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TwinsUK is the largest cohort of community-dwelling adult twins in the UK. The registry comprises over 14,000 volunteer twins (14,838 including mixed, single and triplets); it is predominantly female (82%) and middle-aged (mean age 59). In addition, over 1800 parents and siblings of twins are registered volunteers. During the last 27 years, TwinsUK has collected numerous questionnaire responses, physical/cognitive measures and biological measures on over 8500 subjects. Data were collected alongside four comprehensive phenotyping clinical visits to the Department of Twin Research and Genetic Epidemiology, King’s College London. Such collection methods have resulted in very detailed longitudinal clinical, biochemical, behavioral, dietary and socioeconomic cohort characterization; it provides a multidisciplinary platform for the study of complex disease during the adult life course, including the process of healthy aging. The major strength of TwinsUK is the availability of several ‘omic’ technologies for a range of sample types from participants, which includes genomewide scans of single-nucleotide variants, next-generation sequencing, metabolomic profiles, microbiomics, exome sequencing, epigenetic markers, gene expression arrays, RNA sequencing and telomere length measures. TwinsUK facilitates and actively encourages sharing the ‘TwinsUK’ resource with the scientific community — interested researchers may request data via the TwinsUK website (http://twinsuk.ac.uk/resources-for-researchers/access-our-data/) for their own use or future collaboration with the study team. In addition, further cohort data collection is planned via the Wellcome Open Research gateway (https://wellcomeopenresearch.org/gateways). The current article presents an up-to-date report on the application of technological advances, new study procedures in the cohort and future direction of TwinsUK.
We have observed the G23 field of the Galaxy AndMass Assembly (GAMA) survey using the Australian Square Kilometre Array Pathfinder (ASKAP) in its commissioning phase to validate the performance of the telescope and to characterise the detected galaxy populations. This observation covers ~48 deg2 with synthesised beam of 32.7 arcsec by 17.8 arcsec at 936MHz, and ~39 deg2 with synthesised beam of 15.8 arcsec by 12.0 arcsec at 1320MHz. At both frequencies, the root-mean-square (r.m.s.) noise is ~0.1 mJy/beam. We combine these radio observations with the GAMA galaxy data, which includes spectroscopy of galaxies that are i-band selected with a magnitude limit of 19.2. Wide-field Infrared Survey Explorer (WISE) infrared (IR) photometry is used to determine which galaxies host an active galactic nucleus (AGN). In properties including source counts, mass distributions, and IR versus radio luminosity relation, the ASKAP-detected radio sources behave as expected. Radio galaxies have higher stellar mass and luminosity in IR, optical, and UV than other galaxies. We apply optical and IR AGN diagnostics and find that they disagree for ~30% of the galaxies in our sample. We suggest possible causes for the disagreement. Some cases can be explained by optical extinction of the AGN, but for more than half of the cases we do not find a clear explanation. Radio sources aremore likely (~6%) to have an AGN than radio quiet galaxies (~1%), but the majority of AGN are not detected in radio at this sensitivity.
Previous research has described the evil eye as a source of illness for pregnant women and their newborns. This study sought to explore the perceptions of the evil eye among mothers whose newborns had experienced a life-threatening complication across three regions of Ghana. As part of a larger, quantitative study, trained research assistants identified pregnant and newly delivered women (and their newborns) who had survived a life-threatening complication at three tertiary care hospitals in southern Ghana to participate in open-ended, qualitative interviews about their experiences in March–August 2015. All interviews were audio-recorded and transcribed verbatim into English and analysis using the constant comparative method of theme generation. A total of 37 mothers were interviewed, 20 about neonatal illnesses and 17 about maternal illnesses. Six of the 20 mothers interviewed about their newborn’s illnesses spoke at length about the evil eye being a potential cause of newborn illness. The evil eye was described in a variety of terms, but commonalities included a person looking at a pregnant woman, her newborn baby, the baby’s clothes and even the mother’s food, causing harm, even unintentionally. Prevention required mothers covering themselves while pregnant and keeping the baby away from others until it was old enough to ward off the evil eye. Treatment required traditional medicine, yet some indicated that allopathic medicine could help. The evil eye appears to serve a social control mechanism, encouraging pregnant women to dress modestly, stay indoors as much as possible and behave appropriately. The evil eye is a pervasive, universally understood phenomenon across three regions of Ghana, even amongst a hospitalized population receiving allopathic health care for life-threatening complications of childbirth. Understanding the role of the evil eye in newborn illness attribution is important for clinicians, researchers and programmatic staff to effectively address barriers to care seeking.
