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Recent years have seen an exponential increase in the variety of healthcare data captured across numerous sources. However, mechanisms to leverage these data sources to support scientific investigation have remained limited. In 2013 the Pediatric Heart Network (PHN), funded by the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute, developed the Integrated CARdiac Data and Outcomes (iCARD) Collaborative with the goals of leveraging available data sources to aid in efficiently planning and conducting PHN studies; supporting integration of PHN data with other sources to foster novel research otherwise not possible; and mentoring young investigators in these areas. This review describes lessons learned through the development of iCARD, initial efforts and scientific output, challenges, and future directions. This information can aid in the use and optimisation of data integration methodologies across other research networks and organisations.
To examine changes in the spatial clustering of malnutrition in children under 5 years of age (under-5s) for the period 1999 to 2011 in Bangladesh.
We used data from four nationally representative Demographic and Health Surveys (DHS) conducted in 1999–2000, 2004, 2007 and 2011 in Bangladesh involving a total of 24 211 under-5s located in 1661 primary sampling units (PSU; geographical unit of analysis) throughout Bangladesh. The prevalence of stunting (height/length-for-age Z-score <−2), underweight (weight-for-age Z-score <−2) and wasting (weight-for-height/length Z-score <−2) at each PSU site and for each survey year were estimated based on the WHO child growth standard. The extent of spatial clustering was quantified using semivariograms.
Whole of Bangladesh.
Children under 5 years of age.
Our results demonstrate that in 1999–2000 most PSU throughout Bangladesh experienced stunting, underweight and wasting prevalence which exceeded the WHO thresholds. By 2011, this situation improved, although in two of the six divisions (Barisal and Sylhet) PSU still exhibited higher levels of malnutrition compared with other divisions of the country. The pattern of spatial clustering for stunting, underweight and wasting also changed between 1999 and 2011 both at national and sub-national (division) levels.
We identified divisions where malnutrition indicators (stunting, underweight and wasting) remain highly clustered and other divisions where they are more widely spread in Bangladesh. This has important implications on how interventions for malnutrition need to be delivered (geographically targeted interventions v. random interventions) within each division of the country.
We have previously shown that the minor alleles of vascular endothelial growth factor A (VEGFA) single-nucleotide polymorphism rs833069 and superoxide dismutase 2 (SOD2) single-nucleotide polymorphism rs2758331 are both associated with improved transplant-free survival after surgery for CHD in infants, but the underlying mechanisms are unknown. We hypothesised that one or both of these minor alleles are associated with better systemic ventricular function, resulting in improved survival.
This study is a follow-up analysis of 422 non-syndromic CHD patients who underwent neonatal cardiac surgery with cardiopulmonary bypass. Echocardiographic reports were reviewed. Systemic ventricular function was subjectively categorised as normal, or as mildly, moderately, or severely depressed. The change in function was calculated as the change from the preoperative study to the last available study. Stepwise linear regression, adjusting for covariates, was performed for the outcome of change in ventricular function. Model comparison was performed using Akaike’s information criterion. Only variables that improved the model prediction of change in systemic ventricular function were retained in the final model.
Genetic and echocardiographic data were available for 335/422 subjects (79%). Of them, 33 (9.9%) developed worse systemic ventricular function during a mean follow-up period of 13.5 years. After covariate adjustment, the presence of the VEGFA minor allele was associated with preserved ventricular function (p=0.011).
These data support the hypothesis that the mechanism by which the VEGFA single-nucleotide polymorphism rs833069 minor allele improves survival may be the preservation of ventricular function. Further studies are needed to validate this genotype–phenotype association and to determine whether this mechanism is related to increased vascular endothelial growth factor production.
