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A consensus workshop on low-calorie sweeteners (LCS) was held in November 2018 where seventeen experts (the panel) discussed three themes identified as key to the science and policy of LCS: (1) weight management and glucose control; (2) consumption, safety and perception; (3) nutrition policy. The aims were to identify the reliable facts on LCS, suggest research gaps and propose future actions. The panel agreed that the safety of LCS is demonstrated by a substantial body of evidence reviewed by regulatory experts and current levels of consumption, even for high users, are within agreed safety margins. However, better risk communication is needed. More emphasis is required on the role of LCS in helping individuals reduce their sugar and energy intake, which is a public health priority. Based on reviews of clinical evidence to date, the panel concluded that LCS can be beneficial for weight management when they are used to replace sugar in products consumed in the diet (without energy substitution). The available evidence suggests no grounds for concerns about adverse effects of LCS on sweet preference, appetite or glucose control; indeed, LCS may improve diabetic control and dietary compliance. Regarding effects on the human gut microbiota, data are limited and do not provide adequate evidence that LCS affect gut health at doses relevant to human use. The panel identified research priorities, including collation of the totality of evidence on LCS and body weight control, monitoring and modelling of LCS intakes, impacts on sugar reduction and diet quality and developing effective communication strategies to foster informed choice. There is also a need to reconcile policy discrepancies between organisations and reduce regulatory hurdles that impede low-energy product development and reformulation.
Impairments in key neuropsychological domains (e.g. working memory, attention) and social cognitive deficits have been implicated as intermediate (endo) phenotypes for bipolar disorder (BD), and should therefore be evident in unaffected relatives.
Neurocognitive and social cognitive ability was examined in 99 young people (age range 16–30 years) with a biological parent or sibling diagnosed with the disorder [thus deemed to be at risk (AR) of developing BD], compared with 78 healthy control (HC) subjects, and 52 people with a confirmed diagnosis of BD.
Only verbal intelligence and affective response inhibition were significantly impaired in AR relative to HC participants; the BD participants showed significant deficits in attention tasks compared with HCs. Neither AR nor BD patients showed impairments in general intellectual ability, working memory, visuospatial or language ability, relative to HC participants. Analysis of BD-I and BD-II cases separately revealed deficits in attention and immediate memory in BD-I patients (only), relative to HCs. Only the BD (but not AR) participants showed impaired emotion recognition, relative to HCs.
Selective cognitive deficits in the capacity to inhibit negative affective information, and general verbal ability may be intermediate markers of risk for BD; however, the extent and severity of impairment in this sample was less pronounced than has been reported in previous studies of older family members and BD cases. These findings highlight distinctions in the cognitive profiles of AR and BD participants, and provide limited support for progressive cognitive decline in association with illness development in BD.
A one-year field-study has been carried out in a diarrhoea-endemic area in West Africa to determine the relationship between the bacteriostatic activity of fresh human milk for Escherichia coli in vitro and freedom from diarrhoea of the infant recipients of the milk. The specific contribution of E. coli gastroenteritis to gastrointestinal diseases of infants in general is not known, nor is its particular role in the Gambian infants studied. During the study period, however, both enteropathogenic and toxigenic strains of E. coli were isolated.
The incidence of diarrhoea in Gambian infants of seven age-groups from 2 days to 12 months was not significantly correlated with the bacteriostatic activity of milk. This was due rather to absence of diarrhoea in babies fed on low-activity milk than illness in those receiving highly bacteriostatic milk. Indeed, very active milk appeared to protect recipients almost completely, including seven babies of over 3 months of age, five of them during the rainy season, when the risk was high. Babies receiving lower-activity milk experienced more diarrhoea. In a situation where diarrhoeal disease is multifactorial, field evaluation of the protective action by one antibacterial property of milk is difficult. A better understanding of in vivo protection is important, and the factors which have to be taken into account are discussed.
Faeces of healthy adults and of children under the age of 5, none of whom were attending hospital or receiving antibiotics, were examined for the presence of antibiotic resistant coliform bacilli.
A higher proportion of children (67%) than of adults (46%) carried resistant strains and this difference was observed in both the rural and urban groups.
Rural members of both age groups more often carried resistant organisms than urban members. Among rural adults, the incidence of drug-resistant strains was 63 % in those whose occupation involved close contact with farm animals, compared with 29 % in those with other occupations. The survey took place before the implementation of the Swann Report could have influenced the use of antibiotics in animal foodstuffs.
