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Prenatal diethylstilbestrol (DES) exposure is associated with increased risk of hormonally mediated cancers and other medical conditions. We evaluated the association between DES and risk of pancreatic cancer and pancreatic disorders, type 2 diabetes, and gallbladder disease, which may be involved with this malignancy. Our analyses used follow-up data from the US National Cancer Institute DES Combined Cohort Study. Cox proportional hazards models estimated hazard ratios (HRs) and 95% confidence intervals (CIs) adjusted for age, sex, cohort, body mass index, smoking, and alcohol for the association between prenatal DES exposure and type 2 diabetes, gallbladder disease (mainly cholelithiasis), pancreatic disorders (mainly pancreatitis), and pancreatic cancer among 5667 exposed and 3315 unexposed individuals followed from 1990 to 2017. Standardized incidence rate (SIR) ratios for pancreatic cancer were based on age-, race-, and calendar year-specific general population cancer incidence rates. In women and men combined, the hazards for total pancreatic disorders and pancreatitis were greater in the prenatally DES exposed than the unexposed (HR = 11, 95% CI 2.6–51 and HR = 7.0, 95% CI 1.5–33, respectively). DES was not associated overall with gallbladder disease (HR = 1.2, 95% CI 0.88–1.5) or diabetes (HR = 1.1, 95% CI 0.9–1.2). In women, but not in men, DES exposure was associated with increased risk of pancreatic cancer compared with the unexposed (HR: 4.1, 95% CI 0.84–20) or general population (SIR: 1.9, 95% CI 1.0–3.2). Prenatal DES exposure may increase the risk of pancreatic disorders, including pancreatitis in women and men. The data suggested elevated pancreatic cancer risk in DES-exposed women, but not in exposed men.
Quantifying tree biomass is an important research and management goal across many disciplines. For species that exhibit predictable relationships between structural metrics (e.g. diameter, height, crown breadth) and total weight, allometric calculations produce accurate estimates of above-ground biomass. However, such methods may be insufficient where inter-individual variation is large relative to individual biomass and is itself of interest (for example, variation due to herbivory). In an East African savanna bushland, we analysed photographs of small (<5 m) trees from perpendicular angles and fixed distances to estimate above-ground biomass. Pixel area of trees in photos and diameter were more strongly related to measured, above-ground biomass of destructively sampled trees than biomass estimated using a published allometric relation based on diameter alone (R2 = 0.86 versus R2 = 0.68). When tested on trees in herbivore-exclusion plots versus unfenced (open) plots, our predictive equation based on photos confirmed higher above-ground biomass in the exclusion plots than in unfenced (open) plots (P < 0.001), in contrast to no significant difference based on the allometric equation (P = 0.43). As such, our new technique based on photographs offers an accurate and cost-effective complement to existing methods for tree biomass estimation at small scales with potential application across a wide variety of settings.
Radiocarbon (14C) ages cannot provide absolutely dated chronologies for archaeological or paleoenvironmental studies directly but must be converted to calendar age equivalents using a calibration curve compensating for fluctuations in atmospheric 14C concentration. Although calibration curves are constructed from independently dated archives, they invariably require revision as new data become available and our understanding of the Earth system improves. In this volume the international 14C calibration curves for both the Northern and Southern Hemispheres, as well as for the ocean surface layer, have been updated to include a wealth of new data and extended to 55,000 cal BP. Based on tree rings, IntCal20 now extends as a fully atmospheric record to ca. 13,900 cal BP. For the older part of the timescale, IntCal20 comprises statistically integrated evidence from floating tree-ring chronologies, lacustrine and marine sediments, speleothems, and corals. We utilized improved evaluation of the timescales and location variable 14C offsets from the atmosphere (reservoir age, dead carbon fraction) for each dataset. New statistical methods have refined the structure of the calibration curves while maintaining a robust treatment of uncertainties in the 14C ages, the calendar ages and other corrections. The inclusion of modeled marine reservoir ages derived from a three-dimensional ocean circulation model has allowed us to apply more appropriate reservoir corrections to the marine 14C data rather than the previous use of constant regional offsets from the atmosphere. Here we provide an overview of the new and revised datasets and the associated methods used for the construction of the IntCal20 curve and explore potential regional offsets for tree-ring data. We discuss the main differences with respect to the previous calibration curve, IntCal13, and some of the implications for archaeology and geosciences ranging from the recent past to the time of the extinction of the Neanderthals.