Ten ice-sheet models are used to study sensitivity of the Greenland and Antarctic ice sheets to prescribed changes of surface mass balance, sub-ice-shelf melting and basal sliding. Results exhibit a large range in projected contributions to sea-level change. In most cases, the ice volume above flotation lost is linearly dependent on the strength of the forcing. Combinations of forcings can be closely approximated by linearly summing the contributions from single forcing experiments, suggesting that nonlinear feedbacks are modest. Our models indicate that Greenland is more sensitive than Antarctica to likely atmospheric changes in temperature and precipitation, while Antarctica is more sensitive to increased ice-shelf basal melting. An experiment approximating the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change’s RCP8.5 scenario produces additional first-century contributions to sea level of 22.3 and 8.1 cm from Greenland and Antarctica, respectively, with a range among models of 62 and 14 cm, respectively. By 200 years, projections increase to 53.2 and 26.7 cm, respectively, with ranges of 79 and 43 cm. Linear interpolation of the sensitivity results closely approximates these projections, revealing the relative contributions of the individual forcings on the combined volume change and suggesting that total ice-sheet response to complicated forcings over 200 years can be linearized.
Schistosomiasis in China has been substantially reduced due to an effective control programme employing various measures including bovine and human chemotherapy, and the removal of bovines from endemic areas. To fulfil elimination targets, it will be necessary to identify other possible reservoir hosts for Schistosoma japonicum and include them in future control efforts. This study determined the infection prevalence of S. japonicum in rodents (0–9·21%), dogs (0–18·37%) and goats (6·9–46·4%) from the Dongting Lake area of Hunan province, using a combination of traditional coproparasitological techniques (miracidial hatching technique and Kato-Katz thick smear technique) and molecular methods [quantitative real-time PCR (qPCR) and droplet digital PCR (ddPCR)]. We found a much higher prevalence in goats than previously recorded in this setting. Cattle and water buffalo were also examined using the same procedures and all were found to be infected, emphasising the occurrence of active transmission. qPCR and ddPCR were much more sensitive than the coproparasitological procedures with both KK and MHT considerably underestimating the true prevalence in all animals surveyed. The high level of S. japonicum prevalence in goats indicates that they are likely important reservoirs in schistosomiasis transmission, necessitating their inclusion as targets of control, if the goal of elimination is to be achieved in China.
The current World Health Organization strategic plan targets the elimination of schistosomiasis as a public health problem by 2025 and accurate diagnostics will play a pivotal role in achieving this goal. DNA-based detection methods provide a viable alternative to some of the commonly used tests, notably microscopy and serology, for the diagnosis of schistosomiasis. The detection of parasite cell-free DNA in different clinical samples is a recent valuable advance, which provides significant benefits for accurate disease diagnosis. Here we validated a novel duplex droplet digital PCR assay for the diagnosis of Chinese (SjC) and Philippine (SjP) strains of Schistosoma japonicum infection in a mouse model. The assay proved applicable for both SjC and SjP infections and capable of detecting infection at a very early intra-mammalian stage in conveniently obtainable samples (urine and saliva) as well as in serum and feces. The target DNA copy numbers obtained in the assay showed a positive correlation with the infection burden assessed by direct traditional parasitology. The potential to detect parasite DNA in urine and saliva has important practical implications for large-scale epidemiological screening programmes in the future, particularly in terms of logistical convenience, and the assay has the potential to be a valuable additional tool for the diagnosis of schistosomiasis japonica.
BMI is a proxy for fat accumulation in the body. Increased diabetes and CVD risks have been observed for Asian populations at lower BMI than the WHO-recommended BMI cut-off points for overweight (≥25·0 kg/m2) and obesity (≥30·0 kg/m2). The current study aimed to quantify the increased hypertension (HTN) and type 2 diabetes mellitus (T2DM) prevalence in Bangladeshi adults with moderately increased BMI (23·0–24·9 kg/m2).
Data from the most recent Bangladesh Demographic and Health Survey (2011) were analysed. Modified Poisson regression models with robust error variance were used to calculate prevalence ratios (PR) for HTN or T2DM by BMI category, considering BMI=18·5–22·9 kg/m2 as the reference. All analyses incorporated the complex sampling design of the survey.
BMI, blood pressure, blood sugar and related information were collected from a nationally representative sample.
