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The Murchison Widefield Array (MWA) is an open access telescope dedicated to studying the low-frequency (80–300 MHz) southern sky. Since beginning operations in mid-2013, the MWA has opened a new observational window in the southern hemisphere enabling many science areas. The driving science objectives of the original design were to observe 21 cm radiation from the Epoch of Reionisation (EoR), explore the radio time domain, perform Galactic and extragalactic surveys, and monitor solar, heliospheric, and ionospheric phenomena. All together
programs recorded 20 000 h producing 146 papers to date. In 2016, the telescope underwent a major upgrade resulting in alternating compact and extended configurations. Other upgrades, including digital back-ends and a rapid-response triggering system, have been developed since the original array was commissioned. In this paper, we review the major results from the prior operation of the MWA and then discuss the new science paths enabled by the improved capabilities. We group these science opportunities by the four original science themes but also include ideas for directions outside these categories.
To understand increasing rates of hepatitis C virus (HCV) infection in Tennessee, we conducted testing, risk factor analysis and a nested case–control study among persons who use drugs. During June–October 2016, HCV testing with risk factor assessment was conducted in sexually transmitted disease clinics, family planning clinics and an addiction treatment facility in eastern Tennessee; data were analysed by using multivariable logistic regression. A nested case–control study was conducted to assess drug-using risks and behaviours among persons who reported intranasal or injection drug use (IDU). Of 4753 persons tested, 397 (8.4%) were HCV-antibody positive. HCV infection was significantly associated with a history of both intranasal and IDU (adjusted odds ratio (aOR) 35.4, 95% confidence interval (CI) 24.1–51.9), IDU alone (aOR 52.7, CI 25.3–109.9), intranasal drug use alone (aOR 2.6, CI 1.8–3.9) and incarceration (aOR 2.7, CI 2.0–3.8). By 4 October 2016, 574 persons with a reported history of drug use; 63 (11%) were interviewed further. Of 31 persons who used both intranasal and injection drugs, 26 (84%) reported previous intranasal drug use, occurring 1–18 years (median 5.5 years) before their first IDU. Our findings provide evidence that reported IDU, intranasal drug use and incarceration are independent indicators of risk for past or present HCV infection in the study population.
The longstanding association between the major histocompatibility complex (MHC) locus and schizophrenia (SZ) risk has recently been accounted for, partially, by structural variation at the complement component 4 (C4) gene. This structural variation generates varying levels of C4 RNA expression, and genetic information from the MHC region can now be used to predict C4 RNA expression in the brain. Increased predicted C4A RNA expression is associated with the risk of SZ, and C4 is reported to influence synaptic pruning in animal models.
Based on our previous studies associating MHC SZ risk variants with poorer memory performance, we tested whether increased predicted C4A RNA expression was associated with reduced memory function in a large (n = 1238) dataset of psychosis cases and healthy participants, and with altered task-dependent cortical activation in a subset of these samples.
We observed that increased predicted C4A RNA expression predicted poorer performance on measures of memory recall (p = 0.016, corrected). Furthermore, in healthy participants, we found that increased predicted C4A RNA expression was associated with a pattern of reduced cortical activity in middle temporal cortex during a measure of visual processing (p < 0.05, corrected).
These data suggest that the effects of C4 on cognition were observable at both a cortical and behavioural level, and may represent one mechanism by which illness risk is mediated. As such, deficits in learning and memory may represent a therapeutic target for new molecular developments aimed at altering C4’s developmental role.
The immune system not only provides protection against infectious disease but also contributes to the etiology of neoplastic, atopic, and cardiovascular and metabolic diseases. Prenatal and postnatal nutritional and microbial environments have lasting effects on multiple aspects of immunity, indicating that immune processes may play important roles in the developmental origins of disease. The objective of this study is to evaluate the association between birth weight and the distribution of leukocyte (white blood cell) subsets in peripheral blood in young adulthood. Postnatal microbial exposures were also considered as predictors of leukocyte distribution. Participants (n=486; mean age=20.9 years) were drawn from a prospective birth cohort study in the Philippines, and analyses focused on the following cell types: CD4 T lymphocytes, CD8 T lymphocytes, B lymphocytes, natural killer cells, monocytes, granulocytes. Higher birth weight was a strong predictor of higher proportion of CD4 T lymphocytes (B=0.12, s.e.=0.041, P=0.003), lower proportion of CD8 T lymphocytes (B=−0.874, s.e.=0.364, P=0.016), higher CD4:CD8 ratio (B=1.964, s.e.=0.658, P=0.003), and higher B lymphocytes (B=0.062, s.e.=0.031, P=0.047). Measures of microbial exposure in infancy were negatively associated with proportions of B lymphocytes and granulocytes, and lower CD4:CD8 ratio. Leukocytes are the key regulators and effectors of innate and specific immunity, but the origins of variation in the distribution of cell type across individuals are not known. Our findings point toward nutritional and microbial exposures in infancy as potentially important determinants of immune-phenotypes in adulthood, and they suggest that leukocyte distribution is a plausible mechanism through which developmental environments have lasting effects on disease risk in adulthood.
