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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.
Improved plasticity models require simultaneous experimental local strain and microstructural evolution data. Microscopy tools, such as electron backscatter diffraction (EBSD), that can monitor transformation at the relevant length-scale, are often incompatible with digital image correlation (DIC) techniques required to determine local deformation. In this paper, the viability of forescatter detector (FSD) images as the basis for the DIC study is investigated. Standard FSD and an integrated EBSD/FSD approach (Pattern Region of Interest Analysis System: PRIAS™) are analyzed. Simultaneous strain and microstructure maps are obtained for tensile deformation of Q&P 1180 steel up to ~14% strain. Tests on an undeformed sample that is simply shifted indicate a standard deviation of error in strain of around 0.4% without additional complications from a deformed surface. The method resolves strain bands at ~2 μm spacing but does not provide significant sub-grain strain resolution. Similar resolution was obtained for mechanically polished and electropolished samples, despite electropolished surfaces presenting a smoother, simpler topography. While the resolution of the PRIAS approach depends upon the EBSD step size, the 80 nm step size used provides seemingly similar resolution as 8,000× (22.7 nm) FSD images. Surface feature evolution prevents DIC analysis across large strain steps (>6% strain), but restarting DIC, using an FSD reference image from an interim strain step, allows reasonable DIC across the stress–strain curve. Furthermore, the data are obtained easily and provide complementary information for EBSD analysis.
In cognitive models of adult psychosis, schematic beliefs about the self and others are important vulnerability and maintaining factors, and are therefore targets for psychological interventions. Schematic beliefs have not previously been investigated in children with distressing unusual, or psychotic-like, experiences (UEDs). The aim of this study was firstly to investigate whether a measure of schematic beliefs, originally designed for adults with psychosis, was suitable for children; and secondly, to examine the association of childhood schematic beliefs with internalising and externalising problems and with UEDs.
Sixty-seven children aged 8–14 years, with emotional and behavioural difficulties, completed measures of UEDs, internalising (depression and anxiety), and externalising (conduct and hyperactivity-inattention) problems, together with the Brief Core Schema Scales (BCSS).
The BCSS was readily completed by participants, and scale psychometric properties were good. Children tended to view themselves and others positively. Internalising and externalising problems and UEDs were all associated with negative schematic beliefs; effect sizes were small to medium.
Schematic beliefs in young people can be measured using the BCSS, and negative schematic beliefs are associated with childhood psychopathology and with UEDs. Schematic beliefs may therefore form a useful target in psychological interventions for young people with UEDs.
Although widely used in cardiology, relation of heart failure biomarkers to cardiac haemodynamics in patients with CHD (and in particular with pulmonary insufficiency undergoing pulmonary valve replacement) remains unclear. We hypothesised that the cardiac function biomarkers N-terminal pro-brain natriuretic peptide (NT-proBNP), soluble suppressor of tumorigenicity 2, and galectin-3 would have significant associations to right ventricular haemodynamic derangements.
Consecutive patients ( n = 16) undergoing cardiac catheterisation for transcatheter pulmonary valve replacement were studied. NT-proBNP, soluble suppressor of tumorigenicity 2, and galectin-3 levels were measured using a multiplex enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay from a pre-intervention blood sample obtained after sheath placement. Spearman correlation was used to identify significant correlations (p ≤ 0.05) of biomarkers with baseline cardiac haemodynamics. Cardiac MRI data (indexed right ventricular and left ventricular end-diastolic volumes and ejection fraction) prior to device placement were also compared to biomarker levels.
NT-proBNP and soluble suppressor of tumorigenicity 2 were significantly correlated (p < 0.01) with baseline mean right atrial pressure and right ventricular end-diastolic pressure. Only NT-proBNP was significantly correlated with age. Galectin-3 did not have significant associations in this cohort. Cardiac MRI measures of right ventricular function and volume were not correlated to biomarker levels or right heart haemodynamics.
