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Single-particle reconstruction can be used to perform three-dimensional (3D) imaging of homogeneous populations of nano-sized objects, in particular viruses and proteins. Here, it is demonstrated that it can also be used to obtain 3D reconstructions of heterogeneous populations of inorganic nanoparticles. An automated acquisition scheme in a scanning transmission electron microscope is used to collect images of thousands of nanoparticles. Particle images are subsequently semi-automatically clustered in terms of their properties and separate 3D reconstructions are performed from selected particle image clusters. The result is a 3D dataset that is representative of the full population. The study demonstrates a methodology that allows 3D imaging and analysis of inorganic nanoparticles in a fully automated manner that is truly representative of large particle populations.
Diet quality indices are a practical, cost-effective method to evaluate dietary patterns, yet few have investigated diet quality in athletes. This study describes the relative validity and reliability of the recently developed Athlete Diet Index (ADI). Participants completed the electronic ADI on two occasions, two weeks apart, followed by a four-day estimated food record (4-dFR). Relative validity was evaluated by directly comparing mean scores of the two administrations (mAdm) against scores derived from 4-dFR using Spearman’s rank correlation coefficient and Bland-Altman (B-A) plots. Construct validity was investigated by comparing mAdm scores and 4-dFR derived nutrient intakes using Spearman’s coefficient and independent t-tests. Test-retest reliability was assessed using paired t-tests, intra-class correlation coefficients (ICC) and B-A plots. Sixty-eight elite athletes (18.8 ± 4.2 years) from an Australian sporting institute completed the ADI on both occasions. Mean score was 84.1 ± 15.2 (range: 42.5-114.0). The ADI had good reliability (ICC=0.80, 95% CI: 0.69, 0.87; p<0.001), and B-A plots (mean 1.9; LOA -17.8, 21.7) showed no indication of systematic bias (y=4.57-0.03*x) (95% CI: -0.2, 0.1; p=0.70). Relative validity was evaluated in 50 athletes who completed all study phases. Comparison of mAdm scores to 4-dFR derived scores was moderate (rs=0.69; p<0.001) with no systematic bias between methods of measurement (y=6.90-0.04*x) (95% CI: -0.3, 0.2; p=0.73). Higher scores were associated with higher absolute nutrient intake consistent with a healthy dietary pattern. The ADI is a reliable tool with moderate validity, demonstrating its potential for application to investigate the diet quality of athletes.
Submarine melting of tidewater glaciers is proposed as a trigger for their recent thinning, acceleration and retreat. We estimate spring submarine melt rates (SMRs) of Kangiata Nunaata Sermia in southwest Greenland, from 2012 to 2014, by examining changes in along-fjord freeboard and velocity of the seasonal floating ice tongue. Estimated SMRs vary spatially and temporally near the grounding line, with mean rates of 1.3 ± 0.6, 0.8 ± 0.3 and 1.0 ± 0.4 m d−1 across the tongue in 2012, 2013 and 2014, respectively. Higher melt rates correspond with locations of emerging subglacial plumes and terminus calving activity observed during the melt season using time-lapse camera imagery. Modelling of subglacial flow paths suggests a dynamic system capable of rapid re-routing of subglacial discharge both within and between melt seasons. Our results provide an empirically-derived link between the presence of subglacial discharge plumes and areas of high spring submarine melting and calving along glacier termini.
We used a web-based mixed methods survey (HowsYourHealth – Frail) to explore the health of frail older (78% age 80 or older) adults enrolled in a home-based primary care program in Vancouver, Canada. Sixty per cent of eligible respondents participated, representing over one quarter (92/350, 26.2%) of all individuals receiving the service. Despite high levels of co-morbidity and functional dependence, 50 per cent rated their health as good, very good, or excellent. Adjusted odds ratios for positive self-rated health were 7.50, 95 per cent CI [1.09, 51.81] and 4.85, 95 per cent CI [1.02, 22.95] for absence of bothersome symptoms and being able to talk to family or friends respectively. Narrative responses to questions about end of life and living with illness are also described. Results suggest that greater focus on symptom management, and supporting social contact, may improve frail seniors’ health.