Three-dimensional numerical simulations of canonical statistically steady, statistically planar turbulent flames have been used in an attempt to produce distributed burning in lean methane and hydrogen flames. Dilatation across the flame means that extremely large Karlovitz numbers are required; even at the extreme levels of turbulence studied (up to a Karlovitz number of 8767) distributed burning was only achieved in the hydrogen case. In this case, turbulence was found to broaden the reaction zone visually by around an order of magnitude, and thermodiffusive effects (typically present for lean hydrogen flames) were not observed. In the preheat zone, the species compositions differ considerably from those of one-dimensional flames based a number of different transport models (mixture averaged, unity Lewis number and a turbulent eddy viscosity model). The behaviour is a characteristic of turbulence dominating non-unity Lewis number species transport, and the distinct limit is again attributed to dilatation and its effect on the turbulence. Peak local reaction rates are found to be lower in the distributed case than in the lower Karlovitz cases but higher than in the laminar flame, which is attributed to effects that arise from the modified fuel-temperature distribution that results from turbulent mixing dominating low Lewis number thermodiffusive effects. Finally, approaches to achieve distributed burning at realisable conditions are discussed; factors that increase the likelihood of realising distributed burning are higher pressure, lower equivalence ratio, higher Lewis number and lower reactant temperature.
Salmonella enterica serovar Wangata (S. Wangata) is an important cause of endemic salmonellosis in Australia, with human infections occurring from undefined sources. This investigation sought to examine possible environmental and zoonotic sources for human infections with S. Wangata in north-eastern New South Wales (NSW), Australia. The investigation adopted a One Health approach and was comprised of three complimentary components: a case–control study examining human risk factors; environmental and animal sampling; and genomic analysis of human, animal and environmental isolates. Forty-eight human S. Wangata cases were interviewed during a 6-month period from November 2016 to April 2017, together with 55 Salmonella Typhimurium (S. Typhimurium) controls and 130 neighbourhood controls. Indirect contact with bats/flying foxes (S. Typhimurium controls (adjusted odds ratio (aOR) 2.63, 95% confidence interval (CI) 1.06–6.48)) (neighbourhood controls (aOR 8.33, 95% CI 2.58–26.83)), wild frogs (aOR 3.65, 95% CI 1.32–10.07) and wild birds (aOR 6.93, 95% CI 2.29–21.00) were statistically associated with illness in multivariable analyses. S. Wangata was detected in dog faeces, wildlife scats and a compost specimen collected from the outdoor environments of cases’ residences. In addition, S. Wangata was detected in the faeces of wild birds and sea turtles in the investigation area. Genomic analysis revealed that S. Wangata isolates were relatively clonal. Our findings suggest that S. Wangata is present in the environment and may have a reservoir in wildlife populations in north-eastern NSW. Further investigation is required to better understand the occurrence of Salmonella in wildlife groups and to identify possible transmission pathways for human infections.
The aim of this study was to examine the extent to which an exposure to disaster is associated with change in health behaviors.
Federal disaster declarations were matched at the county-level to self-reported behaviors for participants in the Health and Retirement Study (HRS), 2000-2014. Multivariable logistic regression was used to evaluate the relationship between disaster and change in physical activity, body mass index (BMI), and cigarette smoking.
The sample included 20,671 individuals and 59,450 interviews; 1,451 unique disasters were declared in counties in which HRS respondents lived during the study period. Exposure to disaster was significantly associated with weight gain (unadjusted RRR=1.19; 95% CI, 1.11-1.27; adjusted RRR=1.21; 95% CI, 1.13-1.30). Vigorous physical activity was significantly lower among those who had experienced a disaster compared to those who had not (unadjusted OR=0.89; 95% CI, 0.84-0.95; adjusted OR=0.84; 95% CI, 0.79-0.89). No significant difference in cigarette smoking was found.
