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Norovirus is a predominant cause of infectious gastroenteritis in countries worldwide [1–5]. It accounts for approximately 50% of acute gastroenteritis (AGE) and >90% of viral gastroenteritis outbreaks [6, 7]. The incubation period ranges between 10 and 48 h and illness duration is generally 1–3 days with self-limiting symptoms; however, this duration is often longer (e.g. 4–6 days) in vulnerable populations such as hospital patients or young children [2, 8]. Symptomatic infection of norovirus presents as acute vomiting, diarrhoea, abdominal cramps and nausea, with severe vomiting and diarrhoea (non-bloody) being most common [2, 5, 9].
In Australia, there are two distinct populations, each with vastly disparate health outcomes: Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander People and non-Aboriginal Australians. Aboriginal Australians have significantly higher rates of health and socioeconomic disadvantage, and Aboriginal babies are also more likely to be born low birth weight or growth restricted. The Developmental Origins of Health and Disease (DOHaD) hypothesis advocates that a sub-optimal intrauterine environment, often manifested as diminished foetal growth, during critical periods of foetal development has the potential to alter the risk of non-communicable disease in the offspring. A better understanding of the role of the intrauterine environment and subsequent developmental programming, in response to both transgenerational and immediate stimuli, in Aboriginal Australians remains a relatively unexplored field and may provide insights into the prevailing health disparities between Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal children. This narrative review explores the role of DOHaD in explaining the ongoing disadvantage experienced by Aboriginal People in today’s society through a detailed discussion of the literature on the association between foetal growth, as a proxy for the quality of the intrauterine environment, and outcomes in the offspring including perinatal health, early life development and childhood education. The literature largely supports this hypothesis and this review therefore has potential implications for policy makers not only in Australia but also in other countries that have minority and Indigenous populations who suffer disproportionate disadvantage such as the United States, Canada and New Zealand.
Prenatal adversity shapes child neurodevelopment and risk for later mental health problems. The quality of the early care environment can buffer some of the negative effects of prenatal adversity on child development. Retrospective studies, in adult samples, highlight epigenetic modifications as sentinel markers of the quality of the early care environment; however, comparable data from pediatric cohorts are lacking. Participants were drawn from the Maternal Adversity Vulnerability and Neurodevelopment (MAVAN) study, a longitudinal cohort with measures of infant attachment, infant development, and child mental health. Children provided buccal epithelial samples (mean age = 6.99, SD = 1.33 years, n = 226), which were used for analyses of genome-wide DNA methylation and genetic variation. We used a series of linear models to describe the association between infant attachment and (a) measures of child outcome and (b) DNA methylation across the genome. Paired genetic data was used to determine the genetic contribution to DNA methylation at attachment-associated sites. Infant attachment style was associated with infant cognitive development (Mental Development Index) and behavior (Behavior Rating Scale) assessed with the Bayley Scales of Infant Development at 36 months. Infant attachment style moderated the effects of prenatal adversity on Behavior Rating Scale scores at 36 months. Infant attachment was also significantly associated with a principal component that accounted for 11.9% of the variation in genome-wide DNA methylation. These effects were most apparent when comparing children with a secure versus a disorganized attachment style and most pronounced in females. The availability of paired genetic data revealed that DNA methylation at approximately half of all infant attachment-associated sites was best explained by considering both infant attachment and child genetic variation. This study provides further evidence that infant attachment can buffer some of the negative effects of early adversity on measures of infant behavior. We also highlight the interplay between infant attachment and child genotype in shaping variation in DNA methylation. Such findings provide preliminary evidence for a molecular signature of infant attachment and may help inform attachment-focused early intervention programs.
Schizophrenia (SZ) is a severe neuropsychiatric disorder associated with disrupted connectivity within the thalamic-cortico-cerebellar network. Resting-state functional connectivity studies have reported thalamic hypoconnectivity with the cerebellum and prefrontal cortex as well as thalamic hyperconnectivity with sensory cortical regions in SZ patients compared with healthy comparison participants (HCs). However, fundamental questions remain regarding the clinical significance of these connectivity abnormalities.
