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Night-migratory songbirds appear to sense the direction of the Earth's magnetic field via radical pair intermediates formed photochemically in cryptochrome flavoproteins contained in photoreceptor cells in their retinas. It is an open question whether this light-dependent mechanism could be sufficiently sensitive given the low-light levels experienced by nocturnal migrants. The scarcity of available photons results in significant uncertainty in the signal generated by the magnetoreceptors distributed around the retina. Here we use results from Information Theory to obtain a lower bound estimate of the precision with which a bird could orient itself using only geomagnetic cues. Our approach bypasses the current lack of knowledge about magnetic signal transduction and processing in vivo by computing the best-case compass precision under conditions where photons are in short supply. We use this method to assess the performance of three plausible cryptochrome-derived flavin-containing radical pairs as potential magnetoreceptors.
The role that vitamin D plays in pulmonary function remains uncertain. Epidemiological studies reported mixed findings for serum 25-hydroxyvitamin D (25(OH)D)–pulmonary function association. We conducted the largest cross-sectional meta-analysis of the 25(OH)D–pulmonary function association to date, based on nine European ancestry (EA) cohorts (n 22 838) and five African ancestry (AA) cohorts (n 4290) in the Cohorts for Heart and Aging Research in Genomic Epidemiology Consortium. Data were analysed using linear models by cohort and ancestry. Effect modification by smoking status (current/former/never) was tested. Results were combined using fixed-effects meta-analysis. Mean serum 25(OH)D was 68 (sd 29) nmol/l for EA and 49 (sd 21) nmol/l for AA. For each 1 nmol/l higher 25(OH)D, forced expiratory volume in the 1st second (FEV1) was higher by 1·1 ml in EA (95 % CI 0·9, 1·3; P<0·0001) and 1·8 ml (95 % CI 1·1, 2·5; P<0·0001) in AA (Prace difference=0·06), and forced vital capacity (FVC) was higher by 1·3 ml in EA (95 % CI 1·0, 1·6; P<0·0001) and 1·5 ml (95 % CI 0·8, 2·3; P=0·0001) in AA (Prace difference=0·56). Among EA, the 25(OH)D–FVC association was stronger in smokers: per 1 nmol/l higher 25(OH)D, FVC was higher by 1·7 ml (95 % CI 1·1, 2·3) for current smokers and 1·7 ml (95 % CI 1·2, 2·1) for former smokers, compared with 0·8 ml (95 % CI 0·4, 1·2) for never smokers. In summary, the 25(OH)D associations with FEV1 and FVC were positive in both ancestries. In EA, a stronger association was observed for smokers compared with never smokers, which supports the importance of vitamin D in vulnerable populations.
To determine the feasibility and value of developing a regional antibiogram for community hospitals.
Multicenter retrospective analysis of antibiograms.
SETTING AND PARTICIPANTS
A total of 20 community hospitals in central and eastern North Carolina and south central Virginia participated in this study.
We combined antibiogram data from participating hospitals for 13 clinically relevant gram-negative pathogen–antibiotic combinations. From this combined antibiogram, we developed a regional antibiogram based on the mean susceptibilities of the combined data.
We combined a total of 69,778 bacterial isolates across 13 clinically relevant gram-negative pathogen–antibiotic combinations (median for each combination, 1100; range, 174–27,428). Across all pathogen–antibiotic combinations, 69% of local susceptibility rates fell within 1 SD of the regional mean susceptibility rate, and 97% of local susceptibilities fell within 2 SD of the regional mean susceptibility rate. No individual hospital had >1 pathogen–antibiotic combination with a local susceptibility rate >2 SD of the regional mean susceptibility rate. All hospitals’ local susceptibility rates were within 2 SD of the regional mean susceptibility rate for low-prevalence pathogens (<500 isolates cumulative for the region).
Small community hospitals frequently cannot develop an accurate antibiogram due to a paucity of local data. A regional antibiogram is likely to provide clinically useful information to community hospitals for low-prevalence pathogens.
Patient days and days present were compared to directly measured person time to quantify how choice of different denominator metrics may affect antimicrobial use rates. Overall, days present were approximately one-third higher than patient days. This difference varied among hospitals and units and was influenced by short length of stay.
