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The search for life in the Universe is a fundamental problem of astrobiology and modern science. The current progress in the detection of terrestrial-type exoplanets has opened a new avenue in the characterization of exoplanetary atmospheres and in the search for biosignatures of life with the upcoming ground-based and space missions. To specify the conditions favourable for the origin, development and sustainment of life as we know it in other worlds, we need to understand the nature of global (astrospheric), and local (atmospheric and surface) environments of exoplanets in the habitable zones (HZs) around G-K-M dwarf stars including our young Sun. Global environment is formed by propagated disturbances from the planet-hosting stars in the form of stellar flares, coronal mass ejections, energetic particles and winds collectively known as astrospheric space weather. Its characterization will help in understanding how an exoplanetary ecosystem interacts with its host star, as well as in the specification of the physical, chemical and biochemical conditions that can create favourable and/or detrimental conditions for planetary climate and habitability along with evolution of planetary internal dynamics over geological timescales. A key linkage of (astro)physical, chemical and geological processes can only be understood in the framework of interdisciplinary studies with the incorporation of progress in heliophysics, astrophysics, planetary and Earth sciences. The assessment of the impacts of host stars on the climate and habitability of terrestrial (exo)planets will significantly expand the current definition of the HZ to the biogenic zone and provide new observational strategies for searching for signatures of life. The major goal of this paper is to describe and discuss the current status and recent progress in this interdisciplinary field in light of presentations and discussions during the NASA Nexus for Exoplanetary System Science funded workshop ‘Exoplanetary Space Weather, Climate and Habitability’ and to provide a new roadmap for the future development of the emerging field of exoplanetary science and astrobiology.
There is absence knowledge about the effects of lactation trimester and parity on eating behavior, production and efficiency of dairy cows. Objective of this study was to identify and characterize in 340 dairy cows, the 20% high efficient (HE), 20% low efficient (LE) and 60% mid efficient (ME) cows according to their individual residual feed intake (RFI) values, within and between lactation trimesters and between 1st and 2nd parities. Efficiency effect within each lactation trimester, was exhibited in daily dry matter intake (DMI), eating rate and meal size, that were the highest in LE cows, moderate in the ME cows and lowest in the HE group. Daily eating time, meal frequency, yields of milk and energy-corrected milk (ECM) and BW were similar in the three efficiency groups within each trimester. The lower efficiency of the LE cows in each trimester attributes to their larger metabolic energy intake, heat production and energy losses. In subgroup of 52 multiparous cows examined along their 1st and 2nd trimesters, milk and ECM production, DMI, eating behavior and efficiency traits were similar with high Pearson’s correlation (r=0.78 to 0.89) between trimesters. In another subgroup of 42 multiparous cows measured at their 2nd and 3rd trimesters, milk and ECM yield, DMI and eating time were reduced (P<0.01) at the 3rd trimester, but eating rate, meal frequency and meal size remained similar with high Pearson’s correlation (r=0.74 to 0.88) between trimesters. In subgroup of 26 cows measured in 1st and 2nd parities, DMI, BW, milk and ECM yield, and ECM/DMI increased in the 2nd lactation, but eating behavior and RFI traits were similar in both parities. These findings encourage accurate prediction of DMI based on a model that includes eating behavior parameters, together with individual measurement of ECM production. This can be further used to identify HE cows in commercial herd, a step necessary for potential genetic selection program aimed to improve herd efficiency.
Major depressive disorder (MDD) is a highly heterogeneous condition in terms of symptom presentation and, likely, underlying pathophysiology. Accordingly, it is possible that only certain individuals with MDD are well-suited to antidepressants. A potentially fruitful approach to parsing this heterogeneity is to focus on promising endophenotypes of depression, such as neuroticism, anhedonia, and cognitive control deficits.
Within an 8-week multisite trial of sertraline v. placebo for depressed adults (n = 216), we examined whether the combination of machine learning with a Personalized Advantage Index (PAI) can generate individualized treatment recommendations on the basis of endophenotype profiles coupled with clinical and demographic characteristics.
