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The prevalence of many diseases in pigs displays seasonal distributions. Despite growing concerns about the impacts of climate change, we do not yet have a good understanding of the role that weather factors play in explaining such seasonal patterns. In this study, national and county-level aggregated abattoir inspection data were assessed for England and Wales during 2010–2015. Seasonally-adjusted relationships were characterised between weekly ambient maximum temperature and the prevalence of both respiratory conditions and tail biting detected at slaughter. The prevalence of respiratory conditions showed cyclical annual patterns with peaks in the summer months and troughs in the winter months each year. However, there were no obvious associations with either high or low temperatures. The prevalence of tail biting generally increased as temperatures decreased, but associations were not supported by statistical evidence: across all counties there was a relative risk of 1.028 (95% CI 0.776–1.363) for every 1 °C fall in temperature. Whilst the seasonal patterns observed in this study are similar to those reported in previous studies, the lack of statistical evidence for an explicit association with ambient temperature may possibly be explained by the lack of information on date of disease onset. There is also the possibility that other time-varying factors not investigated here may be driving some of the seasonal patterns.
A total of 592 people reported gastrointestinal illness following attendance at Street Spice, a food festival held in Newcastle-upon-Tyne, North East England in February/March 2013. Epidemiological, microbiological and environmental investigations were undertaken to identify the source and prevent further cases. Several epidemiological analyses were conducted; a cohort study; a follow-up survey of cases and capture re-capture to estimate the true burden of cases. Indistinguishable isolates of Salmonella Agona phage type 40 were identified in cases and on fresh curry leaves used in one of the accompaniments served at the event. Molecular testing indicated entero-aggregative Escherichia coli and Shigella also contributed to the burden of illness. Analytical studies found strong associations between illness and eating food from a particular stall and with food items including coconut chutney which contained fresh curry leaves. Further investigation of the food supply chain and food preparation techniques identified a lack of clear instruction on the use of fresh uncooked curry leaves in finished dishes and uncertainty about their status as a ready-to-eat product. We describe the investigation of one of the largest outbreaks of food poisoning in England, involving several gastrointestinal pathogens including a strain of Salmonella Agona not previously seen in the UK.
An emerging recombinant norovirus GII.P16/GII.4 Sydney 2012 strain caused a gastroenteritis outbreak amongst attendees at a large health function in regional New South Wales, Australia. This was the third outbreak caused by the recombinant GII.P16/GII.4 Sydney 2012 strain in this region in 2017, which appears to be emerging as a common strain in the Hunter New England region.
For livestock production systems to play a positive role in global food security, the balance between their benefits and disbenefits to society must be appropriately managed. Based on the evidence provided by field-scale randomised controlled trials around the world, this debate has traditionally centred on the concept of economic-environmental trade-offs, of which existence is theoretically assured when resource allocation is perfect on the farm. Recent research conducted on commercial farms indicates, however, that the economic-environmental nexus is not nearly as straightforward in the real world, with environmental performances of enterprises often positively correlated with their economic profitability. Using high-resolution primary data from the North Wyke Farm Platform, an intensively instrumented farm-scale ruminant research facility located in southwest United Kingdom, this paper proposes a novel, information-driven approach to carry out comprehensive assessments of economic-environmental trade-offs inherent within pasture-based cattle and sheep production systems. The results of a data-mining exercise suggest that a potentially systematic interaction exists between ‘soil health’, ecological surroundings and livestock grazing, whereby a higher level of soil organic carbon (SOC) stock is associated with a better animal performance and less nutrient losses into watercourses, and a higher stocking density with greater botanical diversity and elevated SOC. We contend that a combination of farming system-wide trials and environmental instrumentation provides an ideal setting for enrolling scientifically sound and biologically informative metrics for agricultural sustainability, through which agricultural producers could obtain guidance to manage soils, water, pasture and livestock in an economically and environmentally acceptable manner. Priority areas for future farm-scale research to ensure long-term sustainability are also discussed.
John Evans announces the question to which all three of these books respond in his title: What is a human? And in the subtitle, he indicates the reason many people today are concerned about the answers offered to that question: what the different answers mean for human rights. As the debates about the fate of a fetus or comatose patient show, definitions of what is human can determine who lives or dies.
The demonstrated willingness of ten knowledgeable scholars to read and comment on parts of my work is, indeed, a great honor. As Mary Keys's introductory remarks show, the contributors are friends. However, although their comments are generally appreciative, they are by no means uncritical. I thus welcome the opportunity to respond to them.
