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In recent years, the discovery of massive quasars at
has provided a striking challenge to our understanding of the origin and growth of supermassive black holes in the early Universe. Mounting observational and theoretical evidence indicates the viability of massive seeds, formed by the collapse of supermassive stars, as a progenitor model for such early, massive accreting black holes. Although considerable progress has been made in our theoretical understanding, many questions remain regarding how (and how often) such objects may form, how they live and die, and how next generation observatories may yield new insight into the origin of these primordial titans. This review focusses on our present understanding of this remarkable formation scenario, based on the discussions held at the Monash Prato Centre from November 20 to 24, 2017, during the workshop ‘Titans of the Early Universe: The Origin of the First Supermassive Black Holes’.
Hendra virus (HeV) continues to cause fatal infection in horses and threaten infection in close-contact humans in eastern Australia. Species of Pteropus bats (flying-foxes) are the natural reservoir of the virus. We caught and sampled flying-foxes from a multispecies roost in southeast Queensland, Australia on eight occasions between June 2013 and June 2014. The effects of sample date, species, sex, age class, body condition score (BCS), pregnancy and lactation on HeV antibody prevalence, log-transformed median fluorescent intensity (lnMFI) values and HeV RNA status were assessed using unbalanced generalised linear models. A total of 1968 flying-foxes were sampled, comprising 1012 Pteropus alecto, 742 P. poliocephalus and 214 P. scapulatus. Sample date, species and age class were each statistically associated with HeV RNA status, antibody status and lnMFI values; BCS was statistically associated with HeV RNA status and antibody status. The findings support immunologically naïve sub-adult P. alecto playing an important role in maintaining HeV infection at a population level. The biological significance of the association between BCS and HeV RNA status, and BCS and HeV antibody status, is less clear and warrants further investigation. Contrary to previous studies, we found no direct association between HeV infection and pregnancy or lactation. The findings in P. poliocephalus suggest that HeV exposure in this species may not result in systemic infection and virus excretion, or alternatively, may reflect assay cross-reactivity with another (unidentified) henipavirus.
Surface debris covers much of the western portion of the McMurdo Ice Shelf and has a strong influence on the local surface albedo and energy balance. Differential ablation between debris-covered and debris-free areas creates an unusual heterogeneous surface of topographically low, high-ablation, and topographically raised (‘pedestalled’), low-ablation areas. Analysis of Landsat and MODIS satellite imagery from 1999 to 2018, alongside field observations from the 2016/2017 austral summer, shows that pedestalled relict lakes (‘pedestals’) form when an active surface meltwater lake that develops in the summer, freezes-over in winter, resulting in the lake-bottom debris being masked by a high-albedo, superimposed, ice surface. If this ice surface fails to melt during a subsequent melt season, it experiences reduced surface ablation relative to the surrounding debris-covered areas of the ice shelf. We propose that this differential ablation, and resultant hydrostatic and flexural readjustments of the ice shelf, causes the former supraglacial lake surface to become increasingly pedestalled above the lower topography of the surrounding ice shelf. Consequently, meltwater streams cannot flow onto these pedestalled features, and instead divert around them. We suggest that the development of pedestals has a significant influence on the surface-energy balance, hydrology and flexure of the ice shelf.
The use of CaF2 (Dy) thermoluminescent dosimeters to diagnose the X-radiation from 1.06 μ laser-produced plasmas is described. The TLD's have been used in various cassettes to measure total X-ray yield and the X-ray continuum out to ∼100 kev. Described are experiments pertaining to maintenance and recovery of TLD soft X-ray response, their linearity, insensitivity to 1.06 μ laser light, and energy calibration. Also, described are the TLD attenuation experiments in the “soft” and “hard” components of the laser plasma X-ray spectrum.
Medical procedures and patient care activities may facilitate environmental dissemination of healthcare-associated pathogens such as methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA).
Observational cohort study of MRSA-colonized patients to determine the frequency of and risk factors for environmental shedding of MRSA during procedures and care activities in carriers with positive nares and/or wound cultures. Bivariate analyses were performed to identify factors associated with environmental shedding.
