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Trypanosomes are blood-borne parasites that can infect a variety of different vertebrates, including animals and humans. This study aims to broaden scientific knowledge about the presence and biodiversity of trypanosomes in Australian bats. Molecular and morphological analysis was performed on 86 blood samples collected from seven different species of microbats in Western Australia. Phylogenetic analysis on 18S rDNA and glycosomal glyceraldehyde phosphate dehydrogenase (gGAPDH) sequences identified Trypanosoma dionisii in five different Australian native species of microbats; Chalinolobus gouldii, Chalinolobus morio, Nyctophilus geoffroyi, Nyctophilus major and Scotorepens balstoni. In addition, two novels, genetically distinct T. dionisii genotypes were detected and named T. dionisii genotype Aus 1 and T. dionisii genotype Aus 2. Genotype Aus 2 was the most prevalent and infected 20.9% (18/86) of bats in the present study, while genotype Aus 1 was less prevalent and was identified in 5.8% (5/86) of Australian bats. Morphological analysis was conducted on trypomastigotes identified in blood films, with morphological parameters consistent with trypanosome species in the subgenus Schizotrypanum. This is the first report of T. dionisii in Australia and in Australian native bats, which further contributes to the global distribution of this cosmopolitan bat trypanosome.
Replicated evidence indicates that children with attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) show disproportionate increases in hyperactivity/physical movement when their underdeveloped executive functions are taxed. However, our understanding of hyperactivity’s relation with set shifting is limited, which is surprising given set shifting’s importance as the third core executive function alongside working memory and inhibition. The aim of this study was to experimentally examine the effect of imposing set shifting and inhibition demands on objectively measured activity level in children with and without ADHD.
The current study used a validated experimental manipulation to differentially evoke set shifting, inhibition, and general cognitive demands in a carefully phenotyped sample of children aged 8–13 years with ADHD (n = 43) and without ADHD (n = 34). Activity level was sampled during each task using multiple, high-precision actigraphs; total hyperactivity scores (THS) were calculated.
Results of the 2 × 5 Bayesian ANOVA for hyperactivity revealed strong support for a main effect of task (BF10 = 1.79 × 1018, p < .001, ω2 = .20), such that children upregulated their physical movement in response to general cognitive demands and set shifting demands specifically, but not in response to increased inhibition demands. Importantly, however, this manipulation did not disproportionally increase hyperactivity in ADHD as demonstrated by significant evidence against the task × group interaction (BF01 = 18.21, p = .48, ω2 = .002).
Inhibition demands do not cause children to upregulate their physical activity. Set shifting produces reliable increases in children’s physical movement/hyperactivity over and above the effects of general cognitive demands but cannot specifically explain hyperactivity in children with ADHD.
Evidence from observational studies indicates that seaweed consumption may reduce the risk of non-communicable diseases such as cardiovascular disease, type two diabetes, and obesity. Accumulating evidence from in vitro and animal studies suggest seaweed have antihyperlipidemic, anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties which may in part be attributed to the high content of soluble dietary fibre in seaweeds. The viscosity of seaweed fibres is suggested to mediate antihyperlipdiemic effects via the alteration of lipid/bile acid absorption kinetics to decrease low-density lipoprotein cholesterol (LDL). Thus, there is a need to evaluate the efficacy of seaweed derived dietary fibre in the management of dyslipidemia. Therefore, the aim of this study was to determine the effect of a fibre rich extract from Palmaria palmata on the lipid profile as well as markers of inflammation and oxidative stress in healthy adults. A total of 60 healthy participants (30 male and 30 female) aged 20 to 58 years, were assigned to consume the Palmaria palmata fibre extract (5g/day), Synergy-1 and the placebo (maltodextrin) for a duration of 4 weeks with a minimum 4 week washout between each treatment in a double blind, randomised crossover study conducted over 5 months. Fasting concentrations of cholesterol, triglycerides and high-density lipoprotein cholesterol (HDL) were analysed and low-density lipoprotein cholesterol (LDL) and LDL: HDL ratio was calculated. C-reactive protein (CRP) and Ferric Reducing Ability of Plasma (FRAP) were analysed as markers of inflammation and oxidative stress, respectively. Supplementation for 4 weeks with Palmaria palmata resulted in favourable changes to lipid profiles with a reduced LDL:HDL ratio; however intention-to-treat univariate ANCOVA identified no significant difference between the treatment groups over time on any of the lipid profile markers. A non-significant increase in CRP and triglyceride concentration along with lower FRAP was also observed with Palmaria palmata supplementation. Evidence from this study suggests that Palmaria palmata may have effects on lipid metabolism and appears to mobilise triglycerides. More research is needed in individuals with dyslipidaemia to fully elucidate these effects.