This study found an increase in weight gain and decrease in physical activity among older adults after disaster exposure. Adverse health behaviors such as these can contribute to functional decline among older adults.
BellSA, ChoiH, LangaKM, IwashynaTJ. Health Risk Behaviors after Disaster Exposure Among Older Adults. Prehosp Disaster Med. 2019;34(1):95–97.
The extent to which exposure to childhood sexual and physical abuse increases the risk of psychotic experiences in adulthood is currently unclear.
To examine the relationship between childhood sexual and physical abuse and psychotic experiences in adulthood taking into account potential confounding and time-dynamic covariate factors.
Data were from a cohort of 1265 participants studied from birth to 35 years. At ages 18 and 21, cohort members were questioned about childhood sexual and physical abuse. At ages 30 and 35, they were questioned about psychotic experiences (symptoms of abnormal thought and perception). Generalised estimating equation models investigated covariation of the association between abuse exposure and psychotic experiences including potential confounding factors in childhood (socioeconomic disadvantage, adverse family functioning) and time-dynamic covariate factors (mental health, substance use and life stress).
Data were available for 962 participants; 6.3% had been exposed to severe sexual abuse and 6.4% to severe physical abuse in childhood. After adjustment for confounding and time-dynamic covariate factors, those exposed to severe sexual abuse had rates of abnormal thought and abnormal perception symptoms that were 2.25 and 4.08 times higher, respectively than the ‘no exposure’ group. There were no significant associations between exposure to severe physical abuse and psychotic experiences.
Findings indicate that exposure to severe childhood sexual (but not physical) abuse is independently associated with an increased risk of psychotic experiences in adulthood (particularly symptoms of abnormal perception) and this association could not be fully accounted for by confounding or time-dynamic covariate factors.
Mesophotic ecosystems have been relatively poorly studied in the Indo-Pacific and in particular within the Coral Triangle region. Here we used a mini-ROV to explore the changes in major benthic groups at two sites (~200 m apart) in the Wakatobi Marine National Park, SE Sulawesi, Indonesia spanning shallow water coral reefs (5 m) to deeper water mesophotic ecosystems (80 m). We found very similar patterns at both sites where coral cover peaked at 15 m, declined rapidly by 30 m, and was virtually absent at 50 m. As coral declined there was a marked increase in sponges, soft corals and other encrusting organisms (including ascidians, bryozoans, tubeworms, gorgonians and molluscs). Importantly, our results differ from most previous studies in other geographic locations where hard corals extend much deeper. It is unclear what drives this difference but it may be related to higher levels of turbidity and therefore reduced light penetration in the Wakatobi compared with other areas, which limits the vertical extent of coral development.
Natural disasters are increasing in frequency and severity. They cause widespread hardship and are associated with detrimental effects on mental health.
Our aim is to provide the best estimate of the effects of natural disasters on mental health through a systematic review and meta-analysis of the rates of psychological distress and psychiatric disorder after natural disasters.
This systematic review and meta-analysis is limited to studies that met predetermined quality criteria. We required included studies to make comparisons with pre-disaster or non-disaster exposed controls, and sample representative populations. Key studies were identified through a comprehensive search of PubMed, EMBASE and PsycINFO from 1980 to 3 March 2017. Random effects meta-analyses were performed for studies that reported key outcomes with appropriate statistics.
Forty-one studies were identified by the literature search, of which 27 contributed to the meta-analyses. Continuous measures of psychological distress were increased after natural disasters (combined standardised mean difference 0.63, 95% CI 0.27–0.98, P = 0.005). Psychiatric disorders were also increased (combined odds ratio 1.84, 95% CI 1.43–2.38, P < 0.001). Rates of post-traumatic stress disorder and depression were significantly increased after disasters. Findings for anxiety and alcohol misuse/dependence were not significant. High rates of heterogeneity suggest that disaster-specific factors and, to a lesser degree, methodological factors contribute to the variance between studies.
