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We provide an update on diagnostic methods for the detection of urogenital schistosomiasis (UGS) in men and highlight that satisfactory urine-antigen diagnostics for UGS lag much behind that for intestinal schistosomiasis, where application of a urine-based point-of-care strip assay, the circulating cathodic antigen (CCA) test, is now advocated. Making specific reference to male genital schistosomiasis (MGS), we place greater emphasis on parasitological detection methods and clinical assessment of internal genitalia with ultrasonography. Unlike the advances made in defining a clinical standard protocol for female genital schistosomiasis, MGS remains inadequately defined. Whilst urine filtration with microscopic examination for ova of Schistosoma haematobium is a convenient but error-prone proxy of MGS, we describe a novel low-cost sampling and direct visualization method for the enumeration of ova in semen. Using exemplar clinical cases of MGS from our longitudinal cohort study among fishermen along the shoreline of Lake Malawi, the portfolio of diagnostic needs is appraised including: the use of symptomatology questionnaires, urine analysis (egg count and CCA measurement), semen analysis (egg count, circulating anodic antigen measurement and real-time polymerase chain reaction analysis) alongside clinical assessment with portable ultrasonography.
Adolescents’ peer networks provide an important context that can contribute to increases in antisocial behavior. By a process called deviancy training, peers can both model and reinforce these behaviors, thereby conveying group norms about the acceptability of such behaviors. This research examined the relationship between the proportion of adolescents’ peers who exchanged antisocial text messages and externalizing behaviors during high school. In Study 1, parent-, teacher-, and self-reports of rule-breaking and aggression were collected for a sample of adolescents (n = 167, 80 girls; 22.2% Black, 51.5% Caucasian, 18.7% Hispanic) during the summers before and after 9th grade. Total text frequency, frequency of antisocial texts, and the proportion of the peer network who exchanged antisocial messages were examined as predictors of antisocial behavior. The proportion of peers who exchanged antisocial texts significantly predicted rule-breaking, but not aggression. Study 2 examined the direction of the relationship documented in Study 1 more thoroughly. Externalizing behaviors at 9th, 10th, and 11th grade were evaluated as predictors of the proportion of the peer network that exchanged texts about antisocial topics (n = 205, 98 girls; 22.4% Black, 53.7% Caucasian, 16.9% Hispanic). Externalizing behaviors predicted the proportion of adolescents’ peer network that exchanged antisocial texts in each of the subsequent years, but this proportion of the peer network exchanging antisocial communication did not predict subsequent externalizing behaviors. The findings suggest that the extent to which antisocial communication permeates the peer group is a selection effect.
Several research teams have previously traced patterns of emerging conduct problems (CP) from early or middle childhood. The current study expands on this previous literature by using a genetically-informed, experimental, and long-term longitudinal design to examine trajectories of early-emerging conduct problems and early childhood discriminators of such patterns from the toddler period to adolescence. The sample represents a cohort of 731 toddlers and diverse families recruited based on socioeconomic, child, and family risk, varying in urbanicity and assessed on nine occasions between ages 2 and 14. In addition to examining child, family, and community level discriminators of patterns of emerging conduct problems, we were able to account for genetic susceptibility using polygenic scores and the study's experimental design to determine whether random assignment to the Family Check-Up (FCU) discriminated trajectory groups. In addition, in accord with differential susceptibility theory, we tested whether the effects of the FCU were stronger for those children with higher genetic susceptibility. Results augmented previous findings documenting the influence of child (inhibitory control [IC], gender) and family (harsh parenting, parental depression, and educational attainment) risk. In addition, children in the FCU were overrepresented in the persistent low versus persistent high CP group, but such direct effects were qualified by an interaction between the intervention and genetic susceptibility that was consistent with differential susceptibility. Implications are discussed for early identification and specifically, prevention efforts addressing early child and family risk.