Periconceptional folic acid (FA) has an established role in the prevention of neural tube defects (NTDs), leading to global recommendations for FA supplementation before and in early pregnancy. However, it is unclear whether there are any benefits for offspring brain health arising from continued maternal FA supplementation beyond the first trimester. The aim of this study was to investigate the role of maternal folate nutrition during pregnancy in relation to cognitive performance and brain function in the offspring at 11 years. The children of mothers who had participated in a randomised trial of Folic Acid Supplementation in the Second and Third Trimesters (FASSTT) were investigated, providing a unique opportunity to examine offspring brain health in relation to maternal folate (the FASSTT Offspring trial; n = 68). Cognitive performance was assessed using the Wechsler Intelligence Scale for Children, Fourth UK Edition (WISC-IV). The WISC-IV measures Full Scale IQ and specific domains of cognitive performance: Verbal Comprehension, Perceptual Reasoning, Working Memory and Processing Speed. Brain function was measured using magnetoencephalography (MEG) in a subset of the child participants (n = 33). The results showed no significant difference in Full Scale IQ between the children of mothers who had received folic acid versus placebo during pregnancy (P = 0.993). Processing Speed subtest scores were however significantly higher in the folic acid group compared with placebo (Symbol Search: P = 0.046 and Cancellation: P = 0.011). The application of MEG analysis showed that at rest, there were differences in brain functioning with significantly lower overall power at Broad band [1–48Hz] (P = 0.041) and a trend (not significant) towards lower power in all other frequency bands (Theta, Mu, Beta, Low Gamma and High Gamma) in children from the FA group compared with placebo. Results for the responses to the language task (congruent and incongruent sentences) in children from the FA group showed significantly lower power within the Theta band [4–8Hz] and significantly higher power within high frequency bands i.e. Beta [13–30 Hz] and High Gamma [49–70 Hz]. This suggested more efficient language processing abilities in these children compared to children of mothers in the placebo group. The findings provide scientific evidence that continuing FA supplementation beyond the periconceptional period that is protective against NTDs, may be beneficial for brain health in the offspring. Furthermore, this study demonstrates that MEG is a useful tool for objective assessment of functional brain activity in healthy children in response to nutrition intervention.
Sleep disturbance is a symptom of and a well-known risk factor for depression. Further, atypical functioning of the HPA axis has been linked to the pathogenesis of depression. The purpose of this study was to examine the role of adolescent HPA axis functioning in the link between adolescent sleep problems and later depressive symptoms. Methods: A sample of 157 17–18 year old adolescents (61.8% female) completed the Pittsburgh Sleep Quality Inventory (PSQI) and provided salivary cortisol samples throughout the day for three consecutive days. Two years later, adolescents reported their depressive symptoms via the Center for Epidemiological Studies Depression Scale (CES-D). Results: Individuals (age 17–18) with greater sleep disturbance reported greater depressive symptoms two years later (age 19–20). This association occurred through the indirect effect of sleep disturbance on the cortisol awakening response (CAR) (indirect effect = 0.14, 95%CI [.02 -.39]). Conclusions: One pathway through which sleep problems may lead to depressive symptoms is by up-regulating components of the body’s physiological stress response system that can be measured through the cortisol awakening response. Behavioral interventions that target sleep disturbance in adolescents may mitigate this neurobiological pathway to depression during this high-risk developmental phase.
A national need is to prepare for and respond to accidental or intentional disasters categorized as chemical, biological, radiological, nuclear, or explosive (CBRNE). These incidents require specific subject-matter expertise, yet have commonalities. We identify 7 core elements comprising CBRNE science that require integration for effective preparedness planning and public health and medical response and recovery. These core elements are (1) basic and clinical sciences, (2) modeling and systems management, (3) planning, (4) response and incident management, (5) recovery and resilience, (6) lessons learned, and (7) continuous improvement. A key feature is the ability of relevant subject matter experts to integrate information into response operations. We propose the CBRNE medical operations science support expert as a professional who (1) understands that CBRNE incidents require an integrated systems approach, (2) understands the key functions and contributions of CBRNE science practitioners, (3) helps direct strategic and tactical CBRNE planning and responses through first-hand experience, and (4) provides advice to senior decision-makers managing response activities. Recognition of both CBRNE science as a distinct competency and the establishment of the CBRNE medical operations science support expert informs the public of the enormous progress made, broadcasts opportunities for new talent, and enhances the sophistication and analytic expertise of senior managers planning for and responding to CBRNE incidents.
