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Additional crystallographic data are given for the recently reported mineral middlebackite, which has been described for discoveries at Iron Knob in South Australia and Passo di San Lugano near Trento, Italy. The material examined in the present study was from a third finding of the mineral, viz. from a quartz outcrop at Mooloo Downs Station in Western Australia within which it was co-located with the chemically- and structurally-related mineral moolooite, CuIIC2O4·nH2O, reported by Clarke and Williams (1986). In this study, the crystal structure was elucidated independently of the other studies using a combination of the a priori charge flipping and simulated annealing methods with synchrotron radiation diffraction (SRD) powder data. The principal crystal data for the Mooloo Downs material are: space group P21/c with lattice parameters a = 7.2659(18) Å, b = 5.7460(11) Å, c = 5.6806(11) Å, β = 104.588(3)°; Vc = 229.46(18) Å3; empirical formula CuII2C2O4(OH)2 with 2 formula units per unit cell; and calculated density = 3.605 g cm−3. The lattice parameters agree approximately with values given for the other studies, but not within the reported error estimates. The atom coordinates, interatomic distances, and angles for the Mooloo Downs material are compared with those from the other studies using single crystal data, with the values from all three studies agreeing approximately, but again not within the reported uncertainties. The crystal chemistry found for middlebackite received strong confirmation through the synthesis for the first time of di-copper oxalate di-hydroxide. Laboratory X-ray diffraction powder data for the synthetic form of the mineral from this study agree closely with the SRD data for the natural mineral.
Overweight and obesity may increase risk of disease progression in men with prostate cancer, but there have been few studies of weight loss interventions in this patient group. Based on existing literature and patient preferences we designed a self-help diet and physical activity intervention with telephone-based dietitian support. Men treated for prostate cancer who were overweight or obese were randomised to intervention or wait-list mini-intervention groups. The intervention group had an initial group meeting, a supporting letter from their urological consultant, three telephone dietitian consultations at 4-week intervals, a pedometer and access to web-based diet and physical activity resources. At 12 weeks, men in both groups were given digital scales for providing follow-up weight measurements, and the wait-list group received a mini-intervention of the supporting letter, a pedometer and access to the web-based resources. Sixty-two men were randomised; fifty-four completed baseline and 12-week measurements, and fifty-one and twenty-seven provided measurements at 6 and 12 months, respectively. In a repeated measures model, mean (95 % CI) difference in weight change between groups (wait-list mini-intervention minus intervention) at 12 weeks was −2·13 (−3·44, −0·82) kg (P = 0·002). At 12 months the corresponding value was −2·43 (−4·50, −0·37) kg (P = 0·022). Mean (95 % CI) difference in global QoL score change between groups at 12 weeks was 12·3 (4·93, 19·7) (P = 0·002); at 12 months there were no significant differences between groups. Results suggest the potential of self-help diet and physical activity intervention with trained support for modest but sustained weight loss in this patient group.
Observation of the ion source generated background has been an area of focus during our routine analytical work. It is noted that the results of very-low-ratio samples are dependent upon the particular procedures for measurement using the present-day Cs+ sputter ion sources. When measured without excessive Cs+ fluxes and without interleafing with other higher-ratio samples and references, the accelerator mass spectrometry (AMS) sensitivity can be somewhat improved. In some cases, it appears possible to assess old radiocarbon (14C) samples to beyond the long-standing 60 kyr limit. A number of observational studies are made for the sole purpose of minimizing the final contamination to the rare isotopes that is generated within the ion source.
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.
Objectives: This study examined the effects of anodal transcranial direct current stimulation (a-tDCS) on sentence and word comprehension in healthy adults. Methods: Healthy adult participants, aged between 19 and 30 years, received either a-tDCS over the left inferior frontal gyrus (n=18) or sham stimulation (n=18). Participants completed sentence comprehension and word comprehension tasks before and during stimulation. Accuracy and reaction times (RTs) were recorded as participants completed both tasks. Results: a-tDCS was found to significantly decrease RT on the sentence comprehension task compared to baseline. There was no change in RT following sham stimulation. a-tDCS was not found to have a significant effect on accuracy. Also, a-tDCS did not affect accuracy or RTs on the word comprehension task. Conclusions: The study provides evidence that non-invasive anodal electrical stimulation can modulate sentence comprehension in healthy adults, at least compared to their baseline performance. (JINS, 2019, 25, 331–335)
Culture-based studies, which focus on individual organisms, have implicated stethoscopes as potential vectors of nosocomial bacterial transmission. However, the full bacterial communities that contaminate in-use stethoscopes have not been investigated.
