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Single-year measurements of radiocarbon (14C) in tree rings have led to the discovery of rapid cosmic-ray events as well as longer lasting anomalies, which have given new insights into the Sun’s behavior in the past. Here, we present two new single-year 14C records based on Danish oak that span the periods AD 692–790 and 966–1057, respectively, and consequently include the two rapid cosmic-ray events in AD 775 and 994. The new data are presented along with relevant information on the dendrochronological dating of the wood pieces, implying that these new measurements may contribute towards generating the next international calibration curve. The new data covering the AD 966–1057 period suggest that the increase in atmospheric 14C associated with the cosmic-ray event in AD 994 actually occurred in AD 993, i.e. one year earlier than the year reported in Fogtmann-Schulz et al. (2017) based on oak from southern Denmark. Careful reanalysis of the dendrochronology that underpins the new 14C records based on oak material from southern Denmark reveals that the cosmic-ray event reported in Fogtmann-Schulz et al. (2017) actually took place in AD 993.
N-methyl-D-aspartate receptor (NMDA) encephalitis is a recently described autoimmune disease that typically presents with prodromal symptoms including upper respiratory tract infection, headache, fever, nausea, vomiting and diarrhea. Psychiatric symptoms follow within weeks, including anxiety, insomnia, mania, paranoia and grandiose delusions. The diagnosis is confirmed by the detection of NMDA antibodies in the serum or cerebrospinal fluid (CSF).1 Tumours, especially teratomas, are frequently associated with NMDA encephalitis; however, only 5% of male patients older than 18 years have been found to have an underlying tumour. Optic neuropathy associated with NMDA encephalitis is being increasingly recognised in the literature2–6 and was reviewed most recently by Mugavin et al.2 in 2017. In this report, we present a case of bilateral optic neuropathy in a young man diagnosed with NMDA receptor encephalitis.
The thymus undergoes a critical period of growth and development early in gestation and, by mid-gestation, immature thymocytes are subject to positive and negative selection. Exposure to undernutrition during these periods may permanently affect phenotype. We measured thymulin concentrations, as a proxy for thymic size and function, in children (n = 290; aged 9–13 years) born to participants in a cluster-randomized trial of maternal vitamin A or β-carotene supplementation in rural Nepal (1994–1997). The geometric mean (95% confidence interval) thymulin concentration was 1.37 ng/ml (1.27, 1.47). A multivariate model of early-life exposures revealed a positive association with gestational age at delivery (β = 0.02; P = 0.05) and higher concentrations among children born to β-carotene-supplemented mothers (β = 0.19; P < 0.05). At ∼9–12 years of age, thymulin was positively associated with all anthropometric measures, with height retained in our multivariate model (β = 0.02; P < 0.001). There was significant seasonal variation: concentrations tended to be lower pre-monsoon (β = −0.13; P = 0.15), during the monsoon (β = −0.22; P = 0.04), and pre-harvest (β = −0.34; P = 0.01), relative to the post-harvest season. All early-life associations, except supplementation, were mediated in part by nutritional status at follow-up. Our findings underscore the known sensitivity of the thymus to nutrition, including potentially lasting effects of early nutritional exposures. The relevance of these findings to later disease risk remains to be explored, particularly given the role of thymulin in the neuroendocrine regulation of inflammation.
Maternal systemic inflammation during pregnancy may restrict embryo−fetal growth, but the extent of this effect remains poorly established in undernourished populations. In a cohort of 653 maternal−newborn dyads participating in a multi-armed, micronutrient supplementation trial in southern Nepal, we investigated associations between maternal inflammation, assessed by serum α1-acid glycoprotein and C-reactive protein, in the first and third trimesters of pregnancy, and newborn weight, length and head and chest circumferences. Median (IQR) maternal concentrations in α1-acid glycoprotein and C-reactive protein in the first and third trimesters were 0.65 (0.53–0.76) and 0.40 (0.33–0.50) g/l, and 0.56 (0.25–1.54) and 1.07 (0.43–2.32) mg/l, respectively. α1-acid glycoprotein was inversely associated with birth size: weight, length, head circumference and chest circumference were lower by 116 g (P = 2.3 × 10−6), and 0.45 (P = 3.1 × 10−5), 0.18 (P = 0.0191) and 0.48 (P = 1.7 × 10−7) cm, respectively, per 50% increase in α1-acid glycoprotein averaged across both trimesters. Adjustment for maternal age, parity, gestational age, nutritional and socio-economic status and daily micronutrient supplementation failed to alter any association. Serum C-reactive protein concentration was largely unassociated with newborn size. In rural Nepal, birth size was inversely associated with low-grade, chronic inflammation during pregnancy as indicated by serum α1-acid glycoprotein.
