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Molecular biological techniques have revolutionized the field of geomicrobiology by providing researchers with robust techniques for identifying microorganisms and characterizing microbial communities in a wide variety of environments. These techniques have freed researchers from the constraints of classical culture-based microbiology and allowed the discovery of previously unknown phylogenetic diversity of microorganisms. In this chapter, we discuss the theory, methods, and workflow for applying molecular techniques to identify and characterize microbial populations. Our chapter focuses on SSU rRNA gene-based approaches, guiding the reader from sample collection and gene amplification through bioinformatics and statistical analysis. The workflow presented has been successfully used to identify microbial populations and community dynamics in a wide variety of habitats to understand the interactions between microbes and their environment.
Roles for pharmacists in general practice are developing in Australia. It is known that pharmacists can provide effective smoking cessation services in other settings but evidence in general practice is lacking.
To determine whether a pharmacist can provide effective smoking cessation services within general practice.
Data from smoking cessation consultations were obtained for 66 consecutive patients seen by one practice pharmacist. The pharmacist tailored interventions to the individual. Medication was offered in collaboration with community pharmacists and general practitioners. Quit coaching, based on motivational interviewing, was conducted. Smoking status was ascertained at least 6 months after the intended quit date and verified by a carbon monoxide breath test where possible.
The patients’ median age was 43 years (range 19–74 years); 42 were females (64%). At baseline, the median (i) number of pack years smoked was 20 (range: 1–75); (ii) Fagerstrom Test of dependence score was 6 (1–10); and (iii) number of previous quit attempts was 3 (0–10). Follow-up after at least 6 months determined a self-reported point prevalence abstinence rate of 30% (20/66). Of all patients who reported to be abstinent, 65% (13/20) were tested for carbon monoxide breath levels and were all below 7 ppm. The biochemically verified smoking abstinence rate was therefore 20% overall (13/66). Successful quit attempts were associated with varenicline recommendation (69% v 25%), increased median number of practice pharmacist consultations (4 v 2 per patient) and mental health diagnosis (85% v 51%).
Our observed abstinence rate was comparable or better than those obtained by practice nurses, community pharmacists and outpatient pharmacists, indicating the general practice pharmacist provided an effective smoking cessation intervention. A larger randomised trial is warranted.
Despite established clinical associations among major depression (MD), alcohol dependence (AD), and alcohol consumption (AC), the nature of the causal relationship between them is not completely understood. We leveraged genome-wide data from the Psychiatric Genomics Consortium (PGC) and UK Biobank to test for the presence of shared genetic mechanisms and causal relationships among MD, AD, and AC.
Linkage disequilibrium score regression and Mendelian randomization (MR) were performed using genome-wide data from the PGC (MD: 135 458 cases and 344 901 controls; AD: 10 206 cases and 28 480 controls) and UK Biobank (AC-frequency: 438 308 individuals; AC-quantity: 307 098 individuals).
Positive genetic correlation was observed between MD and AD (rgMD−AD = + 0.47, P = 6.6 × 10−10). AC-quantity showed positive genetic correlation with both AD (rgAD−AC quantity = + 0.75, P = 1.8 × 10−14) and MD (rgMD−AC quantity = + 0.14, P = 2.9 × 10−7), while there was negative correlation of AC-frequency with MD (rgMD−AC frequency = −0.17, P = 1.5 × 10−10) and a non-significant result with AD. MR analyses confirmed the presence of pleiotropy among these four traits. However, the MD-AD results reflect a mediated-pleiotropy mechanism (i.e. causal relationship) with an effect of MD on AD (beta = 0.28, P = 1.29 × 10−6). There was no evidence for reverse causation.
This study supports a causal role for genetic liability of MD on AD based on genetic datasets including thousands of individuals. Understanding mechanisms underlying MD-AD comorbidity addresses important public health concerns and has the potential to facilitate prevention and intervention efforts.
