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The target article suggests inter-individual variability is a weakness of microbiota-gut-brain (MGB) research, but we discuss why it is actually a strength. We comment on how accounting for individual differences can help researchers systematically understand the observed variance in microbiota composition, interpret null findings, and potentially improve the efficacy of therapeutic treatments in future clinical microbiome research.
Influenza and respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) are common causes of respiratory tract infections and place a burden on health services each winter. Systems to describe the timing and intensity of such activity will improve the public health response and deployment of interventions to these pressures. Here we develop early warning and activity intensity thresholds for monitoring influenza and RSV using two novel data sources: general practitioner out-of-hours consultations (GP OOH) and telehealth calls (NHS 111). Moving Epidemic Method (MEM) thresholds were developed for winter 2017–2018. The NHS 111 cold/flu threshold was breached several weeks in advance of other systems. The NHS 111 RSV epidemic threshold was breached in week 41, in advance of RSV laboratory reporting. Combining the use of MEM thresholds with daily monitoring of NHS 111 and GP OOH syndromic surveillance systems provides the potential to alert to threshold breaches in real-time. An advantage of using thresholds across different health systems is the ability to capture a range of healthcare-seeking behaviour, which may reflect differences in disease severity. This study also provides a quantifiable measure of seasonal RSV activity, which contributes to our understanding of RSV activity in advance of the potential introduction of new RSV vaccines.
Accurate phase characterization of the alteration products of rad-waste requires the separation and identification of scattered individual grains from among the bulk product. These grains are typically 5 to 100 μm in size. Bulk x-ray powder diffraction will normally not detect these minor phases, and even if the phase can be detected, it often may not be identifiable. The use of the Gandolfi technique with the individual particle not only facilitates the identification, but also allows the assignment of the identification to the specific grain.
Microsupercapacitors (MSCs) are miniaturized energy storage devices that can be integrated in an on-chip platform as a component of a power supply for Internet of things’ sensors. Integration of these on-chip MSCs require them to be fabricated through CMOS compatible fabrication techniques such as spin coating. One of the biggest challenges in spin coated MSCs is the poor surface adhesion. In this work, we present a CMOS compatible electrode deposition process with enhanced adhesion and retention for reduced graphene oxide (rGO) using spin coating. In order to improve the adhesion and surface uniformity of the deposited electrode material, the surface of Si/SiO2 wafers was subjected to roughening through Fe nanoparticle formation. A 4 nm thick Fe layer deposition substantially magnified the average mean surface roughness of the substrates. In comparison with substrates without the Fe deposition, the treated ones have more than 300% improvement in surface coverage and rGO mass retention after sonication testing. These results suggest that the surface roughening has a positive influence on electrode deposition via a spin-coating method.
With the recent discovery of a dozen dusty star-forming galaxies and around 30 quasars at z > 5 that are hyper-luminous in the infrared (μ LIR > 1013 L⊙, where μ is a lensing magnification factor), the possibility has opened up for SPICA, the proposed ESA M5 mid-/far-infrared mission, to extend its spectroscopic studies toward the epoch of reionisation and beyond. In this paper, we examine the feasibility and scientific potential of such observations with SPICA’s far-infrared spectrometer SAFARI, which will probe a spectral range (35–230 μm) that will be unexplored by ALMA and JWST. Our simulations show that SAFARI is capable of delivering good-quality spectra for hyper-luminous infrared galaxies at z = 5 − 10, allowing us to sample spectral features in the rest-frame mid-infrared and to investigate a host of key scientific issues, such as the relative importance of star formation versus AGN, the hardness of the radiation field, the level of chemical enrichment, and the properties of the molecular gas. From a broader perspective, SAFARI offers the potential to open up a new frontier in the study of the early Universe, providing access to uniquely powerful spectral features for probing first-generation objects, such as the key cooling lines of low-metallicity or metal-free forming galaxies (fine-structure and H2 lines) and emission features of solid compounds freshly synthesised by Population III supernovae. Ultimately, SAFARI’s ability to explore the high-redshift Universe will be determined by the availability of sufficiently bright targets (whether intrinsically luminous or gravitationally lensed). With its launch expected around 2030, SPICA is ideally positioned to take full advantage of upcoming wide-field surveys such as LSST, SKA, Euclid, and WFIRST, which are likely to provide extraordinary targets for SAFARI.
