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Hispanics/Latinos in the United States are less aware of their cholesterol levels and have a higher burden of associated adverse cardiovascular and cerebrovascular outcomes than non-Latino whites. Investigations of the associations between cholesterol levels and cognition in this population have often occurred within the context of metabolic syndrome and are limited to select lipids despite the fact that triglycerides (TGs) may be more relevant to the health of Hispanics/Latinos.
Baseline data from the Hispanic Community Health Study/Study of Latinos, collected from 2008 to 2011, was used to investigate the associations of lipid levels (i.e., TG, total cholesterol, TC; low-density and high-density lipoprotein cholesterol, LDL-C and HDL-C) with cognition (i.e., learning, memory, verbal fluency, and digit symbol substitution, DSS), adjusting for relevant confounders.
In 7413 participants ages 45 to 74 years from Central American, Cuban, Dominican, Mexican, Puerto Rican, and South American backgrounds, separate, fully adjusted linear regression models revealed that TG levels were inversely associated with DSS performance; however, this relationship was no longer significant once additional cardiovascular disease risk factors were added to the model (p = .06). TC and LDL-C levels (separately) were positively associated with learning and verbal fluency regardless of adjustments (p-values < .05). Separate analyses investigating the effect modification by background and sex revealed a particularly robust association between TC levels and DSS performance for Puerto Ricans and Central Americans (albeit in opposite directions) and an inverse relationship between TG levels and DSS performance for women (p-values < .02).
It is important to consider individual lipid levels and demographic characteristics when investigating associations between cholesterol levels and cognition in Hispanics/Latinos.
Whether maternal obesity and gestational weight gain (GWG) are associated with early-childhood development in low-income, urban, minority populations, and whether effects differ by child sex remain unknown. This study examined the impact of prepregnancy BMI and GWG on early childhood neurodevelopment in the Columbia Center for Children’s Environmental Health Mothers and Newborns study. Maternal prepregnancy weight was obtained by self-report, and GWG was assessed from participant medical charts. At child age 3 years, the Psychomotor Development Index (PDI) and Mental Development Index (MDI) of the Bayley Scales of Infant Intelligence were completed. Sex-stratified linear regression models assessed associations between prepregnancy BMI and pregnancy weight gain z-scores with child PDI and MDI scores, adjusting for covariates. Of 382 women, 48.2% were normal weight before pregnancy, 24.1% overweight, 23.0% obese, and 4.7% underweight. At 3 years, mean scores on the PDI and MDI were higher among girls compared to boys (PDI: 102.3 vs. 97.2, P = 0.0002; MDI: 92.8 vs. 88.3, P = 0.0001). In covariate-adjusted models, maternal obesity was markedly associated with lower PDI scores in boys [b = −7.81, 95% CI: (−13.08, −2.55), P = 0.004], but not girls. Maternal BMI was not associated with MDI in girls or boys, and GWG was not associated with PDI or MDI among either sex (all-P > 0.05). We found that prepregnancy obesity was associated with lower PDI scores at 3 years in boys, but not girls. The mechanisms underlying this sex-specific association remain unclear, but due to elevated obesity exposure in urban populations, further investigation is warranted.
Micronutrient supplementation is recommended in Ebola Virus Disease (EVD). However, there is limited data on its therapeutic impacts. This study evaluated the association between vitamin A supplementation and mortality outcomes in EVD patients.
This retrospective cohort study accrued patients with EVD admitted to five International Medical Corps run Ebola Treatment Units (ETU) in two countries from 2014-2015. Protocolized treatments with antimicrobials and micronutrients were used at all ETUs. However, due to resource limitations and care variations, only a subset of patients received vitamin A. Standardized data on demographics, clinical characteristics, malaria status, and Ebola virus RT-PCR cycle threshold (CT) values were collected. The outcome of interest was mortality compared between cases treated with 200,000 International Units of vitamin A on care days one and two and those not. Propensity scores (PS) based on the first 48-hours of care were derived using the covariates of age, duration of ETU function, malaria status, CT values, symptoms of confusion, hemorrhage, diarrhea, dysphagia, and dyspnea. Treated and non-treated cases were matched 1:1 based on nearest neighbors with replacement. Covariate balance met predefined thresholds. Mortality proportions between cases treated and untreated with vitamin A were compared using generalized estimating equations to calculate relative risks (RR) with associated 95% confidence intervals (CI).
