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During the 2009 influenza pandemic, a rapid assessment of disease severity was a challenge as a significant proportion of cases did not seek medical care; care-seeking behaviour changed and the proportion asymptomatic was unknown. A random-digit-dialling telephone survey was undertaken during the 2011/12 winter season in England and Wales to address the feasibility of answering these questions. A proportional quota sampling strategy was employed based on gender, age group, geographical location, employment status and level of education. Households were recruited pre-season and re-contacted immediately following peak seasonal influenza activity. The pre-peak survey was undertaken in October 2011 with 1061 individuals recruited and the post-peak telephone survey in March 2012. Eight hundred and thirty-four of the 1061 (78.6%) participants were successfully re-contacted. Their demographic characteristics compared well to national census data. In total, 8.4% of participants self-reported an influenza-like illness (ILI) in the previous 2 weeks, with 3.2% conforming to the World Health Organization (WHO) ILI case definition. In total, 29.6% of the cases reported consulting their general practitioner. 54.1% of the 1061 participants agreed to be re-contacted about providing biological samples. A population-based cohort was successfully recruited and followed up. Longitudinal survey methodology provides a practical tool to assess disease severity during future pandemics.
The Pueblo population of Chaco Canyon during the Bonito Phase (AD 800–1130) employed agricultural strategies and water-management systems to enhance food cultivation in this unpredictable environment. Scepticism concerning the timing and effectiveness of this system, however, remains common. Using optically stimulated luminescence dating of sediments and LiDAR imaging, the authors located Bonito Phase canal features at the far west end of the canyon. Additional ED-XRF and strontium isotope (87Sr/86Sr) analyses confirm the diversion of waters from multiple sources during Chaco’s occupation. The extent of this water-management system raises new questions about social organisation and the role of ritual in facilitating responses to environmental unpredictability.
The Taipan galaxy survey (hereafter simply ‘Taipan’) is a multi-object spectroscopic survey starting in 2017 that will cover 2π steradians over the southern sky (δ ≲ 10°, |b| ≳ 10°), and obtain optical spectra for about two million galaxies out to z < 0.4. Taipan will use the newly refurbished 1.2-m UK Schmidt Telescope at Siding Spring Observatory with the new TAIPAN instrument, which includes an innovative ‘Starbugs’ positioning system capable of rapidly and simultaneously deploying up to 150 spectroscopic fibres (and up to 300 with a proposed upgrade) over the 6° diameter focal plane, and a purpose-built spectrograph operating in the range from 370 to 870 nm with resolving power R ≳ 2000. The main scientific goals of Taipan are (i) to measure the distance scale of the Universe (primarily governed by the local expansion rate, H0) to 1% precision, and the growth rate of structure to 5%; (ii) to make the most extensive map yet constructed of the total mass distribution and motions in the local Universe, using peculiar velocities based on improved Fundamental Plane distances, which will enable sensitive tests of gravitational physics; and (iii) to deliver a legacy sample of low-redshift galaxies as a unique laboratory for studying galaxy evolution as a function of dark matter halo and stellar mass and environment. The final survey, which will be completed within 5 yrs, will consist of a complete magnitude-limited sample (i ⩽ 17) of about 1.2 × 106 galaxies supplemented by an extension to higher redshifts and fainter magnitudes (i ⩽ 18.1) of a luminous red galaxy sample of about 0.8 × 106 galaxies. Observations and data processing will be carried out remotely and in a fully automated way, using a purpose-built automated ‘virtual observer’ software and an automated data reduction pipeline. The Taipan survey is deliberately designed to maximise its legacy value by complementing and enhancing current and planned surveys of the southern sky at wavelengths from the optical to the radio; it will become the primary redshift and optical spectroscopic reference catalogue for the local extragalactic Universe in the southern sky for the coming decade.
Due to their extremely small luminosity compared to the stars they orbit, planets outside our own Solar System are extraordinarily difficult to detect directly in optical light. Careful photometric monitoring of distant stars, however, can reveal the presence of exoplanets via the microlensing or eclipsing effects they induce. The international PLANET collaboration is performing such monitoring using a cadre of semi-dedicated telescopes around the world. Their results constrain the number of gas giants orbiting 1–7 AU from the most typical stars in the Galaxy. Upgrades in the program are opening regions of “exoplanet discovery space” – toward smaller masses and larger orbital radii – that are inaccessible to the Doppler velocity technique.
Results of further calculations are presented to explore the non-linear, Zeeman overlap effect as the cause for the circular polarization of astrophysical masers. Emphasis is placed on the regime in which the Zeeman splitting is small and on the variation of the polarization with maser saturation.
We consider the action of independent and identically distributed n × n circulants S1, S2, … on V = [v1, …, vn] whose columns are the positions of n points in ℝd. The positions of the n points after m transformations are the columns of W(m) = VS1 … Sm. We describe, in several ways, the shape of the configuration of the points W(m) as m →∞. When n = 3, 4 and d = 2, a special discussion in terms of Moebius transformations is given.
