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Recognition of the role of infectious agents in a range of both acute and chronic diseases is increasing. One key example is the potential epidemiological and neuropathological association between some cases of schizophrenia with the protozoan Toxoplasma gondii. T. gondii establishes persistent infection within the CNS and can alter host behaviour. Altered dopamine levels have been reported for both T. gondii infection and schizophrenia. Several medications used to treat schizophrenia demonstrate anti-T. gondii properties, and haloperidol, a dopamine antagonist, can prevent the development of T. gondii-altered behaviour in rodents. Furthermore, T. gondii may actually be a source of dopamine, as it encodes a copy of the mammalian enzyme tyrosine hydroxylase, which represents the rate-limiting step in dopamine synthesis.
Using the epidemiologically and clinically applicable rat-T. gondii model, and incorporating a battery of classical and novel non-invasive behavioural and physiological assays, we aim to further elucidate the impact of T. gondii on behaviour and the mechanisms involved.
T. gondii increases the rats’ propensity for predation risk through enhanced activity, visibility and manipulation of their perception of predation risk, turning innate aversion into a ‘suicidal’ feline attraction. There is little indication that T. gondii alters the rats generalized anxiety, nor potential to enhanced predation by non-definitive mammalian host species. Preliminary associative analyses into the relationship between individual behavioural alterations and neurotransmitter and brain cysts localisation profiles will be presented.
Our results provide further evidence for a role of T. gondii in the aetiology of some cases of schizophrenia.
Latent infection with the common intracellular protozoan parasite Toxoplasma gondii has been shown to result in altered behaviour of its host. This behaviour manipulation has been proposed to increase predation of the intermediate host (e.g. rodents and birds) enhancing parasite transmission. Other psychologicalsequalae have also been associated with latent toxoplasmosis including human affective disorders, as human are accidental hosts for Toxoplasma. During cyst stages of the life cycle found in the brain and other tissues, there is a complex interaction between the parasite and the host. Our research is concerned with the possibility that the parasite-induced behavioural changes are mediated by neurotransmitters. Potential factors in neurotransmitter levels include the location of the cyst, the host immune response, and direct parasite products. The cyst is found in many brain regions but elevated numbers have been reported in the hippocampus, amygdala, and nucleus accumbens. The host response involves interferon gamma suppressing growth through tryptophan degradation that could decrease serotonin levels. The parasite could directly manipulate the host brain through altering dopamine levels. We have found a change in dopamine associated with infection. Indeed, the parasite itself encodes the rate-limiting enzyme in dopamine synthesis, tyrosine hydroxylase. Dopamine's role is also supported by finding haloperidol, a dopamine antagonist, blocks manipulation of rodents by Toxoplasma. Our current investigations of alterations in neurotransmitter levels during chronic infection and association with brain cysts will be presented. Our data presents an interesting interplay with the ‘dopamine hypothesis’ that has postulated a link between elevated dopamine and schizophrenia.
We apply two methods to estimate the 21-cm bispectrum from data taken within the Epoch of Reionisation (EoR) project of the Murchison Widefield Array (MWA). Using data acquired with the Phase II compact array allows a direct bispectrum estimate to be undertaken on the multiple redundantly spaced triangles of antenna tiles, as well as an estimate based on data gridded to the uv-plane. The direct and gridded bispectrum estimators are applied to 21 h of high-band (167–197 MHz; z = 6.2–7.5) data from the 2016 and 2017 observing seasons. Analytic predictions for the bispectrum bias and variance for point-source foregrounds are derived. We compare the output of these approaches, the foreground contribution to the signal, and future prospects for measuring the bispectra with redundant and non-redundant arrays. We find that some triangle configurations yield bispectrum estimates that are consistent with the expected noise level after 10 h, while equilateral configurations are strongly foreground-dominated. Careful choice of triangle configurations may be made to reduce foreground bias that hinders power spectrum estimators, and the 21-cm bispectrum may be accessible in less time than the 21-cm power spectrum for some wave modes, with detections in hundreds of hours.