Implementation of a novel experimental approach using a bright source of narrowband x-ray emission has enabled the production of a photoionized argon plasma of relevance to astrophysical modelling codes such as Cloudy. We present results showing that the photoionization parameter ζ = 4πF/ne generated using the VULCAN laser was ≈ 50 erg cm s−1, higher than those obtained previously with more powerful facilities. Comparison of our argon emission-line spectra in the 4.15 - 4.25 Å range at varying initial gas pressures with predictions from the Cloudy code and a simple time-dependent code are also presented. Finally we briefly discuss how this proof-of-principle experiment may be scaled to larger facilities such as ORION to produce the closest laboratory analogue to a photoionized plasma.
Psychosocial stress during childhood and adolescence is associated with alterations in the hypothalamic–pituitary–adrenal (HPA) axis and with heightened inflammation, both of which are implicated in poor health; however, factors that may protect against these effects relatively early in life are not well understood. Thus, we examined whether psychosocial resources protect against stress-related alterations in the HPA axis and heightened inflammation in a sample of 91 late adolescents. Participants completed measures of various stressors (major life events, daily interpersonal stress, early adversity), and psychosocial resources (mastery, optimism, self-esteem, and positive reappraisal). They also completed the Trier Social Stress Test and provided saliva and blood samples for the assessment of cortisol and interleukin-6 reactivity. Each of the stressors was associated with lower cortisol reactivity. Additionally, associations with major life events and daily stress were moderated by psychological resources, such that more life events and daily stress were associated with decreased HPA reactivity among adolescents with lower levels of psychological resources, but not among those with higher levels of psychological resources. This pattern of findings was observed only for cortisol reactivity and not for interleukin-6 reactivity. Findings suggest that psychological resources may counteract the effects of certain adversity-related decreases in cortisol reactivity.
The term ‘mood stabiliser’ is ill-defined and lacks clinical utility. We propose a framework to evaluate medications and effectively communicate their mood stabilising properties – their acute and prophylactic efficacy across the domains of mania and depression. The standardised framework provides a common definition to facilitate research and clinical practice.
Declaration of interest
The Treatment Algorithm Group (TAG) was supported logistically by Servier who provided financial assistance with travel and accommodation for those TAG members travelling interstate or overseas to attend the meeting in Sydney (held on 18 November 2017). None of the committee were paid to participate in this project and Servier have not had any input into the content, format or outputs from this project.
Background: Neuropsychological assessments are used in hospitals to examine brain-behaviour relationships, and are an integral part of care for medically complex patients. Unfortunately, waitlists can be lengthy. We gathered information regarding best-practice guidelines and physician referral patterns in an effort to better manage the neuropsychology waitlist at a pediatric hospital. Methods: We conducted: 1) A semi-structured telephone survey with 4 Canadian, pediatric, hospital-based neuropsychology services; 2) An electronic survey distributed to referring physicians at CHEO; 3) A focus group for CHEO neurologists and neurosurgeons. Results: The telephone survey indicated that there are no clear, best-practice guidelines for pediatric neuropsychologists working in a tertiary, pediatric hospital. The electronic survey revealed some confusion about neuropsychology services and indicated the need for better communication between neuropsychology and referral sources. The focus group revealed that demand for neuropsychology services far outstrips supply and confirmed the need for better communication. Conclusions: The results confirmed the need for best-practice guidelines to be developed around delivering neuropsychology services within a pediatric tertiary care setting, as well as continuing to work closely with neurology and neurosurgery to ensure that the neuropsychological needs of their patients are met.