Transmissible R-factors were demonstrated in 61 % of the resistant strains. The incidence of transmissible resistance was similar among adults and children in town and country.
A prospective study of genital infection was conducted in four inner-city family–planning clinics. Fifteen per cent of routine attenders had symptoms and signs of vaginal infection and many more women attended primarily because of symptoms. Among the women with both signs and symptoms, 70% had positive laboratory findings, Trichomonas vaginalis, Candida albicans and bacterial vaginosis being equally prevalent. Measurement of vaginal pH in the clinic was the single most useful clinical finding for directing empirical therapy. Among patients with a discharge confirmed on examination and an abnormally high pH, 72% had either T. vaginalis or bacterial vaginosis. Neisseria gonorrhoeae was isolated from 4% of women with, and 1% of those without, symptoms. We believe that it is worthwhile to investigate patients presenting to family-planning clinics with vaginal symptoms. No single specimen was found ideal for all pathogens, a cervical swab is better for gonococci and also for T. vaginalis but a vaginal swab is needed for Candida and bacterial vaginosis.
The most extensive chronometric study ever undertaken on Egyptian Dynastic sites was published in Radiocarbon by Bonani et al. (2001). It comprised 269 radiocarbon measurements on monuments ranging from the 1st–12th dynasties. However, many of the calibrated dates obtained were significantly offset from historical estimates. The greatest discrepancies occurred in the 4th Dynasty where, paradoxically, the dating program had been most rigorous. For this period, 158 measurements were made at 12 sites, with the majority of the dates being 200–300 yr older than expected. The 4th Dynasty results were especially significant as they included some of the most important monuments in Egypt. In this paper, the raw data from that study have been reanalyzed using the OxCal calibration program, making particular use of its new outlier detection functionality. This Bayesian approach has resulted in a new series of calibrations that show much closer agreement with conventional chronological records.
Helminth infections were studied in bank voles (Myodes glareolus) from 3 woodland sites in N.E. Poland in the late summers of 1999 and 2002, to assess the temporal stability of derived statistics describing the regional helminth fauna and component community structure, and spatial influence on the latter. Regional helminth fauna changed dramatically between the two years, primarily due to a fall in the abundance of Syphacia petrusewiczi but was partially compensated for by an increase in Mesocestoides lineatus and Cladotaenia globifera. It was dominated by nematodes overall, but more so in 1999 than in 2002 when larval cestodes were more frequent. Most derived parameters for component community structure varied considerably between sites and the two surveys, the hierarchical order for sites not being maintained between surveys. They were susceptible to the disproportionate influence of three relatively rare, unpredictable species with the greatest overall aggregated distribution among hosts. Jaccard's similarity index was less influenced by the rare species, showing greater stability between sites and across years. In conclusion, temporal variation confounded any site-specific characteristics of the summary measures quantified in this study and their usefulness is therefore restricted to the years in which the surveys were conducted.
The relative importance of temporal and spatial effects was assessed in helminth communities of bank voles (Myodes glareolus) in 3 woodland sites in N.E. Poland in the late summers of 1999 and 2002. Among common species the rank order of sites in relation to prevalence and abundance of infection was maintained between surveys. Site effects accounted for most of the deviance (in statistical models), and time was less important, so the exact location from which voles were sampled was of critical importance. The only exception was Syphacia petrusewiczi. In contrast, for derived measures such as species richness and diversity, most deviance was accounted for by host age, and the interaction between site and year was significant, implying that rank order of sites changed between years. Temporal effects on derived measures were generated primarily by a combination of relatively small changes in prevalence and abundance of the common, rather than the rare, species between the years of the study. In the medium-term, therefore, helminth communities of bank voles in N.E. Poland had a stable core, suggesting a substantial strong element of predictability.
As part of a study investigating the carbon balance of a blanket bog, we made an assessment of the spatial variation of radiocarbon concentrations in the surface layers of a small area of peatland in the north of England. The peat depth at which bomb-14C content was the highest varied considerably between cores sampled from across the site. At several sampling locations, 14C levels >100% Modern were confined to the surface 8 cm, whereas bomb 14C was evident at 1 site, located only meters away, to a depth of at least 12–16 cm. Using the layer where 14C levels first exceeded 100% Modern as a chronological reference layer, we estimated the carbon accumulation rate over the last 50 yr for the surface peat at each site (range ∼20 to ∼125 g C m2 yr-1). Our results show that although carbon accumulation over the last 50 yr was similar across the site, variation in the depth to which bomb 14C was evident implied considerable variation in the vertical peat growth rate.
