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Basal units – visibly distinct englacial structures near the ice-bed interface – warrant investigation for a number of reasons. Many are of unknown composition and origin, characteristics that could provide substantial insight into subglacial processes and ice-sheet history. Their significance, moreover, is not limited to near-bed depths; these units appear to dramatically influence the flow of surrounding ice. In order to enable improved characterization of these features, we develop and apply an algorithm that allows for the automatic detection of basal units. We use a tunable layer-optimized SAR processor to distinguish these structures from the bed, isochronous englacial layers and the ice-sheet surface, presenting a conceptual framework for the use of radio-echo character in the identification of ice-sheet features. We also outline a method by which our processor could be used to place observational constraints on basal units’ configuration, composition and provenance.
Although dried orange pulp (DOP) may conveniently replace cereals in ruminant diets, few studies have considered similar diet substitution for goats. We hypothesised that DOP could replace cereal-based concentrate in goat diets without detrimental effects on growth performance and carcass quality of suckling kids and milk performance and blood biochemical parameters of dams in early lactation. We also hypothesised that DOP substitution may increase the levels of antioxidants, such as phenolic compounds and vitamin E, in milk and improve its total antioxidant capacity (TAC). Therefore, 44 primiparous Payoya dairy goats were allocated to three experimental groups, each fed a different diet: control (CD, n = 14) based on a commercial concentrate with alfalfa hay as forage; and DOP40 (n = 16) in which 40% and DOP80 (n = 14) in which 80% of the cereal in the concentrate were replaced by DOP. The experiment lasted from the final month of pregnancy to 55 days postpartum. The DOP diets did not affect suckling kids’ carcass quality, but at 28 days, led to improvement in live weight (LW) and average daily gain (ADG) from birth, although no differences were found between DOP40 and DOP80 (for CD, DOP40 and DOP80, LW at 28 days was 8.00, 8.58 and 8.34 kg and ADG was 184, 199 and 195 g/day, respectively). Diet had no significant effect on milk yield (average daily milk yield and total yield at 55 days were 1.66 l/day and 90.6 l, respectively) and commercial and fatty acid composition. Nevertheless, α-tocopherol, total phenolic compound (TPC) and TAC concentration in milk increased with substitution of cereals by DOP (for CD, DOP40 and DOP80, concentration of α-tocopherol was 21.7, 32.8 and 42.3 μg/100 g, TPCs was 63.5, 84.1 and 102 mg gallic acid equivalents/l, and TAC was 6.63, 11.1 and 12.8 μmol Trolox equivalents/ml, respectively). Every plasma biochemistry parameter considered was within reference values for healthy goats; therefore, no pathological effect was detected for these variables due to dietary treatment. However, DOP diets caused a reduction in plasmatic creatine kinase and aspartate aminotransferase, implying reduced oxidative damage to muscles. In conclusion, DOP may be an interesting alternative to cereals in early lactation goat diets for increasing farmers’ income and the healthy antioxidant capacity of milk.
This study presents two years of characterization of a warm temperate rhodolith bed in order to analyse how certain environmental changes influence the community ecology. The biomass of rhodoliths and associated species were analysed during this period and in situ experiments were conducted to evaluate the primary production, calcification and respiration of the dominant species of rhodoliths and epiphytes. The highest total biomass of rhodoliths occurred during austral winter. Lithothamnion crispatum was the most abundant rhodolith species in austral summer. Epiphytic macroalgae occurred only in January 2015, with Padina gymnospora being the most abundant. Considering associated fauna, the biomass of Mollusca increased from February 2015 to February 2016. Population densities of key reef fish species inside and around the rhodolith beds showed significant variations in time. The densities of grouper (carnivores/piscivores) increased in time, especially from 2015 to 2016. On the other hand, grunts (macroinvertebrate feeders) had a modest decrease over time (from 2014 to 2016). Other parameters such as primary production and calcification of L. crispatum were higher under enhanced irradiance, yet decreased in the presence of P. gymnospora. Community structure and physiological responses can be explained by the interaction of abiotic and biotic factors, which are driven by environmental changes over time. Biomass changes can indicate that herbivores play a role in limiting the growth of epiphytes, and this is beneficial to the rhodoliths because it decreases competition for environmental resources with fleshy algae.
