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From deep ocean trenches and the geographical poles to outer space, organisms can be found living in remarkably extreme conditions. This book provides a captivating account of these systems and their extraordinary inhabitants, 'extremophiles'. A diverse, multidisciplinary group of experts discuss responses and adaptations to change; biodiversity, bioenergetic processes, and biotic and abiotic interactions; polar environments; and life and habitability, including searching for biosignatures in the extraterrestrial environment. The editors emphasize that understanding these systems is important for increasing our knowledge and utilizing their potential, but this remains an understudied area. Given the threat to these environments and their biota caused by climate change and human impact, this timely book also addresses the urgency to document these systems. It will help graduate students and researchers in conservation, marine biology, evolutionary biology, environmental change and astrobiology better understand how life exists in these environments and their susceptibility or resilience to change.
The aim of the study was to identify sociodemographic, and clinical risk factors for suicide in the population of service-users (SUs) and nonservice users (NSUs) and gender-related characteristics of suicidal behaviour in a limited geographic region.
Data of 68 suicide cases (ICD-10 X60-X84) collected for residents on the Isle of Wight District between January 2006 and December 2009. All data were statistically analysed by using Pearson's chi-squared test and Yates’ correction for continuity.
The mean annual suicide rates were 5.65 per 100.000 for women and 19.28 for men. Significantly (p=0.0006) more men than women (male/female ratio 3:1) died as a result of suicide. Relatively (p=0.07) more women (56.2%) than men (32.7%), and significantly more (p=0.05) SUs (45.3%) than NSUs (13.3%) were unemployed. Significantly more (p=0.0006) SUs (64%) than NSUs (20%) had a history of suicide and relatively (p=0.06) more (50.9%) SUs than NSUs (20%) had attended the A & E. Depression as the most common Axis-I illness was diagnosed in 36% of all; but significantly (p=0.008) more in women (66.6%) than men (17.3%). Relatively (p=0.07) more women (56.2%) than men (32.7%) have contactacted serivces before their death. Suicide by hanging was the most common cause acounting for death of 71% of men and 50% of women.
80% of all suicides were conducted by people suffering from mental disorders. Depressive disorders in women and stressrelated disorders in men were the most common mental disorders. Treating mental disorders seem to be one of the key elements in suicide prevention.
We evaluate the utility of the National Surveys of Attitudes and Sexual Lifestyles (Natsal) undertaken in 2000 and 2010, before and after the introduction of the National Chlamydia Screening Programme, as an evidence source for estimating the change in prevalence of Chlamydia trachomatis (CT) in England, Scotland and Wales. Both the 2000 and 2010 surveys tested urine samples for CT by Nucleic Acid Amplification Tests (NAATs). We examined the sources of uncertainty in estimates of CT prevalence change, including sample size and adjustments for test sensitivity and specificity, survey non-response and informative non-response. In 2000, the unadjusted CT prevalence was 4.22% in women aged 18–24 years; in 2010, CT prevalence was 3.92%, a non-significant absolute difference of 0.30 percentage points (95% credible interval −2.8 to 2.0). In addition to uncertainty due to small sample size, estimates were sensitive to specificity, survey non-response or informative non-response, such that plausible changes in any one of these would be enough to either reverse or double any likely change in prevalence. Alternative ways of monitoring changes in CT incidence and prevalence over time are discussed.
Despite consistently high discontinuation rates due to withdrawal of consent (WOC) and insufficient therapeutic effect (ITE) in schizophrenia trials, insight into the underlying factors contributing to poor satisfaction with treatment and dropout is limited. A better understanding of these factors could help to improve trial design and completion rates.
Using data from 1,136 trial participants with schizophrenia or schizoaffective disorder, we explored associations between predictor variables with (1) dropout due to WOC and ITE and (2) satisfaction with treatment among patients and investigators by means of hierarchic multiple regression analyses.
ITE was associated with poor clinical improvement, poor investigator satisfaction with treatment, and poor patient insight into their own disease, whereas WOC only showed a meaningful association with poor patient satisfaction with treatment. Investigator satisfaction with treatment appeared most strongly associated with Positive and Negative Syndrome Scale (PANSS) positive factor endpoint scores, whereas patient satisfaction with treatment was best predicted by the endpoint score on the PANSS emotional distress factor. The occurrence of severe side effects showed no meaningful association to satisfaction with treatment among investigators and patients, and neither did a patient’s experienced psychopathology, nor their self-rating of functional impairment.
