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Detecting gastrointestinal (GI) infection transmission among men who have sex with men (MSM) in England is complicated by a lack of routine sexual behavioural data. We investigated whether gender distributions might generate signals for increased transmission of GI pathogens among MSM. We examined the percentage male of laboratory-confirmed patient-episodes for patients with no known travel history for 10 GI infections of public health interest in England between 2003 and 2013, stratified by age and region. An adult male excess was observed for Shigella spp. (annual maximum 71% male); most pronounced for those aged 25–49 years and living in London, Brighton and Manchester. An adult male excess was observed every year for Entamoeba histolytica (range 59.8–76.1% male), Giardia (53.1–57.6%) and Campylobacter (52.1–53.5%) and for a minority of years for hepatitis A (max. 69.8%) and typhoidal salmonella (max. 65.7%). This approach generated a signal for excess male episodes for six GI pathogens, including a characterised outbreak of Shigella among MSM. Stratified analyses by geography and age group were consistent with MSM transmission for Shigella. Optimisation and routine application of this technique by public health authorities elsewhere might help identify potential GI infection outbreaks due to sexual transmission among MSM, for further investigation.
Providing care for a person with dementia or other chronic illness at home often places stress on the primary caregiver. In an Irish population, ~67% of carers reported experiencing extreme physical or mental tiredness. This study aimed to identify factors that influence carer burden and identify the sub-populations of carers who are most susceptible to burden.
Consecutive carers referred to a local carers’ support organisation completed the following measurements: the Neuropsychiatric Inventory, Zarit Burden Interview, Social Network Index, General Health Questionnaire, Short Form Survey, Hamilton Depression Rating Scale, Brown’s Locus of Control scale and provided demographic data on themselves and their patient.
The sample consisted 53 carers, mean age: 64.5±11.7, of whom 43 (81.1%) were females. A linear regression model found significant independent (p<0.05) factors for carer burden were: increased behavioural problems of the patient, carer characteristics including female gender, younger age, high number of contacts, lower physical functioning and emotional problems, while protective factors were marriage and higher number of embedded networks.
The ability to predict which carers are more susceptible to burden allows service providers to more quickly and accurately identify ‘higher risk’ carers, facilitating routine check-ups by physicians and carer support services.
In the days following our Joint Discussion the Co-editors were joined by two of the participants, Dr. Ivan King and Dr. Uli Steinlin, in an effort to evaluate results reported as well as the problems posed for future work. As a result of these discussions at Grenoble the present listing was made. This list was presented to members of the Organizing Committee but since it was impossible in the last days at Grenoble to convene this group or to speak collegially with all participants it must remain the responsibility of the above-named authors. It cannot be a complete resumé nor can it presume to represent adequately the varied opinions expressed at Grenoble on 25 August. We hope here only to attempt a synthesis of certain evident results and to outline certain prospects for exploring further the exciting problems of structure and evolution in the galactic polar caps.
The burden and aetiology of type 2 diabetes (T2D) and its microvascular complications may be influenced by varying behavioural and lifestyle environments as well as by genetic susceptibility. These aspects of the epidemiology of T2D have not been reliably clarified in sub-Saharan Africa (SSA), highlighting the need for context-specific epidemiological studies with the statistical resolution to inform potential preventative and therapeutic strategies. Therefore, as part of the Human Heredity and Health in Africa (H3Africa) initiative, we designed a multi-site study comprising case collections and population-based surveys at 11 sites in eight countries across SSA. The goal is to recruit up to 6000 T2D participants and 6000 control participants. We will collect questionnaire data, biophysical measurements and biological samples for chronic disease traits, risk factors and genetic data on all study participants. Through integrating epidemiological and genomic techniques, the study provides a framework for assessing the burden, spectrum and environmental and genetic risk factors for T2D and its complications across SSA. With established mechanisms for fieldwork, data and sample collection and management, data-sharing and consent for re-approaching participants, the study will be a resource for future research studies, including longitudinal studies, prospective case ascertainment of incident disease and interventional studies.
