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TwinsUK is the largest cohort of community-dwelling adult twins in the UK. The registry comprises over 14,000 volunteer twins (14,838 including mixed, single and triplets); it is predominantly female (82%) and middle-aged (mean age 59). In addition, over 1800 parents and siblings of twins are registered volunteers. During the last 27 years, TwinsUK has collected numerous questionnaire responses, physical/cognitive measures and biological measures on over 8500 subjects. Data were collected alongside four comprehensive phenotyping clinical visits to the Department of Twin Research and Genetic Epidemiology, King’s College London. Such collection methods have resulted in very detailed longitudinal clinical, biochemical, behavioral, dietary and socioeconomic cohort characterization; it provides a multidisciplinary platform for the study of complex disease during the adult life course, including the process of healthy aging. The major strength of TwinsUK is the availability of several ‘omic’ technologies for a range of sample types from participants, which includes genomewide scans of single-nucleotide variants, next-generation sequencing, metabolomic profiles, microbiomics, exome sequencing, epigenetic markers, gene expression arrays, RNA sequencing and telomere length measures. TwinsUK facilitates and actively encourages sharing the ‘TwinsUK’ resource with the scientific community — interested researchers may request data via the TwinsUK website (http://twinsuk.ac.uk/resources-for-researchers/access-our-data/) for their own use or future collaboration with the study team. In addition, further cohort data collection is planned via the Wellcome Open Research gateway (https://wellcomeopenresearch.org/gateways). The current article presents an up-to-date report on the application of technological advances, new study procedures in the cohort and future direction of TwinsUK.
We have observed the G23 field of the Galaxy AndMass Assembly (GAMA) survey using the Australian Square Kilometre Array Pathfinder (ASKAP) in its commissioning phase to validate the performance of the telescope and to characterise the detected galaxy populations. This observation covers ~48 deg2 with synthesised beam of 32.7 arcsec by 17.8 arcsec at 936MHz, and ~39 deg2 with synthesised beam of 15.8 arcsec by 12.0 arcsec at 1320MHz. At both frequencies, the root-mean-square (r.m.s.) noise is ~0.1 mJy/beam. We combine these radio observations with the GAMA galaxy data, which includes spectroscopy of galaxies that are i-band selected with a magnitude limit of 19.2. Wide-field Infrared Survey Explorer (WISE) infrared (IR) photometry is used to determine which galaxies host an active galactic nucleus (AGN). In properties including source counts, mass distributions, and IR versus radio luminosity relation, the ASKAP-detected radio sources behave as expected. Radio galaxies have higher stellar mass and luminosity in IR, optical, and UV than other galaxies. We apply optical and IR AGN diagnostics and find that they disagree for ~30% of the galaxies in our sample. We suggest possible causes for the disagreement. Some cases can be explained by optical extinction of the AGN, but for more than half of the cases we do not find a clear explanation. Radio sources aremore likely (~6%) to have an AGN than radio quiet galaxies (~1%), but the majority of AGN are not detected in radio at this sensitivity.
We explored how positive and negative life experiences of caregivers are associated with household food insecurity.
The Midlands Family Study (MFS) was a cross-sectional study with three levels of household food security: food secure, food insecure without child hunger and food insecure with child hunger. Ordinal logistic regression analysis was used for analyses of negative and positive life experiences (number, impact, type) associated with food insecurity.
An eight-county region in South Carolina, USA, in 2012–2013.
Caregivers (n 511) in households with children.
Caregivers who reported greater numbers of negative life experiences and greater perceived impact had increased odds of household food insecurity and reporting their children experienced hunger. Each additional negative life experience count of the caregiver was associated with a 16 % greater odds of food insecurity without child hunger and a 28 % greater odds of child hunger. Each one-unit increase in the negative impact score (e.g. a worsening) was associated with 8 % higher odds of food insecurity without child hunger and 12 % higher odds of child hunger. Negative work experiences or financial instability had the strongest association (OR = 1·8; 95 % CI 1·5, 2·2) with child hunger. Positive life experiences were generally not associated with food security status, with one exception: for each unit increase in the number of positive experiences involving family and other relationships, the odds of child hunger decreased by 22 %.
