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In September 2015, an outbreak of Escherichia coli Phage Type 32 with an indistinguishable multi locus variable number tandem repeat analysis profile was identified in Scotland. Twelve cases were identified; nine primary cases, two secondary and one asymptomatic case. Extensive food history investigations identified venison products containing wild venison produced by a single food business operator as the most likely source of the outbreak. Of the nine primary cases, eight had consumed venison products, and one case had not eaten venison themselves but had handled and cooked raw venison in the household. This was the first reported outbreak of Shiga toxin-producing Escherichia coli (STEC) linked to venison products in the UK, and was also notable due to the implicated products being commercially produced and widely distributed. In contrast, previous venison outbreaks reported from other countries have tended to be smaller and related to individually prepared carcases. The outbreak has highlighted some important knowledge gaps in relation to STEC in venison that are currently been investigated via a number of research studies.
The extensive heterogeneity both between and within the medulloblastoma (MB) subgroups underscores a critical need for variant-specific biomarkers and therapeutic strategies. We previously identified a role for the CD271/p75 neurotrophin receptor (p75NTR) in regulating stem/progenitor cells in the SHH MB subgroup. Here, we demonstrate the utility of CD271 as a novel diagnostic and prognostic marker for SHH MB using immunohistochemical analysis as well as transcriptome data across 763 primary tumors. Characterization of CD271+ and CD271- cells by RNA sequencing revealed that these two subpopulations are molecularly distinct, co-existing cellular subsets both in vitro and in vivo. MAPK/ERK signaling is upregulated in the CD271+ population and inhibiting this pathway reduced CD271 levels, stem/progenitor cell proliferation and cell survival as well as cell migration in vitro. Importantly, the MEK inhibitor selumetinib extends survival and reduces CD271 levels in vivo. Our study demonstrates the clinical utility of CD271 as both a diagnostic and prognostic tool for SHH MB tumors and reveals a novel role for MEK inhibitors in targeting CD271+ SHH MB cells.
Introduction: Patients with Heart failure (HF) experience frequent decompensation necessitating multiple emergency department (ED) visits and hospitalizations. If patients are able to receive timely interventions and optimize self-management, recurrent ED visits may be reduced. In this feasibility study, we piloted the application of home telemonitoring to support the discharge of HF patients from hospital to home. We hypothesized that TEC4Home would decrease ED revisits and hospital admissions and improve patient health outcomes. Methods: Upon discharge from the ED or hospital, patients with HF received a blood pressure cuff, weight scale, pulse oximeter, and a touchscreen tablet. Participants submitted measurements and answered questions on the tablet about their HF symptoms daily for 60 days. Data were reviewed by a monitoring nurse. From November 2016 to July 2017, 69 participants were recruited from Vancouver General Hospital (VGH), St. Pauls Hospital (SPH) and Kelowna General Hospital (KGH). Participants completed pre-surveys at enrollement and post-surveys 30 days after monitoring finished. Administrative data related to ED visits and hospital admissions were reviewed. Interviews were conducted with the monitoring nurses to assess the impact of monitoring on patient health outcomes. Results: A preliminary analysis was conducted on a subsample of participants (n=22) enrolled across all 3 sites by March 31, 2017. At VGH and SPH (n=14), 25% fewer patients required an ED visit in the post-survey reporting compared to pre-survey. During the monitoring period, the monitoring nurse observed seven likely avoided ED admissions due to early intervention. In total, admissions were reduced by 20% and total hospital length of stay reduced by 69%. At KGH (n=8), 43% fewer patients required an ED visit in the post-survey reporting compared to the pre-survey. Hospital admissions were reduced by 20% and total hospital length of stay reduced by 50%. Overall, TEC4Home participants from all sites showed a significant improvement in health-related quality of life and in self-care behaviour pre- to 90 days post-monitoring. A full analysis of the 69 patients will be complete in February 2018. Conclusion: Preliminary findings indicate that home telemonitoring for HF patients can decrease ED revisits and improve patient experience. The length of stay data may also suggest the potential for early discharge of ED patients with home telemonitoring to avoid or reduce hospitalization. A stepped-wedge randomized controlled trial of TEC4Home in 22 BC communities will be conducted in 2018 to generate evidence and scale up the service in urban, regional and rural communities. This work is submitted on behalf of the TEC4Home Healthcare Innovation Community.