Monolithic integrated thin film tandem solar cells consisting of a high bandgap perovskite top cell and a low bandgap thin film bottom cell are expected to reach higher power conversion efficiencies (PCEs) with lower manufacturing cost and environmental impacts than the market-dominant crystalline silicon photovoltaics. There have been several demonstrations of 4-terminal and 2-terminal perovskite tandem devices with CuInGaSe2 (CIGS) or CuInSe2 (CIS) and, similar to the other tandem structures, the optimization of this device relies on optimal choice for the perovskite bandgap and thickness. Therefore, further advancement will be enabled by tuning the perovskite absorber to maximize the photocurrent limited by the current match condition. Here, we systematically study the optical absorption and transmission of perovskite thin films with varying absorber band gap. Based on these results, we model the photocurrent generations in both perovskite and CIS subcells and estimate the performances of projected tandem devices by considering the ideally functioning perovskite and CIS device. Our results show that for perovskite layers with 500 nm thickness the optimal bandgap is around 1.6 eV. With these configurations, PCEs above 20% could be achieved by monolithically integrated perovskite/CIS tandem solar cells. Also by modelling the absorption at every layer we calculate the quantum efficiency at each subcell in addition to tracking optical losses.
While state legislative rollbacks of public-sector workers’ collective bargaining rights in Wisconsin and other US states in 2011 appeared to signal an unprecedented wave of hostility toward the public sector, such episodes have a long history. Drawing on recent work on “governance repertoires,” this article compares antistate initiatives in Wisconsin in 2011 to two previous periods of conflict over the size and shape of government: the 1930s and the 1970s. We find that while small government advocates in all three periods used similar language and emphasized comparable themes, the outcomes of their advocacy were different due to the distinct historical moments in which they unfolded and the way local initiatives were linked to political projects at the national level. We explore the relationship of local versions of small government activism to their national-level counterparts in each period to show how national-level movements and the ideological, social, and material resources they provided shaped governance repertoires in Wisconsin. We argue that the three moments of conflict over the size of government are deeply intertwined with the prehistory, emergence, and rise to dominance of neoliberal political rationality and can provide insight into how that new “governance repertoire” was experienced and built at the local level.
Little is known about Clostridium difficile infection (CDI) in Asia. The aims of our study were to explore (i) the prevalence, risk factors and molecular epidemiology of CDI and colonization in a tertiary academic hospital in North-Eastern Peninsular Malaysia; (ii) the rate of carriage of C. difficile among the elderly in the region; (iii) the awareness level of this infection among the hospital staffs and students. For stool samples collected from hospital inpatients with diarrhea (n = 76) and healthy community members (n = 138), C. difficile antigen and toxins were tested by enzyme immunoassay. Stool samples were subsequently analyzed by culture and molecular detection of toxin genes, and PCR ribotyping of isolates. To examine awareness among hospital staff and students, participants were asked to complete a self-administered questionnaire. For the hospital and community studies, the prevalence of non-toxigenic C. difficile colonization was 16% and 2%, respectively. The prevalence of CDI among hospital inpatients with diarrhea was 13%. Out of 22 C. difficile strains from hospital inpatients, the toxigenic ribotypes 043 and 017 were most common (both 14%). In univariate analysis, C. difficile colonization in hospital inpatients was significantly associated with greater duration of hospitalization and use of penicillin (both P < 0·05). Absence of these factors was a possible reason for low colonization in the community. Only 3% of 154 respondents answered all questions correctly in the awareness survey. C. difficile colonization is prevalent in a Malaysian hospital setting but not in the elderly community with little or no contact with hospitals. Awareness of CDI is alarmingly poor.
Strategies for the involvement of primary care in the management of patients with presumed or diagnosed dementia are heterogeneous across Europe. We wanted to explore attitudes of primary care physicians (PCPs) when managing dementia: (i) the most popular cognitive tests, (ii) who had the right to initiate or continue cholinesterase inhibitor or memantine treatment, and (iii) the relationship between the permissiveness of these rules/guidelines and PCP's approach in the dementia investigations and assessment.
Key informant survey. Setting: Primary care practices across 25 European countries. Subjects: Four hundred forty-five PCPs responded to a self-administered questionnaire. Two-step cluster analysis was performed using characteristics of the informants and the responses to the survey. Main outcome measures: Two by two contingency tables with odds ratios and 95% confidence intervals were used to assess the association between categorical variables. A multinomial logistic regression model was used to assess the association of multiple variables (age class, gender, and perceived prescription rules) with the PCPs’ attitude of “trying to establish a diagnosis of dementia on their own.”