Resting state seed-based functional connectivity was used to investigate thalamus to whole brain connectivity using multi-site data including 183 SZ patients and 178 matched HCs. Statistical significance was based on a voxel-level FWE-corrected height threshold of p < 0.001. The relationships between positive and negative symptoms of SZ and regions of the brain demonstrating group differences in thalamic connectivity were examined.
HC and SZ participants both demonstrated widespread positive connectivity between the thalamus and cortical regions. Compared with HCs, SZ patients had reduced thalamic connectivity with bilateral cerebellum and anterior cingulate cortex. In contrast, SZ patients had greater thalamic connectivity with multiple sensory-motor regions, including bilateral pre- and post-central gyrus, middle/inferior occipital gyrus, and middle/superior temporal gyrus. Thalamus to middle temporal gyrus connectivity was positively correlated with hallucinations and delusions, while thalamus to cerebellar connectivity was negatively correlated with delusions and bizarre behavior.
Thalamic hyperconnectivity with sensory regions and hypoconnectivity with cerebellar regions in combination with their relationship to clinical features of SZ suggest that thalamic dysconnectivity may be a core neurobiological feature of SZ that underpins positive symptoms.
The Neogene was a time of transition both in the development of the present vegetation and the palynological study of it. The vegetation cover changed from one dominated by rainforest, which is traditionally regarded as ‘Tertiary’, to one in which rainforest became very reduced in extent. The nature of this change has been difficult to document due to an increasingly arid landscape with a concomitant reduction in suitable pollen preservation sites. The difficulty has been compounded by a relative lack of palynological study on the period. Stratigraphic palynologists have focussed on the earlier part of the Tertiary and there is no formal or well dated biostratigraphy, for much of the period under consideration, that is applicable to Australian terrestrial environments. Palynologists concerned with vegetation reconstruction have largely restricted their attention to the later part of the Quaternary period and have had variable success when venturing back into the Tertiary, as the vegetation then was frequently very different from that of today. Consequently, the database from which we piece together this critical period in Australia's vegetation history is very fragmentary and of varying quality.
In keeping with the problematic documentation of vegetation, there are difficulties in defining the period itself. There is general agreement on its beginning - the Miocene began about 25 million years (Ma) ago, although this does not necessarily hold any palynostratigraphic or biogeographical significance - but there are different views on the best location of the end of the period, i.e. the Pliocene/Pleistocene boundary. Conventionally this boundary is placed at the top of the Olduvai palaeomagnetic event dated to 1.6 Ma (Berggren et aL, 1985) but there is increasing pressure to reposition this close to the Gauss/Matuyama palaeomagnetic reversal boundary, around 2.4 Ma, as this reflects more closely the beginning of the substantial cooling and climatic fluctuations that characterise the Pleistocene period (Zagwin, 1985; Kukla, 1989).
Major factors influencing the whole of Australia during the Neogene include global climatic changes and the northward movement of the continent. The build up of ice on Antarctica, partly a result of the northward movement of Australia, which allowed the development of a circum-Antarctic ocean current, caused a steepening of the temperature gradient from equator to pole and development of the present atmospheric circulation pattern (Kemp, 1978).
We sought to conduct a major objective of the CAEP Academic Section, an environmental scan of the academic emergency medicine programs across the 17 Canadian medical schools.
We developed an 84-question questionnaire, which was distributed to academic heads. The responses were validated by phone by the lead author to ensure that the questions were answered completely and consistently. Details of pediatric emergency medicine units were excluded from the scan.
At eight of 17 universities, emergency medicine has full departmental status and at two it has no official academic status. Canadian academic emergency medicine is practiced at 46 major teaching hospitals and 13 specialized pediatric hospitals. Another 69 Canadian hospital EDs regularly take clinical clerks and emergency medicine residents. There are 31 full professors of emergency medicine in Canada. Teaching programs are strong with clerkships offered at 16/17 universities, CCFP(EM) programs at 17/17, and RCPSC residency programs at 14/17. Fourteen sites have at least one physician with a Master’s degree in education. There are 55 clinical researchers with salary support at 13 universities. Sixteen sites have published peer-reviewed papers in the past five years, ranging from four to 235 per site. Annual budgets range from $200,000 to $5,900,000.