Soldier operational performance is determined by their fitness, nutritional status, quality of rest/recovery, and remaining injury/illness free. Understanding large fluctuations in nutritional status during operations is critical to safeguarding health and well-being. There are limited data world-wide describing the effect of extreme climate change on nutrient profiles. This study investigated the effect of hot-dry deployments on vitamin D status (assessed from 25-hydroxyvitamin D (25(OH)D) concentration) of young, male, military volunteers. Two data sets are presented (pilot study, n 37; main study, n 98), examining serum 25(OH)D concentrations before and during 6-month summer operational deployments to Afghanistan (March to October/November). Body mass, percentage of body fat, dietary intake and serum 25(OH)D concentrations were measured. In addition, parathyroid hormone (PTH), adjusted Ca and albumin concentrations were measured in the main study to better understand 25(OH)D fluctuations. Body mass and fat mass (FM) losses were greater for early (pre- to mid-) deployment compared with late (mid- to post-) deployment (P<0·05). Dietary intake was well-maintained despite high rates of energy expenditure. A pronounced increase in 25(OH)D was observed between pre- (March) and mid-deployment (June) (pilot study: 51 (sd 20) v. 212 (sd 85) nmol/l, P<0·05; main study: 55 (sd 22) v. 167 (sd 71) nmol/l, P<0·05) and remained elevated post-deployment (October/November). In contrast, PTH was highest pre-deployment, decreasing thereafter (main study: 4·45 (sd 2·20) v. 3·79 (sd 1·50) pmol/l, P<0·05). The typical seasonal cycling of vitamin D appeared exaggerated in this active male population undertaking an arduous summer deployment. Further research is warranted, where such large seasonal vitamin D fluctuations may be detrimental to bone health in the longer-term.
Seven half-day regional listening sessions were held between December 2016 and April 2017 with groups of diverse stakeholders on the issues and potential solutions for herbicide-resistance management. The objective of the listening sessions was to connect with stakeholders and hear their challenges and recommendations for addressing herbicide resistance. The coordinating team hired Strategic Conservation Solutions, LLC, to facilitate all the sessions. They and the coordinating team used in-person meetings, teleconferences, and email to communicate and coordinate the activities leading up to each regional listening session. The agenda was the same across all sessions and included small-group discussions followed by reporting to the full group for discussion. The planning process was the same across all the sessions, although the selection of venue, time of day, and stakeholder participants differed to accommodate the differences among regions. The listening-session format required a great deal of work and flexibility on the part of the coordinating team and regional coordinators. Overall, the participant evaluations from the sessions were positive, with participants expressing appreciation that they were asked for their thoughts on the subject of herbicide resistance. This paper details the methods and processes used to conduct these regional listening sessions and provides an assessment of the strengths and limitations of those processes.
Herbicide resistance is ‘wicked’ in nature; therefore, results of the many educational efforts to encourage diversification of weed control practices in the United States have been mixed. It is clear that we do not sufficiently understand the totality of the grassroots obstacles, concerns, challenges, and specific solutions needed for varied crop production systems. Weed management issues and solutions vary with such variables as management styles, regions, cropping systems, and available or affordable technologies. Therefore, to help the weed science community better understand the needs and ideas of those directly dealing with herbicide resistance, seven half-day regional listening sessions were held across the United States between December 2016 and April 2017 with groups of diverse stakeholders on the issues and potential solutions for herbicide resistance management. The major goals of the sessions were to gain an understanding of stakeholders and their goals and concerns related to herbicide resistance management, to become familiar with regional differences, and to identify decision maker needs to address herbicide resistance. The messages shared by listening-session participants could be summarized by six themes: we need new herbicides; there is no need for more regulation; there is a need for more education, especially for others who were not present; diversity is hard; the agricultural economy makes it difficult to make changes; and we are aware of herbicide resistance but are managing it. The authors concluded that more work is needed to bring a community-wide, interdisciplinary approach to understanding the complexity of managing weeds within the context of the whole farm operation and for communicating the need to address herbicide resistance.
This study aimed to determine the prevalence and assemblages of Giardia duodenalis present in Scottish beef and dairy cattle at different ages, to try to ascertain if cattle could play a role in the spread of zoonotic assemblages of Giardia. A total of 388 fecal samples (128 beef and 253 dairy, seven of unknown breed) were collected from 19 farms in Scotland. Samples were sub-divided by host age, 1, 2, 3, 4, 5 and 6, 7–24 and ⩾25 weeks. DNA was extracted and tested by PCR to detect G. duodenalis DNA. Of the 388 samples, 126 tested positive, giving an overall prevalence of 32.5%, with positive samples being observed in all age groups tested. The prevalence in dairy cattle was 44.7% (113/235), which was significantly higher (P < 0.001) than the prevalence in beef cattle 10.1% (13/128). Sequence analysis demonstrated the presence of assemblage E (77.2%, sequence types E-S1–E-S5), assemblage B (18.2%) and assemblage A (sub-assemblages AI-AII) (4.6%). These data demonstrate that G. duodenalis is found routinely in both dairy and beef cattle throughout Scotland; the presence of assemblages A and B also indicates that cattle may play a role in the spread of potentially zoonotic assemblages of Giardia.
