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Doppler ultrasound imaging can be used to identify and assess blood vessels by producing a colour-coded map of Doppler shifts superimposed on a B-mode ultrasound image. The effect, first described by the Austrian scientist Christian Doppler in the middle of the nineteenth century, has been used to provide information regarding blood flow in ultrasound’s daily practice in the last five to six decades. Blood flow in arteries and veins can be recorded from the surface of the skin, allowing flow analysis in systole and diastole, in both normal and diseased blood vessels. Over time, Doppler techniques became an important technique in diagnostic ultrasound for haemodynamic assessment, replacing some invasive procedures in many clinical situations.
Dietary fibers (DF) are considered as beneficial nutrients for health. Current data suggest that their interaction with the gut microbiota largely contributes to their physiological effects. The FiberTAG project(1) innovates in searching for new biomarkers reflecting the health effect of dietary fibers, including chitin-glucan (CG, extracted from the fungal exoskeleton Aspergillus niger). CG improves metabolic disorders associated with obesity in mice, but its effect on gut microbiota composition and function has never been evaluated in vivo in humans.
Materials and Methods
CG (KitoZyme, Belgium) was given to healthy volunteers (n = 15), during three weeks (4.5g/day). Volatile Organic Compound (VOC) metabolites released in breath were analyzed using SYFT methodology. Fatty acid (FA) profiling was assessed in stool samples, by gas-liquid chromatography(2). The gut microbiome was analyzed by Illumina sequencing (V5-V6 region of 16S rRNA).
Three weeks of CG supplementation was well tolerated and lead to changes in the kinetics of breath VOC, especially the short-chain fatty acid, alcohols and alkanes. Fecal vaccenic acid, produced upon the bacterial metabolism of fatty acids, was significantly increased by CG. Several bacterial genera were correlated with breath VOC (i.e. 2 methylbutyric acid and RuminococcaceaeUCG005). Moreover, Roseburia, often presented as a butyrate producer, was positively correlated with the production of a rumenic acid isomer “cis-9,cis-11-18:2”.
We show that breath VOC analysis, a non-invasive methodology, reveals characteristics of microbiota-CG interactions. We also show that CG selectively changes the profile of FA metabolites, in favor of vaccenic acid, another bioactive metabolite produced by Roseburia, prone to act on host physiology. This study will help to establish a set of new biomarkers linking insoluble DF and gut microbiota, with focus on their interest in human health.
Background: A number of small intervention studies suggested that a Mediterranean diet (MedD) and physical activity can lower the risk for breast cancer. LIBRE is the first large multicenter RCT to test the effect of these lifestyle factors on the incidence of breast cancer in women at risk because of BRCA mutations(1). LIBRE also offers to unravel underlying mechanisms such as the role of short-chain fatty acids (SCFA) for beneficial effects of such lifestyle interventions.
Methods: We examined the effect of the lifestyle intervention on the production of SCFA measured in feces by gas chromatography. From the ongoing LIBRE trial we included all complete datasets (171 women; mean age 44 ± 11 years). Both women with and without previous breast cancer diagnosis were recruited (diseased; non-diseased). The participants were randomized into an intervention group (IG) trained for MedD and physical activity, and a usual care control group (CG). Adherence to the MedD was assessed at baseline and after 3 months (V1) using the validated Mediterranean Diet Adherence Screener (MEDAS) and the EPIC food frequency questionnaire (FFQ).
Results: At baseline there was no difference in SCFA levels between the groups. In the IG the MEDAS score increased substantially by 2.5 points (p < 0.001), in the CG only mildly by 0.4 points (p < 0.05). Correspondingly, the intake of fibers increased solely in the IG. In the course of the study the amount of caproic acid decreased in the control group (p < 0.001). At V1 non-diseased women showed higher amounts of acetic acid (p = 0.042), n-butyric acid (p = 0.023), n-valeric acid (p = 0.018) and iso-valeric acid (p = 0.031). There were several correlations between the intake of different fibers and fecal SCFA. For example, the sum of poly- and oligosaccharides correlated with acetic acid (p = 0.001; r = 0.316), propionic acid (p = 0.034; r = 0,251), n-butyric acid (p = 0.010; r = 0.316) and iso-valeric acid (p = 0.012; r = 0.306). There was no correlation between the MEDAS and SCFA.