To summarize and discuss logistic and administrative challenges we encountered during the Benefits of Enhanced Terminal Room (BETR) Disinfection Study and lessons learned that are pertinent to future utilization of ultraviolet (UV) disinfection devices in other hospitals
Multicenter cluster randomized trial
SETTING AND PARTICIPANTS
Nine hospitals in the southeastern United States
All participating hospitals developed systems to implement 4 different strategies for terminal room disinfection. We measured compliance with disinfection strategy, barriers to implementation, and perceptions from nurse managers and environmental services (EVS) supervisors throughout the 28-month trial.
Implementation of enhanced terminal disinfection with UV disinfection devices provides unique challenges, including time pressures from bed control personnel, efficient room identification, negative perceptions from nurse managers, and discharge volume. In the course of the BETR Disinfection Study, we utilized several strategies to overcome these barriers: (1) establishing safety as the priority; (2) improving communication between EVS, bed control, and hospital administration; (3) ensuring availability of necessary resources; and (4) tracking and providing feedback on compliance. Using these strategies, we deployed ultraviolet (UV) disinfection devices in 16,220 (88%) of 18,411 eligible rooms during our trial (median per hospital, 89%; IQR, 86%–92%).
Implementation of enhanced terminal room disinfection strategies using UV devices requires recognition and mitigation of 2 key barriers: (1) timely and accurate identification of rooms that would benefit from enhanced terminal disinfection and (2) overcoming time constraints to allow EVS cleaning staff sufficient time to properly employ enhanced terminal disinfection methods.
Falconer and MacKay (1996) note that the measurement of a trait in two different environments may be considered as two traits rather than one. In this way it is possible, through the calculation of genetic correlations, to estimate to what extent the two measurements under different conditions are in fact the same characteristic and are determined by the same genes. The widespread use of AI in pig production has faltered due to problems with dilution and cryopreservation of semen and yet an industry split, where breeders and nucleus herds use AI extensively but multipliers and commercial producers do not, is becoming apparent. Reproductive traits are increasingly seen as an important component of overall pig production and while the genetic correlation between reproductive and production traits has been explored, little work has focused on the genotype by environment interaction of such fertility traits. The present study reports the genetic relationship of number born alive (NBA) in litters conceived naturally and by AI, and in rate of weaning to first service (WTFS-1).
Early in the 1980s a selection index was designed at SAC to improve the rate of lean growth in terminal sire sheep which combined ultrasound measurements of fat and muscle depth, and live weight at 150 days of age (Simm and Dingwall, 1989). Beginning in 1985, this index was applied in the SAC Suffolk flock in a performance test. In 1994, rams from a line selected on this index weighed on average 12% more (8 kg) and had 12% lower fat depth (– 0.9 mm) and 10% higher muscle depth (2.9 mm) than rams from an unselected Control line. Comparison of Selection and Control line animals has thus far been based on live predictors of carcass composition at weights substantially heavier than typical market lamb weights. The aims of this study were to test whether selection decisions based on the lean growth index produced an improvement in actual carcass composition in purebred terminal sire sheep and whether these changes persisted at live weights different from those under which selection was carried out.
To determine whether antimicrobial-impregnated textiles decrease the acquisition of pathogens by healthcare provider (HCP) clothing.
We completed a 3-arm randomized controlled trial to test the efficacy of 2 types of antimicrobial-impregnated clothing compared to standard HCP clothing. Cultures were obtained from each nurse participant, the healthcare environment, and patients during each shift. The primary outcome was the change in total contamination on nurse scrubs, measured as the sum of colony-forming units (CFU) of bacteria.
PARTICIPANTS AND SETTING
Nurses working in medical and surgical ICUs in a 936-bed tertiary-care hospital.
Nurse subjects wore standard cotton-polyester surgical scrubs (control), scrubs that contained a complex element compound with a silver-alloy embedded in its fibers (Scrub 1), or scrubs impregnated with an organosilane-based quaternary ammonium and a hydrophobic fluoroacrylate copolymer emulsion (Scrub 2). Nurse participants were blinded to scrub type and randomly participated in all 3 arms during 3 consecutive 12-hour shifts in the intensive care unit.
