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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.
Determining infectious cross-transmission events in healthcare settings involves manual surveillance of case clusters by infection control personnel, followed by strain typing of clinical/environmental isolates suspected in said clusters. Recent advances in genomic sequencing and cloud computing now allow for the rapid molecular typing of infecting isolates.
To facilitate rapid recognition of transmission clusters, we aimed to assess infection control surveillance using whole-genome sequencing (WGS) of microbial pathogens to identify cross-transmission events for epidemiologic review.
Clinical isolates of Staphylococcus aureus, Enterococcus faecium, Pseudomonas aeruginosa, and Klebsiella pneumoniae were obtained prospectively at an academic medical center, from September 1, 2016, to September 30, 2017. Isolate genomes were sequenced, followed by single-nucleotide variant analysis; a cloud-computing platform was used for whole-genome sequence analysis and cluster identification.
Most strains of the 4 studied pathogens were unrelated, and 34 potential transmission clusters were present. The characteristics of the potential clusters were complex and likely not identifiable by traditional surveillance alone. Notably, only 1 cluster had been suspected by routine manual surveillance.
Our work supports the assertion that integration of genomic and clinical epidemiologic data can augment infection control surveillance for both the identification of cross-transmission events and the inclusion of missed and exclusion of misidentified outbreaks (ie, false alarms). The integration of clinical data is essential to prioritize suspect clusters for investigation, and for existing infections, a timely review of both the clinical and WGS results can hold promise to reduce HAIs. A richer understanding of cross-transmission events within healthcare settings will require the expansion of current surveillance approaches.
Salmonella enterica serovar Wangata (S. Wangata) is an important cause of endemic salmonellosis in Australia, with human infections occurring from undefined sources. This investigation sought to examine possible environmental and zoonotic sources for human infections with S. Wangata in north-eastern New South Wales (NSW), Australia. The investigation adopted a One Health approach and was comprised of three complimentary components: a case–control study examining human risk factors; environmental and animal sampling; and genomic analysis of human, animal and environmental isolates. Forty-eight human S. Wangata cases were interviewed during a 6-month period from November 2016 to April 2017, together with 55 Salmonella Typhimurium (S. Typhimurium) controls and 130 neighbourhood controls. Indirect contact with bats/flying foxes (S. Typhimurium controls (adjusted odds ratio (aOR) 2.63, 95% confidence interval (CI) 1.06–6.48)) (neighbourhood controls (aOR 8.33, 95% CI 2.58–26.83)), wild frogs (aOR 3.65, 95% CI 1.32–10.07) and wild birds (aOR 6.93, 95% CI 2.29–21.00) were statistically associated with illness in multivariable analyses. S. Wangata was detected in dog faeces, wildlife scats and a compost specimen collected from the outdoor environments of cases’ residences. In addition, S. Wangata was detected in the faeces of wild birds and sea turtles in the investigation area. Genomic analysis revealed that S. Wangata isolates were relatively clonal. Our findings suggest that S. Wangata is present in the environment and may have a reservoir in wildlife populations in north-eastern NSW. Further investigation is required to better understand the occurrence of Salmonella in wildlife groups and to identify possible transmission pathways for human infections.
Marteilia refringens causes marteiliosis in oysters, mussels and other bivalve molluscs. This parasite previously comprised two species, M. refringens and Marteilia maurini, which were synonymized in 2007 and subsequently referred to as M. refringens ‘O-type’ and ‘M-type’. O-type has caused mass mortalities of the flat oyster Ostrea edulis. We used high throughput sequencing and histology to intensively screen flat oysters and mussels (Mytilus edulis) from the UK, Sweden and Norway for infection by both types and to generate multi-gene datasets to clarify their genetic distinctiveness. Mussels from the UK, Norway and Sweden were more frequently polymerase chain reaction (PCR)-positive for M-type (75/849) than oysters (11/542). We did not detect O-type in any northern European samples, and no histology-confirmed Marteilia-infected oysters were found in the UK, Norway and Sweden, even where co-habiting mussels were infected by the M-type. The two genetic lineages within ‘M. refringens’ are robustly distinguishable at species level. We therefore formally define them as separate species: M. refringens (previously O-type) and Marteilia pararefringens sp. nov. (M-type). We designed and tested new Marteilia-specific PCR primers amplifying from the 3’ end of the 18S rRNA gene through to the 5.8S gene, which specifically amplified the target region from both tissue and environmental samples.