There were 424 cases analyzed, with 330 (77.8%) being vitamin A-treated cases. The mean age was 30.5 years and 57.0% were female. The most common symptoms were diarrhea (86%), anorexia (81%), and vomiting (77%). Mortality proportions among cases untreated and treated with vitamin A were 71.9% and 55.0%, respectively. In a propensity-matched analysis, mortality was significantly lower among cases receiving vitamin A (RR = 0.77 95%; CI:0.59-0.99; p = 0.041).
Early vitamin A supplementation was associated with reduced mortality in EVD patients and should be provided routinely during future epidemics.
The densities of sputtered thin carbon films have been determined using a novel X-ray technique. This nondestructive method involves the measurement of the transmitivity of a characteristic soft (low energy) X-ray line through the carbon film, and using the established equation I1 = I0eμpt where I1/I0 is the transmitivity, fi the photo absorption cross section, t the independently measured thickness, the density p can be easily solved for. This paper demonstrates the feasibility of using this simple technique to measure densities of carbon films as thin as 300 Å, which is of tremendous practical interest as carbon films on this order of thickness are used extensively as abrasive and corrosive barriers (overcoats) for metallic recording media disks. The dependence of the density upon film thickness for a fixed processing condition is presented, as also its dependence (for a fixed thickness) upon different processing parameters (e.g., sputtering gas pressure and target power). The trends noted in this study indicate that the sputtering gas pressure plays the most important role, changing the film density from 2.4gm/cm3 at 1 mTorr to 1.5gm/cm3 at 30 mTorr for 1000 Å thick films.
One-dimensional hybrid Distributed Bragg Reflector (DBR) is constructed using Tris (8-hydroxy) quinoline aluminum (Alq3) molecules and Titanium dioxide (TiO2) nanoparticles via spin coating process. Light emission from thin films of low molecular weight organic semiconductor of Alq3 is dominated by excitons. This material has been widely used as a superior emitter for organic light emitting diodes. Titanium dioxide (TiO2) is an inorganic semiconductor with a high band gap. Photoluminescence (PL) of thin films of Alq3 showed a broad PL peak at 530 nm. In DBR structures, PL quenching is observed but there is no shift in the PL peak of the Alq3. The PL quenching is tentatively attributed to energy transfer via sensitization to wide band gap TiO2 layers. A simple excitonic model is suggested to explain the observation. Fabrication process and optical properties of the structure are presented.
Introduction: Emergency medicine (EM) is known to be a high-stress specialty. Work related stress and burnout have been reported to negatively impact physician-patient interactions, collaboration and ultimately overall physician mental and physical health. We sought to assess the rates of burnout among emergency physicians working at a single large Canadian tertiary care center and to identify higher risk groups. We hypothesized burnout rates to be uniformly high. Methods: We conducted a local cross-sectional study to assess burnout among adult and pediatric emergency physicians, fellows and residents at London Health Sciences Centre (LHSC). A total of 118 participants were invited to complete an anonymous online survey encompassing demographics, the validated MBI tool (Maslach Burnout Inventory) with additional questions aimed at identifying determinants of emergency physician burnout at LHSC. Each respondents three MBI scale scores for Emotional Exhaustion, Depersonalization and Personal Accomplishment were recorded with a possible range of 0-6. Descriptive statistics were calculated and relationships between risk factors (age, gender, years of practice, marital status, and credentials) and burnout scores were examined using t-tests, one-way ANOVAs, and/or regression analyses where appropriate. Results: To date the survey had a 50% (59/118) response rate. Of the 59 respondents 24 (40%) were female, the mean (SD) age was 40.6 years (10.5) and years of practice ranged from 1 to 35, with a mean of 13. Survey results indicated a high degree of burnout among LHSC EM physicians with a mean (SD) Emotional Exhaustion Score of 2.9 (1.3) and Depersonalization score of 2.4 (1.3), indicating that physicians felt burnt out from work between once a day to once a week. Inversely, the protective variable of Personal Accomplishment, with a score of 4.7 (0.9), indicated daily to weekly feelings of accomplishment. Female physicians (independent samples t-test, p=0.003) and those having fewer years of practice (linear regression, R2=0.188, p=0.04) were identified to have higher burnout. We did not identify any factors associated with Personal Accomplishment. Conclusion: Consistent with previous literature, LHSC emergency physicians were shown to be at risk for moderate to severe burnout. High risk groups identified included gender (female) and fewer years of practice. We did not identify any factors to be protective. Despite this, LHSC emergency physicians showed a high degree of personal accomplishment. While all physicians experience burnout, targeted interventions to newer female staff could have the highest benefit.
