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Gravitational waves from coalescing neutron stars encode information about nuclear matter at extreme densities, inaccessible by laboratory experiments. The late inspiral is influenced by the presence of tides, which depend on the neutron star equation of state. Neutron star mergers are expected to often produce rapidly rotating remnant neutron stars that emit gravitational waves. These will provide clues to the extremely hot post-merger environment. This signature of nuclear matter in gravitational waves contains most information in the 2–4 kHz frequency band, which is outside of the most sensitive band of current detectors. We present the design concept and science case for a Neutron Star Extreme Matter Observatory (NEMO): a gravitational-wave interferometer optimised to study nuclear physics with merging neutron stars. The concept uses high-circulating laser power, quantum squeezing, and a detector topology specifically designed to achieve the high-frequency sensitivity necessary to probe nuclear matter using gravitational waves. Above 1 kHz, the proposed strain sensitivity is comparable to full third-generation detectors at a fraction of the cost. Such sensitivity changes expected event rates for detection of post-merger remnants from approximately one per few decades with two A+ detectors to a few per year and potentially allow for the first gravitational-wave observations of supernovae, isolated neutron stars, and other exotica.
Gonorrhoea cases in women have been rising in Australia in the 2010s but the cause of the increase is not well understood. This cross-sectional study aimed to describe the characteristics of genital gonorrhoea infection in women attending the Melbourne Sexual Health Centre, Australia. Gonorrhoea cases were diagnosed by nucleic acid amplification test (NAAT) and/or culture. Genitourinary specimens were obtained in 12 869 clinic visits in women aged 16 years or above between August 2017 and August 2018. Genital gonorrhoea was detected in 142 (1.1%) of the visits. Almost half of the cases were asymptomatic, 47.9% [95% confidence interval (CI) 39.8–56.1%]; yellow, green or pus-like vaginal discharge was present in 11.3% (95% CI 7.0–17.6%) and other genital symptoms in 40.8% (95% CI 33.1–49.1%) of the cases. The mean time between last sexual contact and onset of symptoms was 7.3 days and between the onset of symptoms to presentation to the clinic was 12.1 days. Half of the cases of genital gonorrhoea among women are asymptomatic and these cases would have been missed by testing of only symptomatic women. Further epidemiological and behavioural research is required to understand the temporal changes in sexual practices among women in Australia.
The existing literature on chronic pain points to the effects anxiety sensitivity, pain hypervigilance, and pain catastrophizing on pain-related fear; however, the nature of the relationships remains unclear. The three dispositional factors may affect one another in the prediction of pain adjustment outcomes. The addition of one disposition may increase the association between another disposition and outcomes, a consequence known as suppressor effects in statistical terms.
This study examined the possible statistical suppressor effects of anxiety sensitivity, pain hypervigilance and pain catastrophizing in predicting pain-related fear and adjustment outcomes (disability and depression).
Chinese patients with chronic musculoskeletal pain (n = 401) completed a battery of assessments on pain intensity, depression, anxiety sensitivity, pain vigilance, pain catastrophizing, and pain-related fear. Multiple regression analyses assessed the mediating/moderating role of pain hypervigilance. Structural equation modeling (SEM) was used to evaluate suppression effects.
Our results evidenced pain hypervigilance mediated the effects of anxiety sensitivity (Model 1: Sobel z = 4.86) and pain catastrophizing (Model 3: Sobel z = 5.08) on pain-related fear. Net suppression effect of pain catastrophizing on anxiety sensitivity was found in SEM where both anxiety sensitivity and pain catastrophizing were included in the same full model to predict disability (Model 9: CFI = 0.95) and depression (Model 10: CFI = 0.93) (all P < 0.001) (see Figs. 3 and 4, Figs. 1 and 2).
Our findings evidenced that pain hypervigilance mediated the relationship of two dispositional factors, pain catastrophic cognition and anxiety sensitivity, with pain-related fear. The net suppression effects of pain catastrophizing suggest that anxiety sensitivity enhanced the effect of pain catastrophic cognition on pain hypervigilance.
Disclosure of interest
The authors have not supplied their declaration of competing interest.