Adults (n 7433) aged≥35 years.
About 12 % of Bangladeshi adults, both male and female, were within the BMI range 23·0–24·9 kg/m2 or moderately overweight. Compared with the reference BMI group (18·5–22·9 kg/m2), they had an increased PR for HTN (1·55–1·77) and T2DM (1·54–1·93). These increased PR are similar to those for the WHO-defined overweight group (BMI=25·0–29·9 kg/m2).
Our findings support the recommendation that calls for setting the optimum BMI for Asian populations to 18·5–23·0 kg/m2 for health promotion and for public health interventions like leisure-time physical activity. WHO cut-off points for overweight (≥25 kg/m2) should be used to facilitate international comparisons.
Approximately half of the variation in wellbeing measures overlaps with variation in personality traits. Studies of non-human primate pedigrees and human twins suggest that this is due to common genetic influences. We tested whether personality polygenic scores for the NEO Five-Factor Inventory (NEO-FFI) domains and for item response theory (IRT) derived extraversion and neuroticism scores predict variance in wellbeing measures. Polygenic scores were based on published genome-wide association (GWA) results in over 17,000 individuals for the NEO-FFI and in over 63,000 for the IRT extraversion and neuroticism traits. The NEO-FFI polygenic scores were used to predict life satisfaction in 7 cohorts, positive affect in 12 cohorts, and general wellbeing in 1 cohort (maximal N = 46,508). Meta-analysis of these results showed no significant association between NEO-FFI personality polygenic scores and the wellbeing measures. IRT extraversion and neuroticism polygenic scores were used to predict life satisfaction and positive affect in almost 37,000 individuals from UK Biobank. Significant positive associations (effect sizes <0.05%) were observed between the extraversion polygenic score and wellbeing measures, and a negative association was observed between the polygenic neuroticism score and life satisfaction. Furthermore, using GWA data, genetic correlations of -0.49 and -0.55 were estimated between neuroticism with life satisfaction and positive affect, respectively. The moderate genetic correlation between neuroticism and wellbeing is in line with twin research showing that genetic influences on wellbeing are also shared with other independent personality domains.
To estimate the average annual rates of reduction of stunting, underweight and wasting for the period 1996 to 2011, and to evaluate whether Bangladesh will be expected to achieve the target of Millennium Development Goal 1C of reducing the prevalence of underweight by half by 2015.
We used five nationwide, cross-sectional, Demographic and Health Survey data sets to estimate prevalence of undernutrition defined by stunting, underweight and wasting among children under 5 years of age using the WHO child growth standards. We then computed the average annual rates of reduction of prevalence of undernutrition using the formula derived by UNICEF. Finally, we projected the prevalence of undernutrition for the year 2015 using the estimated average annual rates of reduction.
Nationwide covering Bangladesh.
Children under 5 years of age (n 28 941).
The prevalence of stunting decreased by 18·8 % (from 60·0 % to 41·2 %), underweight by 16·0 % (from 52·2 % to 36·2 %) and wasting by 5·1 % (from 20·6 % to 15·5 %) during 1996 to 2011. The overall average annual rates of reduction were 2·84 %, 2·69 % and 2·47 %, respectively, for stunting, underweight and wasting. We forecast that in 2015, the prevalence of stunting, underweight and wasting will be 36·7 %, 32·5 % and 14·0 %, respectively, at the national level. The prevalence of undernutrition is likely to remain high in rural areas, in the Sylhet division and in the poorest wealth quintile.
Bangladesh is likely to achieve the Millennium Development Goal 1C target of reducing the prevalence of underweight by half by 2015. However, it is falling behind in reducing stunting and further investment is needed to reduce individual, household and environmental determinants of stunting in Bangladesh.