A Veterans Affairs hospital.
This study included 75 patients in contact precautions for MRSA colonization or infection.
Of 75 patients in contact precautions for MRSA, 55 (73%) had MRSA in nares and/or wounds and 25 (33%) had positive skin cultures. For the 52 patients with MRSA in nares and/or wounds and at least 1 observed procedure, environmental shedding of MRSA occurred more frequently during procedures and care activities than in the absence of a procedure (59 of 138, 43% vs 8 of 83, 10%; P < .001). During procedures, increased shedding occurred ≤0.9 m versus >0.9 m from the patient (52 of 138, 38% vs 25 of 138, 18%; P = .0004). Contamination occurred frequently on surfaces touched by personnel (12 of 38, 32%) and on portable equipment used for procedures (25 of 101, 25%). By bivariate analysis, the presence of a wound with MRSA was associated with shedding (17 of 29, 59% versus 6 of 23, 26%; P = .04).
Environmental shedding of MRSA occurs frequently during medical procedures and patient care activities. There is a need for effective strategies to disinfect surfaces and equipment after procedures.
To examine the ways in which sugar-containing beverages are being portrayed as ‘better-for-you’ (BFY) via features on product labels.
Cross-sectional audit of beverage labels.
Adelaide, Australia. Data on beverage labels were collected from seventeen grocery stores during September to November 2016.
The content of 945 sugar-containing beverages labels were analysed for explicit and implicit features positioning them as healthy or BFY.
The mean sugar content of beverages was high at 8·3 g/100 ml and most sugar-containing beverages (87·7 %) displayed features that position them as BFY. This was most commonly achieved by indicating the beverages are natural (76·8 %), or contain reduced or natural energy/sugar content (48·4 %), or through suggesting that they contribute to meeting bodily needs for nutrition (28·9 %) or health (15·1 %). Features positioning beverages as BFY were more common among certain categories of beverages, namely coconut waters, iced teas, sports drinks and juices.
A large proportion of sugar-containing beverages use features on labels that position them as healthy or BFY despite containing high amounts of sugar.
The optimal approach to unifocalisation in pulmonary atresia with ventricular septal defect and major aortopulmonary collateral arteries (pulmonary artery/ventricular septal defect/major aortopulmonary collaterals) remains controversial. Moreover, the impact of collateral vessel disease burden on surgical decision-making and late outcomes remains poorly defined. We investigated our centre’s experience in the surgical management of pulmonary artery/ventricular septal defect/major aortopulmonary collaterals.
Materials and methods
Between 1996 and 2015, 84 consecutive patients with pulmonary artery/ventricular septal defect/major aortopulmonary collaterals underwent unifocalisation. In all, 41 patients received single-stage unifocalisation (Group 1) and 43 patients underwent multi-stage repair (Group 2). Preoperative collateral vessel anatomy, branch pulmonary artery reinterventions, ventricular septal defect status, and late right ventricle/left ventricle pressure ratio were evaluated.
Median follow-up was 4.8 compared with 5.7 years for Groups 1 and 2, respectively, p = 0.65. Median number of major aortopulmonary collaterals/patient was 3, ranging from 1 to 8, in Group 1 compared with 4, ranging from 1 to 8, in Group 2, p = 0.09. Group 2 had a higher number of lobar/segmental stenoses within collateral vessels (p = 0.02). Group 1 had fewer catheter-based branch pulmonary artery reinterventions, with 5 (inter-quartile range from 1 to 7) per patient, compared with 9 (inter-quartile range from 4 to 14) in Group 2, p = 0.009. Among patients who achieved ventricular septal defect closure, median right ventricle/left ventricle pressure was 0.48 in Group 1 compared with 0.78 in Group 2, p = 0.03. Overall mortality was 6 (17%) in Group 1 compared with 9 (21%) in Group 2.