We used bacterial 16S rRNA gene deep-sequencing, analysis, and quantification to profile entire bacterial populations on stethoscopes in use in an intensive care unit (ICU), including practitioner stethoscopes, individual-use patient-room stethoscopes, and clean unused individual-use stethoscopes. Two additional sets of practitioner stethoscopes were sampled before and after cleaning using standardized or practitioner-preferred methods.
Bacterial contamination levels were highest on practitioner stethoscopes, followed by patient-room stethoscopes, whereas clean stethoscopes were indistinguishable from background controls. Bacterial communities on stethoscopes were complex, and community analysis by weighted UniFrac showed that physician and patient-room stethoscopes were indistinguishable and significantly different from clean stethoscopes and background controls. Genera relevant to healthcare-associated infections (HAIs) were common on practitioner stethoscopes, among which Staphylococcus was ubiquitous and had the highest relative abundance (6.8%–14% of contaminating bacterial sequences). Other HAI-related genera were also widespread although lower in abundance. Cleaning of practitioner stethoscopes resulted in a significant reduction in bacterial contamination levels, but these levels reached those of clean stethoscopes in only a few cases with either standardized or practitioner-preferred methods, and bacterial community composition did not significantly change.
Stethoscopes used in an ICU carry bacterial DNA reflecting complex microbial communities that include nosocomially important taxa. Commonly used cleaning practices reduce contamination but are only partially successful at modifying or eliminating these communities.
Multi-sire mating of a mob of ewes is commonly used in commercial sheep production systems. However, ram mating success (defined as the number of lambs sired by an individual) can vary between rams in the mating group. If this trait was repeatable and heritable, selection of rams capable of siring larger numbers of lambs could reduce the number of rams required for mating and ultimately lead to increased genetic gain. However, genetic correlations with other productive traits, such as growth and female fertility, could influence the potential for ram mating success to be used as a selection trait. In order to investigate this trait, parentage records (including accuracy of sire assignment) from 15 commercial ram breeding flocks of various breeds were utilised to examine the repeatability and heritability of ram mating success in multi-sire mating groups. In addition, genetic and phenotypic correlations with growth and female fertility traits were estimated using ASReml. The final model used for the ram mating success traits included age of the ram and mating group as fixed effects. Older rams (3+years old) had 15% to 20% greater mating success than younger rams (1 or 2 years of age). Increasing the stringency of the criteria for inclusion of both an individual lamb, based on accuracy of sire assignment, or a whole mating group, based on how many lambs had an assigned sire, increased repeatability and heritability estimates of the ram mating success traits examined. With the most stringent criteria employed, where assignment of sire accuracy was >0.95 and the total number of lambs in the progeny group that failed to have a sire assigned was<0.05, repeatability and heritability for loge(number of lambs) was 0.40±0.09 and 0.26±0.12, respectively. For proportion of lambs sired, repeatability and heritability were both 0.30±0.09. The two ram mating traits (loge(nlamb) and proportion) were highly correlated, both phenotypically and genetically (0.88±0.01 and 0.94±0.06, respectively). Both phenotypic and genetic correlations between ram mating success and growth and other female fertility traits were low and non-significant. In conclusion, there is scope to select rams capable of producing high numbers of progeny and thus increase selection pressure on rams to increase genetic gain.
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.
Current policy emphasises the importance of ‘living well’ with dementia, but there has been no comprehensive synthesis of the factors related to quality of life (QoL), subjective well-being or life satisfaction in people with dementia. We examined the available evidence in a systematic review and meta-analysis. We searched electronic databases until 7 January 2016 for observational studies investigating factors associated with QoL, well-being and life satisfaction in people with dementia. Articles had to provide quantitative data and include ⩾75% people with dementia of any type or severity. We included 198 QoL studies taken from 272 articles in the meta-analysis. The analysis focused on 43 factors with sufficient data, relating to 37639 people with dementia. Generally, these factors were significantly associated with QoL, but effect sizes were often small (0.1–0.29) or negligible (<0.09). Factors reflecting relationships, social engagement and functional ability were associated with better QoL. Factors indicative of poorer physical and mental health (including depression and other neuropsychiatric symptoms) and poorer carer well-being were associated with poorer QoL. Longitudinal evidence about predictors of QoL was limited. There was a considerable between-study heterogeneity. The pattern of numerous predominantly small associations with QoL suggests a need to reconsider approaches to understanding and assessing living well with dementia.
Accurate and reproducible patient positioning is a critical step in radiotherapy for breast cancer. This has seen the use of permanent skin markings becoming standard practice in many centres. Permanent skin markings may have a negative impact on long-term cosmetic outcome, which may in turn, have psychological implications in terms of body image. The aim of this study was to investigate the feasibility of using a semi-permanent tattooing device for the administration of skin marks for breast radiotherapy set-up.