NT-proBNP and soluble suppressor of tumorigenicity 2, biomarkers of myocardial strain, significantly correlated to invasive pressure haemodynamics in transcatheter pulmonary valve replacement patients. Serial determination of soluble suppressor of tumorigenicity 2, as it was not associated with age, may be superior to serial measurement of NT-proBNP as an indicator for timing of pulmonary valve replacement.
We have observed the G23 field of the Galaxy AndMass Assembly (GAMA) survey using the Australian Square Kilometre Array Pathfinder (ASKAP) in its commissioning phase to validate the performance of the telescope and to characterise the detected galaxy populations. This observation covers ~48 deg2 with synthesised beam of 32.7 arcsec by 17.8 arcsec at 936MHz, and ~39 deg2 with synthesised beam of 15.8 arcsec by 12.0 arcsec at 1320MHz. At both frequencies, the root-mean-square (r.m.s.) noise is ~0.1 mJy/beam. We combine these radio observations with the GAMA galaxy data, which includes spectroscopy of galaxies that are i-band selected with a magnitude limit of 19.2. Wide-field Infrared Survey Explorer (WISE) infrared (IR) photometry is used to determine which galaxies host an active galactic nucleus (AGN). In properties including source counts, mass distributions, and IR versus radio luminosity relation, the ASKAP-detected radio sources behave as expected. Radio galaxies have higher stellar mass and luminosity in IR, optical, and UV than other galaxies. We apply optical and IR AGN diagnostics and find that they disagree for ~30% of the galaxies in our sample. We suggest possible causes for the disagreement. Some cases can be explained by optical extinction of the AGN, but for more than half of the cases we do not find a clear explanation. Radio sources aremore likely (~6%) to have an AGN than radio quiet galaxies (~1%), but the majority of AGN are not detected in radio at this sensitivity.
To evaluate the association between novel pre- and post-operative biomarker levels and 30-day unplanned readmission or mortality after paediatric congenital heart surgery.
Children aged 18 years or younger undergoing congenital heart surgery (n = 162) at Johns Hopkins Hospital from 2010 to 2014 were enrolled in the prospective cohort. Collected novel pre- and post-operative biomarkers include soluble suppression of tumorgenicity 2, galectin-3, N-terminal prohormone of brain natriuretic peptide, and glial fibrillary acidic protein. A model based on clinical variables from the Society of Thoracic Surgery database was developed and evaluated against two augmented models.
Unplanned readmission or mortality within 30 days of cardiac surgery occurred among 21 (13%) children. The clinical model augmented with pre-operative biomarkers demonstrated a statistically significant improvement over the clinical model alone with a receiver-operating characteristics curve of 0.754 (95% confidence interval: 0.65–0.86) compared to 0.617 (95% confidence interval: 0.47–0.76; p-value: 0.012). The clinical model augmented with pre- and post-operative biomarkers demonstrated a significant improvement over the clinical model alone, with a receiver-operating characteristics curve of 0.802 (95% confidence interval: 0.72–0.89; p-value: 0.003).
Novel biomarkers add significant predictive value when assessing the likelihood of unplanned readmission or mortality after paediatric congenital heart surgery. Further exploration of the utility of these novel biomarkers during the pre- or post-operative period to identify early risk of mortality or readmission will aid in determining the clinical utility and application of these biomarkers into routine risk assessment.
Acute tonsillitis represents a significant proportion of admissions to ENT departments nationally. Given current hospital pressures, it is vital to look for safe alternatives to admission. This study explores the safe management of patients in an ambulatory medical unit, without the need for admission.
A retrospective review of 48 patients’ notes was carried out. Following the development and implementation of a guideline for acute tonsillitis, a prospective re-audit of 41 patients was carried out, measuring length of stay, overnight admissions and re-admissions.
The rate of overnight admission following implementation of the guideline fell from 0.75 to 0.29, and average length of stay dropped from 19.2 to 9.5 hours. There were two re-admissions in each cycle of the audit, which represents a non-significant increase.
