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The rocky shores of the north-east Atlantic have been long studied. Our focus is from Gibraltar to Norway plus the Azores and Iceland. Phylogeographic processes shape biogeographic patterns of biodiversity. Long-term and broadscale studies have shown the responses of biota to past climate fluctuations and more recent anthropogenic climate change. Inter- and intra-specific species interactions along sharp local environmental gradients shape distributions and community structure and hence ecosystem functioning. Shifts in domination by fucoids in shelter to barnacles/mussels in exposure are mediated by grazing by patellid limpets. Further south fucoids become increasingly rare, with species disappearing or restricted to estuarine refuges, caused by greater desiccation and grazing pressure. Mesoscale processes influence bottom-up nutrient forcing and larval supply, hence affecting species abundance and distribution, and can be proximate factors setting range edges (e.g., the English Channel, the Iberian Peninsula). Impacts of invasive non-native species are reviewed. Knowledge gaps such as the work on rockpools and host–parasite dynamics are also outlined.
Shiga toxin-producing Escherichia coli (STEC) infection can cause serious illness including haemolytic uraemic syndrome. The role of socio-economic status (SES) in differential clinical presentation and exposure to potential risk factors amongst STEC cases has not previously been reported in England. We conducted an observational study using a dataset of all STEC cases identified in England, 2010–2015. Odds ratios for clinical characteristics of cases and foodborne, waterborne and environmental risk factors were estimated using logistic regression, stratified by SES, adjusting for baseline demographic factors. Incidence was higher in the highest SES group compared to the lowest (RR 1.54, 95% CI 1.19–2.00). Odds of Accident and Emergency attendance (OR 1.35, 95% CI 1.10–1.75) and hospitalisation (OR 1.71, 95% CI 1.36–2.15) because of illness were higher in the most disadvantaged compared to the least, suggesting potential lower ascertainment of milder cases or delayed care-seeking behaviour in disadvantaged groups. Advantaged individuals were significantly more likely to report salad/fruit/vegetable/herb consumption (OR 1.59, 95% CI 1.16–2.17), non-UK or UK travel (OR 1.76, 95% CI 1.40–2.27; OR 1.85, 95% CI 1.35–2.56) and environmental exposures (walking in a paddock, OR 1.82, 95% CI 1.22–2.70; soil contact, OR 1.52, 95% CI 2.13–1.09) suggesting other unmeasured risks, such as person-to-person transmission, could be more important in the most disadvantaged group.
Recent commercialization of auxin herbicide–based weed control systems has led to increased off-target exposure of susceptible cotton cultivars to auxin herbicides. Off-target deposition of dilute concentrations of auxin herbicides can occur on cotton at any stage of growth. Field experiments were conducted at two locations in Mississippi from 2014 to 2016 to assess the response of cotton at various growth stages after exposure to a sublethal 2,4-D concentration of 8.3 g ae ha−1. Herbicide applications occurred weekly from 0 to 14 weeks after emergence (WAE). Cotton exposure to 2,4-D at 2 to 9 WAE resulted in up to 64% visible injury, whereas 2,4-D exposure 5 to 6 WAE resulted in machine-harvested yield reductions of 18% to 21%. Cotton maturity was delayed after exposure 2 to 10 WAE, and height was increased from exposure 6 to 9 WAE due to decreased fruit set after exposure. Total hand-harvested yield was reduced from 2,4-D exposure 3, 5 to 8, and 13 WAE. Growth stage at time of exposure influenced the distribution of yield by node and position. Yield on lower and inner fruiting sites generally decreased from exposure, and yield partitioned to vegetative or aborted positions and upper fruiting sites increased. Reductions in gin turnout, micronaire, fiber length, fiber-length uniformity, and fiber elongation were observed after exposure at certain growth stages, but the overall effects on fiber properties were small. These results indicate that cotton is most sensitive to low concentrations of 2,4-D during late vegetative and squaring growth stages.