Mental health problems are inseparable from the environment. With virtual reality (VR), computer-generated interactive environments, individuals can repeatedly experience their problematic situations and be taught, via evidence-based psychological treatments, how to overcome difficulties. VR is moving out of specialist laboratories. Our central aim was to describe the potential of VR in mental health, including a consideration of the first 20 years of applications. A systematic review of empirical studies was conducted. In all, 285 studies were identified, with 86 concerning assessment, 45 theory development, and 154 treatment. The main disorders researched were anxiety (n = 192), schizophrenia (n = 44), substance-related disorders (n = 22) and eating disorders (n = 18). There are pioneering early studies, but the methodological quality of studies was generally low. The gaps in meaningful applications to mental health are extensive. The most established finding is that VR exposure-based treatments can reduce anxiety disorders, but there are numerous research and treatment avenues of promise. VR was found to be a much-misused term, often applied to non-interactive and non-immersive technologies. We conclude that VR has the potential to transform the assessment, understanding and treatment of mental health problems. The treatment possibilities will only be realized if – with the user experience at the heart of design – the best immersive VR technology is combined with targeted translational interventions. The capability of VR to simulate reality could greatly increase access to psychological therapies, while treatment outcomes could be enhanced by the technology's ability to create new realities. VR may merit the level of attention given to neuroimaging.
Persecutory delusions may be unfounded threat beliefs maintained by
safety-seeking behaviours that prevent disconfirmatory evidence being
successfully processed. Use of virtual reality could facilitate new
To test the hypothesis that enabling patients to test the threat
predictions of persecutory delusions in virtual reality social
environments with the dropping of safety-seeking behaviours (virtual
reality cognitive therapy) would lead to greater delusion reduction than
exposure alone (virtual reality exposure).
Conviction in delusions and distress in a real-world situation were
assessed in 30 patients with persecutory delusions. Patients were then
randomised to virtual reality cognitive therapy or virtual reality
exposure, both with 30 min in graded virtual reality social environments.
Delusion conviction and real-world distress were then reassessed.
In comparison with exposure, virtual reality cognitive therapy led to
large reductions in delusional conviction (reduction 22.0%,
P = 0.024, Cohen's d = 1.3) and
real-world distress (reduction 19.6%, P = 0.020, Cohen's
d = 0.8).
Cognitive therapy using virtual reality could prove highly effective in
Detailed quantitative data has previously been collected from plant megafossil assemblages from a Middle Jurassic (Aalenian) plant bed from Hasty Bank, North Yorkshire, UK. We conducted a similar analysis of palynological dispersed sporomorph (spore and pollen) assemblages collected from the same section using the same sampling regime: 67 sporomorph taxa were recorded from 50 samples taken at 10 cm intervals through the plant bed. Basic palynofacies analysis was also undertaken on each sample. Both dispersed sporomorph and plant megafossil assemblages display consistent changes in composition, diversity (richness), and abundance through time. However, the dispersed sporomorph and plant megafossil records provide conflicting evidence for the nature of parent vegetation. Specifically, conifers and ferns are underrepresented in plant megafossil assemblages, bryophytes and lycopsids are represented only in sporomorph assemblages, and sphenophytes, pteridosperms, Caytoniales, Cycadales, Ginkgoales and Bennettitales are comparatively underrepresented in sporomorph assemblages. Combined multivariate analysis (correspondence analysis and nonmetric multidimensional scaling) of sporomorph occurrence/abundance data demonstrates that temporal variation in sporomorph assemblages is the result of depositional change through the plant bed. The reproductive strategies of parent plants are considered to be a principal factor in shaping many of the major abundance and diversity irregularities between dispersed sporomorph and plant megafossil data sets that seemingly reflects different parent vegetation. Preferential occurrence/preservation of sporomorphs and equivalent parent plants is a consequence of a complex array of biological, ecological, geographical, taphonomic, and depositional factors that act inconsistently between and within fossil assemblages, which results in notable discrepancies between data sets.