Five pre-treatment variables moderated treatment response. Higher depression severity and neuroticism, older age, less impairment in cognitive control, and being employed were each associated with better outcomes to sertraline than placebo. Across 1000 iterations of a 10-fold cross-validation, the PAI model predicted that 31% of the sample would exhibit a clinically meaningful advantage [post-treatment Hamilton Rating Scale for Depression (HRSD) difference ⩾3] with sertraline relative to placebo. Although there were no overall outcome differences between treatment groups (d = 0.15), those identified as optimally suited to sertraline at pre-treatment had better week 8 HRSD scores if randomized to sertraline (10.7) than placebo (14.7) (d = 0.58).
A subset of MDD patients optimally suited to sertraline can be identified on the basis of pre-treatment characteristics. This model must be tested prospectively before it can be used to inform treatment selection. However, findings demonstrate the potential to improve individual outcomes through algorithm-guided treatment recommendations.
Pathogen burden is a construct developed to assess the cumulative effects of multiple, persistent pathogens on morbidity and mortality. Despite the likely biological wear and tear on multiple body systems caused by persistent infections, few studies have examined the impact of total pathogen burden on such outcomes and specifically on preclinical markers of dysfunction. Using data from two waves of the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey, we compared three alternative methods for measuring pathogen burden, composed of mainly persistent viral infections, using a cumulative deficits index (CDI) as an outcome: single pathogen associations, a pathogen burden summary score and latent class analyses. We found significant heterogeneity in the distribution of the CDI by age, sex, race/ethnicity and education. There was an association between pathogen burden and the CDI by all three metrics. The latent class classification of pathogen burden showed particularly strong associations with the CDI; these associations remained after controlling for age, sex, body mass index, smoking, race/ethnicity and education. Our results suggest that pathogen burden may influence early clinical indicators of poor health as measured by the CDI. Our results are salient since we were able to detect these associations in a relatively young population. These findings suggest that reducing pathogen burden and the specific pathogens that drive the CDI may provide a target for preventing the early development of age-related physiological changes.
An internationally approved and globally used classification scheme for the diagnosis of CHD has long been sought. The International Paediatric and Congenital Cardiac Code (IPCCC), which was produced and has been maintained by the International Society for Nomenclature of Paediatric and Congenital Heart Disease (the International Nomenclature Society), is used widely, but has spawned many “short list” versions that differ in content depending on the user. Thus, efforts to have a uniform identification of patients with CHD using a single up-to-date and coordinated nomenclature system continue to be thwarted, even if a common nomenclature has been used as a basis for composing various “short lists”. In an attempt to solve this problem, the International Nomenclature Society has linked its efforts with those of the World Health Organization to obtain a globally accepted nomenclature tree for CHD within the 11th iteration of the International Classification of Diseases (ICD-11). The International Nomenclature Society has submitted a hierarchical nomenclature tree for CHD to the World Health Organization that is expected to serve increasingly as the “short list” for all communities interested in coding for congenital cardiology. This article reviews the history of the International Classification of Diseases and of the IPCCC, and outlines the process used in developing the ICD-11 congenital cardiac disease diagnostic list and the definitions for each term on the list. An overview of the content of the congenital heart anomaly section of the Foundation Component of ICD-11, published herein in its entirety, is also included. Future plans for the International Nomenclature Society include linking again with the World Health Organization to tackle procedural nomenclature as it relates to cardiac malformations. By doing so, the Society will continue its role in standardising nomenclature for CHD across the globe, thereby promoting research and better outcomes for fetuses, children, and adults with congenital heart anomalies.
We have previously shown that the minor alleles of vascular endothelial growth factor A (VEGFA) single-nucleotide polymorphism rs833069 and superoxide dismutase 2 (SOD2) single-nucleotide polymorphism rs2758331 are both associated with improved transplant-free survival after surgery for CHD in infants, but the underlying mechanisms are unknown. We hypothesised that one or both of these minor alleles are associated with better systemic ventricular function, resulting in improved survival.
