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Birth weight and early growth have been associated with later blood pressure. However, not all studies consistently find a significant reduction in blood pressure with an increase in birth weight. In addition, the relative importance of birth weight and of other lifestyle and environmental factors is often overlooked and the association is rarely studied in adolescents. We investigated early life predictors, including birth weight, of adolescent blood pressure in the Gateshead Millennium Study (GMS). The GMS is a cohort of 1029 individuals born in 1999–2000 in Gateshead in Northern England. Throughout infancy and early childhood, detailed information were collected, including birth weight and measures of height and weight. Assessments of 491 returning participants at age 12 years included measures of body mass and blood pressure. Linear regression and path analysis were used to determine predictors and their relative importance on blood pressure. Birth weight was not directly associated with blood pressure at the age of 12. However, after adjustment for contemporaneous body mass index (BMI), an inverse association of standardized birth weight on systolic blood pressure was significant. The relative importance of birth weight on later systolic blood pressure was smaller than other contemporaneous body measures (height and BMI). There was no independent association of birth weight on blood pressure seen in this adolescent population. Contemporaneous body measures have an important role to play. Lifestyle factors that influence body mass or size, such as diet and physical activity, where interventions are directed at early prevention of hypertension should be targeted.
Mental health and wellbeing, including addressing impacts of historical trauma and substance use among young people, has been identified as a key priority by Indigenous communities and leaders across Canada and globally. Yet, research to understand mental health among young Indigenous people who have used drugs is limited.
To examine longitudinal risk and strengths-based factors associated with psychological distress among young Indigenous people who use drugs.
The Cedar Project is an ongoing cohort study involving young Indigenous people who use drugs in Vancouver, Prince George, and Chase, British Columbia, Canada. This study included participants who completed the Symptom Checklist-90-Revised, returned for follow-up between 2010 and 2012, and completed the Childhood Trauma Questionnaire. Adjusted linear mixed-effects models estimated effects of study variables on changes in area T-scores of psychological distress.
Of 202 eligible participants, 53% were women and the mean age was 28 years. Among men, childhood maltreatment (emotional abuse, physical abuse, sexual abuse, physical neglect), any drug use, blackouts from drinking, and sex work were associated with increased distress. Among women, childhood maltreatment (emotional abuse, physical abuse, physical neglect), blackouts from drinking, and sexual assault were associated with increased distress, while having attempted to quit using drugs was associated with reduced distress. Marginal associations were observed between speaking their traditional language and living by traditional culture with lower distress among men.
Culturally safe mental wellness interventions are urgently needed to address childhood trauma and harmful coping strategies that exacerbate distress among young Indigenous people who use drugs.
The Numeniini is a tribe of 13 wader species (Scolopacidae, Charadriiformes) of which seven are Near Threatened or globally threatened, including two Critically Endangered. To help inform conservation management and policy responses, we present the results of an expert assessment of the threats that members of this taxonomic group face across migratory flyways. Most threats are increasing in intensity, particularly in non-breeding areas, where habitat loss resulting from residential and commercial development, aquaculture, mining, transport, disturbance, problematic invasive species, pollution and climate change were regarded as having the greatest detrimental impact. Fewer threats (mining, disturbance, problematic native species and climate change) were identified as widely affecting breeding areas. Numeniini populations face the greatest number of non-breeding threats in the East Asian-Australasian Flyway, especially those associated with coastal reclamation; related threats were also identified across the Central and Atlantic Americas, and East Atlantic flyways. Threats on the breeding grounds were greatest in Central and Atlantic Americas, East Atlantic and West Asian flyways. Three priority actions were associated with monitoring and research: to monitor breeding population trends (which for species breeding in remote areas may best be achieved through surveys at key non-breeding sites), to deploy tracking technologies to identify migratory connectivity, and to monitor land-cover change across breeding and non-breeding areas. Two priority actions were focused on conservation and policy responses: to identify and effectively protect key non-breeding sites across all flyways (particularly in the East Asian- Australasian Flyway), and to implement successful conservation interventions at a sufficient scale across human-dominated landscapes for species’ recovery to be achieved. If implemented urgently, these measures in combination have the potential to alter the current population declines of many Numeniini species and provide a template for the conservation of other groups of threatened species.