Methylation of the fragile X mental retardation 1 (FMR1) exon 1/intron 1 boundary positioned fragile X related epigenetic element 2 (FREE2), reveals skewed X-chromosome inactivation (XCI) in fragile X syndrome full mutation (FM: CGG > 200) females. XCI skewing has been also linked to abnormal X-linked gene expression with the broader clinical impact for sex chromosome aneuploidies (SCAs). In this study, 10 FREE2 CpG sites were targeted using methylation specific quantitative melt analysis (MS-QMA), including 3 sites that could not be analysed with previously used EpiTYPER system. The method was applied for detection of skewed XCI in FM females and in different types of SCA. We tested venous blood and saliva DNA collected from 107 controls (CGG < 40), and 148 FM and 90 SCA individuals. MS-QMA identified: (i) most SCAs if combined with a Y chromosome test; (ii) locus-specific XCI skewing towards the hypomethylated state in FM females; and (iii) skewed XCI towards the hypermethylated state in SCA with 3 or more X chromosomes, and in 5% of the 47,XXY individuals. MS-QMA output also showed significant correlation with the EpiTYPER reference method in FM males and females (P < 0.0001) and SCAs (P < 0.05). In conclusion, we demonstrate use of MS-QMA to quantify skewed XCI in two applications with diagnostic utility.
Being physically assaulted is known to increase the risk of the occurrence of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) symptoms but it may also skew judgements about the intentions of other people. The objectives of the study were to assess paranoia and PTSD after an assault and to test whether theory-derived cognitive factors predicted the persistence of these problems.
At 4 weeks after hospital attendance due to an assault, 106 people were assessed on multiple symptom measures (including virtual reality) and cognitive factors from models of paranoia and PTSD. The symptom measures were repeated 3 and 6 months later.
Factor analysis indicated that paranoia and PTSD were distinct experiences, though positively correlated. At 4 weeks, 33% of participants met diagnostic criteria for PTSD, falling to 16% at follow-up. Of the group at the first assessment, 80% reported that since the assault they were excessively fearful of other people, which over time fell to 66%. Almost all the cognitive factors (including information-processing style during the trauma, mental defeat, qualities of unwanted memories, self-blame, negative thoughts about self, worry, safety behaviours, anomalous internal experiences and cognitive inflexibility) predicted later paranoia and PTSD, but there was little evidence of differential prediction.
Paranoia after an assault may be common and distinguishable from PTSD but predicted by a strikingly similar range of factors.
Impaired flexibility in the use of substrates for energy production in the heart is implicated in cardiomyopathy. We investigated the effect of maternal protein restriction during pregnancy in rats on the transcription of key genes in cardiac lipid and carbohydrate metabolism in the offspring. Rats were fed protein-sufficient or protein-restricted (PR) diets during pregnancy. Triacylglycerol concentration in adult (day 105) heart was altered by maternal protein intake contingent on post-weaning fat intake and sex. mRNA expression of peroxisomal proliferator-activated receptor (PPAR)-α and carnitine palmitoyltransferase-1 was increased by the maternal PR diet in adult, but not neonatal, offspring. PPARα promoter methylation was lower in adult and neonatal heart from PR offspring. These findings suggest that prenatal nutrition alters the future transcriptional regulation of cardiac energy metabolism in the offspring through changes in epigenetic regulation of specific genes. However, changes in gene functional changes may not be apparent in early life.
Feeding pregnant rats a protein-restricted (PR) diet induces altered expression of candidate genes in the liver of the adult offspring, which can be prevented by supplementation of the PR diet with folic acid (PRF). We investigated the effect of maternal nutrition during pregnancy on the liver transcriptome in their adult male offspring. Pregnant rats were fed control, PR or PRF diets. Male offspring were killed on day 84. The liver transcriptome was analysed by microarray (six livers per maternal dietary group) followed by post hoc analysis of relative mRNA levels and gene ontology. These results were confirmed for selected genes by real-time RT-PCR. There were 311 genes that differed significantly ( ≥ 1·5-fold change; P < 0·05) between PR offspring (222 increased) and control offspring, while 191 genes differed significantly between PRF offspring (forty-five increased) compared with offspring of control dams. There were sixteen genes that were significantly altered in both PR and PRF offspring compared with controls. Ion transport, developmental process, and response to reactive oxygen species (RROS) and steroid hormone response (SHR) ontologies were altered in PR offspring. Folic acid supplementation prevented changes within RROS and SHR response pathways, but not in ion transport or developmental process. There was no effect of maternal PR on mRNA expression of imprinted genes. Insulin 1 and Pleckstrin homology-like domain family A member 2 were increased significantly in PRF compared with PR offspring. The present findings show that the pattern of induced changes in the adult liver transcriptome were dependent on maternal protein and folic acid intakes during pregnancy.
