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In the 2015 review paper ‘Petawatt Class Lasers Worldwide’ a comprehensive overview of the current status of high-power facilities of
was presented. This was largely based on facility specifications, with some description of their uses, for instance in fundamental ultra-high-intensity interactions, secondary source generation, and inertial confinement fusion (ICF). With the 2018 Nobel Prize in Physics being awarded to Professors Donna Strickland and Gerard Mourou for the development of the technique of chirped pulse amplification (CPA), which made these lasers possible, we celebrate by providing a comprehensive update of the current status of ultra-high-power lasers and demonstrate how the technology has developed. We are now in the era of multi-petawatt facilities coming online, with 100 PW lasers being proposed and even under construction. In addition to this there is a pull towards development of industrial and multi-disciplinary applications, which demands much higher repetition rates, delivering high-average powers with higher efficiencies and the use of alternative wavelengths: mid-IR facilities. So apart from a comprehensive update of the current global status, we want to look at what technologies are to be deployed to get to these new regimes, and some of the critical issues facing their development.
Plant nitrogen (N) links with many physiological progresses of crop growth and yield formation. Accurate simulation is key to predict crop growth and yield correctly. The aim of the current study was to improve the estimation of N uptake and translocation processes in the whole rice plant as well as within plant organs in the RiceGrow model by using plant and organ maximum, critical and minimum N dilution curves. The maximum and critical N (Nc) demand (obtained from the maximum and critical curves) of shoot and root and Nc demand of organs (leaf, stem and panicle) are calculated by N concentration and biomass. Nitrogen distribution among organs is computed differently pre- and post-anthesis. Pre-anthesis distribution is determined by maximum N demand with no priority among organs. In post-anthesis distribution, panicle demands are met first and then the remaining N is allocated to other organs without priority. The amount of plant N uptake depends on plant N demand and N supplied by the soil. Calibration and validation of the established model were performed on field experiments conducted in China and the Philippines with varied N rates and N split applications; results showed that this improved model can simulate the processes of N uptake and translocation well.
The discovery of the first electromagnetic counterpart to a gravitational wave signal has generated follow-up observations by over 50 facilities world-wide, ushering in the new era of multi-messenger astronomy. In this paper, we present follow-up observations of the gravitational wave event GW170817 and its electromagnetic counterpart SSS17a/DLT17ck (IAU label AT2017gfo) by 14 Australian telescopes and partner observatories as part of Australian-based and Australian-led research programs. We report early- to late-time multi-wavelength observations, including optical imaging and spectroscopy, mid-infrared imaging, radio imaging, and searches for fast radio bursts. Our optical spectra reveal that the transient source emission cooled from approximately 6 400 K to 2 100 K over a 7-d period and produced no significant optical emission lines. The spectral profiles, cooling rate, and photometric light curves are consistent with the expected outburst and subsequent processes of a binary neutron star merger. Star formation in the host galaxy probably ceased at least a Gyr ago, although there is evidence for a galaxy merger. Binary pulsars with short (100 Myr) decay times are therefore unlikely progenitors, but pulsars like PSR B1534+12 with its 2.7 Gyr coalescence time could produce such a merger. The displacement (~2.2 kpc) of the binary star system from the centre of the main galaxy is not unusual for stars in the host galaxy or stars originating in the merging galaxy, and therefore any constraints on the kick velocity imparted to the progenitor are poor.
Knowledge, attitudes and practices (KAP) of the population regarding severe fever with thrombocytopenia syndrome (SFTS) in endemic areas of Lu'an in China were assessed before and after an intervention programme. The pre-intervention phase was conducted using a sample of 425 participants from the 12 selected villages with the highest rates of endemic SFTS infection. A predesigned interview questionnaire was used to assess KAP. Subsequently, an intervention programme was designed and applied in the selected villages. KAP was re-assessed for each population in the selected villages using the same interview questionnaire. Following 2 months of the programme, 339 participants had completed the re-assessed survey. The impact of the intervention programme was evaluated using suitable statistical methods. A significant increase in the KAP and total KAP scores was noted following the intervention programme, whereas the proportion of correct knowledge, the positive attitudes and the effective practices toward SFTS of respondents increased significantly. The intervention programme was effective in improving KAP level of SFTS in populations that were resident in endemic areas.
The SkyMapper Transient survey (SMT) is exploring variability in the southern sky by performing (a) a rolling search to discover and study supernovæ, and (b) a Target of Opportunity programme that uses the robotic SkyMapper Telescope at Siding Spring Observatory. The supernova survey is obtaining a non-targeted sample of Type Ia supernovæ (SNe Ia) at low redshifts, z < 0.1, and studying other interesting transients found with the search strategy. We have a Target of Opportunity programme with an automatic response mechanism to search for optical counterparts to gravitational-wave and fast radio-burst events; it benefits from SkyMapper’s large field of view of 5.7 sq. deg. and a rapid data reduction pipeline.
