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During the summer of 2016, the Hawaii Department of Health responded to the second-largest domestic foodborne hepatitis A virus (HAV) outbreak in the post-vaccine era. The epidemiological investigation included case finding and investigation, sequencing of RNA positive clinical specimens, product trace-back and virologic testing and sequencing of HAV RNA from the product. Additionally, an online survey open to all Hawaii residents was conducted to estimate baseline commercial food consumption. We identified 292 confirmed HAV cases, of whom 11 (4%) were possible secondary cases. Seventy-four (25%) were hospitalised and there were two deaths. Among all cases, 94% reported eating at Oahu or Kauai Island branches of Restaurant Chain A, with 86% of those cases reporting raw scallop consumption. In contrast, a food consumption survey conducted during the outbreak indicated 25% of Oahu residents patronised Restaurant Chain A in the 7 weeks before the survey. Product trace-back revealed a single distributor that supplied scallops imported from the Philippines to Restaurant Chain A. Recovery, amplification and sequence comparison of HAV recovered from scallops revealed viral sequences matching those from case-patients. Removal of product from implicated restaurants and vaccination of those potentially exposed led to the cessation of the outbreak. This outbreak further highlights the need for improved imported food safety.
The role that vitamin D plays in pulmonary function remains uncertain. Epidemiological studies reported mixed findings for serum 25-hydroxyvitamin D (25(OH)D)–pulmonary function association. We conducted the largest cross-sectional meta-analysis of the 25(OH)D–pulmonary function association to date, based on nine European ancestry (EA) cohorts (n 22 838) and five African ancestry (AA) cohorts (n 4290) in the Cohorts for Heart and Aging Research in Genomic Epidemiology Consortium. Data were analysed using linear models by cohort and ancestry. Effect modification by smoking status (current/former/never) was tested. Results were combined using fixed-effects meta-analysis. Mean serum 25(OH)D was 68 (sd 29) nmol/l for EA and 49 (sd 21) nmol/l for AA. For each 1 nmol/l higher 25(OH)D, forced expiratory volume in the 1st second (FEV1) was higher by 1·1 ml in EA (95 % CI 0·9, 1·3; P<0·0001) and 1·8 ml (95 % CI 1·1, 2·5; P<0·0001) in AA (Prace difference=0·06), and forced vital capacity (FVC) was higher by 1·3 ml in EA (95 % CI 1·0, 1·6; P<0·0001) and 1·5 ml (95 % CI 0·8, 2·3; P=0·0001) in AA (Prace difference=0·56). Among EA, the 25(OH)D–FVC association was stronger in smokers: per 1 nmol/l higher 25(OH)D, FVC was higher by 1·7 ml (95 % CI 1·1, 2·3) for current smokers and 1·7 ml (95 % CI 1·2, 2·1) for former smokers, compared with 0·8 ml (95 % CI 0·4, 1·2) for never smokers. In summary, the 25(OH)D associations with FEV1 and FVC were positive in both ancestries. In EA, a stronger association was observed for smokers compared with never smokers, which supports the importance of vitamin D in vulnerable populations.
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.
A rationalized lithostratigraphy for the Great Scar Limestone Group of the southeast Askrigg Block is established. The basal Chapel House Limestone Formation, assessed from boreholes, comprises shallow-marine to supratidal carbonates that thin rapidly northwards across the Craven Fault System, onlapping a palaeotopographical high of Lower Palaeozoic strata. The formation is of late Arundian age in the Silverdale Borehole, its northernmost development. The overlying Kilnsey Formation represents a southward-thickening and upward-shoaling carbonate development on a S-facing carbonate ramp. Foraminiferal/algal assemblages suggest a late Holkerian and early Asbian age, respectively, for the uppermost parts of the lower Scaleber Force Limestone and upper Scaleber Quarry Limestone members, significantly younger than previously interpreted. The succeeding Malham Formation comprises the lower Cove Limestone and upper Gordale Limestone members. Foraminiferal/algal assemblages indicate a late Asbian age for the formation, contrasting with the Holkerian age previously attributed to the Cove Limestone. The members reflect a change from a partially shallow-water lagoon (Cove Limestone) to more open-marine shelf (Gordale Limestone), coincident with the onset of marked sea-level fluctuations and formation of palaeokarstic surfaces with palaeosoils in the latter. Facies variations along the southern flank of the Askrigg Block, including an absence of fenestral lime-mudstone in the upper part of the Cove Limestone and presence of dark grey cherty grainstone/packstone in the upper part the Gordale Limestone are related to enhanced subsidence during late Asbian movement on the Craven Fault System. This accounts for the marked thickening of both members towards the Greenhow Inlier.
