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Studies on neighbourhood characteristics and depression show equivocal results.
This large-scale pooled analysis examines whether urbanisation, socioeconomic, physical and social neighbourhood characteristics are associated with the prevalence and severity of depression.
Cross-sectional design including data are from eight Dutch cohort studies (n= 32 487). Prevalence of depression, either DSM-IV diagnosis of depressive disorder or scoring for moderately severe depression on symptom scales, and continuous depression severity scores were analysed. Neighbourhood characteristics were linked using postal codes and included (a) urbanisation grade, (b) socioeconomic characteristics: socioeconomic status, home value, social security beneficiaries and non-Dutch ancestry, (c) physical characteristics: air pollution, traffic noise and availability of green space and water, and (d) social characteristics: social cohesion and safety. Multilevel regression analyses were adjusted for the individual's age, gender, educational level and income. Cohort-specific estimates were pooled using random-effects analysis.
The pooled analysis showed that higher urbanisation grade (odds ratio (OR) = 1.05, 95% CI 1.01–1.10), lower socioeconomic status (OR = 0.90, 95% CI 0.87–0.95), higher number of social security beneficiaries (OR = 1.12, 95% CI 1.06–1.19), higher percentage of non-Dutch residents (OR = 1.08, 95% CI 1.02–1.14), higher levels of air pollution (OR = 1.07, 95% CI 1.01–1.12), less green space (OR = 0.94, 95% CI 0.88–0.99) and less social safety (OR = 0.92, 95% CI 0.88–0.97) were associated with higher prevalence of depression. All four socioeconomic neighbourhood characteristics and social safety were also consistently associated with continuous depression severity scores.
This large-scale pooled analysis across eight Dutch cohort studies shows that urbanisation and various socioeconomic, physical and social neighbourhood characteristics are associated with depression, indicating that a wide range of environmental aspects may relate to poor mental health.
Influenza and respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) are common causes of respiratory tract infections and place a burden on health services each winter. Systems to describe the timing and intensity of such activity will improve the public health response and deployment of interventions to these pressures. Here we develop early warning and activity intensity thresholds for monitoring influenza and RSV using two novel data sources: general practitioner out-of-hours consultations (GP OOH) and telehealth calls (NHS 111). Moving Epidemic Method (MEM) thresholds were developed for winter 2017–2018. The NHS 111 cold/flu threshold was breached several weeks in advance of other systems. The NHS 111 RSV epidemic threshold was breached in week 41, in advance of RSV laboratory reporting. Combining the use of MEM thresholds with daily monitoring of NHS 111 and GP OOH syndromic surveillance systems provides the potential to alert to threshold breaches in real-time. An advantage of using thresholds across different health systems is the ability to capture a range of healthcare-seeking behaviour, which may reflect differences in disease severity. This study also provides a quantifiable measure of seasonal RSV activity, which contributes to our understanding of RSV activity in advance of the potential introduction of new RSV vaccines.
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 explore the associations of absolute and relative measures of exposure to food retailers with dietary patterns, using simpler and more complex measures.
Urban regions in Belgium, France, Hungary, the Netherlands and the UK.
European adults (n 4942). Supermarkets and local food shops were classified as ‘food retailers providing healthier options’; fast-food/takeaway restaurants, cafés/bars and convenience/liquor stores as ‘food retailers providing less healthy options’. Simpler exposure measures used were density of healthy and density of less healthy food retailers. More complex exposure measures used were: spatial access (combination of density and proximity) to healthy and less healthy food retailers; density of healthier food retailers relative to all food retailers; and a ratio of spatial access scores to healthier and less healthy food retailers. Outcome measures were a healthy or less healthy dietary pattern derived from a principal component analysis (based on consumption of fruits, vegetables, fish, fast foods, sweets and sweetened beverages).
Only the highest density of less healthy food retailers was significantly associated with the less healthy dietary pattern (β = −129·6; 95 % CI −224·3, −34·8). None of the other absolute density measures nor any of the relative measures of exposures were associated with dietary patterns.
More complex measures of exposure to food retailers did not produce stronger associations with dietary patterns. We had some indication that absolute and relative measures of exposure assess different aspects of the food environment. However, given the lack of significant findings, this needs to be further explored.
