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Less than half of stool samples from people symptomatic with infectious intestinal disease (IID) will identify a causative organism. A secondary data analysis was undertaken to explore whether symptomology alone could be used to make inferences about causative organisms. Data were utilised from the Second Study of Infectious Intestinal Disease in the Community. A total of 844 cases were analysed. Few symptoms differentiated individual pathogens, but grouping pathogens together showed that viral IID was more likely when symptom onset was in winter (odds ratio (OR) 2.08, 95% confidence interval (CI) 1.16–3.75) or spring (OR 1.92, 95% CI 1.11–3.33), the patient was aged under 5 years (OR 3.63, 95% CI 2.24–6.03) and there was loss of appetite (OR 2.19, 95% CI 1.29–3.72). The odds of bacterial IID were higher with diarrhoea in the absence of vomiting (OR 3.54, 95% CI 2.37–5.32), diarrhoea which persisted for >3 days (OR 2.69, 95% CI 1.82–3.99), bloody diarrhoea (OR 4.17, 95% CI 1.63–11.83) and fever (OR 1.67, 95% CI 1.11–2.53). Symptom profiles could be of value to help guide clinicians and public health professionals in the management of IID, in the absence of microbiological confirmation.
Background: Chronic intravenous immunoglobulin (IVIg) is used to treat refractory myasthenia gravis (MG). This subgroup analysis evaluated response to eculizumab in patients receiving chronic IVIg before entry to REGAIN, a phase 3, randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled study of eculizumab in anti-acetylcholine receptor antibody-positive refractory generalized MG. Methods: IVIg was only permitted during REGAIN as rescue therapy; previously treated patients underwent a 4-week washout before randomization. Patients included in this analysis had received chronic IVIg ≥4 times in 1 year, with ≥1 dose within 6 months before REGAIN entry. Exacerbations and MG status changes were assessed. Results: Eighteen patients were evaluated; four experienced exacerbations (eculizumab-treated, 1/9; placebo-treated, 3/9). Clinically relevant improvements were larger with eculizumab than placebo, respectively (mean change, standard deviation [SD]: MG Activities of Daily Living score [MG-ADL], -5.3 [4.0] vs -2.1 [2.8]; Quantitative MG score [QMG], -4.1 [6.1] vs -1.3 [3.5]). More patients receiving eculizumab (7/9) had clinically meaningful responses (MG-ADL ≥3 and/or QMG ≥5 points) than those receiving placebo (3/9). Eculizumab safety was consistent with previous reports. Interim data from the open-label extension of REGAIN will be presented. Conclusions: In patients previously receiving chronic IVIg, eculizumab showed a trend toward meaningful clinical improvements and fewer exacerbations compared with placebo. (NCT01997229, NCT02301624).
Background: Patients with anti-acetylcholine receptor antibody-positive (AChR+) generalized myasthenia gravis (MG) unresponsive to conventional treatment experience greater disease burden than responsive patients. This is partly due to exacerbations, which may result in significant healthcare resource utilization. Eculizumab is well tolerated and gives clinically meaningful benefits in these patients. We evaluated the effect of long-term eculizumab treatment on exacerbations, hospitalizations and rescue therapy in the REGAIN study and its open-label extension. Methods: Exacerbations were defined as clinical worsening/deterioration, MG crises or rescue therapy usage; pre-study exacerbations/hospitalizations were defined from patient records. Event rates adjusted for patient-years were calculated for all patients in the pre-study year, patients receiving placebo during REGAIN, and patients receiving eculizumab during REGAIN and its open-label extension (median exposure, 27.5 months [range, 22 days–42.8 months]); rates were compared using a Poisson regression model. Results: Eculizumab treatment reduced exacerbations by 65% (p=0.0057), hospitalizations by 71% (p=0.0316) and rescue therapy use by 66% (p=0.0072) versus placebo. Eculizumab treatment reduced exacerbations by 74% and hospitalizations by 83% (both p<0.0001) versus the pre-study year. Conclusions: Long-term eculizumab treatment reduces disease burden and healthcare resource utilization, demonstrating continuing improvements in clinical endpoints that lead to additional meaningful outcomes for patients with AChR+ generalized MG. (NCT01997229, NCT02301624).