We present first results of the SMT survey. The SMT pipeline can process and obtain potential candidates within 12 hours of observation. It disentangles real transients from processing artefacts using a machine-learning algorithm. To date, SMT has discovered over 60 spectroscopically confirmed supernovæ, several peculiar objects, and over 40 SNe Ia including one (SNIa 2016hhd) which was found within the first few days of explosion. We have also participated in searches for optical counterparts of gravitational waves, fast radio bursts and other transients, and have published observations of the optical counterpart of the gravitational-wave event GW170817. We also participate in coordinated observations with the Deeper Wider Faster programme, and the Kepler K2 cosmology project.
One of the biggest medical challenges after the detonation of a nuclear device will be implementing a strategy to assess the severity of radiation exposure among survivors and to triage them appropriately. Those found to be at significant risk for radiation injury can be prioritized to receive potentially lifesaving myeloid cytokines and to be evacuated to other communities with intact health care infrastructure prior to the onset of severe complications of bone marrow suppression. Currently, the most efficient and accessible triage method is the use of sequential complete blood counts to assess lymphocyte depletion kinetics that correlate with estimated whole-body dose radiation exposure. However, even this simple test will likely not be available initially on the scale required to assess the at-risk population. Additional variables such as geographic location of exposure, sheltering, and signs and symptoms may be useful for initial sorting. An interdisciplinary working group composed of federal, state, and local public health experts proposes an Exposure And Symptom Triage (EAST) tool combining estimates of exposure from maps with clinical assessments and single lymphocyte counts if available. The proposed tool may help sort survivors efficiently at assembly centers near the damage and fallout zones and enable rapid prioritization for appropriate treatment and transport. (Disaster Med Public Health Preparedness. 2018; 12: 386–395)
Vascular stenosis, the abnormal narrowing of blood vessels, arises from defective developmental processes or atherosclerosis-related adult pathologies. Stenosis triggers a series of adaptive cellular responses that induces adverse remodeling, which can progress to partial or complete vessel occlusion with numerous fatal outcomes. Despite its severity, the cellular interactions and biophysical cues that regulate this pathological progression are poorly understood. Here, we report the design and fabrication of a three-dimensional (3D) in vitro system to model vascular stenosis so that specific cellular interactions and responses to hemodynamic stimuli can be investigated. Tubular cellularized constructs (cytotubes) were produced, using a collagen casting system, to generate a stenotic arterial model. Fabrication methods were developed to create cytotubes containing co-cultured vascular cells, where cell viability, distribution, morphology, and contraction were examined. Fibroblasts, bone marrow primary cells, smooth muscle cells (SMCs), and endothelial cells (ECs) remained viable during culture and developed location- and time-dependent morphologies. We found cytotube contraction to depend on cellular composition, where SMC-EC co-cultures adopted intermediate contractile phenotypes between SMC- and EC-only cytotubes. Our fabrication approach and the resulting artery model can serve as an in vitro 3D culture system to investigate vascular pathogenesis and promote the tissue engineering field.
The relationship between subjective memory complaints (SM) and objective memory (OM) performance in aging has been variably characterized in a substantial literature, to date. In particular, cross-sectional studies often observe weak or no associations. We investigated whether subjective memory complaints and objectively measured cognition influence each other over time, and if so, which is the stronger pathway of change—objective to subjective, or subjective to objective—or whether they are both important. Using bivariate latent change score modeling in data from a population study (N=1980) over 5 annual assessment cycles, we tested four corresponding hypotheses: (1) no coupling between SM and OM over time; (2) SM as leading indicator of change in OM; (3) OM as leading indicator of change in SM; (4) dual coupling over time, with both SM and OM leading subsequent change in the other. We also extended objective cognition to two other domains, language and executive functions. The dual-coupling models best fit the data for all three objective cognitive domains. The SM–OM temporal dynamics differ qualitatively compared to other domains, potentially reflecting changes in insight and self-awareness specific to memory impairment. Subjective memory and objective cognition reciprocally influence each other over time. The temporal dynamics between subjective and objective cognition in aging are nuanced, and must be carefully disentangled to shed light on the underlying processes. (JINS, 2015, 21, 732–742)
A trend toward greater body size in dizygotic (DZ) than in monozygotic (MZ) twins has been suggested by some but not all studies, and this difference may also vary by age. We analyzed zygosity differences in mean values and variances of height and body mass index (BMI) among male and female twins from infancy to old age. Data were derived from an international database of 54 twin cohorts participating in the COllaborative project of Development of Anthropometrical measures in Twins (CODATwins), and included 842,951 height and BMI measurements from twins aged 1 to 102 years. The results showed that DZ twins were consistently taller than MZ twins, with differences of up to 2.0 cm in childhood and adolescence and up to 0.9 cm in adulthood. Similarly, a greater mean BMI of up to 0.3 kg/m2 in childhood and adolescence and up to 0.2 kg/m2 in adulthood was observed in DZ twins, although the pattern was less consistent. DZ twins presented up to 1.7% greater height and 1.9% greater BMI than MZ twins; these percentage differences were largest in middle and late childhood and decreased with age in both sexes. The variance of height was similar in MZ and DZ twins at most ages. In contrast, the variance of BMI was significantly higher in DZ than in MZ twins, particularly in childhood. In conclusion, DZ twins were generally taller and had greater BMI than MZ twins, but the differences decreased with age in both sexes.