The Durban Diabetes Study (DDS) is a population-based cross-sectional survey of an urban black population in the eThekwini Municipality (city of Durban) in South Africa. The survey combines health, lifestyle and socioeconomic questionnaire data with standardised biophysical measurements, biomarkers for non-communicable and infectious diseases, and genetic data. Data collection for the study is currently underway and the target sample size is 10 000 participants. The DDS has an established infrastructure for survey fieldwork, data collection and management, sample processing and storage, managed data sharing and consent for re-approaching participants, which can be utilised for further research studies. As such, the DDS represents a rich platform for investigating the distribution, interrelation and aetiology of chronic diseases and their risk factors, which is critical for developing health care policies for disease management and prevention. For data access enquiries please contact the African Partnership for Chronic Disease Research (APCDR) at firstname.lastname@example.org or the corresponding author.
In this chapter, we address the biophysical impacts of climate change, and the consequent impacts on socio-economic systems. Modelling the impacts associated with future climate change provides important information for society’s mitigation and adaptation responses. It also presents significant challenges for Earth system science. We discuss the ways in which uncertainty in impact modelling arises and how it can be managed.
Changes in climate, including those arising as a consequence of anthropogenic perturbations of the climate system, can result in a wide variety of impacts on Earth’s ecosystems and the human activities that depend on them. There are two good practical reasons why it is important to understand the processes involved and assess the possible magnitudes of impacts.
First, an assessment of the extent to which continued anthropogenic climate change could inflict damage is needed in order that well-informed decisions can be made about the reduction of human influences on climate. Our understanding of Earth system behaviour alerts us to the fact that action to mitigate climate change through reductions in greenhouse-gas emissions is not without consequences; so decisions to pursue mitigation options need to be weighed up on the basis of reliable estimates of the costs, risks and benefits of different courses of action.
Secondly, the increase in atmospheric greenhouse-gas concentrations since the Industrial Revolution means that further climate change is inevitable even if greenhouse-gas emissions were to be reduced soon ( Figure 6.1 ). It is therefore necessary for society to adapt to unavoidable changes. Since adaptation action is also not without consequences, it is important that adaptive action addresses credible risks , and represents an efficient allocation of resources.
We sought to explain seasonality and other aspects of Campylobacter jejuni epidemiology by integrating population genetic and epidemiological analysis in a large 3-year longitudinal, two-centre, population-based study. Epidemiological information was collected for 1505 isolates, which were multilocus sequence-typed. Analyses compared pathogen population structure between areas, over time, and between clinical presentations. Pooled analysis was performed with published international datasets. Subtype association with virulence was not observed. UK sites had nearly identical C. jejuni populations. A clade formed by ST45 and ST283 clonal complexes showed a summer peak. This clade was common in a Finnish dataset but not in New Zealand and Australian collections, countries with less marked seasonality. The UK, New Zealand and Australian collections were otherwise similar. These findings map to known in-vitro differences of this clade. This identifies a target for studies to elucidate the drivers of the summer peak in human C. jejuni infection.
Low-calcium fly ashes from eastern Pennsylvania power plants, stabilized with Portland cement, have a potential application as a pipeline bedding material. A typical fly ash, and a cement-stabilized material made with this fly ash, were subjected to extensive physical and chemical characterization. Two procedures were used to investigate whether leachates from the bedding materials were nonhazardous according to the criteria of the regulatory agencies. The first was the short-term EPA test, used to define a hazardous waste under the RCRA regulations, and the second was a long-term flow-through test developed at MRL/PSU. In the second test, driving pressure, flow rate and permeability were monitored during the experiment. Calculations showed that this flow-through technique simulates rain water percolation in a similar sized bed for about 25 years. The leaching fluids in both methods were deionized water (EPA procedure) and simulated rain water. Analyses for seventeen metals by DC plasma emission spectrometry and for seven anions by ion chromatography were performed. Concentrations of the leachates from the two procedures were well below the levels that define a hazardous waste. Considerable insight into the long term leaching mechanisms of various elements was obtained from the flow-through experiments.
The zeta-potentials of two fly ashes were studied (high-calcium and low-calcium). It was found that they possess a point of charge reversal at pH = 10.5 to 12. The point of zero charge (low-calcium fly ash) was found to be at pH = 5. Furthermore, it shifted to more acidic values after the fly ash is aged in several calcium-containing solutions. The surficial changes that could happen when mixing fly ashes with cement and concrete were further evaluated by aging fly ashes in different solutions: Ca(OH)2, CaSO4·2H2O, NaOH and water solutions. Information from analyses for different ionic species in the solutions and characterization of the solid residues (XRD and SEM) was used in tentative explanations for the different behavior of the two types of fly ash in cementitious mixtures and concrete.
