-dependent freezing point temperature) was observed.
We analyzed birth order differences in means and variances of height and body mass index (BMI) in monozygotic (MZ) and dizygotic (DZ) twins from infancy to old age. The data were derived from the international CODATwins database. The total number of height and BMI measures from 0.5 to 79.5 years of age was 397,466. As expected, first-born twins had greater birth weight than second-born twins. With respect to height, first-born twins were slightly taller than second-born twins in childhood. After adjusting the results for birth weight, the birth order differences decreased and were no longer statistically significant. First-born twins had greater BMI than the second-born twins over childhood and adolescence. After adjusting the results for birth weight, birth order was still associated with BMI until 12 years of age. No interaction effect between birth order and zygosity was found. Only limited evidence was found that birth order influenced variances of height or BMI. The results were similar among boys and girls and also in MZ and DZ twins. Overall, the differences in height and BMI between first- and second-born twins were modest even in early childhood, while adjustment for birth weight reduced the birth order differences but did not remove them for BMI.
Herpes simplex virus (HSV) is one of the most commonly identified infectious aetiologies of encephalitis in North America and Europe. The epidemiology of encephalitis beyond these regions, however, is poorly defined. During 2009–2012 we enrolled 313 patients in a multicentre prospective study of encephalitis in Peru, 45 (14·4%) of whom had confirmed HSV infection. Of 38 patients with known HSV type, 84% had HSV-1 and 16% had HSV-2. Patients with HSV infection were significantly more likely to present in the summer months (44·4% vs. 20·0%, P = 0·003) and have nausea (60·0% vs. 39·8%, P = 0·01) and rash (15·6% vs. 5·3%, P = 0·01) compared to patients without HSV infection. These findings highlight differences in the epidemiology and clinical presentation of HSV encephalitis outside of the Northern Hemisphere that warrant further investigation. Furthermore, there is an urgent need for improved HSV diagnostic capacity and availability of intravenous acyclovir in Peru.
A trend toward greater body size in dizygotic (DZ) than in monozygotic (MZ) twins has been suggested by some but not all studies, and this difference may also vary by age. We analyzed zygosity differences in mean values and variances of height and body mass index (BMI) among male and female twins from infancy to old age. Data were derived from an international database of 54 twin cohorts participating in the COllaborative project of Development of Anthropometrical measures in Twins (CODATwins), and included 842,951 height and BMI measurements from twins aged 1 to 102 years. The results showed that DZ twins were consistently taller than MZ twins, with differences of up to 2.0 cm in childhood and adolescence and up to 0.9 cm in adulthood. Similarly, a greater mean BMI of up to 0.3 kg/m2 in childhood and adolescence and up to 0.2 kg/m2 in adulthood was observed in DZ twins, although the pattern was less consistent. DZ twins presented up to 1.7% greater height and 1.9% greater BMI than MZ twins; these percentage differences were largest in middle and late childhood and decreased with age in both sexes. The variance of height was similar in MZ and DZ twins at most ages. In contrast, the variance of BMI was significantly higher in DZ than in MZ twins, particularly in childhood. In conclusion, DZ twins were generally taller and had greater BMI than MZ twins, but the differences decreased with age in both sexes.
For over 100 years, the genetics of human anthropometric traits has attracted scientific interest. In particular, height and body mass index (BMI, calculated as kg/m2) have been under intensive genetic research. However, it is still largely unknown whether and how heritability estimates vary between human populations. Opportunities to address this question have increased recently because of the establishment of many new twin cohorts and the increasing accumulation of data in established twin cohorts. We started a new research project to analyze systematically (1) the variation of heritability estimates of height, BMI and their trajectories over the life course between birth cohorts, ethnicities and countries, and (2) to study the effects of birth-related factors, education and smoking on these anthropometric traits and whether these effects vary between twin cohorts. We identified 67 twin projects, including both monozygotic (MZ) and dizygotic (DZ) twins, using various sources. We asked for individual level data on height and weight including repeated measurements, birth related traits, background variables, education and smoking. By the end of 2014, 48 projects participated. Together, we have 893,458 height and weight measures (52% females) from 434,723 twin individuals, including 201,192 complete twin pairs (40% monozygotic, 40% same-sex dizygotic and 20% opposite-sex dizygotic) representing 22 countries. This project demonstrates that large-scale international twin studies are feasible and can promote the use of existing data for novel research purposes.
