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Investigations into the existence of life in other parts of the cosmos find strong parallels with studies of the origin and evolution of life on our own planet. In this way, astrobiology and paleobiology are married by their common interest in disentangling the interconnections between life and the surrounding environment. In this way, a cross-point of both sciences is paleometry, which involves a myriad of imaging and geochemical techniques, usually non-destructive, applied to the investigation of the fossil record. In the last decades, paleometry has benefited from an unprecedented technological improvement, thus solving old questions and raising new ones. This advance has been paralleled by conceptual approaches and discoveries fuelled by technological evolution in astrobiological research. In this context, we present some new data and review recent advances on the employment of paleometry to investigations on paleobiology and astrobiology in Brazil in areas such biosignatures in Ediacaran microbial mats, biogenicity tests on enigmatic Ediacaran structures, research on Ediacaran metazoan biomineralization, fossil preservation in Cretaceous insects and fish, and finally the experimental study on the decay of fish to test the effect of distinct types of sediment on soft-tissue preservation, as well as the effects of early diagenesis on fish bone preservation.
To determine the scope, source, and mode of transmission of a multifacility outbreak of extensively drug-resistant (XDR) Acinetobacter baumannii.
SETTING AND PARTICIPANTS
Residents and patients in skilled nursing facilities, long-term acute-care hospital, and acute-care hospitals.
A case was defined as the incident isolate from clinical or surveillance cultures of XDR Acinetobacter baumannii resistant to imipenem or meropenem and nonsusceptible to all but 1 or 2 antibiotic classes in a patient in an Oregon healthcare facility during January 2012–December 2014. We queried clinical laboratories, reviewed medical records, oversaw patient and environmental surveillance surveys at 2 facilities, and recommended interventions. Pulsed-field gel electrophoresis (PFGE) and molecular analysis were performed.
We identified 21 cases, highly related by PFGE or healthcare facility exposure. Overall, 17 patients (81%) were admitted to either long-term acute-care hospital A (n=8), or skilled nursing facility A (n=8), or both (n=1) prior to XDR A. baumannii isolation. Interfacility communication of patient or resident XDR status was not performed during transfer between facilities. The rare plasmid-encoded carbapenemase gene blaOXA-237 was present in 16 outbreak isolates. Contact precautions, chlorhexidine baths, enhanced environmental cleaning, and interfacility communication were implemented for cases to halt transmission.
Interfacility transmission of XDR A. baumannii carrying the rare blaOXA-237 was facilitated by transfer of affected patients without communication to receiving facilities.
Animal health surveillance enables the detection and control of animal diseases including zoonoses. Under the EU-FP7 project RISKSUR, a survey was conducted in 11 EU Member States and Switzerland to describe active surveillance components in 2011 managed by the public or private sector and identify gaps and opportunities. Information was collected about hazard, target population, geographical focus, legal obligation, management, surveillance design, risk-based sampling, and multi-hazard surveillance. Two countries were excluded due to incompleteness of data. Most of the 664 components targeted cattle (26·7%), pigs (17·5%) or poultry (16·0%). The most common surveillance objectives were demonstrating freedom from disease (43·8%) and case detection (26·8%). Over half of components applied risk-based sampling (57·1%), but mainly focused on a single population stratum (targeted risk-based) rather than differentiating between risk levels of different strata (stratified risk-based). About a third of components were multi-hazard (37·3%). Both risk-based sampling and multi-hazard surveillance were used more frequently in privately funded components. The study identified several gaps (e.g. lack of systematic documentation, inconsistent application of terminology) and opportunities (e.g. stratified risk-based sampling). The greater flexibility provided by the new EU Animal Health Law means that systematic evaluation of surveillance alternatives will be required to optimize cost-effectiveness.
African swine fever virus (ASFV) continues to cause outbreaks in domestic pigs and wild boar in Eastern European countries. To gain insights into its transmission dynamics, we estimated the pig-to-pig basic reproduction number (R0) for the Georgia 2007/1 ASFV strain using a stochastic susceptible-exposed-infectious-recovered (SEIR) model with parameters estimated from transmission experiments. Models showed that R0 is 2·8 [95% confidence interval (CI) 1·3–4·8] within a pen and 1·4 (95% CI 0·6–2·4) between pens. The results furthermore suggest that ASFV genome detection in oronasal samples is an effective diagnostic tool for early detection of infection. This study provides quantitative information on transmission parameters for ASFV in domestic pigs, which are required to more effectively assess the potential impact of strategies for the control of between-farm epidemic spread in European countries.