A body of evidence has accrued supporting the Fear-Avoidance Model (FAM) of chronic pain which postulated the mediating role of pain-related fear in the relationships between pain catastrophizing and pain anxiety in affecting pain-related outcomes. Yet, relatively little data points to the extent to which the FAM be extended to understand chronic pain in Chinese population and its impact on quality of life (QoL).
This study explored the relationships between FAM components and their effects on QoL in a Chinese sample.
A total of 401 Chinese patients with chronic musculoskeletal pain completed measures of three core FAM components (pain catastrophizing, pain-related fear, and pain anxiety) and QoL. Cross-sectional structural equation modeling (SEM) assessed the goodness of fit of the FAM for two QoL outcomes, Physical (Model 1) and Mental (Model 2). In both models, pain catastrophizing was hypothesized to underpin pain-related fear, thereby influencing pain anxiety and subsequently QoL outcomes.
Results of SEM evidenced adequate data-model fit (CFI30.90) for the two models tested (Model 1: CFI = 0.93; Model 2: CFI = 0.94). Specifically, pain catastrophizing significantly predicted pain-related fear (Model 1: stdb = 0.90; Model 2: stdb = 0.91), which in turn significantly predicted pain anxiety (Model 1: stdb = 0.92; Model 2: stdb = 0.929) and QoL outcomes in a negative direction (Model 1: stdb = −0.391; Model 2: stdb = −0.651) (all P < 0.001) (Table 1, Fig. 1).
Our data substantiated the existing FAM literature and offered evidence for the cross-cultural validity of the FAM in the Chinese population with chronic pain.
Disclosure of interest
The authors have not supplied their declaration of competing interest.
The association between methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) colonisation and/or infection with increased morbidity and mortality among hospital patients has long been recognised. We sought to build on previous studies to identify modifiable risk factors associated with the acquisition of MRSA colonisation and infection by conducting a retrospective cohort study on patients admitted through the Emergency Department of an acute tertiary-care general hospital in Singapore which implemented universal on-admission MRSA screening. Patients were assigned to the acquisition or non-acquisition group depending on whether they acquired MRSA during their admission. We used logistic regression models with a patient being in the acquisition group as the binary outcome to identify factors associated with MRSA acquisition. A total of 1302 acquisition and 37 949 non-acquisition group patients were analysed. Fifteen variables were included in the multivariate model. A dose–response relationship between length of stay and odds of MRSA acquisition was observed, with a length of stay 3 weeks or more (Adj OR 11.78–57.36, all P < 0.001) being the single biggest predictor of MRSA acquisition. Other variables significantly associated with MRSA acquisition were: male gender, age 65 or greater, previous MRSA colonisation or infection, exposure to certain antibiotics and surgery, and history of diabetes.
Identifying factors that influence the functional outcome is an important goal in schizophrenia research. The 22q11.2 deletion syndrome (22q11DS) is a unique genetic model with high risk (20–25%) for schizophrenia. This study aimed to identify potentially targetable domains of neurocognitive functioning associated with functional outcome in adults with 22q11DS.
We used comprehensive neurocognitive test data available for 99 adults with 22q11DS (n = 43 with schizophrenia) and principal component analysis to derive four domains of neurocognition (Verbal Memory, Visual and Logical Memory, Motor Performance, and Executive Performance). We then investigated the association of these neurocognitive domains with adaptive functioning using Vineland Adaptive Behavior Scales data and a linear regression model that accounted for the effects of schizophrenia status and overall intellectual level.
The regression model explained 46.8% of the variance in functional outcome (p < 0.0001). Executive Performance was significantly associated with functional outcome (p = 0.048). Age and schizophrenia were also significant factors. The effects of Executive Performance on functioning did not significantly differ between those with and without psychotic illness.
The findings provide the impetus for further studies to examine the potential of directed (early) interventions targeting Executive Performance to improve long-term adaptive functional outcome in individuals with, or at high risk for, schizophrenia. Moreover, the neurocognitive test profiles may benefit caregivers and clinicians by providing insight into the relative strengths and weaknesses of individuals with 22q11DS, with and without psychotic illness.