This comprehensive review of academic activities in emergency medicine across Canada identifies areas of strengths as well as opportunities for improvement. CAEP and the Academic Section hope we can ultimately improve ED patient care by sharing best academic practices and becoming better teachers, educators, and researchers.
Many adults with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) remain undiagnosed. Specialist assessment clinics enable the detection of these cases, but such services are often overstretched. It has been proposed that unnecessary referrals to these services could be reduced by prioritizing individuals who score highly on the Autism-Spectrum Quotient (AQ), a self-report questionnaire measure of autistic traits. However, the ability of the AQ to predict who will go on to receive a diagnosis of ASD in adults is unclear.
We studied 476 adults, seen consecutively at a national ASD diagnostic referral service for suspected ASD. We tested AQ scores as predictors of ASD diagnosis made by expert clinicians according to International Classification of Diseases (ICD)-10 criteria, informed by the Autism Diagnostic Observation Schedule-Generic (ADOS-G) and Autism Diagnostic Interview-Revised (ADI-R) assessments.
Of the participants, 73% received a clinical diagnosis of ASD. Self-report AQ scores did not significantly predict receipt of a diagnosis. While AQ scores provided high sensitivity of 0.77 [95% confidence interval (CI) 0.72–0.82] and positive predictive value of 0.76 (95% CI 0.70–0.80), the specificity of 0.29 (95% CI 0.20–0.38) and negative predictive value of 0.36 (95% CI 0.22–0.40) were low. Thus, 64% of those who scored below the AQ cut-off were ‘false negatives’ who did in fact have ASD. Co-morbidity data revealed that generalized anxiety disorder may ‘mimic’ ASD and inflate AQ scores, leading to false positives.
The AQ's utility for screening referrals was limited in this sample. Recommendations supporting the AQ's role in the assessment of adult ASD, e.g. UK NICE guidelines, may need to be reconsidered.
Our objective in the present study was to conduct the first empirical study of the effects of regular physical activity habits and their relationship with brain volume and cortical thickness in patients in the early phase of schizophrenia. Relationships between larger brain volumes and higher physical activity levels have been reported in samples of healthy and aging populations, but have never been explored in first-episode schizophrenia patients. Method: We collected MRI structural scans in 14 first-episode schizophrenia patients with either self-reported low or high physical activity levels. We found a reduction in total gray matter volume, prefrontal cortex (PFC), and hippocampal gray matter volumes in the low physical activity group compared to the high activity group. Cortical thickness in the dorsolateral and orbitofrontal PFC were also significantly reduced in the low physical activity group compared to the high activity group. In the combined sample, greater overall physical activity levels showed a non-significant tendency with better performance on tests of verbal memory and social cognition. Together these pilot study findings suggest that greater amounts of physical activity may have a positive influence on brain health and cognition in first-episode schizophrenia patients and support the implementation of physical exercise interventions in this patient population to improve brain plasticity and cognitive functioning. (JINS, 2015, 21, 868–879)
A scoping review was conducted to identify modifiable non-antimicrobial factors to reduce the occurrence of antimicrobial resistance in cattle populations. Searches were developed to retrieve peer-reviewed published studies in animal, human and in vitro microbial populations. Citations were retained when modifiable non-antimicrobial factors or interventions potentially associated with antimicrobial resistance were described. Studies described resistance in five bacterial genera, species or types, and 40 antimicrobials. Modifiable non-antimicrobial factors or interventions ranged widely in type, and the depth of evidence in animal populations was shallow. Specific associations between a factor or intervention with antimicrobial resistance in a population (e.g. associations between organic systems and tetracycline susceptibility in E. coli from cattle) were reported in a maximum of three studies. The identified non-antimicrobial factors or interventions were classified into 16 themes. Most reported associations between the non-antimicrobial modifiable factors or interventions and antimicrobial resistance were not statistically significant (P > 0·05 and a confidence interval including 1), but when significant, the results were not consistent in direction (increase or decrease in antimicrobial resistance) or magnitude. Research is needed to better understand the impacts of promising modifiable factors or interventions on the occurrence of antimicrobial resistance before any recommendations can be offered or adopted.