Manual surveillance of healthcare-associated infections is cumbersome and vulnerable to subjective interpretation. Automated systems are under development to improve efficiency and reliability of surveillance, for example by selecting high-risk patients requiring manual chart review. In this study, we aimed to validate a previously developed multivariable prediction modeling approach for detecting drain-related meningitis (DRM) in neurosurgical patients and to assess its merits compared to conventional methods of automated surveillance.
Prospective cohort study in 3 hospitals assessing the accuracy and efficiency of 2 automated surveillance methods for detecting DRM, the multivariable prediction model and a classification algorithm, using manual chart review as the reference standard. All 3 methods of surveillance were performed independently. Patients receiving cerebrospinal fluid drains were included (2012–2013), except children, and patients deceased within 24 hours or with pre-existing meningitis. Data required by automated surveillance methods were extracted from routine care clinical data warehouses.
In total, DRM occurred in 37 of 366 external cerebrospinal fluid drainage episodes (12.3/1000 drain days at risk). The multivariable prediction model had good discriminatory power (area under the ROC curve 0.91–1.00 by hospital), had adequate overall calibration, and could identify high-risk patients requiring manual confirmation with 97.3% sensitivity and 52.2% positive predictive value, decreasing the workload for manual surveillance by 81%. The multivariable approach was more efficient than classification algorithms in 2 of 3 hospitals.
Automated surveillance of DRM using a multivariable prediction model in multiple hospitals considerably reduced the burden for manual chart review at near-perfect sensitivity.
This research explored gender and cross-cultural similarities and differences in the motivational profiles of Indigenous Papua New Guinean (PNG) and Indigenous and non-Indigenous Australians. Secondary students (N = 1,792) completed self-report motivational measures. Invariance testing demonstrated that the Inventory of School Motivation (McInerney, Yeung, & McInerney, 2001) measure was invariant across both gender and Indigenous and non-Indigenous groups. Structural equation modelling (SEM) results explicated that males were significantly more performance orientated than females in all three groups examined; however, the disparity between genders was most apparent in non-Indigenous Australians. Diverging from previous findings with non-Indigenous students, the current study found that PNG and Australian Indigenous males endorsed mastery goals more strongly than Indigenous females. In contrast, non-Indigenous females were more mastery orientated than non-Indigenous males. Finally, the two Indigenous groups endorsed social goals more strongly than the non-Indigenous Australians. The current findings highlight the importance of assessing gender and group differences, as broad statements relating to student motivation do not appear to be applicable in all cultural contexts.
Most past models of student motivation have assumed that student motivation generalises across various achievement situations and curriculum domains; however, research has not fully explored the extent to which motivation may be domain-specific (Green, Martin, & Marsh, 2007; Martin, 2008). The purpose of the present investigation was to explore this issue by comparing and contrasting generalised models of motivation with domain-specific models and how they relate to achievement outcomes in mathematics and English. Secondary students (N = 476) completed both the domain-general (ISM, McInerney, 2003) and the researcher-derived domain-specific motivational measure (DSSM) followed by a standardised achievement test (WRAT-3, Wilkinson, 1993). Overall, the study resulted in mixed findings. There was some indication that there was enough independent variance between the domain-specific goal types to suggest they were tapping distinct constructs as found in previous research (Green et al., 2007). However, the small and often inconsistent correlations with achievement outcomes brings into question the usefulness for educators and the research practicality of pursuing such a division.
The solar cells employed in low to medium (50 to 200 suns) concentration photovoltaic (CPV) are usually mono-crystalline silicon. Laser Groove Buried Contacts (LGBC) are preferred to screen printing in these cells due to the high currents generated in the system. In this paper, we report on the use of Coherence Correlation Interferometry (CCI) to accurately measure the width and depth of the laser-ablated grooves. In addition, the technique is also used to measure the surface roughness at the bottom of the trenches, since this can determine the success of the subsequent plating process, and at the top surface to optimize the debris control and obtain clean surfaces and well-shaped groove edges. The laser ablation process was also optimized to obtain the groove aspect ratio and surface quality required. Process parameters to be controlled include laser power, pulse energy, stage speed and focal length. The CCI technique is capable of providing all the groove and surface metrology required for this process optimization.