The pre-requisites for nutritional management of dairy cows are information about how much feed is being consumed as well as the nutrients that are being derived from that feed. Studies of feed intake and nutrient supply have been limited by difficult experimental techniques, particularly with grazing animals. The models derived from much earlier work are of only general applicability and there is a need for more site-specific information in order to benefit further from conceptual advances.
We have adopted a different approach to studying herbage intake and nutrient supply, using less-invasive approaches as well as techniques that monitor more accessible aspects of these processes, such as jaw movements. These techniques have a major advantage, in addition to their value as research tools, because they could translate directly into commercial applications in on-farm monitoring. The use of diagnostics and behavioural recording is well explored in relation to health monitoring; here we argue for its potential to advance the application of knowledge about grazing and nutrition. We will illustrate this approach using our experiences in measuring grazing behaviour, using IGER behaviour recorders and assessing rumen function, using a series of non-invasive techniques.
The IGER grazing behaviour recorder allows us to record jaw movements and hence grazing and ruminating time and bite dynamics. It also allows the recording of steps and is now being developed to incorporate non-invasive rumen state sensors. It has made a major contribution to our understanding of the foraging strategies of grazing animals and their effect on herbage intake. This technology has the potential to be developed for on-farm monitoring of foraging behaviour providing valuable inputs to the prediction of herbage intake, in decision support systems for grazing.
The introduction of concept of protein degradation and microbial synthesis in the rumen are significant advances in protein rationing schemes. However, real progress has been limited because the lack of consistent experimental results means that models have little relevance to specific farm situations. We foresee considerable opportunities to monitor products of rumen degradation and synthesis that appear in milk (e.g. odd-chain fatty acids) or breath (e.g. sulphides).
Taken together these technologies open the possibilities of an entirely new approach to nutritional management of dairy cows, with site-specific recommendations based on information gathered using new sensors that are incorporated into computerised feeding equipment and milking parlours.
The concept of palatability occurs frequently in studies of voluntary food intake and diet selection (see for example the numerous references in Forbes, 1986). The purpose of this paper is to suggest that the concept is of limited value. Four major areas are considered. The first is that of definition, as the term is often used in an ambiguous manner. Secondly, the use of palatability as a food descriptor is challenged since it is essentially an animal rather than a food characteristic. Thirdly, the usefulness of the concept is challenged in the context of its evolutionary and ecological significance. Finally, it is contended that the response of the animal is not necessarily a good measure either of the stimulus received or of the resulting internal state.
To develop sustainable grazing systems, an understanding of the complex interactions between competing plant species and grazing herbivores is needed. An understanding of dietary preference is a prerequisite to predicting how much and from which plant species animals select. This work initially concentrated on dietary preferences of sheep grazing perennial ryegrass and white clover swards and was then extended to other animal species to test the generality of our findings.
Grazing is a natural process affecting the composition and structure of plant communities and is widely considered to be an essential nature conservation tool. However, our understanding of the interrelations between grazing by large herbivores and biodiversity is relatively poor. Nature conservation imperatives, to control succession, for example, mean that practice has moved ahead of the science knowledge base on grazing. This gap now needs to be bridged. Improving our understanding of and ability to predict consequences of manipulating grazing pressure, duration, type and/or mix of large herbivore on biodiversity outcomes are particular issues that we are addressing.
Assessment of the quality characteristics of meat is time consuming and, due to the heterogeneity of muscle tissue, is subject to considerable variability. A cheap, fast, accurate and non-destructive method of assessment of meat with the potential to predict subsequent quality, would be useful to the meat industry. Near infra red spectroscopy (NIRS) offers this potential for rapid quality assessment and has been shown to be a valuble tool in the evaluation of a variety of meats (Cozzolino et al 1996)
Twenty beef bulls were selected from a commercial herd. Ten bulls (group US) were fed a standard barley-based ration consisting of (g kg–1 DM) barley, 900; GFS Beef 34 protein pellets, 100. Ten bulls (group S) were fed an identical ration supplemented with α-tocopherol acetate (ATA). The average daily intake of these diets was 10 kg DM head-1 d-1 over 100 days prior to slaughter.
