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The novel coronavirus, severe acute respiratory syndrome-coronavirus-2 (SARS-CoV-2), is the causative agent of the 2020 worldwide coronavirus pandemic. Antibody testing is useful for diagnosing historic infections of a disease in a population. These tests are also a helpful epidemiological tool for predicting how the virus spreads in a community, relating antibody levels to immunity and for assessing herd immunity. In the present study, SARS-CoV-2 viral proteins were recombinantly produced and used to analyse serum from individuals previously exposed, or not, to SARS-CoV-2. The nucleocapsid (Npro) and spike subunit 2 (S2Frag) proteins were identified as highly immunogenic, although responses to the former were generally greater. These two proteins were used to develop two quantitative enzyme-linked immunosorbent assays (ELISAs) that when used in combination resulted in a highly reliable diagnostic test. Npro and S2Frag-ELISAs could detect at least 10% more true positive coronavirus disease-2019 (COVID-19) cases than the commercially available ARCHITECT test (Abbott). Moreover, our quantitative ELISAs also show that specific antibodies to SARS-CoV-2 proteins tend to wane rapidly even in patients who had developed severe disease. As antibody tests complement COVID-19 diagnosis and determine population-level surveillance during this pandemic, the alternative diagnostic we present in this study could play a role in controlling the spread of the virus.
Property-based random testing á la QuickCheck requires building efficient generators for well-distributed random data satisfying complex logical predicates, but writing these generators can be difficult and error prone. This chapter introduces a probabilistic domain-specific language in which generators are conveniently expressed by decorating predicates with lightweight annotations to control both the distribution of generated values and the amount of constraint solving that happens before each variable is instantiated. This language, called Luck, makes generators easier to write, read and maintain. We give Luck a probabilistic formal semantics and prove several fundamental properties, including the soundness and completeness of random generation with respect to a standard predicate semantics. We evaluate Luck on common examples from the property-based testing literature and on two significant case studies, showing that it can be used in complex domains with comparable bug-finding effectiveness and a significant reduction in testing code size compared to handwritten generators.
In order to maximize the utility of future studies of trilobite ontogeny, we propose a set of standard practices that relate to the collection, nomenclature, description, depiction, and interpretation of ontogenetic series inferred from articulated specimens belonging to individual species. In some cases, these suggestions may also apply to ontogenetic studies of other fossilized taxa.
This chapter offers a reflexive account of a co-produced, multisectoral, community-based project between Glasgow Open Museum (OM), Glasgow Association for Mental Health (GAMH) and Queen Margaret University (QMU). The project is framed around an accredited Public Sociology module, Identity Community & Society, in which participants explore sociological explanations of identity, community and society whilst engaging with and interpreting art and artefacts from the OM collections. We share our experiences of reaching over the chasms between the worlds of museums, mental health advocacy and higher education. Crucially, we hear from student participants, as co-authors, about the increased selfconfidence and reflexive knowledge resulting from participation in the project. In interpreting different art works, participants consider a range of sociological concepts, debates and theories, that frame their interpretation of art, but also facilitate the development of a critical consciousness about social issues that they have direct experience of themselves or that impact participants’ communities.
Widening participation is at the heart of this project; the adult learners, most of whom have limited recent experience of formal learning, became associate students of QMU, with full access to institutional resources whilst learning in a safe community space. In the presentation of our narrative here, we draw upon a combination of personal reflexive accounts, participant feedback and theoretical inspirations. More specifically, later in the chapter, we unpack the underpinning ethos of the project as theoretically framed by Freire's (1970) dialogical ‘pedagogy of the oppressed’, and we conceptualise the practice of our participants as Gramscian organic intellectuals (Gottlieb, 1989). We take the opportunity to weave critical reflection on the utility of Burawoy's (2005) theses for public sociology as a channel through which to interpret and problematise ‘for whom’ and ‘for what’ public sociology is, as well as our positions as value committed, partisan public sociologists, who are committed to creating a sociological space in which community-based adult learners mobilise their own sociological praxis. The focus in this chapter is explaining the meaning of (and need for) a public sociology as a particular style of practising sociology in an engaged, community-focussed way; and which speaks to, for, and with publics in their own communities.