The introduction of auxin herbicide weed control systems has led to increased occurrence of crop injury in susceptible soybeans and cotton. Off-target exposure to sublethal concentrations of dicamba can occur at varying growth stages, which may affect crop response. Field experiments were conducted in Mississippi in 2014, 2015, and 2016 to characterize cotton response to a sublethal concentration of dicamba equivalent to 1/16X the labeled rate. Weekly applications of dicamba at 35 g ae ha−1 were made to separate sets of replicated plots immediately following planting until 14 wk after emergence (WAE). Exposure to dicamba from 1 to 9 WAE resulted in up to 32% visible injury, and exposure from 7 to 10 WAE delayed crop maturity. Exposure from 8 to 10 and 13 WAE led to increased cotton height, while an 18% reduction in machine-harvested yield resulted from exposure at 6 WAE. Cotton exposure at 3 to 9 WAE reduced the seed cotton weight partitioned to position 1 fruiting sites, while exposure at 3 to 6 WAE also reduced yield in position 2 fruiting sites. Exposure at 2, 3, and 5 to 7 WAE increased the percent of yield partitioned to vegetative branches. An increase in percent of yield partitioned to plants with aborted terminals occurred following exposure from 3 to 7 WAE and corresponded with reciprocal decreases in yield partitioned to positional fruiting sites. Minimal effects were observed on fiber quality, except for decreases in fiber length uniformity resulting from exposure at 9 and 10 WAE.
In August 2015, Public Health England detected an outbreak of Shiga toxin-producing Escherichia coli (STEC) serotype O157:H7 caused by contaminated salad leaves in a mixed leaf prepacked salad product from a national retailer. The implicated leaves were cultivated at five different farms and the zoonotic source of the outbreak strain was not determined. In March 2016, additional isolates from new cases were identified that shared a recent common ancestor with the outbreak strain. A case–case study involving the cases identified in 2016 revealed that ovine exposures were associated with illness (n = 16; AOR 8·24; 95% CI 1·55–39·74). By mapping the recent movement of sheep and lambs across the United Kingdom, epidemiological links were established between the cases reporting ovine exposures. Given the close phylogenetic relationship between the outbreak strain and the isolates from cases with ovine exposures, it is plausible that ovine faeces may have contaminated the salad leaves via untreated irrigation water or run-off from fields nearby. Timely and targeted veterinary and environmental sampling should be considered during foodborne outbreaks of STEC, particularly where ready to eat vegetables and salads are implicated.
Fetal growth restriction (FGR) and preterm birth are frequent co-morbidities, both are independent risks for brain injury. However, few studies have examined the mechanisms by which preterm FGR increases the risk of adverse neurological outcomes. We aimed to determine the effects of prematurity and mechanical ventilation (VENT) on the brain of FGR and appropriately grown (AG, control) lambs. We hypothesized that FGR preterm lambs are more vulnerable to ventilation-induced acute brain injury. FGR was surgically induced in fetal sheep (0.7 gestation) by ligation of a single umbilical artery. After 4 weeks, preterm lambs were euthanized at delivery or delivered and ventilated for 2 h before euthanasia. Brains and cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) were collected for analysis of molecular and structural indices of early brain injury. FGRVENT lambs had increased oxidative cell damage and brain injury marker S100B levels compared with all other groups. Mechanical ventilation increased inflammatory marker IL-8 within the brain of FGRVENT and AGVENT lambs. Abnormalities in the neurovascular unit and increased blood–brain barrier permeability were observed in FGRVENT lambs, as well as an altered density of vascular tight junctions markers. FGR and AG preterm lambs have different responses to acute injurious mechanical ventilation, changes which appear to have been developmentally programmed in utero.
The purpose of this study was to evaluate a programme of lesion surgery carried out on patients with treatment-resistant depression (TRD).
This was a retrospective study looking at clinical and psychometric data from 45 patients with TRD who had undergone bilateral stereotactic anterior capsulotomy surgery over a period of 15 years, with the approval of the Mental Health Act Commission (37 with unipolar depression and eight with bipolar disorder). The Beck Depression Inventory (BDI) before and after surgery was used as the primary outcome measure. The Montgomery–Asberg Depression Rating Scale was administered and cognitive aspects of executive and memory functions were also examined. We carried out a paired-samples t test on the outcome measures to determine any statistically significant change in the group as a consequence of surgery.