Major depressive disorder (MDD) is a common and disabling condition with well-established heritability and environmental risk factors. Gene–environment interaction studies in MDD have typically investigated candidate genes, though the disorder is known to be highly polygenic. This study aims to test for interaction between polygenic risk and stressful life events (SLEs) or childhood trauma (CT) in the aetiology of MDD.
The RADIANT UK sample consists of 1605 MDD cases and 1064 controls with SLE data, and a subset of 240 cases and 272 controls with CT data. Polygenic risk scores (PRS) were constructed using results from a mega-analysis on MDD by the Psychiatric Genomics Consortium. PRS and environmental factors were tested for association with case/control status and for interaction between them.
PRS significantly predicted depression, explaining 1.1% of variance in phenotype (p = 1.9 × 10−6). SLEs and CT were also associated with MDD status (p = 2.19 × 10−4 and p = 5.12 × 10−20, respectively). No interactions were found between PRS and SLEs. Significant PRSxCT interactions were found (p = 0.002), but showed an inverse association with MDD status, as cases who experienced more severe CT tended to have a lower PRS than other cases or controls. This relationship between PRS and CT was not observed in independent replication samples.
CT is a strong risk factor for MDD but may have greater effect in individuals with lower genetic liability for the disorder. Including environmental risk along with genetics is important in studying the aetiology of MDD and PRS provide a useful approach to investigating gene–environment interactions in complex traits.
Benzodiazepines and Z-drugs are commonly prescribed for insomnia and anxiety
syndromes and there is increasing concern regarding their misuse. Using an
internet-based questionnaire we found that of 1500 respondents 7.7%
(n = 116) had misused one or more of these medications.
Almost 15% of those misusing at least one of these drugs did so once weekly
or more often. The main reasons reported for their use were to help sleep
(66.4%), to cope with stress (37.1%) and/or to get high (31.0%). A total of
31% obtained the medications from multiple sources; healthcare professionals
(55.2%) and friends/family (39.7%) most commonly. Our study can be used to
inform prevention measures for their misuse.
Two new integral field units (IFUs) were installed recently on the WIYN Observatory's 3.5-meter telescope at Kitt Peak. These unique IFUs contain fibers of different sizes in the same head. This design allows smaller fibers to sample regions of higher surface brightness, providing higher spatial resolution while maintaining adequate signal-to-noise (S/N). Conversely, larger fibers maintain S/N at the expense of spatial resolution in the lower surface brightness regions of galaxies. The new IFUs were built with funds from NSF award ATI-0804576.
Grey matter volume and cortical thickness represent two complementary aspects of brain structure. Several studies have described reductions in grey matter volume in people at ultra-high risk (UHR) of psychosis; however, little is known about cortical thickness in this group. The aim of the present study was to investigate cortical thickness alterations in UHR subjects and compare individuals who subsequently did and did not develop psychosis.
We examined magnetic resonance imaging data collected at four different scanning sites. The UHR subjects were followed up for at least 2 years. Subsequent to scanning, 50 UHR subjects developed psychosis and 117 did not. Cortical thickness was examined in regions previously identified as sites of neuroanatomical alterations in UHR subjects, using voxel-based cortical thickness.
At baseline UHR subjects, compared with controls, showed reduced cortical thickness in the right parahippocampal gyrus (p < 0.05, familywise error corrected). There were no significant differences in cortical thickness between the UHR subjects who later developed psychosis and those who did not.
These data suggest that UHR symptomatology is characterized by alterations in the thickness of the medial temporal cortex. We did not find evidence that the later progression to psychosis was linked to additional alterations in cortical thickness, although we cannot exclude the possibility that the study lacked sufficient power to detect such differences.
Head and neck cancer is the sixth most common cancer worldwide. Advances in management have not greatly altered overall survival. Over the last decade, there have been significant scientific advances in our knowledge of cell cycle regulation and the complex oncogenic processes. MicroRNAs are small, non-coding RNAs which are integral to the regulation of gene expression and which play a part in carcinogenesis. The literature on the role of microRNA in head and neck cancer is reviewed.