Gram-negative bacilli frequently cause epidemics in high-risk newborn intensive care units. Recently, an epidemic caused by a multiply-resistant K. pneumoniae, serotype 21, occurred in the Vanderbilt University intensive care nursery. The background of this outbreak included an increasing endemic nosocomial sepsis rate, operation of the facility in excess of rated capacity, and increasingly inadequate nurse-to-patient staffing ratios. The epidemic lasted 11 weeks; 26 (12%) of the 232 infants at risk in the unit became colonized. Five infants developed systemic illness and one died. Cohorting, reinforcement of strict handwashing and isolation procedures, and closure of the unit to outborn admissions resulted in rapid termination of the outbreak. Followup studies performed on infants colonized with the epidemic bacterium demonstrated persistent fecal shedding up to 13 months following discharge from the hospital. This epidemic had a detrimental influence on high-risk newborn and obstetric health care delivery in an area encompassing portions of three states. Under a system of progressively more sophisticated referral units, nosocomial infections occurring at a tertiary center can have an impact on other hospitals within the network.
To examine the prospective association of television (TV) watching from adolescence to young adulthood with BMI, waist circumference (WC), waist-to-hip ratio (WHR) and obesity.
A community-based longitudinal cohort study.
Mater–University of Queensland Study of Pregnancy (MUSP) Cohort, Brisbane, Australia.
A sub-sample of 2439 children was followed up at ages 14 years and 21 years as part of a population-based birth cohort. Offspring reported the number of TV viewing hours each day at 14 and 21 years. BMI, WC and WHR were measured at 21 years.
In the adjusted model, offspring who watched TV for <3 h/d at 14 years but for ≥3 h/d at 21 years, or who watched TV for ≥3 h/d at 14 and 21 years, had greater BMI, WC and WHR at 21 years. Offspring who watched TV for ≥3 h/d at 14 years but for <3 h/d at 21 years had similar mean BMI, WC and WHR at 21 years to those who watched TV for <3 h/d at 14 and 21 years. Those offspring who reduced their TV watching hours to <3 h/d during the transition from adolescence into young adulthood were at less risk of becoming obese and those who continued or increased their TV watching to ≥3 h/d were at greater risk of becoming obese. This association remained independent of the potential confounding factors considered.
The present findings suggest that our efforts to decrease obesity by reducing TV watching hours among adults should consider interventions to reduce TV time among adolescents.
We describe a method for measuring the lateral focal spot size of a multiphoton laser scanning microscope (LSM) with unprecedented accuracy. A specimen consisting of an aluminum film deposited on a glass coverslip was brought into focus in a LSM and the laser intensity was then increased enough to perform nanoablation of the metal film. This process leaves a permanent trace of the raster path usually taken by the beam during the acquisition of an optical image. A scanning electron microscope (SEM) was then used to determine the nanoablated line width to high accuracy, from which the lateral spot size and hence resolution of the LSM can be determined. To demonstrate our method, we performed analysis of a multiphoton LSM at various infrared wavelengths, and we report measurements of optical lateral spot size with an accuracy of 20 nm, limited only by the resolution of the SEM.
The present study examined whether long-term supplementation with once- and twice-weekly multiple micronutrients (MMN-1 and MMN-2) can improve Hb and micronutrient status more than twice-weekly Fe–folic acid (IFA-2) supplementation in non-anaemic adolescent girls in Bangladesh. An equal number of 324 rural schoolgirls aged 11–17 years were given MMN-1 or MMN-2 or IFA-2 supplements for 52 weeks in a randomised, double-blind trial. Blood samples were collected at baseline, and at 26 and 52 weeks of supplementation. The girls receiving IFA-2 supplements were more likely to be anaemic than the girls receiving MMN-2 supplements for 26 weeks (OR 5·1, 95 % CI 1·3, 19·5; P = 0·018). All three supplements reduced Fe deficiency effectively. Both the MMN-1 and MMN-2 groups showed significantly greater improvements in vitamins A, B2 and C status than the girls in the IFA-2 group, as might be expected. Receiving a MMN-1 supplement was found to be less effective than MMN-2 supplement in improving Fe, vitamins A, B2 and folic acid status. Receiving micronutrient supplements beyond 26 weeks showed little additional benefit in improving micronutrient status. In conclusion, given twice-weekly for 26 weeks, MMN supplements can improve micronutrient status effectively with no significant increase in Hb concentration compared with IFA supplements in non-anaemic Bangladeshi adolescent girls. However, it significantly reduces the risk of anaemia. Before any recommendations can be made, further research, including into cost-effectiveness, is needed to see whether MMN supplementation has any additional longer-term health benefits over that of IFA supplementation in this population.