More research is needed to understand approaches to build resilience against negative life experiences and strengthen positive familial, community and social relationships.
Salmonella enterica serovar Wangata (S. Wangata) is an important cause of endemic salmonellosis in Australia, with human infections occurring from undefined sources. This investigation sought to examine possible environmental and zoonotic sources for human infections with S. Wangata in north-eastern New South Wales (NSW), Australia. The investigation adopted a One Health approach and was comprised of three complimentary components: a case–control study examining human risk factors; environmental and animal sampling; and genomic analysis of human, animal and environmental isolates. Forty-eight human S. Wangata cases were interviewed during a 6-month period from November 2016 to April 2017, together with 55 Salmonella Typhimurium (S. Typhimurium) controls and 130 neighbourhood controls. Indirect contact with bats/flying foxes (S. Typhimurium controls (adjusted odds ratio (aOR) 2.63, 95% confidence interval (CI) 1.06–6.48)) (neighbourhood controls (aOR 8.33, 95% CI 2.58–26.83)), wild frogs (aOR 3.65, 95% CI 1.32–10.07) and wild birds (aOR 6.93, 95% CI 2.29–21.00) were statistically associated with illness in multivariable analyses. S. Wangata was detected in dog faeces, wildlife scats and a compost specimen collected from the outdoor environments of cases’ residences. In addition, S. Wangata was detected in the faeces of wild birds and sea turtles in the investigation area. Genomic analysis revealed that S. Wangata isolates were relatively clonal. Our findings suggest that S. Wangata is present in the environment and may have a reservoir in wildlife populations in north-eastern NSW. Further investigation is required to better understand the occurrence of Salmonella in wildlife groups and to identify possible transmission pathways for human infections.
A robust biomedical informatics infrastructure is essential for academic health centers engaged in translational research. There are no templates for what such an infrastructure encompasses or how it is funded. An informatics workgroup within the Clinical and Translational Science Awards network conducted an analysis to identify the scope, governance, and funding of this infrastructure. After we identified the essential components of an informatics infrastructure, we surveyed informatics leaders at network institutions about the governance and sustainability of the different components. Results from 42 survey respondents showed significant variations in governance and sustainability; however, some trends also emerged. Core informatics components such as electronic data capture systems, electronic health records data repositories, and related tools had mixed models of funding including, fee-for-service, extramural grants, and institutional support. Several key components such as regulatory systems (e.g., electronic Institutional Review Board [IRB] systems, grants, and contracts), security systems, data warehouses, and clinical trials management systems were overwhelmingly supported as institutional infrastructure. The findings highlighted in this report are worth noting for academic health centers and funding agencies involved in planning current and future informatics infrastructure, which provides the foundation for a robust, data-driven clinical and translational research program.
Concentrate inclusion levels in dairy cow diets are often adjusted so that the milk yield responses remain economic. While changes in concentrate level on performance is well known, their impact on other biological parameters, including immune function, is less well understood. The objective of this study was to evaluate the effect of concentrate inclusion level in a grass silage-based mixed ration on immune function. Following calving 63 (45 multiparous and 18 primiparous) Holstein Friesian dairy cows were allocated to one of three isonitrogenous diets for the first 70 days of lactation. Diets comprised of a mixture of concentrates and grass silage, with concentrates comprising either a low (30%, LC), medium (50%, MC) or high (70%, HC) proportion of the diet on a dry matter (DM) basis. Daily DM intakes, milk yields and BW were recorded, along with weekly body condition score, milk composition and vaginal mucus scores. Blood biochemistry was measured using a chemistry analyzer, neutrophil phagocytic and oxidative burst assessed using commercial kits and flow cytometry, and interferon-γ production evaluated by ELISA after whole blood stimulation. Over the study period cows on HC had a higher total DM intake, milk yield, fat yield, protein yield, fat+protein yield, protein content, mean BW and mean daily energy balance, and a lower BW loss than cows on MC, whose respective values were higher than cows on LC. Cows on HC and MC had a lower serum non-esterified fatty acid concentration than cows on LC (0.37, 0.37 and 0.50 mmol/l, respectively, P=0.005, SED=0.032), while cows on HC had a lower serum β-hydroxybutyrate concentration than cows on MC and LC (0.42, 0.55 and 0.55 mmol/l, respectively, P=0.002, SED=0.03). Concentrate inclusion level had no effect on vaginal mucus scores. At week 3 postpartum, cows on HC tended to have a higher percentage of oxidative burst positive neutrophils than cows on LC (43.2% and 35.3%, respectively, P=0.078, SED=3.11), although at all other times concentrate inclusion level in the total mixed ration had no effect on neutrophil phagocytic or oxidative burst characteristics, or on interferon-γ production by pokeweed mitogen stimulated whole blood culture. This study demonstrates that for high yielding Holstein Friesian cows managed on a grass silage-based diet, concentrate inclusion levels in early lactation affects performance but has no effect on neutrophil or lymphocyte immune parameters.