In total, 40 nurses were enrolled and completed 3 shifts. Analyses of 2,919 cultures from the environment and 2,185 from HCP clothing showed that scrub type was not associated with a change in HCP clothing contamination (P=.70). Mean difference estimates were 0.118 for the Scrub 1 arm (95% confidence interval [CI], −0.206 to 0.441; P=.48) and 0.009 for the Scrub 2 rm (95% CI, −0.323 to 0.342; P=.96) compared to the control. HCP became newly contaminated with important pathogens during 19 of the 120 shifts (16%).
Antimicrobial-impregnated scrubs were not effective at reducing HCP contamination. However, the environment is an important source of HCP clothing contamination.
We performed a spatial-temporal analysis to assess household risk factors for Ebola virus disease (Ebola) in a remote, severely-affected village. We defined a household as a family's shared living space and a case-household as a household with at least one resident who became a suspect, probable, or confirmed Ebola case from 1 August 2014 to 10 October 2014. We used Geographic Information System (GIS) software to calculate inter-household distances, performed space-time cluster analyses, and developed Generalized Estimating Equations (GEE). Village X consisted of 64 households; 42% of households became case-households over the observation period. Two significant space-time clusters occurred among households in the village; temporal effects outweighed spatial effects. GEE demonstrated that the odds of becoming a case-household increased by 4·0% for each additional person per household (P < 0·02) and 2·6% per day (P < 0·07). An increasing number of persons per household, and to a lesser extent, the passage of time after onset of the outbreak were risk factors for household Ebola acquisition, emphasizing the importance of prompt public health interventions that prioritize the most populated households. Using GIS with GEE can reveal complex spatial-temporal risk factors, which can inform prioritization of response activities in future outbreaks.
Depression and obesity are highly prevalent, and major impacts on public health frequently co-occur. Recently, we reported that having depression moderates the effect of the FTO gene, suggesting its implication in the association between depression and obesity.
To confirm these findings by investigating the FTO polymorphism rs9939609 in new cohorts, and subsequently in a meta-analysis.
The sample consists of 6902 individuals with depression and 6799 controls from three replication cohorts and two original discovery cohorts. Linear regression models were performed to test for association between rs9939609 and body mass index (BMI), and for the interaction between rs9939609 and depression status for an effect on BMI. Fixed and random effects meta-analyses were performed using METASOFT.
In the replication cohorts, we observed a significant interaction between FTO, BMI and depression with fixed effects meta-analysis (β=0.12, P = 2.7 × 10−4) and with the Han/Eskin random effects method (P = 1.4 × 10−7) but not with traditional random effects (β = 0.1, P = 0.35). When combined with the discovery cohorts, random effects meta-analysis also supports the interaction (β = 0.12, P = 0.027) being highly significant based on the Han/Eskin model (P = 6.9 × 10−8). On average, carriers of the risk allele who have depression have a 2.2% higher BMI for each risk allele, over and above the main effect of FTO.
This meta-analysis provides additional support for a significant interaction between FTO, depression and BMI, indicating that depression increases the effect of FTO on BMI. The findings provide a useful starting point in understanding the biological mechanism involved in the association between obesity and depression.
Cognitive deficits in schizophrenia have major functional impacts. Modafinil is a cognitive enhancer whose effect in healthy volunteers is well-described, but whose effects on the cognitive deficits of schizophrenia appear to be inconsistent. Two possible reasons for this are that cognitive test batteries vary in their sensitivity, or that the phase of illness may be important, with patients early in their illness responding better.
A double-blind, randomised, placebo-controlled single-dose crossover study of modafinil 200 mg examined this with two cognitive batteries [MATRICS Consensus Cognitive Battery (MCCB) and Cambridge Neuropsychological Test Automated Battery (CANTAB)] in 46 participants with under 3 years’ duration of DSM-IV schizophrenia, on stable antipsychotic medication. In parallel, the same design was used in 28 age-, sex-, and education-matched healthy volunteers. Uncorrected p values were calculated using mixed effects models.
In patients, modafinil significantly improved CANTAB Paired Associate Learning, non-significantly improved efficiency and significantly slowed performance of the CANTAB Stockings of Cambridge spatial planning task. There was no significant effect on any MCCB domain. In healthy volunteers, modafinil significantly increased CANTAB Rapid Visual Processing, Intra-Extra Dimensional Set Shifting and verbal recall accuracy, and MCCB social cognition performance. The only significant differences between groups were in MCCB visual learning.