Serum and erythrocyte (RBC) total folate are indicators of folate status. No nationally representative population data exist for folate forms. We measured the serum folate forms (5-methyltetrahydrofolate (5-methylTHF), unmetabolised folic acid (UMFA), non-methyl folate (sum of tetrahydrofolate (THF), 5-formyltetrahydrofolate (5-formylTHF), 5,10-methenyltetrahydrofolate (5,10-methenylTHF)) and MeFox (5-methylTHF oxidation product)) by HPLC–MS/MS and RBC total folate by microbiologic assay in US population ≥ 1 year (n approximately 7500) participating in the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey 2011–2. Data analysis for serum total folate was conducted including and excluding MeFox. Concentrations (geometric mean; detection rate) of 5-methylTHF (37·5 nmol/l; 100 %), UMFA (1·21 nmol/l; 99·9 %), MeFox (1·53 nmol/l; 98·8 %), and THF (1·01 nmol/l; 85·2 %) were mostly detectable. 5-FormylTHF (3·6 %) and 5,10-methenylTHF (4·4 %) were rarely detected. The biggest contributor to serum total folate was 5-methylTHF (86·7 %); UMFA (4·0 %), non-methyl folate (4·7 %) and MeFox (4·5 %) contributed smaller amounts. Age was positively related to MeFox, but showed a U-shaped pattern for other folates. We generally noted sex and race/ethnic biomarker differences and weak (Spearman's r< 0·4) but significant (P< 0·05) correlations with physiological and lifestyle variables. Fasting, kidney function, smoking and alcohol intake showed negative associations. BMI and body surface area showed positive associations with MeFox but negative associations with other folates. All biomarkers showed significantly higher concentrations with recent folic acid-containing dietary supplement use. These first-time population data for serum folate forms generally show similar associations with demographic, physiological and lifestyle variables as serum total folate. Patterns observed for MeFox may suggest altered folate metabolism dependent on biological characteristics.
Fortification of select grain products with folic acid and periconceptional supplementation recommendations in Canada and the USA have improved folate status, and have been associated with a reduced risk of neural tube defects. In the present study, we aimed to conduct a comparison of erythrocyte folate concentrations from the 2007–9 Canadian Health Measures Survey (CHMS) and the 2007–8 US National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES). Erythrocyte folate concentration was assessed in participants aged 6–79 years (CHMS, n 5248; NHANES, n 7070). To account for different folate assays employed – Immulite 2000 immunoassay (CHMS) and microbiological assay (NHANES) – a conversion equation was generated (n 152 adults) to adjust the CHMS data. t Tests were used to examine country differences. Median Canadian erythrocyte folate concentrations (method-adjusted) were lower than those of Americans (988 and 1100 nmol/l, respectively), but unadjusted median Canadian erythrocyte folate concentrations were higher (1250 nmol/l). The upper 95 % CI boundary of the method-adjusted Canadian erythrocyte folate distribution overlapped that of the American erythrocyte folate concentrations, while the lower 95 % CI boundary of the method-adjusted Canadian erythrocyte folate data was below the American distribution. In summary, the fact that erythrocyte folate concentrations were either higher or lower in Canadians compared with Americans, depending on whether an adjustment was made to account for assay differences, suggests that caution must be exercised in evaluating erythrocyte folate data from different countries because analytical methods are not readily comparable. Furthermore, we cannot unequivocally conclude that there are true differences in erythrocyte folate concentrations between the Canadian and American populations in the post-fortification era.
In this globalized world, the spread of new, exotic and re-emerging diseases has become one of the most important threats to animal production and public health. This systematic review analyses conventional and novel early detection methods applied to surveillance. In all, 125 scientific documents were considered for this study. Exotic (n = 49) and re-emerging (n = 27) diseases constituted the most frequently represented health threats. In addition, the majority of studies were related to zoonoses (n = 66). The approaches found in the review could be divided in surveillance modalities, both active (n = 23) and passive (n = 5); and tools and methodologies that support surveillance activities (n = 57). Combinations of surveillance modalities and tools (n = 40) were also found. Risk-based approaches were very common (n = 60), especially in the papers describing tools and methodologies (n = 50). The main applications, benefits and limitations of each approach were extracted from the papers. This information will be very useful for informing the development of tools to facilitate the design of cost-effective surveillance strategies. Thus, the current literature review provides key information about the advantages, disadvantages, limitations and potential application of methodologies for the early detection of new, exotic and re-emerging diseases.