Background: Biallelic variants in POLR1C are associated with POLR3-related leukodystrophy (POLR3-HLD), or 4H leukodystrophy (Hypomyelination, Hypodontia, Hypogonadotropic Hypogonadism), and Treacher Collins syndrome (TCS). The clinical spectrum of POLR3-HLD caused by variants in this gene has not been described. Methods: A cross-sectional observational study involving 25 centers worldwide was conducted between 2016 and 2018. The clinical, radiologic and molecular features of 23 unreported and previously reported cases of POLR3-HLD caused by POLR1C variants were reviewed. Results: Most participants presented between birth and age 6 years with motor difficulties. Neurological deterioration was seen during childhood, suggesting a more severe phenotype than previously described. The dental, ocular and endocrine features often seen in POLR3-HLD were not invariably present. Five patients (22%) had a combination of hypomyelinating leukodystrophy and abnormal craniofacial development, including one individual with clear TCS features. Several cases did not exhibit all the typical radiologic characteristics of POLR3-HLD. A total of 29 different pathogenic variants in POLR1C were identified, including 13 new disease-causing variants. Conclusions: Based on the largest cohort of patients to date, these results suggest novel characteristics of POLR1C-related disorder, with a spectrum of clinical involvement characterized by hypomyelinating leukodystrophy with or without abnormal craniofacial development reminiscent of TCS.
We describe the motivation and design details of the ‘Phase II’ upgrade of the Murchison Widefield Array radio telescope. The expansion doubles to 256 the number of antenna tiles deployed in the array. The new antenna tiles enhance the capabilities of the Murchison Widefield Array in several key science areas. Seventy-two of the new tiles are deployed in a regular configuration near the existing array core. These new tiles enhance the surface brightness sensitivity of the array and will improve the ability of the Murchison Widefield Array to estimate the slope of the Epoch of Reionisation power spectrum by a factor of ∼3.5. The remaining 56 tiles are deployed on long baselines, doubling the maximum baseline of the array and improving the array u, v coverage. The improved imaging capabilities will provide an order of magnitude improvement in the noise floor of Murchison Widefield Array continuum images. The upgrade retains all of the features that have underpinned the Murchison Widefield Array’s success (large field of view, snapshot image quality, and pointing agility) and boosts the scientific potential with enhanced imaging capabilities and by enabling new calibration strategies.
In Cameroon, there is a national programme engaged in the control of schistosomiasis and soil-transmitted helminthiasis. In certain locations, the programme is transitioning from morbidity control towards local interruption of parasite transmission. The volcanic crater lake villages of Barombi Mbo and Barombi Kotto are well-known transmission foci and are excellent context-specific locations to assess appropriate disease control interventions. Most recently they have served as exemplars of expanded access to deworming medications and increased environmental surveillance. In this paper, we review infection dynamics through time, beginning with data from 1953, and comment on the short- and long-term success of disease control. We show how intensification of local control is needed to push towards elimination and that further environmental surveillance, with targeted snail control, is needed to consolidate gains in preventive chemotherapy as well as empower local communities to take ownership of interventions.
The re-emergence of debates on the decolonisation of knowledge has revived interest in the National Question, which began over a century ago and remains unresolved. Tensions that were suppressed and hidden in the past are now being openly debated. Despite this, the goal of one united nation living prosperously under a constitutional democracy remains elusive. This edited volume examines the way in which various strands of left thought have addressed the National Question, especially during the apartheid years, and goes on to discuss its relevance for South Africa today and in the future. Instead of imposing a particular understanding of the National Question, the editors identified a number of political traditions and allowed contributors the freedom to define the question as they believed appropriate – in other words, to explain what they thought was the Unresolved National Question. This has resulted in a rich tapestry of interweaving perceptions. The volume is structured in two parts. The first examines four foundational traditions: Marxism-Leninism (the Colonialism of a Special Type thesis); the Congress tradition; the Trotskyist tradition; and Africanism. The second part explores the various shifts in the debate from the 1960s onwards, and includes chapters on Afrikaner nationalism, ethnic issues, black consciousness, feminism, workerism and constitutionalism. The editors hope that by revisiting the debates not popularly known among the scholarly mainstream, this volume will become a catalyst for an enriched debate on our identity and our future.