Over the past 30 years, the number of US doctoral anthropology graduates has increased by about 70%, but there has not been a corresponding increase in the availability of new faculty positions. Consequently, doctoral degree-holding archaeologists face more competition than ever before when applying for faculty positions. Here we examine where US and Canadian anthropological archaeology faculty originate and where they ultimately end up teaching. Using data derived from the 2014–2015 AnthroGuide, we rank doctoral programs whose graduates in archaeology have been most successful in the academic job market; identify long-term and ongoing trends in doctoral programs; and discuss gender division in academic archaeology in the US and Canada. We conclude that success in obtaining a faculty position upon graduation is predicated in large part on where one attends graduate school.
Universal screening for postpartum depression is recommended in many countries. Knowledge of whether the disclosure of depressive symptoms in the postpartum period differs across cultures could improve detection and provide new insights into the pathogenesis. Moreover, it is a necessary step to evaluate the universal use of screening instruments in research and clinical practice. In the current study we sought to assess whether the Edinburgh Postnatal Depression Scale (EPDS), the most widely used screening tool for postpartum depression, measures the same underlying construct across cultural groups in a large international dataset.
Ordinal regression and measurement invariance were used to explore the association between culture, operationalized as education, ethnicity/race and continent, and endorsement of depressive symptoms using the EPDS on 8209 new mothers from Europe and the USA.
Education, but not ethnicity/race, influenced the reporting of postpartum depression [difference between robust comparative fit indexes (∆*CFI) < 0.01]. The structure of EPDS responses significantly differed between Europe and the USA (∆*CFI > 0.01), but not between European countries (∆*CFI < 0.01).
Investigators and clinicians should be aware of the potential differences in expression of phenotype of postpartum depression that women of different educational backgrounds may manifest. The increasing cultural heterogeneity of societies together with the tendency towards globalization requires a culturally sensitive approach to patients, research and policies, that takes into account, beyond rhetoric, the context of a person's experiences and the context in which the research is conducted.
Fatty acid ethanolamides (FAE), a group of lipid mediators derived from long-chain fatty acids (FA), mediate biological activities including activation of cannabinoid receptors, stimulation of fat oxidation and regulation of satiety. However, how circulating FAE levels are influenced by FA intake in humans remains unclear. The objective of the present study was to investigate the response of six major circulating FAE to various dietary oil treatments in a five-period, cross-over, randomised, double-blind, clinical study in volunteers with abdominal obesity. The treatment oils (60 g/12 552 kJ per d (60 g/3000 kcal per d)) provided for 30 d were as follows: conventional canola oil, high oleic canola oil, high oleic canola oil enriched with DHA, flax/safflower oil blend and corn/safflower oil blend. Two SNP associated with FAE degradation and synthesis were studied. Post-treatment results showed overall that plasma FAE levels were modulated by dietary FA and were positively correlated with corresponding plasma FA levels; minor allele (A) carriers of SNP rs324420 in gene fatty acid amide hydrolase produced higher circulating oleoylethanolamide (OEA) (P=0·0209) and docosahexaenoylethanolamide (DHEA) levels (P=0·0002). In addition, elevated plasma DHEA levels in response to DHA intake tended to be associated with lower plasma OEA levels and an increased gynoid fat mass. In summary, data suggest that the metabolic and physiological responses to dietary FA may be influenced via circulating FAE. Genetic analysis of rs324420 might help identify a sub-population that appears to benefit from increased consumption of DHA and oleic acid.