Legionnaires’ disease (LD) incidence in the USA has quadrupled since 2000. Health departments must detect LD outbreaks quickly to identify and remediate sources. We tested the performance of a system to prospectively detect simulated LD outbreaks in Allegheny County, Pennsylvania, USA. We generated three simulated LD outbreaks based on published outbreaks. After verifying no significant clusters existed in surveillance data during 2014–2016, we embedded simulated outbreak-associated cases into 2016, assigning simulated residences and report dates. We mimicked daily analyses in 2016 using the prospective space-time permutation scan statistic to detect clusters of ⩽30 and ⩽180 days using 365-day and 730-day baseline periods, respectively. We used recurrence interval (RI) thresholds of ⩾20, ⩾100 and ⩾365 days to define significant signals. We calculated sensitivity, specificity and positive and negative predictive values for daily analyses, separately for each embedded outbreak. Two large, simulated cooling tower-associated outbreaks were detected. As the RI threshold was increased, sensitivity and negative predictive value decreased, while positive predictive value and specificity increased. A small, simulated potable water-associated outbreak was not detected. Use of a RI threshold of ⩾100 days minimised time-to-detection while maximizing positive predictive value. Health departments should consider using this system to detect community-acquired LD outbreaks.
Previous studies have demonstrated that several major psychiatric disorders are influenced by shared genetic factors. This shared liability may influence clinical features of a given disorder (e.g. severity, age at onset). However, findings have largely been limited to European samples; little is known about the consistency of shared genetic liability across ethnicities.
The relationship between polygenic risk for several major psychiatric diagnoses and major depressive disorder (MDD) was examined in a sample of unrelated Han Chinese women. Polygenic risk scores (PRSs) were generated using European discovery samples and tested in the China, Oxford, and VCU Experimental Research on Genetic Epidemiology [CONVERGE (maximum N = 10 502)], a sample ascertained for recurrent MDD. Genetic correlations between discovery phenotypes and MDD were also assessed. In addition, within-case characteristics were examined.
European-based polygenic risk for several major psychiatric disorder phenotypes was significantly associated with the MDD case status in CONVERGE. Risk for clinically significant indicators (neuroticism and subjective well-being) was also associated with case–control status. The variance accounted for by PRS for both psychopathology and for well-being was similar to estimates reported for within-ethnicity comparisons in European samples. However, European-based PRS were largely unassociated with CONVERGE family history, clinical characteristics, or comorbidity.
The shared genetic liability across severe forms of psychopathology is largely consistent across European and Han Chinese ethnicities, with little attenuation of genetic signal relative to within-ethnicity analyses. The overall absence of associations between PRS for other disorders and within-MDD variation suggests that clinical characteristics of MDD may arise due to contributions from ethnicity-specific factors and/or pathoplasticity.
The MCSA is a special-purpose digital signal processor. Its main function is to filter a wide-band signal into many narrower bands, so that each of the output bands has a bandwidth that is a better match to the signal being searched for.
The basic MCSA provides simultaneous output bandwidths of approximately 1 HZ, 32 Hz, 1024 Hz, and 74 kHz over a spectrum that is about 8 MHz wide. The input to the MCSA consists of a complex signal sampled at 10 MHz, and the outputs consist of either complex samples or power (square-law-detected) samples. In addition, the MCSA provides an accumulator for taking the integral of the power of the output bands for periods up to 1000 sec.
The MCSA hardware is constructed using wire-wrap technology. The implementation of the hardware is done with the aid of a computer program developed specifically for the design of the MCSA. Care has been taken in the MCSA design to ensure that engineering tradeoffs do not adversely affect the performance of the system.
We are investigating complete samples of southern hemisphere flat spectrum extra-galactic radio sources drawn from the Parkes 2.7 GHz Survey (see Bolton et al. 1979 and references therein). These samples are being used for a variety of investigations, including a determination of the space distribution and luminosity function of radio QSOs, their radio size distribution, as well as the structures of the individual sources. Accurate positions are being determined, as well, in order to establish an extra-galactic position reference frame in the southern hemisphere.
Antigenic variation in malaria was discovered in Plasmodium knowlesi studies involving longitudinal infections of rhesus macaques (M. mulatta). The variant proteins, known as the P. knowlesi Schizont Infected Cell Agglutination (SICA) antigens and the P. falciparum Erythrocyte Membrane Protein 1 (PfEMP1) antigens, expressed by the SICAvar and var multigene families, respectively, have been studied for over 30 years. Expression of the SICA antigens in P. knowlesi requires a splenic component, and specific antibodies are necessary for variant antigen switch events in vivo. Outstanding questions revolve around the role of the spleen and the mechanisms by which the expression of these variant antigen families are regulated. Importantly, the longitudinal dynamics and molecular mechanisms that govern variant antigen expression can be studied with P. knowlesi infection of its mammalian and vector hosts. Synchronous infections can be initiated with established clones and studied at multi-omic levels, with the benefit of computational tools from systems biology that permit the integration of datasets and the design of explanatory, predictive mathematical models. Here we provide an historical account of this topic, while highlighting the potential for maximizing the use of P. knowlesi – macaque model systems and summarizing exciting new progress in this area of research.