The asymptotic phase θ of an initial point x in the stable manifold of a limit cycle (LC) identifies the phase of the point on the LC to which the flow φt(x) converges as t → ∞. The infinitesimal phase response curve (iPRC) quantifies the change in timing due to a small perturbation of a LC trajectory. For a stable LC in a smooth dynamical system, the iPRC is the gradient ∇x(θ) of the phase function, which can be obtained via the adjoint of the variational equation. For systems with discontinuous dynamics, the standard approach to obtaining the iPRC fails. We derive a formula for the iPRCs of LCs occurring in piecewise smooth (Filippov) dynamical systems of arbitrary dimension, subject to a transverse flow condition. Discontinuous jumps in the iPRC can occur at the boundaries separating subdomains, and are captured by a linear matching condition. The matching matrix, M, can be derived from the saltation matrix arising in the associated variational problem. For the special case of linear dynamics away from switching boundaries, we obtain an explicit expression for the iPRC. We present examples from cell biology (Glass networks) and neuroscience (central pattern generator models). We apply the iPRCs obtained to study synchronization and phase-locking in piecewise smooth LC systems in which synchronization arises solely due to the crossing of switching manifolds.
Observations in psychiatric in-patient settings are used to reduce suicide, self-harm, violence and absconding risk. The study aims were to describe the characteristics of in-patients who died by suicide under observation and examine their service-related antecedents.
A national consecutive case series in England and Wales (2006–2012) was examined.
There were 113 suicides by in-patients under observation, an average of 16 per year. Most were under intermittent observation. Five deaths occurred while patients were under constant observation. Patient deaths were linked with the use of less experienced staff or staff unfamiliar with the patient, deviation from procedures and absconding.
We identified key elements of observation that could improve safety, including only using experienced and skilled staff for the intervention and using observation levels determined by clinical need not resources.
Little is known about the precursors of suicide risk among primary-care patients. This study aimed to examine suicide risk in relation to patterns of clinical consultation, psychotropic drug prescribing, and psychiatric diagnoses.
Nested case-control study in the Clinical Practice Research Datalink (CPRD), England. Patients aged ⩾16 years who died by suicide during 2002–2011 (N = 2384) were matched on gender, age and practice with up to 20 living control patients (N = 46 899).
Risk was raised among non-consulting patients, and increased sharply with rising number of consultations in the preceding year [⩾12 consultations v. 1: unadjusted odds ratio (OR) 6.0, 95% confidence interval (CI) 4.9–7.3]. Markedly elevated risk was also associated with the prescribing of multiple psychotropic medication types (⩾5 types v. 0: OR 62.6, CI 44.3–88.4) and with having several psychiatric diagnoses (⩾4 diagnoses v. 0: OR 31.1, CI 19.3–50.1). Risk was also raised among patients living in more socially deprived localities. The confounding effect of multiple psychotropic drug types largely accounted for the rising risk gradient observed with increasing consultation frequency.
A greater proportion of patients with several psychiatric diagnoses, those prescribed multiple psychotropic medication types, and those who consult at very high frequency might be considered for referral to mental health services by their general practitioners. Non-consulters are also at increased risk, which suggests that conventional models of primary care may not be effective in meeting the needs of all people in the community experiencing major psychosocial difficulties.
Studies of the role of the early environment in shaping children’s risk for anxiety problems have produced mixed results. It is possible that inconsistencies in previous findings result from a lack of consideration of a putative role for inherited influences moderators on the impact of early experiences. Early inherited influences not only contribute to vulnerabilities for anxiety problems throughout the lifespan, but can also modulate the ways that the early environment impacts child outcomes. In the current study, we tested the effects of child-centered parenting behaviors on putative anxiety risk in young children who differed in levels of inherited vulnerability. We tested this using a parent–offspring adoption design and a sample in which risk for anxiety problems and parenting behaviors were assessed in both mothers and fathers. Inherited influences on anxiety problems were assessed as anxiety symptoms in biological parents. Child-centered parenting was observed in adoptive mothers and fathers when children were 9 months old. Social inhibition, an early temperament marker of anxiety risk, was observed at child ages 9 and 18 months. Inherited influences on anxiety problems moderated the link between paternal child-centered parenting during infancy and social inhibition in toddlerhood. For children whose birth parents reported high levels of anxiety symptoms, greater child-centered parenting in adoptive fathers was related to greater social inhibition 9 months later. For children whose birth parents reported low levels of anxiety symptoms, greater child-centered parenting in adoptive fathers was related to less social inhibition across the same period.