We describe the motivation and design details of the ‘Phase II’ upgrade of the Murchison Widefield Array radio telescope. The expansion doubles to 256 the number of antenna tiles deployed in the array. The new antenna tiles enhance the capabilities of the Murchison Widefield Array in several key science areas. Seventy-two of the new tiles are deployed in a regular configuration near the existing array core. These new tiles enhance the surface brightness sensitivity of the array and will improve the ability of the Murchison Widefield Array to estimate the slope of the Epoch of Reionisation power spectrum by a factor of ∼3.5. The remaining 56 tiles are deployed on long baselines, doubling the maximum baseline of the array and improving the array u, v coverage. The improved imaging capabilities will provide an order of magnitude improvement in the noise floor of Murchison Widefield Array continuum images. The upgrade retains all of the features that have underpinned the Murchison Widefield Array’s success (large field of view, snapshot image quality, and pointing agility) and boosts the scientific potential with enhanced imaging capabilities and by enabling new calibration strategies.
Chronic suppurative otitis media is a massive public health problem in numerous low- and middle-income countries. Unfortunately, few low- and middle-income countries can offer surgical therapy.
A six-month long programme in Cambodia focused on training local surgeons in type I tympanoplasty was instigated. Qualitative educational and quantitative surgical outcomes were evaluated in the 12 months following programme completion. A four-month long training programme in mastoidectomy and homograft ossiculoplasty was subsequently implemented, and the preliminary surgical and educational outcomes were reported.
A total of 124 patients underwent tympanoplasty by the locally trained surgeons. Tympanic membrane closure at six weeks post-operation was 88.5 per cent. Pure tone audiometry at three months showed that 80.9 per cent of patients had improved hearing, with a mean gain of 17.1 dB. The trained surgeons reported high confidence in performing tympanoplasty. Early outcomes suggest the local surgeons can perform mastoidectomy and ossiculoplasty as safely as overseas-trained surgeons, with reported surgeon confidence reflecting these positive outcomes.
The training programme has demonstrated success, as measured by surgeon confidence and operative outcomes. This approach can be emulated in other settings to help combat the global burden of chronic suppurative otitis media.
Simulation models are used widely in pharmacology, epidemiology and health economics (HEs). However, there have been no attempts to incorporate models from these disciplines into a single integrated model. Accordingly, we explored this linkage to evaluate the epidemiological and economic impact of oseltamivir dose optimisation in supporting pandemic influenza planning in the USA. An HE decision analytic model was linked to a pharmacokinetic/pharmacodynamics (PK/PD) – dynamic transmission model simulating the impact of pandemic influenza with low virulence and low transmissibility and, high virulence and high transmissibility. The cost-utility analysis was from the payer and societal perspectives, comparing oseltamivir 75 and 150 mg twice daily (BID) to no treatment over a 1-year time horizon. Model parameters were derived from published studies. Outcomes were measured as cost per quality-adjusted life year (QALY) gained. Sensitivity analyses were performed to examine the integrated model's robustness. Under both pandemic scenarios, compared to no treatment, the use of oseltamivir 75 or 150 mg BID led to a significant reduction of influenza episodes and influenza-related deaths, translating to substantial savings of QALYs. Overall drug costs were offset by the reduction of both direct and indirect costs, making these two interventions cost-saving from both perspectives. The results were sensitive to the proportion of inpatient presentation at the emergency visit and patients’ quality of life. Integrating PK/PD–EPI/HE models is achievable. Whilst further refinement of this novel linkage model to more closely mimic the reality is needed, the current study has generated useful insights to support influenza pandemic planning.
The Neotoma Paleoecology Database is a community-curated data resource that supports interdisciplinary global change research by enabling broad-scale studies of taxon and community diversity, distributions, and dynamics during the large environmental changes of the past. By consolidating many kinds of data into a common repository, Neotoma lowers costs of paleodata management, makes paleoecological data openly available, and offers a high-quality, curated resource. Neotoma’s distributed scientific governance model is flexible and scalable, with many open pathways for participation by new members, data contributors, stewards, and research communities. The Neotoma data model supports, or can be extended to support, any kind of paleoecological or paleoenvironmental data from sedimentary archives. Data additions to Neotoma are growing and now include >3.8 million observations, >17,000 datasets, and >9200 sites. Dataset types currently include fossil pollen, vertebrates, diatoms, ostracodes, macroinvertebrates, plant macrofossils, insects, testate amoebae, geochronological data, and the recently added organic biomarkers, stable isotopes, and specimen-level data. Multiple avenues exist to obtain Neotoma data, including the Explorer map-based interface, an application programming interface, the neotoma R package, and digital object identifiers. As the volume and variety of scientific data grow, community-curated data resources such as Neotoma have become foundational infrastructure for big data science.