Few studies have investigated nitrogen (N) fertilizer management in no-tillage (NT) tobacco (Nicotiana tobacum L.) production systems, even though N fertilization is known to influence tobacco cured leaf yield and quality. The present study evaluated how tillage practice and N fertilizer rate affected burley tobacco agronomic performance, plant available nitrogen (PAN) supply, and leaf chemical constituents. In 2012 and 2013, three N fertilizer rates (0, 140 and 280 kg N/ha) were introduced as split-plots within a long-term NT and conventional tillage (CT) (mouldboard plough) comparison study. Results (2007–2013) showed that the effect of tillage on tobacco yield depended on seasonal weather; NT tobacco appeared to have lower yield than CT tobacco in seasons with <450 mm growing season rainfall, but similar yields when rainfall was >500 mm. In 2012 (432 mm rainfall; 84% of the long-term seasonal mean), leaf SPAD reading, leaf nitrate concentration, total nitrogen concentration at the topping day (i.e. removal of flowers/buds at the tops of the plants) and cured leaf nicotine and alkaloid content suggested that N deficiency was more pronounced in NT than CT at the lowest N fertilizer rate. The PAN supply, as measured by a modified in situ resin core method, was similar in 2012 between NT and CT, suggesting that plant factors may have had a role in N uptake efficiency. This scenario did not repeat in 2013 (706 mm rainfall; 137% of the long-term seasonal mean). Even though N fertilization rates were identical for both tillage practices in 2012 and 2013, PAN was lower, on average, in 2012. Because N uptake is largely the result of mass flow, the impact of reduced root density in NT tobacco would be expected to be more pronounced in a season such as 2012, when water was limited. Banding N close to the tobacco root system and/or side-dressing some portion of N may be recommended strategies to improve N use efficiency in NT burley tobacco production.
We describe the performance of the Boolardy Engineering Test Array, the prototype for the Australian Square Kilometre Array Pathfinder telescope. Boolardy Engineering Test Array is the first aperture synthesis radio telescope to use phased array feed technology, giving it the ability to electronically form up to nine dual-polarisation beams. We report the methods developed for forming and measuring the beams, and the adaptations that have been made to the traditional calibration and imaging procedures in order to allow BETA to function as a multi-beam aperture synthesis telescope. We describe the commissioning of the instrument and present details of Boolardy Engineering Test Array’s performance: sensitivity, beam characteristics, polarimetric properties, and image quality. We summarise the astronomical science that it has produced and draw lessons from operating Boolardy Engineering Test Array that will be relevant to the commissioning and operation of the final Australian Square Kilometre Array Path telescope.
Abnormalities in the anterior inter-hemispheric connectivity have previously been implicated in major depressive disorder. Disruptions in fractional anisotropy in the callosum and fornix have been reported in schizophrenia and major depressive disorder. Oligodendrocyte density and overall size of the callosum and fornix show no alteration in either illness, suggesting that gross morphology is unchanged but more subtle organizational disruption may exist within these brain regions in mood and affective disorders.
Using high-resolution oil-immersion microscopy we examined the cross-sectional area of the nerve fibre and the axonal myelin sheath, and using standard high-resolution light microscopy we measured the density of myelinated axons. These measurements were made in the genu of the corpus callosum and the medial body of the fornix at its most dorsal point. Measures were taken in the sagittal plane in the callosal genu and in the coronal plane at the most dorsal part of the fornix body.
Cases of major depressive disorder had significantly greater mean myelin cross-sectional area (p = 0.017) and myelin thickness (p = 0.004) per axon in the genu than in control or schizophrenia groups. There was no significant change in the density of myelinated axons, and no changes observed in the fornix.
The results suggest a clear increase of myelin in the axons of the callosal genu in MDD, although this type of neuropathological study is unable to clarify whether this is caused by changes during life or has a developmental origin.