Identifying factors that influence the functional outcome is an important goal in schizophrenia research. The 22q11.2 deletion syndrome (22q11DS) is a unique genetic model with high risk (20–25%) for schizophrenia. This study aimed to identify potentially targetable domains of neurocognitive functioning associated with functional outcome in adults with 22q11DS.
We used comprehensive neurocognitive test data available for 99 adults with 22q11DS (n = 43 with schizophrenia) and principal component analysis to derive four domains of neurocognition (Verbal Memory, Visual and Logical Memory, Motor Performance, and Executive Performance). We then investigated the association of these neurocognitive domains with adaptive functioning using Vineland Adaptive Behavior Scales data and a linear regression model that accounted for the effects of schizophrenia status and overall intellectual level.
The regression model explained 46.8% of the variance in functional outcome (p < 0.0001). Executive Performance was significantly associated with functional outcome (p = 0.048). Age and schizophrenia were also significant factors. The effects of Executive Performance on functioning did not significantly differ between those with and without psychotic illness.
The findings provide the impetus for further studies to examine the potential of directed (early) interventions targeting Executive Performance to improve long-term adaptive functional outcome in individuals with, or at high risk for, schizophrenia. Moreover, the neurocognitive test profiles may benefit caregivers and clinicians by providing insight into the relative strengths and weaknesses of individuals with 22q11DS, with and without psychotic illness.
In September 2015, an outbreak of Escherichia coli Phage Type 32 with an indistinguishable multi locus variable number tandem repeat analysis profile was identified in Scotland. Twelve cases were identified; nine primary cases, two secondary and one asymptomatic case. Extensive food history investigations identified venison products containing wild venison produced by a single food business operator as the most likely source of the outbreak. Of the nine primary cases, eight had consumed venison products, and one case had not eaten venison themselves but had handled and cooked raw venison in the household. This was the first reported outbreak of Shiga toxin-producing Escherichia coli (STEC) linked to venison products in the UK, and was also notable due to the implicated products being commercially produced and widely distributed. In contrast, previous venison outbreaks reported from other countries have tended to be smaller and related to individually prepared carcases. The outbreak has highlighted some important knowledge gaps in relation to STEC in venison that are currently been investigated via a number of research studies.
The aim of the present work was to address experimentally the possible impact of exposure to air pollution during gestation on the differentiation and function of the gonads of the offspring using a rabbit model. Rabbits were exposed daily to diluted diesel exhaust gas or filtered air from the 3rd until the 27th day of gestation, during which time germ cells migrate in genital ridges and divide, and fetal sex is determined. Offspring gonads were collected shortly before birth (28th day of gestation) or after puberty (7.5 months after birth). The structure of the gonads was analyzed by histological and immunohistological methods. Serum concentrations of testosterone and anti-Müllerian hormone were determined using ELISA. The morphology and the endocrine function of the gonads collected just at the arrest of the exposure were similar in polluted and control animals in both sexes. No differences were observed as well in gonads collected after puberty. Sperm was collected at the head of the epididymis in adults. Sperm motility and DNA fragmentation were measured. Among all parameters analyzed, only the sperm DNA fragmentation rate was increased three-fold in exposed males. Mechanisms responsible for these modifications and their physiological consequences are to be further clarified.
There are now significant data to support the hypothesis that early life nutrition in the fetus, infant and young child can have profound effects on long-term health. This review considers some of this evidence with specific reference to the current burden of disease in Australia and New Zealand. As the findings of further research become available, recommendations on optimizing early life nutrition should be formulated and made widely available as part of the preventative health policy agenda in both Australia and New Zealand.