Increased rates of psychological distress and psychiatric disorders follow natural disasters. High levels of heterogeneity between studies suggest that disaster variables and post-disaster response have the potential to mitigate adverse effects.
The aim of this study was to characterise changes in lean soft tissue (LST) and examine the contributions of energy intake, physical activity and breast-feeding practices to LST changes at 3 and 9 months postpartum. We examined current weight, LST (via dual-energy X-ray absorptiometry), dietary intake (3-d food diary), physical activity (Baecke questionnaire) and breast-feeding practices (3-d breast-feeding diary) in forty-nine women aged 32·9 (sd 3·8) years. Changes in LST varied from −2·51 to +2·50 kg with twenty-nine women gaining LST (1·1 (sd 0·7) kg, P<0·001) and twenty women losing LST (−0·9 (sd 0·8) kg, P<0·001). Energy intake (133 (SD 42) v. 109 (SD 33) kJ/kg, P=0·019) and % kJ from fat at 3 months postpartum was higher in women who gained LST at 9 months postpartum (gained LST=34 (sd 5) % kJ; lost LST=29 (sd 4) % kJ, P=0·002). Women who gained LST reported breast-feeding their infants more frequently (gained LST=8 (sd 3) feeds/d; lost LST=5 (sd 1) feeds/d, P=0·014) and for more time per d (gained LST=115 (sd 78) min/d; lost LST=59 (sd 34) min/d, P=0·016) at 9 months postpartum. Energy intake and % kJ from fat at 3 months were significant predictors of LST gain (β=0·08 (se 0·04) and 0·24 (se 0·09), respectively). This suggests that gain in LST may be associated with more frequent and longer episodes of breast-feeding at 9 months postpartum as well as dietary intake early in the postpartum period.
Utilising routine surveillance data, this study presents a method for generating a baseline comparison that can be used in future foodborne outbreak investigations following a case–case methodology. Salmonella and Campylobacter cases (2012–2015) from Maricopa County, AZ were compared to determine differences in risk factors, symptoms and demographics. For foods and other risk factors, adjusted odds ratios were developed using Campylobacter as the reference. Comparisons were also made for three major Salmonella subtypes, Typhimurium, Enteritidis and Poona as compared with Campylobacter. Salmonella cases were younger, while Campylobacter cases were more Hispanic and female. Campylobacter cases reported consuming peppers, sprouts, poultry, queso fresco, eggs and raw nuts more and reported contact with animal products, birds, visiting a farm or dairy, owning a pet, a sick pet, swimming in a river, lake or pond, or handling multiple raw meats more. Salmonella cases reported visiting a petting zoo and contact with a reptile more. There were significant variations by Salmonella subtype in both foods and exposures. We recommend departments conduct this analysis to generate a baseline comparison and a running average of relevant odds ratios allowing staff to focus on trace-back of contaminated food items earlier in the outbreak investigation process.