As in earlier chronic schizophrenia studies, modafinil failed to produce changes in cognition in early psychosis as measured by MCCB. CANTAB proved more sensitive to the effects of modafinil in participants with early schizophrenia and in healthy volunteers. This confirms the importance of selecting the appropriate test battery in treatment studies of cognition in schizophrenia.
Measurements have been made using two different methods of the rate at which the glacier Austerdalsbreen is slipping past its side wall at four sites. The rate of slipping varies from site to site in a way which seems to be connected with the details of glacier flow in the neighbourhood, and in all cases is less than the slip previously measured further up-glacier at the foot of one of the ice falls, and is also a smaller fraction (about one sixth) of the flow rate in the centre of the glacier. One of the methods measured the velocity of the last metre of ice, and this method gave movements which were more erratic than the other method, which measured velocity a few metres from the edge. This suggests that protuberances of rock and boulders lodged between the ice and the rock wall cause local variations in flow which are smoothed out in a few metres. The results are discussed in connection with the process of glacial erosion.
Aerial photography was obtained for the Beaufort Sea north of Tuktoyaktuk. The flight path covered two distinct ice zones over a 15.5 km transect extending perpendicular to the coast, yielding fifty-nine photographs at a scale of 1 : 2000. The process of ridge extraction was automated using a series of computer algorithms for image filtering, edge detection and edge linking. Examples from two different sections along the transect are chosen for presentation: (a) a heavily ridged area, and (b) an area with one dominant linear ridge feature that separates ice cover of different age. Two parameters used in the automated process, a minimum edge gradient and minimum number of connected pixels said to form a continuous ridge segment, influence the number, length and spatial pattern of extracted ridges. Direct one-to-one correlations between manually interpreted ridges from photographs and the algorithm extracted ridges from digital data are not always possible. However, results indicate that the automated ridge extraction procedure reliably characterizes the overall direction and density of the ice ridges. The distribution of the ice-ridge directions is estimated from circular (angular) histograms constructed directly from the digital data. Analysis of the Beaufort Sea transect reveals that the ice ridging is strongly anisotropic, with a principal direction parallel to the local coastline.
To evaluate the impact of multidrug-resistant gram-negative rod (MDR-GNR) infections on mortality and healthcare resource utilization in community hospitals.
Two matched case-control analyses.
Six community hospitals participating in the Duke Infection Control Outreach Network from January 1, 2010, through December 31, 2012.
Adult patients admitted to study hospitals during the study period.
Patients with MDR-GNR bloodstream and urinary tract infections were compared with 2 groups: (1) patients with infections due to nonMDR-GNR and (2) control patients representative of the nonpsychiatric, non-obstetric hospitalized population. Four outcomes were assessed: mortality, direct cost of hospitalization, length of stay, and 30-day readmission rates. Multivariable regression models were created to estimate the effect of MDR status on each outcome measure.
No mortality difference was seen in either analysis. Patients with MDR-GNR infections had 2.03 higher odds of 30-day readmission compared with patients with nonMDR-GNR infections (95% CI, 1.04–3.97, P=.04). There was no difference in hospital direct costs between patients with MDR-GNR infections and patients with nonMDR-GNR infections. Hospitalizations for patients with MDR-GNR infections cost $5,320.03 more (95% CI, $2,366.02–$8,274.05, P<.001) and resulted in 3.40 extra hospital days (95% CI, 1.41–5.40, P<.001) than hospitalizations for control patients.
Our study provides novel data regarding the clinical and financial impact of MDR gram-negative bacterial infections in community hospitals. There was no difference in mortality between patients with MDR-GNR infections and patients with nonMDR-GNR infections or control patients.
We present the first marine reservoir age and δR determination for the island of St. Helena using marine mollusk radiocarbon dates obtained from an historical context of known age. This represents the first marine reservoir age and δR determination in the southern Atlantic Ocean within thousands of kilometers of the island. The depletion of 14C in the shells indicates a rather larger reservoir age for that portion of the surface Atlantic than models indicate. The implication is that upwelling old water along the Namibian coast is transported for a considerable distance, although it is likely to be variable on a decadal timescale. An artilleryman's button, together with other artifacts found in a midden, demonstrate association of the mollusk shells with a narrow historic period of AD 1815-1835.