This study is a follow-up analysis of 422 non-syndromic CHD patients who underwent neonatal cardiac surgery with cardiopulmonary bypass. Echocardiographic reports were reviewed. Systemic ventricular function was subjectively categorised as normal, or as mildly, moderately, or severely depressed. The change in function was calculated as the change from the preoperative study to the last available study. Stepwise linear regression, adjusting for covariates, was performed for the outcome of change in ventricular function. Model comparison was performed using Akaike’s information criterion. Only variables that improved the model prediction of change in systemic ventricular function were retained in the final model.
Genetic and echocardiographic data were available for 335/422 subjects (79%). Of them, 33 (9.9%) developed worse systemic ventricular function during a mean follow-up period of 13.5 years. After covariate adjustment, the presence of the VEGFA minor allele was associated with preserved ventricular function (p=0.011).
These data support the hypothesis that the mechanism by which the VEGFA single-nucleotide polymorphism rs833069 minor allele improves survival may be the preservation of ventricular function. Further studies are needed to validate this genotype–phenotype association and to determine whether this mechanism is related to increased vascular endothelial growth factor production.
The relationship between sildenafil dosing, exposure, and systemic hypotension in infants is incompletely understood.
The aim of this study was to characterise the relationship between predicted sildenafil exposure and hypotension in hospitalised infants.
We extracted information on sildenafil dosing and clinical characteristics from electronic health records of 348 neonatal ICUs from 1997 to 2013, and we predicted drug exposure using a population pharmacokinetic model.
We identified 232 infants receiving sildenafil at a median dose of 3.2 mg/kg/day (2.0, 6.0). The median steady-state area under the concentration–time curve over 24 hours (AUC24,SS) and maximum concentration of sildenafil (Cmax,SS,SIL) were 712 ng×hour/ml (401, 1561) and 129 ng/ml (69, 293), respectively. Systemic hypotension occurred in 9% of the cohort. In multivariable analysis, neither dosing nor exposure were associated with systemic hypotension: odds ratio=0.96 (95% confidence interval: 0.81, 1.14) for sildenafil dose; 0.87 (0.59, 1.28) for AUC24,SS; 1.19 (0.78, 1.82) for Cmax,SS,SIL.
We found no association between sildenafil dosing or exposure with systemic hypotension. Continued assessment of sildenafil’s safety profile in infants is warranted.
The observational status of superluminal radio sources is reviewed, and the results for one well-studied source (3C 345) are discussed in detail. We discuss the relativistic-beam model of superluminal sources, and concentrate on one aspect, namely the geometric constraints provided by combined X-ray and proper-motion measurements.
The well known superluminal source 3C345 is associated with a 16th magnitude quasar at z=0.595. The optical continuum is highly polarized and shows violent variations. At x-ray frequencies it is a weak source; while at radio frequencies it is bright and variable. The radio structure consists of a 200 kpc halo, a 20 kpc jet, and a very bright pc scale region which shows superluminal motion. Recent MkII VLBI monitoring (Biretta, Moore, Cohen 1986) at 2, 5, 11, and 22 GHz has provided accurate spectra, sizes, expansion rates, velocities, and trajectories for the superluminal knots and the “core.” Here we consider physical conditions in the emission regions and models for the kinematics.
The μ–z diagram (Figure 1) plots the observed internal proper motion μ versus redshift z for 32 extragalactic radio sources associated with active galactic nuclei. The observed points fall below an upper bound which decreases with redshift; there is a statistically significant anticorrelation between redshift and internal proper motion.
Radio imaging of VLBI core-jet sources can be used to examine the case for continuity of jet-like features between parsec and circumgalactic scales. Futhermore, polarimetry of such sources allows investigation of the dominant magnetic field topologies as a function of linear offset from the central engine. Examination of these continuity and field topology issues is essential for an understanding of how energy is channeled from the nuclear regions to the circumgalactic environment.
Depression and obesity are highly prevalent, and major impacts on public health frequently co-occur. Recently, we reported that having depression moderates the effect of the FTO gene, suggesting its implication in the association between depression and obesity.
To confirm these findings by investigating the FTO polymorphism rs9939609 in new cohorts, and subsequently in a meta-analysis.
The sample consists of 6902 individuals with depression and 6799 controls from three replication cohorts and two original discovery cohorts. Linear regression models were performed to test for association between rs9939609 and body mass index (BMI), and for the interaction between rs9939609 and depression status for an effect on BMI. Fixed and random effects meta-analyses were performed using METASOFT.