For livestock production systems to play a positive role in global food security, the balance between their benefits and disbenefits to society must be appropriately managed. Based on the evidence provided by field-scale randomised controlled trials around the world, this debate has traditionally centred on the concept of economic-environmental trade-offs, of which existence is theoretically assured when resource allocation is perfect on the farm. Recent research conducted on commercial farms indicates, however, that the economic-environmental nexus is not nearly as straightforward in the real world, with environmental performances of enterprises often positively correlated with their economic profitability. Using high-resolution primary data from the North Wyke Farm Platform, an intensively instrumented farm-scale ruminant research facility located in southwest United Kingdom, this paper proposes a novel, information-driven approach to carry out comprehensive assessments of economic-environmental trade-offs inherent within pasture-based cattle and sheep production systems. The results of a data-mining exercise suggest that a potentially systematic interaction exists between ‘soil health’, ecological surroundings and livestock grazing, whereby a higher level of soil organic carbon (SOC) stock is associated with a better animal performance and less nutrient losses into watercourses, and a higher stocking density with greater botanical diversity and elevated SOC. We contend that a combination of farming system-wide trials and environmental instrumentation provides an ideal setting for enrolling scientifically sound and biologically informative metrics for agricultural sustainability, through which agricultural producers could obtain guidance to manage soils, water, pasture and livestock in an economically and environmentally acceptable manner. Priority areas for future farm-scale research to ensure long-term sustainability are also discussed.
Phased Array Feed (PAF) technology is the next major advancement in radio astronomy in terms of combining high sensitivity and large field of view. The Focal L-band Array for the Green Bank Telescope (FLAG) is one of the most sensitive PAFs developed so far. It consists of 19 dual-polarization elements mounted on a prime focus dewar resulting in seven beams on the sky. Its unprecedented system temperature of ~17 K will lead to a 3 fold increase in pulsar survey speeds as compared to contemporary single pixel feeds. Early science observations were conducted in a recently concluded commissioning phase of the FLAG where we clearly demonstrated its science capabilities. We observed a selection of normal and millisecond pulsars and detected giant pulses from PSR B1937+21.
The tropical dry deciduous forest (TDF) of the semi-arid region of Bajio in Mexico is dominated by successional communities, in which Lysiloma microphyllum is irregularly distributed, however the environmental factors influencing its establishment have been poorly studied. We conducted field experiments to isolate the impact of three factors on the early life-history stages of this tree. Over a 2-y period, we monitored the effects of (1) predation, (2) understorey light and (3) aspect on germination, seed-to-seedling transition (establishment) and seedling survival, and we found that open space negatively affected germination (14.9 ± 1.5% vs 96 ± 1.5% in shade; mean ± SE), while shade increased seedling establishment and survival (36.9 ± 8.2% vs 4.7 ± 3.8% in open sites). Predation decreased survival and was strongest in open conditions (0 vs 62.7 ± 9.4% in shaded exclosures). In contrast, aspect had little influence on germination and survival. The results suggest that shaded microsites positively affect the early life stages of L. microphyllum, a key process in TDF recovery.
Surface distribution contour maps of the HB/clump population and the < 1 Gyr main sequence population for the outer regions of the Small Magellanic Cloud (SMC) are presented. Aspects of the stellar population synthesis, large-scale structure and evolutionary history of the SMC halo are discussed.
The Center for Astrophysical Research in Antarctica conducts various educational outreach programs as part of its mission as a National Science Foundation Science and Technology Center. The method behind the outreach programs is one of forging partnerships between Center researchers and other educational organisations. The main program serves primary and secondary students in Chicago. The core of the program is called Space Explorers and is targeted at high school students. These students attend a summer residential institute at the University of Chicago’s Yerkes Observatory. The high school Space Explorers then extend the reach of the program during the academic year by teaching in primary schools using a portable planetarium. The Center also pursues many other outreach activities and is in the process of forming an Antarctic Education Alliance.
We have undertaken a study of the 3-D spatial distribution of the older (τ ≥ 1–2 Gyr) stellar population lying beyond ~ 2 kpc in projected radial distance from the centre of the SMC. The study will eventually cover 120 square degrees including six overlapping Schmidt fields. Here we present the results from an area of 80 square degrees including the western, northern and north-eastern outer parts of the SMC.
We present UBVRI photometry of the faint and highly erratic cataclysmic variable discovered by Hawkins (1983) from a sequence of U.K. Schmidt plates. Observations using the ANU 2.3 m telescope over two nights in September 1986 show pronounced and repeatable modulation at a binary period of 108.6 min. Dramatic colour differences are evident in the folded UBVRI light curves: in the U band, a single sinusoidal peak is present, while at longer wavelengths, a second red peak dominates at a phase separation of Δϕ = 0.5. This behaviour is strongly suggestive of cyclotron emission from two magnetic accretion funnels in an AM Herculis binary system. Furthermore, the binary period lies in the narrow range of 100-115 minutes that characterizes most of the AM Herculis variables lying on the short side of the 2-3 hour period gap. We conclude therefore that the object is almost certainly a new AM Herculis system, and develop a model in which the blue and red components originate from two non-diametrically opposed cyclotron regions that are characterized by differing electron temperatures and opacities. Predictions are made regarding the linear and circular polarization properties of this important new magnetic variable.
Cognitive and functional impairment increase risk for post-coronary artery bypass graft (CABG) surgery delirium (PCD), but how much impairment is necessary to increase PCD risk remains unclear.