Subclinical (SCK) and clinical (CK) ketosis are metabolic disorders responsible for big losses in dairy production. Although Fourier-transform mid-infrared spectrometry (FTIR) to predict ketosis in cows exposed to great metabolic stress was studied extensively, little is known about its suitability in predicting hyperketonemia using individual samples, e.g. in small dairy herds or when only few animals are at risk of ketosis. The objective of the present research was to determine the applicability of milk metabolites predicted by FTIR spectrometry in the individual screening for ketosis. In experiment 1, blood and milk samples were taken every two weeks after calving from Holstein (n = 80), Brown Swiss (n = 72) and Swiss Fleckvieh (n = 58) cows. In experiment 2, cows diagnosed with CK (n = 474) and 420 samples with blood β-hydroxybutyrate [BHB] <1.0 mmol/l were used to investigate if CK could be detected by FTIR-predicted BHB and acetone from a preceding milk control. In experiment 3, correlations between data from an in farm automatic milk analyser and FTIR-predicted BHB and acetone from the monthly milk controls were evaluated. Hyperketonemia occurred in majority during the first eight weeks of lactation. Correlations between blood BHB and FTIR-predicted BHB and acetone were low (r = 0.37 and 0.12, respectively, P < 0.0001), as well as the percentage of true positive values (11.9 and 16.6%, respectively). No association of FTIR predicted ketone bodies with the interval of milk sampling relative to CK diagnosis was found. Data obtained from the automatic milk analyser were moderately correlated with the same day FTIR-predicted BHB analysis (r = 0.61). In conclusion, the low correlations with blood BHB and the small number of true positive samples discourage the use of milk mid-infrared spectrometry analyses as the only method to predict hyperketonemia at the individual cow level.
During the 2017 European hepatitis A (HA) outbreak we assessed HA incidence in our cohort of 2300 HIV-infected patients, implemented preventive measures and evaluated practices and knowledge on sexually transmitted diseases (STD). HA incidence was assessed between 1 January 2017 and 31 December 2017 and included all symptomatic patients with virologically confirmed HA. Preventive measures consisted in identifying at risk and not immunised patients to propose them a free HAV vaccination, and an anonymous survey related to transmission routes of STD and to sexual behaviours. Twenty HA were diagnosed. All were homosexual men recently diagnosed with HIV and another STD. None were vaccinated against hepatitis A virus (HAV). Hospitalisation was required for 52%. We identified 250 patients at risk to acquire HAV and invited them to a free immunisation program. A total of 110 (44%) were vaccinated, of whom 74 responded to our survey. A majority of them (84%) reported recent active anal and oral sexuality with multiple (52%) male partners (81%), and ChemSex consumption (14%). Internet was the meeting link for 58%. Another STD history was found in 69%. One third of these individuals had no idea about STD transmission modes. This HA outbreak pointed the insufficient vaccine coverage against HAV and knowledge on STD, which may be improved by Internet.
We present a detailed overview of the cosmological surveys that we aim to carry out with Phase 1 of the Square Kilometre Array (SKA1) and the science that they will enable. We highlight three main surveys: a medium-deep continuum weak lensing and low-redshift spectroscopic HI galaxy survey over 5 000 deg2; a wide and deep continuum galaxy and HI intensity mapping (IM) survey over 20 000 deg2 from
$z = 0.35$
to 3; and a deep, high-redshift HI IM survey over 100 deg2 from
$z = 3$
to 6. Taken together, these surveys will achieve an array of important scientific goals: measuring the equation of state of dark energy out to
$z \sim 3$
with percent-level precision measurements of the cosmic expansion rate; constraining possible deviations from General Relativity on cosmological scales by measuring the growth rate of structure through multiple independent methods; mapping the structure of the Universe on the largest accessible scales, thus constraining fundamental properties such as isotropy, homogeneity, and non-Gaussianity; and measuring the HI density and bias out to
$z = 6$
. These surveys will also provide highly complementary clustering and weak lensing measurements that have independent systematic uncertainties to those of optical and near-infrared (NIR) surveys like Euclid, LSST, and WFIRST leading to a multitude of synergies that can improve constraints significantly beyond what optical or radio surveys can achieve on their own. This document, the 2018 Red Book, provides reference technical specifications, cosmological parameter forecasts, and an overview of relevant systematic effects for the three key surveys and will be regularly updated by the Cosmology Science Working Group in the run up to start of operations and the Key Science Programme of SKA1.