Important Bird and Biodiversity Areas (IBAs) are sites identified as being globally important for the conservation of bird populations on the basis of an internationally agreed set of criteria. We present the first review of the development and spread of the IBA concept since it was launched by BirdLife International (then ICBP) in 1979 and examine some of the characteristics of the resulting inventory. Over 13,000 global and regional IBAs have so far been identified and documented in terrestrial, freshwater and marine ecosystems in almost all of the world’s countries and territories, making this the largest global network of sites of significance for biodiversity. IBAs have been identified using standardised, data-driven criteria that have been developed and applied at global and regional levels. These criteria capture multiple dimensions of a site’s significance for avian biodiversity and relate to populations of globally threatened species (68.6% of the 10,746 IBAs that meet global criteria), restricted-range species (25.4%), biome-restricted species (27.5%) and congregatory species (50.3%); many global IBAs (52.7%) trigger two or more of these criteria. IBAs range in size from < 1 km2 to over 300,000 km2 and have an approximately log-normal size distribution (median = 125.0 km2, mean = 1,202.6 km2). They cover approximately 6.7% of the terrestrial, 1.6% of the marine and 3.1% of the total surface area of the Earth. The launch in 2016 of the KBA Global Standard, which aims to identify, document and conserve sites that contribute to the global persistence of wider biodiversity, and whose criteria for site identification build on those developed for IBAs, is a logical evolution of the IBA concept. The role of IBAs in conservation planning, policy and practice is reviewed elsewhere. Future technical priorities for the IBA initiative include completion of the global inventory, particularly in the marine environment, keeping the dataset up to date, and improving the systematic monitoring of these sites.
This paper considers the timing and mechanisms of deforestation in the Western Isles of Scotland, focusing in particular on the landscape around the Calanais stone circles, one of the best preserved late Neolithic/early Bronze Age monumental landscapes in north-west Europe. We present new archaeological and palaeoenvironmental evidence from a soil and peat sequence at the site of Aird Calanais, which spans the main period of use of the Calanais circles. We then draw on a new synthesis of archaeobotanical and palynological evidence from across the Western Isles and a review of comparable data from the wider North Atlantic zone, before assessing the role of early farming communities in clearing the wooded landscapes of the region. Pollen and radiocarbon dating at the site of Aird Calanais reveal that a layer of birch branches, dating to the late Neolithic (2912–2881 cal bc), was contemporaneous with a decline in woodland at the site, as well as with the major phase of Neolithic activity at the Calanais stone circle complex. However, our synthesis of the pollen and plant macrofossil evidence from across the Western Isles suggests that the picture across these islands was altogether more complex: woodlands declined both before, as well as during, the Neolithic and deciduous woodlands remained sufficiently abundant for Neolithic fuel procurement. Finally, we consider the implications of the results for understanding the interactions between first farmers and woodlands in the wider North Atlantic region.
We present a multi-frequency study of the intermediate spiral SAB(r)bc type galaxy NGC 6744, using available data from the Chandra X-Ray telescope, radio continuum data from the Australia Telescope Compact Array and Murchison Widefield Array, and Wide-field Infrared Survey Explorer infrared observations. We identify 117 X-ray sources and 280 radio sources. Of these, we find nine sources in common between the X-ray and radio catalogues, one of which is a faint central black hole with a bolometric radio luminosity similar to the Milky Way’s central black hole. We classify 5 objects as supernova remnant (SNR) candidates, 2 objects as likely SNRs, 17 as H ii regions, 1 source as an AGN; the remaining 255 radio sources are categorised as background objects and one X-ray source is classified as a foreground star. We find the star-formation rate (SFR) of NGC 6744 to be in the range 2.8–4.7 M⊙~yr − 1 signifying the galaxy is still actively forming stars. The specific SFR of NGC 6744 is greater than that of late-type spirals such as the Milky Way, but considerably less that that of a typical starburst galaxy.
Lewy body dementia (consisting of dementia with Lewy bodies and Parkinson's disease dementia) is a common neurodegenerative disease characterised by visual hallucinations, fluctuating attention, motor disturbances, falls, and sensitivity to antipsychotics. This combination of features presents challenges for pharmacological management. Given this, we sought to review evidence for non-pharmacological interventions with patients with Lewy body dementia and their carers. Bibliographic databases were searched using a wide range of search terms and no restrictions were placed on study design, language, or clinical setting. Two reviewers independently assessed papers for inclusion, rated study quality, and extracted data. The search identified 21 studies including two randomised controlled trials with available subgroup data, seven case series, and 12 case studies. Most studies reported beneficial effects of the interventions used, though the only sizeable study was on dysphagia, showing a benefit of honey-thickened liquids. Given the heterogeneity of interventions and poor quality of the studies overall, no quantitative synthesis was possible. Overall, identified studies suggested possible benefits of non-pharmacological interventions in Lewy body dementia, but the small sample sizes and low quality of studies mean no definite recommendations can be offered. Our findings underscore the clear and urgent need for future research on this topic.