Food- and waterborne disease is thought to be high in some Canadian Indigenous communities; however, the burden of acute gastrointestinal illness (AGI) is not well understood due to limited availability and quality of surveillance data. This study estimated the burden of community-level self-reported AGI in the Inuit communities of Rigolet, Nunatsiavut, and Iqaluit, Nunavut, Canada. Cross-sectional retrospective surveys captured information on AGI and potential environmental risk factors. Multivariable logistic regression models identified potential AGI risk factors. The annual incidence of AGI ranged from 2·9–3·9 cases/person per year in Rigolet and Iqaluit. In Rigolet, increased spending on obtaining country foods, a homeless person in the house, not visiting a cabin recently, exposure to puppies, and alternative sources of drinking water were associated with increased odds of AGI. In Iqaluit, eating country fish often, exposure to cats, employment status of the person responsible for food preparation, not washing the countertop with soap after preparing meat, a homeless person in the house, and overcrowding were associated with increased odds of AGI. The results highlight the need for systematic data collection to better understand and support previously anecdotal indications of high AGI incidence, as well as insights into unique AGI environmental risk factors in Indigenous populations.
Early life environments interact with genotype to determine stable phenotypic outcomes. Here we examined the influence of a variant in the brain-derived neurotropic factor (BDNF) gene (Val66Met), which underlies synaptic plasticity throughout the central nervous system, on the degree to which antenatal maternal anxiety associated with neonatal DNA methylation. We also examined the association between neonatal DNA methylation and brain substructure volume, as a function of BDNF genotype. Infant, but not maternal, BDNF genotype dramatically influences the association of antenatal anxiety on the epigenome at birth as well as that between the epigenome and neonatal brain structure. There was a greater impact of antenatal maternal anxiety on the DNA methylation of infants with the methionine (Met)/Met compared to both Met/valine (Val) and Val/Val genotypes. There were significantly more cytosine–phosphate–guanine sites where methylation levels covaried with right amygdala volume among Met/Met compared with both Met/Val and Val/Val carriers. In contrast, more cytosine–phosphate–guanine sites covaried with left hippocampus volume in Val/Val infants compared with infants of the Met/Val or Met/Met genotype. Thus, antenatal Maternal Anxiety × BDNF Val66Met Polymorphism interactions at the level of the epigenome are reflected differently in the structure of the amygdala and the hippocampus. These findings suggest that BDNF genotype regulates the sensitivity of the methylome to early environment and that differential susceptibility to specific environmental conditions may be both tissue and function specific.
Laboratory-based surveillance data is essential for monitoring trends in the incidence of enteric disease. Current Canadian human enteric surveillance systems report only confirmed cases of human enteric disease and are often unable to capture the number of negative test results. Data from 9116 hospital stool specimens from the Waterloo Region in Canada, with a mixed urban and rural population of about 500 000 were analysed to investigate the use of stool submission data and its role in reporting bias when determining the incidence of enteric disease. The proportion of stool specimens positive for Campylobacter spp. was highest in the 15–29 years age group, and in the 5–14 years age group for Salmonella spp. and E. coli O157:H7. By contrast, the age-specific incidence rates were highest for all three pathogens in the 0–4 years age group which also had the highest stool submission rate. This suggests that variations in age-specific stool submission rates are influencing current interpretation of surveillance data.
A new spin wavelet transform on the sphere is proposed to analyse the polarisation of the cosmic microwave background (CMB), a spin ± 2 signal observed on the celestial sphere. The scalar directional scale-discretised wavelet transform on the sphere is extended to analyse signals of arbitrary spin. The resulting spin scale-discretised wavelet transform probes the directional intensity of spin signals. A procedure is presented using this new spin wavelet transform to recover E- and B-mode signals from partial-sky observations of CMB polarisation.