The mid-infrared range contains many spectral features associated with large molecules and dust grains such as polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons and silicates. These are usually very strong compared to fine-structure gas lines, and thus valuable in studying the spectral properties of faint distant galaxies. In this paper, we evaluate the capability of low-resolution mid-infrared spectroscopic surveys of galaxies that could be performed by SPICA. The surveys are designed to address the question how star formation and black hole accretion activities evolved over cosmic time through spectral diagnostics of the physical conditions of the interstellar/circumnuclear media in galaxies. On the basis of results obtained with Herschel far-infrared photometric surveys of distant galaxies and Spitzer and AKARI near- to mid-infrared spectroscopic observations of nearby galaxies, we estimate the numbers of the galaxies at redshift z > 0.5, which are expected to be detected in the polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbon features or dust continuum by a wide (10 deg2) or deep (1 deg2) blind survey, both for a given observation time of 600 h. As by-products of the wide blind survey, we also expect to detect debris disks, through the mid-infrared excess above the photospheric emission of nearby main-sequence stars, and we estimate their number. We demonstrate that the SPICA mid-infrared surveys will efficiently provide us with unprecedentedly large spectral samples, which can be studied further in the far-infrared with SPICA.
IR spectroscopy in the range 12–230 μm with the SPace IR telescope for Cosmology and Astrophysics (SPICA) will reveal the physical processes governing the formation and evolution of galaxies and black holes through cosmic time, bridging the gap between the James Webb Space Telescope and the upcoming Extremely Large Telescopes at shorter wavelengths and the Atacama Large Millimeter Array at longer wavelengths. The SPICA, with its 2.5-m telescope actively cooled to below 8 K, will obtain the first spectroscopic determination, in the mid-IR rest-frame, of both the star-formation rate and black hole accretion rate histories of galaxies, reaching lookback times of 12 Gyr, for large statistically significant samples. Densities, temperatures, radiation fields, and gas-phase metallicities will be measured in dust-obscured galaxies and active galactic nuclei, sampling a large range in mass and luminosity, from faint local dwarf galaxies to luminous quasars in the distant Universe. Active galactic nuclei and starburst feedback and feeding mechanisms in distant galaxies will be uncovered through detailed measurements of molecular and atomic line profiles. The SPICA’s large-area deep spectrophotometric surveys will provide mid-IR spectra and continuum fluxes for unbiased samples of tens of thousands of galaxies, out to redshifts of z ~ 6.
An updated compilation of published and new data of major-ion (Ca, Cl, K, Mg, Na, NO3, SO4) and methylsulfonate (MS) concentrations in snow from 520 Antarctic sites is provided by the national ITASE (International Trans-Antarctic Scientific Expedition) programmes of Australia, Brazil, China, Germany, Italy, Japan, Korea, New Zealand, Norway, the United Kingdom, the United States and the national Antarctic programme of Finland. The comparison shows that snow chemistry concentrations vary by up to four orders of magnitude across Antarctica and exhibit distinct geographical patterns. The Antarctic-wide comparison of glaciochemical records provides a unique opportunity to improve our understanding of the fundamental factors that ultimately control the chemistry of snow or ice samples. This paper aims to initiate data compilation and administration in order to provide a framework for facilitation of Antarctic-wide snow chemistry discussions across all ITASE nations and other contributing groups. The data are made available through the ITASE web page (http://www2.umaine.edu/itase/content/syngroups/snowchem.html) and will be updated with new data as they are provided. In addition, recommendations for future research efforts are summarized.
The 8.1 μm Δv = 1 emission band of silicon monoxide detected in SN 1987A is modelled. Near day 500 the SiO mass is 4 ± 2 10−6M⊙ and the excitation temperature is ~1500 K. The mass of SiO is about 10 percent of the mass of dust inferred from the mid infrared emission near day 600, while the temperature is close to the condensation temperature of silicate grains. The SiO molecules may have been precursors to dust grain formation.