This paper describes the system architecture of a newly constructed radio telescope – the Boolardy engineering test array, which is a prototype of the Australian square kilometre array pathfinder telescope. Phased array feed technology is used to form multiple simultaneous beams per antenna, providing astronomers with unprecedented survey speed. The test array described here is a six-antenna interferometer, fitted with prototype signal processing hardware capable of forming at least nine dual-polarisation beams simultaneously, allowing several square degrees to be imaged in a single pointed observation. The main purpose of the test array is to develop beamforming and wide-field calibration methods for use with the full telescope, but it will also be capable of limited early science demonstrations.
It has been suggested that in addition to genetic factors, fetal and post-natal growth influence cognition in early adulthood. However, most studies have been in developed populations, so it is unclear if the same findings would be seen in other, less developed, settings, and have used testing tools not applicable to an Australia Aboriginal population. This study investigated the relationships between cognitive function in early adulthood and birth weight and contemporary height. Simple reaction time (SRT), choice reaction time (CRT) and working memory (WM) were assessed using the CogState battery. A significant association was seen between birth weight and SRT in early adulthood, but not with the other two cognitive measures. Urban dwellers had significantly shorter SRT and CRT than their remote counterparts. Contemporary body mass index and maternal age were associated with CRT. Only fetal growth restriction was associated with WM, with greater WM in those with restricted growth. No associations were seen with contemporary height. These results suggest that fetal growth may be more important than the factors influencing post-natal growth in terms of cognition in early adulthood in this population, but that the associations may be inconsistent between cognitive outcomes. Further research is required to identify whether similar associations are seen in other, similar, populations and to assess why differences in cognitive outcome measures are seen.
Heat stress (HS) jeopardizes livestock health and productivity and both may in part be mediated by reduced intestinal integrity. Dietary zinc improves a variety of bowel diseases, which are characterized by increased intestinal permeability. Study objectives were to evaluate the effects of supplemental zinc amino acid complex (ZnAA) on intestinal integrity in heat-stressed growing pigs. Crossbred gilts (43±6 kg BW) were ad libitum fed one of three diets: (1) control (ZnC; 120 ppm Zn as ZnSO4; n=13), (2) control+100 ppm Zn as ZnAA (Zn220; containing a total of 220 ppm Zn; n=14), and (3) control+200 ppm Zn as ZnAA (Zn320; containing a total of 320 ppm Zn; n=16). After 25 days on their respective diets, all pigs were exposed to constant HS conditions (36°C, ∼50% humidity) for either 1 or 7 days. At the end of the environmental exposure, pigs were euthanized and blood and intestinal tissues were harvested immediately after sacrifice. As expected, HS increased rectal temperature (P⩽0.01; 40.23°C v. 38.93°C) and respiratory rate (P⩽0.01; 113 v. 36 bpm). Pigs receiving ZnAA tended to have increased rectal temperature (P=0.07; +0.27°C) compared with ZnC-fed pigs. HS markedly reduced feed intake (FI; P⩽0.01; 59%) and caused BW loss (2.10 kg), but neither variable was affected by dietary treatment. Fresh intestinal segments were assessed ex vivo for intestinal integrity. As HS progressed from days 1 to 7, both ileal and colonic transepithelial electrical resistance (TER) decreased (P⩽0.05; 34% and 22%, respectively). This was mirrored by an increase in ileal and colonic permeability to the macromolecule dextran (P⩽0.01; 13- and 56-fold, respectively), and increased colonic lipopolysaccharide permeability (P⩽0.05; threefold) with time. There was a quadratic response (P⩽0.05) to increasing ZnAA on ileal TER, as it was improved (P⩽0.05; 56%) in Zn220-fed pigs compared with ZnC. This study demonstrates that HS progressively compromises the intestinal barrier and supplementing ZnAA at the appropriate dose can improve aspects of small intestinal integrity during severe HS.