A segment of the debate surrounding the commercialization and use of glyphosate-resistant (GR) crops focuses on the theory that the implementation of these traits is an extension of the intensification of agriculture that will further erode the biodiversity of agricultural landscapes. A large field-scale study was initiated in 2006 in the United States on 156 different field sites with a minimum 3-yr history of GR-corn, -cotton or -soybean in the cropping system. The impact of cropping system, crop rotation, frequency of using the GR crop trait, and several categorical variables on seedbank weed population density and diversity was analyzed. The parameters of total weed population density of all species in the seedbank, species richness, Shannon's H′ and evenness were not affected by any management treatment. The similarity between the seedbank and aboveground weed community was more strongly related to location than management; previous year's crops and cropping systems were also important while GR trait rotation was not. The composition of the weed flora was more strongly related to location (geography) than any other parameter. The diversity of weed flora in agricultural sites with a history of GR crop production can be influenced by several factors relating to the specific method in which the GR trait is integrated (cropping system, crop rotation, GR trait rotation), the specific weed species, and the geographical location. Continuous GR crop, compared to fields with other cropping systems, only had greater species diversity (species richness) of some life forms, i.e., biennials, winter annuals, and prostrate weeds. Overall diversity was related to geography and not cropping system. These results justify further research to clarify the complexities of crops grown with herbicide-resistance traits to provide a more complete characterization of their culture and local adaptation to the weed seedbank.
Modulation of gamma-aminobutyric acid A (GABAA) receptor signalling by the neurosteroid allopregnanolone has a major role in late gestation neurodevelopment. The objective of this study was to characterize the mRNA levels of GABAA receptor subunits (α4, α5, α6 and δ) that are key to neurosteroid binding in the brain, following preterm birth. Myelination, measured by the myelin basic protein immunostaining, was used to assess maturity of the preterm brains. Foetal guinea pig brains were obtained at 62 days’ gestational age (GA, preterm) or at term (69 days). Neonates were delivered by caesarean section, at 62 days GA and term, and maintained until tissue collection at 24 h of age. Subunit mRNA levels were quantified by RT-PCR in the hippocampus and cerebellum of foetal and neonatal brains. Levels of the α6 and δ subunits were markedly lower in the cerebellum of preterm guinea pigs compared with term animals. Importantly, there was an increase in mRNA levels of these subunits during the foetal-to-neonatal transition at term, which was not seen following preterm birth. Myelination was lower in preterm neonatal brains, consistent with marked immaturity. Salivary cortisol concentrations, measured by EIA, were also higher for the preterm neonates, suggesting greater stress. We conclude that there is an adaptive increase in the levels of mRNA of the key GABAA receptor subunits involved in neurosteroid action after term birth, which may compensate for declining allopregnanolone levels. The lower levels of these subunits in preterm neonates may heighten the adverse effect of the premature decline in neurosteroid exposure.
This paper describes the system architecture of a newly constructed radio telescope – the Boolardy engineering test array, which is a prototype of the Australian square kilometre array pathfinder telescope. Phased array feed technology is used to form multiple simultaneous beams per antenna, providing astronomers with unprecedented survey speed. The test array described here is a six-antenna interferometer, fitted with prototype signal processing hardware capable of forming at least nine dual-polarisation beams simultaneously, allowing several square degrees to be imaged in a single pointed observation. The main purpose of the test array is to develop beamforming and wide-field calibration methods for use with the full telescope, but it will also be capable of limited early science demonstrations.
Electroencephalography and magnetoencephalography (MEG) studies have identified alterations in gamma-band (30–80 Hz) cortical activity in schizophrenia and mood disorders, consistent with neural models of disturbed glutamate (and GABA) neuron influence over cortical pyramidal cells. Genetic evidence suggests specific deficits in GABA-A receptor function in schizoaffective bipolar disorder (SABP), a clinical syndrome with features of both bipolar disorder and schizophrenia. This study investigated gamma oscillations in this under-researched disorder.
MEG was used to measure induced gamma and evoked responses to a visual grating stimulus, known to be a potent inducer of primary visual gamma oscillations, in 15 individuals with remitted SABP, defined using Research Diagnostic Criteria, and 22 age- and sex-matched healthy controls.
Individuals with SABP demonstrated increased sustained visual cortical power in the gamma band (t35 = −2.56, p = 0.015) compared to controls. There were no group differences in baseline gamma power, transient or sustained gamma frequency, alpha band responses or pattern onset visual-evoked responses.
Gamma power is increased in remitted SABP, which reflects an abnormality in the cortical inhibitory-excitatory balance. Although an interaction between gamma power and medication can not be ruled out, there were no group differences in evoked responses or baseline measures. Further work is needed in other clinical populations and at-risk relatives. Pharmaco-magnetoencephalography studies will help to elucidate the specific GABA and glutamate pathways affected.