Since the emergence of Middle East respiratory syndrome coronavirus (MERS-CoV), Singapore has enhanced its national surveillance system to detect the potential importation of this novel pathogen. Using the guidelines from the Singapore Ministry of Health, a suspect case was defined as a person with clinical signs and symptoms suggestive of pneumonia or severe respiratory infection with breathlessness, and with an epidemiological link to countries where MERS-CoV cases had been reported within the preceding 14 days. This report describes a retrospective review of 851 suspected MERS-CoV cases assessed at the adult tertiary-care hospital in Singapore between September 2012 and December 2015. In total, 262 patients (31%) were hospitalized. All had MERS-CoV infection ruled out by RT–PCR or clinical assessment. Two hundred and thirty (88%) of the hospitalized patients were also investigated for influenza virus by RT–PCR. Of these, 62 (27%) tested positive for seasonal influenza. None of the patients with positive influenza results had been vaccinated in the year prior to hospital admission. Ninety-three (36%) out of the 262 hospitalized patients had clinical and/or radiological evidence of pneumonia. This study demonstrates the potential benefits of pre-travel vaccination against influenza and pneumococcal disease.
Chinese psychiatrists have gradually started to focus on those who are deemed to be at ‘clinical high-risk (CHR)’ for psychosis; however, it is still unknown how often those individuals identified as CHR from a different country background than previously studied would transition to psychosis. The objectives of this study are to examine baseline characteristics and the timing of symptom onset, help-seeking, or transition to psychosis over a 2-year period in China.
The presence of CHR was determined with the Structured Interview for Prodromal Syndromes (SIPS) at the participants' first visit to the mental health services. A total of 86 (of 117) CHR participants completed the clinical follow-up of at least 2 years (73.5%). Conversion was determined using the criteria of presence of psychotic symptoms (in SIPS). Analyses examined baseline demographic and clinical predictors of psychosis and trajectory of symptoms over time. Survival analysis (Kaplan–Meier) methods along with Log-rank tests were performed to illustrate the relationship of baseline data to either conversion or non-conversion over time. Cox regression was performed to identify baseline predictors of conversion by the 2-year follow-up.
In total 25 (29.1%) of 86 completers transitioned to a psychotic disorder over the course of follow-up. Among the CHR sample, the mean time between attenuated symptom onset and professional help-seeking was about 4 months on average, and converters developed fully psychotic symptoms about 12 months after symptom onset. Compared with those CHR participants whose risk syndromes remitted over the course of the study, converters had significantly longer delays (p = 0.029) for their first visit to a professional in search of help. At baseline assessment, the conversion subgroup was younger, had poorer functioning, higher total SIPS positive symptom scores, longer duration of untreated prodromal symptoms, and were more often given psychosis-related diagnoses and subsequently prescribed antipsychotics in the clinic.
Chinese CHR identified primarily by a novel clinical screening approach had a 2-year transition rate comparable with those of specialised help-seeking samples world-wide. Early clinical intervention with this functionally deteriorating clinical population who are suffering from attenuated psychotic symptoms, is a next step in applying the CHR construct in China.
Hospital-acquired methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (HA-MRSA) is becoming increasingly established in Asian hospitals. The primary aim of this study was to decompose the risk factors for HA-MRSA based on conceptual clinical pathways. The secondary aim was to show the amount of effect attributable to antibiotic exposure and total length of stay before outcome (LBO) so that institutions can manage at-risk patients accordingly. A case-control study consisting of 1200 inpatients was conducted in a large tertiary hospital in Singapore between January and December 2006. Results from the generalized structural equation model (GSEM) show that LBO [adjusted odds ratio (aOR) 14·9, 95% confidence interval (CI) 8·7–25·5], prior hospitalization (aOR 6·2, 95% CI 3·3–11·5), and cumulative antibiotic exposure (aOR 3·5, 95% CI 2·3–5·3), directly affected HA-MRSA acquisition. LBO accounted for the majority of the effects due to age (100%), immunosuppression (67%), and surgery (96%), and to a lesser extent for male gender (22%). Our model enabled us to account and quantify effects of intermediaries. LBO was found to be an important mediator of age, immunosuppression and surgery on MRSA infection. Traditional regression approaches will not only give different conclusions but also underestimate the effects. Hospitals should minimize the hospital stay when possible to reduce the risk of MRSA.
