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ZnFe2O4 (ZFO) represents a promising anode material for lithium ion batteries, but there is still a lack of deep understanding of the fundamental reduction mechanism associated with this material. In this paper, the complete visualization of reduction/oxidation products irrespective of their crystallinity was achieved experimentally through a compilation of in situ X-ray diffraction, synchrotron based powder diffraction, and ex-situ X-ray absorption fine structure data. Complementary theoretical modelling study further shed light upon the fundamental understanding of the lithiation mechanism, especially at the early stage from ZnFe2O4 up to LixZnFe2O4 (x = 2).
Established methods of recruiting population controls for case–control studies to investigate gastrointestinal disease outbreaks can be time consuming, resulting in delays in identifying the source or vehicle of infection. After an initial evaluation of using online market research panel members as controls in a case–control study to investigate a Salmonella outbreak in 2013, this method was applied in four further studies in the UK between 2014 and 2016. We used data from all five studies and interviews with members of each outbreak control team and market research panel provider to review operational issues, evaluate risk of bias in this approach and consider methods to reduce confounding and bias. The investigators of each outbreak reported likely time and cost savings from using market research controls. There were systematic differences between case and control groups in some studies but no evidence that conclusions on the likely source or vehicle of infection were incorrect. Potential selection biases introduced by using this sampling frame and the low response rate are unclear. Methods that might reduce confounding and some bias should be balanced with concerns for overmatching. Further evaluation of this approach using comparisons with traditional methods and population-based exposure survey data is recommended.
The longstanding association between the major histocompatibility complex (MHC) locus and schizophrenia (SZ) risk has recently been accounted for, partially, by structural variation at the complement component 4 (C4) gene. This structural variation generates varying levels of C4 RNA expression, and genetic information from the MHC region can now be used to predict C4 RNA expression in the brain. Increased predicted C4A RNA expression is associated with the risk of SZ, and C4 is reported to influence synaptic pruning in animal models.
Based on our previous studies associating MHC SZ risk variants with poorer memory performance, we tested whether increased predicted C4A RNA expression was associated with reduced memory function in a large (n = 1238) dataset of psychosis cases and healthy participants, and with altered task-dependent cortical activation in a subset of these samples.
We observed that increased predicted C4A RNA expression predicted poorer performance on measures of memory recall (p = 0.016, corrected). Furthermore, in healthy participants, we found that increased predicted C4A RNA expression was associated with a pattern of reduced cortical activity in middle temporal cortex during a measure of visual processing (p < 0.05, corrected).
These data suggest that the effects of C4 on cognition were observable at both a cortical and behavioural level, and may represent one mechanism by which illness risk is mediated. As such, deficits in learning and memory may represent a therapeutic target for new molecular developments aimed at altering C4’s developmental role.
An outbreak of respiratory diphtheria occurred in two health districts in the province of KwaZulu-Natal in South Africa in 2015. A multidisciplinary outbreak response team was involved in the investigation and management of the outbreak. Fifteen cases of diphtheria were identified, with ages ranging from 4 to 41 years. Of the 12 cases that were under the age of 18 years, 9 (75%) were not fully immunized for diphtheria. The case fatality was 27%. Ninety-three household contacts, 981 school or work contacts and 595 healthcare worker contacts were identified and given prophylaxis against Corynebacterium diphtheriae infection. A targeted vaccination campaign for children aged 6–15 years was carried out at schools in the two districts. The outbreak highlighted the need to improve diphtheria vaccination coverage in the province and to investigate the feasibility of offering diphtheria vaccines to healthcare workers.
Although repeatedly associated with white matter microstructural alterations, bipolar disorder (BD) has been relatively unexplored using complex network analysis. This method combines structural and diffusion magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) to model the brain as a network and evaluate its topological properties. A group of highly interconnected high-density structures, termed the ‘rich-club’, represents an important network for integration of brain functioning. This study aimed to assess structural and rich-club connectivity properties in BD through graph theory analyses.
We obtained structural and diffusion MRI scans from 42 euthymic patients with BD type I and 43 age- and gender-matched healthy volunteers. Weighted fractional anisotropy connections mapped between cortical and subcortical structures defined the neuroanatomical networks. Next, we examined between-group differences in features of graph properties and sub-networks.
Patients exhibited significantly reduced clustering coefficient and global efficiency, compared with controls globally and regionally in frontal and occipital regions. Additionally, patients displayed weaker sub-network connectivity in distributed regions. Rich-club analysis revealed subtly reduced density in patients, which did not withstand multiple comparison correction. However, hub identification in most participants indicated differentially affected rich-club membership in the BD group, with two hubs absent when compared with controls, namely the superior frontal gyrus and thalamus.
This graph theory analysis presents a thorough investigation of topological features of connectivity in euthymic BD. Abnormalities of global and local measures and network components provide further neuroanatomically specific evidence for distributed dysconnectivity as a trait feature of BD.