Materials and methods
This was designed as a phase II double-blinded randomised-controlled study comparing our standard permanent tattoos with the Precision Plus Micropigmentation (PPMS) device method. Patients referred for radical breast radiotherapy were eligible for the study. Each study participant had three marks applied using a randomised combination of the standard permanent and PPMS methods and was blinded to the type of each mark. Follow up was at routine appointments until 24 months post radiotherapy. Participants and a blind assessor were invited to score the visibility of each tattoo at each follow-up using a Visual Analogue Scale. Tattoo scores at each time point and change in tattoo scores at 24 months were analysed by a general linear model using the patient as a fixed effect and the type of tattoo (standard or research) as covariate. A simple questionnaire was used to assess radiographer feedback on using the PPMS.
In total, 60 patients were recruited to the study, of which 55 were available for follow-up at 24 months. Semi-permanent tattoos were more visible at 24 months than the permanent tattoos. Semi-permanent tattoos demonstrated a greater degree of fade than the permanent tattoos at 24 months (final time point) post completion of radiotherapy. This was not statistically significant, although it was more apparent for the patient scores (p=0·071) than the blind assessor scores (p=0·27). No semi-permanent tattoos required re-marking before the end of radiotherapy and no adverse skin reactions were observed.
The PPMS presents a safe and feasible alternative to our permanent tattooing method. An extended period of follow-up is required to fully assess the extent of semi-permanent tattoo fade.
Schizophrenia is a highly heritable disorder, linked to several structural abnormalities of the brain. More specifically, previous findings have suggested that increased gyrification in frontal and temporal regions are implicated in the pathogenesis of schizophrenia.
The current study included participants at high familial risk of schizophrenia who remained well (n = 31), who developed sub-diagnostic symptoms (n = 28) and who developed schizophrenia (n = 9) as well as healthy controls (HC) (n = 16). We first tested whether individuals at high familial risk of schizophrenia carried an increased burden of trait-associated alleles using polygenic risk score analysis. We then assessed the extent to which polygenic risk was associated with gyral folding in the frontal and temporal lobes.
We found that individuals at high familial risk of schizophrenia who developed schizophrenia carried a significantly greater burden of risk-conferring variants for the disorder compared to those at high risk (HR) who developed sub-diagnostic symptoms or remained well and HC. Furthermore, within the HR cohort, there was a significant and positive association between schizophrenia polygenic risk score and bilateral frontal gyrification.
These results suggest that polygenic risk for schizophrenia impacts upon early neurodevelopment to confer greater gyral folding in adulthood and an increased risk of developing the disorder.
We present an indentation-scope that interfaces with confocal microscopy, enabling direct observation of the three-dimensional (3D) microstructural response of coatings on substrates. Using this method, we compared microns-thick polymer coatings on glass with and without silica nanoparticle filler. Bulk force data confirmed the >30% modulus difference, while microstructural data further revealed slip at the glass-coating interface. Filled coatings slipped more and about two times faster, as reflected in 3D displacement and von Mises strain fields. Overall, these data indicate that silica-doping of coatings can dramatically alter adhesion. Moreover, this method compliments existing theoretical and modeling approaches for studying indentation in layered systems.
Healthy adults (n 30) participated in a placebo-controlled, randomised, double-blinded, cross-over study consisting of two 28 d treatments (β2-1 fructan or maltodextrin; 3×5 g/d) separated by a 14-d washout. Subjects provided 1 d faecal collections at days 0 and 28 of each treatment. The ability of faecal bacteria to metabolise β2-1 fructan was common; eighty-seven species (thirty genera, and four phyla) were isolated using anaerobic medium containing β2-1 fructan as the sole carbohydrate source. β2-1 fructan altered the faecal community as determined through analysis of terminal restriction fragment length polymorphisms and 16S rRNA genes. Supplementation with β2-1 fructan reduced faecal community richness, and two patterns of community change were observed. In most subjects, β2-1 fructan reduced the content of phylotypes aligning within the Bacteroides, whereas increasing those aligning within bifidobacteria, Faecalibacterium and the family Lachnospiraceae. In the remaining subjects, supplementation increased the abundance of Bacteroidetes and to a lesser extent bifidobacteria, accompanied by decreases within the Faecalibacterium and family Lachnospiraceae. β2-1 Fructan had no impact on the metagenome or glycoside hydrolase profiles in faeces from four subjects. Few relationships were found between the faecal bacterial community and various host parameters; Bacteroidetes content correlated with faecal propionate, subjects whose faecal community contained higher Bacteroidetes produced more caproic acid independent of treatment, and subjects having lower faecal Bacteroidetes exhibited increased concentrations of serum lipopolysaccharide and lipopolysaccharide binding protein independent of treatment. We found no evidence to support a defined health benefit for the use of β2-1 fructans in healthy subjects.
