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The COllaborative project of Development of Anthropometrical measures in Twins (CODATwins) project is a large international collaborative effort to analyze individual-level phenotype data from twins in multiple cohorts from different environments. The main objective is to study factors that modify genetic and environmental variation of height, body mass index (BMI, kg/m2) and size at birth, and additionally to address other research questions such as long-term consequences of birth size. The project started in 2013 and is open to all twin projects in the world having height and weight measures on twins with information on zygosity. Thus far, 54 twin projects from 24 countries have provided individual-level data. The CODATwins database includes 489,981 twin individuals (228,635 complete twin pairs). Since many twin cohorts have collected longitudinal data, there is a total of 1,049,785 height and weight observations. For many cohorts, we also have information on birth weight and length, own smoking behavior and own or parental education. We found that the heritability estimates of height and BMI systematically changed from infancy to old age. Remarkably, only minor differences in the heritability estimates were found across cultural–geographic regions, measurement time and birth cohort for height and BMI. In addition to genetic epidemiological studies, we looked at associations of height and BMI with education, birth weight and smoking status. Within-family analyses examined differences within same-sex and opposite-sex dizygotic twins in birth size and later development. The CODATwins project demonstrates the feasibility and value of international collaboration to address gene-by-exposure interactions that require large sample sizes and address the effects of different exposures across time, geographical regions and socioeconomic status.
We present a broad study of linear, clustered, noble gas puffs irradiated with the frequency doubled (527 nm) Titan laser at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory. Pure Ar, Kr, and Xe clustered gas puffs, as well as two mixed-gas puffs consisting of KrAr and XeKrAr gases, make up the targets. Characterization experiments to determine gas-puff density show that varying the experimental parameter gas-delay timing (the delay between gas puff initialization and laser-gas-puff interaction) provides a simple control over the gas-puff density. X-ray emission (>1.4 keV) is studied as a function of gas composition, density, and delay timing. Xe gas puffs produce the strongest peak radiation in the several keV spectral region. The emitted radiation was found to be anisotropic, with smaller X-ray flux observed in the direction perpendicular to both laser beam propagation and polarization directions. The degree of anisotropy is independent of gas target type but increases with photon energy. X-ray spectroscopic measurements estimate plasma parameters and highlight their difference with previous studies. Electron beams with energy in excess of 72 keV are present in the noble gas-puff plasmas and results indicate that Ar plays a key role in their production. A drastic increase in harder X-ray emissions (X-ray flash effect) and multi-MeV electron-beam generation from Xe gas-puff plasma occurred when the laser beam was focused on the front edge of the linear gas puff.
A new species of the genus Plagiorhynchus Lühe, 1911 from the intestine of the long-billed curlew (Numenius americanus) from northern Mexico is described. Plagiorhynchus (Plagiorhynchus) aznari n. sp. is morphologically distinguished from other congeneric species from the Americas by having a trunk expanded anteriorly and a cylindrical proboscis, armed with 19 longitudinal rows of hooks, with 14–15 hooks each row. Nearly complete sequences of the small subunit and large subunit of the nuclear ribosomal DNA of the new species were determined and compared with available sequences from GenBank. Phylogenetic analyses inferred from the two molecular markers consistently showed that P. (Plagiorhynchus) aznari n. sp. is closely related to P. (Plagiorhynchus) allisonae, and this clade is sister to a clade formed by P. (Prosthorhynchus) transversus and P. (Prosthorhynchus) cylindraceus from Plagiorhynchidae. The new species represents the second record of the genus in Mexico and the fourth species in the Americas. The phylogenetic relationships among the members of the order Polymorphida in this study provide significant insights into the evolution of ecological associations between parasites and their definitive hosts. Our analyses suggest that the colonization of marine mammals, fish-eating birds and waterfowl in Polymorphidae might have occurred independently, from a common ancestor of Centrorhynchidae and Plagiorhynchidae that colonized terrestrial birds and mammals.