Discrepancies between rules/guidelines and attitudes to dementia management was found in many countries. There was a strong association between the authorization to prescribe dementia drugs and pursuing dementia diagnostic work-up (odds ratio, 3.45; 95% CI 2.28–5.23).
Differing regulations about who does what in dementia management seemed to affect PCP's engagement in dementia investigations and assessment. PCPs who were allowed to prescribe dementia drugs also claimed higher engagement in dementia work-up than PCPs who were not allowed to prescribe.
Objectives: The aim of this study was to describe cognitive, academic, and psychosocial outcomes after an incident demyelinating event (acquired demyelinating syndromes, ADS) in childhood and to investigate the contribution of brain lesions and confirmed MS diagnosis on outcome. Methods: Thirty-six patients with ADS (mean age=12.2 years, SD=2.7, range: 7–16 years) underwent brain MRI scans at presentation and at 6-months follow-up. T2-weighted lesions on MRI were assessed using a binary classification. At 6-months follow-up, patients underwent neuropsychological evaluation and were compared with 42 healthy controls. Results: Cognitive, academic, and behavioral outcomes did not differ between the patients with ADS and controls. Three of 36 patients (8.3%) were identified with cognitive impairment, as determined by performance falling ≤1.5 SD below normative values on more than four independent tests in the battery. Poor performance on a visuomotor integration task was most common, observed among 6/32 patients, but this did not differ significantly from controls. Twelve of 36 patients received a diagnosis of MS within 3 years post-ADS. Patients with MS did not differ from children with monophasic ADS in terms of cognitive performance at the 6-months follow-up. Fatigue symptoms were reported in 50% of patients, irrespective of MS diagnosis. Presence of brain lesions at onset and 6 months post-incident demyelinating event did not associate with cognitive outcome. Conclusions: Children with ADS experience a favorable short-term neurocognitive outcome, even those confirmed to have MS. Longitudinal evaluations of children with monophasic ADS and MS are required to determine the possibility of late-emerging sequelae and their time course. (JINS, 2016, 22, 1050–1060)
The evidence underpinning the developmental origins of health and disease (DOHaD) is overwhelming. As the emphasis shifts more towards interventions and the translational strategies for disease prevention, it is important to capitalize on collaboration and knowledge sharing to maximize opportunities for discovery and replication. DOHaD meetings are facilitating this interaction. However, strategies to perpetuate focussed discussions and collaborations around and between conferences are more likely to facilitate the development of DOHaD research. For this reason, the DOHaD Society of Australia and New Zealand (DOHaD ANZ) has initiated themed Working Groups, which convened at the 2014–2015 conferences. This report introduces the DOHaD ANZ Working Groups and summarizes their plans and activities. One of the first Working Groups to form was the ActEarly birth cohort group, which is moving towards more translational goals. Reflecting growing emphasis on the impact of early life biodiversity – even before birth – we also have a Working Group titled Infection, inflammation and the microbiome. We have several Working Groups exploring other major non-cancerous disease outcomes over the lifespan, including Brain, behaviour and development and Obesity, cardiovascular and metabolic health. The Epigenetics and Animal Models Working Groups cut across all these areas and seeks to ensure interaction between researchers. Finally, we have a group focussed on ‘Translation, policy and communication’ which focusses on how we can best take the evidence we produce into the community to effect change. By coordinating and perpetuating DOHaD discussions in this way we aim to enhance DOHaD research in our region.
As part of the Z-PAndAS Keck II DEIMOS survey of resolved stars in our neighboring galaxy, Andromeda (M31), we have built up a unique data set of measured velocities and chemistries for thousands of stars in the Andromeda stellar halo, particularly probing its rich and complex substructure. In this contribution, we will discuss the structural, dynamical and chemical properties of Andromeda's dwarf spheroidal galaxies, and how there is no observational evidence for a difference in the evolutionary histories of those found on and off M31's vast plane of satellites. We will also discuss a possible extension to the most significant merger event in M31 - the Giant Southern Stream - and how we can use this feature to refine our understanding of M31's mass profile, and its complex evolution.