This study assessed variation in coverage of maternal pertussis vaccination, introduced in England in October 2012 in response to a national outbreak, and a new infant rotavirus vaccination programme, implemented in July 2013. Vaccine eligible patients were included from national vaccine coverage datasets and covered April 2014 to March 2015 for pertussis and January 2014 to June 2016 for rotavirus. Vaccine coverage (%) was calculated overall and by NHS England Local Team (LT), ethnicity and Index of Multiple Deprivation (IMD) quintile, and compared using binomial regression. Compared with white-British infants, the largest differences in rotavirus coverage were in ‘other’, white-Irish and black-Caribbean infants (−13·9%, −12·1% and −10·7%, respectively), after adjusting for IMD and LT. The largest differences in maternal pertussis coverage were in black-other and black-Caribbean women (−16·3% and −15·4%, respectively). Coverage was lowest in London LT for both programmes. Coverage decreased with increasing deprivation and was 14·0% lower in the most deprived quintile compared with the least deprived for the pertussis programme and 4·4% lower for rotavirus. Patients’ ethnicity and deprivation were therefore predictors of coverage which contributed to, but did not wholly account for, geographical variation in coverage in England.
Background: The timing of the circulatory determination of death for organ donation presents a medical and ethical challenge. Concerns have been raised about the timing of electrocerebral inactivity in relation to the cessation of circulatory function in organ donation after cardio-circulatory death. Nonprocessed electroencephalographic (EEG) measures have not been characterized and may provide insight into neurological function during this process. Methods: We assessed electrocortical data in relation to cardiac function after withdrawal of life-sustaining therapy and in the postmortem period after cardiac arrest for four patients in a Canadian intensive care unit. Subhairline EEG and cardio-circulatory monitoring including electrocardiogram, arterial blood pressure (ABP), and oxygen saturation were captured. Results: Electrocerebral inactivity preceded the cessation of the cardiac rhythm and ABP in three patients. In one patient, single delta wave bursts persisted following the cessation of both the cardiac rhythm and ABP. There was a significant difference in EEG amplitude between the 30-minute period before and the 5-minute period following ABP cessation for the group, but we did not observe any well-defined EEG states following the early cardiac arrest period. Conclusions: In a case series of four patients, EEG inactivity preceded electrocardiogram and ABP inactivity during the dying process in three patients. Further study of the electroencephalogram during the withdrawal of life sustaining therapies will add clarity to medical, ethical, and legal concerns for donation after circulatory determined death.
To characterize meal patterns across ten European countries participating in the European Prospective Investigation into Cancer and Nutrition (EPIC) calibration study.
Cross-sectional study utilizing dietary data collected through a standardized 24 h diet recall during 1995–2000. Eleven predefined intake occasions across a 24 h period were assessed during the interview. In the present descriptive report, meal patterns were analysed in terms of daily number of intake occasions, the proportion reporting each intake occasion and the energy contributions from each intake occasion.
Twenty-seven centres across ten European countries.
Women (64 %) and men (36 %) aged 35–74 years (n 36 020).
Pronounced differences in meal patterns emerged both across centres within the same country and across different countries, with a trend for fewer intake occasions per day in Mediterranean countries compared with central and northern Europe. Differences were also found for daily energy intake provided by lunch, with 38–43 % for women and 41–45 % for men within Mediterranean countries compared with 16–27 % for women and 20–26 % for men in central and northern European countries. Likewise, a south–north gradient was found for daily energy intake from snacks, with 13–20 % (women) and 10–17 % (men) in Mediterranean countries compared with 24–34 % (women) and 23–35 % (men) in central/northern Europe.
We found distinct differences in meal patterns with marked diversity for intake frequency and lunch and snack consumption between Mediterranean and central/northern European countries. Monitoring of meal patterns across various cultures and populations could provide critical context to the research efforts to characterize relationships between dietary intake and health.