Patients improved on the clinical measure of depression after surgery by −21.20 points on the BDI with a 52% change. There were no significant cognitive changes post-surgery. Six patients were followed up in 2013 by phone interview and reported a generally positive experience. No major surgical complications occurred.
With the limitations of an uncontrolled, observational study, our data suggest that capsulotomy can be an effective treatment for otherwise TRD. Performance on neuropsychological tests did not deteriorate.
Fifteen confirmed cases and 15 possible cases of Shiga toxin-producing Escherichia coli (STEC) O157 phage type 21/28 were linked to direct contact with lambs at a ‘Lambing Live’ event in the North West of England between 29 March and 21 April 2014. Twenty-one (70%) of the cases were female, 23 (77%) were children aged <16 years, of whom 14 (46%) were in the 0–5 years age group. Five children developed haemolytic uraemic syndrome. Multilocus variable number tandem repeat analysis (MLVA) profiles on 14 human cases were indistinguishable, and 6/10 animal isolates had a MLVA profile identical to the outbreak profile. Whole-genome sequencing analysis revealed that all isolates, both human and animal, fell within a 5-single nucleotide polymorphism cluster indicating the isolates belonged to the same point source. On inspection of the premises, extensive and uncontrolled physical contact between visitors and animals was occuring within the animal pens and during bottle-feeding. Public areas were visibly contaminated with animal faeces. Information to visitors, and the infection control awareness demonstrated by staff, was inadequate. Managing the risk to visitors of STEC O157 infection at animal petting events and open farms requires implementation of stringent control measures by the operator, as outlined in the industry code of practice. Enforcement action is sometimes required to prevent high-risk activities taking place at both permanent and temporary attractions.
Echinococcus granulosus (sensu lato) is now recognized as an assemblage of cryptic species, which differ considerably in morphology, development, host specificity (including infectivity/pathogenicity for humans) and other aspects. One of these species, E. granulosus sensu stricto (s.s.), is now clearly identified as the principal agent causing cystic echinococcosis in humans. Previous studies of a small section of the cox1 and nadh1 genes identified two variants of E. granulosus s.s. to be present in Australia; however, no further work has been carried out to characterize the microdiversity of the parasite in its territory. We have analysed the sequence of the full length of the cox1 gene (1609 bp) from 37 isolates of E. granulosus from different hosts and geographic regions of Australia. The analysis shows that seven haplotypes of E. granulosus s.s. not previously described were found, together with five haplotypes known to be present in other parts of the world, including the haplotype EG01 which is widespread and present in all endemic regions. These data extend knowledge related to the geographical spread and host range of E. granulosus s.s. in a country such as Australia in which the parasite established around 200 years ago.
Five cases of STEC O157 phage type (PT) 21/28 reported consumption of raw cows' drinking milk (RDM) produced at a dairy farm in the South West of England. STEC O157 PT21/28 was isolated from faecal specimens from milking cows on the implicated farm. Whole genome sequencing (WGS) showed that human and cattle isolates were the same strain. Further analysis of WGS data confirmed that sequences of isolates from an additional four cases (who did not report consumption of RDM when first questioned) fell within the same five single nucleotide polymorphism cluster as the initial five cases epidemiologically linked to the consumption of RDM. These four additional cases identified by WGS were investigated further and were, ultimately, associated with the implicated farm. The RDM outbreak strain encoded stx2a, which is associated with increased pathogenicity and severity of symptoms. Further epidemiological analysis showed that 70% of isolates within a wider cluster containing the outbreak strain were from cases residing in, or linked to, the same geographical region of England. During this RDM outbreak, use of WGS improved case ascertainment and provided insights into the evolution of a highly pathogenic clade of STEC O157 PT21/28 stx2a associated with the South West of England.