To establish a statewide network to detect, control, and prevent the spread of carbapenem-resistant Enterobacteriaceae (CRE) in a region with a low incidence of CRE infection.
Implementation of the Drug Resistant Organism Prevention and Coordinated Regional Epidemiology (DROP-CRE) Network.
Setting and Participants.
Oregon infection prevention and microbiology laboratory personnel, including 48 microbiology laboratories, 62 acute care facilities, and 140 long-term care facilities.
The DROP-CRE working group, comprising representatives from academic institutions and public health, convened an interdisciplinary advisory committee to assist with planning and implementation of CRE epidemiology and control efforts. The working group established a statewide CRE definition and surveillance plan; increased the state laboratory capacity to perform the modified Hodge test and polymerase chain reaction for carbapenemases in real time; and administered surveys that assessed the needs and capabilities of Oregon infection prevention and laboratory personnel. Results of these inquiries informed CRE education and the response plan.
Of 60 CRE reported from November 2010 through April 2013, only 3 were identified as carbapenemase producers; the cases were not linked, and no secondary transmission was found. Microbiology laboratories, acute care facilities, and long-term care facilities reported lacking carbapenemase testing capability, reliable interfacility communication, and CRE awareness, respectively. Survey findings informed the creation of the Oregon CRE Toolkit, a state-specific CRE guide booklet.
A regional epidemiology surveillance and response network has been implemented in Oregon in advance of widespread CRE transmission. Prospective surveillance will determine whether this collaborative approach will be successful at forestalling the emergence of this important healthcare-associated pathogen.
Cherubini et al. (above) question the reliability of identifying annual growth increments in olive trees, and therefore voice caution against the result of the wiggle-match of the four sections of a branch of an olive tree to the 14C calibration curve. Friedrich et al. (2006) were well aware of the problematic density structure of olive trees, and therefore assigned rather wide error margins of up to 50 per cent to the ring count. This still resulted in a late seventeenth century BC youngest date for the modelled age range of the outermost section of wood (95.4% probability). One can even remove any constraint from ring counting altogether and model the four radial sections as a simple ordered sequence, in which only the relative position is used as prior information, in other words that outer sections are younger than inner ones in a radial section.
We have performed large-scale nucleosynthesis calculations within the high-entropy-wind (HEW) scenario of Type II supernovae. The primary aim was to constrain the conditions for the production of the classical ‘p-only’ isotopes of the light trans-Fe elements. We find, however, that for electron fractions in the range 0.458 ≤ Ye ≤ 0.478, sizeable abundances of p-, s- and r-process nuclei between 64Zn and 98Ru are coproduced in the HEW at low entropies (S ≤ 100) by a primary charged-particle process after an α-rich freezeout. With the above Ye–S correlation, most of the predicted isotopic abundance ratios within a given element, e.g. 64Zn(p)/70Zn(r) or 92Mo(p)/94Mo(p), as well as of neighboring elements, e.g. 70Ge(s + p)/74Se(p) or 74Se(p)/78Kr(p) agree with the observed Solar-System ratios. Taking the Mo isotopic chain as a particularly challenging example, we show that our HEW model can account for the production of all 7 stable isotopes, from ‘p-only’ 92Mo, via ‘s-only’ 96Mo up to ‘r-only’ 100Mo. Furthermore, our model is able to reproduce the isotopic composition of Mo in presolar SiC X-grains.
We report weak localization studies of quantum coherence in metal nanowires with widths as small as 5 nm, demonstrating that structures fabricated at sub-50 nm length scales can reveal coherence phenomena not accessible in larger devices. Through selective etching of cleaved molecular-beam epitaxy (MBE)-grown substrates, we produce precise nanoscale surface relief then used as a stencil for metal deposition. This nonlithographic method of lateral definition allows the fabrication of metal (AuPd) nanowires greater than one micron in length with widths below 5 nm, a previously unexplored size regime in studies of quantum corrections to the conductance of disordered metals. Analyzing magnetoresistance data, we find that the coherence time, Tφ, shows a low temperature T dependence close to quasi-1D theoretical expectations (Tφ ∼ T-2/3 in 5 nm wide wires, while exhibiting a relative saturation as T 0 for wide samples of the same material. Since an externally controlled parameter, the sample geometry, can cause a single material to exhibit both suppression and divergence ofTφ, this finding provides a new constraint on models of dephasing phenomena.