Identifying the transmission sources and reservoirs of Streptococcus pneumoniae (SP) is a long-standing question for pneumococcal epidemiology, transmission dynamics, and vaccine policy. Here we use serotype to identify SP transmission and examine acquisitions (in the same household, local community, and county, or of unidentified origin) in a longitudinal cohort of children and adults from the Navajo Nation and the White Mountain Apache American Indian Tribes. We found that adults acquire SP relatively more in the household than other age groups, and children 2–8 years old typically acquire in their own or surrounding communities. Age-specific transmission probability matrices show that transmissions within household were mostly seen from older to younger siblings. Outside the household, children most often transmit to other children in the same age group, showing age-assortative mixing behavior. We find toddlers and older children to be most involved in SP transmission and acquisition, indicating their role as key drivers of SP epidemiology. Although infants have high carriage prevalence, they do not play a central role in transmission of SP compared with toddlers and older children. Our results are relevant to inform alternative pneumococcal conjugate vaccine dosing strategies and analytic efforts to inform optimization of vaccine programs, as well as assessing the transmission dynamics of pathogens transmitted by close contact in general.
The reporting period has shown that Space has become a firmly established domain in observational Astrophysics, also in the low energy astrophysics area. The launching of new spacecraft is always an important addition to the capabilities of the Astronomers, but the availability of space observatories is strongly affected by the fact that they disappear as their subsystems become damaged or, for other reasons, become inoperable. The relatively short life of astronomical space facilities has generated new dynamic in the life cycle of observational tools for the astronomer, rather different from that for ground facilities. Launch failures or the final in-orbit functionality verification can also very strongly affect the availability of observational capabilities in space astrophysics. The only spacecraft designed without this built-in life time restriction, is the Hubble Space Telescope, which can be serviced by the Space Shuttle.
Several years after outburst, extended optical emission can be seen around many classical novae. Common features include shells, polar ‘blobs’, equatorial rings and, at least in the case of DQ Her (1934), tropical rings above and below the ‘equator’. We present hydrodynamic calculations of the dynamical effects of the underlying binary system on the material ejected during outburst, and show that many of the features observed in the optical remnants of novae can be reproduced. Polar blobs, banded shells and spherical shells can all be obtained in the model, depending on the speed class of the nova.
A radiochemical 71Ga−71 Ge experiment to determine the integral flux of neutrinos from the sun has been constructed at the Baksan Neutrino Observatory in the USSR. Measurements have begun with 30 tonnes of gallium. The experiment is being expanded with the addition of another 30 tonnes. The motivation, experimental procedures, and present status of this experiment are presented.
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.
When speakers engage in conversation, acoustic features of their utterances sometimes converge. We examined how the speech rate of participants changed when a confederate spoke at fast or slow rates during readings of scripted dialogues. A beat-tracking algorithm extracted the periodic relations between stressed syllables (beats) from acoustic recordings. The mean interbeat interval (IBI) between successive stressed syllables was compared across speech rates. Participants’ IBIs were smaller in the fast condition than in the slow condition; the difference between participants’ and the confederate's IBIs decreased across utterances. Cross-correlational analyses demonstrated mutual influences between speakers, with greater impact of the confederate on participants’ beat rates than vice versa. Beat rates converged in scripted conversations, suggesting speakers mutually entrain to one another's beat.
We examine the roles of actuaries in UK life offices, along with trends, challenges to and opportunities for actuaries. We carry out an analysis of senior roles in life offices, a questionnaire survey and interviews with relevant senior personnel. We find that actuaries occupy many important roles in life offices and are regarded as having good industry knowledge and technical skills, especially in financial modelling. There are fewer executive directors and more non-executive directors of life offices who are actuaries compared with the position in 1990. A higher proportion of reserved roles is outsourced to consultants than was the case in 1990. Only a small number of Actuarial Function Holders are directors. Actuaries are more siloed than was the case in the past, although actuaries are well represented in the finance and risk functions of many offices. Although actuarial work in connection with the preparation for Solvency II will decline, there will be important ongoing requirements for actuaries following Solvency II implementation. We also see opportunities for actuaries in four areas: in risk management, in financial analysis and management based on Solvency II and international financial reporting standards, in connection with “big data”, and in product development and the customer proposition. There are implications for the examination syllabus, continuing professional development and research.
It should not be difficult to extend the work already performed by Mr Craig to devise a formula which will be accurate to seven places of decimals even in very unfavourable circumstances (e.g. very long or short terms for very high or low rates of interest). Mr Craig's formula gives the correct value of ρ for the example given in the Textbook, but is not so accurate for more unusual conditions.
Developing as in Mr Craig's note:
We have, as far as terms involving ρ2 in numerator and denominator,
and ρ1= t0/t1.
An examination of the form taken by the values of i/ρ — i/ρ1 for various values of n, i and ρ suggests that it is very nearly independent of ρ for intervals up to considerably more than 1/16%.
It would thus probably be possible to find the form of this function from calculated values.