The Murchison Widefield Array (MWA), located in Western Australia, is one of the low-frequency precursors of the international Square Kilometre Array (SKA) project. In addition to pursuing its own ambitious science programme, it is also a testbed for wide range of future SKA activities ranging from hardware, software to data analysis. The key science programmes for the MWA and SKA require very high dynamic ranges, which challenges calibration and imaging systems. Correct calibration of the instrument and accurate measurements of source flux densities and polarisations require precise characterisation of the telescope’s primary beam. Recent results from the MWA GaLactic Extragalactic All-sky Murchison Widefield Array (GLEAM) survey show that the previously implemented Average Embedded Element (AEE) model still leaves residual polarisations errors of up to 10–20% in Stokes Q. We present a new simulation-based Full Embedded Element (FEE) model which is the most rigorous realisation yet of the MWA’s primary beam model. It enables efficient calculation of the MWA beam response in arbitrary directions without necessity of spatial interpolation. In the new model, every dipole in the MWA tile (4 × 4 bow-tie dipoles) is simulated separately, taking into account all mutual coupling, ground screen, and soil effects, and therefore accounts for the different properties of the individual dipoles within a tile. We have applied the FEE beam model to GLEAM observations at 200–231 MHz and used false Stokes parameter leakage as a metric to compare the models. We have determined that the FEE model reduced the magnitude and declination-dependent behaviour of false polarisation in Stokes Q and V while retaining low levels of false polarisation in Stokes U.
High-yielding dairy cows must produce large amounts of milk of a desired quality from a cost-effective diet in order for the farmer to remain in profit. Optimal rumen function and health is a key part of the process of converting nutrients into milk efficiently. Essential oils are steam-volatile or organic-solvent extracts of plants that have been shown to have beneficial effects on human digestion. They are mainly cyclic hydrocarbons and their alcohol, aldehyde or ester derivatives (Wallace, 2004). ‘Crina Ruminants’ is a blend of such essential oil compounds, designed to stimulate rumen activity and boost the population of beneficial microbes, through anti-microbial and digestive stimulant activity. In particular, it is believed to encourage an increase in fibre-fermenting bacteria and to counteract the acidotic rumen conditions that can be caused by feeding high starch diets. The aim of this experiment was to evaluate the effects of ‘Crina Ruminants’ on intake and milk production.
As financial pressures on UK beef farms increase, each beef industry stockman will be expected to look after more animals. Consequently, labour availability around calving will be reduced in future years. In order to enable limited human assistance to be targeted towards those cows and calves that need it, a sound understanding of the time course of the natural calving process is needed. The objective of this study was to detail the time dynamics of the major externally visible calving events in unassisted spring calving suckler cows housed in a straw bedded yard, typical of UK practice.
An increasing acreage of forage maize is being grown in the north of England and south of Scotland as an alternative to grass silage for dairy cows. Previous work has shown that molassed sugar beet pulp (MSBP) can be ensiled with maize to minimise effluent production and ensiling losses (Hameleers et al) from low dry matter (DM) maize. This experiment was designed to evaluate the effects of feeding 'Pulp'n'Maize' on intake, milk yield and milk composition in dairy cows.