Recent meta-analyses of resting-state networks in major depressive disorder (MDD) implicate network disruptions underlying cognitive and affective features of illness. Heterogeneity of findings to date may stem from the relative lack of data parsing clinical features of MDD such as phase of illness and the burden of multiple episodes.
Resting-state functional magnetic resonance imaging data were collected from 17 active MDD and 34 remitted MDD patients, and 26 healthy controls (HCs) across two sites. Participants were medication-free and further subdivided into those with single v. multiple episodes to examine disease burden. Seed-based connectivity using the posterior cingulate cortex (PCC) seed to probe the default mode network as well as the amygdala and subgenual anterior cingulate cortex (sgACC) seeds to probe the salience network (SN) were conducted.
Young adults with remitted MDD demonstrated hyperconnectivity of the left PCC to the left inferior frontal gyrus and of the left sgACC to the right ventromedial prefrontal cortex (PFC) and left hippocampus compared with HCs. Episode-independent effects were observed between the left PCC and the right dorsolateral PFC, as well as between the left amygdala and right insula and caudate, whereas the burden of multiple episodes was associated with hypoconnectivity of the left PCC to multiple cognitive control regions as well as hypoconnectivity of the amygdala to large portions of the SN.
This is the first study of a homogeneous sample of unmedicated young adults with a history of adolescent-onset MDD illustrating brain-based episodic features of illness.
Various foods are associated with effects against metabolic diseases such as insulin resistance and type 2 diabetes; however, their mechanisms of action are mostly unclear. Fatty acids may contribute by acting as precursors of signalling molecules or by direct activity on receptors. The medium- and long-chain NEFA receptor FFA1 (free fatty acid receptor 1, previously known as GPR40) has been linked to enhancement of glucose-stimulated insulin secretion, whereas FFA4 (free fatty acid receptor 4, previously known as GPR120) has been associated with insulin-sensitising and anti-inflammatory effects, and both receptors are reported to protect pancreatic islets and promote secretion of appetite and glucose-regulating hormones. Hypothesising that FFA1 and FFA4 mediate therapeutic effects of dietary components, we screened a broad selection of NEFA on FFA1 and FFA4 and characterised active compounds in concentration–response curves. Of the screened compounds, pinolenic acid, a constituent of pine nut oil, was identified as a relatively potent and efficacious dual FFA1/FFA4 agonist, and its suitability for further studies was confirmed by additional in vitro characterisation. Pine nut oil and free and esterified pure pinolenic acid were tested in an acute glucose tolerance test in mice. Pine nut oil showed a moderately but significantly improved glucose tolerance compared with maize oil. Pure pinolenic acid or ethyl ester gave robust and highly significant improvements of glucose tolerance. In conclusion, the present results indicate that pinolenic acid is a comparatively potent and efficacious dual FFA1/FFA4 agonist that exerts antidiabetic effects in an acute mouse model. The compound thus deserves attention as a potential active dietary ingredient to prevent or counteract metabolic diseases.
We propose an analytical model for the determination of the microstructure and stresses in a sheared suspension that consists of a dense monolayer of identical spheres in a viscous fluid. We calculate the anisotropy in the orientational distribution of spheres, associated with a short-range repulsive force assumed to act between the spheres, and a particle pressure and normal stress difference that result from this anisotropy. The microstructure and stresses are similar to those measured in Stokesian dynamics simulations.
Many serogroups of Shiga toxin-producing Escherichia coli (STEC) other than serogroup O157 (non-O157 STEC), for example STEC O26:H11, are highly pathogenic and capable of causing haemolytic uraemic syndrome. A recent increase in non-O157 STEC cases identified in England, resulting from a change in the testing paradigm, prompted a review of the current methods available for detection and typing of non-O157 STEC for surveillance and outbreak investigations. Nineteen STEC O26:H11 strains, including four from a nursery outbreak were selected to assess typing methods. Serotyping and multilocus sequence typing were not able to discriminate between the stx-producing strains in the dataset. However, genome sequencing provided rapid and robust confirmation that isolates of STEC O26:H11 associated with a nursery outbreak were linked at the molecular level, had a common source and were distinct from the other strains analysed. Virulence gene profiling of DNA extracted from a polymerase chain reaction (PCR)-positive/culture-negative faecal specimen from a case that was epidemiologically linked to the STEC O26:H11 nursery outbreak, provided evidence at the molecular level to support that link. During this study, we describe the utility of PCR and the genome sequencing approach in facilitating surveillance and enhancing the response to outbreaks of non-O157 STEC.