Major depressive disorder (MDD) is a common and disabling condition with well-established heritability and environmental risk factors. Gene–environment interaction studies in MDD have typically investigated candidate genes, though the disorder is known to be highly polygenic. This study aims to test for interaction between polygenic risk and stressful life events (SLEs) or childhood trauma (CT) in the aetiology of MDD.
The RADIANT UK sample consists of 1605 MDD cases and 1064 controls with SLE data, and a subset of 240 cases and 272 controls with CT data. Polygenic risk scores (PRS) were constructed using results from a mega-analysis on MDD by the Psychiatric Genomics Consortium. PRS and environmental factors were tested for association with case/control status and for interaction between them.
PRS significantly predicted depression, explaining 1.1% of variance in phenotype (p = 1.9 × 10−6). SLEs and CT were also associated with MDD status (p = 2.19 × 10−4 and p = 5.12 × 10−20, respectively). No interactions were found between PRS and SLEs. Significant PRSxCT interactions were found (p = 0.002), but showed an inverse association with MDD status, as cases who experienced more severe CT tended to have a lower PRS than other cases or controls. This relationship between PRS and CT was not observed in independent replication samples.
CT is a strong risk factor for MDD but may have greater effect in individuals with lower genetic liability for the disorder. Including environmental risk along with genetics is important in studying the aetiology of MDD and PRS provide a useful approach to investigating gene–environment interactions in complex traits.
We analyze the dust emission features seen in Spitzer Space Telescope Infrared Spectrograph (IRS) spectra of red supergiant (RSG) and oxygen-rich asymptotic giant branch (AGB) stars in the Large Magellanic Cloud and Small Magellanic Cloud galaxies and in various Milky Way globular clusters. The spectra come from the Spitzer Legacy program SAGE-Spectroscopy (PI: F. Kemper), the Spitzer program SMC-Spec (PI: G. Sloan), and other archival Spitzer-IRS programs. The broad 10 and 20 micron emission features attributed to amorphous dust of silicate composition seen in the spectra show evidence for systematic differences in the centroid of both emission features between O-rich AGB and RSG populations. Radiative transfer modeling using the GRAMS grid of models of AGB and RSG stars suggests that the centroid differences are due to differences in dust properties. We investigate differences in dust composition, size, shape, etc that might be responsible for these spectral differences. We explore how these differences may arise from the different circumstellar environments around RSG and O-rich AGB stars and assess effects of varying metallicity (LMC versus SMC versus Milky Way globular cluster) and other properties (mass-loss rate, luminosity, etc.) on the dust originating from these stars. BAS acknowledges funding from NASA ADAP grant NNX13AD54G.
Human salmonellosis linked to contact with live poultry is an increasing public health concern. In 2012, eight unrelated outbreaks of human salmonellosis linked to live poultry contact resulted in 517 illnesses. In July 2012, PulseNet, a national molecular surveillance network, reported a multistate cluster of a rare strain of Salmonella Braenderup infections which we investigated. We defined a case as infection with the outbreak strain, determined by pulsed-field gel electrophoresis, with illness onset from 25 July 2012–27 February 2013. Ill persons and mail-order hatchery (MOH) owners were interviewed using standardized questionnaires. Traceback and environmental investigations were conducted. We identified 48 cases in 24 states. Twenty-six (81%) of 32 ill persons reported live poultry contact in the week before illness; case-patients named 12 different MOHs from eight states. The investigation identified hatchery D as the ultimate poultry source. Sampling at hatchery D yielded the outbreak strain. Hatchery D improved sanitation procedures and pest control; subsequent sampling failed to yield Salmonella. This outbreak highlights the interconnectedness of humans, animals, and the environment and the importance of industry knowledge and involvement in solving complex outbreaks. Preventing these infections requires a ‘One Health’ approach that leverages expertise in human, animal, and environmental health.
Strategies to dissect phenotypic and genetic heterogeneity of major depressive disorder (MDD) have mainly relied on subphenotypes, such as age at onset (AAO) and recurrence/episodicity. Yet, evidence on whether these subphenotypes are familial or heritable is scarce. The aims of this study are to investigate the familiality of AAO and episode frequency in MDD and to assess the proportion of their variance explained by common single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNP heritability).