Beamswitching has been used at 10, 15 and 33 GHz to map the microwave background over the Declination range 30° to 45°, covering more than one steradian of the sky. The beamwidth is 5° and the beam-throw is ±8° at each frequency. The three data sets are used to separate Galactic emission from intrinsic CMB emission. For the scan at Dec = 40° the intrinsic fluctuation level is ΔTrms = 48+21−15 μK on a coherence scale of 4°; the equivalent analysis for a Harrison-Zeldovich model gives a power spectrum normalisation of Qrms = 22+10−6 μK. The value of the fluctuation amplitude calculated from the likelihood analysis of the two-dimensional data set is ΔTrms = 54 ± 13 μK at 10 GHz and 39+8−7 μK at 15 GHz.
The ZZ Ceti stars form a class of variable white dwarfs: the hydrogen dominated atmosphere ones, which do pulsate in an instability strip in the effective temperature range 13000K-11500K. We know 22 such ZZ Ceti white dwarfs. Their variations are caused by nonradial g-mode pulsations with periods are in the range 100-1000 seconds.
A subsample of the ZZ Ceti stars shows amplitude variations on time scales of the order of one month. These variations could be driven by nonlinear phenomena.
The variability of CD-24 7599 (V=11.48 mag) was discovered by JCC during observing run XCOV7 of the Whole Earth Telescope (WET, Nather et al. 1990) network in February, 1992. The star was observed as an additional target and 117 hours of high-quality temporal spectroscopic observations were obtained.
Our analysis of these data revealed the presence of 7 independent pulsation modes between 27.0 and 38.1 cycles per day (313 – 441 μHz) with semiamplitudes of 2.1 – 10.2 milli-modulation amplitudes (mma). We showed that peaks at linear combination frequencies detected in the power spectra were not due to eigenmodes excited to visible amplitude by resonant mode coupling.
Hopes to identify genetic susceptibility loci accounting for the heritability seen in unipolar depression have not been fully realized. Family history remains the ‘gold standard’ for both risk stratification and prognosis in complex phenotypes such as depression. Meanwhile, the physiological mechanisms underlying life-event triggers for depression remain opaque. Epigenetics, comprising heritable changes in gene expression other than alterations of the nucleotide sequence, may offer a way to deepen our understanding of the aetiology and pathophysiology of unipolar depression and optimize treatments. A heuristic target for exploring the relevance of epigenetic changes in unipolar depression is the hypothalamic–pituitary–adrenal (HPA) axis. The glucocorticoid receptor (GR) gene (NR3C1) has been found to be susceptible to epigenetic modification, specifically DNA methylation, in the context of environmental stress such as early life trauma, which is an established risk for depression later in life.
In this paper we discuss the progress that has been made by studies that have investigated the relationship between depression, early trauma, the HPA axis and the NR3C1 gene. Difficulties with the design of these studies are also explored.
Future efforts will need to comprehensively address epigenetic natural histories at the population, tissue, cell and gene levels. The complex interactions between the epigenome, genome and environment, as well as ongoing nosological difficulties, also pose significant challenges.
The work that has been done so far is nevertheless encouraging and suggests potential mechanistic and biomarker roles for differential DNA methylation patterns in NR3C1 as well as novel therapeutic targets.
Gamma-ray burst host galaxies are deficient in molecular gas, and show anomalous metal-poor regions close to GRB positions. Using recent Australia Telescope Compact Array (ATCA) Hi observations we show that they have substantial atomic gas reservoirs. This suggests that star formation in these galaxies may be fuelled by recent inflow of metal-poor atomic gas. While this process is debated, it can happen in low-metallicity gas near the onset of star formation because gas cooling (necessary for star formation) is faster than the Hi-to-H2 conversion.
This study investigated whether patients who remain symptomatic more than a year following idiopathic facial paralysis gain benefit from tailored facial physiotherapy.
A two-year retrospective review was conducted of all symptomatic patients. Data collected included: age, gender, duration of symptoms, Sunnybrook facial grading system scores pre-treatment and at last visit, and duration of treatment.
The study comprised 22 patients (with a mean age of 50.5 years (range, 22–75 years)) who had been symptomatic for more than a year following idiopathic facial paralysis. The mean duration of symptoms was 45 months (range, 12–240 months). The mean duration of follow up was 10.4 months (range, 2–36 months). Prior to treatment, the mean Sunnybrook facial grading system score was 59 (standard deviation = 3.5); this had increased to 83 (standard deviation = 2.7) at the last visit, with an average improvement in score of 23 (standard deviation = 2.9). This increase was significant (p < 0.001).
Tailored facial therapy can improve facial grading scores in patients who remain symptomatic for prolonged periods.