Competence committees play a key role in a competency-based system of assessment. These committees are tasked with reviewing and synthesizing clinical performance data to make judgments regarding residents’ competence. Canadian emergency medicine (EM) postgraduate training programs recently implemented competence committees; however, a paucity of literature guides their work.
The objective of this study was to develop consensus-based recommendations to optimize the function and decisions of competence committees in Canadian EM training programs.
Semi-structured interviews of EM competence committee chairs were conducted and analyzed. The interview guide was informed by a literature review of competence committee structure, processes, and best practices. Inductive thematic analysis of interview transcripts was conducted to identify emerging themes. Preliminary recommendations, based on themes, were drafted and presented at the 2019 CAEP Academic Symposium on Education. Through a live presentation and survey poll, symposium attendees representing the national EM community participated in a facilitated discussion of the recommendations. The authors incorporated this feedback and identified consensus among symposium attendees on a final set of nine high-yield recommendations.
The Canadian EM community used a structured process to develop nine best practice recommendations for competence committees addressing: committee membership, meeting processes, decision outcomes, use of high-quality performance data, and ongoing quality improvement. These recommendations can inform the structure and processes of competence committees in Canadian EM training programs.
The increase of contact between natural and rural areas is prominent in Brazil, due to agricultural activities and concern with the environmental conservation. In this context, domestic animals, wild fauna and humans are exposed to mutual exchange of parasites, microorganisms and diseases. We studied tick parasitism of wild carnivores and domestic dogs, and the environmental of questing ticks, in extensive cattle ranch areas intermingled with natural vegetation, and in a natural reserve, both in a region of Cerrado biome, Midwestern Brazil. From 2008 to 2015, we inspected 119 wild carnivores from nine species, and collected six tick species (Amblyomma sculptum, Amblyomma ovale, Amblyomma dubitatum, Amblyomma tigrinum, Dermacentor nitens and Rhipicephalus microplus). The most numerous and infested hosts were Cerdocyon thous, Lycalopex vetulus, Chrysocyon brachyurus, Puma concolor and Conepatus amazonicus. From 139 domestic dogs, we collected A. sculptum, Rhipicephalus sanguineus and R. microplus. From vegetation, samplings resulted in A. sculptum, A. dubitatum, A. ovale, Amblyomma rotundatum and R. microplus, with dominance of A. sculptum. Domestics and wild animals presented high overlapping of infestations by A. sculptum, a generalist and anthropophilic tick species. This tick is the most important vector of the Brazilian spotted fever, a lethal human disease. This fact elicits attention and requires efforts to monitor the presence of pathogens vectored by ticks circulating in this type of agroecosystem, including in other regions of the Brazil, because the most of the natural vegetation remaining have been increasingly immersed in pastures and agricultural matrix.
B vitamins involved in one-carbon metabolism have been implicated in the development of inflammation- and angiogenesis-related chronic diseases, such as colorectal cancer (CRC). Yet, the role of one-carbon metabolism in inflammation and angiogenesis among CRC patients remains unclear. The objective of this study was to investigate associations of components of one-carbon metabolism with inflammation and angiogenesis biomarkers among newly diagnosed CRC patients (n 238) in the prospective ColoCare Study, Heidelberg. We cross-sectionally analysed associations between twelve B vitamins and one-carbon metabolites and ten inflammation and angiogenesis biomarkers from pre-surgery serum samples using multivariable linear regression models. We further explored associations among novel biomarkers in these pathways with Spearman partial correlation analyses. We hypothesised that pyridoxal-5’-phosphate (PLP) is inversely associated with inflammatory biomarkers. We observed that PLP was inversely associated with C-reactive protein (CRP) (r –0·33, Plinear < 0·0001), serum amyloid A (SAA) (r –0·23, Plinear = 0·003), IL-6 (r –0·39, Plinear < 0·0001), IL-8 (r –0·20, Plinear = 0·02) and TNFα (r –0·12, Plinear = 0·045). Similar findings were observed for 5-methyl-tetrahydrofolate and CRP (r –0·14), SAA (r –0·14) and TNFα (r –0·15) among CRC patients. Folate catabolite acetyl-para-aminobenzoylglutamic acid (pABG) was positively correlated with IL-6 (r 0·27, Plinear < 0·0001), and pABG was positively correlated with IL-8 (r 0·21, Plinear < 0·0001), indicating higher folate utilisation during inflammation. Our data support the hypothesis of inverse associations between PLP and inflammatory biomarkers among CRC patients. A better understanding of the role and inter-relation of PLP and other one-carbon metabolites with inflammatory processes among colorectal carcinogenesis and prognosis could identify targets for future dietary guidance for CRC patients.