This study investigated comparatively the pathogenicity of experimental infection of mice and guinea pigs, with Angiostrongylus mackerrasae and the closely related species A. cantonensis. Time course analyses showed that A. mackerrasae causes eosinophilic meningitis in these hosts, which suggests that the species has the potential to cause meningitis in humans and domestic animals. Both A. mackerrasae and the genetically similar A. cantonensis caused eosinophilic meningitis in mice at two time points of 14 and 21 days post infection (dpi). The brain lesions in mice infected with A. mackerrasae were more granulomatous in nature and the parasites were more likely to appear degenerate compared with lesions caused by A. cantonensis. This may indicate that the mouse immune system eliminates A. mackerrasae infection more effectively. The immunologic responses of mice infected with the two Angiostrongylus species was compared by assessing ex vivo stimulated spleen derived T cells and cytokines including interferon-gamma, interleukin 4 and interleukin 17 on 14 and 21 dpi. The results were similar for mice infected with A. cantonensis and A. mackerrasae. Serum from the infected animals with either A. cantonensis or A. mackerrasae recognized total soluble antigen of A. cantonensis female worms on Western blot.
The triennial report of Commission 19 was composed from the contributions of its members. Space does not permit a listing of their names, but their contributions are sincerely appreciated. Unfortunately because of limited space it is also not possible to provide in this report the extensive list of publication of the Commission members. The list of publications is however available on the Commission 19 web site at maia.usno.navy.mil/iauc19.
The burden and aetiology of type 2 diabetes (T2D) and its microvascular complications may be influenced by varying behavioural and lifestyle environments as well as by genetic susceptibility. These aspects of the epidemiology of T2D have not been reliably clarified in sub-Saharan Africa (SSA), highlighting the need for context-specific epidemiological studies with the statistical resolution to inform potential preventative and therapeutic strategies. Therefore, as part of the Human Heredity and Health in Africa (H3Africa) initiative, we designed a multi-site study comprising case collections and population-based surveys at 11 sites in eight countries across SSA. The goal is to recruit up to 6000 T2D participants and 6000 control participants. We will collect questionnaire data, biophysical measurements and biological samples for chronic disease traits, risk factors and genetic data on all study participants. Through integrating epidemiological and genomic techniques, the study provides a framework for assessing the burden, spectrum and environmental and genetic risk factors for T2D and its complications across SSA. With established mechanisms for fieldwork, data and sample collection and management, data-sharing and consent for re-approaching participants, the study will be a resource for future research studies, including longitudinal studies, prospective case ascertainment of incident disease and interventional studies.
The Durban Diabetes Study (DDS) is a population-based cross-sectional survey of an urban black population in the eThekwini Municipality (city of Durban) in South Africa. The survey combines health, lifestyle and socioeconomic questionnaire data with standardised biophysical measurements, biomarkers for non-communicable and infectious diseases, and genetic data. Data collection for the study is currently underway and the target sample size is 10 000 participants. The DDS has an established infrastructure for survey fieldwork, data collection and management, sample processing and storage, managed data sharing and consent for re-approaching participants, which can be utilised for further research studies. As such, the DDS represents a rich platform for investigating the distribution, interrelation and aetiology of chronic diseases and their risk factors, which is critical for developing health care policies for disease management and prevention. For data access enquiries please contact the African Partnership for Chronic Disease Research (APCDR) at firstname.lastname@example.org or the corresponding author.
Impracticality and cost of existing pain management strategies during surgical castration of beef cattle have limited their widespread implementation on-farm. A farmer-applied topical anaesthetic formulation, originally developed and used commercially to mitigate the pain of mulesing in lambs, was investigated for its potential use for managing pain in surgically castrated calves. This formulation contained lidocaine, bupivacaine, adrenalin and cetrimide. In this study, 24 Angus bull calves were randomly allocated to (1) surgical castration (C, n=8), (2) surgical castration with the post-operative application of topical anaesthetic (CTA, n=8) and (3) sham castration/control (CON, n=8). The experiment was conducted over 2 days, with treatment groups evenly represented across each day. Calves were habituated to handling before the experiment and blood samples were collected for plasma cortisol measurement at defined time periods before, at and post treatment, (at −0.5, 0 h, then +0.5, 1, 1.5, 2, 4 and 6 h). There was a significant effect of time on cortisol concentrations across all treatment groups (P<0.01), with lowest concentrations at −0.5 and 6 h and peak concentration at 0.5 h being significantly higher than the cortisol response at 0 h. The effect of treatment was not significant (P=0.077), however, there was a trend for CON calves to display lower cortisol concentrations than C and CTA calves and CTA calves to display lower cortisol concentrations than C calves. The mean area under the curve (AUC) of CON calves was significantly lower than those of C and CTA calves (P=0.04), however, there was no significant difference between the AUCs of CTA and C calves. Immediate application of topical anaesthetic after surgical castration did not significantly reduce plasma cortisol concentrations. However, the trend for CTA calves to display lower cortisol concentrations than C calves warrants further investigation into the use of TA for pain relief of surgically castrated beef calves.