Diethylstilbestrol (DES) is a non-steroidal estrogen that was commonly prescribed during pregnancy from the late 1940s to 1971. A potent endocrine disruptor, prenatal DES exposure has been linked with reproductive tract malformations, adverse pregnancy outcomes, cancer, infertility and earlier menopause. DES was used for years as a growth promoter in animal production. Some animal studies suggest that prenatal DES exposure is associated with obesity and metabolic disturbances. Using data from the National Cancer Institute DES Follow-Up Study, we evaluated the association between DES and adult obesity, weight gain from age 20 to mid-life, central adiposity and height among 2871 prenatally exposed and 1352 unexposed women between 23 and 52 years of age (median 41.5) at baseline in 1994. DES exposure status was confirmed by prenatal medical record review. We used multivariable log-binomial models to calculate risk ratios (RRs) for obesity in 2006, and linear regression to calculate mean differences in body mass index, weight gain, waist circumference and height. The adjusted RR for DES and obesity was 1.09 [95% confidence interval (CI): 0.97, 1.22], and RRs were 1.23 (CI: 1.07, 1.42) and 1.05 (CI: 0.91, 1.20) for low and high estimated total DES dose, respectively, compared with no exposure. DES-exposed women gained slightly more weight than unexposed women [mean difference, 0.70 kg (CI: −0.27, 1.66)]. This study suggests that prenatal DES exposure may be associated with a small increase in adult obesity.
The concept of Developmental Origins of Health and Disease initially stemmed from the developmental programming of metabolic diseases. Reproductive functions and fertility in adulthood may also be programmed during foetal development. We studied the impact of dietary-induced maternal hyperlipidaemia and hypercholesterolaemia (HH), administered at 10 weeks of age and throughout the gestation and lactation, on male reproductive functions of rabbit offspring. Male rabbits born to HH dams and fed a control diet had significantly lighter testes and epididymes compared with rabbits born to control dams at adulthood. No significant changes in sperm concentration, sperm DNA integrity and sperm membrane composition were observed, but serum-free testosterone concentrations were decreased in HH males. This study confirms the importance of maternal metabolic status for the development of male reproductive organs.
Leptospirosis is a globally important zoonotic infection caused by spirochaetes of the genus Leptospira. It is transmitted to humans by direct contact with infected animals or indirectly via contaminated water. It is mainly a problem of the resource-poor developing countries of the tropical and sub-tropical regions of the world but outbreaks due to an increase in travel and recreational activities have been reported in developed and more industrialized areas of the world. Current methods of diagnosis are costly, time-consuming and require the use of specialized laboratory equipment and personnel. The purpose of this paper is to report the validation of the ‘Leptorapide®’ test (Linnodee Ltd, Northern Ireland) for the diagnosis of human leptospirosis. It is a simple one-step latex agglutination assay performed using equal volumes of serum sample and antigen-bound latex beads. Evidence of leptospiral antibodies is determined within minutes. Agglutination is scored on a scale of 1–5 and the results interpreted using a score card provided with the kit. Validation has been performed with a large sample size obtained from individuals originating from various parts of the world including Brazil and India. The test has shown sensitivity and specificity values of 97·1% and 94·0%, respectively, relative to the microscopic agglutination test. The results demonstrate that Leptorapide offers a cost-effective and accurate alternative to the more historical methods of antibody detection.
This study aimed to determine whether there was a difference in skin permeability to methylene blue dye or skin morphology between dairy cows that differed in their susceptibility to digital dermatitis (DD) and to assess the effect of contact with slurry on skin permeability. Twenty nine dairy cows were monitored for DD during the winter housing period and classed as DD+ (previous DD infection, n = 17), or DD− (no recorded infection, n = 12). The animals were culled and a skin sample was taken from above the heel of each hind foot and frozen. Samples were later defrosted and one sample from each cow was tested for permeability, whereas the other was treated with slurry for 24 h before permeability testing. To test permeability, methylene blue dye was applied to the skin surface in a Franz diffusion cell. After 48 h, the amount of dye that had passed through the skin was estimated. The stratum corneum thickness and the density of hair follicles were determined from additional heel skin samples. Skin permeability to methylene blue dye was significantly greater for samples that had been treated with slurry but did not differ between DD+ and DD− animals. No difference was found in the stratum corneum thickness or density of hair follicles between DD+ and DD− animals. These findings imply that individual differences in general skin permeability are not a major factor in determining DD susceptibility and suggest that contact with slurry could contribute to DD infection by increasing the permeability of the skin, which may facilitate pathogen entry. Further work is required to clarify the role played by slurry in the pathogenesis of DD.