Single-stage unifocalisation is a promising repair strategy in select patients, achieving low rates of reintervention for branch pulmonary artery restenosis and excellent mid-term haemodynamic outcomes. However, specific anatomic substrates of pulmonary artery/ventricular septal defect/major aortopulmonary collaterals may be better suited to multi-stage repair. Preoperative evaluation of collateral vessel calibre and function may help inform more patient-specific surgical management.
Escherichia coli O157:H7 is the largest cause of hemolytic uremic syndrome (HUS). Previous studies proposed that HUS risk varies across the E. coli O157:H7 phylogenetic tree (hypervirulent clade 8), but the role of age in the association is unknown. We determined phylogenetic lineage of E. coli O157:H7 isolates from 1160 culture-confirmed E. coli O157:H7 cases reported in Washington State, 2004–2015. Using generalised estimating equations, we tested the association between phylogenetic lineage and HUS. Age was evaluated as an effect modifier. Among 1082 E. coli O157:H7 cases with both phylogenetic lineage and HUS status (HUS n = 76), stratified analysis suggested effect modification by age. Lineages IIa and IIb, relative to Ib, did not appear associated with HUS in children 0–9-years-old. For cases 10–59-years-old, lineages IIa and IIb appeared to confer increased risk of HUS, relative to lineage Ib. The association reversed in ⩾60-year-olds. Results were similar for clade 8. Phylogenetic lineage appears to be associated with HUS risk only among those ⩾10-years-old. Among children <10, the age group most frequently affected, lineage does not explain progression to HUS. However, lineage frequency varied across age groups, suggesting differences in exposure and/or early disease manifestation.
To test the hypothesis that long-term care facility (LTCF) residents with Clostridium difficile infection (CDI) or asymptomatic carriage of toxigenic strains are an important source of transmission in the LTCF and in the hospital during acute-care admissions.
A 6-month cohort study with identification of transmission events was conducted based on tracking of patient movement combined with restriction endonuclease analysis (REA) and whole-genome sequencing (WGS).
Veterans Affairs hospital and affiliated LTCF.
The study included 29 LTCF residents identified as asymptomatic carriers of toxigenic C. difficile based on every other week perirectal screening and 37 healthcare facility-associated CDI cases (ie, diagnosis >3 days after admission or within 4 weeks of discharge to the community), including 26 hospital-associated and 11 LTCF-associated cases.
Of the 37 CDI cases, 7 (18·9%) were linked to LTCF residents with LTCF-associated CDI or asymptomatic carriage, including 3 of 26 hospital-associated CDI cases (11·5%) and 4 of 11 LTCF-associated cases (36·4%). Of the 7 transmissions linked to LTCF residents, 5 (71·4%) were linked to asymptomatic carriers versus 2 (28·6%) to CDI cases, and all involved transmission of epidemic BI/NAP1/027 strains. No incident hospital-associated CDI cases were linked to other hospital-associated CDI cases.
Our findings suggest that LTCF residents with asymptomatic carriage of C. difficile or CDI contribute to transmission both in the LTCF and in the affiliated hospital during acute-care admissions. Greater emphasis on infection control measures and antimicrobial stewardship in LTCFs is needed, and these efforts should focus on LTCF residents during hospital admissions.
