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Among the different existing types of bacterial meningitis, the one caused by Neisseria meningitidis is the main presentation of invasive meningococcal disease (IMD). IMD is a significant public health concern and has a reported incidence rate in Argentina of 0.44 cases per 100 000 inhabitants in 2015. However, the actual incidence is thought to be higher as passive surveillance systems neither report nor identify 100% of all cases. The aim of this study is to develop an estimation of the burden of IMD in Argentina closer to reality by adjusting/correcting several limitations observed in the surveillance data available. A retrospective observational study has been performed using four Argentinean national databases recording the number of IMD cases and deaths, serogroups of N. meningitidis and ages, between 2007 to 2016. The reported data were adjusted to account for underreporting and to also integrate the cases missed due to well-known limitations associated with the diagnosis of N. meningitidis detection methods. Data were further analysed by serogroups of N. meningitidis and by age groups. After these adjustments, the potential numbers of IMD cases and IMD-related deaths are estimated to be 3.1 and 1.9 higher than reported, respectively. The study corrects the previous underestimation of the disease burden and provides expectedly more robust estimates aligned with international evidence and highlights the importance of active surveillance, with high-quality methods, for a better definition of preventive strategies against IMD in Argentina.
In this work we have conducted a study on the radiative and spectroscopic properties of the radiative precursor and the post-shock region from experiments with radiative shocks in xenon performed at the Orion laser facility. The study is based on post-processing of radiation-hydrodynamics simulations of the experiment. In particular, we have analyzed the thermodynamic regime of the plasma, the charge state distributions, the monochromatic opacities and emissivities, and the specific intensities for plasma conditions of both regions. The study of the intensities is a useful tool to estimate ranges of electron temperatures present in the xenon plasma in these experiments and the analysis performed of the microscopic properties commented above helps to better understand the intensity spectra. Finally, a theoretical analysis of the possibility of the onset of isobaric thermal instabilities in the post-shock has been made, concluding that the instabilities obtained in the radiative-hydrodynamic simulations could be thermal ones due to strong radiative cooling.
This paper describes the design and fabrication of a range of ‘gas cell’ microtargets produced by the Target Fabrication Group in the Central Laser Facility (CLF) for academic access experiments on the Orion laser facility at the Atomic Weapons Establishment (AWE). The experiments were carried out by an academic consortium led by Imperial College London. The underlying target methodology was an evolution of a range of targets used for experiments on radiative shocks and involved the fabrication of a precision machined cell containing a number of apertures for interaction foils or diagnostic windows. The interior of the cell was gas-filled before laser irradiation. This paper details the assembly processes, thin film requirements and micro-machining processes needed to produce the targets. Also described is the implementation of a gas-fill system to produce targets that are filled to a pressure of 0.1–1 bar. The paper discusses the challenges that are posed by such a target.
There has been increasing evidence that chronic low-grade inflammation is associated with mood disorders. However, the findings have been inconsistent because of heterogeneity across studies and methodological limitations. Our aim is to prospectively evaluate the bi-directional associations between inflammatory markers including interleukin (IL)-6, tumor necrosis factor (TNF)-α and high sensitivity C-reactive protein (hsCRP) with mood disorders.
The sample consisted of 3118 participants (53.7% women; mean age: 51.0, s.d. 8.8 years), randomly selected from the general population, who underwent comprehensive somatic and psychiatric evaluations at baseline and follow-up (mean follow-up duration = 5.5 years, s.d. 0.6). Current and remitted mood disorders including bipolar and major depressive disorders (MDD) and its subtypes (atypical, melancholic, combined atypical and melancholic, and unspecified) were based on semi-structured diagnostic interviews. Inflammatory biomarkers were analyzed in fasting blood samples. Associations were tested by multiple linear and logistic regression models.
Current combined MDD [β = 0.29, 95% confidence interval (CI) 0.03–0.55] and current atypical MDD (β = 0.32, 95% CI 0.10–0.55) at baseline were associated with increased levels of hsCRP at follow-up. There was little evidence for inflammation markers at baseline predicting mood disorders at follow-up.
The prospective unidirectional association between current MDD subtype with atypical features and hsCRP levels at follow-up suggests that inflammation may be a consequence of this condition. The role of inflammation, particularly hsCRP that is critically involved in cardiovascular diseases, warrants further study. Future research that examines potential influences of medications on inflammatory processes is indicated.
