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Objectives: This study aimed to evaluate the influence of lower limb loss (LL) on mental workload by assessing neurocognitive measures in individuals with unilateral transtibial (TT) versus those with transfemoral (TF) LL while dual-task walking under varying cognitive demand. Methods: Electroencephalography (EEG) was recorded as participants performed a task of varying cognitive demand while being seated or walking (i.e., varying physical demand). Results: The findings revealed both groups of participants (TT LL vs. TF LL) exhibited a similar EEG theta synchrony response as either the cognitive or the physical demand increased. Also, while individuals with TT LL maintained similar performance on the cognitive task during seated and walking conditions, those with TF LL exhibited performance decrements (slower response times) on the cognitive task during the walking in comparison to the seated conditions. Furthermore, those with TF LL neither exhibited regional differences in EEG low-alpha power while walking, nor EEG high-alpha desynchrony as a function of cognitive task difficulty while walking. This lack of alpha modulation coincided with no elevation of theta/alpha ratio power as a function of cognitive task difficulty in the TF LL group. Conclusions: This work suggests that both groups share some common but also different neurocognitive features during dual-task walking. Although all participants were able to recruit neural mechanisms critical for the maintenance of cognitive-motor performance under elevated cognitive or physical demands, the observed differences indicate that walking with a prosthesis, while concurrently performing a cognitive task, imposes additional cognitive demand in individuals with more proximal levels of amputation.
We provide an update on diagnostic methods for the detection of urogenital schistosomiasis (UGS) in men and highlight that satisfactory urine-antigen diagnostics for UGS lag much behind that for intestinal schistosomiasis, where application of a urine-based point-of-care strip assay, the circulating cathodic antigen (CCA) test, is now advocated. Making specific reference to male genital schistosomiasis (MGS), we place greater emphasis on parasitological detection methods and clinical assessment of internal genitalia with ultrasonography. Unlike the advances made in defining a clinical standard protocol for female genital schistosomiasis, MGS remains inadequately defined. Whilst urine filtration with microscopic examination for ova of Schistosoma haematobium is a convenient but error-prone proxy of MGS, we describe a novel low-cost sampling and direct visualization method for the enumeration of ova in semen. Using exemplar clinical cases of MGS from our longitudinal cohort study among fishermen along the shoreline of Lake Malawi, the portfolio of diagnostic needs is appraised including: the use of symptomatology questionnaires, urine analysis (egg count and CCA measurement), semen analysis (egg count, circulating anodic antigen measurement and real-time polymerase chain reaction analysis) alongside clinical assessment with portable ultrasonography.
Outbreaks of cutaneous infectious disease in amphibians are increasingly being attributed to an overlooked group of fungal-like pathogens, the Dermocystids. During the last 10 years on the Isle of Rum, Scotland, palmate newts (Lissotriton helveticus) have been reportedly afflicted by unusual skin lesions. Here we present pathological and molecular findings confirming that the pathogen associated with these lesions is a novel organism of the order Dermocystida, and represents the first formally reported, and potentially lethal, case of amphibian Dermocystid infection in the UK. Whilst the gross pathology and the parasite cyst morphology were synonymous to those described in a study from infected L. helveticus in France, we observed a more extreme clinical outcome on Rum involving severe subcutaneous oedema. Phylogenetic topologies supported synonymy between Dermocystid sequences from Rum and France and as well as their distinction from Amphibiocystidium spp. Phylogenetic analysis also suggested that the amphibian-infecting Dermocystids are not monophyletic. We conclude that the L. helveticus-infecting pathogen represents a single, novel species; Amphibiothecum meredithae.
This study examined the hypothesis that a brief, strengths-based home visiting strategy can promote positive engagement between caregiver and child and thereby reduce various forms of early childhood neglect. A total of 731 low-income families receiving services through the Women, Infants, and Children nutritional supplement program were randomized to the Women, Infants, and Children as usual or the Family Check-Up intervention. Assessments and intervention services were delivered in the home environment at ages 2, 3, 4, and 5. During the assessments, staff videotaped caregiver–child interactions and rated various features of the home environment, including the physical appropriateness of the home setting for children. Trained observers later coded the videotapes, unaware of the family's intervention condition. Specific caregiver–child interaction patterns were coded and macroratings were made of the caregiver's affection, monitoring, and involvement with the child. An intention to treat design revealed that randomization to the Family Check-Up increased duration of positive engagement between caregivers and children by age 3, which in turn was prognostic of less neglect of the child at age 4, controlling for family adversity. It was also found that family adversity moderated the impact of the intervention, such that the families with the most adverse circumstances were highly responsive to the intervention. Families with the highest levels of adversity exhibited the strongest mediation between positive engagement and reduction of neglect. Findings are discussed with respect to developmental theory and their potential implications for a public health approach to the prevention of early childhood maltreatment.