RBS, SIMS, and IR measurements have been made on a SIMOX wafer, implanted with a second, low-temperature oxygen implant. These measurements indicate changes in the oxygen/silicon ratio in the buried oxide layer and differences in the annealing behaviour of the original layer and the double implant layer.
Buried TiSi2 layers, about 600Å thick and 900Å below the surface, were formed in < 111> silicon by ion implantation. The implantation was done with either 120 or 170 keV Ti+ to doses ranging from 5 x 1016 to 2 x 1017 ions/cm2, and at temperatures of between ambient and 650° C. Annealing was done at 600° C, 700°C and 1000°C. Continuous buried layers were achieved only with samples implanted with doses equal or greater than 1017 ions/cm2 and at temperatures above 450°C. Below this dose TiSi2, was present only as discrete precipitates. For room temperature implants, the TiSi2, layer is formed on the surface. The damage present consists of dispersed TiSi6 precipitates and microtwins.
We have explored the possibility of fabricating a metal base transistor in the Si/CoSi2 material system. Utilizing recent advances in the growth of thin, pinhole free, CoSi2 layers on Si(111) we have measured the transistor characteristics of a Si/CoSi2/Si structure. The observed low common emitter current gain is attributed to an absence of current carrying states in the CoSi2 transistor base.
The annealing behaviour of helium bubbles formed by ambient temperature 10 keV helium implantation into silicon has been studied using transmission electron microscopy (TEM) and helium desorption spectroscopy (HDS). Although the TEM results indicated conventional bubble annealing processes due to bubble migration and coalescence, the HDS data demonstrated that helium can permeate out of bubbles in silicon around 1000K to leave behind empty cavities, thus giving a porous layer coincident with the original helium implant profile.
The addition of a low dose of implanted oxygen to the silicon-helium samples has been shown to strongly improve the stability of the porous layer, at least up to 1300K.
In the past couple of years, buried oxide SOI has emerged as the leading SOI approach. Significant advances have been made in the understanding and the preparation of the buried oxide substrates. Various VLSI circuits have been demonstrated with excellent results, proving the maturity and the manufacturability of this technology. In this paper, buried oxide material properties, device parameters and the implementation of a 2.5 urn 4K SRAM and a 1.25 pm 16K SRAM on the buried oxide substrates are reviewed.
Total dose, dose rate, transient, single event upset and neutron radiation effects for dielectrically isolated MOS devices on S01(silicon-on-insulator) substrates are discussed. For large-scale, high-speed circuits, material, layout and process characteristics optimized for high circuit yield and reliability may conflict with improvements required to extend radiation thresholds. Some radiation hardening techniques applicable to silicon-on-insulator high speed thin film MOS devices are presented.
As-deposited polycrystalline silicon and argon ion laser recrystallized silicon thin film transistors (TFT's) have been fabricated on Corning Code 1729 glass substrates. This novel aluminosilicate glass has an expansion coefficient matched to that of silicon and a chemical durability comparable to that of fused silica. N-channel enhancement mode transistors were made using conventional IC device fabrication procedures (including thermal oxidation to form the gate insulator) modified to have a maximum processing temperature of 800 C. The- polycrystalline silicon TFT's exhibit leakage currents of less than 2x10-11 A/ μm; of channel width and good stability and reproducibility. Transistors made in the recrystallized silicon show field effect electron mobilities as high as 270 cm2/V s, approximately 15 times the mobility of comparable devices made in as-deposited polycrystalline silicon. The recrystallized silicon devices also exhibit lower threshold voltages and lower leakage currents than do the comparable polycrystalline silicon devices. Major advantages of this TFT technology include the use of a novel, potentially low cost glass substrate and the simultaneous processing of both polycrystalline and recrystallized silicon devices on the same substrate material. This approach represents a new avenue for the incorporation of active devices into a variety of applications including integrated active matrix displays.