Schizotypal traits are considered a phenotypic-indicator of schizotypy, a latent personality organization reflecting a putative liability for psychosis. To date, no previous study has examined the comparability of factorial structures across samples originating from different countries and cultures. The main goal was to evaluate the factorial structure and reliability of the Schizotypal Personality Questionnaire (SPQ) scores by amalgamating data from studies conducted in 12 countries and across 21 sites.
The overall sample consisted of 27 001 participants (37.5% males, n = 4251 drawn from the general population). The mean age was 22.12 years (s.d. = 6.28, range 16–55 years). The SPQ was used. Confirmatory factor analysis (CFA) and Multilevel CFA (ML-CFA) were used to evaluate the factor structure underlying the SPQ scores.
At the SPQ item level, the nine factor and second-order factor models showed adequate goodness-of-fit. At the SPQ subscale level, three- and four-factor models displayed better goodness-of-fit indices than other CFA models. ML-CFA showed that the intraclass correlation coefficients values were lower than 0.106. The three-factor model showed adequate goodness of fit indices in multilevel analysis. The ordinal α coefficients were high, ranging from 0.73 to 0.94 across individual samples, and from 0.84 to 0.91 for the combined sample.
The results are consistent with the conceptual notion that schizotypal personality is a multifaceted construct and support the validity and utility of SPQ in cross-cultural research. We discuss theoretical and clinical implications of our results for diagnostic systems, psychosis models and cross-national mental health strategies.
The house mouse (Mus musculus) and the black rat (Rattus rattus) are reservoir hosts for zoonotic pathogens, several of which cause neglected tropical diseases (NTDs). Studies of the prevalence of these NTD-causing zoonotic pathogens, in house mice and black rats from tropical residential areas are scarce. Three hundred and two house mice and 161 black rats were trapped in 2013 from two urban neighbourhoods and a rural village in Yucatan, Mexico, and subsequently tested for Trypanosoma cruzi, Hymenolepis diminuta and Leptospira interrogans. Using the polymerase chain reaction we detected T. cruzi DNA in the hearts of 4·9% (8/165) and 6·2% (7/113) of house mice and black rats, respectively. We applied the sedimentation technique to detect eggs of H. diminuta in 0·5% (1/182) and 14·2% (15/106) of house mice and black rats, respectively. Through the immunofluorescent imprint method, L. interrogans was identified in 0·9% (1/106) of rat kidney impressions. Our results suggest that the black rat could be an important reservoir for T. cruzi and H. diminuta in the studied sites. Further studies examining seasonal and geographical patterns could increase our knowledge on the epidemiology of these pathogens in Mexico and the risk to public health posed by rodents.
The present study investigated the impact of a western diet during gestation and lactation on the anthropometry, serum biochemical, blood pressure and cardiovascular autonomic control on the offspring. Male Wistar rats were divided into two groups according to their mother’s diet received: control group (C: 18% calories of lipids) and westernized group (W: 32% calories of lipids). After weaning both groups received standard diet. On the 60th day of life, blood samples were collected for the analysis of fasting glucose and lipidogram. Cardiovascular parameters were measured on the same period. Autonomic nervous system modulation was evaluated by spectrum analysis of heart rate (HR) and systolic arterial pressure (SAP). The W increased glycemia (123±2 v. 155±2 mg/dl), low-density lipoprotein (15±1 v. 31±2 mg/dl), triglycerides (49±1 v. 85±2 mg/dl), total cholesterol (75±2 v. 86±2 mg/dl), and decreased high-density lipoprotein (50±4 v. 38±3 mg/dl), as well as increased body mass (209±4 v. 229±6 g) than C. Furthermore, the W showed higher SAP (130±4 v. 157±2 mmHg), HR (357±10 v. 428±14 bpm), sympathetic modulation to vessels (2.3±0.56 v. 6±0.84 mmHg2) and LF/HF ratio (0.15±0.01 v. 0.7±0.2) than C. These findings suggest that a western diet during pregnancy and lactation leads to overweight associated with autonomic misbalance and hypertension in adulthood.
We use an Eulerian Vlasov code, which solves the one-dimensional relativistic Vlasov–Maxwell equations for both electrons and ions, to follow in details the evolution of the distribution functions and the mechanism of the formation and evolution of double layers during ion acceleration driven by a high-intensity circularly polarized short laser pulse (12 ω−1 where ω is the laser angular frequency) normally incident on a thin dense foil. We compare three cases with a high-density deuterium plasma target of total thickness 1.767 cω−1 and constant n/ncr = 100, where ncr is the critical density, and where the laser intensity is varied from a situation where the target is opaque to the laser pulse (normalized vector potential or quiver momentum a0 = 80), to a situation where, above a critical laser intensity, a very small fraction of the laser pulse is transmitted through the target (a0 = 90), and finally to a situation where a more important fraction is transmitted through the target (a0 = 100). The dynamics of ion and electron acceleration are quite different in the three cases, and are followed in detail by the Eulerian Vlasov code, which allows an accurate representation of the distribution function. In the intermediate case, the Vlasov code has revealed a remarkably well-developed spiral structure in the phase space of the electron distribution function, which is associated with large sawtooth modulations in the electron density profiles.