Fly ashes having three distinctly different levels of calcium, designated low-calcium (Class F), intermediate-calcium (Class F/C), and high-calcium (Class C) comprised the basic material for the present study. Pastes and mortars were made out of the three types of fly ashes and one type of cement (Type I) at various levels of replacement as well as different water/solid ratios (w/c). Chloride ion diffusion was measured by applying an electrical potential across cured cylindrical samples and measuring the amount of current passed in a certain period of time (proportional to amount of Cl− passed in this time). Other supportive measurements were made, e.g., porosity and pore size distribution, water permeability and surface area. The Cl− ion diffusivities were correlated with the chemical composition of fly ash (FA), mix proportioning, and water permeabilities of the tested hardened pastes or mortars.
The predominant spherical shape of fly ash particles combined with mainly glassy composition and texture of its surfaces have a special effect on rheology of cement pastes containing fly ash. The early ages rheological behavior of cement pastes (ASTM Type I) incorporating 30% low-calcium fly ash was monitored by measuring viscosity of the fresh pastes prior to initial hardening and stiffening (up to −2 hours) as a function of time. The viscosities were determined using a co-axial rotoviscometer (HAAKE). The effects of fly ash content, water to cement ratio, and presence and concentration of superplasticizer, were evaluated. In addition, the dispersivity of fly ash spheres was evaluated by determining the zeta-potential of fly ash suspensions in water using a microelectrophoresis technique and the results were correlated to the chemical composition of fly ash as well as the viscosities of fresh pastes.
The electrochemical stability in fly ash/cement beds is of major concern to the durability of construction metals (iron or steel) embedded in the matrix as well as the stabilization (fixation) of toxic elements. The electrochemical stabilities were evaluated by measuring the redox potential as a function of both time and leach solution. For simulating the field conditions, the measurements were made on leachates of a prepared solution simulating rain composition in the area of application and results were contrasted to those obtained on leachates of standard deionized water. Two leaching techniques were used: the standard EPA-EP test; a test developed at MRL/PSU for simulating field conditions in which leaching fluids are pumped up a fly ash/cement column. The redox potentials (based on hydrogen scale), Eh's, were plotted vs. pH of the leachates and the regions of stability of various construction materials and toxic elements were predicted. Tafel plots were also constructed for iron in contact with different leachates, and its corrosion rate was estimated.
Chloride ions, when present at sufficient concentration in the concrete pore fluid, may be associated with corrosion of the reinforcing steel even in normally passivative environments. The effectiveness of fly ash containing pastes in trapping chloride ions was studied. A paste was prepared containing 30% low-calcium fly ash and 70% type I cement, with mixing water (50% by weight) containing 0.4% C1− with respect to the solid. Samples were cured at 25°C and 38°lC at 95% R.H. At designated times extending over a six-month period, the pore fluids were expressed from the hardened pastes using a squeezing cell designed for this purpose. Special precautions were taken to avoid carbonation of the fluids; contact with the atmosphere was minimized. The expressed fluids were analyzed by DC plasma emission spectrometry for cations and by automated selective ion exchange chromatography for anions. Other studies (XRD, thermal analysis) were carried out to identify the compounds formed and determine their mechanisms of formation. Investigations indicated that the mechanism of trapping chloride ion is partly chemical and partly physical through adsorption on the surface of fly ash particles (initially physical and subsequently chemical).
Reactive ion etching of features down to 100 nm in linewidth in tungsten has been studied using an SF6 based chemistry. The studies were carried out in a PlasmaTherm 500 etcher operated at low pressure (2 mTorr) and power (100 mWatts/cm2). Key processing parameters have been identified to achieve the resolution and aspect ratio required for high contrast x-ray masks. The critical parameters include sample temperature, gas dilution and end point detection. However, even with all of these parameters optimized, additional sidewall passivation is required to obtain the necessary 6.5:1 aspect ratio. A novel method of achieving such passivation based on an intermittent etching process is described.