Concentrate inclusion levels in dairy cow diets are often adjusted so that the milk yield responses remain economic. While changes in concentrate level on performance is well known, their impact on other biological parameters, including immune function, is less well understood. The objective of this study was to evaluate the effect of concentrate inclusion level in a grass silage-based mixed ration on immune function. Following calving 63 (45 multiparous and 18 primiparous) Holstein Friesian dairy cows were allocated to one of three isonitrogenous diets for the first 70 days of lactation. Diets comprised of a mixture of concentrates and grass silage, with concentrates comprising either a low (30%, LC), medium (50%, MC) or high (70%, HC) proportion of the diet on a dry matter (DM) basis. Daily DM intakes, milk yields and BW were recorded, along with weekly body condition score, milk composition and vaginal mucus scores. Blood biochemistry was measured using a chemistry analyzer, neutrophil phagocytic and oxidative burst assessed using commercial kits and flow cytometry, and interferon-γ production evaluated by ELISA after whole blood stimulation. Over the study period cows on HC had a higher total DM intake, milk yield, fat yield, protein yield, fat+protein yield, protein content, mean BW and mean daily energy balance, and a lower BW loss than cows on MC, whose respective values were higher than cows on LC. Cows on HC and MC had a lower serum non-esterified fatty acid concentration than cows on LC (0.37, 0.37 and 0.50 mmol/l, respectively, P=0.005, SED=0.032), while cows on HC had a lower serum β-hydroxybutyrate concentration than cows on MC and LC (0.42, 0.55 and 0.55 mmol/l, respectively, P=0.002, SED=0.03). Concentrate inclusion level had no effect on vaginal mucus scores. At week 3 postpartum, cows on HC tended to have a higher percentage of oxidative burst positive neutrophils than cows on LC (43.2% and 35.3%, respectively, P=0.078, SED=3.11), although at all other times concentrate inclusion level in the total mixed ration had no effect on neutrophil phagocytic or oxidative burst characteristics, or on interferon-γ production by pokeweed mitogen stimulated whole blood culture. This study demonstrates that for high yielding Holstein Friesian cows managed on a grass silage-based diet, concentrate inclusion levels in early lactation affects performance but has no effect on neutrophil or lymphocyte immune parameters.
Diet manipulation and genetic selection are two important mitigation strategies for reducing enteric methane (CH4) emissions from ruminant livestock. The aim of this study was to assess whether the diurnal pattern of CH4 emissions from individual dairy cows changes over time when cows are fed on diets varying in forage composition. Emissions of CH4 from 36 cows were measured during milking in an automatic (robotic) milking station in three consecutive feeding periods, for a total of 84 days. In Periods 1 and 2, the 36 cows were fed a high-forage partial mixed ration (PMR) containing 75% forage, with either a high grass silage or high maize silage content. In Period 3, cows were fed a commercial PMR containing 69% forage. Cows were offered PMR ad libitum plus concentrates during milking and CH4 emitted by individual cows was sampled during 8662 milkings. A linear mixed model was used to assess differences among cows, feeding periods and time of day. Considerable variation was observed among cows in daily mean and diurnal patterns of CH4 emissions. On average, cows produced less CH4 when fed on the commercial PMR in feeding Period 3 than when the same cows were fed on high-forage diets in feeding Periods 1 and 2. The average diurnal pattern for CH4 emissions did not significantly change between feeding periods and as lactation progressed. Emissions of CH4 were positively associated with dry matter (DM) intake and forage DM intake. It is concluded that if the management of feed allocation remains constant then the diurnal pattern of CH4 emissions from dairy cows will not necessarily alter over time. A change in diet composition may bring about an increase or decrease in absolute emissions over a 24-h period without significantly changing the diurnal pattern unless management of feed allocation changes. These findings are important for CH4 monitoring techniques that involve taking measurements over short periods within a day rather than complete 24-h observations.
The Murchison Widefield Array (MWA), located in Western Australia, is one of the low-frequency precursors of the international Square Kilometre Array (SKA) project. In addition to pursuing its own ambitious science programme, it is also a testbed for wide range of future SKA activities ranging from hardware, software to data analysis. The key science programmes for the MWA and SKA require very high dynamic ranges, which challenges calibration and imaging systems. Correct calibration of the instrument and accurate measurements of source flux densities and polarisations require precise characterisation of the telescope’s primary beam. Recent results from the MWA GaLactic Extragalactic All-sky Murchison Widefield Array (GLEAM) survey show that the previously implemented Average Embedded Element (AEE) model still leaves residual polarisations errors of up to 10–20% in Stokes Q. We present a new simulation-based Full Embedded Element (FEE) model which is the most rigorous realisation yet of the MWA’s primary beam model. It enables efficient calculation of the MWA beam response in arbitrary directions without necessity of spatial interpolation. In the new model, every dipole in the MWA tile (4 × 4 bow-tie dipoles) is simulated separately, taking into account all mutual coupling, ground screen, and soil effects, and therefore accounts for the different properties of the individual dipoles within a tile. We have applied the FEE beam model to GLEAM observations at 200–231 MHz and used false Stokes parameter leakage as a metric to compare the models. We have determined that the FEE model reduced the magnitude and declination-dependent behaviour of false polarisation in Stokes Q and V while retaining low levels of false polarisation in Stokes U.