Discussion: A lifestyle change towards a MedD and increased physical activity did not change the levels of SCFA in feces, although an increase of fiber intake was documented in the IG. To further analyze SCFA metabolism in this target population, gut microbiota composition and function (metabolites) are currently analyzed.
Contrary to public perception, child sex offending (CSO) and paedophilia are not the same. Only half of all cases of CSO are motivated by paedophilic preference, and a paedophilic preference does not necessarily lead to CSO. However, studies that investigated clinical factors accompanying and contributing to paedophilia so far mainly relied on paedophiles with a history of CSO. The aim of this study was to distinguish between factors associated with sexual preference (paedophile versus non-paedophile) and offender status (with versus without CSO). Accordingly, a 2 (sexual preference) × 2 (offender status) factorial design was used for a comprehensive clinical assessment of paedophiles with and without a history of CSO (n = 83, n = 79 respectively), child sex offenders without paedophilia (n = 32) and healthy controls (n = 148). Results indicated that psychiatric comorbidities, sexual dysfunctions and adverse childhood experiences were more common among paedophiles and child sex offenders than controls. Offenders and non-offenders differed in age, intelligence, educational level and experience of childhood sexual abuse, whereas paedophiles and non-paedophiles mainly differed in sexual characteristics (e.g., additional paraphilias, onset and current level of sexual activity). Regression analyses were more powerful in segregating offender status than sexual preference (mean classification accuracy: 76% versus 68%). In differentiating between offence- and preference-related factors this study improves clinical understanding of both phenomena and may be used to develop scientifically grounded CSO prevention and treatment programmes. It also highlights that some deviations are not traceable to just one of these two factors, thus raising the issue of the mechanism underlying both phenomena.
Retreat of calving glaciers worldwide has contributed substantially to sea-level rise in recent decades. Mass loss by calving contributes significantly to the uncertainty of sea-level rise projections. At Bowdoin Glacier, Northwest Greenland, most calving occurs by a few large events resulting from kilometre-scale fractures forming parallel to the calving front. High-resolution terrestrial radar interferometry data of such an event reveal that crevasse opening is fastest at low tide and accelerates during the final 36 h before calving. Using the ice flow model Elmer/Ice, we identify the crevasse water level as a key driver of modelled opening rates. Sea water-level variations in the range of local tidal amplitude (1 m) can reproduce observed opening rate fluctuations, provided crevasse water level is at least 4 m above the low-tide sea level. The accelerated opening rates within the final 36 h before calving can be modelled by additional meltwater input into the crevasse, enhanced ice cliff undercutting by submarine melt, ice damage increase due to tidal cyclic fatigue, crevasse deepening or a combination of these processes. Our results highlight the influence of surface meltwater and tides on crevasse opening leading to major calving events at grounded tidewater glaciers such as Bowdoin.
The objectives of this paper are to: (1) identify contextual factors such as policy that impacted the implementation of community-based primary health care (CBPHC) innovations among 12 Canadian research teams and (2) describe strategies used by the teams to address contextual factors influencing implementation of CBPHC innovations. In primary care settings, consideration of contextual factors when implementing change has been recognized as critically important to success. However, contextual factors are rarely recorded, analyzed or considered when implementing change. The lack of consideration of contextual factors has negative implications not only for successfully implementing primary health care (PHC) innovations, but also for their sustainability and scalability. For this evaluation, data collection was conducted using self-administered questionnaires and follow-up telephone interviews with team representatives. We used a combination of directed and conventional content analysis approaches to analyze the questionnaire and interview data. Representatives from all 12 teams completed the questionnaire and 11 teams participated in the interviews; 40 individuals participated in this evaluation. Four themes representing contextual factors that impacted the implementation of CBPHC innovations were identified: (I) diversity of jurisdictions (II) complexity of interactions and collaborations (III) policy, and (IV) the multifaceted nature of PHC. The teams used six strategies to address these contextual factors including: (1) conduct an environmental scan at the beginning (2) maintaining engagement among partners and stakeholders by encouraging open and inclusive communication; (3) contextualizing the innovation for different settings; (4) anticipating and addressing changes, delays, and the need for additional resources; (5) fostering a culture of research and innovation among partners and stakeholders; and (6) ensuring information about the innovation is widely available. Implementing CBPHC innovations across jurisdictions is complex and involves navigating through multiple contextual factors. Awareness of the dynamic nature of context should be considered when implementing innovations.