The electrical reliability of multilayer high density interconnection printed circuit boards (HDI-PCBs) is mainly affected by the thermo-mechanical stability of stacked micro via interconnections. Here, a critical failure mode is the stress related crack between the electrolytically filled via and the target pad, commonly known as target pad separation. The junction includes two Cu-Cu-interfaces, one between the target Cu pad and the thin electroless Cu layer and the second between electroless Cu and electrolytic Cu. In this paper we will show that state-of-the-art electroless Cu plating processes are able to provide solid, completely recrystallized and highly reliable stacked via junctions. Defect free interfaces were achieved by using ionic Pd-activators and electroless Cu baths with a cyanide based stabilizer system. Cyanide free electroless Cu baths tend more to the formation of nanometer sized defects, discovered via Transmission Electron Microscopy (TEM). In this case a precise adjustment of single stabilizer components is mandatory to achieve defect free layers. The defects are hollow and were identified as “nano voids”. A critical density of these nano voids weakens the interface, predefines the crack path and reduces the overall reliability of the junction. A precise localization of the nano voids within the junction was enabled by detecting the Ni-containing electroless Cu layer via TEM-Ni mapping. Slower volume exchange of the electroless Cu solution within the blind micro via (BMV) substantially increases the nano void density. The ability of nano voids to migrate and coalesce at elevated temperatures was investigated as well.
Substantial amounts of annual radiocarbon (14C) data have recently been produced with the purpose of increasing the time resolution of 14C records used for constructing the calibration curve and for studying the occurrence of abrupt cosmic-ray events. In this study, we investigate if it is possible to resolve sub-annual scale changes in the atmospheric 14C content by measuring radiocarbon in early-wood and late-wood fractions from Danish oak. The tree-ring samples span the period 1954–1970 CE, hereby covering the peak of the bomb pulse. A least squares test comparing the atmospheric 14C content and the new sub-annual 14C record from Danish tree rings reveals that by measuring early-wood and late-wood fractions, it may be possible to resolve sub-annual variations in past atmospheric 14C levels.
Each year our Clinical and Translational Science Award pilot projects program awards approximately $500,000 in translational pilot funding to advance health in South Texas. We identified needs to improve the timeliness, transparency, and efficiency of the review process by surveying applicants. Lean six sigma methodologies, following a “Define, Measure, Analyze, Improve, Control” approach, were used to streamline the pilot project application and review by identifying and removing bottlenecks from process flows. We evaluated the impact of our reorganized review process by surveying applicants and reviewers. Process mapping identified pilot project review as the main source of delay, leading to the implementation of a study section-style review mechanism. After one cycle, 90.3% of pilot applicants and 100% of reviewers were highly satisfied with the new processes and time to award notice was reduced by 2 months. All reviewers familiar with both review processes preferred the study section. We demonstrated how lean six sigma, a methodology not commonly applied in research administration, can be used to evaluate processes in translational science in academic health centers. Through our efforts, we were able to improve timeliness, transparency, and efficiency of the review process.
Environmental enteric dysfunction (EED) and systemic inflammation (SI) are common in developing countries and may cause stunting. In Bangladesh, >40 % of preschool children are stunted, but EED and SI contributions are unknown. We aimed to determine the impact of EED and SI (assessed with multiple indicators) on growth in children (n 539) enrolled in a community-based randomised food supplementation trial in rural Bangladesh. EED was defined with faecal myeloperoxidase, α-1 antitrypsin and neopterin and serum endotoxin core antibody and glucagon-like peptide-2, consolidated into gut inflammation (GI) and permeability (GP) scores, and urinary lactulose:mannitol α-1 acid glycoprotein (AGP) characterised SI. Biomarker associations with anthropometry (15-, 18- and 24-month length-for-age (LAZ), weight-for-length (WLZ) and weight-for-age (WAZ) z scores) were examined in pairwise correlations and adjusted mixed-effects regressions. Stunting, wasting and underweight prevalence at 18 months were 45, 15 and 37 %, respectively, with elevated EED and SI markers common. EED and SI were not associated with 15–24-month length trajectory. Elevated (worse) GI and GP scores predicted reduced 18–24-month WLZ change (β −0·01 (se 0·00) z score/month for both). Elevated GP was also associated with reduced 15–18-month WLZ change (β −0·03 (se 0·01) z score/month) and greater 15-month WLZ (β 0·16 (se 0·05)). Higher AGP was associated with reduced prior and increased subsequent WLZ change (β −0·04 (se 0·01) and β 0·02 (se 0·00) z score/month for 15–18 and 18–24 months). The hypothesised link from EED to stunting was not observed in this sample of Bangladeshi 18-month-olds, but the effects of EED on constrained weight gain may have consequences for later linear growth or for other health and development outcomes.