Few studies have examined burnout in psychosocial oncology clinicians. The aim of this systematic review was to summarize what is known about the prevalence and severity of burnout in psychosocial clinicians who work in oncology settings and the factors that are believed to contribute or protect against it.
Articles on burnout (including compassion fatigue and secondary trauma) in psychosocial oncology clinicians were identified by searching PubMed/MEDLINE, EMBASE, PsycINFO, the Cumulative Index to Nursing and Allied Health Literature, and the Web of Science Core Collection.
Thirty-eight articles were reviewed at the full-text level, and of those, nine met study inclusion criteria. All were published between 2004 and 2018 and included data from 678 psychosocial clinicians. Quality assessment revealed relatively low risk of bias and high methodological quality. Study composition and sample size varied greatly, and the majority of clinicians were aged between 40 and 59 years. Across studies, 10 different measures were used to assess burnout, secondary traumatic stress, and compassion fatigue, in addition to factors that might impact burnout, including work engagement, meaning, and moral distress. When compared with other medical professionals, psychosocial oncology clinicians endorsed lower levels of burnout.
Significance of results
This systematic review suggests that psychosocial clinicians are not at increased risk of burnout compared with other health care professionals working in oncology or in mental health. Although the data are quite limited, several factors appear to be associated with less burnout in psychosocial clinicians, including exposure to patient recovery, discussing traumas, less moral distress, and finding meaning in their work. More research using standardized measures of burnout with larger samples of clinicians is needed to examine both prevalence rates and how the experience of burnout changes over time. By virtue of their training, psychosocial clinicians are well placed to support each other and their nursing and medical colleagues.
Youth mental health is a rapidly developing field with a focus on prevention, early identification, treatment innovation and service development. In this perspective piece, we discuss the effects of COVID-19 on young people’s mental health. The psychosocial effects of COVID-19 disproportionately affect young people. Both immediate and longer-term factors through which young people are affected include social isolation, changes to the delivery of therapeutic services and almost complete loss of all structured occupations (school, work and training) within this population group. Longer-term mechanisms include the effects of the predicted recession on young people’s mental health. Opportunities within this crisis exist for service providers to scale up telehealth and digital services that may benefit service provision for young people’s mental health in the future.
The C677T polymorphism in the folate metabolising enzyme methylenetetrahydrofolate reductase (MTHFR) is associated with hypertension. Riboflavin acts as a cofactor for MTHFR in one-carbon metabolism which generates methyl groups for utilisation in important biological reactions such as DNA methylation. Supplementation with riboflavin has previously been shown to lower blood pressure in individuals with the MTHFR 677TT genotype. The mechanism regulating this gene-nutrient interaction is currently unknown but may involve aberrant DNA methylation which has been implicated hypertension.
The aims of this study were to examine DNA methylation of hypertension-related genes in adults stratified by MTHFR C677T genotype and the effect of riboflavin supplementation on DNA methylation of these genes in individuals with the MTHFR 677TT genotype.
Materials and Methods:
We measured DNA methylation using pyrosequencing in a set of candidate genes associated with hypertension including angiotensin II receptor type 1 (AGTR1), G nucleotide binding protein subunit alpha 12 (GNA12), insulin-like growth factor 2 (IGF2) and nitric oxide synthase 3 (NOS3). Stored peripheral blood leukocyte samples from participants previously screened for the MTHFR C677T genotype who participated in targeted randomised controlled trials (1.6mg/d riboflavin or placebo for 16 weeks) at Ulster University were accessed for this analysis (n = 120).
There were significant differences in baseline average methylation between MTHFR CC and TT genotypes at NOS3 (p = 0.026) and AGTR1 (p = 0.045) loci. Riboflavin supplementation in the TT genotype group resulted in altered average methylation at IGF2 (p = 0.025) and CpG site-specific alterations at the AGTR1 and GNA12 loci.