The Mars Society is an international private organisation advocating the exploration and settlement of Mars. Part of its mission involves selecting areas for Martian analogue research, to test hardware, technology, strategies and human factors relevant to sending people to Mars. Mars Society Australia has selected an area in the Arkaroola region in the Flinders Ranges as the site for the first Australian analogue facility. The facility will be an invaluable public education and outreach tool for Australian science, focusing on astrobiology, and its role in future human Mars missions; demonstrating Australian contributions to astrobiology related science and work on terrestrial analogues to Martian environments.
In very low birth weight infants, persistence of a patent ductus arteriosus results in morbidity and mortality. Therapies to close the ductus are effective, but clinical outcomes may depend on the accuracy of diagnosis and the timing of administration. The objective of the present study was to characterise the association between early echocardiography, therapy for patent ductus arteriosus, and outcomes in very low birth weight infants.
This retrospective cohort study used electronic health record data on inborn infants of gestational age ⩽28 weeks and birth weight <1500 g who were discharged after day of life 7 from 362 neonatal ICU from 1997 to 2013. The primary outcome was death between day of life 7 and discharge. Secondary outcomes included bronchopulmonary dysplasia, necrotising enterocolitis, and grade 3 or 4 intraventricular haemorrhage.
This study included a total of 48,551 infants with a median gestational age of 27 weeks (interquartile range 25, 28) and birth weight 870 g (706, 1050). Early echocardiography – that is, performed during days of life 2 to 6 – was performed in 15,971/48,551 (33%) infants, and patent ductus arteriosus was diagnosed in 31,712/48,551 (65%). The diagnosis was more common in infants who had undergone early echocardiography (14,549/15,971 [91%] versus 17,163/32,580 [53%], p<0.001). In multivariable analysis, early echocardiography was not associated with reduced mortality (odds ratio 0.97, 95% CI 0.89–1.05). Results were similar in the subset of infants who received therapy for patent ductus arteriosus (odds ratio 1.01, 95% CI 0.90–1.15).
Early echocardiography was associated with an increased diagnosis of patent ductus arteriosus, but not with decreased mortality.
Contact precautions are a traditional strategy to prevent transmission of methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA). Chlorhexidine bathing is increasingly used to decrease MRSA burden and transmission in intensive care units (ICUs). We sought to evaluate a hospital policy change from routine contact precautions for MRSA compared with universal chlorhexidine bathing, without contact precautions. We measured new MRSA acquisition in ICU patients and surveyed for MRSA environmental contamination in common areas and non-MRSA patient rooms before and after the policy change. During the baseline and chlorhexidine bathing periods, the number of patients (453 vs. 417), ICU days (1999 vs. 1703) and MRSA days/1000 ICU days (109 vs. 102) were similar. MRSA acquisition (2/453 vs. 2/457, P = 0·93) and environmental MRSA contamination (9/474 vs. 7/500, P = 0·53) were not significantly different between time periods. There were 58% fewer contact precaution days in the ICU during the chlorhexidine period (241/1993 vs. 102/1730, P < 0·01). We found no evidence that discontinuation of contact precautions for patients with MRSA in conjunction with adoption of daily chlorhexidine bathing in ICUs is associated with increased MRSA acquisition among ICU patients or increased MRSA contamination of ICU fomites. Although underpowered, our findings suggest this strategy, which has the potential to reduce costs and improve patient safety, should be assessed in similar but larger studies.
Background: Surgical simulation training offers trainees the opportunity to practice surgical skills before entering the operating room. The objectives of this study were to determine the effect of simulation for learning instruments for burr hole surgery and whether this learning is translated to real instrument recognition with retention. Methods: Randomized trials of PGY1 neurosurgery residents and perioperative nurses were conducted, using PeriopSim™ for instrument recognition, as well as real instruments. Group A performed simulation tasks using PeriopSim™ prior to identifying real instruments, whereas Group B identified real instruments prior to performing simulation tasks. Nurses’ recall was assessed at seven days. Results: Sixteen residents and 100 nurses were recruited. All participants showed significant overall improvement in their scores for simulated tasks. Group A demonstrated enhanced accuracy and speed of identifying real instruments compared with Group B (p<0.001). Furthermore, knowledge recall testing at one week demonstrated retained learning, shown by 97% accuracy in instrument identification. Conclusions: Our results demonstrate that recognition of surgical instruments improves with repeated use of the PeriopSim™ platform. Instrument knowledge acquired through simulation training results in improved identification and retained recognition of real instruments.
D.C. ice-resistivity measurements on the polar Paris Gletscher in East Greenland are presented. It is found that the observed profile is well described by a four-layer system. Near the surface there are two layers resulting from the penetration of the summer temperatures into the polar ice. Below this the ice has constant resistivity until the bed is reached, where contrary to expectation a high-resistivity layer is found.