The PALFA survey, the most sensitive blind search for radio pulsars, has now discovered 180 pulsars in the Galactic Plane, the vast of which have periods shorter than 2 seconds. One reason that pulsar surveys may miss long-period radio pulsars is the strong effect of red noise at low modulation frequencies. It is possible to address this reduction in sensitivity by using a Fast-Folding Algorithm (FFA). We have adapted this algorithm for radio pulsar searching and applied it to PALFA observations. A sensitivity analysis of the algorithm has been conducted using synthetic pulsar signals injected in real observational data and this study shows that the FFA improves the PALFA survey sensitivity, as reported in Lazarus et al.(2015), by at least a factor of two at periods of ~6 sec, implying that the PALFA survey should discover more long-period radio pulsars in the future.
The LOFAR Tied Array All-Sky Survey (LOTAAS) is an ongoing all northern sky survey for pulsars and transients. It is one of the first large scale pulsar surveys conducted at an observing frequency below 200 MHz. The unique set-up of the survey is the simultaneous formation of 222 beams for each survey pointing by coherently adding signals from the central 6 LOFAR stations. This represents the first SKA-like pulsar survey. As of 12 September 2017, the survey has completed 1456 pointings, more than two-thirds of the total. The survey has discovered 61 new pulsars via Fourier-based periodicity searches and a further 5 via single pulse searches. I present the survey approach and distinctive features including a discussion of an improved machine learning classifier used to identify the best candidates produced by the pipeline for further investigation. I present a summary of the discoveries so far including the first binary pulsar and the pulsar with the longest spin period of 23.5 s.
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.
PSR B1820–30A is located in the globular cluster NGC 6624 and has the smallest projected distance to the centre of any globular cluster in the sky plane. We observe this millisecond pulsar over more than 25 years and obtain higher-order rotational frequency time derivative measurements through high-precision timing. Modelling these higher-order derivatives as being due to orbital motion, we find that the pulsar is in either a low-eccentricity smaller orbit with a low mass companion or a high-eccentricity larger orbit with a massive companion. The cluster mass properties and the observed properties of other nearby sources indicate that the high-eccentricity solution is more probably. This reveals that the pulsar is orbiting around an intermediate-mass black hole (IMBH) of mass >7500 M⊙ located at the cluster centre. This contribution is based on previous work published in MNRAS 471, 1258 (2017).
In-spiraling supermassive black holes should emit gravitational waves, which would produce characteristic distortions in the time of arrival residuals from millisecond pulsars. Multiple national and regional consortia have constructed pulsar timing arrays by precise timing of different sets of millisecond pulsars. An essential aspect of precision timing is the transfer of the times of arrival to a (quasi-)inertial frame, conventionally the solar system barycenter. The barycenter is determined from the knowledge of the planetary masses and orbits, which has been refined over the past 50 years by multiple spacecraft. Within the North American Nanohertz Observatory for Gravitational Waves (NANOGrav), uncertainties on the solar system barycenter are emerging as an important element of the NANOGrav noise budget. We describe what is known about the solar system barycenter, touch upon how uncertainties in it affect gravitational wave studies with pulsar timing arrays, and consider future trends in spacecraft navigation.
We have used LOFAR to perform targeted millisecond pulsar surveys of Fermi γ-ray sources. Operating at a center frequency of 135 MHz, the surveys use a novel semi-coherent dedispersion approach where coherently dedispersed trials at coarsely separated dispersion measures are incoherently dedispersed at finer steps. Three millisecond pulsars have been discovered as part of these surveys. We describe the LOFAR surveys and the properties of the newly discovered pulsars.
The Square Kilometre Array will be an amazing instrument for pulsar astronomy. While the full SKA will be sensitive enough to detect all pulsars in the Galaxy visible from Earth, already with SKA1, pulsar searches will discover enough pulsars to increase the currently known population by a factor of four, no doubt including a range of amazing unknown sources. Real time processing is needed to deal with the 60 PB of pulsar search data collected per day, using a signal processing pipeline required to perform more than 10 POps. Here we present the suggested design of the pulsar search engine for the SKA and discuss challenges and solutions to the pulsar search venture.