The European Union Network ANTENA started to work in October 1993. During these last three years, several collaborative projects have been undertaken. ANTENA has offered a very good opportunity for most of the European people doing asteroseismology to work together. The asteroseismological networks STEPHI and STACC have run within the framework of the project, obtaining fairly good results. New instrumentation has also been developed, such as the Four-Channel Stellar Photometer.
We highlight the recent experimental results on laser-driven radiative shock waves of astrophysical interests using kJ PALS laser facility. The generated shock is probed instantaneously by X-ray laser (λ = 21.2 nm) showing an unambiguous shock structure that includes both the post-shock and the precursor.
Stegophorus macronectes (Johnston & Mawson, 1942) is a gastrointestinal parasite found in Antarctic seabirds. The original description of the species, which was based only on females, is poor and fragmented with some unclear diagnostic characters. This study provides new morphometric and molecular data on this previously poorly described parasite. Nuclear rDNA sequences (18S, 5.8S, 28S and internal transcribed spacer (ITS) regions) were isolated from S. macronectes specimens collected from the chinstrap penguin Pygoscelis antarctica Forster on Deception Island, Antarctica. Using 18S rDNA sequences, phylogenetic analyses (maximum likelihood, maximum parsimony and Bayesian inference) of the order Spirurida were performed to determine the phylogenetic location of this species. Primer pairs of the ITS regions were designed for genus-level identification of specimens, regardless of their cycle, as an alternative to coprological methods. The utility of this molecular method for identification of morphologically altered specimens is also discussed.
A gas-filled cylindrical liner z-pinch configuration has been used to drive convergent radiative shock waves into different gases at velocities of 20–50 km s−1. On application of the 1.4 MA, 240 ns rise-time current pulse produced by the Magpie generator at Imperial College London, a series of cylindrically convergent shock waves are sequentially launched into the gas-fill from the inner wall of the liner. This occurs without any bulk motion of the liner wall itself. The timing and trajectories of the shocks are used as a diagnostic tool for understanding the response of the liner z-pinch wall to a large pulsed current. This analysis provides useful data on the liner resistivity, and a means to test equation of state (EOS) and material strength models within MHD simulation codes. In addition to providing information on liner response, the convergent shocks are interesting to study in their own right. The shocks are strong enough for radiation transport to influence the shock wave structure. In particular, we see evidence for both radiative preheating of material ahead of the shockwaves and radiative cooling instabilities in the shocked gas. Some preliminary results from initial gas-filled liner experiments with an applied axial magnetic field are also discussed.
Cephalopods (Mollusca: Cephalopoda) play an important role as keystone invertebrates in various marine ecosystems, as well as being a valuable fisheries resource. At the World Malacological Congress, held 21–28 July 2013 in Ponta Delgada, Azores, Portugal, a number of cephalopod experts convened to honour the contribution of the late Malcolm R. Clarke, FRS (1930–2013) to cephalopod research. Endorsed by the Cephalopod International Advisory Council (CIAC), the meeting discussed some of the major challenges that cephalopod research will face in the future. These challenges were identified as follows: (1) to find new ways to ascertain the trophic role and food web links of cephalopods using hard tissues, stable isotopes and novel concepts in theoretical ecology; (2) to explore new approaches to the study of cephalopod morphology; (3) to further develop cephalopod aquaculture research; (4) to find new ways to ascertain cephalopod adaptation and response to environmental change; (5) to strengthen cephalopod genetics research; and (6) to develop new approaches for cephalopod fisheries and conservation. The present paper presents brief reviews on these topics, followed by a discussion of the general challenges that cephalopod research is bound to face in the near future. By contributing to initiatives both within CIAC and independent of CIAC, the principle aim of the paper is to stimulate future cephalopod research.