New technological methods, such as rapidly developing molecular approaches, often provide new tools for scientific advances. However, these new tools are often not utilized equally across different research areas, possibly leading to disparities in progress between these areas. Here, we use empirical evidence from the scientific literature to test for potential discrepancies in the use of genetic tools to study parasitic vs non-parasitic organisms across three distinguishable molecular periods, the allozyme, nucleotide and genomics periods. Publications on parasites constitute only a fraction (<5%) of the total research output across all molecular periods and are dominated by medically relevant parasites (especially protists), particularly during the early phase of each period. Our analysis suggests an increasing complexity of topics and research questions being addressed with the development of more sophisticated molecular tools, with the research focus between the periods shifting from predominantly species discovery to broader theory-focused questions. We conclude that both new and older molecular methods offer powerful tools for research on parasites, including their diverse roles in ecosystems and their relevance as human pathogens. While older methods, such as barcoding approaches, will continue to feature in the molecular toolbox of parasitologists for years to come, we encourage parasitologists to be more responsive to new approaches that provide the tools to address broader questions.
Introduction: Point-of-care ultrasonography (PoCUS) is being incorporated into Canadian undergraduate medical school curricula. The purpose of this study was to evaluate novel PoCUS education sessions to determine what aspects of the sessions benefitted from hands-on training and which PoCUS skills were retained over time. Methods: Second year medical students voluntarily received three different PoCUS training sessions, each lasting three hours. Prior to the sessions, participants prepared independently with pre-circulated online learning materials. After a 15-minute lecture, experienced PoCUS providers led small group (1 instructor: 5 students), live scanning sessions. Evaluations were conducted before and after each session using expert validated multiple choice questions testing general and procedural knowledge, image recognition and interpretation. Volunteer students were evaluated via direct observation of live scanning using an objective structured assessment of technical skills (OSAT) based on the O-score and then re-evaluated at 2 months post-training to assess PoCUS skills retention. Results: 40 second year medical students participated in extended Focused Assessment with Sonography for Trauma (eFAST), cardiac, and gallbladder PoCUS sessions. The live-training sessions significantly improved student PoCUS knowledge beyond what they learned independently for eFAST (p < 0.001), cardiac (p < 0.001), and gallbladder (p = 0.02). The largest improvement was noted in procedural knowledge test scores improving from 44.0% to 84.0% (n = 38). 16 students were evaluated after each session with a mean O-score of 2.37. 8 students returned two months later to be re-evaluated demonstrating a change in O-scores for eFAST (2.00 to 2.38, p = 0.15), cardiac (2.28 to 2.00, p = 0.32), and gallbladder (2.91 to 1.88, p < 0.001). Conclusion: Procedural PoCUS knowledge benefited the most with hands-on training. eFAST and cardiac PoCUS competency was maintained over time while gallbladder PoCUS competency degraded suggesting that targeted PoCUS skills training may be possible. Further study is required to determine the best use of PoCUS resources in undergraduate medical education.
A 1108.6 m long core was recovered at Site U1457 located on the Indus Fan in the Laxmi Basin of the eastern Arabian Sea during IODP Expedition 355. Shipboard examinations defined five lithologic units (I to V) of the lower Paleocene to Holocene sedimentary sequence. In this study, δ13C values of sedimentary organic matter (SOM) confirm the differentiation of the lithologic units and further divide units III and IV into two subunits (1 and 2). Based on the underlying assumption that the SOM is decided primarily by a mixture of marine and terrestrial origins, δ13CSOM values at Site U1457 provide information on the terrestrial catchment conditions since late Miocene time. Low δ13CSOM values from late Miocene to late Pleistocene times are similar (c. −22.0 ‰) for the most part, reflecting a consistent contribution of terrestrial organic matter from the catchment areas characterized by dominant C3 land plants. Significantly lower δ13CSOM values (c. −24.0 ‰) in Unit III-2 (∼8 to ∼7 Ma) might be due to a greater input of C3 terrestrial organic matter. The increase in δ13CSOM values at ∼7 Ma and the appearance of high δ13CSOM values (c. −18.0 ‰) within Unit III-1 (∼7 to ∼2 Ma) indicate that C4 biomass overwhelmed the terrestrial catchment environment as a result of enhanced terrestrial aridity in the Himalayan foreland. The three-end-member simple mixing model, estimating the relative contributions of SOM from terrestrial C3 and C4 plants and marine phytoplankton, supports our interpretation of the distribution of C3 and C4 land plants in the terrestrial catchment environment.