Studies suggest that alcohol consumption and alcohol use disorders have distinct genetic backgrounds.
We examined whether polygenic risk scores (PRS) for consumption and problem subscales of the Alcohol Use Disorders Identification Test (AUDIT-C, AUDIT-P) in the UK Biobank (UKB; N = 121 630) correlate with alcohol outcomes in four independent samples: an ascertained cohort, the Collaborative Study on the Genetics of Alcoholism (COGA; N = 6850), and population-based cohorts: Avon Longitudinal Study of Parents and Children (ALSPAC; N = 5911), Generation Scotland (GS; N = 17 461), and an independent subset of UKB (N = 245 947). Regression models and survival analyses tested whether the PRS were associated with the alcohol-related outcomes.
In COGA, AUDIT-P PRS was associated with alcohol dependence, AUD symptom count, maximum drinks (R2 = 0.47–0.68%, p = 2.0 × 10−8–1.0 × 10−10), and increased likelihood of onset of alcohol dependence (hazard ratio = 1.15, p = 4.7 × 10−8); AUDIT-C PRS was not an independent predictor of any phenotype. In ALSPAC, the AUDIT-C PRS was associated with alcohol dependence (R2 = 0.96%, p = 4.8 × 10−6). In GS, AUDIT-C PRS was a better predictor of weekly alcohol use (R2 = 0.27%, p = 5.5 × 10−11), while AUDIT-P PRS was more associated with problem drinking (R2 = 0.40%, p = 9.0 × 10−7). Lastly, AUDIT-P PRS was associated with ICD-based alcohol-related disorders in the UKB subset (R2 = 0.18%, p < 2.0 × 10−16).
AUDIT-P PRS was associated with a range of alcohol-related phenotypes across population-based and ascertained cohorts, while AUDIT-C PRS showed less utility in the ascertained cohort. We show that AUDIT-P is genetically correlated with both use and misuse and demonstrate the influence of ascertainment schemes on PRS analyses.
We report the development of a stable high-average power X-ray source generated by the interaction of ultrashort laser pulses (35 fs, 1 mJ, 1 kHz) with a solid target in air. The achieved source stability, which is essential for the applications foreseen for these laser-driven plasma accelerators, is due to the combination of precise positioning of the target on focus and the development of a fast rotating target system able to ensure the refreshment of the material at every shot while minimizing positioning errors with respect to the focal spot. This vacuum-free laser-plasma X-ray source provides an average dose rate of 1.5 Sv/h at 30 cm and a repeatability better than 93% during more than 36 min of continuous operation per target.
The addition of Cr2O3 to modern UO2 fuel modifies the microstructure so that, through the generation of larger grains during fission, a higher proportion of fission gases can be accommodated. This reduces the pellet-cladding mechanical interaction of the fuel rods, allowing the fuels to be “burned” for longer than traditional UO2 fuel, thus maximising the energy obtained. We here describe the preparation of UO2 and Cr-doped UO2 using Hot Isostatic Pressing (HIP), as a potential method for fuel fabrication, and for development of analogue materials for spent nuclear fuel research. Characterization of the synthesised materials confirmed that high density UO2 was successfully formed, and that Cr was present as particles at grain boundaries and also within the UO2 matrix, possibly in a reduced form due to the processing conditions. In contrast to studies of Cr-doped UO2 synthesised by other methods, no significant changes to the grain size were observed in the presence of Cr.
Short-term survival after paediatric cardiac surgery has improved significantly over the past 20 years and increasing attention is being given to measuring and reducing incidence of morbidities following surgery. How to best use routinely collected data to share morbidity information constitutes a challenge for clinical teams interested in analysing their outcomes for quality improvement. We aimed to develop a tool facilitating this process in the context of monitoring morbidities following paediatric cardiac surgery, as part of a prospective multi-centre research study in the United Kingdom.
We developed a prototype software tool to analyse and present data about morbidities associated with cardiac surgery in children. We used an iterative process, involving engagement with potential users, tool design and implementation, and feedback collection. Graphical data displays were based on the use of icons and graphs designed in collaboration with clinicians.