The tonsillitis guideline has significantly reduced admissions and length of stay. Re-admissions remain low, demonstrating that this is a safe and cost-effective intervention.
The nature of the association between child psychiatric symptoms and adolescent suicide-related thoughts (SRT) and attempts (SA) remains unclear. Our objective was to assess whether child psychiatric symptoms from 6 to 10 years of age mediate the association between exposure to maternal depressive symptoms in childhood and offspring SRT and SA in adolescence.
A population-based cohort study was constructed by linking all eight cycles from the National Longitudinal Survey of Children and Youth (NLSCY), a nationally representative Canadian panel survey conducted from 1994 to 2009. Self-reported maternal depressive symptoms were measured when offspring were between 0 and 5 years. Maternal-reported child psychiatric symptoms and psychiatric comorbid symptoms were measured from 6 to 10 years, and offspring self-reported SRT and SA were measured between 11 and 19 years. Indirect effects, the effect proportion mediated and their corresponding bootstrapped 95% confidence intervals (CI) were estimated.
Hyperactivity and inattention significantly mediated the association between maternal depressive symptoms in childhood and risk of both SRT and SA from 11 to 19 years, where approximately 60% (SRT 95% CI 23–94%; SA 95% CI 27–95%) of this association was explained by hyperactivity and inattention. Psychiatric comorbid symptoms also significantly mediated this relationship and accounted for 50% (95% CI 18–81%) of this association with SA.
Targeting hyperactivity and inattention, and co-occurring psychiatric symptoms in offspring of depressed mothers could reduce risk of SRT, eventual SA and halt progression towards suicide. However, further understanding of comorbid psychiatric symptoms in childhood that most strongly predict adolescent SA is needed.
Adverse pregnancy outcomes including prematurity and low birth weight (LBW) have been associated with life-long chronic disease risk for the infant. Stress during pregnancy increases the risk of adverse pregnancy outcomes. Many studies have reported the incidence of adverse pregnancy outcomes in Indigenous populations and a smaller number of studies have measured rates of stress and depression in these populations. This study sought to examine the potential association between stress during pregnancy and the rate of adverse pregnancy outcomes in Australian Indigenous women residing in rural and remote communities in New South Wales. This study found a higher rate of post-traumatic stress disorder, depression and anxiety symptoms during pregnancy than the general population. There was also a higher incidence of prematurity and LBW deliveries. Unfortunately, missing post-traumatic stress disorder and depressive symptomatology data impeded the examination of associations of interest. This was largely due to the highly sensitive nature of the issues under investigation, and the need to ensure adequate levels of trust between Indigenous women and research staff before disclosure and recording of sensitive research data. We were unable to demonstrate a significant association between the level of stress and the incidence of adverse pregnancy outcomes at this stage. We recommend this longitudinal study continue until complete data sets are available. Future research in this area should ensure prioritization of building trust in participants and overestimating sample size to ensure no undue pressure is placed upon an already stressed participant.
Soldier operational performance is determined by their fitness, nutritional status, quality of rest/recovery, and remaining injury/illness free. Understanding large fluctuations in nutritional status during operations is critical to safeguarding health and well-being. There are limited data world-wide describing the effect of extreme climate change on nutrient profiles. This study investigated the effect of hot-dry deployments on vitamin D status (assessed from 25-hydroxyvitamin D (25(OH)D) concentration) of young, male, military volunteers. Two data sets are presented (pilot study, n 37; main study, n 98), examining serum 25(OH)D concentrations before and during 6-month summer operational deployments to Afghanistan (March to October/November). Body mass, percentage of body fat, dietary intake and serum 25(OH)D concentrations were measured. In addition, parathyroid hormone (PTH), adjusted Ca and albumin concentrations were measured in the main study to better understand 25(OH)D fluctuations. Body mass and fat mass (FM) losses were greater for early (pre- to mid-) deployment compared with late (mid- to post-) deployment (P<0·05). Dietary intake was well-maintained despite high rates of energy expenditure. A pronounced increase in 25(OH)D was observed between pre- (March) and mid-deployment (June) (pilot study: 51 (sd 20) v. 212 (sd 85) nmol/l, P<0·05; main study: 55 (sd 22) v. 167 (sd 71) nmol/l, P<0·05) and remained elevated post-deployment (October/November). In contrast, PTH was highest pre-deployment, decreasing thereafter (main study: 4·45 (sd 2·20) v. 3·79 (sd 1·50) pmol/l, P<0·05). The typical seasonal cycling of vitamin D appeared exaggerated in this active male population undertaking an arduous summer deployment. Further research is warranted, where such large seasonal vitamin D fluctuations may be detrimental to bone health in the longer-term.