A range of endophenotypes characterise psychosis, however there has been limited work understanding if and how they are inter-related.
This multi-centre study includes 8754 participants: 2212 people with a psychotic disorder, 1487 unaffected relatives of probands, and 5055 healthy controls. We investigated cognition [digit span (N = 3127), block design (N = 5491), and the Rey Auditory Verbal Learning Test (N = 3543)], electrophysiology [P300 amplitude and latency (N = 1102)], and neuroanatomy [lateral ventricular volume (N = 1721)]. We used linear regression to assess the interrelationships between endophenotypes.
The P300 amplitude and latency were not associated (regression coef. −0.06, 95% CI −0.12 to 0.01, p = 0.060), and P300 amplitude was positively associated with block design (coef. 0.19, 95% CI 0.10–0.28, p < 0.001). There was no evidence of associations between lateral ventricular volume and the other measures (all p > 0.38). All the cognitive endophenotypes were associated with each other in the expected directions (all p < 0.001). Lastly, the relationships between pairs of endophenotypes were consistent in all three participant groups, differing for some of the cognitive pairings only in the strengths of the relationships.
The P300 amplitude and latency are independent endophenotypes; the former indexing spatial visualisation and working memory, and the latter is hypothesised to index basic processing speed. Individuals with psychotic illnesses, their unaffected relatives, and healthy controls all show similar patterns of associations between endophenotypes, endorsing the theory of a continuum of psychosis liability across the population.
Major depression and anxiety disorders are known to negatively influence cognitive performance. Moreover, there is evidence for greater cognitive decline in older adults with generalized anxiety disorder. Except for clinical studies, complex executive planning functions and subclinical levels of anxiety have not been examined in a population-based sample with a broad age range.
Planning performance was assessed using the Tower of London task in a population-based sample of 4240 participants aged 40–80 years from the Gutenberg Health Study (GHS) and related to self-reported anxiety and depression by means of multiple linear regression analysis.
Higher anxiety ratings were associated with lower planning performance (β = −0.20; p < 0.0001) independent of age (β = 0.03; p = 0.47). When directly comparing the predictive value of depression and anxiety on cognition, only anxiety attained significance (β = −0.19; p = 0.0047), whereas depression did not (β = −0.01; p = 0.71).
Subclinical levels of anxiety but not of depression showed negative associations with cognitive functioning independent of age. Our results demonstrate that associations observed in clinical groups might differ from those in population-based samples, also with regard to the trajectory across the life span. Further studies are needed to uncover causal interrelations of anxiety and cognition, which have been proposed in the literature, in order to develop interventions aimed at reducing this negative affective state and to improve executive functioning.
We present results from a multiwavelength study of the blazar PKS 1954–388 at radio, UV, X-ray, and gamma-ray energies. A RadioAstron observation at 1.66 GHz in June 2012 resulted in the detection of interferometric fringes on baselines of 6.2 Earth-diameters. This suggests a source frame brightness temperature of greater than 2 × 1012 K, well in excess of both equipartition and inverse Compton limits and implying the existence of Doppler boosting in the core. An 8.4-GHz TANAMI VLBI image, made less than a month after the RadioAstron observations, is consistent with a previously reported superluminal motion for a jet component. Flux density monitoring with the Australia Telescope Compact Array confirms previous evidence for long-term variability that increases with observing frequency. A search for more rapid variability revealed no evidence for significant day-scale flux density variation. The ATCA light-curve reveals a strong radio flare beginning in late 2013, which peaks higher, and earlier, at higher frequencies. Comparison with the Fermi gamma-ray light-curve indicates this followed ~ 9 months after the start of a prolonged gamma-ray high-state—a radio lag comparable to that seen in other blazars. The multiwavelength data are combined to derive a Spectral Energy Distribution, which is fitted by a one-zone synchrotron-self-Compton (SSC) model with the addition of external Compton (EC) emission.