The objective of this study was to estimate the sensitivity and specificity of a culture method and a polymerase chain reaction (PCR) method for detection of two Campylobacter species: C. jejuni and C. coli. Data were collected during a 3-year survey of UK broiler flocks, and consisted of parallel sampling of caeca from 436 batches of birds by both PCR and culture. Batches were stratified by season (summer/non-summer) and whether they were the first depopulation of the flock, resulting in four sub-populations. A Bayesian approach in the absence of a gold standard was adopted, and the sensitivity and specificity of the PCR and culture for each Campylobacter subtype was estimated, along with the true C. jejuni and C. coli prevalence in each sub-population. Results indicated that the sensitivity of the culture method was higher than that of PCR in detecting both species when the samples were derived from populations infected with at most one species of Campylobacter. However, from a mixed population, the sensitivity of culture for detecting both C. jejuni or C. coli is reduced while PCR is potentially able to detect both species, although the total probability of correctly identifying at least one species by PCR is similar to that of the culture method.
Strongly radiative shocks are characterized by an ionization front induced by the shock
wave. The role played together by opacity and geometry is critical for the physics of
these shock waves. Moreover, radiation is an obvious way of probing these shock waves,
either by self-emission or by probe absorption. These aspects will be illustrated by
recent experimental results obtained at the iodine PALS (Prague Asterix Laser System)
Properties of radiatively cooled supersonic plasma jets formed by ablation of thin Al
foils driven by 1.4 MA, 250 ns current pulse are presented. The jets are highly collimated
with half-opening angles of ~2°. Measurements of the flow velocity (~60
km/s) and plasma temperature (~15 eV) in the jet with Thomson scattering diagnostic
give internal Mach number of M ~ 3, suggesting additional collimation of the jet by
toroidal magnetic fields.
The formation of supersonic, radiatively cooled plasma jets with applications to
laboratory astrophysics has been an active area of research on the MAGPIE generator. One
of the ways of producing astrophysically-relevant jets in the laboratory is by using the
ablation of plasma from a radial foil Z-pinch. In this configuration a ~1.4 MA, 250
ns current pulse is introduced into an aluminium disk with a thickness of 15
μm. The ablated plasma from the foil converges on the axis, producing a
steady and collimated jet with a typical axial velocity of ~100 km/s. The setup
allows for the addition of argon above the foil for jet-ambient interaction studies. The
interaction is characterised by the formation of several shock features, which are
presented and discussed from experimental data and numerical simulations.
The aim of the present investigation was to determine whether temporal variation in environmental factors such as rainfall or temperature influence long-term fluctuations in the prevalence and mean abundance of the nematode Mexiconema cichlasomae in the cichlid fish Cichlasoma uropthalmus and its crustacean intermediate host, Argulus yucatanus. The study was undertaken in a tropical coastal lagoon in the Yucatan Peninsula (south-eastern Mexico) over an 8-year period. Variations in temperature, rainfall and monthly infection levels for both hosts were analysed using time series and cross-correlations to detect possible recurrent patterns. Infections of M. cichlasomae in A. yucatanus showed annual peaks, while in C. urophthalmus peaks were bi-annual. The latter appear to be related to the accumulation of several generations of this nematode in C. urophthalmus. Rainfall and temperature appear to be key environmental factors in influencing temporal variation in the infection of M. cichlasomae over periods longer than a year together with the accumulation of larval stages throughout time.
We present a numerical study of the acceleration of ions in the interaction of a high intensity circularly polarized laser beam normally incident on an overdense plasma target, and the subsequent formation of neutral plasma ejected toward the rear side of the target. We compare the results obtained from two different numerical codes. We use an Eulerian Vlasov code for the numerical solution of the one-dimensional relativistic Vlasov-Maxwell set of equations, for both electrons and ions, and a particle-in-cell code applied to the same problem. We consider the case when the laser free space wavelength λ0 is greater than the scale length of the jump in the plasma density at the target plasma edge Ledge (λ0 ≫ Ledge), and the ratio of the plasma density to the critical density is such that n/ncr ≫ 1. The ponderomotive pressure due to the incident high-intensity laser radiation pushes the electrons at the target plasma surface, producing a sharp density gradient at the plasma surface, which gives rise to a charge separation. The resulting electric field accelerates the ions that reach a free streaming expansion phase, where they are neutralized by the electrons. A neutral plasma jet is thus ejected toward the rear side of the target. Two cases are studied: In the first case, the laser intensity rises to a maximum and then remains constant, and in the second case, the laser intensity is a Gaussian-shaped pulse. The results show substantial differences in the phase-space structure of the ions and the electrons between these two cases. There is good agreement between the quantitative macroscopic results obtained by the two codes, and good qualitative agreement between the results showing the kinetic details of the phase-space structures. The low noise level of the Eulerian Vlasov code allows a more detailed representation of the phase-space structures associated with this system, especially in the low density regions of the phase-space where ions are accelerated.