Our tool enables automatic creation of graphical summaries, displayed as a Microsoft PowerPoint presentation, from a spreadsheet containing patient-level data about specified cardiac surgery morbidities. Data summaries include numbers/percentages of cases with morbidities reported, co-occurrences of different morbidities, and time series of each complication over a time window.
Our work was characterised by a very high level of interaction with potential users of the tool, enabling us to promptly account for feedback and suggestions from clinicians and data managers. The United Kingdom centres involved in the project received the tool positively, and several expressed their interest in using it as part of their routine practice.
Predicting the magnitude of the annual seasonal peak in influenza-like illness (ILI)-related emergency department (ED) visit volumes can inform the decision to open influenza care clinics (ICCs), which can mitigate pressure at the ED. Using ILI-related ED visit data from the Alberta Real Time Syndromic Surveillance Net for Edmonton, Alberta, Canada, we developed (training data, 1 August 2004–31 July 2008) and tested (testing data, 1 August 2008–19 February 2014) spatio-temporal statistical prediction models of daily ILI-related ED visits to estimate high visit volumes 3 days in advance. Our Main Model, based on a generalised linear mixed model with random intercept, incorporated prediction residuals over 14 days and captured increases in observed volume ahead of peaks. During seasonal influenza periods, our Main Model predicted volumes within ±30% of observed volumes for 67%–82% of high-volume days and within 0.3%–21% of observed seasonal peak volumes. Model predictions were not as successful during the 2009 H1N1 pandemic. Our model can provide early warning of increases in ILI-related ED visit volumes during seasonal influenza periods of differing intensities. These predictions may be used to support public health decisions, such as if and when to open ICCs, during seasonal influenza epidemics.
We examined Clostridioides difficile infection (CDI) prevention practices and their relationship with hospital-onset healthcare facility-associated CDI rates (CDI rates) in Veterans Affairs (VA) acute-care facilities.
From January 2017 to February 2017, we conducted an electronic survey of CDI prevention practices and hospital characteristics in the VA. We linked survey data with CDI rate data for the period January 2015 to December 2016. We stratified facilities according to whether their overall CDI rate per 10,000 bed days of care was above or below the national VA mean CDI rate. We examined whether specific CDI prevention practices were associated with an increased risk of a CDI rate above the national VA mean CDI rate.
All 126 facilities responded (100% response rate). Since implementing CDI prevention practices in July 2012, 60 of 123 facilities (49%) reported a decrease in CDI rates; 22 of 123 facilities (18%) reported an increase, and 41 of 123 (33%) reported no change. Facilities reporting an increase in the CDI rate (vs those reporting a decrease) after implementing prevention practices were 2.54 times more likely to have CDI rates that were above the national mean CDI rate. Whether a facility’s CDI rates were above or below the national mean CDI rate was not associated with self-reported cleaning practices, duration of contact precautions, availability of private rooms, or certification of infection preventionists in infection prevention.
We found considerable variation in CDI rates. We were unable to identify which particular CDI prevention practices (i.e., bundle components) were associated with lower CDI rates.
Tick-borne diseases (TBDs) can sometimes cause severe symptoms and lead to hospitalisation, but they often go unnoticed in the Emergency Department (ED). The aim of this study was twofold: (i) to describe the profile of patients hospitalised by TBDs; and (ii) to evaluate the data collected in the medical records from the ED in order to analyse their potential clinical consequences. A total of 84 cases that included all TBD diagnoses registered in the ED records were identified and analysed. These corresponded to all the hospitalisations by TBDs in the last 10 years (2009–2019) in two tertiary hospitals in Granada, Spain. Statistical analyses were made using RStudio. Coinciding with the absence of patient's report of exposure to ticks, 64.3% of TBDs were not suspected in the ED. Intensive care unit admission was required in 8.3% of cases, and the mortality rate was 2.4%. Non-suspected cases showed longer hospital stay (P < 0.001), treatment duration (P = 0.02) and delay in the initiation of antibiotic treatment (P < 0.001). Our findings indicate that symptoms associated with TBDs are highly non-specific. In the absence of explicit information related to potential tick exposure, TBDs are not initially suspected. As a consequence, elective treatment administration is delayed and hospitalisation time is prolonged. In conclusion, our results highlight the importance of addressing potential exposure to ticks during the ED contact with patients presenting with febrile syndrome.
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’.