Rib bone biopsy samples are often used to estimate changes in skeletal mineral reserves in cattle but differences in sampling procedures and the bone measurements reported often make interpretation and comparisons among experiments difficult. ‘Full-core’ rib bone biopsy samples, which included the external cortical bone, internal cortical bone and trabecular bone (CBext, CBint and Trab, respectively), were obtained from cattle known to be in phosphorus (P) adequate (Padeq) or severely P-deficient (Pdefic) status. Experiments 1 and 2 examined growing steers and Experiment 3 mature breeder cows. The thickness of cortical bone, specific gravity (SG), and the amount and concentration of ash and P per unit fresh bone volume, differed among CBext, CBint and Trab bone. P concentration (mg/cc) was closely correlated with both SG and ash concentrations (pooled data, r=0.99). Thickness of external cortical bone (CBText) was correlated with full-core P concentration (FC-Pconc) (pooled data, r=0.87). However, an index, the amount of P in CBext per unit surface area of CBext (PSACB; mg P/mm2), was more closely correlated with the FC-Pconc (pooled data, FC-Pconc=37.0+146×PSACB; n=42, r=0.94, RSD=7.7). Results for measured or estimated FC-Pconc in 10 published studies with cattle in various physiological states and expected to be Padeq or in various degrees of Pdefic status were collated and the ranges of FC-Pconc indicative of P adequacy and P deficiency for various classes of cattle were evaluated. FC-Pconc was generally in the range 130 to 170 and 100 to 120 mg/cc fresh bone in Padeq mature cows and young growing cattle, respectively. In conclusion, the FC-Pconc could be estimated accurately from biopsy samples of CBext. This allows comparisons between studies where full-core or only CBext biopsy samples of rib bone have been obtained to estimate changes in the skeletal P status of cattle and facilitates evaluation of the P status of cattle.
Coinfection with human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) and viral hepatitis is associated with high morbidity and mortality in the absence of clinical management, making identification of these cases crucial. We examined characteristics of HIV and viral hepatitis coinfections by using surveillance data from 15 US states and two cities. Each jurisdiction used an automated deterministic matching method to link surveillance data for persons with reported acute and chronic hepatitis B virus (HBV) or hepatitis C virus (HCV) infections, to persons reported with HIV infection. Of the 504 398 persons living with diagnosed HIV infection at the end of 2014, 2.0% were coinfected with HBV and 6.7% were coinfected with HCV. Of the 269 884 persons ever reported with HBV, 5.2% were reported with HIV. Of the 1 093 050 persons ever reported with HCV, 4.3% were reported with HIV. A greater proportion of persons coinfected with HIV and HBV were males and blacks/African Americans, compared with those with HIV monoinfection. Persons who inject drugs represented a greater proportion of those coinfected with HIV and HCV, compared with those with HIV monoinfection. Matching HIV and viral hepatitis surveillance data highlights epidemiological characteristics of persons coinfected and can be used to routinely monitor health status and guide state and national public health interventions.
Cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT) has been shown to be an effective treatment for anxiety disorders in children. However, the majority of studies conducted to date have included heterogeneous samples of children combining social anxiety disorder, generalized anxiety disorder and separation anxiety disorder (SAD) together. Few studies have examined the efficacy of CBT to specifically treat SAD. Moreover, research on the impact of CBT for SAD in children younger than 7 years old has been very limited. To address these issues, we examined the effects of a CBT parent training programme with six children with SAD aged between 4 and 7 years using a non-concurrent multiple baseline design. Parents completed semi-structured interviews, questionnaires and daily diaries to assess their child's anxiety symptoms, parental practices and parental stress. Results indicated that five of six children no longer met the criteria for SAD diagnosis after treatment and at 3-month follow-up. Moreover, the daily diaries showed that four of six children presented a systematic favourable change of the total weekly frequency of SAD symptoms. Finally, four mothers reported a decrease in overprotection, but we observed no changes in parental stress.
Sugarcane is an important forage resource in sub-tropical and tropical areas as it is used during the winter or dry season when the growth rate of pastures is significantly reduced. The current research study assessed the effect of four vertical sections of sugarcane in a pen trial and the level of sugarcane utilization in a grazing trial on the ingestive behaviour and forage intake of two age groups of steers (1 and 2 years old). The pen trial was comprised of two simultaneous 4 × 4 balanced Latin square designs (one for each age group of animals) of four periods, four animals and four feeding treatments, which consisted of four equal vertical sections of sugarcane. Dry matter (DM) and digestible DM (DDM) intake per kilogram of metabolic weight declined gradually from top to bottom of the sugarcane, with no significant differences between the age groups of steers. This difference in intake was associated with a decline in intake of neutral detergent fibre (NDF) as a proportion of the liveweight of the animal and an increase of total chewing time per kilogram of DM or NDF from top to bottom of the sugarcane. It was concluded that the toughness of plant material played a significant role regulating intake, which was higher for the top sections of sugarcane. In the grazing trial, steers of both age groups grazed down sugarcane in three plots over 9 days. Steers grazed up to four distinctive grazing strata. Digestible DM intake (DDM intake) was high at low levels of horizontal utilization of the top grazing stratum but DDM intake started to decline sharply when this stratum was removed in 0·92 of paddock area (i.e. equivalent to 0·08 of the pasture area remaining un-grazed). It was concluded that the proportion of un-grazed area of the pasture can be used as a grazing management strategy to control forage intake for sugarcane.