With the emergence of modern techniques of environmental analysis and widespread availability of accessible tools and quantitative data, the question of environmental determinism is once again on the agenda. This paper is theoretical in character, attempting, for the benefit of drawing up research designs, to understand and evaluate the character of environmental determinism. We reach three main conclusions: (1) in a typical pattern of research design, studies seek to detect simultaneous shifts in the environmental and archaeological records, variously positing the former to have influenced, triggered or caused the latter; (2) the question of determinism involves uncertainty about the justification for the above research design in particular in what comes to biologism and the concept of environmental thresholds on the one hand and the externality of the drivers of transformation in human groups and societies on the other; (3) adapting the concepts of the social production of vulnerability and the social basis of hazards from anthropology may help to clarify the available research design choices at hand.
The ‘Portus Project’ investigates the social and economic contexts of the maritime port of Imperial Rome. This article presents the results of analysis of plant, animal and human remains from the site, and evaluates their significance for the reconstruction of the diets and geographic origins of its inhabitants between the second and sixth centuries AD. Integrating this evidence with other material from the recent excavations, including ceramic data, the authors identify clear diachronic shifts in imported foods and diet that relate to the commercial and political changes following the breakdown of Roman control of the Mediterranean.
Low loss, ferroelectric, fully-printed varactors for high-power matching applications are presented. Piezoelectric-induced acoustic resonances reduce the power handling capabilities of these varactors by lowering the Q-factor at the operational frequency of 13.56 MHz. Here, a quality factor of maximum 142 is achieved with an interference-based acoustic suppression approach utilizing double metal–insulator–metal structures. The varactors show a tunability of maximum 34% at 300 W of input power. At a power level of 1 kW, the acoustic suppression technique greatly reduces the dissipated power by 62% from 37 W of a previous design to 14.2 W. At this power level, the varactors remain tunable with maximum 18.2% and 200 V of biasing voltage.
Childhood maltreatment (CM) plays an important role in the development of major depressive disorder (MDD). The aim of this study was to examine whether CM severity and type are associated with MDD-related brain alterations, and how they interact with sex and age.
Within the ENIGMA-MDD network, severity and subtypes of CM using the Childhood Trauma Questionnaire were assessed and structural magnetic resonance imaging data from patients with MDD and healthy controls were analyzed in a mega-analysis comprising a total of 3872 participants aged between 13 and 89 years. Cortical thickness and surface area were extracted at each site using FreeSurfer.
CM severity was associated with reduced cortical thickness in the banks of the superior temporal sulcus and supramarginal gyrus as well as with reduced surface area of the middle temporal lobe. Participants reporting both childhood neglect and abuse had a lower cortical thickness in the inferior parietal lobe, middle temporal lobe, and precuneus compared to participants not exposed to CM. In males only, regardless of diagnosis, CM severity was associated with higher cortical thickness of the rostral anterior cingulate cortex. Finally, a significant interaction between CM and age in predicting thickness was seen across several prefrontal, temporal, and temporo-parietal regions.
Severity and type of CM may impact cortical thickness and surface area. Importantly, CM may influence age-dependent brain maturation, particularly in regions related to the default mode network, perception, and theory of mind.