There is a well-established discrepancy between paleontological and molecular data regarding the timing of the origin and diversification of placental mammals. Molecular estimates place interordinal diversification dates in the Cretaceous, while no unambiguous crown placental fossils have been found prior to the end-Cretaceous mass extinction. Here, the completeness of the eutherian fossil record through geological time is evaluated to assess the suggestion that a poor fossil record is largely responsible for the difference in estimates of placental origins. The completeness of fossil specimens was measured using the character completeness metric, which quantifies the completeness of fossil taxa as the percentage of phylogenetic characters available to be scored for any given taxon. Our data set comprised 33 published cladistic matrices representing 445 genera, of which 333 were coded at the species level.
There was no significant difference in eutherian completeness across the Cretaceous/Paleogene (K/Pg) boundary. This suggests that the lack of placental mammal fossils in the Cretaceous is not due to a poor fossil record but more likely represents a genuine absence of placental mammals in the Cretaceous. This result supports the “explosive model” of early placental evolution, whereby placental mammals originated around the time of the K/Pg boundary and diversified soon after.
No correlation was found between the completeness pattern observed in this study and those of previous completeness studies on birds and sauropodomorph dinosaurs, suggesting that different factors affect the preservation of these groups. No correlations were found with various isotope proxy measures, but Akaike information criterion analysis found that eutherian character completeness metric scores were best explained by models involving the marine-carbonate strontium-isotope ratios (87Sr/86Sr), suggesting that tectonic activity might play a role in controlling the completeness of the eutherian fossil record.
The current generation of experiments aiming to detect the neutral hydrogen signal from the Epoch of Reionisation (EoR) is likely to be limited by systematic effects associated with removing foreground sources from target fields. In this paper, we develop a model for the compact foreground sources in one of the target fields of the MWA’s EoR key science experiment: the ‘EoR1’ field. The model is based on both the MWA’s GLEAM survey and GMRT 150 MHz data from the TGSS survey, the latter providing higher angular resolution and better astrometric accuracy for compact sources than is available from the MWA alone. The model contains 5 049 sources, some of which have complicated morphology in MWA data, Fornax A being the most complex. The higher resolution data show that 13% of sources that appear point-like to the MWA have complicated morphology such as double and quad structure, with a typical separation of 33 arcsec. We derive an analytic expression for the error introduced into the EoR two-dimensional power spectrum due to peeling close double sources as single point sources and show that for the measured source properties, the error in the power spectrum is confined to high k⊥ modes that do not affect the overall result for the large-scale cosmological signal of interest. The brightest 10 mis-modelled sources in the field contribute 90% of the power bias in the data, suggesting that it is most critical to improve the models of the brightest sources. With this hybrid model, we reprocess data from the EoR1 field and show a maximum of 8% improved calibration accuracy and a factor of two reduction in residual power in k-space from peeling these sources. Implications for future EoR experiments including the SKA are discussed in relation to the improvements obtained.
We tested the applicability of the “passive sampling” hypothesis and theory of island biogeography (TIB) for explaining the diversity of forest-dwelling carabid assemblages (Carabidae: Coleoptera) on 30 forested islands (0.2–980.7 ha) in Lac la Ronge and the adjacent mainland in Saskatchewan, Canada. Species richness per unit area increased with distance to mainland with diversity being highest on the most isolated islands. We detected neither a positive species-area relationship, nor significant differences in species richness among island size classes, or between islands and the mainland. Nonetheless, carabid assemblages distinctly differed on islands <1 ha in area and gradually approached the structure of mainland assemblages as island area increased. Small islands were characterised by abundant populations of small-bodied, winged species and few if any large-bodied, flightless species like Carabus taedatus Fabricius. Our findings suggest that neither the “passive sampling” hypothesis nor the theory of island biogeography adequately explain carabid beetle diversity patterns observed among islands in Lac la Ronge. Instead, we hypothesise that population processes such as higher extinction rates of large-bodied, flightless species and the associated release of smaller-bodied, flying species from intra-guild predation on small islands contribute to observed differences in the structure of carabid assemblages between islands.