To introduce the role and significance of microRNAs in head and neck cancer.
The possibilities of incorporating microRNAs into clinical practice are discussed, including their potential role in diagnosis, prognosis, prediction of metastatic spread, therapy and tumour surveillance.
Discoveries in expression profiling of microRNA in head and neck oncology promise advancements in the diagnosis, prognosis and therapy of these cancers.
The Magellanic System represents one of the best places to study the formation and evolution of galaxies. Photometric surveys of various depths, areas and wavelengths have had a significant impact on our understanding of the system; however, a complete picture is still lacking. VMC (the VISTA near-infrared YJKs survey of the Magellanic System) will provide new data to derive the spatially resolved star formation history and to construct a three-dimensional map of the system. These data combined with those from other ongoing and planned surveys will give us an absolutely unique view of the system opening up the doors to truly new science!
The cold, dry, and stable air above the summits of the Antarctic plateau provides the best ground-based observing conditions from optical to sub-millimetre wavelengths to be found on the Earth. Pathfinder for an International Large Optical Telescope (PILOT) is a proposed 2 m telescope, to be built at Dome C in Antarctica, able to exploit these conditions for conducting astronomy at optical and infrared wavelengths. While PILOT is intended as a pathfinder towards the construction of future grand-design facilities, it will also be able to undertake a range of fundamental science investigations in its own right. This paper provides the performance specifications for PILOT, including its instrumentation. It then describes the kinds of projects that it could best conduct. These range from planetary science to the search for other solar systems, from star formation within the Galaxy to the star formation history of the Universe, and from gravitational lensing caused by exo-planets to that produced by the cosmic web of dark matter. PILOT would be particularly powerful for wide-field imaging at infrared wavelengths, achieving near diffraction-limited performance with simple tip–tilt wavefront correction. PILOT would also be capable of near diffraction-limited performance in the optical wavebands, as well be able to open new wavebands for regular ground-based observation, in the mid-IR from 17 to 40 μm and in the sub-millimetre at 200 μm.
Although usually thought of as external environmental stressors, a significant heritable component has been reported for measures of stressful life events (SLEs) in twin studies.
We examined the variance in SLEs captured by common genetic variants from a genome-wide association study (GWAS) of 2578 individuals. Genome-wide complex trait analysis (GCTA) was used to estimate the phenotypic variance tagged by single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs). We also performed a GWAS on the number of SLEs, and looked at correlations between siblings.
A significant proportion of variance in SLEs was captured by SNPs (30%, p = 0.04). When events were divided into those considered to be dependent or independent, an equal amount of variance was explained for both. This ‘heritability’ was in part confounded by personality measures of neuroticism and psychoticism. A GWAS for the total number of SLEs revealed one SNP that reached genome-wide significance (p = 4 × 10−8), although this association was not replicated in separate samples. Using available sibling data for 744 individuals, we also found a significant positive correlation of R2 = 0.08 in SLEs (p = 0.03).
These results provide independent validation from molecular data for the heritability of reporting environmental measures, and show that this heritability is in part due to both common variants and the confounding effect of personality.
Three types of HIV-associated neurocognitive disorders (HAND) exist that are distinguished by presence and severity of impairment in cognitive and everyday functioning. Although well-validated neurocognitive measures exist, determining impairment in everyday functioning remains a challenge. We aim to determine whether Self-Report measures of everyday functioning are as effective in characterizing HAND as Performance-Based measures. We assessed 674 HIV-infected participants with a comprehensive neurocognitive battery; 233 met criteria for a HAND diagnosis by having at least mild neurocognitive impairment. Functional decline was measured via Self-Report and Performance-Based measures. HAND diagnoses were determined according to published criteria using three approaches to assess functional decline: (1) Self-Report measures only, (2) Performance-Based measures only, and (3) Dual-method combining Self-Report and Performance-Based measures. The Dual-method classified the most symptomatic HAND, compared to either singular method. Singular method classifications were 76% concordant with each other. Participants classified as Performance-Based functionally impaired were more likely to be unemployed and more immunosuppressed, whereas those classified as Self-Report functionally impaired had more depressive symptoms. Multimodal methods of assessing everyday functioning facilitate detection of symptomatic HAND. Singular Performance-Based classifications were associated with objective functional and disease-related factors; reliance on Self-Report classifications may be biased by depressive symptoms. (JINS, 2012, 18, 79–88)