Evidence from longitudinal studies on the association between diet quality and change in anthropometric measures is scarce. We therefore investigated the relationship between a recently developed food-based dietary index and change in measured BMI and waist circumference (WC) in Australian adults (1992–2007). We used data from the Australian population-based Nambour Skin Cancer Study comprising 1231 adults aged 25–75 years at baseline (1992). We applied generalised estimating equations (GEE) to examine the association between diet quality and change in anthropometric measures. Dietary intake was assessed by an FFQ in 1992, 1996 and 2007. Diet quality was estimated using the dietary guideline index (DGI), developed to reflect the dietary guidelines for Australian adults; a higher score indicating increased compliance. Multivariable models, stratified by sex, were adjusted for sociodemographic and lifestyle characteristics. We show that men with higher diet quality had a lower gain in BMI as compared to those with low diet quality during the 15-year follow-up. In a multivariable adjusted model, as compared to men in quartile 1 (reference), those in the highest quartile had the lowest gain in BMI (mean (95 % CI): 0·05 (0·00, 0·09) v. 0·11 (0·06, 0·16) kg/m2 per year, P =0·01). Diet quality was inversely, but non-significantly associated with change in WC. In women, DGI score was unrelated to change in any body measure. Energy underreporting did not explain the lack of association. We conclude that adherence to a high-quality diet according to Australian dietary guidelines leads to lower gain in BMI and WC in middle-aged men, but not in women.
The Hartree-Fock (HF), restricted open shell HF (ROHF), configuration interaction (CI), complete active space (ICASCF), and multiconfiguration self-consistent field (MCSCF) methods provide sophisticated fundamental theory-based, computational tools to study structure, composition,chemistry and electronic properties of small artificial molecules composed of semiconductor compound atoms. These tools are used to synthesize virtually several prismatic In-N and Zn-O artificial molecules whose structure is derived from that of the symmetry elements of the respective wurtzite bulk lattices. Applications of spatial constraints to the atomic coordinates allow modeling molecular synthesis in quantum confinement, to obtain pre-designed molecules with tunable electronic properties. Relaxation of these constraints, or optimization, leads to the corresponding molecules synthesized in “vacuum”. The development of computational templates of the studied artificial molecules synthesized in confinement reflects effects of quantum confinement on the electronic level structure, bonding, the direct optical transition energy, and charge and spin density distributions of the molecules. Comparison of the structure and properties of these molecules to those of their vacuum counterparts leads to a conclusion that a small changes in atomic positions in otherwise structurally similar molecules cause a significant change in their electronic properties. Thus, the electronic properties of artificial molecules can be tuned by changing their synthesis conditions that are defined by atomistic details of quantum confinement where the molecules are synthesized.
We present the first spatially resolved observations of circumstellar envelopes of 25 bright northern Be stars. The survey was performed with the CHARA Array interferometer in the K-band at intermediate and long baselines. The interferometric visibilities are well fitted by a viscous disk model where the gas density steeply decreases with the radius. Physical and geometrical parameters such as the density profile, the inclination, and the position angles of the circumstellar disks are determined. We find that the density radial exponent ranges between n ≈ 2.4 − 3.2, which is consistent with previous IRAS measurements. We have also obtained simultaneous optical and near-IR spectrophotometric measurements, and found that the model reproduces well the observed disk IR-continuum excess emission. By combining the projected rotational velocity of the Be star with the disk inclination derived from interferometry, we give estimates of the equatorial rotational velocities of these Be stars.