The Neuropsychiatric Outcomes After Heart Surgery (NOAHS) study is a prospective, observational cohort study of participants undergoing elective CABG surgery. Pre-operative cognitive and functional status based on Clinical Dementia Rating (CDR) scale and neuropsychological battery are assessed. We defined mild cognitive impairment (MCI) based on either (1) CDR global score 0.5 (CDR-MCI) or (2) performance 1.5 SD below population means on any cognitive domain on neurocognitive battery (MCI-NC). Delirium was assessed daily post-operative day 2 through discharge using the confusion assessment method (CAM) and delirium index (DI). We investigate whether MCI – either definition – predicts delirium or delirium severity.
So far we have assessed 102 participants (mean age 65.1 ± 9; male: 75%) for PCD. Twenty six participants (25%) have MCI-CDR; 38 (62% of those completing neurocognitive testing) met MCI-NC criteria. Fourteen participants (14%) developed PCD. After adjusting for age, sex, comorbidity, and education, MCI-CDR, MMSE, and Lawton IADL score predicted PCD on logistic regression (OR: 5.6, 0.6, and 1.5, respectively); MCI-NC did not (OR [95% CI]: 11.8 [0.9, 151.4]). Using similarly adjusted linear regression, MCI-CDR, MCI-NC, CDR sum of boxes, MMSE, and Lawton IADL score predicted delirium severity (adjusted R2: 0.26, 0.13, 0.21, 0.18, and 0.32, respectively).
MCI predicts post-operative delirium and delirium severity, but MCI definition alters these relationships. Cognitive and functional impairment independently predict post-operative delirium and delirium severity.
We review an optofluidic waveguiding lab-on-a-chip used to sense bioparticles. The sensor uses a liquid filled Anti-Resonant Reflecting Optical Waveguide (ARROW) that is interfaced with standard ridge waveguides. The ridge waveguides are coupled to off-chip lasers and detectors via optical fiber. A perpendicular intersection between the ARROW and a ridge waveguide is especially useful for detecting fluorescently tagged particles. Light coupled into the ridge waveguide can fluorescently excite these particles within a very small volume. Fluorescent signal can then be guided within the ARROW and subsequently off chip to a detector.
We also discuss how such devices are fabricated. Both the ARROW and ridge waveguides are made using alternating thin films of tantalum oxide and silicon dioxide on silicon substrates. These thin films are deposited by either sputtering or plasma enhanced chemical vapor deposition (PECVD). The waveguides are patterned using a combination of standard photolithographic processes, reactive ion etching, and sacrificial etching. Low-loss optical guiding is very dependent on both the waveguide structure and the materials used. The latest processes for maximizing detection sensitivity are reviewed.
We also present results using the optofluidic waveguiding sensor for detecting a variety of different types of particles such as fluorescently labeled nanobeads, viruses, ribosomes, and RNA.
A solid-state nanopore was integrated into an optofluidic sensor chip, liquid-core anti-resonant reflecting optical waveguide (ARROW). The solid-state nanopore worked as a smart gate, which simultaneously provided characteristic electrical signals and controlled the entry of single nanoparticles into the liquid-core channel. The subsequent fluorescence detection further identified the nanoparticles by providing optical signals within a specific wavelength range. In this work, correlated electrical and optical detection of single nanoparticles, H1N1 viruses, and λ-DNA molecules was demonstrated. Different types of particles in a mixture were successfully discriminated. Moreover, the flow velocity in the liquid-core channel was extracted with the help of combined analysis of electrical and optical signals. Enhanced electrical sensitivity using a solid-state nanopore with a thin limiting aperture sculpted by SiO2 deposition was also shown.
To examine the use of vitamin D supplements during infancy among the participants in an international infant feeding trial.
Information about vitamin D supplementation was collected through a validated FFQ at the age of 2 weeks and monthly between the ages of 1 month and 6 months.
Infants (n 2159) with a biological family member affected by type 1 diabetes and with increased human leucocyte antigen-conferred susceptibility to type 1 diabetes from twelve European countries, the USA, Canada and Australia.
Daily use of vitamin D supplements was common during the first 6 months of life in Northern and Central Europe (>80 % of the infants), with somewhat lower rates observed in Southern Europe (>60 %). In Canada, vitamin D supplementation was more common among exclusively breast-fed than other infants (e.g. 71 % v. 44 % at 6 months of age). Less than 2 % of infants in the USA and Australia received any vitamin D supplementation. Higher gestational age, older maternal age and longer maternal education were study-wide associated with greater use of vitamin D supplements.
Most of the infants received vitamin D supplements during the first 6 months of life in the European countries, whereas in Canada only half and in the USA and Australia very few were given supplementation.
We present a numerical model that simulates the evolution of precipitates and the diffusion of interstitial oxygen in Czochralski silicon. The growth and/or dissolution of each precipitate and the local concentration of interstitial oxygen with which the precipitates interact are followed as a function of time. We treat realistic densities of discrete, interacting precipitates and determine how the precipitate density influences the extent of the precipitation. The model also treats oxygen outdiffusion and the formation of precipitate-free or denuded zones. We apply the model to previous experimental data on the time dependence of precipitate growth and to the development of denuded zones during intrinsic gettering.