For over 100 years, the genetics of human anthropometric traits has attracted scientific interest. In particular, height and body mass index (BMI, calculated as kg/m2) have been under intensive genetic research. However, it is still largely unknown whether and how heritability estimates vary between human populations. Opportunities to address this question have increased recently because of the establishment of many new twin cohorts and the increasing accumulation of data in established twin cohorts. We started a new research project to analyze systematically (1) the variation of heritability estimates of height, BMI and their trajectories over the life course between birth cohorts, ethnicities and countries, and (2) to study the effects of birth-related factors, education and smoking on these anthropometric traits and whether these effects vary between twin cohorts. We identified 67 twin projects, including both monozygotic (MZ) and dizygotic (DZ) twins, using various sources. We asked for individual level data on height and weight including repeated measurements, birth related traits, background variables, education and smoking. By the end of 2014, 48 projects participated. Together, we have 893,458 height and weight measures (52% females) from 434,723 twin individuals, including 201,192 complete twin pairs (40% monozygotic, 40% same-sex dizygotic and 20% opposite-sex dizygotic) representing 22 countries. This project demonstrates that large-scale international twin studies are feasible and can promote the use of existing data for novel research purposes.
In Taiwan, avian influenza virus (AIV) subtypes H5N2, H6N1 and H7N3 have been identified in domestic poultry, and several strains of these subtypes have become endemic in poultry. To evaluate the potential of avian-to-human transmission due to occupational exposure, an exploratory analysis of AIV antibody status in poultry workers was conducted. We enrolled 670 poultry workers, including 335 live poultry vendors (LPVs), 335 poultry farmers (PFs), and 577 non-poultry workers (NPWs). Serum antibody titres against various subtypes of viruses were analysed and compared. The overall seropositivity rates in LPVs and PFs were 2·99% (10/335) and 1·79% (6/335), respectively, against H5N2; and 0·6% (2/335) and 1·19% (4/335), respectively, for H7N3 virus. Of NPWs, 0·35% (2/577) and 0·17% (1/577) were seropositive for H5N2 and H7N3, respectively. Geographical analysis revealed that poultry workers whose workplaces were near locations where H5N2 outbreaks in poultry have been reported face greater risks of being exposed to viruses that result in elevated H5N2 antibody titres. H6N1 antibodies were detected in only one PF, and no H7N9 antibodies were found in the study subjects. Subclinical infections caused by H5N2, H6N1 and H7N3 viruses were thus identified in poultry workers in Taiwan. Occupational exposure is associated with a high risk of AIV infection, and the seroprevalence of particular avian influenza strains in humans reflects the endemic strains in poultry in this region.
With the proportion of older adults in Hong Kong projected to double in size in the next 30 years, it is important to develop measures for detecting individuals in the earliest stage of Alzheimer's disease (AD, 0.5 in Clinical Dementia Rating, CDR). We tested the utility of a non-verbal prospective memory task (PM, ability to remember what one has to do when a specific event occurs in the future) as an early marker for AD in Hong Kong Chinese.
A large community dwelling sample of older adults who are healthy controls (CDR 0, N = 125), in the earliest stage of AD (CDR 0.5, N = 125), or with mild AD (CDR 1, N = 30) participated in this study. Their reaction time/accuracy data were analyzed by mixed-factor analyses of variance to compare the performance of the three CDR groups. Logistic regression analyses were performed to test the discriminative power of these measures for CDR 0 versus 0.5 participants.
Prospective memory performance declined as a function of AD severity: CDR 0 > CDR 0.5 > CDR 1, suggesting the effects of early-stage AD and AD progression on PM. After partialling out the variance explained by psychometric measures (e.g., ADAS-Cog), reaction time/accuracy measures that reflected the PM still significantly discriminated between CDR 0 versus 0.5 participants in most of the cases.
The effectiveness of PM measures in discriminating individuals in the earliest stage of AD from healthy older adults suggests that these measures should be further developed as tools for early-stage AD discrimination.