Periods of storage and release of surface runoff that is routed englacially and subglacially are identified from a time series of cumulative water balance between 31 July and 11 September 1999 at Findelengletscher, Switzerland. The influence of subglacial hydrology on water routing within the glacier, and therefore on trends of water storage and release, is determined through comparisons of phase relationships between daily maxima, daily minima and diurnal ranges of borehole water levels, supraglacial runoff and proglacial discharge. Variations of water levels in 21 boreholes in the ablation zone suggest that although subglacial drainage is spatially dynamic, hydrologically efficient tunnel–conduit-style drainage dominates diurnal cycles of water transfer through the glacier. Over longer periods, however, storage and release of subglacially routed water is greatly influenced by the coexistence of, and temporary interconnections between, hydrologically inefficient distributed drainage and the tunnel–conduit network. Water levels in three boreholes indicate that after water storage increases in distributed drainage, hydraulic gradients between the different drainage systems may increase sufficiently to cause connections that initiate release of water when: (1) low maximum daily surface runoff causes low water pressures in the tunnel–conduit system; or (2) reorganization within distributed drainage causes spatially localized increases in water pressure.
Seasonal respiratory illnesses present a major burden on primary care services. We assessed the burden of respiratory illness on a national telehealth system in England and investigated the potential for providing early warning of respiratory infection. We compared weekly laboratory reports for respiratory pathogens with telehealth calls (NHS 111) between week 40 in 2013 and week 29 in 2015. Multiple linear regression was used to identify which pathogens had a significant association with respiratory calls. Children aged <5 and 5–14 years, and adults over 65 years were modelled separately as were time lags of up to 4 weeks between calls and laboratory specimen dates. Associations with respiratory pathogens explained over 83% of the variation in cold/flu, cough and difficulty breathing calls. Based on the first two seasons available, the greatest burden was associated with respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) and influenza, with associations found in all age bands. The most sensitive signal for influenza was calls for ‘cold/flu’, whilst for RSV it was calls for cough. The best-fitting models showed calls increasing a week before laboratory specimen dates. Daily surveillance of these calls can provide early warning of seasonal rises in influenza and RSV, contributing to the national respiratory surveillance programme.
Microwave radar amplitude within a snowpack can be strongly influenced by spatial variability of internal layer boundaries. We quantify the impact of spatial averaging of snow stratigraphy and physical snowpack properties on surface scattering from near-nadir frequency-modulated continuous-wave radar at 12–18 GHz. Relative permittivity, density, grain size and stratigraphic boundaries were measured in-situ at high resolution along the length of a 9 m snow trench. An optimal range of horizontal averaging (4–6 m) was identified to attribute variations in surface scattering at layer boundaries to dielectric contrasts estimated from centimetre-scale measurements of snowpack stratigraphy and bulk layer properties. Single vertical profiles of snowpack properties seldom captured the complex local variability influencing near-nadir radar surface scattering. We discuss implications of scaling in-situ measurements for snow radiative transfer modelling and evaluation of airborne microwave remote sensing of snow.
Zinc is an important micronutrient, essential in the diet to avoid a variety of conditions associated with malnutrition such as diarrhoea and alopecia. Lowered circulating levels of zinc are also found in diabetes mellitus, a condition which affects one in twelve of the adult population and whose treatments consume approximately 10 % of healthcare budgets. Zn2+ ions are essential for a huge range of cellular functions and, in the specialised pancreatic β-cell, for the storage of insulin within the secretory granule. Correspondingly, genetic variants in the SLC30A8 gene, which encodes the diabetes-associated granule-resident Zn2+ transporter ZnT8, are associated with an altered risk of type 2 diabetes. Here, we focus on (i) recent advances in measuring free zinc concentrations dynamically in subcellular compartments, and (ii) studies dissecting the role of intracellular zinc in the control of glucose homeostasis in vitro and in vivo. We discuss the effects on insulin secretion and action of deleting or over-expressing Slc30a8 highly selectively in the pancreatic β-cell, and the role of zinc in insulin signalling. While modulated by genetic variability, healthy levels of dietary zinc, and hence normal cellular zinc homeostasis, are likely to play an important role in the proper release and action of insulin to maintain glucose homeostasis and lower diabetes risk.