A number of laser facilities coming online all over the world promise the capability of high-power laser experiments with shot repetition rates between 1 and 10 Hz. Target availability and technical issues related to the interaction environment could become a bottleneck for the exploitation of such facilities. In this paper, we report on target needs for three different classes of experiments: dynamic compression physics, electron transport and isochoric heating, and laser-driven particle and radiation sources. We also review some of the most challenging issues in target fabrication and high repetition rate operation. Finally, we discuss current target supply strategies and future perspectives to establish a sustainable target provision infrastructure for advanced laser facilities.
Prenatal and early-life environmental exposures play a key role in the development of atopy and allergic disease. The Family Atherosclerosis Monitoring In earLY life Study is a general, population-based Canadian birth cohort that prospectively evaluated prenatal and early-life traits and their association with atopy and/or allergic disease. The study population included 901 babies, 857 mothers and 530 fathers. Prenatal and postnatal risk factors were evaluated through questionnaires collected during the antenatal period and at 1 year. The end points of atopy and allergic diseases in infants were evaluated through questionnaires and skin prick testing. Key outcomes included atopy (24.5%), food allergy (17.5%), cow’s milk allergy (4.8%), wheezing (18.6%) and eczema (16%). The association between infant antibiotic exposure [odds ratio (OR): 2.04, 95% confidence interval (CI): 1.45–2.88] and increased atopy was noted in the multivariate analysis, whereas prenatal maternal exposure to dogs (OR: 0.60, 95% CI: 0.42–0.84) and acetaminophen (OR: 0.68, 95% CI: 0.51–0.92) was associated with decreased atopy. This population-based birth cohort in Canada demonstrated high rates of atopy, food allergy, wheezing and eczema. Several previously reported and some novel prenatal and postnatal exposures were associated with atopy and allergic diseases at 1 year of age.
In Germany tularemia is a re-emerging zoonotic disease. Therefore, we investigated wild animals and environmental water samples for the presence and phylogenetic diversity of Francisella tularensis in the poorly studied Berlin/Brandenburg region. The phylogenomic analysis of three isolates from wild animals revealed three new subclades within the phylogenetic tree of F. tularensis [B.71 from a raccoon dog (Nyctereutes procyonoides); B.74 from a red fox (Vulpes vulpes), and B.75 from a Eurasian beaver (Castor fiber albicus)]. The results from histological, PCR, and genomic investigations on the dead beaver showed that the animal suffered from a systemic infection. Indications were found that the bacteria were released from the beaver carcass into the surrounding environment. We demonstrated unexpectedly high and novel phylogenetic diversity of F. tularensis in Germany and the fact that the bacteria persist in the environment for at least one climatic season. These findings support a broader host species diversity than previously known regarding Germany. Our data further support the assumption derived from previous serological studies of an underestimated frequency of occurrence of the pathogen in the environment and in wild animals. F. tularensis was isolated from animal species not previously reported as natural hosts in Germany.
Twin studies have lacked statistical power to apply advanced genetic modelling techniques to the search for cognitive endophenotypes for bipolar disorder.
To quantify the shared genetic variability between bipolar disorder and cognitive measures.
Structural equation modelling was performed on cognitive data collected from 331 twins/siblings of varying genetic relatedness, disease status and concordance for bipolar disorder.
Using a parsimonious AE model, verbal episodic and spatial working memory showed statistically significant genetic correlations with bipolar disorder (rg = |0.23|–|0.27|), which lost statistical significance after covarying for affective symptoms. Using an ACE model, IQ and visual-spatial learning showed statistically significant genetic correlations with bipolar disorder (rg = |0.51|–|1.00|), which remained significant after covarying for affective symptoms.
Verbal episodic and spatial working memory capture a modest fraction of the bipolar diathesis. IQ and visual-spatial learning may tap into genetic substrates of non-affective symptomatology in bipolar disorder.
Data on gender-specific profiles of cognitive functions in patients with Parkinson's disease (PD) are rare and inconsistent, and possible disease-confounding factors have been insufficiently considered.
The LANDSCAPE study on cognition in PD enrolled 656 PD patients (267 without cognitive impairment, 66% male; 292 with mild cognitive impairment, 69% male; 97 with PD dementia, 69% male). Raw values and age-, education-, and gender-corrected Z scores of a neuropsychological test battery (CERAD-Plus) were compared between genders. Motor symptoms, disease duration, l-dopa equivalent daily dose, depression - and additionally age and education for the raw value analysis - were taken as covariates.
