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We examine necessary and sufficient conditions for recurrence and positive recurrence of a class of irreducible, level-dependent quasi-birth-and-death (LDQBD) processes with a block tridiagonal structure that exhibits asymptotic convergence in the rows as the level tends to infinity. These conditions are obtained by exploiting a multi-dimensional Lyapunov drift approach, along with the theory of generalized Markov group inverses. Additionally, we highlight analogies to well-known average drift results for level-independent quasi-birth-and-death (QBD) processes.
Filarial nematodes possess glutathione transferases (GSTs), ubiquitous enzymes with the potential to detoxify xenobiotic and endogenous substrates, and modulate the host immune system, which may aid worm infection establishment, maintenance and survival in the host. Here we have identified and characterized a σ class glycosylated GST (OoGST1), from the cattle-infective filarial nematode Onchocerca ochengi, which is homologous (99% amino acid identity) with an immunodominant GST and potential vaccine candidate from the human parasite, O. volvulus, (OvGST1b). Onchocerca ochengi native GSTs were purified using a two-step affinity chromatography approach, resolved by 2D and 1D SDS-PAGE and subjected to enzymic deglycosylation revealing the existence of at least four glycoforms. A combination of lectin-blotting and mass spectrometry (MS) analyses of the released N-glycans indicated that OoGST1 contained mainly oligomannose Man5GlcNAc2 structure, but also hybrid- and larger oligommanose-type glycans in a lower proportion. Furthermore, purified OoGST1 showed prostaglandin synthase activity as confirmed by Liquid Chromatography (LC)/MS following a coupled-enzyme assay. This is only the second reported and characterized glycosylated GST and our study highlights its potential role in host-parasite interactions and use in the study of human onchocerciasis.
Household surveys are one of the most commonly used tools for generating insight into rural communities. Despite their prevalence, few studies comprehensively evaluate the quality of data derived from farm household surveys. We critically evaluated a series of standard reported values and indicators that are captured in multiple farm household surveys, and then quantified their credibility, consistency and, thus, their reliability. Surprisingly, even variables which might be considered ‘easy to estimate’ had instances of non-credible observations. In addition, measurements of maize yields and land owned were found to be less reliable than other stationary variables. This lack of reliability has implications for monitoring food security status, poverty status and the land productivity of households. Despite this rather bleak picture, our analysis also shows that if the same farm households are followed over time, the sample sizes needed to detect substantial changes are in the order of hundreds of surveys, and not in the thousands. Our research highlights the value of targeted and systematised household surveys and the importance of ongoing efforts to improve data quality. Improvements must be based on the foundations of robust survey design, transparency of experimental design and effective training. The quality and usability of such data can be further enhanced by improving coordination between agencies, incorporating mixed modes of data collection and continuing systematic validation programmes.
Electron and proton microprobes, along with electron backscatter diffraction (EBSD) analysis were used to study the microstructure of the contemporary Al–Cu–Li alloy AA2099-T8. In electron probe microanalysis, wavelength and energy dispersive X-ray spectrometry were used in parallel with soft X-ray emission spectroscopy (SXES) to characterize the microstructure of AA2099-T8. The electron microprobe was able to identify five unique compositions for constituent intermetallic (IM) particles containing combinations of Al, Cu, Fe, Mn, and Zn. A sixth IM type was found to be rich in Ti and B (suggesting TiB2), and a seventh IM type contained Si. EBSD patterns for the five constituent IM particles containing Al, Cu, Fe, Mn, and Zn indicated that they were isomorphous with four phases in the 2xxx series aluminium alloys including Al6(Fe, Mn), Al13(Fe, Mn)4 (two slightly different compositions), Al37Cu2Fe12 and Al7Cu2Fe. SXES revealed that Li was present in some constituent IM particles. Al SXES mapping revealed an Al-enriched (i.e., Cu, Li-depleted) zone in the grain boundary network. From the EBSD analysis, the kernel average misorientation map showed higher levels of localized misorientation in this region, suggesting greater deformation or stored energy. Proton-induced X-ray emission revealed banding of the TiB2 IM particles and Cu inter-band enrichment.
Early life exposures affect health and disease across the life course and potentially across multiple generations. The Clinical and Translational Research Institutes (CTSIs) offer an opportunity to utilize and link existing databases to conduct lifespan research.