Escherichia coli O157 are zoonotic bacteria for which cattle are an important reservoir. Prevalence estimates for E. coli O157 in British cattle for human consumption are over 10 years old. A new baseline is needed to inform current human health risk. The British E. coli O157 in Cattle Study (BECS) ran between September 2014 and November 2015 on 270 farms across Scotland and England & Wales. This is the first study to be conducted contemporaneously across Great Britain, thus enabling comparison between Scotland and England & Wales. Herd-level prevalence estimates for E. coli O157 did not differ significantly for Scotland (0·236, 95% CI 0·166–0·325) and England & Wales (0·213, 95% CI 0·156–0·283) (P = 0·65). The majority of isolates were verocytotoxin positive. A higher proportion of samples from Scotland were in the super-shedder category, though there was no difference between the surveys in the likelihood of a positive farm having at least one super-shedder sample. E. coli O157 continues to be common in British beef cattle, reaffirming public health policy that contact with cattle and their environments is a potential infection source.
We use numerical simulations from the Community Coordinated Modeling Center to provide, for the first time, a coherent temporal description of the magnetic reconnection process of two dayside Electron Diffusion Regions (EDRs) identified in Magnetospheric Multiscale Mission data. The model places the MMS spacecraft near the separator line in these most intense and long-lived events. A listing of 31 dayside EDRs identified by the authors is provided to encourage collaboration in analysis of these unique encounters.
We have compiled a catalogue of H ii regions detected with the Murchison Widefield Array between 72 and 231 MHz. The multiple frequency bands provided by the Murchison Widefield Array allow us identify the characteristic spectrum generated by the thermal Bremsstrahlung process in H ii regions. We detect 306 H ii regions between 260° < l < 340° and report on the positions, sizes, peak, integrated flux density, and spectral indices of these H ii regions. By identifying the point at which H ii regions transition from the optically thin to thick regime, we derive the physical properties including the electron density, ionised gas mass, and ionising photon flux, towards 61 H ii regions. This catalogue of H ii regions represents the most extensive and uniform low frequency survey of H ii regions in the Galaxy to date.
We compare first-order (refractive) ionospheric effects seen by the MWA with the ionosphere as inferred from GPS data. The first-order ionosphere manifests itself as a bulk position shift of the observed sources across an MWA field of view. These effects can be computed from global ionosphere maps provided by GPS analysis centres, namely the CODE. However, for precision radio astronomy applications, data from local GPS networks needs to be incorporated into ionospheric modelling. For GPS observations, the ionospheric parameters are biased by GPS receiver instrument delays, among other effects, also known as receiver DCBs. The receiver DCBs need to be estimated for any non-CODE GPS station used for ionosphere modelling. In this work, single GPS station-based ionospheric modelling is performed at a time resolution of 10 min. Also the receiver DCBs are estimated for selected Geoscience Australia GPS receivers, located at Murchison Radio Observatory, Yarragadee, Mount Magnet and Wiluna. The ionospheric gradients estimated from GPS are compared with that inferred from MWA. The ionospheric gradients at all the GPS stations show a correlation with the gradients observed with the MWA. The ionosphere estimates obtained using GPS measurements show promise in terms of providing calibration information for the MWA.
GLEAM, the GaLactic and Extragalactic All-sky MWA survey, is a survey of the entire radio sky south of declination + 25° at frequencies between 72 and 231 MHz, made with the MWA using a drift scan method that makes efficient use of the MWA’s very large field-of-view. We present the observation details, imaging strategies, and theoretical sensitivity for GLEAM. The survey ran for two years, the first year using 40-kHz frequency resolution and 0.5-s time resolution; the second year using 10-kHz frequency resolution and 2 s time resolution. The resulting image resolution and sensitivity depends on observing frequency, sky pointing, and image weighting scheme. At 154 MHz, the image resolution is approximately 2.5 × 2.2/cos (δ + 26.7°) arcmin with sensitivity to structures up to ~ 10° in angular size. We provide tables to calculate the expected thermal noise for GLEAM mosaics depending on pointing and frequency and discuss limitations to achieving theoretical noise in Stokes I images. We discuss challenges, and their solutions, that arise for GLEAM including ionospheric effects on source positions and linearly polarised emission, and the instrumental polarisation effects inherent to the MWA’s primary beam.