Optimising short- and long-term outcomes for children and patients with CHD depends on continued scientific discovery and translation to clinical improvements in a coordinated effort by multiple stakeholders. Several challenges remain for clinicians, researchers, administrators, patients, and families seeking continuous scientific and clinical advancements in the field. We describe a new integrated research and improvement network – Cardiac Networks United – that seeks to build upon the experience and success achieved to-date to create a new infrastructure for research and quality improvement that will serve the needs of the paediatric and congenital heart community in the future. Existing gaps in data integration and barriers to improvement are described, along with the mission and vision, organisational structure, and early objectives of Cardiac Networks United. Finally, representatives of key stakeholder groups – heart centre executives, research leaders, learning health system experts, and parent advocates – offer their perspectives on the need for this new collaborative effort.
Chlamydia trachomatis (CT) infections remain highly prevalent. CT reinfection occurs frequently within months after treatment, likely contributing to sustaining the high CT infection prevalence. Sparse studies have suggested CT reinfection is associated with a lower organism load, but it is unclear whether CT load at the time of treatment influences CT reinfection risk. In this study, women presenting for treatment of a positive CT screening test were enrolled, treated and returned for 3- and 6-month follow-up visits. CT organism loads were quantified at each visit. We evaluated for an association of CT bacterial load at initial infection with reinfection risk and investigated factors influencing the CT load at baseline and follow-up in those with CT reinfection. We found no association of initial CT load with reinfection risk. We found a significant decrease in the median log10 CT load from baseline to follow-up in those with reinfection (5.6 CT/ml vs. 4.5 CT/ml; P = 0.015). Upon stratification of reinfected subjects based upon presence or absence of a history of CT infections prior to their infection at the baseline visit, we found a significant decline in the CT load from baseline to follow-up (5.7 CT/ml vs. 4.3 CT/ml; P = 0.021) exclusively in patients with a history of CT infections prior to our study. Our findings suggest repeated CT infections may lead to possible development of partial immunity against CT.
We compared sepsis “time zero” and Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) SEP-1 pass rates among 3 abstractors in 3 hospitals. Abstractors agreed on time zero in 29 of 80 (36%) cases. Perceived pass rates ranged from 9 of 80 cases (11%) to 19 of 80 cases (23%). Variability in time zero and perceived pass rates limits the utility of SEP-1 for measuring quality.
Childhood obesity rates are higher among Indigenous compared with non-Indigenous Australian children. It has been hypothesized that early-life influences beginning with the intrauterine environment predict the development of obesity in the offspring. The aim of this paper was to assess, in 227 mother–child dyads from the Gomeroi gaaynggal cohort, associations between prematurity, Gestation Related-Optimal Weight (GROW) centiles, maternal adiposity (percentage body fat, visceral fat area), maternal non-fasting plasma glucose levels (measured at mean gestational age of 23.1 weeks) and offspring BMI and adiposity (abdominal circumference, subscapular skinfold thickness) in early childhood (mean age 23.4 months). Maternal non-fasting plasma glucose concentrations were positively associated with infant birth weight (P=0.005) and GROW customized birth weight centiles (P=0.008). There was a significant association between maternal percentage body fat (P=0.02) and visceral fat area (P=0.00) with infant body weight in early childhood. Body mass index (BMI) in early childhood was significantly higher in offspring born preterm compared with those born at term (P=0.03). GROW customized birth weight centiles was significantly associated with body weight (P=0.01), BMI (P=0.007) and abdominal circumference (P=0.039) at early childhood. Our findings suggest that being born preterm, large for gestational age or exposed to an obesogenic intrauterine environment and higher maternal non-fasting plasma glucose concentrations are associated with increased obesity risk in early childhood. Future strategies should aim to reduce the prevalence of overweight/obesity in women of child-bearing age and emphasize the importance of optimal glycemia during pregnancy, particularly in Indigenous women.