Although many mental health care systems provide care interventions that are not related to direct health care, little is known about the interfaces between the latter and core health care. ‘Core health care’ refers to services whose explicit aim is direct clinical treatment which is usually provided by health professionals, i.e., physicians, nurses, psychologists. ‘Other care’ is typically provided by other staff and includes accommodation, training, promotion of independence, employment support and social skills. In such a definition, ‘other care’ does not necessarily mean being funded or governed differently. The aims of the study were: (1) using a standard classification system (Description and Evaluation of Services and Directories in Europe for Long Term Care, DESDE-LTC) to identify ‘core health’ and ‘other care’ services provided to adults with mental health problems; and (2) to investigate the balance of care by analysing the types and characteristics of core health and other care services.
The study was conducted in eight selected local areas in eight European countries with different mental health systems. All publicly funded mental health services, regardless of the funding agency, for people over 18 years old were identified and coded. The availability, capacity and the workforce of the local mental health services were described using their functional main activity or ‘Main Types of Care’ (MTC) as the standard for international comparison, following the DESDE-LTC system.
In these European study areas, 822 MTCs were identified as providing core health care and 448 provided other types of care. Even though one-third of mental health services in the selected study areas provided interventions that were coded as ‘other care’, significant variation was found in the typology and characteristics of these services across the eight study areas.
The functional distinction between core health and other care overcomes the traditional division between ‘health’ and ‘social’ sectors based on governance and funding. The overall balance between core health and other care services varied significantly across the European sites. Mental health systems cannot be understood or planned without taking into account the availability and capacity of all services specifically available for this target population, including those outside the health sector.
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.
Culturally linked family influences during adolescence are important predictors of health and well-being for Latino youth, yet few studies have examined whether these familial influences are associated with indicators of typical physiological stress processes. Following a cultural neurobiology framework, we examined the role of family in the everyday lives of Latino adolescents (N = 209; Mage = 18.10; 85.1% Mexican descent; 64.4% female) by investigating familism values and perceptions of parent support as well as daily family assistance behaviors in relation to hypothalamic–pituitary–adrenal axis diurnal patterns, indexed by salivary cortisol five times a day for 3 weekdays. Three-level growth curve analyses revealed that perceptions of parental support were associated with greater cortisol awakening responses, whereas familism values were not associated with diurnal cortisol patterns. In day-to-day analyses, assisting family during the day (compared to not assisting family) was associated with lower waking cortisol levels and flatter diurnal slopes the next day. Our findings highlight the dynamic associations and multiple time courses between cultural values and behaviors, daily experiences, and physiological stress processes for Latino adolescents. Further, we identified important cultural risk and promotive factors associated with physiological regulation in daily life and potential pathways toward health outcomes in adulthood.