A segment of the debate surrounding the commercialization and use of glyphosate-resistant (GR) crops focuses on the theory that the implementation of these traits is an extension of the intensification of agriculture that will further erode the biodiversity of agricultural landscapes. A large field-scale study was initiated in 2006 in the United States on 156 different field sites with a minimum 3-yr history of GR-corn, -cotton or -soybean in the cropping system. The impact of cropping system, crop rotation, frequency of using the GR crop trait, and several categorical variables on seedbank weed population density and diversity was analyzed. The parameters of total weed population density of all species in the seedbank, species richness, Shannon's H′ and evenness were not affected by any management treatment. The similarity between the seedbank and aboveground weed community was more strongly related to location than management; previous year's crops and cropping systems were also important while GR trait rotation was not. The composition of the weed flora was more strongly related to location (geography) than any other parameter. The diversity of weed flora in agricultural sites with a history of GR crop production can be influenced by several factors relating to the specific method in which the GR trait is integrated (cropping system, crop rotation, GR trait rotation), the specific weed species, and the geographical location. Continuous GR crop, compared to fields with other cropping systems, only had greater species diversity (species richness) of some life forms, i.e., biennials, winter annuals, and prostrate weeds. Overall diversity was related to geography and not cropping system. These results justify further research to clarify the complexities of crops grown with herbicide-resistance traits to provide a more complete characterization of their culture and local adaptation to the weed seedbank.
Parental depressive symptoms are associated with emotional and behavioural problems in offspring. However, genetically informative studies are needed to distinguish potential causal effects from genetic confounds, and longitudinal studies are required to distinguish parent-to-child effects from child-to-parent effects.
We conducted cross-sectional analyses on a sample of Swedish twins and their adolescent offspring (n = 876 twin families), and longitudinal analyses on a US sample of children adopted at birth, their adoptive parents, and their birth mothers (n = 361 adoptive families). Depressive symptoms were measured in parents, and externalizing and internalizing problems measured in offspring. Structural equation models were fitted to the data.
Results of model fitting suggest that associations between parental depressive symptoms and offspring internalizing and externalizing problems remain after accounting for genes shared between parent and child. Genetic transmission was not evident in the twin study but was evident in the adoption study. In the longitudinal adoption study child-to-parent effects were evident.
We interpret the results as demonstrating that associations between parental depressive symptoms and offspring emotional and behavioural problems are not solely attributable to shared genes, and that bidirectional effects may be present in intergenerational associations.
Modulation of gamma-aminobutyric acid A (GABAA) receptor signalling by the neurosteroid allopregnanolone has a major role in late gestation neurodevelopment. The objective of this study was to characterize the mRNA levels of GABAA receptor subunits (α4, α5, α6 and δ) that are key to neurosteroid binding in the brain, following preterm birth. Myelination, measured by the myelin basic protein immunostaining, was used to assess maturity of the preterm brains. Foetal guinea pig brains were obtained at 62 days’ gestational age (GA, preterm) or at term (69 days). Neonates were delivered by caesarean section, at 62 days GA and term, and maintained until tissue collection at 24 h of age. Subunit mRNA levels were quantified by RT-PCR in the hippocampus and cerebellum of foetal and neonatal brains. Levels of the α6 and δ subunits were markedly lower in the cerebellum of preterm guinea pigs compared with term animals. Importantly, there was an increase in mRNA levels of these subunits during the foetal-to-neonatal transition at term, which was not seen following preterm birth. Myelination was lower in preterm neonatal brains, consistent with marked immaturity. Salivary cortisol concentrations, measured by EIA, were also higher for the preterm neonates, suggesting greater stress. We conclude that there is an adaptive increase in the levels of mRNA of the key GABAA receptor subunits involved in neurosteroid action after term birth, which may compensate for declining allopregnanolone levels. The lower levels of these subunits in preterm neonates may heighten the adverse effect of the premature decline in neurosteroid exposure.
This paper brings together the work of the GI Solvency II Technical Provisions working party. The working party was formed in 2009 for the primary purpose of raising awareness of Solvency II and the impact it would have on the work that reserving actuaries do. Over the years, the working party’s focus has shifted to exploring and promoting discussion of the many practical issues raised by the requirements and to promoting best practice. To this end, we have developed, presented and discussed many of the ideas contained in this paper at events and forums. However, the size of the subject means that at no one event have we managed to cover all of the areas that the reserving actuary needs to be aware of. This paper brings together our thinking in one place for the first time. We hope experienced practitioners will find it thought provoking, and a useful reference tool. For new practitioners, we hope it helps to get you up-to-speed quickly. Good luck!