The majority of fast radio bursts (FRBs) are poorly localised, hindering their potential scientific yield as galactic, intergalactic, and cosmological probes. LOFT-e, a digital backend for the U.K.’s e-MERLIN seven-telescope interferometer will provide commensal search and real-time detection of FRBs, taking full advantage of its field of view (FoV), sensitivity, and observation time. Upon burst detection, LOFT-e will store raw data offline, enabling the sub-arcsecond localisation provided by e-MERLIN and expanding the pool of localised FRBs. The high-time resolution backend will additionally introduce pulsar observing capabilities to e-MERLIN.
PSR J0337+1715 is a millisecond radio pulsar in a hierarchical stellar triple system with two white dwarfs. This system is a unique and excellent laboratory in which to test the strong equivalence principle (SEP) of general relativity. An initial SEP-violation test was performed using direct 3-body numerical integration of the orbit in order to model the more than 25000 pulse times of arrival (TOAs) from three radio telescopes: Arecibo, Green Bank and Westerbork. In this work I present our efforts to quantify the effects of systematics in the TOAs and timing residuals, which limit the precision of an SEP test. In particular, we apply Fourier-based techniques to the timing residuals in order to isolate the effects of systematics that can masquerade as an SEP violation.
Black widows and redbacks are binary systems consisting of a millisecond pulsar in a close binary with a companion having matter driven off of its surface by the pulsar wind. X-rays due to an intrabinary shock have been observed from many of these systems, as well as orbital variations in the optical emission from the companion due to heating and tidal distortion. We have been systematically studying these systems in radio, optical and X-rays. Here we will present an overview of X-ray and optical studies of these systems, including new XMM-Newton and NuStar data obtained from several of them, along with new optical photometry.
Slow pulsars show a great deal of qualitative and quantitative regularity in the structure of their radio emission beams as described by the core/double-cone model; however, millisecond pulsars (MSPs) have shown little. It is thus arresting to encounter a 2.7-s MSP with what appears to be a double-cone/core profile—and even more so to find that the arrangement of the cones around the core suggest aberration/retardation emission heights that are very reasonable. This and several other pulsars then represent rare opportunities for analysis and raise questions about why a few MSPs show such orderly beam structure while so many do not.
The millisecond pulsar PSR J0337+1715 is in a mildly relativistic hierarchical triple system with two white dwarfs. This offers the possibility of testing the universality of free fall: does the neutron star fall with the same acceleration as the inner white dwarf in the gravity of the outer white dwarf? We have carried out an intensive pulsar timing campaign, yielding some 27000 pulse time-of-arrival (TOA) measurements with a median uncertainty of 1.2 μs. Here we describe our analysis procedure and timing model.
Multi-decade observing campaigns of the globular clusters 47 Tucanae and M15 have led to an outstanding number of discoveries. Here, we report on the latest results of the long-term observations of the pulsars in these two clusters. For most of the pulsars in 47 Tucanae we have measured, among other things, their higher-order spin period derivatives, which have in turn provided stringent constraints on the physical parameters of the cluster, such as its distance and gravitational potential. For M15, we have studied the relativistic spin precession effect in PSR B2127+11C. We have used full-Stokes observations to model the precession effect, and to constrain the system geometry. We find that the visible beam of the pulsar is swiftly moving away from our line of sight and may very soon become undetectable. On the other hand, we expect to see the opposite emission beam sometime between 2041 and 2053.
Pulsars were discovered on the basis of their individual pulses, first by Jocelyn Bell and then by many others. This was chart-recorder science as computers were not yet in routine use. Single pulses carry direct information about the emission process as revealed in the detailed properties of their polarization characteristics. Early analyses of single pulses proved so dizzyingly complex that attention shifted to study of average profiles. This is turn led to models of pulsar emission beams—in particular the core/double-cone model—which now provides a foundation for understanding single-pulse sequences. We mention some of the 21stC single-pulse surveys and conclude with a brief discussion of our own recent analyses leading to the identification of the pulsar radio-emission mechanism of both slow and millsecond pulsars.