Naturally time-averaged accumulations of skeletal remains—death assemblages—provide reliable, albeit temporally coarse, information on the species composition and structure of communities in diverse settings, and their mismatch with local living communities usually signals recent human-driven ecological change. Here, we present the first test of live–dead mismatch as an indicator of human stress using ostracodes. On three islands along a gradient of human population density in the Bahamas, we compared the similarity of living and death assemblages in 10 lakes with relatively low levels of human stress to live–dead similarity in 11 physically comparable lakes subject to industrial, agricultural, or other human activities currently or in the past. We find that live–dead agreement in pristine lakes is consistently excellent, boding well for using death assemblages in modern-day and paleolimnological biodiversity assessments. In most comparison of physically similar paired lakes, sample-level live–dead mismatch in both taxonomic composition and species’ rank abundance is on average significantly greater in the stressed lakes; live–dead agreement is not lower in all samples from stressed lakes, but is more variable. When samples are pooled for lake-level and island-level comparisons, stressed lakes still yield lower live–dead agreement, but the significance of the difference with pristine lakes decreases—species that occur dead-only (or alive-only) in one sample are likely to occur alive (or dead) in other samples. Interisland differences in live–dead agreement are congruent with, but not significantly correlated with, differences in human population density. This situation arises from heterogeneity in the timing and magnitudes of stresses and in the extent of poststress recovery. Live–dead mismatch in ostracode assemblages thus may be a reliable indicator of human impact at the sample level with the potential to be a widely applicable tool for identifying impacted habitats and, perhaps, monitoring the progress of their recovery.
Since the first report in 2012 of a solid-state perovskite solar cell (PSC) with a power-conversion efficiency (PCE) of 9.7% and 500 h stability, research on perovskite photovoltaics has unprecedentedly and exponentially increased. Currently, certified PCE for perovskite solar cells tops 22.7%, which surpasses the PCEs of conventional thin-film solar cells. Perovskite solar cells are thus a disruptive technology in photovoltaics due to their low cost and superb performance. In this article, the emergence of PSCs is introduced, and an overview of progress in our laboratory is presented. In addition, future research directions that could lead to higher efficiencies are described. Beyond photovoltaic applications of halide perovskites, results for light-emitting diodes, resistive memories, and x-ray imaging are described.
Background: NEDA is a composite measure that may ultimately influence clinical decisions concerning switches of disease modifying therapy (DMT) for relapsing remitting multiple sclerosis (RRMS) patients. Cohort studies from MS clinics suggest NEDA is not sustained over time in most patients despite DMT but may be limited by referral bias. We investigated NEDA in a population-based RRMS cohort. Methods: We identified all incident cases of RRMS in Olmsted County from 01/01/2000-12/31/2011. Retrospective chart review was conducted to determine persistence of NEDA -following RRMS diagnosis. NEDA failure was defined as new MRI activity, relapse, or expanded disability status scale (EDSS) -worsening. Results: There were 93 incident cases of RRMS with 82 individuals having sufficient follow-up to determine persistence of NEDA. Prior to NEDA failure 44 were not on DMT, 37 were on first-tier, injectable DMT, and 1 received mitoxantrone. NEDA was maintained by 63% at 1 year, 38% at 2 years, 19% at 5 years, and 12% at 10 years. Disability measured by EDSS was no different at 10 years in patients maintaining NEDA versus those that failed NEDA at one year (p=0.3). Conclusions: Maintenance of NEDA beyond 2 years is infrequent among a population-based cohort of newly diagnosed RRMS patients and similar to prior clinic-based cohorts.
Previously known to form only under high pressure synthetic conditions, here we report that the T′-type 214-structure cuprate based on the rare earth atom Tb is stabilized for ambient pressure synthesis through partial substitution of Pd for Cu. The new material is obtained in purest form for mixtures of nominal composition Tb1.96Cu0.8Pd0.2O4. The refined formula, in orthorhombic space group Pbca, with a = 5.5117(1) Å, b = 5.5088(1) Å, and c = 11.8818(1) Å, is Tb2Cu0.83Pd0.17O4. An incommensurate structural modulation is seen along the a axis by electron diffraction and high resolution imaging. Magnetic susceptibility measurements reveal long-range antiferromagnetic ordering at 7.9 K, with a less pronounced feature at 95 K; a magnetic moment reorientation transition is observed to onset at a field of approximately 1.1 T at 3 K. The material is an n-type semiconductor.