Introduction: Intimate partner violence (IPV) is a serious public health concern with complex medico-legal implications and a wide range of morbidity. While the ED is often the primary access point for these patients, IPV is under-recognized. Our objectives were to describe the characteristics of female IPV patients in the ED and determine the assessment and management patterns of physicians at a tertiary care academic ED. Methods: We conducted a health records review of adult (>18years) female patients seen at a tertiary care hospital ED presenting with evidence of IPV from January to September 2016. A combined search strategy of hospital records and Sexual Assault and Partner Abuse Care Program (SAPACP) patient rosters was used to identify study subjects. Data were collected for patient demographic/presenting characteristics, assault characteristics, and patterns of referral, management and patient disposition/discharge. Descriptive statistics were generated. Results: 100 patients met inclusion criteria with; mean age 35.1, female 100.0%, arrival by ambulance 53.0%, and mean CTAS level of 2.4. Abuse screening was completed at triage only 24.0% of the time. Presenting complaints were varied, with the most common being injury or trauma (32.0%). Most patients were only identified from the SAPACP roster. Patients reported strangulation, a strong predictor of future homicide, in 34.0% of cases. Admission to hospital occurred in 7.0% of cases with 19.0% involving specialist consultation and 7.0% leaving against medical advice or without being seen. Legal interactions including police involvement occurred 72.0% of the time and Childrens Aid Society was involved in 26.0% of cases. The final diagnosis was recorded as IPV or equivalent in only 49.0% of cases; the remainder were discharged with a final diagnosis of injury/trauma (26.0%), sexual assault (6.0%), somatic complaint (6.0%), mental health (8.0%), substance use/abuse (3.0%) or other (2.0%). Conclusion: Our study highlights that IPV is a common and heterogeneous entity with a wide spectrum of presentations and morbidity. Strangulation rates were high and are associated with increased risk of homicide. IPV is currently under-recognized and continues to carry stigma as ER physicians only recorded a discharge diagnosis of IPV or equivalent in half of cases. Educational strategies are required to highlight the importance of IPV to ED staff.
Avian influenza virus (AIV) subtypes H5 and H7 can infect poultry causing low pathogenicity (LP) AI, but these LPAIVs may mutate to highly pathogenic AIV in chickens or turkeys causing high mortality, hence H5/H7 subtypes demand statutory intervention. Serological surveillance in the European Union provides evidence of H5/H7 AIV exposure in apparently healthy poultry. To identify the most sensitive screening method as the first step in an algorithm to provide evidence of H5/H7 AIV infection, the standard approach of H5/H7 antibody testing by haemagglutination inhibition (HI) was compared with an ELISA, which detects antibodies to all subtypes. Sera (n = 1055) from 74 commercial chicken flocks were tested by both methods. A Bayesian approach served to estimate diagnostic test sensitivities and specificities, without assuming any ‘gold standard’. Sensitivity and specificity of the ELISA was 97% and 99.8%, and for H5/H7 HI 43% and 99.8%, respectively, although H5/H7 HI sensitivity varied considerably between infected flocks. ELISA therefore provides superior sensitivity for the screening of chicken flocks as part of an algorithm, which subsequently utilises H5/H7 HI to identify infection by these two subtypes. With the calculated sensitivity and specificity, testing nine sera per flock is sufficient to detect a flock seroprevalence of 30% with 95% probability.