Factors associated with relapse among children who are discharged after reaching a threshold denoted ‘recovered’ from moderate acute malnutrition (MAM) are not well understood. The aim of this study was to identify factors associated with sustained recovery, defined as maintaining a mid-upper-arm circumference≥12·5 cm for 1 year after release from treatment. On the basis of an observational study design, we analysed data from an in-depth household (HH) survey on a sub-sample of participants within a larger cluster randomised controlled trial (cRCT) that followed up children for 1 year after recovery from MAM. Out of 1497 children participating in the cRCT, a subset of 315 children participated in this sub-study. Accounting for other factors, HH with fitted lids on water storage containers (P=0·004) was a significant predictor of sustained recovery. In addition, sustained recovery was better among children whose caregivers were observed to have clean hands (P=0·053) and in HH using an improved sanitation facility (P=0·083). By contrast, socio-economic status and infant and young child feeding practices at the time of discharge and HH food security throughout the follow-up period were not significant. Given these results, we hypothesise that improved water, sanitation and hygiene conditions in tandem with management of MAM through supplemental feeding programmes have the possibility to decrease relapse following recovery from MAM. Furthermore, the absence of associations between relapse and nearly all HH-level factors indicates that the causal factors of relapse may be related mostly to the child’s individual, underlying health and nutrition status.
The aim of this analysis was to test if changes in insomnia symptoms and global sleep quality are associated with coinciding changes in depressed mood among older adults. We report on results yielded from secondary analysis of longitudinal data from a clinical trial of older adults (N = 49) aged 55 to 80 years who reported at least moderate levels of sleep problems. All measures were collected at baseline and after the trial ten weeks later. We computed change scores for two separate measures of disturbed sleep, the Athens Insomnia Scale (AIS) and the Pittsburgh Sleep Quality Index (PSQI), and tested their association with change in depressed mood (Beck Depression Inventory-II; BDI-II) in two separate linear regression models adjusted for biological covariates related to sleep (sex, age, body mass index, and NF-κB as a biological marker previously correlated with insomnia and depression). Change in AIS scores was associated with change in BDI-II scores (β = 0.38, p < 0.01). Change in PSQI scores was not significantly associated with change in BDI-II scores (β = 0.17, p = 0.26). Our findings suggest that improvements over ten weeks in insomnia symptoms rather than global sleep quality coincide with improvement in depressed mood among older adults.
Results are presented from our ongoing studies of Titan using ALMA during the period 2012-2015, including a confirmation of the previous detection of vinyl cyanide (C2H3CN), as well as the first spatial map for this species on Titan. Simultaneous mapping of HC3N, CH3CN and C2H5CN reveal characteristic abundance patterns for each species that provide insight into their individual photochemical lifetimes, and help inform our understanding of Titan’s unique, time-variable atmospheric chemistry and global circulation. A time-sequence of HC3N maps covering 38 months reveals a dramatic change in the distribution of this gas consistent with high-altitude photochemical production followed by advection towards the southern (winter) pole, combined with rapid loss in the north after Titan’s 2009 seasonal equinox. The 2015 C2H3CN and C2H5CN maps show abundance peaks in Titan’s southern hemisphere, similar to those observed for the short-lived HC3N molecule. The longer-lived CH3CN, on the other hand, remains more concentrated in the north.
Recent media reports have focused on the large increase in antidepressants dispensed in England. We investigated this, focusing on selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs).
To examine the rate of initiation of SSRIs over time and changes over time in the duration of prescribing episodes.
We estimated initiation and duration of SSRI prescribing from 7 025 802 individuals aged over 18 years and registered with a general practice that contributed data to The Health Improvement Network.
Rates of SSRI initiation increased from 1.03 per 100 person-years in 1995 to 2.15 in 2001, but remained stable from then to 2012. The median duration of prescribing episodes increased from 112 to 169 days for episodes starting in 1995 to 2010.
Despite media reports describing an increasing rate of antidepressant prescribing, SSRI initiation rates have stabilised since 2001. However, our results suggest that individuals who take SSRIs are receiving treatment for longer.