DNA methylation at genes related to hypertension were significantly different in individuals stratified by MTHFR genotype group. Furthermore, in MTHFR 677TT genotype individuals, there were concurrent alterations in DNA methylation at genes linked to hypertension in response to riboflavin supplementation. This is the largest study to date to demonstrate an interaction between DNA methylation of hypertension-related genes and riboflavin supplementation in adults with the MTHFR 677TT genotype. Further work using a genome-wide approach is required to better understand the role of riboflavin in altering DNA methylation in these genetically at-risk individuals.
Poor physical health in severe mental illness (SMI) remains a major issue for clinical practice.
To use electronic health records of routinely collected clinical data to determine levels of screening for cardiometabolic disease and adverse health outcomes in a large sample (n = 7718) of patients with SMI, predominantly schizophrenia and bipolar disorder.
We linked data from the Glasgow Psychosis Clinical Information System (PsyCIS) to morbidity records, routine blood results and prescribing data.
There was no record of routine blood monitoring during the preceding 2 years for 16.9% of the cohort. However, monitoring was poorer for male patients, younger patients aged 16–44, those with schizophrenia, and for tests of cholesterol, triglyceride and glycosylated haemoglobin. We estimated that 8.0% of participants had diabetes and that lipids levels, and use of lipid-lowering medication, was generally high.
Electronic record linkage identified poor health screening and adverse health outcomes in this vulnerable patient group. This approach can inform the design of future interventions and health policy.
Spotted fever group rickettsiae (SFG) are a neglected group of bacteria, belonging to the genus Rickettsia, that represent a large number of new and emerging infectious diseases with a worldwide distribution. The diseases are zoonotic and are transmitted by arthropod vectors, mainly ticks, fleas and mites, to hosts such as wild animals. Domesticated animals and humans are accidental hosts. In Asia, local people in endemic areas as well as travellers to these regions are at high risk of infection. In this review we compare SFG molecular and serological diagnostic methods and discuss their limitations. While there is a large range of molecular diagnostics and serological assays, both approaches have limitations and a positive result is dependent on the timing of sample collection. There is an increasing need for less expensive and easy-to-use diagnostic tests. However, despite many tests being available, their lack of suitability for use in resource-limited regions is of concern, as many require technical expertise, expensive equipment and reagents. In addition, many existing diagnostic tests still require rigorous validation in the regions and populations where these tests may be used, in particular to establish coherent and worthwhile cut-offs. It is likely that the best strategy is to use a real-time quantitative polymerase chain reaction (qPCR) and immunofluorescence assay in tandem. If the specimen is collected early enough in the infection there will be no antibodies but there will be a greater chance of a PCR positive result. Conversely, when there are detectable antibodies it is less likely that there will be a positive PCR result. It is therefore extremely important that a complete medical history is provided especially the number of days of fever prior to sample collection. More effort is required to develop and validate SFG diagnostics and those of other rickettsial infections.
The matter of attribution has to do with identifying the author (or even the most likely candidates) for a text whose authorship is doubtful, collaborative, or unknown. Such work has been practiced down the centuries, most often for the rectification of literary history but also in political and theological disputation where the authenticity of a document is at issue. Its apparent value in legal inquiry is limited by the fact that few criminals offer a substantial corpus of their writings. The notorious US Unabomber, who might well have written himself into gaol without benefit of other evidence, was a striking exception.
We determine the smallest instantaneous increase in the strength of an opposing wind that is necessary to permanently reverse the forward displacement flow that is driven by a two-layer thermal stratification. With an interpretation in terms of the flow’s energetics, the results clarify why the ventilation of a confined space with a stably stratified buoyancy field is less susceptible to being permanently reversed by the wind than the ventilation of a space with a uniform buoyancy field. For large opposing wind strengths we derive analytical upper and lower bounds for the system’s marginal stability, which exhibit a good agreement with the exact solution, even for modest opposing wind strengths. The work extends a previous formulation of the problem (Lishman & Woods, Build. Environ., vol. 44 (4), 2009, pp. 666–673) by accounting for the transient dynamics and energetics associated with the homogenisation of the interior, which prove to play a significant role in buffering temporal variations in the wind.