Hospitalizations for acute bacterial skin and skin structure infection (ABSSSI) are common. Optimizing antibiotic use for ABSSSIs requires an understanding of current management. The objective of this study was to evaluate antibiotic prescribing practices and factors affecting prescribing in a diverse group of hospitals
Multicenter, retrospective cohort study.
Seven community and academic hospitals.
Children and adults hospitalized between June 2010 and May 2012 for cellulitis, wound infection, or cutaneous abscess were eligible. The primary endpoint was a composite of 2 prescribing practices representing potentially avoidable antibiotic exposure: (1) use of antibiotics with a broad spectrum of activity against gram-negative bacteria or (2) treatment duration greater than 10 days.
A total of 533 cases were included: 320 with nonpurulent cellulitis, 44 with wound infection or purulent cellulitis, and 169 with abscess. Of 492 cases with complete prescribing data, the primary endpoint occurred in 394 (80%) cases and varied significantly across hospitals (64%–97%; P < .001). By logistic regression, independent predictors of the primary endpoint included wound infection or purulent cellulitis (odds ratio [OR], 5.12 [95% confidence interval (CI)], 1.46–17.88), head or neck involvement (OR, 2.83 [95% CI, 1.17–6.82]), adult cases (OR, 2.20 [95% CI, 1.18–4.11]), and admission to a community hospital (OR, 1.90 [95% CI, 1.05–3.44]).
Among patients hospitalized for ABSSSI, use of antibiotics with broad gram-negative activity or treatment courses longer than 10 days were common. There may be substantial opportunity to reduce antibiotic exposure through shorter courses of therapy targeting gram-positive bacteria.
Infect Control Hosp Epidemiol 2014;35(10):1241–1250
Echinococcus species are important parasites of wildlife, domestic animals and people worldwide; however, little is known about the prevalence, intensity and genetic diversity of Echinococcus tapeworms in Canadian wildlife. Echinococcus tapeworms were harvested from the intestines of 42% of 93 wolves (Canis lupus) from five sampling regions in the Northwest Territories, Manitoba and Saskatchewan, and visually identified to genus level by microscopic examination. Genetic characterization was successful for tapeworms from 30 wolves, and identified both Echinococcus canadensis and Echinococcus multilocularis in all sampling locations. Mixed infections of E. canadensis/E. multilocularis, as well as the G8/G10 genotypes of E. canadensis were observed. These findings suggest that wolves may be an important definitive host for both parasite species in western Canada. This represents the first report of wolves naturally infected with E. multilocularis in North America, and of wolves harbouring mixed infections with multiple species and genotypes of Echinococcus. These observations provide important information regarding the distribution and diversity of zoonotic species of Echinococcus in western North America, and may be of interest from public health and wildlife conservation perspectives.
The aim of this study was to retrospectively assess the value of whole genome sequencing (WGS) compared to conventional typing methods in the investigation and control of an outbreak of Shigella sonnei in the Orthodox Jewish (OJ) community in the UK. The genome sequence analysis showed that the strains implicated in the outbreak formed three phylogenetically distinct clusters. One cluster represented cases associated with recent exposure to a single strain, whereas the other two clusters represented related but distinct strains of S. sonnei circulating in the OJ community across the UK. The WGS data challenged the conclusions drawn during the initial outbreak investigation and allowed cases of dysentery to be implicated or ruled out of the outbreak that were previously misclassified. This study showed that the resolution achieved using WGS would have clearly defined the outbreak, thus facilitating the promotion of infection control measures within local schools and the dissemination of a stronger public health message to the community.