For investigating familiality, we used 691 families with 2–5 full siblings with recurrent MDD from the DeNt study. We fitted (square root) AAO and episode count in a linear and a negative binomial mixed model, respectively, with family as random effect and adjusting for sex, age and center. The strength of familiality was assessed with intraclass correlation coefficients (ICC). For estimating SNP heritabilities, we used 3468 unrelated MDD cases from the RADIANT and GSK Munich studies. After similarly adjusting for covariates, derived residuals were used with the GREML method in GCTA (genome-wide complex trait analysis) software.
Significant familial clustering was found for both AAO (ICC = 0.28) and episodicity (ICC = 0.07). We calculated from respective ICC estimates the maximal additive heritability of AAO (0.56) and episodicity (0.15). SNP heritability of AAO was 0.17 (p = 0.04); analysis was underpowered for calculating SNP heritability of episodicity.
AAO and episodicity aggregate in families to a moderate and small degree, respectively. AAO is under stronger additive genetic control than episodicity. Larger samples are needed to calculate the SNP heritability of episodicity. The described statistical framework could be useful in future analyses.
Antarctic and Southern Ocean science is vital to understanding natural variability, the processes that govern global change and the role of humans in the Earth and climate system. The potential for new knowledge to be gained from future Antarctic science is substantial. Therefore, the international Antarctic community came together to ‘scan the horizon’ to identify the highest priority scientific questions that researchers should aspire to answer in the next two decades and beyond. Wide consultation was a fundamental principle for the development of a collective, international view of the most important future directions in Antarctic science. From the many possibilities, the horizon scan identified 80 key scientific questions through structured debate, discussion, revision and voting. Questions were clustered into seven topics: i) Antarctic atmosphere and global connections, ii) Southern Ocean and sea ice in a warming world, iii) ice sheet and sea level, iv) the dynamic Earth, v) life on the precipice, vi) near-Earth space and beyond, and vii) human presence in Antarctica. Answering the questions identified by the horizon scan will require innovative experimental designs, novel applications of technology, invention of next-generation field and laboratory approaches, and expanded observing systems and networks. Unbiased, non-contaminating procedures will be required to retrieve the requisite air, biota, sediment, rock, ice and water samples. Sustained year-round access to Antarctica and the Southern Ocean will be essential to increase winter-time measurements. Improved models are needed that represent Antarctica and the Southern Ocean in the Earth System, and provide predictions at spatial and temporal resolutions useful for decision making. A co-ordinated portfolio of cross-disciplinary science, based on new models of international collaboration, will be essential as no scientist, programme or nation can realize these aspirations alone.
(See the commentary by Pfeiffer and Beldavs, on pages 984–986.)
Describe the epidemiology of carbapenem-resistant Enterobacteriaceae (CRE) and examine the effect of lower carbapenem breakpoints on CRE detection.
Inpatient care at community hospitals.
All patients with CRE-positive cultures were included.
CRE isolated from 25 community hospitals were prospectively entered into a centralized database from January 2008 through December 2012. Microbiology laboratory practices were assessed using questionnaires.
A total of 305 CRE isolates were detected at 16 hospitals (64%). Patients with CRE had symptomatic infection in 180 cases (59%) and asymptomatic colonization in the remainder (125 cases; 41%). Klebsiella pneumoniae (277 isolates; 91%) was the most prevalent species. The majority of cases were healthcare associated (288 cases; 94%). The rate of CRE detection increased more than fivefold from 2008 (0.26 cases per 100,000 patient-days) to 2012 (1.4 cases per 100,000 patient-days; incidence rate ratio (IRR), 5.3 [95% confidence interval (CI), 1.22–22.7]; P = .01). Only 5 hospitals (20%) had adopted the 2010 Clinical and Laboratory Standards Institute (CLSI) carbapenem breakpoints. The 5 hospitals that adopted the lower carbapenem breakpoints were more likely to detect CRE after implementation of breakpoints than before (4.1 vs 0.5 cases per 100,000 patient-days; P < .001; IRR, 8.1 [95% CI, 2.7–24.6]). Hospitals that implemented the lower carbapenem breakpoints were more likely to detect CRE than were hospitals that did not (3.3 vs 1.1 cases per 100,000 patient-days; P = .01).
The rate of CRE detection increased fivefold in community hospitals in the southeastern United States from 2008 to 2012. Despite this, our estimates are likely underestimates of the true rate of CRE detection, given the low adoption of the carbapenem breakpoints recommended in the 2010 CLSI guidelines.