Combined microfocus XAS and XRD analysis of α-particle radiation damage haloes around thorium-containing monazite in Fe-rich biotite reveals changes in both short- and long-range order. The total α-particles flux derived from the Th and U in the monazite over 1.8 Ga was 0.022 α particles per atomic component of the monazite and this caused increasing amounts of structural damage as the monazite emitter is approached. Short-range order disruption revealed by Fe K-edge EXAFS is manifest by a high variability in Fe–Fe bond lengths and a marked decrease in coordination number. XANES examination of the Fe K-edge shows a decrease in energy of the main absorption by up to 1 eV, revealing reduction of the Fe3+ components of the biotite by interaction with the 24He2+, the result of low and thermal energy electrons produced by the cascade of electron collisions. Changes in d spacings in the XRD patterns reveal the development of polycrystallinity and new domains of damaged biotite structure with evidence of displaced atoms due to ionization interactions and nuclear collisions. The damage in biotite is considered to have been facilitated by destruction of OH groups by radiolysis and the development of Frenkel pairs causing an increase in the trioctahedral layer distances and contraction within the trioctahedral layers. The large amount of radiation damage close to the monazite can be explained by examining the electronic stopping flux.
The aim of this study was to investigate spatial variation in risk of hospitalization in childhood pneumonia and empyema in the North of England and associated risk factors. Data on childhood (0–14 years) hospital admissions with a diagnosis pneumonia or empyema were linked to postcode districts. Bayesian conditional autoregressive models were used to evaluate spatial variation and the relevance of specific spatial covariates in an area-based study using postcode as the areal unit. There was a sixfold variation in the risk of hospitalization due to pneumonia across the study region. Variation in risk was associated with material deprivation, Child Well-being Index (CWI) health domain score, number of children requiring local authority support, and distance to hospital. No significant spatial variation in risk for empyema was found.
The unrestrained combustion of fossil fuels has resulted in vast pollution at the local scale throughout the world, while contributing to global warming at a rate that seriously threatens the stability of many of the world's ecosystems. Solar photovoltaic (PV) technology is a clean, sustainable and renewable energy conversion technology that can help meet the energy demands of the world’s growing population. Although PV technology is mature with commercial modules obtaining over 20% conversion efficiency there remains considerable opportunities to improve performance. The nearly global access to the solar resource coupled to nanotechnology innovation-driven decreases in the costs of PV, provides a path for a renewable energy source to significantly reduce the adverse anthropogenic impacts of energy use by replacing fossil fuels. This study explores several approaches to improving indium gallium nitride-based PV efficiency with nanotechnology: optical enhancement, microstructural optimization for electronic material quality and increasing the spectral response via bandgap engineering. The results showing multibandgap engineering with InGaN and impediments to widespread deployment and commercialization are discussed including technical viability, intellectual property laws and licensing, material resource scarcities, and economics. Future work is outlined and conclusions are drawn to overcome these limitations and improve PV device performance using methods that can scale to the necessary terawatt level.
Although the environmental benefits of recycling plastics are well established and most geographic locations within the U.S. offer some plastic recycling, recycling rates are often low. Low recycling rates are often observed in conventional centralized recycling plants due to the challenge of collection and transportation for high-volume low-weight polymers. The recycling rates decline further when low population density, rural and relatively isolated communities are investigated because of the distance to recycling centers makes recycling difficult and both economically and energetically inefficient. The recent development of a class of open source hardware tools (e.g. RecycleBots) able to convert post-consumer plastic waste to polymer filament for 3-D printing offer a means to increase recycling rates by enabling distributed recycling. In addition, to reducing the amount of plastic disposed of in landfills, distributed recycling may also provide low-income families a means to supplement their income with domestic production of small plastic goods. This study investigates the environmental impacts of polymer recycling. A life-cycle analysis (LCA) for centralized plastic recycling is compared to the implementation of distributed recycling in rural areas. Environmental impact of both recycling scenarios is quantified in terms of energy use per unit mass of recycled plastic. A sensitivity analysis is used to determine the environmental impacts of both systems as a function of distance to recycling centers. The results of this LCA study indicate that distributed recycling of HDPE for rural regions is energetically favorable to either using virgin resin or conventional recycling processes. This study indicates that the technical progress in solar photovoltaic devices, open-source 3-D printing and polymer filament extrusion have made distributed polymer recycling and upcycling technically viable.