We describe the current, 9-spacecraft Interplanetary Network (IPN). The IPN detects about
325 gamma-ray bursts per year, of which about 100 are not localized by any other missions.
We give some examples of how the data, which are public, can be utilized.
The Southern Hemisphere SHCal04 radiocarbon calibration curve has been updated with the addition of new data sets extending measurements to 2145 cal BP and including the ANSTO Younger Dryas Huon pine data set. Outside the range of measured data, the curve is based upon the ern Hemisphere data sets as presented in IntCal13, with an interhemispheric offset averaging 43 ± 23 yr modeled by an autoregressive process to represent the short-term correlations in the offset.
Human campylobacteriosis exhibits a distinctive seasonality in temperate regions. This paper aims to identify the origins of this seasonality. Clinical isolates [typed by multi-locus sequence typing (MLST)] and epidemiological data were collected from Scotland. Young rural children were found to have an increased burden of disease in the late spring due to strains of non-chicken origin (e.g. ruminant and wild bird strains from environmental sources). In contrast the adult population had an extended summer peak associated with chicken strains. Travel abroad and UK mainland travel were associated with up to 17% and 18% of cases, respectively. International strains were associated with chicken, had a higher diversity than indigenous strains and a different spectrum of MLST types representative of these countries. Integrating empirical epidemiology and molecular subtyping can successfully elucidate the seasonal components of human campylobacteriosis. The findings will enable public health officials to focus strategies to reduce the disease burden.
Grivet monkeys experimentally infected with two different strains of Leptospira interrogans serovar hardjo showed no signs of severe clinical disease. There were no significant macroscopic lesions in any of the tissues examined, but the organisms were demonstrated in various tissues by immunofluorescent technique and were isolated from the blood and urine of two monkeys and the kidney of one. Abraded skin was shown to be a viable route of infection in non-human primates.
A common source outbreak of small round structure virus (SRSV) gastroenteritis affected 81 patients and 114 staff in four hospitals served by one central hospital kitchen. Eating salad items was found to be significantly associated with illness. In a cohort study of a staff buffet function eating turkey salad sandwiches was associated with illness (relative risk = 2·4; 95% CI = 1·4–4·1; P = 0·003), and a case control study of patients in one hospital showed an odds ratio of 6·6 (95% CI = 1·0–71·6; P = 0·04) for eating tuna salad and becoming ill. One of two food handlers who prepared the salads became ill the day following food preparation; she also had a young child at home who had been ill with a gastrointestinal illness during the previous two days. Contamination of food by mechanical transmission of the virus from the child via clothes and hands of the mother, or pre-symptomatic faecal excretion in the mother are possible explanations of contamination of food.
Many vector-borne pathogens whose primary vectors are generalists, such as Ixodid ticks, can infect a wide range of host species and are often zoonotic. Understanding their transmission dynamics is important for the development of disease management programmes. Models exist to describe the transmission dynamics of such diseases, but are necessarily simplistic and generally limited by knowledge of vector population dynamics. They are typically deterministic SIR-type models, which predict disease dynamics in a single, non-spatial, closed patch. Here we explore the limitations of such a model of louping-ill virus dynamics by challenging it with novel field data. The model was only partially successful in predicting Ixodes ricinus density and louping-ill virus prevalence at 6 Scottish sites. We extend the existing multi-host model by forming a two-patch model, incorporating the impact of roaming hosts. This demonstrates that host movement may account for some of the discrepancies between the original model and empirical data. We conclude that insights into the dynamics of multi-host vector-borne pathogens can be gained by using a simple two-patch model. Potential improvements to the model, incorporating aspects of spatial and temporal heterogeneity, are outlined.
The first recognized outbreak of haemorrhagic colitis due to Escherichia coli O 157. H7 in the United Kingdom affected at least 24 persons living in East Anglia over a 2-week period. Theillnesses were characterized by severe abdominal pain and bloody diarrhoea of short duration. Eleven patients were admitted to hospital and there was one death. Patients were mainly adult women who had not eaten out of the home in the 2 weeks before onset. Unlike previously reported outbreaks hamburgers were not the vehicle of infection, and a case-control study suggested that handling vegetables, and particularly potatoes, was the important risk factor.