Myth and mystery continue to cloud the supersession of Herbert Henry Asquith by David Lloyd George half-way through the First World War. Then, and long afterwards, there was much talk of intrigue and conspiracy, often inspired by those who believed Asquith had been jockeyed out of the premiership by an unholy alliance of low schemers who scrupled at nothing. It is tempting to dismiss such charges as baseless, as the loser's perennial excuse. Yet in the records that have come to light there are enough gaps, irregularities, and teasing hints of suppressed evidence to keep alive old suspicions that some things occurred which many of the participants wished forgotten. Walter (later Viscount) Long, for instance, once wrote to Lord Beaverbrook in response to a request for his version of events: “I have omitted a great deal that happened at the time, as I believe I promised not to mention certain very interesting incidents.” Before he died Long seems to have weeded out of his private papers material relating to Asquith's overthrow. And in a massive three-volume biography of Lord Curzon there are only two slight references to the change of government in 1916, a remarkable feat of omission considering Curzon's role. The biographer, Lord Ronaldshay, later professed innocent astonishment at finding nothing pertinent to this great event in Curzon's voluminous papers. Another minister who was near the center, Herbert (later Viscount) Samuel, appears to have reshaped his chronicle of events in a manner more flattering to himself but less useful to historians.
A population-based study investigated the burden of illness, including the duration of illness associated with laboratory-confirmed cases of campylobacteriosis in two health unit areas. Questionnaire data were collected for 250 cases. The median duration of illness was 8 days and 66% of cases reported symptoms of moderate severity or greater. A Cox proportional hazards model identified antimicrobial use factors associated with a significantly increased rate of symptom resolution (shorter duration of illness): macrolides for less than the recommended number of days, ciprofloxacin for at least 3 days, and antimicrobials not recommended for campylobacteriosis. The impact of antimicrobial use was consistent regardless of when, during the course of illness, the antimicrobial use began. The effectiveness of ciprofloxacin in these results may be due to the low prevalence of resistance to ciprofloxacin in isolates from this study. The effect of antimicrobials not recommended for campylobacteriosis should be further investigated.
Bias is a difference between model and reality. Bias can be introduced at
any stage of the modelling process during a site characterisation or
performance assessment programme. It is desirable to understand such bias so
as to be able to optimally design and interpret a site characterisation
programme. The objective of this study was to examine the source and effect
of bias due to the assumptions modellers have to make because reality cannot
be fully characterised in the prediction of ground-water fluxes. A
well-defined synthetic “reality” was therefore constructed for this study. A
limited subset of these data were independently interpreted and used to
compute groundwater fluxes across specified boundaries in a cross section.
The modelling results were compared to the “true” solutions derived using
the full dataset. This study clarified and identified the large number of
assumptions and judgements which have to be made when modelling a limited
site characterisation dataset. It is concluded that bias is introduced at
each modelling stage, and that it is not necessarily detectable by the
modellers even if multiple runs with varied parameter values are
Establishing the magnitude and frequency of floods within upland catchments on the basis of short-term gauged runoff records is crucially dependent upon the extent to which the record is truly representative. In the case of the River Dee, upstream of Crathie in Aberdeenshire, gauged discharge records are limited in length. Although the middle Dee has been gauged since 1929, the gauge within the upper catchment has only ten years of record. Thus, reliable estimates of the return intervals of extreme floods for this part of the Dee can only be obtained by using a variety of historical sources to extend the flood series.
Long-term rainfall records, where available, provide a valuable independent check on the reconstructed flood series. Such rainfall records, when analysed in terms of the magnitude, frequency and duration of major events, should, in general terms, correspond with the flood series. In this paper, the recurrence interval of extreme rainfalls of varying magnitude and duration in upper Deeside is estimated by extreme value analysis of the annual maximum series. The frequency of rainfall events above varying thresholds is also assessed. The existence of climatic fluctuations giving highly variable recurrence intervals for rainfall events of the same magnitude is demonstrated. Finally, the seasonality of frequent flood-producing storms is analysed. Patterns observed within the rainfall record are compared with those previously established within the historic flood series to substantiate and augment the flood record.
The allostatic load (AL) model represents an interdisciplinary approach to comprehensively conceptualize and quantify chronic stress in relation to pathologies throughout the life cycle. This article first reviews the AL model, followed by interactions among early adversity, genetics, environmental toxins, as well as distinctions among sex, gender, and sex hormones as integral antecedents of AL. We next explore perspectives on severe mental illness, dementia, and caregiving as unique human models of AL that merit future investigations in the field of developmental psychopathology. A complimenting transdisciplinary perspective is applied throughout, whereby we argue that the AL model goes beyond traditional stress–disease theories toward the advancement of person-centered research and practice that promote not only physical health but also mental health.