An evaluation of an algorithm used to extract Threading Screw Dislocation defect data from Synchrotron White Beam X-Ray Topographical images of SiC wafers is reported. This extraction involves a two-fold process; firstly the algorithm highlights the appropriate defect and secondly updates the counter to provide a final result of defect count. The result of the automated algorithm is compared to hand counts in all cases, this allowing a critical analysis of the technique. Improvements to this algorithm have been made since last reported by the same authors, which are discussed. The analysis herein was also performed on a much larger sample of SiC wafer images than previously used by the same authors  allowing a better judgment of performance and critical evaluation. The algorithm is also compared with a previous algorithm that was used. Advantages and deficiencies in the algorithm are outlined and other potential avenues for extraction of the data are also discussed.
Determination of the solid-phase arsenic speciation in sediments hosting high-arsenic groundwaters, utilized for drinking and irrigation in Bengal, SE Asia and elsewhere is important in order to understand the biogeochemistry of arsenic. Despite this, there is a relative paucity of speciation data for solid-phase arsenic in such systems, due to preservation difficulties, low arsenic concentrations in the sediments, multiple coordination environments and sample heterogeneity. In this study, X-ray absorption near edge structure spectroscopy was used in conjunction with linear least-squares fitting of model compounds to determine the oxidation state of arsenic in sediments from West Bengal and Cambodia. Whatever the collection and storage method used, substantial oxidation of arsenic was commonly observed over periods of weeks to several months. Sands were particularly susceptible to changes in arsenic oxidation state during storage. Analysis within two or three weeks of collection is therefore recommended, whilst on-site storage under a nitrogen atmosphere immediately after collection is particularly recommended for the preservation of sandy samples. Both muds and sands from West Bengal and Cambodia were dominated by arsenite (As(III)) with <35±10% arsenate (As(V)). Complete oxidation to arsenate was never observed suggesting that a significant proportion of the sedimentary arsenic is inaccessible within crystalline phases. Centrifuging under anaerobic conditions enabled more detailed information about a variety of arsenic coordination environments to be determined.
Our recent discovery of hazardous concentrations of arsenic in shallow sedimentary aquifers in Cambodia raises the spectre of future deleterious health impacts on a population that, particularly in non-urban areas, extensively use untreated groundwater as a source of drinking water and, in some instances, as irrigation water. We present here small-scale hazard maps for arsenic in shallow Cambodian groundwaters based on >1000 groundwater samples analysed in the Manchester Analytical Geochemistry Unit and elsewhere. Key indicators for hazardous concentrations of arsenic in Cambodian groundwaters include: (1) well depths greater than 16 m; (2) Holocene host sediments; and (3) proximity to major modern channels of the Mekong (and its distributary the Bassac). However, high-arsenic well waters are also commonly found in wells not exhibiting these key characteristics, notably in some shallower Holocene wells, and in wells drilled into older Quaternary and Neogene sediments.
It is emphasized that the maps and tables presented are most useful for identifying current regional trends in groundwater arsenic hazard and that their use for predicting arsenic concentrations in individual wells, for example for the purposes of well switching, is not recommended, particularly because of the lack of sufficient data (especially at depths >80 m) and because, as in Bangladesh and West Bengal, there is considerable heterogeneity of groundwater arsenic concentrations on a scale of metres to hundreds of metres. We have insufficient data at this time to determine unequivocally whether or not arsenic concentrations are increasing in shallow Cambodian groundwaters as a result of groundwater-abstraction activities.
A method for collecting an isotopically representative sample of CO2 from an air stream using a zeolite molecular sieve is described. A robust sampling system was designed and developed for use in the field that includes reusable molecular sieve cartridges, a lightweight pump, and a portable infrared gas analyzer (IRGA). The system was tested using international isotopic standards (13C and 14C). Results showed that CO2 could be trapped and recovered for both δ13C and 14C analysis by isotope ratio mass spectrometry (IRMS) and accelerator mass spectrometry (AMS), respectively, without any contamination, fractionation, or memory effect. The system was primarily designed for use in carbon isotope studies of ecosystem respiration, with potential for use in other applications that require CO2 collection from air.