Whereas trial discontinuation due to ITE is associated with poor treatment effectiveness, a patient’s decision to withdraw from an antipsychotic trial remains unpredictable and may occur even when the investigator observes a global clinical improvement and is satisfied with the treatment.
Background: In RRMS patients with inadequate response to prior therapy, 2 alemtuzumab courses (12 mg/day; baseline: 5 days; 12 months later: 3 days) significantly improved outcomes versus SC IFNB-1a over 2 years (CARE-MS II [NCT00548405]). Efficacy remained durable in a 4-year extension (NCT00930553); patients could receive as-needed alemtuzumab retreatment (≥12 months apart) for disease activity, or another disease-modifying therapy (DMT). Through Year 6, 88% remained on study; 50% received neither alemtuzumab retreatment nor another DMT; 16% received ≥4 courses; 3% received ≥5 courses. We evaluated Course 4 (C4) efficacy in patients receiving ≥4 courses. Methods: Annualized relapse rate (ARR); improved/stable Expanded Disability Status Scale (EDSS) score (versus baseline); 6-month confirmed disability improvement (CDI). 11% of patients met inclusion criteria: ≥4 courses within 60 months of baseline; no DMT. Those receiving C5 were censored at that time. Results: ARR decreased after C4 (12 months pre-C4 [-12M]: 0.75; 12 months post-C4 [+12M]: 0.19; P<0.0001), remaining low (0.23) at Year 3 post-C4. More patients had stable/improved EDSS scores +12M (67.5%) versus at C4 administration (53.5%). Percentage with CDI increased post-C4 (-12M: 10.0%; +12M: 26.7%). Conclusions: C4 reduced relapses and stabilized/improved disability in patients with disease activity after initial treatment (C1, C2) plus one additional course (C3).
Dilated cardiomyopathy in children causes heart failure and has a poor prognosis. Health-related quality of life in this patient group is unknown. Moreover, results may provide detailed information of parents’ sense of their child’s functioning. We hypothesised that health-related quality of life, as rated by parents, and the paediatric heart failure score, as assessed by physicians, have both predictive value on outcome.
Methods and results
In this prospective study, health-related quality of life was assessed by parent reports: the Infant Toddler Quality of Life questionnaire (0–4 years) or Child Health Questionnaire-Parent Form 50 (4–18 years) at 3–6-month intervals. We included 90 children (median age 3.8 years, interquartile range (IQR) 0.9–12.3) whose parents completed 515 questionnaires. At the same visit, physicians completed the New York University Pediatric Heart Failure Index. Compared with Dutch normative data, quality of life was severely impaired at diagnosis (0–4 years: 7/10 subscales and 4–18 years: 8/11 subscales) and ⩾1 year after diagnosis (3/10 and 6/11 subscales). Older children were more impaired (p<0.05). After a median follow-up of 3 years (IQR 2–4), 15 patients underwent transplantation. Using multivariable time-dependent Cox regression, “physical functioning” subscale and the Heart Failure Index were independently predictive of the risk of death and heart transplantation (hazard ratio 1.24 per 10% decrease of predicted, 95% confidence interval (CI) 1.06–1.47 and hazard ratio 1.38 per unit, 95% CI 1.19–1.61, respectively).
Physical impairment rated by parents and heart failure severity assessed by physicians independently predicted the risk of death or heart transplantation in children with dilated cardiomyopathy.
To offer good support to people with dementia and their carers in an aging and Internet society the deployment of hand-held touch screen devices, better known as tablets, and its applications (apps) can be viable and desirable. However, at the moment it is not clear which apps are usable for supporting people with dementia in daily life. Also, little is known about how people with dementia can be coached to learn to use a tablet and its apps.
A person-centered program, with tools and training, will be developed that aims to support people with mild dementia and their (in)formal carers in how to use the tablet for self-management and meaningful activities. The program will be developed in accordance with the Medical Research Council's (MRC) framework for developing and evaluating complex interventions and the study will cover the following phases: a preclinical or theoretical (0) phase; a modeling phase (I) and the exploratory trial phase (II). The users (people with dementia and their carers) will be involved intensively during all these phases, by means of individual interviews, workshops, focus groups, and case studies.