This review identifies and examines the clinical application of risk prediction tools, including the American Society of Anaesthesiology (ASA) Classification System and POSSUM-based scores, in the older general surgical patient. Predicting outcomes in this patient group remains difficult; it is challenging to design a risk prediction tool that will apply to both emergency and elective surgery and that remains valid across the wide age range that this patient group encompasses. Risk prediction tools can have benefit but should be used in conjunction with the clinical assessment of those experienced in the care of this challenging patient group.
Genetic selection for milking speed is feasible. The existence of a correlation structure between milking speed and milk yield, however, necessitates a selection strategy to increase milking speed with no repercussion on genetic merit for milk yield. Residual milking duration (RMD) and residual milking duration including somatic cell score (RMDS), defined as the residuals from a regression model of milking duration on milk yield or milk yield plus somatic cell score (SCS) have been advocated. The objective of this study was to undertake a first ever genetic analysis of these novel traits. Data on electronically recorded milking duration and other milking characteristics from 235 005 test-day records on 74 608 cows in 1075 Irish dairy herds were available. Variance components for the milking characteristic traits were estimated using animal linear mixed models and covariances with other performance traits, including udder-related type traits, were estimated using sire models. The heritability of milking duration, RMD and RMDS was 0.20, 0.22 and 0.18, respectively. There were little differences in the heritability of RMD or RMDS when defined using genetic regression. The genetic standard deviation of RMDS defined on the phenotypic or genetic level was 36.8 s and 37.6 s, respectively, clearly indicating considerable exploitable genetic variation in milking duration independent of both milk yield and SCS. The genetic correlation between phenotypically derived RMDS and milk yield was favourable (−0.43), but RMDS was unfavourably genetically correlated with SCS (−0.30); the genetic correlations with both traits when RMDS was defined at a genetic level were zero. RMDS defined at the phenotypic level was negatively (i.e. unfavourable) genetically correlated (−0.35; s.e. = 0.15) with mastitis; however, when defined using genetic regression, shorter RMDS was not associated with greater expected incidence of mastitis. RMDS, defined at the genetic level, is a useful heritable trait with ample genetic variation for inclusion in a national breeding strategy without influencing genetic gain in either milk yield or udder health.
We sought to explain seasonality and other aspects of Campylobacter jejuni epidemiology by integrating population genetic and epidemiological analysis in a large 3-year longitudinal, two-centre, population-based study. Epidemiological information was collected for 1505 isolates, which were multilocus sequence-typed. Analyses compared pathogen population structure between areas, over time, and between clinical presentations. Pooled analysis was performed with published international datasets. Subtype association with virulence was not observed. UK sites had nearly identical C. jejuni populations. A clade formed by ST45 and ST283 clonal complexes showed a summer peak. This clade was common in a Finnish dataset but not in New Zealand and Australian collections, countries with less marked seasonality. The UK, New Zealand and Australian collections were otherwise similar. These findings map to known in-vitro differences of this clade. This identifies a target for studies to elucidate the drivers of the summer peak in human C. jejuni infection.
To study the molecular epidemiology of vancomycin-resistant Enterococcus (VRE) colonization and to identify modifiable risk factors among patients with hematologic malignancies.
A hematology-oncology unit with high prevalence of VRE colonization.
Patients with hematologic malignancies and hematopoietic stem cell transplantation recipients admitted to the hospital.
Patients underwent weekly surveillance by means of perianal swabs for VRE colonization and, if colonized, were placed in contact isolation. We studied the molecular epidemiology in fecal and blood isolates by pulsed-field gel electrophoresis over a 1-year period. We performed a retrospective case-control study over a 3-year period. Cases were defined as patients colonized by VRE, and controls were defined as patients negative for VRE colonization. Case patients and control patients were matched by admitting service and length of observation time.
Molecular genotyping demonstrated the primarily polyclonal nature of VRE isolates. Colonization occurred at a median of 14 days. Colonized patients were characterized by longer hospital admissions. Previous use of ceftazidime was associated with VRE colonization (P < .001), while use of intravenous vancomycin and antibiotics with anaerobic activity did not emerge as a risk factor. There was no association with neutropenia or presence of colonic mucosal disruption, and severity of illness was similar in both groups.
Molecular studies showed that in the majority of VRE-colonized patients the strains were unique, arguing that VRE acquisition was sporadic rather than resulting from a common source of transmission. Patient-specific factors, including prior antibiotic exposure, rather than breaches in infection control likely predict for risk of fecal VRE colonization.