This paper describes the system architecture of a newly constructed radio telescope – the Boolardy engineering test array, which is a prototype of the Australian square kilometre array pathfinder telescope. Phased array feed technology is used to form multiple simultaneous beams per antenna, providing astronomers with unprecedented survey speed. The test array described here is a six-antenna interferometer, fitted with prototype signal processing hardware capable of forming at least nine dual-polarisation beams simultaneously, allowing several square degrees to be imaged in a single pointed observation. The main purpose of the test array is to develop beamforming and wide-field calibration methods for use with the full telescope, but it will also be capable of limited early science demonstrations.
The emergence and persistence of conduct problems (CPs) during early childhood is a robust predictor of behavior problems in school and of future maladaptation. In this study we examined the reciprocal influences between observed coercive interactions between children and caregivers, oppositional and aggressive behavior, and growth in parent report of early childhood (ages 2–5) and school-age CPs (ages 7.5 and 8.5). Participants were drawn from the Early Steps multisite randomized prevention trial that includes an ethnically diverse sample of male and female children and their families (N = 731). A parallel-process growth model combining latent trajectory and cross-lagged approaches revealed the amplifying effect of observed coercive caregiver–child interactions on children's noncompliance, whereas child oppositional and aggressive behaviors did not consistently predict increased coercion. The slope and initial levels of child oppositional and aggressive behaviors and the stability of caregiver–child coercion were predictive of teacher-reported oppositional behavior at school age. Families assigned to the Family Check-Up condition had significantly steeper declines in child oppositional and aggressive behavior and moderate reductions in oppositional behavior in school and in coercion at age 3. Results were not moderated by child gender, race/ethnicity, or assignment to the intervention condition. The implications of these findings are discussed with respect to understanding the early development of CPs and to designing optimal strategies for reducing problem behavior in early childhood with families most in need.
Carbapenem-resistant Enterobacteriaceae (CRE) are a growing problem in the United States. We explored the feasibility of active laboratory-based surveillance of CRE in a metropolitan area not previously considered to be an area of CRE endemicity. We provide a framework to address CRE surveillance and to monitor changes in the incidence of CRE infection over time.
Background: To date, no physical activity (PA) questionnaires intended for primary care have been compared against a criterion measure of PA and current (2008) aerobic PA recommendations of the American College of Sports Medicine/American Heart Association (ACSM/AHA). Aim: This study evaluated preliminary evidence for criterion validity of two brief (<1 min) PA questionnaires with accelerometry, and their ability to identify if individuals meet ACSM/AHA PA recommendations. Methods: 45 health clinic staff wore an accelerometer for seven consecutive days and afterwards completed two brief PA questionnaires, the Physical Activity Vital Sign (PAVS), and the Speedy Nutrition and Physical Activity Assessment (SNAP). Agreement and descriptive statistics were calculated between the PAVS or SNAP and accelerometry in order to measure each questionnaire’s ability to quantify the number of days participants achieved ⩾30 min of moderate–vigorous PA (MVPA) performed in bouts of ⩾10 continuous minutes. Participants with <5 days of ⩾30 bout-min of MVPA were considered insufficiently active according to PA recommendations. Findings: There was a significant positive correlation between number of days with ⩾30 bout-min MVPA and the PAVS (r=0.52, P<0.001), and SNAP (r=0.31, P<0.05). The PAVS had moderate agreement with accelerometry for identifying if individuals met or did not meet PA recommendations (κ=0.46, P<0.001), whereas SNAP had poor agreement (κ=0.12, P<0.05). Conclusions: This study provides preliminary evidence of criterion validity of the PAVS and SNAP with accelerometry and agreement identifying if respondents meet current (2008) ACSM/AHA aerobic PA recommendations. The PAVS and SNAP should be evaluated further for repeatability, and in populations varying in PA levels, age, gender, and ethnicity.
To evaluate the efficacy of low-dose intratympanic dexamethasone therapy in patients with idiopathic sudden sensorineural hearing loss whose hearing in the affected ear had failed to improve following a course of oral steroid therapy.
A prospective pilot study was undertaken of eight patients with idiopathic sudden sensorineural hearing loss whose hearing had failed to improve after a course of prednisolone. These patients subsequently received 8 mg intratympanic dexamethasone therapy, delivered via a ventilation tube on a weekly basis for 1 month. Clinical outcome was assessed weekly with pure tone audiography.
At the end of the 1-month treatment period, no significant hearing improvement was observed on pure tone audiography in any of the patients (i.e. improvements were all less than 10 dB).
The response to 8 mg of intratympanic dexamethasone used as a salvage therapy for idiopathic sudden sensorineural hearing loss was inadequate. A higher dosage of intratympanic dexamethasone might be required to achieve better outcomes.