In the replication cohorts, we observed a significant interaction between FTO, BMI and depression with fixed effects meta-analysis (β=0.12, P = 2.7 × 10−4) and with the Han/Eskin random effects method (P = 1.4 × 10−7) but not with traditional random effects (β = 0.1, P = 0.35). When combined with the discovery cohorts, random effects meta-analysis also supports the interaction (β = 0.12, P = 0.027) being highly significant based on the Han/Eskin model (P = 6.9 × 10−8). On average, carriers of the risk allele who have depression have a 2.2% higher BMI for each risk allele, over and above the main effect of FTO.
This meta-analysis provides additional support for a significant interaction between FTO, depression and BMI, indicating that depression increases the effect of FTO on BMI. The findings provide a useful starting point in understanding the biological mechanism involved in the association between obesity and depression.
Moringa oleifera is a rich source of antioxidants and a promising feed for livestock, due to significant amounts of protein, vitamins, carotenoids and polyphenols, and negligible amounts of anti-nutritional factors. The current study tested whether ensiling would preserve the antioxidant capacity of M. oleifera plants, and assessed whether Moringa silage, fed as a substitute for maize silage, would confer health-promoting traits and affect milk production in dairy cows. To this end, hand-harvested M. oleifera plants were ensiled, with or without molasses and inoculants, in anaerobic jars at room temperature (25 °C) for 37 days. At the end of the storage period the silages were analysed for pH, lactic acid and acetic acid concentrations, aerobic stability, antioxidant capacity, polyphenols and protein content, and tocopherols and carotenoids concentrations. Moringa silages exhibited higher antioxidant capacity compared with fresh and dried Moringa plants, not related to polyphenol content but presumably attributed to accumulation of amino acids and low molecular weight peptides. Based on these findings, a large-scale ensiling protocol was implemented, followed by a feeding trial for dairy cows, in which Moringa silage replaced 263 g maize silage/kg in the diet. Cows fed Moringa silage had higher milk yield and antioxidant capacity and lower milk somatic cell counts compared with controls, during some stages of lactation. These findings imply that ensiling M. oleifera is an appropriate practice by which health and production of dairy cows can be improved.
One view of major Solar Energetic Particle (SEP) events is that these (proton-dominated) fluxes are accelerated in heliospheric shock sources created by Interplanetary Coronal Mass Ejections (ICMEs), and then travel mainly along interplanetary magnetic field lines connecting the shock(s) to the observer(s). This places a particular emphasis on the role of the heliospheric conditions during the event, requiring a realistic description of the latter to interpret and/or model SEP events. The well-known ENLIL heliospheric simulation with cone model generated ICME shocks is used together with the SEPMOD particle event modeling scheme to demonstrate the value of applying these concepts at multiple inner heliosphere sites.
Public health interest in norovirus (NoV) has increased in recent years following improved diagnostics, global burden estimates and the development of NoV vaccine candidates. This study aimed to describe the detection rate, clinical characteristics and environmental features associated with NoV detection in hospitalized children <5 years with diarrhoea in South Africa (SA). Between 2009 and 2013, prospective diarrhoeal surveillance was conducted at four sites in SA. Stool specimens were collected and screened for NoVs and other enteric pathogens using molecular and serological assays. Epidemiological and clinical data were compared in patients with or without detection of NoV. The study detected NoV in 15% (452/3103) of hospitalized children <5 years with diarrhoea with the majority of disease in children <2 years (92%; 417/452). NoV-positive children were more likely to present with diarrhoea and vomiting (odds ratio (OR) 1·3; 95% confidence interval (CI) 1·1–1·7; P = 0·011) with none-to-mild dehydration (adjusted OR 0·5; 95% CI 0·3–0·7) compared with NoV-negative children. Amongst children testing NoV positive, HIV-infected children were more likely to have prolonged hospitalization and increased mortality compared with HIV-uninfected children. Continued surveillance will be important to consider the epidemic trends and estimate the burden and risk of NoV infection in SA.