The timing and origin of Zika virus (ZIKV) introduction in Brazil has been the subject of controversy. Initially, it was assumed that the virus was introduced during the FIFA World Cup in June–July 2014. Then, it was speculated that ZIKV may have been introduced by athletes from French Polynesia (FP) who competed in a canoe race in Rio de Janeiro in August 2014. We attempted to apply mathematical models to determine the most likely time window of ZIKV introduction in Brazil. Given that the timing and origin of ZIKV introduction in Brazil may be a politically sensitive issue, its determination (or the provision of a plausible hypothesis) may help to prevent undeserved blame. We used a simple mathematical model to estimate the force of infection and the corresponding individual probability of being infected with ZIKV in FP. Taking into account the air travel volume from FP to Brazil between October 2013 and March 2014, we estimated the expected number of infected travellers arriving at Brazilian airports during that period. During the period between December 2013 and February 2014, 51 individuals travelled from FP airports to 11 Brazilian cities. Basing on the calculated force of ZIKV infection (the per capita rate of new infections per time unit) and risk of infection (probability of at least one new infection), we estimated that 18 (95% CI 12–22) individuals who arrived in seven of the evaluated cities were infected. When basic ZIKV reproduction numbers greater than one were assumed in the seven evaluated cities, ZIKV could have been introduced in any one of the cities. Based on the force of infection in FP, basic reproduction ZIKV number in selected Brazilian cities, and estimated travel volume, we concluded that ZIKV was most likely introduced and established in Brazil by infected travellers arriving from FP in the period between October 2013 and March 2014, which was prior to the two aforementioned sporting events.
Background: The surgical risk factors and neuro-imaging characteristics associated with cerebellar mutism (CM) remain unclear and require further investigation. We aimed to examine surgical and MRI findings associated with CM in children following posterior fossa tumor resection. Methods: Using our data registry, we retrospectively collected data from pediatric patients who acquired CM and were matched based on age and pathology type with patients not acquiring CM after posterior fossa surgery. The strength of association between surgical and MRI variables and CM were examined using odds ratios (ORs) and corresponding 95% confidence intervals (CIs). Results: A total of 22 patients were included. Medulloblastoma was the most common pathology among CM patients (91%). Tumor attachment to the floor of the fourth ventricle (OR, 6; 95% CI, 0.7-276), calcification/hemosiderin deposition (OR 7; 95% CI 0.9-315.5), and post-operative peri-ventricular ischemia on MRI (OR, 5; 95% CI, 0.5-236.5) were found to have the highest association with CM. Conclusions: Our results may suggest that tumor attachment to the floor of the fourth ventricle, pathological calcification, and post-operative ischemia are relatively more prevalent in patients with CM. Collectively, our work calls for a larger multi-institutional study of CM patients to further investigate the determinants and management of CM to potentially minimize its development and predict onset.
The Dark Energy Survey is undertaking an observational programme imaging 1/4 of the southern hemisphere sky with unprecedented photometric accuracy. In the process of observing millions of faint stars and galaxies to constrain the parameters of the dark energy equation of state, the Dark Energy Survey will obtain pre-discovery images of the regions surrounding an estimated 100 gamma-ray bursts over 5 yr. Once gamma-ray bursts are detected by, e.g., the Swift satellite, the DES data will be extremely useful for follow-up observations by the transient astronomy community. We describe a recently-commissioned suite of software that listens continuously for automated notices of gamma-ray burst activity, collates information from archival DES data, and disseminates relevant data products back to the community in near-real-time. Of particular importance are the opportunities that non-public DES data provide for relative photometry of the optical counterparts of gamma-ray bursts, as well as for identifying key characteristics (e.g., photometric redshifts) of potential gamma-ray burst host galaxies. We provide the functional details of the DESAlert software, and its data products, and we show sample results from the application of DESAlert to numerous previously detected gamma-ray bursts, including the possible identification of several heretofore unknown gamma-ray burst hosts.
There is limited evidence for effective interventions in the treatment of post-traumatic stress symptoms within individuals diagnosed with schizophrenia. Clinicians have concerns about using exposure treatments with this patient group. The current trial was designed to evaluate a 16-session cognitive restructuring programme, without direct exposure, for the treatment of post-traumatic stress symptoms specifically within individuals diagnosed with schizophrenia.
A multicentre randomized controlled single-blinded trial with assessments at 0 months, 6 months (post-treatment) and 12 months (follow-up) was conducted. A total of 61 participants diagnosed with schizophrenia and exhibiting post-traumatic stress symptoms were recruited. Those randomized to treatment were offered up to 16 sessions of cognitive–behaviour therapy (CBT, including psychoeducation, breathing training and cognitive restructuring) over a 6-month period, with the control group offered routine clinical services. The main outcome was blind rating of post-traumatic stress symptoms using the Clinician Administered PTSD Scale for Schizophrenia. Secondary outcomes were psychotic symptoms as measured by the Positive and Negative Symptom Scale and the Psychotic Symptom Rating Scale.
Both the treatment and control groups experienced a significant decrease in post-traumatic stress symptoms over time but there was no effect of the addition of CBT on either the primary or secondary outcomes.
The current trial did not demonstrate any effect in favour of CBT. Cognitive restructuring programmes may require further adaptation to promote emotional processing of traumatic memories within people diagnosed with a psychotic disorder.