We present low-frequency spectral energy distributions of 60 known radio pulsars observed with the Murchison Widefield Array telescope. We searched the GaLactic and Extragalactic All-sky Murchison Widefield Array survey images for 200-MHz continuum radio emission at the position of all pulsars in the Australia Telescope National Facility (ATNF) pulsar catalogue. For the 60 confirmed detections, we have measured flux densities in 20 × 8 MHz bands between 72 and 231 MHz. We compare our results to existing measurements and show that the Murchison Widefield Array flux densities are in good agreement.
We describe the performance of the Boolardy Engineering Test Array, the prototype for the Australian Square Kilometre Array Pathfinder telescope. Boolardy Engineering Test Array is the first aperture synthesis radio telescope to use phased array feed technology, giving it the ability to electronically form up to nine dual-polarisation beams. We report the methods developed for forming and measuring the beams, and the adaptations that have been made to the traditional calibration and imaging procedures in order to allow BETA to function as a multi-beam aperture synthesis telescope. We describe the commissioning of the instrument and present details of Boolardy Engineering Test Array’s performance: sensitivity, beam characteristics, polarimetric properties, and image quality. We summarise the astronomical science that it has produced and draw lessons from operating Boolardy Engineering Test Array that will be relevant to the commissioning and operation of the final Australian Square Kilometre Array Path telescope.
The popularity of cognitive remediation (CR) interventions for individuals with psychosis is in part based on the well-established link between cognition and functioning and the assumption that by targeting cognition, function can improve. While numerous trials have reported CR's efficacy, it is still not considered an evidence-based treatment. Importantly, little is known about the mechanisms through which it may affect functioning.
In this study, we evaluated CR's proximal and distal effects, and examined potential mechanisms. A total of 75 individuals with psychotic disorders were randomized to a combination of strategy-based and drill-and-practice CR or wait-list control, with assessments of training task performance, neurocognition, functional capacity, symptoms and functioning conducted at baseline, end of the 2-month intervention, and 2-month follow-up.
Compared with treatment as usual, CR was associated with large post-training improvements on training tasks targeting attention, visuospatial memory, and verbal learning and memory, with persisting group differences at the 2-month follow-up. These generalized to mostly large improvements on neuropsychological measures targeting visuospatial memory, verbal learning and memory, delayed verbal memory and verbal working memory. While there were no CR-associated improvements on measures of functional capacity, symptoms, or a self-report measure of independent living skills, there was an effect on an interviewer-rated measure of functioning (Quality of Life Scale), which appeared primarily driven by the Intrapsychic Foundations subscale. Finally, for those randomized to CR, there were significant, medium-sized correlations between training task improvement, neuropsychological improvement and functioning measures.
This suggests a complex, multifactorial relationship between CR, and cognitive and functional change.
We estimate spatial gradients in the ionosphere using the Global Positioning System and GLONASS (Russian global navigation system) observations, utilising data from multiple Global Positioning System stations in the vicinity of Murchison Radio-astronomy Observatory. In previous work, the ionosphere was characterised using a single-station to model the ionosphere as a single layer of fixed height and this was compared with ionospheric data derived from radio astronomy observations obtained from the Murchison Widefield Array. Having made improvements to our data quality (via cycle slip detection and repair) and incorporating data from the GLONASS system, we now present a multi-station approach. These two developments significantly improve our modelling of the ionosphere. We also explore the effects of a variable-height model. We conclude that modelling the small-scale features in the ionosphere that have been observed with the MWA will require a much denser network of Global Navigation Satellite System stations than is currently available at the Murchison Radio-astronomy Observatory.
We have compiled a catalogue of H ii regions detected with the Murchison Widefield Array between 72 and 231 MHz. The multiple frequency bands provided by the Murchison Widefield Array allow us identify the characteristic spectrum generated by the thermal Bremsstrahlung process in H ii regions. We detect 306 H ii regions between 260° < l < 340° and report on the positions, sizes, peak, integrated flux density, and spectral indices of these H ii regions. By identifying the point at which H ii regions transition from the optically thin to thick regime, we derive the physical properties including the electron density, ionised gas mass, and ionising photon flux, towards 61 H ii regions. This catalogue of H ii regions represents the most extensive and uniform low frequency survey of H ii regions in the Galaxy to date.