A survey with Lifespan Domain Taskforce expert input was created and distributed to lead lifespan researchers at each of the 64 CTSIs. The survey requested information regarding institutional databases related to early life exposure, child-maternal health, or lifespan research.
Of 64 CTSI, 88% provided information on a total of 130 databases. Approximately 59% (n=76/130) had an associated biorepository. Longitudinal data were available for 72% (n=93/130) of reported databases. Many of the biorepositories (n=44/76; 68%) have standard operating procedures that can be shared with other researchers.
The majority of CTSI databases and biorepositories focusing on child-maternal health and lifespan research could be leveraged for lifespan research, increased generalizability and enhanced multi-institutional research in the United States.
The Patagonian toothfish, Dissostichus eleginoides, is a valuable fishery species and has a discontinuous distribution across the Southern Ocean. Identification of the genetic stock structure of toothfish would allow evaluation of the suitability of the spatial scale at which fisheries management operates. Genetic subdivision seems likely given the species distribution. Population genetics studies of this species have been performed; however, they have been limited by sample size, spatial coverage and/or the type of markers investigated. As a potential solution, we developed methods for extracting toothfish DNA from otoliths that are available in large numbers from collections held at several research institutes. Genetic differentiation between the three oceanic sectors was investigated. Four mitochondrial and four nuclear markers with multiple single nucleotide polymorphisms were sequenced by high throughput sequencing for samples from six locations. Genetic differentiation was found between three sectors with nuclear markers. However, only the Pacific sector was differentiated from other sectors with mitochondrial markers. This study demonstrates the usefulness of otolith DNA as a means of increasing sample sizes for population genetics research of fish. Additionally, the combination of nuclear and mitochondrial markers may allow insight into how the observed differences in movements between male and female toothfish impact population structure.
The aim of this study was to examine cross-sectionally whether higher cardiorespiratory fitness (CRF) might favorably modify amyloid-β (Aβ)-related decrements in cognition in a cohort of late-middle-aged adults at risk for Alzheimer’s disease (AD). Sixty-nine enrollees in the Wisconsin Registry for Alzheimer’s Prevention participated in this study. They completed a comprehensive neuropsychological exam, underwent 11C Pittsburgh Compound B (PiB)-PET imaging, and performed a graded treadmill exercise test to volitional exhaustion. Peak oxygen consumption (VO2peak) during the exercise test was used as the index of CRF. Forty-five participants also underwent lumbar puncture for collection of cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) samples, from which Aβ42 was immunoassayed. Covariate-adjusted regression analyses were used to test whether the association between Aβ and cognition was modified by CRF. There were significant VO2peak*PiB-PET interactions for Immediate Memory (p=.041) and Verbal Learning & Memory (p=.025). There were also significant VO2peak*CSF Aβ42 interactions for Immediate Memory (p<.001) and Verbal Learning & Memory (p<.001). Specifically, in the context of high Aβ burden, that is, increased PiB-PET binding or reduced CSF Aβ42, individuals with higher CRF exhibited significantly better cognition compared with individuals with lower CRF. In a late-middle-aged, at-risk cohort, higher CRF is associated with a diminution of Aβ-related effects on cognition. These findings suggest that exercise might play an important role in the prevention of AD. (JINS, 2015, 21, 841–850)
In the United States alone, ∼14,000 children are hospitalised annually with acute heart failure. The science and art of caring for these patients continues to evolve. The International Pediatric Heart Failure Summit of Johns Hopkins All Children’s Heart Institute was held on February 4 and 5, 2015. The 2015 International Pediatric Heart Failure Summit of Johns Hopkins All Children’s Heart Institute was funded through the Andrews/Daicoff Cardiovascular Program Endowment, a philanthropic collaboration between All Children’s Hospital and the Morsani College of Medicine at the University of South Florida (USF). Sponsored by All Children’s Hospital Andrews/Daicoff Cardiovascular Program, the International Pediatric Heart Failure Summit assembled leaders in clinical and scientific disciplines related to paediatric heart failure and created a multi-disciplinary “think-tank”. The purpose of this manuscript is to summarise the lessons from the 2015 International Pediatric Heart Failure Summit of Johns Hopkins All Children’s Heart Institute, to describe the “state of the art” of the treatment of paediatric cardiac failure, and to discuss future directions for research in the domain of paediatric cardiac failure.