Raw-score analysis replicated results of previous studies in that female PD patients were superior in verbal memory (word list learning, p = 0.02; recall, p = 0.03), while men outperformed women in visuoconstruction (p = 0.002) and figural memory (p = 0.005). In contrast, gender-corrected Z scores showed that men were superior in verbal memory (word list learning, p = 0.02; recall, p = 0.02; recognition, p = 0.04), while no difference was found for visuospatial tests. This picture could be observed both in the overall analysis of PD patients as well as in a differentiated group analysis.
Normative data corrected for gender and other sociodemographic variables are relevant, since they may elucidate a markedly different cognitive profile compared to raw scores. Our study also suggests that verbal memory decline is stronger in women than in men with PD. Future studies are needed to replicate these findings, examine the progression of gender-specific cognitive decline in PD and define different underlying mechanisms of this dysfunction.
Bipolar disorder is a highly heritable polygenic disorder. Recent
enrichment analyses suggest that there may be true risk variants for
bipolar disorder in the expression quantitative trait loci (eQTL) in the
We sought to assess the impact of eQTL variants on bipolar disorder risk
by combining data from both bipolar disorder genome-wide association
studies (GWAS) and brain eQTL.
To detect single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) that influence
expression levels of genes associated with bipolar disorder, we jointly
analysed data from a bipolar disorder GWAS (7481 cases and 9250 controls)
and a genome-wide brain (cortical) eQTL (193 healthy controls) using a
Bayesian statistical method, with independent follow-up replications. The
identified risk SNP was then further tested for association with
hippocampal volume (n = 5775) and cognitive performance
(n = 342) among healthy individuals.
Integrative analysis revealed a significant association between a brain
eQTL rs6088662 on chromosome 20q11.22 and bipolar disorder (log Bayes
factor = 5.48; bipolar disorder P =
5.85×10–5). Follow-up studies across multiple independent
samples confirmed the association of the risk SNP (rs6088662) with gene
expression and bipolar disorder susceptibility (P =
3.54×10–8). Further exploratory analysis revealed that
rs6088662 is also associated with hippocampal volume and cognitive
performance in healthy individuals.
Our findings suggest that 20q11.22 is likely a risk region for bipolar
disorder; they also highlight the informative value of integrating
functional annotation of genetic variants for gene expression in
advancing our understanding of the biological basis underlying complex
disorders, such as bipolar disorder.
Innate-like B1a lymphocytes arise from long-lived progenitors produced exclusively by fetal stem cells. Any insults coinciding with this early lymphopoietic wave could have a permanent impact on the B1a population and its unique protein products, the natural antibodies (NAb). We investigated early life nutritional influences on NAb concentrations of pre-adolescent children (n=290) in rural Nepal for whom we had extensive information on exposures from pregnancy and early infancy. Infant size and growth were strongly associated with NAb concentrations at 9–13 years of age among males (e.g., for neonatal weight: βBOYS=0.43; P<0.001), but not females (e.g., for neonatal weight: βGIRLS=−0.16; P=0.26). In females, season of birth was associated with NAb concentrations, with marked reductions among girls born during the pre-monsoon (March–May; βGIRLS=−0.39; P=0.01) and pre-harvest (September–November; βGIRLS=−0.35; P=0.03) seasons. Our findings suggest that nutritional or other environmental influences on immune development may vary by sex, with potential consequences for immune function during infancy and long-term risk of immune-mediated disease.
The Herschel Space Observatory was the fourth cornerstone mission in the European Space Agency (ESA) science programme with excellent broad band imaging capabilities in the sub-mm and far-infrared part of the spectrum. Although the spacecraft finished its observations in 2013, it left a large legacy dataset that is far from having been fully scrutinised and still has a large potential for new scientific discoveries. This is specifically true for the photometric observations of the PACS and SPIRE instruments. Some source catalogues have already been produced by individual observing programs, but there are many observations that risk to remain unexplored. To maximise the science return of the SPIRE and PACS data sets, we are in the process of building the Herschel Point Source Catalogue (HPSC) from all primary and parallel mode observations. Our homogeneous source extraction enables a systematic and unbiased comparison of sensitivity across the different Herschel fields that single programs will generally not be able to provide. The catalogue will be made available online through archives like the Herschel Science Archive (HSA), the Infrared Science Archive (IRSA), and the Strasbourg Astronomical Data Center (CDS).