The paper analyzes the issues relating to the applicability of innovative material systems for flexible composite armors. The authors made several samplings of aramid fibers (Kevlar 49) by replacing the epoxy resin base, which is often described in the literature, with the thermoplastic matrix - polyethylene (HDPE) and polypropylene (PP). The samples were fired with .38 Special Full Metal Jacketed (FMJ) ammunition produced by the S&B Company, and then the process of firing was modeled in the ABAQUS program. The advantages and disadvantages of the new material system including the possibility of its use in the construction of hybrid composite armors have been presented on the basis of the results of numerical analyses and ballistic tests.
Introduction of biofortified cassava as school lunch can increase vitamin A intake, but may increase risk of other deficiencies due to poor nutrient profile of cassava. We assessed the potential effect of introducing a yellow cassava-based school lunch combined with additional food-based recommendations (FBR) on vitamin A and overall nutrient adequacy using Optifood (linear programming tool).
Cross-sectional study to assess dietary intakes (24 h recall) and derive model parameters (list of foods consumed, median serving sizes, food and food (sub)group frequency distributions, food cost). Three scenarios were modelled, namely daily diet including: (i) no school lunch; (ii) standard 5d school lunch with maize/beans; and (iii) 5d school lunch with yellow cassava. Each scenario and scenario 3 with additional FBR were assessed on overall nutrient adequacy using recommended nutrient intakes (RNI).
Primary-school children (n 150) aged 7–9 years.
Best food pattern of yellow cassava-based lunch scenario achieved 100 % RNI for six nutrients compared with no lunch (three nutrients) or standard lunch (five nutrients) scenario. FBR with yellow cassava and including small dried fish improved nutrient adequacy, but could not ensure adequate intake of fat (52 % of average requirement), riboflavin (50 % RNI), folate (59 % RNI) and vitamin A (49 % RNI).
Introduction of yellow cassava-based school lunch complemented with FBR potentially improved vitamin A adequacy, but alternative interventions are needed to ensure dietary adequacy. Optifood is useful to assess potential contribution of a biofortified crop to nutrient adequacy and to develop additional FBR to address remaining nutrient gaps.
A numerical model of the ice-sheet/ice-shelf transition was used to investigate ice-sheet dynamics across the large subglacial lake beneath Vostok station, central East Antarctica. European Remote-sensing Satellite (ERS-1) altimetry of the ice surface and 60 MHz radio-echo sounding (RES) of the ice-sheet base and internal ice-sheet layering were used to develop a conceptual flowline across the ice sheet, which the model used as input. The model calculates horizontal and vertical velocities and stresses, from which particle flow paths can be obtained, and the ice-sheet temperature distribution. An inverse approach to modelling was adopted, where particle flow paths were forced to match those identified from internal RES layering. Results show that ice dynamics across the inflow grounding line are similar to an ice-sheet/ice-shelf transition. Model particle flow paths match internal RES layering when ice is (a) taken away from the ice base across the first 2 km of the flowline over the lake and (b) added to the base across the remainder of the lake. We contend that the process causing this transfer of ice is likely to be melting of ice and freezing of water at the ice–water interface. Other explanations, such as enhanced rates of accumulation over the grounding line, or three-dimensional convergent/divergent flow of ice are inconsistent with available measurements. Such melting and refreezing would be responsible for circulation and mixing of at least the surface layers of the lake water. Our model suggests that several tens of metres of refrozen “basal ice” would accrete from lake water to the ice sheet before the ice regrounds.