Immunoglobulin A (IgA) is a predominant immunoglobulin present in human breast milk and is known to play an important role in infant gut immunity maturation. Breast milk composition varies between populations, but the environmental and maternal factors responsible for these variations are still unclear. We examined the relationship between different exposures and levels of IgA in colostrum. The objective of this study was to examine whether exposures analysed influence levels of IgA in colostrum. The present study used 294 colostrum samples from the MecMilk International cohort, collected from women residing in London, Moscow and Verona. Samples were analysed in automated Abbott Architect Analyser. We found an inverse correlation between time postpartum and colostrum total IgA level (r=−0.49, P<0.001). Adjusting for maternal parity, smoking, fresh fruit and fish consumption and allergen sensitization, multiple regression model showed that IgA levels were influenced by colostrum collection time (P<0.0001) and country of collection (P<0.01). Mode of delivery influence did not appear to be significant in univariate comparisons, once adjusted for the above maternal characteristics it showed a significant influence on total IgA (P=0.01). We conclude that the concentration of IgA in colostrum drops rapidly after birth and future studies should always consider this factor in analysis. IgA concentration varied significantly between countries, with the highest level detected in Moscow and lowest in Verona. Mode of delivery effect should be confirmed on larger cohorts. Further work is needed to determine ways to correct for IgA decline over time in colostrum, and to find the cause of variations in IgA levels between the countries.
On 30 May 2012, Surrey and Sussex Health Protection Unit was called by five nurseries reporting children and staff with sudden onset vomiting approximately an hour after finishing their lunch that day. Over the following 24 h 50 further nurseries supplied by the same company reported cases of vomiting (182 children, 18 staff affected). Epidemiological investigations were undertaken in order to identify the cause of the outbreak and prevent further cases. Investigations demonstrated a nursery-level attack rate of 55 out of 87 nurseries (63·2%, 95% confidence interval 52·2–73·3). Microbiological tests confirmed the presence of Bacillus cereus in food and environmental samples from the catering company and one nursery. This was considered microbiologically and epidemiologically consistent with toxin from this bacterium causing the outbreak. Laboratory investigations showed that the conditions used by the caterer for soaking of pearl haricot beans (known as navy bean in the USA) used in one of the foods supplied to the nurseries prior to cooking, was likely to have provided sufficient growth and toxin production of B. cereus to cause illness. This large outbreak demonstrates the need for careful temperature control in food preparation.
The rapid rise in syphilis cases has prompted a number of public health campaigns to assist men who have sex with men (MSM) recognize and present early with symptoms. This study aimed to investigate the temporal trend of the duration of self-report symptoms and titre of rapid plasma reagin (RPR) in MSM with infectious syphilis. Seven hundred and sixty-one syphilis cases in MSM diagnosed at the Melbourne Sexual Health Centre (MSHC) from 2007–2013 were reviewed. Median duration of symptoms and RPR titres in each year were calculated. The median durations of symptoms with primary and secondary syphilis were 9 [interquartile range (IQR) 6–14] days and 14 (IQR 7–30) days, respectively. The overall median titre of RPR in secondary syphilis (median 128, IQR 64–256) was higher than in primary syphilis (median 4, IQR 1–32) and in early latent syphilis (median 32, IQR 4–64). The median duration of symptoms for primary syphilis, secondary syphilis and titre of RPR level did not change over time. Public health campaigns were not associated with a significant shorter time from onset of symptoms to treatment. Alternative strategies such as more frequent testing of MSM should be promoted to control the syphilis epidemic in Australia.
In this study, we report on the synthesis of gallium nitride (GaN) nanopowders on boron nitride (BN) substrates both with and without the use of metal catalyst by chemical vapor deposition (CVD). The synthesis process is based on the reaction between gallium (Ga) atoms from the decomposition of gallium acetylacetonate and ammonia (NH3) gas molecules. Using this process, gallium nitride (GaN) nanopowders have been synthesized at temperatures as low as 400°C, lower than previously reported. The grown nanopowders were characterized by SEM, EDX and TEM. Analysis reveals that higher yields were obtained by treating the BN substrates with Ni catalyst. Experiments to study the effect of growth conditions on the morphology of the nanopowders and analyze the growth mechanism are ongoing.