The iterative process inherent to this framework makes it possible to develop a user-oriented intervention, in this case a person-centered program, for the use of tablets in dementia care. Preparatory work will be done to perform a methodologically sound randomized controlled trial (RCT) in the near future, which aims to investigate the contribution of this person-centered program for tablet use to the quality of life of people with dementia and their carers.
To examine whether women’s knowledge of pregnancy-related risks and family support received during pregnancy are associated with adherence to maternal iron–folic acid (IFA) supplementation.
Secondary data analysis of the 2002–03, 2007 and 2012 Indonesia Demographic and Health Survey. Analysis of the association between factors associated with adherence (consuming ≥90 IFA tablets), including the women’s knowledge and family support, was performed using multivariate logistic regression.
National household survey.
Women (n 19 133) who had given birth within 2 years prior to the interview date.
Knowledge of pregnancy-related risks was associated with increased adherence to IFA supplementation (adjusted OR=1·8; 95 % CI 1·6, 2·0), as was full family (particularly husband’s) support (adjusted OR=1·9; 95 % CI 1·6, 2·3). Adequate antenatal care (ANC) visits (i.e. four or more) was associated with increased adherence (adjusted OR=2·2; 95 % CI 2·0, 2·4). However, ANC providers missed opportunities to distribute tablets and information, as among women with adequate ANC visits, 15 % reported never having received/bought any IFA tablets and 30 % had no knowledge of pregnancy-related risks. A significant interaction was observed between family support and the women’s educational level in predicting adherence. Family support significantly increased the adherence among women with <9 years of education.
Improving women’s knowledge of pregnancy-related risks and involving family members, particularly the husband and importantly for less-educated women, improved adherence to IFA supplementation. ANC visit opportunities must be optimized to provide women with sufficient numbers of IFA tablets along with health information (especially on pregnancy-related risks) and partner support counselling.
Randomised studies examining the effect on patients of training
professionals in adherence to suicide guidelines are scarce.
To assess whether patients benefited from the training of professionals
in adherence to suicide guidelines.
In total 45 psychiatric departments were randomised (Dutch trial
register: NTR3092). In the intervention condition, all staff in the
departments were trained with an e-learning supported train-the-trainer
programme. After the intervention, patients were assessed at admission
and at 3-month follow-up. Primary outcome was change in suicide ideation,
assessed with the Beck Scale for Suicide Ideation.
For the total group of 566 patients with a positive score on the Beck
Scale for Suicide Ideation at baseline, intention-to-treat analysis
showed no effects of the intervention on patient outcomes at 3-month
follow-up. Patients who were suicidal with a DSM-IV diagnosis of
depression (n = 154) showed a significant decrease in
suicide ideation when treated in the intervention group. Patients in the
intervention group more often reported that suicidality was discussed
Overall, no effect of our intervention on patients was found. However, we
did find a beneficial effect of the training of professionals on patients
Suicide is a major public health problem, with mental disorders being one of its major risk factors. The high incidence of suicide on the Isle of Wight has motivated this study, the first of its kind on suicide in this small geographic area.
The aim of the study was to identify socio-demographic and clinical risk factors for suicide in the population of service users and non-service users, and gender-related characteristics of suicidal behaviour in a limited geographic region.
Data were collected on 68 cases of suicide (ICD-10×60-X84) from residents of the Isle of Wight District between January 2006 and December 2009. All data were statistically analysed using Pearson’s χ2 test and Yates’ correction for continuity.
The mean annual suicide rates over the period were 5.65 per 100 000 for women and 19.28 for men. Significantly (p=0.0006), more men than women (male/female ratio 3:1) died as a result of suicide. Relatively (p=0.07) more women (56.2%) than men (32.7%), and significantly more (p=0.05) service users (45.3%) than non-service users (13.3%) were unemployed. Significantly, more (p=0.0006) service users (64%) than non-service users (20%) had a history of suicide attempts and relatively (p=0.06) more (50.9%) service users than non-service users (20%) had attended the accident and emergency department before their death; 69% had an adverse life event within a year before their suicide. Depression as the most common Axis-I illness was diagnosed in 36% of all; but significantly (p=0.008) more in women (66.6%) than men (17.3%). Relatively (p=0.07) more women (56.2%) than men (32.7%) have contacted services before their death. Suicide by hanging was the most common cause, accounting for the death of 71% of men and 50% of women.