Snowpit samples collected at the West Antarctic Ice Sheet (WAIS) Divide location in January 2013 were analysed to investigate the levels and variations of perchlorate concentrations in Antarctic snow. During 2008–12, the perchlorate concentration in WAIS Divide snow ranged between 6–180 ng l–1 and followed a seasonal cycle. The highest concentrations appeared in the autumn, and the lowest in winter and spring. No apparent correlation was observed between perchlorate and nitrate or chloride concentrations in snow. Since perchlorate is believed to form in the atmosphere when chlorine species are oxidized in reactions involving ozone, perchlorate concentrations were hypothesized to be high during the spring, based on the assumption that stratospheric ozone depletion enhances tropospheric perchlorate production. The data show that perchlorate concentrations in snow were sharply reduced during stratospheric ozone depletion events; the evidence, therefore, does not support the hypothesis. Instead, the results suggest a stratospheric origin of perchlorate in Antarctic snow.
Experiments on the National Ignition Facility show that multi-dimensional effects currently dominate the implosion performance. Low mode implosion symmetry and hydrodynamic instabilities seeded by capsule mounting features appear to be two key limiting factors for implosion performance. One reason these factors have a large impact on the performance of inertial confinement fusion implosions is the high convergence required to achieve high fusion gains. To tackle these problems, a predictable implosion platform is needed meaning experiments must trade-off high gain for performance. LANL has adopted three main approaches to develop a one-dimensional (1D) implosion platform where 1D means measured yield over the 1D clean calculation. A high adiabat, low convergence platform is being developed using beryllium capsules enabling larger case-to-capsule ratios to improve symmetry. The second approach is liquid fuel layers using wetted foam targets. With liquid fuel layers, the implosion convergence can be controlled via the initial vapor pressure set by the target fielding temperature. The last method is double shell targets. For double shells, the smaller inner shell houses the DT fuel and the convergence of this cavity is relatively small compared to hot spot ignition. However, double shell targets have a different set of trade-off versus advantages. Details for each of these approaches are described.
The foetal mammary gland is sensitive to maternal weight and nutrition during gestation, which could affect offspring milk production. It has previously been shown that ewes born to dams offered maintenance nutrition during pregnancy (day 21 to 140 of gestation) produced greater milk, lactose and CP yields in their first lactation when compared with ewes born to dams offered ad libitum nutrition. In addition, ewes born to heavier dams produced greater milk and lactose yields when compared with ewes born to lighter dams. The objective of this study was to analyse and compare the 5-year lactation performance of the previously mentioned ewes, born to heavy or light dams that were offered maintenance or ad libitum pregnancy nutrition. Ewes were milked once per week, for the first 6 weeks of their lactation, for 5 years. Using milk yield and composition data, accumulated yields were calculated over a 42-day period for each year for milk, milk fat, CP, true protein, casein and lactose using a Legendre orthogonal polynomial model. Over the 5-year period, ewes born to heavy dams produced greater average milk (P=0.04), lactose (P=0.01) and CP (P=0.04) yields than offspring born to light dams. In contrast, over the 5-year period dam nutrition during pregnancy did not affect average (P>0.05) offspring milk yields or composition, but did increase milk and lactose accumulated yield (P=0.03 and 0.01, respectively) in the first lactation. These results indicate that maternal gestational nutrition appears to only affect the first lactational performance of ewe offspring. Neither dam nutrition nor size affected grand-offspring live weight gain to, or live weight at weaning (P>0.05). Combined these data indicate that under the conditions of the present study, manipulating dam weight or nutrition in pregnancy can have some effects of offspring lactational performance, however, these effects are not large enough to alter grand-offspring growth to weaning. Therefore, such manipulations are not a viable management tool for farmers to influence lamb growth to weaning.
Nursing home residents are at risk for acquiring and transmitting MDROs. A serial point-prevalence study of 605 residents in 3 facilities using random sampling found MDRO colonization in 45% of residents: methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA, 26%); extended-spectrum β-lactamase–producing Enterobacteriaceae (ESBL, 17%); vancomycin-resistant Enterococcus spp. (VRE, 16%); carbapenem-resistant Enterobacteriaceae (CRE, 1%). MDRO colonization was associated with history of MDRO, care needs, incontinence, and catheters.