We evaluate the performance capabilities and limitations of high voltage 4H-SiC based Bipolar Junction Transistors (BJTs). Experimental forward characteristics of a 4kV BJT are studied and simulations are employed to determine the factors behind the higher than expected specific on-resistance (Ron,sp) for the device. The impact of material (minority carrier lifetimes), processing (surface recombination velocity) and design (p contact spacing from the emitter mesa) parameters on the forward active performance of this device are discussed and ways to lower Ron,sp, below the unipolar level, and increase the gain (β) are examined. A correlation between the open base blocking behavior (forward blocking) and the current gain (forward active) for 4H-SiC based high-voltage BJTs with lightly doped collector regions is presented and experimental device characteristics are utilized to verify our numerical analysis.
We report on the visible and infrared emission characteristics of Er-doped III-N lightemitting diodes (LEDs). Quantum well-like device structures were grown through a combination of metal-organic chemical vapor deposition (MOCVD) and molecular beam epitaxy (MBE) on cplane sapphire substrates. The dual stage growth process was used to take advantage of the high quality of AlGaN layers produced by MOCVD and in situ doping of Er during MBE growth. The multilayer structures were processed into devices and LEDs with different sizes and geometric shapes were produced. Electroluminescence (EL) was observed under either forward or reverse bias conditions. Visible and infrared spectra displayed narrow emission lines representative of the Er3+ system. The temperature dependence of the spectra, which were measured from 100K to 300K, showed a stability in the visible emission intensity but a sharp decrease in the infrared intensity at room temperature. Based on light output vs current measurements, estimates of the excitation cross-section were obtained for visible EL emission.
ZnO thin films have been epitaxially grown on r-plane sapphire by RF-plasma-assisted molecular beam epitaxy. X-ray diffraction (XRD) and transmission electron microscopy (TEM) studies indicate that the epitaxial relationship between ZnO and r-plane sapphire is (1120)ZnO // (1102)sapphire and ZnO // sapphire. Atomic force microscopy measurements reveal islands extended along the sapphire  direction. XRD omega rocking curves for the ZnO (1120) reflection measured either parallel or perpendicular to the island direction suggest the defect density anisotropy along these directions. Due to the small lattice mismatch along the ZnO  direction, few misfit dislocations were observed at the ZnO/Al2O3 interface in the high-resolution cross-sectional TEM image with the zone axis along the ZnO  direction.
The periodic silane burst technique was employed during metalorganic chemical vapor deposition of epitaxial GaN on AlN buffer layers grown on Si (111). Periodic silicon delta doping during growth of both the AlN and GaN layers led to growth of GaN films with decreased tensile stresses and decreased threading dislocation densities, as well as films with improved quality as indicated by x-ray diffraction, micro-Raman spectroscopy, atomic force microscopy, and transmission electron microscopy. The possible mechanism of the reduction of tensile stress and the dislocation density is discussed in the paper.
Chemical coprecipitation was employed to prepare fine particles of barium ferrite with high coercivity (450 kA/m). Magnetic properties of the bonded barium ferrite magnet were measured at different temperatures. The results were found to be fairly close to the theoretical values based on the Stoner–Wohlfarth model. Mechanical milling was utilized to prepare ultrafine dispersed barium ferrite particles. NaF was introduced as a dispersing agent during milling and subsequent heat treatment. The dispersed particles were compacted and then subjected to die upsetting at room temperature. A weak anisotropy in the coercivity and remanence was found in the directions parallel and perpendicular to the compaction direction.
Resonance Tunneling Diodes (RTDs) are devices that can demonstrate very highspeed operation. Typically they have been fabricated using epitaxial techniques and materials not consistent with standard commercial integrated circuits. We report here the first demonstration of SiO2-Si-SiO2 RTDs. These new structures were fabricated using novel combinations of silicon integrated circuit processes.