The study found that 80% of all suicides occurred in people suffering from mental disorder. Men are at a significant risk of suicide. Depressive disorders in women and stress-related disorders in men were the most common mental disorders. Treating mental disorders and co-morbid conditions seems to be one of the key elements in suicide prevention strategies.
Patient satisfaction with care has received little attention within the field of congenital heart disease. Our objective was to examine patient satisfaction with the care received when undergoing open-heart surgery in order to identify the best and worst aspects of peri-operative care. Moreover, we examined whether having contact with a specialised nurse in addition to usual care is associated with higher patient satisfaction levels.
Patient satisfaction was measured by the Satisfaction with Hospital Care Questionnaire, evaluating nine aspects of care by answering individual items and giving overall grades. A top 10 of the best and worst items was selected. Linear regression analyses were used to examine the relationship between having contact with a specialised nurse and patient satisfaction (9 grades), independent of patient characteristics – sex, age, educational level, and health status.
Data were available for 75 patients. Grades ranged from 6.74 for “discharge and after care” to 8.18 for “medical care”. In all, 21% of patients were dissatisfied with the clarity of the information about lifestyle adjustments given by the surgeon. However, patients who had contact with a specialised nurse were more satisfied with the provided information (B-coefficient is 0.497, p-value is 0.038), independent of patient characteristics.
Patients were satisfied with the received care, although there is room for improvement, especially in discharge and after care and the clarity of the information provided by the surgeon. This gap in care can be compensated for by specialised nurses, as patients who were counselled by a specialised nurse were more satisfied with the provided information.
Atomic Layer Deposition (ALD) is a gas phase deposition technique for depositing very high quality thin films with an unsurpassed conformality. The main drawback of ALD however is the very low deposition rate (~ 1 nm/min). Recently, record deposition rates for alumina of up to 1 nm/s were reached using spatial ALD, while maintaining the typical assets regarding film quality as obtained by conventional, slow ALD . This allows for ALD at high throughput numbers.
One interesting application is passivation of crystalline silicon solar cells. Applying a thin alumina layer is reported to increase solar cell efficiency and enables the use of thinner wafers, thus reducing the main cost factor . In this paper we report on the latest progress made by SoLayTec that delivered a working prototype of a system realizing full area single sided deposition of alumina on 156 x 156 mm2, mono- and multi crystalline silicon wafers for solar cell applications. The alumina layers showed excellent passivation. Based on this concept, a high-throughput ALD deposition tool is being developed targeting throughput numbers of up to 3000 wafers/hr, making ALD ready for mass production. This will bring on new opportunities in other applications.
The science of extra-solar planets is one of the most rapidly changing areas of astrophysics and since 1995 the number of planets known has increased by almost two orders of magnitude. A combination of ground-based surveys and dedicated space missions has resulted in 560-plus planets being detected, and over 1200 that await confirmation. NASA's Kepler mission has opened up the possibility of discovering Earth-like planets in the habitable zone around some of the 100,000 stars it is surveying during its 3 to 4-year lifetime. The new ESA's Gaia mission is expected to discover thousands of new planets around stars within 200 parsecs of the Sun. The key challenge now is moving on from discovery, important though that remains, to characterisation: what are these planets actually like, and why are they as they are?
In the past ten years, we have learned how to obtain the first spectra of exoplanets using transit transmission and emission spectroscopy. With the high stability of Spitzer, Hubble, and large ground-based telescopes the spectra of bright close-in massive planets can be obtained and species like water vapour, methane, carbon monoxide and dioxide have been detected. With transit science came the first tangible remote sensing of these planetary bodies and so one can start to extrapolate from what has been learnt from Solar System probes to what one might plan to learn about their faraway siblings. As we learn more about the atmospheres, surfaces and near-surfaces of these remote bodies, we will begin to build up a clearer picture of their construction, history and suitability for life.
The Exoplanet Characterisation Observatory, EChO, will be the first dedicated mission to investigate the physics and chemistry of Exoplanetary Atmospheres. By characterising spectroscopically more bodies in different environments we will take detailed planetology out of the Solar System and into the Galaxy as a whole.
EChO has now been selected by the European Space Agency to be assessed as one of four M3 mission candidates.