Fundamental advances in solid-state ionics for energy conversion and storage are crucial in addressing the global challenge of cleaner energy sources. This review aims to demonstrate the valuable role that modern computational techniques now play in providing deeper fundamental insight into materials for solid oxide fuel cells and rechargeable lithium batteries. The scope of contemporary work is illustrated by studies on topical materials encompassing perovskite-type proton conductors, gallium oxides with tetrahedral moieties, apatite-type silicates, and lithium iron phosphates. Key fundamental properties are examined, including mechanisms of ion migration, dopant-defect association, and surface structures and crystal morphologies.
While temporal variable measurements have assisted in objectively defining and distinguishing between four-beat stepping gaits performed by gaited horses, kinematic research describing joint motion of the gaited horse is limited. The objective of this study was to measure the temporal variables and the forelimb kinematics of the flat walk and fox trot of the Missouri Fox Trotter (MFT) to provide a more comprehensive description of these gaits and to assist in distinguishing between them. Reflective markers placed along the lateral aspect of the right forelimb and the zygomatic process of the temporal bone were tracked at 60 Hz as eight MFTs were ridden at a flat walk and fox trot for ten strides. Student's paired t-tests were performed to compare means of analysed parameters between gaits on finding that the fox trot was a faster stepping gait (fox trot velocity: 3.17 ± 0.03 m s− 1, flat walk velocity: 1.75 ± 0.06 m s− 1) with a shorter stride duration (fox trot: 0.63 ± 0.03 s, flat walk: 1.17 ± 0.06 s) and greater stride frequency (fox trot: 1.59 ± 0.09 strides s− 1, flat walk: 0.09 ± 0.04 strides s− 1) than the flat walk (P < 0.05). Both gaits were performed with similar stride length (fox trot: 2.0 ± 0.03 m, flat walk: 1.95 ± 0.05 m), but the fox trot had an irregular rhythm with diagonal couplets (diagonal advanced placement: 0.10 ± 0.01 s, lateral advanced placement: 0.23 ± 0.02 s). Vertical head excursions, protraction/retraction angles and joint angle-time curves for the shoulder, elbow, carpus and forelimb fetlock were similar between gaits. Shoulder peak flexion of the fox trot occurred later in the stride (fox trot: 38 ± 5%, flat walk: 20 ± 3%; P < 0.05), but the timing of the other peak flexion and extension joint angles were similar between gaits. The fox trotting carpus flexed more (fox trot: 136 ± 3°, flat walk: 147 ± 4°) than the carpus of the flat walk (P < 0.05), but the other peak flexion and extension joint angles were comparable between gaits. Measured temporal and kinematic variables assisted in defining the fox trot and flat walk and differences between variables can be applied in distinguishing between the two gaits.
In recent years a close association between anxiety and persecutory ideation has been established, contrary to the traditional division of neurosis and psychosis. Nonetheless, the two experiences are distinct. The aim of this study was to identify factors that distinguish the occurrence of social anxiety and paranoid thoughts in an experimental situation.
Two hundred non-clinical individuals broadly representative of the UK general population were assessed on a range of psychological factors, experienced a neutral virtual reality social environment, and then completed state measures of paranoia and social anxiety. Clustered bivariate logistic regressions were carried out, testing interactions between potential predictors and the type of reaction in virtual reality.
The strongest finding was that the presence of perceptual anomalies increased the risk of paranoid reactions but decreased the risk of social anxiety. Anxiety, depression, worry and interpersonal sensitivity all had similar associations with paranoia and social anxiety.
The study shows that social anxiety and persecutory ideation share many of the same predictive factors. Non-clinical paranoia may be a type of anxious fear. However, perceptual anomalies are a distinct predictor of paranoia. In the context of an individual feeling anxious, the occurrence of odd internal feelings in social situations may lead to delusional ideas through a sense of ‘things not seeming right’. The study illustrates the approach of focusing on experiences such as paranoid thinking rather than diagnoses such as schizophrenia.