Course viability requires dealing with issues of adequate class size, diversity of academic background and goals, English fluency, heavy content and more. To this end, for thirteen years a consortium of five Virginia universities, including an HBCU, has shared a first-year graduate course on materials characterization. The journey began with just classroom co-presence. The present state includes common-server availability of materials (presentation slides, background articles, e-books), of content-delivery lectures (“full flip”) and of recorded class sessions (all). The most significant current issue is making effective use of the extensive in-class discussion time now made available by flipping.
In addition to short sleep duration, reduced sleep quality is also associated with appetite control. The present study examined the effect of sleep fragmentation, independent of sleep duration, on appetite profiles and 24 h profiles of hormones involved in energy balance regulation. A total of twelve healthy male subjects (age 23 (sd 4) years, BMI 24·4 (sd 1·9) kg/m2) completed a 24 h randomised crossover study in which sleep (23.30–07.30 hours) was either fragmented or non-fragmented. Polysomnography was used to determine rapid-eye movement (REM) sleep, slow-wave sleep (SWS) and total sleep time (TST). Blood samples were taken at baseline and continued hourly for the 24 h period to measure glucose, insulin, ghrelin, leptin, glucagon-like peptide 1 (GLP-1) and melatonin concentrations. In addition, salivary cortisol levels were measured. Visual analogue scales were used to score appetite-related feelings. Sleep fragmentation resulted in reduced REM sleep (69·4 min compared with 83·5 min; P< 0·05) and preservation of SWS without changes in TST. In fragmented v. non-fragmented sleep, glucose concentrations did not change, while insulin secretion was decreased in the morning, and increased in the afternoon (P< 0·05), and GLP-1 concentrations and fullness scores were lower (P< 0·05). After dinner, desire-to-eat ratings were higher after fragmented sleep (P< 0·05). A single night of fragmented sleep, resulting in reduced REM sleep, induced a shift in insulin concentrations, from being lower in the morning and higher in the afternoon, while GLP-1 concentrations and fullness scores were decreased. These results may lead to increased food intake and snacking, thus contributing to a positive energy balance.
We give here a group extension sequence for calculating, for a non-simply-connected space X, the group of self-homotopy-equivalence classes which induce the identity automorphism of the fundamental group, that is the kernel of the representation → aut (π1(X)). This group extension sequence gives in terms of , where Xn is the n-th stage of a Postnikov decomposition. As special cases, we calculate for non-simply-connected spaces having at most two non-trivial homotopy groups, in dimensions 1 and n, as the unit group of a semigroup structure on ; and we calculate up to extension for non-simply-connected spaces having at most three non-trivial homotopy groups. The group is, for nice spaces, isomorphic to the groups and of self-homotopy-equivalence classes of X in the categories top*M and top M, respectively, where X→M = K1(π1(X)) is a top fibration which determines an isomorphism of the fundamental group; and our results are obtained initially in topM.
Deaths in England attributable to pandemic (H1N1) 2009 deaths were investigated through a mandatory reporting system. The pandemic came in two waves. The second caused greater population mortality than the first (5·4 vs. 1·6 deaths per million, P<0·001). Mortality was particularly high in those with chronic neurological disease, chronic heart disease and immune suppression (450, 100, and 94 deaths per million, respectively); significantly higher than in those with chronic respiratory disease (39 per million) and those with no risk factors (2·4 per million). Greater mortality in the second wave has been observed in all previous influenza pandemics. This time, the explanation appears to be behavioural. This emphasizes the importance of maintaining public and clinical awareness of risks associated with pandemic influenza beyond the initial high-profile period.
The solid-liquid interfacial free energies of each of the individual phases comprising the eutectic system, Carbon Tetrabromide-Hexachloroethane, were measured as a function of composition using a “grain boundary groove” technique. Thermodynamic data were combined with groove shape measurements made from high resolution optical photomicrographs of the solid-liquid interfaces to give the interfacial free energy data. An interfacial free energy balance at the eutectic trijunction was performed to obtain all the forces acting on that point. The three interphase interfacial free energies at the eutectic trijunctions as well as a solid-solid phase boundary torque were evaluated.
It was found that the solid-liquid interfacial free energies of the two phases of the eutectic could be evaluated from photomicrographs of growing or stationary eutectic interfaces. In addition, it was found that for a substantial range of freezing conditions the eutectic interface shape can be predicted from a knowledge of the interfacial free energies alone.