The development of an improved method of trimethylsilylation  made possible the assessment of different polysilicate fractions in hydrated cement pastes, as a means of structural characterization. Several laboratories have presented various gas-liquid chromatographic data on the polysilicate derivatives of C-S-H [2–5]. Identification of the different molecular weight fractions has been made, in most laboratories, by matching the gasliquid chromatographic peaks with the gel permeation chromatographic peaks. The success of this matching process is always dependent on type of instruments, length of columns and temperature range.
In the present investigation, a mass spectrometer, in direct contact with the gas-liquid chromatograph, was used to identify the molecular weight of each of the fractions separated from the chromatograph. The technique was applied to determine the molecular weights and abundances of different polysilicate species in hydrated fly ash pastes.
The transport of ions through cement pastes and mortars with variable contents of fly ashes and granulated blast-furnace slag from different sources and with variable composition has been investigated. The research included the determination of chloride diffusion rate and chloride permeability in relation to microstructure development. The median pore size generally was much diminished in mature blended material compared with Portland cement (PC) pastes and mortars. It appears that, at the same age, a finer microstructure is generally developed in blended specimens compared to PC specimens. Also, it was found that the microstructure approaches a limiting value at longer ages of hydration. That limiting value may be reached at earlier ages with the blends. The chloride diffusion rates and permeabilities in the blends were significantly lower than PC mixes. A comparison between the blends containing fly ashes and those containing slag was made.
Fly ash-cement pastes are known to develop fine pore structures that may retard the transport of ionic species. The rapid chloride permeability technique for studying the Cl- ion diffusion in hydrated fly ash/cement pastes, mortars and concrete was used. The technique applies an electrical potential across a cylindrical sample and measures the charge passed in a certain period of time. The results obtained on pastes and mortars cured for 28 days were reported previously and contrasted with those of neat cement pastes and mortars. The present paper reports more extensive studies made to examine the chloride permeabilities of pastes and mortars cured for up to 90 days. In addition, the effect of variable fly ash contents was examined. Concrete samples were included in the test scheme and the data were compared with pastes and mortars. Two important factors controlling the test results are discussed: first the mix design and curing conditions; second the experimental conditions during Cl- permeability measurements. In the second factor, the amount and rate of heat build up and the chloride ion concentrations are compared with the current passed. In addition, measuring current versus resistivity are critically discussed in terms of the voltage-current varistic characteristics of cement matrices.
Single phase, pure monocalcium aluminate (CaAl2O4) powders are chemically synthesized at temperatures as low as 900°C. The powders have a specific surface area of approximately 10 m2/g. The hydration kinetics of CaAl2O4 and the morphology of the hydrates are analyzed using electron microscopy techniques
Blends of portland clinker and gypsum plaster exhibit fast setting and early strength development if mixed with water. An excessive expansion of such systems may be controlled by the use of a “sulfate resistant” rather than “ordinary” clinker and by adding condensed silica to the system. The water resistance of such hardened pastes is significantly improved as compared to plain gypsum pastes, mainly due to the formation of the C-S-H-and AFt-phases.
Microstructural analysis was performed on several crystalline SiC samples previously prepared by three separate processing methods and subsequently sintered under high pressure and high temperature conditions using the cubic anvil cell MAX80 at Hasylab. Microcrystalline SiC was prepared using SHS conditions, while nanocrystalline SiC was prepared using both combustion synthesis methods and polymer precursors. High purity, highly disordered nanocrystalline SiC powders, with average particle diameters below 100 nm, were synthesized via combustion methods from precise mixtures of silane and acetylene. The properties of the silicon carbide powders prepared in this manner were dependent on the initial stoichiometry and pressure of the combustion mixture. Pyrolysis of polymer precursors to SiC was also used to fabricate ceramic powders containing uniformly-sized, highly disordered nanocrystalline SiC grains. The grain sizes ranged from approximately 3 nm to greater than 50 nm, and depended on the initial composition of the polymer, the pyrolysis conditions, as well as the annealing atmosphere, temperature and time. This paper describes the preparation methods for each of the SiC powders, the densification procedure, and preliminary results obtained primarily from transmission electron microscopy and X-ray diffraction analysis.