We have analyzed a sample of 1150 type ab, and 550 type c RR Lyrae stars found in 24 of 94 bulge fields of the MACHO database. These fields cover a range in Galactocentric distances from 0.3 to 1.6 kpc. In combination with the data on the outer bulge fields of Alard (1997) and Wesselink (1987), here we present the surface density distribution of bulge RR Lyrae between 0.3 and 3 kpc.
The MACHO microlensing experiment's time-sampled photometry database contains blue and red lightcurves for nearly 9 million stars in the central bar region of the Large Magellanic Cloud (LMC). We have identified known LMC Planetary Nebulae (PN) in the database and find one, Jacoby 5, to be variable. We additionally present data on the “parent populations” of LMC PN, and discuss the star formation history of the LMC bar.
A review of the properties of Type II Cepheids and RV Tauri stars in the Magellanic Clouds is presented. In the behaviour of their light and colour curves, the RV Tauri stars appear to be a direct extension of the Type II Cepheids to longer periods. A single P – L – C relationship describes both the Type II Cepheids and RV Tauri stars in the LMC. The derived high intrinsic magnitudes for the RV Tauri variables supports the proposition that these objects are luminous stars evolving off the AGB. Preliminary analysis of the long time-series MACHO photometry indicates one star (MACHO*05:37:45.0–69:54:16) has an obvious ‘period-quadrupled’ periodicity, which is supporting evidence for a period-doubling bifurcation transition to chaotic pulsations.
It is well known that the Baade-Wesselink method leads to different radii for Cepheids depending on which colors are used to determine the effective temperatures. We try to find the reasons for this discrepancy. We employ yet another version of this method using only maximum and minimum radii, thereby circumventing uncertainties in the phase relations between radial velocities and colors. This has essentially no influence on the derived radii. One major uncertainty is the relation between the photospheric expansion velocity and the measured radial velocity. The main reason for the discrepant results obtained by using different colors appears to be an inconsistency in the difference in the applied temperature-color calibrations. Small changes in the d(log Teff)/d(color) can cause major changes in the derived radii.
We present the first results of the analysis of 22 Blazhko stars. We find: 1) Blazhko RRab stars that are nearly pure amplitude modulators; 2) Blazhko RRab stars that have both amplitude and phase modulation; 3) A Blazhko RRab star that has an abrupt period change; 4) Proof of the Blazhko effect in RRc stars. Our data show the character of the amplitude and phase modulations of the light curves over the Blazhko cycles far better than has been previously possible.
We present Chandra HETG spectra of seven cataclysmic variables, including four intermediate polars. We find that they divide unambiguously into two distinct types. Spectra of the first type (nonmagnetic systems and EX Hya) are remarkably well fit by a simple cooling flow model, which assumes only steady-state isobaric radiative cooling. The maximum temperature, kTmax, and the normalization, which provides a highly precise measurement of the accretion rate, are the only free parameters of this model. Spectra of the second type (the three other IPs) are grossly inconsistent with a cooling flow model. They instead exhibit a hard continuum, and show strong H-like and He-like ion emission but little Fe L-shell emission, which is consistent with expectations for line emission from a photoionized plasma. Using a simple photoionization model, we argue that the observed line emission for these sources can be driven entirely by the hard continuum. The physical significance of these two distinct types of X-ray spectra is also explored.
We present the preliminary results of a frequency analysis of 1457 fundamental mode RR Lyrae (RR0) stars in the Large Magellanic Cloud (LMC) from MACHO Project photometry. We find the same classes of pulsational behavior as were found in our earlier survey of first overtone RR Lyrae (RR1) stars. Variables whose prewhitened power spectra contain one or two peaks close to the main frequency component in the original power spectra are commonly known as Blazhko-type variables. The present analysis shows the overall frequency of Blazhko-type stars in the total RR0 population analysed to date to be ≈ 10%. This is lower than the often cited Galactic field/globular rate of 20-30% (Szeidl, 1988).
The incidence rate of Blazhko-type variability in the LMC appears to be about three times higher in RR0 stars than in RR1 stars. This puts important constraints on possible models of the Blazhko effect.
We present the first massive frequency analysis of the 1200 first overtone RR Lyrae stars in the Large Magellanic Cloud observed in the first 4.3 yr of the MACHO project. Besides the many new double-mode variables, we also discovered stars with closely spaced frequencies. These variables are most probably nonradial pulsators.