Previously, the single nucleotide polymorphism in alcohol dehydrogenase (ADH1C c.-64T>C) was shown to have an association with intramuscular fat (IMF) in the longissimus thoracis (LT) muscle when vitamin A was limited in finishing rations of beef steers. The purpose of this study was to determine the optimum vitamin A supplementation level, in combination with ADH1C genotype, to increase IMF of the LT muscle. In total, 45 TT genotype, 45 CT and 27 CC Black Angus crossbred steers were backgrounded on a commercial ration containing 3360 IU vitamin A/kg dry matter (DM). During finishing, the steers were randomly assigned to one of three vitamin A treatments at 25%, 50% and 75% of the National Research Council recommendation of 2200 IU/kg DM. Treatments were administered via an oral bolus. Carcass quality was evaluated and a sample from the LT muscle was collected for analysis of IMF. A treatment×genotype interaction (P=0.04) was observed for IMF; TT steers on the 75% treatment had higher IMF relative to CT and CC steers on the same treatment. Western blot analysis showed that TT steers had higher (P=0.02) ADH1C protein expression in hepatic tissue. Previously, TT steers exhibited increased IMF when fed limited vitamin A. In the current study, the lack of variation in IMF between treatments and genotypes at the lower vitamin A treatment levels was likely due to the majority of the steers grading Canada AAA (USDA Choice). However, the western blot data supports that TT steers are expected to have higher IMF deposition, due to an increased production of ADH1C. The interaction between ADH1C genotype and vitamin A supplementation level has the potential for use in marker-assisted management programs to target niche markets based on increased marbling.
This study aims to describe in detail the temporal dynamics of E. coli O157 shedding and risk factors for shedding in a grass-fed beef herd. During a 9-month period, 23 beef cows were sampled twice a week (58 sampling points) and E. coli O157 was enumerated from faecal samples. Isolates were screened by PCR for presence of rfbE, stx1 and stx2. The prevalence per sampling day ranged from 0% to 57%. This study demonstrates that many members of the herd were concurrently shedding E. coli O157. Occurrence of rainfall (P < 0·01), feeding silage (P < 0·01) and lactating (P < 0·01) were found to be predictors of shedding. Moving cattle to a new paddock had a negative effect on shedding. This approach, based on short-interval sampling, confirms the known variability of shedding within a herd and highlights that high shedding events are rare.
Diarrhoeal diseases are major causes of morbidity and mortality in developing countries. This longitudinal study aimed to identify controllable environmental drivers of intestinal infections amidst a highly contaminated drinking water supply in urban slums and villages of Vellore, Tamil Nadu in southern India. Three hundred households with children (<5 years) residing in two semi-urban slums and three villages were visited weekly for 12–18 months to monitor gastrointestinal morbidity. Households were surveyed at baseline to obtain information on environmental and behavioural factors relevant to diarrhoea. There were 258 diarrhoeal episodes during the follow-up period, resulting in an overall incidence rate of 0·12 episodes/person-year. Incidence and longitudinal prevalence rates of diarrhoea were twofold higher in the slums compared to rural communities (P < 0·0002). Regardless of study site, diarrhoeal incidence was highest in infants (<1 year) at 1·07 episodes/person-year, and decreased gradually with increasing age. Increasing diarrhoeal rates were associated with presence of children (<5 years), domesticated animals and low socioeconomic status. In rural communities, open-field defecation was associated with diarrhoea in young children. This study demonstrates the contribution of site-specific environmental and behavioural factors in influencing endemic rates of urban and rural diarrhoea in a region with highly contaminated drinking water.
Due to an increased need for new antimalarial chemotherapies that show potency against Plasmodium falciparum, researchers are targeting new processes within the parasite in an effort to circumvent or delay the onset of drug resistance. One such promising area for antimalarial drug development has been the parasite mitochondrial electron transport chain (ETC). Efforts have been focused on targeting key processes along the parasite ETC specifically the dihydroorotate dehydrogenase (DHOD) enzyme, the cytochrome bc1 enzyme and the NADH type II oxidoreductase (PfNDH2) pathway. This review summarizes the most recent efforts in antimalarial drug development reported in the literature and describes the evolution of these compounds.
ZnO nanowire (NW) arrays were examined with Transmission Electron Microscopy (TEM) in cross-section after preparation by Focused Ion Beam (FIB) milling. This technique revealed that ZnO nanowires grown using a Au catalyzed vapor technique typically have Au particles at the NW tips, and also randomly dispersed across the base crystal growth that joins adjacent NWs. It is shown the adjacent NWs and the combined base growth is one crystal structure which can be used as a back electrical contact making fabrication of vertical array devices possible. However, the base growth displays detrimental features such as embedded Au particles and lattice defects which can affect the electrical output through depletion regions and scattering centers. In an effort to overcome these problems we investigate a growth method that is nucleated through a minor alteration of the a-plane sapphire surface roughness via a weak chemical etch. Observations of various stages of the growth show the growth nucleates as separate nanoislands that grow in c-plane alignment with Sapphire (1-210), and as growth continues these islands meet and form a polycrystalline film. Further growth initiates nanowire growth and the formation of a single crystal base layer and NW structure that can cover several square millimeter’s. This allows high quality arrays that are relatively free from defects to be formed without any metals contamination and ready for further device processing.