In this period of unprecedented levels of displacement, scalable interventions are needed to address mental health concerns of forced migrants in low-resource settings. This paper describes the adaptation and piloting of a guided, multi-media, self-help intervention, Self-Help Plus (SH+), which was developed to reduce psychological distress in large groups of people affected by adversity.
Using a phased approach that included community consultations, cognitive interviewing, facilitator training, pilot implementation, and a qualitative process evaluation, we adapted SH+ for use among South Sudanese refugees in a refugee settlement in northern Uganda.
The SH+ materials, including audio-recorded sessions and an accompanying illustrated manual, were translated into Juba Arabic. Cognitive interviewing primarily resulted in adaptations to language with some minor adaptations to content. Facilitator training and supervision led to further suggested changes to delivery methods. An uncontrolled pilot study (n = 65) identified changes in the expected direction on measures of psychological distress, functional impairment, depression, wellbeing, and psychological flexibility. The process evaluation resulted in further adaptations to intervention materials and the decision to focus future effectiveness evaluations of the intervention in its current form on South Sudanese female refugees.
We found that this potentially scalable, guided self-help intervention could be adapted for and feasibly implemented among female South Sudanese refugees in northern Uganda. These findings lay the groundwork for a future rigorous evaluation of SH+ in this context.
Exposure to armed conflict and forced displacement constitute significant risks for mental health. Existing evidence-based psychological interventions have limitations for scaling-up in low-resource humanitarian settings. The WHO has developed a guided self-help intervention, Self Help Plus (SH+), which is brief, implemented by non-specialists, and designed to be delivered to people with and without specific mental disorders. This paper outlines the study protocol for an evaluation of the SH+ intervention in northern Uganda, with South Sudanese refugee women.
A two-arm, single-blind cluster-randomised controlled trial will be conducted in 14 villages in Rhino Camp refugee settlement, with at least 588 women experiencing psychological distress. Villages will be randomly assigned to receive either SH+ with enhanced usual care (EUC), or EUC alone. SH+ is a five-session guided self-help intervention delivered in workshops with audio-recorded materials and accompanying pictorial guide. The primary outcome is reduction in overall psychological distress over time, with 3 months post-treatment as the primary end-point. Secondary outcomes are self-defined psychosocial concerns, depression and post-traumatic stress disorder symptoms, hazardous alcohol use, feelings of anger, interethnic relations, psychological flexibility, functional impairment and subjective wellbeing. Psychological flexibility is a hypothesised mediator, and past trauma history and intervention attendance will be explored as potential moderators.
This trial will provide important information on the effectiveness of a scalable, guided self-help intervention for improving psychological health and wellbeing among people affected by adversity.
The discovery of the first electromagnetic counterpart to a gravitational wave signal has generated follow-up observations by over 50 facilities world-wide, ushering in the new era of multi-messenger astronomy. In this paper, we present follow-up observations of the gravitational wave event GW170817 and its electromagnetic counterpart SSS17a/DLT17ck (IAU label AT2017gfo) by 14 Australian telescopes and partner observatories as part of Australian-based and Australian-led research programs. We report early- to late-time multi-wavelength observations, including optical imaging and spectroscopy, mid-infrared imaging, radio imaging, and searches for fast radio bursts. Our optical spectra reveal that the transient source emission cooled from approximately 6 400 K to 2 100 K over a 7-d period and produced no significant optical emission lines. The spectral profiles, cooling rate, and photometric light curves are consistent with the expected outburst and subsequent processes of a binary neutron star merger. Star formation in the host galaxy probably ceased at least a Gyr ago, although there is evidence for a galaxy merger. Binary pulsars with short (100 Myr) decay times are therefore unlikely progenitors, but pulsars like PSR B1534+12 with its 2.7 Gyr coalescence time could produce such a merger. The displacement (~2.2 kpc) of the binary star system from the centre of the main galaxy is not unusual for stars in the host galaxy or stars originating in the merging galaxy, and therefore any constraints on the kick velocity imparted to the progenitor are poor.