We have used dedicated 0.7m telescopes in California and Israel to image the halos of ~ 200 galaxies in the Local Volume to 29 mag/sq arcsec, the sample mainly drawn from the 2MASS Large Galaxy Atlas (LGA). We supplement the LGA sample with dwarf galaxies and more distant giant ellipticals. Low surface brightness halos exceeding 50 kpc in diameter are found only in galaxies more luminous than L*, and classic interaction signatures are relatively infrequent. Halo diameter is correlated with total galaxy luminosity. Extended low surface brightness halos are present even in galaxies as faint as MV = - 18. Edge-on galaxies with boxy bulges tend to lack extended spheroidal halos, while those with large classical bulges exhibit extended round halos, supporting the notions that boxy or barlike bulges originate from disks. Most face-on spiral galaxies present features that appear to be irregular extensions of spiral arms, although rare cases show smooth boundaries with no sign of star formation. Although we serendipitously discovered a dwarf galaxy undergoing tidal disruption in the halo of NGC 4449, we found no comparable examples in our general survey. A search for similar examples in the Local Volume identified hcc087, a tidally disrupting dwarf galaxy in the Hercules Cluster, but we do not confirm an anomalously large half-light radius reported for the dwarf VCC 1661.
Andromeda XXVII is a dwarf spheroidal galaxy in the outskirts of the Andromeda galaxy (M31). It appears to be dissolving in to the Northern arc of M31, and could be the remnant of a strong tidal disruption. In the upcoming months, our spectroscopic program, which has measured velocities for multiple stars within both the dwarf galaxy progenitor and its stream (using the Keck II DEIMOS telescope, as part of the PAndAS survey), will determine velocity dispersions, scale radii and metallicities of both the dwarf and the stream. This in turn may enable us to ascertain the progenitor mass profile and determine whether it is cusped or cored.
Validation-study data were analysed to investigate retention interval (RI) and prompt effects on the accuracy of fourth-grade children’s reports of school-breakfast and school-lunch (in 24-h recalls), and the accuracy of school-breakfast reports by breakfast location (classroom; cafeteria). Randomly selected fourth-grade children at ten schools in four districts were observed eating school-provided breakfast and lunch, and were interviewed under one of eight conditions created by crossing two RIs (‘short’ – prior-24-hour recall obtained in the afternoon and ‘long’ – previous-day recall obtained in the morning) with four prompts (‘forward’ – distant to recent, ‘meal name’ – breakfast, etc., ‘open’ – no instructions, and ‘reverse’ – recent to distant). Each condition had sixty children (half were girls). Of 480 children, 355 and 409 reported meals satisfying criteria for reports of school-breakfast and school-lunch, respectively. For breakfast and lunch separately, a conventional measure – report rate – and reporting-error-sensitive measures – correspondence rate and inflation ratio – were calculated for energy per meal-reporting child. Correspondence rate and inflation ratio – but not report rate – showed better accuracy for school-breakfast and school-lunch reports with the short RI than with the long RI; this pattern was not found for some prompts for each sex. Correspondence rate and inflation ratio showed better school-breakfast report accuracy for the classroom than for cafeteria location for each prompt, but report rate showed the opposite. For each RI, correspondence rate and inflation ratio showed better accuracy for lunch than for breakfast, but report rate showed the opposite. When choosing RI and prompts for recalls, researchers and practitioners should select a short RI to maximise accuracy. Recommendations for prompt selections are less clear. As report rates distort validation-study accuracy conclusions, reporting-error-sensitive measures are recommended.
Objectives: The extended face network contains clusters of neurons that perform distinct functions on facial stimuli. Regions in the posterior ventral visual stream appear to perform basic perceptual functions on faces, while more anterior regions, such as the ventral anterior temporal lobe and amygdala, function to link mnemonic and affective information to faces. Anterior and posterior regions are interconnected by a long-range white matter tracts; however, it is not known if variation in connectivity of these pathways explains cognitive performance. Methods: Here, we used diffusion imaging and deterministic tractography in a cohort of 28 neurologically normal adults ages 18–28 to examine microstructural properties of visual fiber pathways and their relationship to certain mnemonic and affective functions involved in face processing. We investigated how inter-individual variability in two tracts, the inferior longitudinal fasciculus (ILF) and the inferior fronto-occipital fasciculus (IFOF), related to performance on tests of facial emotion recognition and face memory. Results: Results revealed that microstructure of both tracts predicted variability in behavioral performance indexed by both tasks, suggesting that the ILF and IFOF play a role in facilitating our ability to discriminate emotional expressions in faces, as well as to remember unique faces. Variation in a control tract, the uncinate fasciculus, did not predict performance on these tasks. Conclusions: These results corroborate and extend the findings of previous neuropsychology studies investigating the effects of damage to the ILF and IFOF, and demonstrate that differences in face processing abilities are related to white matter microstructure, even in healthy individuals. (JINS, 2016, 22, 180–190)