We present an all-sky star count model at 12 μm based upon the Infrared Astronomical Satellite (IRAS) observations that characterize both the 12 μm luminosity function and the geometrical parameters of the galaxy. The model includes five galactic components: the bulge, the spheroid, the exponential disk, the spiral arms, and the molecular ring. The distribution of the brighter IRAS sources along the galactic plane required that the model include sources within the spiral arms and the molecular ring to produce an acceptable fit. We do not support the conclusion of Habing (1988) that the galactic disk ends just outside the solar circle, and do not require a thick disk to match the observations. We suggest that Habing's sample includes IRAS sources in the spiral arms but his model for the galactic disk does not include this critical component.
Recent spectropolarimetric surveys of bright, hot stars have found that ~10% of OB-type stars contain strong (mostly dipolar) surface magnetic fields (~kG). The prominent paradigm describing the interaction between the stellar winds and the surface magnetic field is the magnetically confined wind shock (MCWS) model. In this model, the stellar wind plasma is forced to move along the closed field loops of the magnetic field, colliding at the magnetic equator, and creating a shock. As the shocked material cools radiatively it will emit X-rays. Therefore, X-ray spectroscopy is a key tool in detecting and characterizing the hot wind material confined by the magnetic fields of these stars. Some B-type stars are found to have very short rotational periods. The effects of the rapid rotation on the X-ray production within the magnetosphere have yet to be explored in detail. The added centrifugal force due to rapid rotation is predicted to cause faster wind outflows along the field lines, leading to higher shock temperatures and harder X-rays. However, this is not observed in all rapidly rotating magnetic B-type stars. In order to address this from a theoretical point of view, we use the X-ray Analytical Dynamical Magnetosphere (XADM) model, originally developed for slow rotators, with an implementation of new rapid rotational physics. Using X-ray spectroscopy from ESA’s XMM-Newton space telescope, we observed 5 rapidly rotating B-types stars to add to the previous list of observations. Comparing the observed X-ray luminosity and hardness ratio to that predicted by the XADM allows us to determine the role the added centrifugal force plays in the magnetospheric X-ray emission of these stars.
We report on version 1.0 of the Edinburgh/AAO/Strasbourg catalogue of new and possible Planetary Nebulae (PN) distributed via cdrom at this meeting. We provide accurate positions, designations, images and other descriptive parameters for the PN. In future releases this will be supplemented by inclusion of spectra and related material such as line ratios, velocities etc.
The 900+ PN have been discovered solely from visual scrutiny of narrow-band exposures taken for the AAO/UKST H-alpha survey of the Southern Galactic Plane. Most have classic PN-type morphologies (i.e. bi-polar, rings, shells or ovals). SuperCOSMOS data will soon supersede our visual scanning but it proved an effective preliminary technique to identify candidate PN on the basis of morphology, isolation and identification as an H-alpha nebulosity. We already have confirmatory spectroscopy for ~ 700 objects. Much of our new sample are of very low surface brightness, with no obvious central star, and so have remained undetected in previous surveys. They are revealed here due to the excellent depth, resolution, coverage and uniformity of the H-alpha survey. Many PN are also well extended. The average angular size is 51″ with the median of 27″ but examples extend to several arcminutes. This may indicate many are in a highly evolved state where the central star has faded from easy optical detection and the nebula itself is dissipating into the ambient ISM. Large numbers of candidate PN have also been found in the Galactic Bulge region, most of which have been confirmed via UKST FLAIR/6dF MOS spectroscopy (Parker et al, in preparation and these proceedings).
By version 2.0 (release in 2002) we will have doubled the number of Galactic PN accrued from all sources over the last 75 years. This new catalogue should have a profound impact on many aspects of PN research.
We report on an unprecedented source of Planetary Nebulae (PN) discovered from AAO/UKST Hα survey images of the Southern Galactic Plane. A pristine region of PN discovery space is being sampled due to the excellent depth, coverage, resolution and uniformity of the Hα survey. Large numbers of new PN are being found (~1000 so far). They are typically more evolved, obscurred and of lower surface brightness than in most other surveys. The doubling of known PN should have a significant impact on many aspects of PN research.