Scrapie is a transmissible spongiform encephalopathy (TSE) and belongs to a category of incurable diseases that include BSE in cattle. An association exists between the Prion-Protein (PrP) genotype of an animal and the risk of developing disease after exposure (Tongue et al., 2004). This PrP genetic information is the basis of the National Scrapie Plan (NSP) which aims, through genotyping, to eradicate those individuals which have the susceptible alleles. Studies into scrapie risk (Jeffrey et al., 2002) have highlighted several alleles which confer scrapie susceptibility. The NSP have used these alleles to categorise individuals according to risk with group one being most scrapie resistant to group five being least resistant. VRQ alleles are synonymous with infection however the ARQ affords susceptibility but not the disease itself. Genotype may however not be the sole indicator of scrapie risk. There is an inference of a relationship between phenotypic characteristics (hornedness, coat colour) and scrapie risk. These alternative indicators of scrapie risk may affect the final choice of susceptible individuals. Scrapie risk studies carried out on the Shetland Isles (Jeffrey et al., 2002) investigated the alleles concerned with scrapie infection. Results confirmed that VRQ alleles are synonymous with scrapie infection however the ARQ alleles, even though they afford susceptibility, do not necessarily confer disease, the animal still has to be exposed to the scrapie agent. Using survey-type questionnaires, the study investigated any potential relationship between the PrP gene, coat colour and hornedness.
As financial pressures on UK beef farms increase, each beef industry stockman will be expected to look after more animals. Consequently, labour availability around calving will be reduced in future years. In order to enable limited human assistance to be targeted towards those cows and calves that need it, a sound understanding of the time course of the natural calving process is needed. The objective of this study was to detail the time dynamics of the major externally visible calving events in unassisted spring calving suckler cows housed in a straw bedded yard, typical of UK practice.
The current generation of experiments aiming to detect the neutral hydrogen signal from the Epoch of Reionisation (EoR) is likely to be limited by systematic effects associated with removing foreground sources from target fields. In this paper, we develop a model for the compact foreground sources in one of the target fields of the MWA’s EoR key science experiment: the ‘EoR1’ field. The model is based on both the MWA’s GLEAM survey and GMRT 150 MHz data from the TGSS survey, the latter providing higher angular resolution and better astrometric accuracy for compact sources than is available from the MWA alone. The model contains 5 049 sources, some of which have complicated morphology in MWA data, Fornax A being the most complex. The higher resolution data show that 13% of sources that appear point-like to the MWA have complicated morphology such as double and quad structure, with a typical separation of 33 arcsec. We derive an analytic expression for the error introduced into the EoR two-dimensional power spectrum due to peeling close double sources as single point sources and show that for the measured source properties, the error in the power spectrum is confined to high k⊥ modes that do not affect the overall result for the large-scale cosmological signal of interest. The brightest 10 mis-modelled sources in the field contribute 90% of the power bias in the data, suggesting that it is most critical to improve the models of the brightest sources. With this hybrid model, we reprocess data from the EoR1 field and show a maximum of 8% improved calibration accuracy and a factor of two reduction in residual power in k-space from peeling these sources. Implications for future EoR experiments including the SKA are discussed in relation to the improvements obtained.
Interferometric spectrometry techniques for measuring stellar oscillations have been developed at Imperial College, resulting in two separate interferometers, the Michelson and the Fabry-Perot based instruments. They have both been used on large telescopes; the Michelson instrument to search for oscillations in solar-type stars and the Fabry-Perot instrument to measure oscillations in δScuti-type stars. So far there has been only marginal evidence for solar-type oscillations, including our observations of εCyg with ~1ms−1 precision. In order to increase the significance of future observations we are currently improving both instruments and aim to achieve a ten-fold increase in precision, i.e. ~10cms−1, by using up to 100 separate spectral lines simultaneously. Such an improvement will allow us to continue the search for solar-type oscillations.