Background: Post concussion syndrome (PCS) can affect up to 30% of patients with concussion. Biomarkers of this condition would be beneficial for diagnosis and management. We hypothesized that eye tracking parameters would correlate with microstructural changes of white matter integrity, as measured by diffusion tensor imaging (DTI), in patients with PCS. Methods: Sixty patients with PCS and at least 2 concussions participated in our prospective study. Attention and executive function were tested using Visual Attention Scanning Technology (VAST). In a matching task, the normalized number of visits to master image before making the first selection is used as a surrogate of working memory. We related performance on VAST to white matter integrity using Tract-Based Spatial Statistics of diffusion tensor imaging data. Results: 60 participants (mean age 34.3 years, SD 13.8) had a mean of 4 concussions. There were negative correlations between fractional anisotropy (FA) of the genu, body, and splenium of the corpus callosum and normalized number of visits to master image before first selection (r=-0.432, p=0.001; r=-0.504, p<0.001; and r=-0.388, p=0.002; respectively). A negative correlation was also seen between right cingulum FA and the global processing index (r=-0.349, p=0.006). Conclusions: Impaired performance on eye tracking measures of attention and executive function may reflect alterations in white matter tracts.
Background: The ketogenic diet (KD) is used to treat severe childhood-onset epileptic encephalopathies, such as Infantile Spasms (IS). Unfortunately, limited resources for KD initiation result in treatment delays. We ask if earlier KD treatment of early-onset drug-resistant epilepsy results in better seizure outcomes. Methods: Children who started KD before age 4 years between 2000-present at SickKids Hospital were identified. Six-month seizure outcome was calculated as percent of pre-diet baseline seizure frequency (BSF). Results: 67 children were identified. 30 (44.8%) started KD <2 years old, 37 (55.2%) started KD 2-4 years old. Among <2 years old group, 83.3% achieved 50% reduction in BSF and 36.7% achieved 90% reduction. Among 2-4 year old group, 62.2% achieved 50% reduction in BSF and 24.3% achieved 90% reduction. 38 children had a history of IS; 17 with IS at diet initiation and 21 with past history of IS. 41.2% of the spasms cohort achieved 90% reduction in BSF, compared to 23.8% of the post-spasms cohort. Conclusions: KD was more effective when started before age 2 years than 2-4 years, and more effective in children with IS than in children with past history of IS. A rapid protocol for KD initiation in young infants and children may improve long-term outcomes
The multi-object spectroscopic facility FOCAP at the Anglo-Australian Telescope has been used to obtain spectra centred at the Ca II IR triplet of 14 stars in the field of the Sextans dwarf spheroidal (dSph) galaxy. This satellite of our own Galaxy was recently discovered by Irwin et al. (1990) from APM measures of UK Schmidt Telescope photographic plates.
The first QSO with a redshift z > 4 was found using a combination of UK Schmidt Telescope (UKST) plates and the APM automatic plate measuring machine (Warren et al. 1987a). By continuing to make use of UKST survey plates plus the APM facility we have added substantially to the number of known QSOs with z > 4. A brief description of the general survey technique is presented together with a preliminary discussion of some of the results obtained so far.
We present the results from the state-of-the-art wide-field survey of the M81 galaxy group that we are conducting with Hyper Suprime-Cam on Subaru Telescope. Our photometry reaches about 2 mag below the tip of the red giant branch (RGB) and reveals the spatial distribution of both old and young stars over an area of 5°2 around the M81. The young main-sequence (MS) stars closely follow the HI distribution and can be found in a stellar stream between M81 and NGC 3077 and in numerous outlying stellar associations. Our survey also reveals for the first time the very extended (>2 × R25) halos of RGB stars around M81, M82, and NGC 3077, as well as faint tidal streams that link these systems. The gravitational interactions between M81, M82 and NGC 3077 galaxies induced star formation in tidally stripped gas, and also significantly perturbed the older stellar components leading to disturbed halo morphologies.
Trypanosomes and Leishmania are vector-borne parasites associated with high morbidity and mortality. Trypanosoma lewisi, putatively introduced with black rats and fleas, has been implicated in the extinction of two native rodents on Christmas Island (CI) and native trypanosomes are hypothesized to have caused decline in Australian marsupial populations on the mainland. This study investigated the distribution and prevalence of Trypanosoma spp. and Leishmania spp. in two introduced pests (cats and black rats) for three Australian locations. Molecular screening (PCR) on spleen tissue was performed on cats from CI (n = 35), Dirk Hartog Island (DHI; n = 23) and southwest Western Australia (swWA) (n = 58), and black rats from CI only (n = 46). Despite the continued presence of the intermediate and mechanical hosts of T. lewisi, there was no evidence of trypanosome or Leishmania infection in cats or rats from CI. Trypanosomes were not identified in cats from DHI or swWA. These findings suggest T. lewisi is no longer present on CI and endemic Trypanosoma spp. do not infect cats or rats in these locations.