Background: Intensive care unit-acquired weakness (ICU-AW) is associated with poorer outcome of critically ill patients. Microcirculatory changes and altered vascular permeability of skeletal muscles might contribute to the pathogenesis of ICU-AW. Muscular ultrasound (MUS) displays increased muscle echogenicity, although its pathogenesis is uncertain. Objective: We investigated the combined measurement of serum and ultrasound markers to assess ICU-AW and clinical patient outcome. Methods: Fifteen patients and five healthy controls were longitudinally assessed for signs of ICU-AW at study days 3 and 10 using a muscle strength sum score. The definition of ICU-AW was based on decreased muscle strength assessed by the muscular research council-sum score. Ultrasound echogenicity of extremity muscles was assessed using a standardized protocol. Serum markers of inflammation and endothelial damage were measured. The 3-month outcome was assessed on the modified Rankin scale. Results: ICU-AW was present in eight patients, and seven patients and the control subjects did not develop ICU-AW. The global muscle echogenicity score (GME) differed significantly between controls and patients (mean GME, 1.1 ± 0.06 vs. 2.3 ± 0.41; p = 0.001). Mean GME values significantly decreased in patients without ICU-AW from assessment 1 (2.30 ± 0.48) to assessment 2 (2.06 ± 0.45; p = 0.027), which was not observed in patients with ICU-AW. Serum levels of syndecan-1 at day 3 significantly correlated with higher GME values at day 10 (r = 0.63, p = 0.012). Furthermore, the patients’ GME significantly correlated with mRS at day 100 (r = 0.67, p = 0.013). Conclusion: The combined use of muscular ultrasound and inflammatory biomarkers might be helpful to diagnose ICU-AW and to predict long-term outcome in critical illness.
Resting state functional magnetic resonance imaging studies have identified functional connectivity patterns associated with acute undernutrition in anorexia nervosa (AN), but few have investigated recovered patients. Thus, a trait connectivity profile characteristic of the disorder remains elusive. Using state-of-the-art graph–theoretic methods in acute AN, the authors previously found abnormal global brain network architecture, possibly driven by local network alterations. To disentangle trait from starvation effects, the present study examines network organization in recovered patients.
Graph–theoretic metrics were used to assess resting-state network properties in a large sample of female patients recovered from AN (recAN, n = 55) compared with pairwise age-matched healthy controls (HC, n = 55).
Indicative of an altered global network structure, recAN showed increased assortativity and reduced global clustering as well as small-worldness compared with HC, while no group differences at an intermediate or local network level were evident. However, using support-vector classifier on local metrics, recAN and HC could be separated with an accuracy of 70.4%.
This pattern of results suggests that long-term recovered patients have an aberrant global brain network configuration, similar to acutely underweight patients. While the finding of increased assortativity may represent a trait marker of AN, the remaining findings could be seen as a scar following prolonged undernutrition.
To describe the process by which the 12 community-based primary health care (CBPHC) research teams worked together and fostered cross-jurisdictional collaboration, including collection of common indicators with the goal of using the same measures and data sources.
A pan-Canadian mechanism for common measurement of the impact of primary care innovations across Canada is lacking. The Canadian Institutes for Health Research and its partners funded 12 teams to conduct research and collaborate on development of a set of commonly collected indicators.
A working group representing the 12 teams was established. They undertook an iterative process to consider existing primary care indicators identified from the literature and by stakeholders. Indicators were agreed upon with the intention of addressing three objectives across the 12 teams: (1) describing the impact of improving access to CBPHC; (2) examining the impact of alternative models of chronic disease prevention and management in CBPHC; and (3) describing the structures and context that influence the implementation, delivery, cost, and potential for scale-up of CBPHC innovations.
Nineteen common indicators within the core dimensions of primary care were identified: access, comprehensiveness, coordination, effectiveness, and equity. We also agreed to collect data on health care costs and utilization within each team. Data sources include surveys, health administrative data, interviews, focus groups, and case studies. Collaboration across these teams sets the foundation for a unique opportunity for new knowledge generation, over and above any knowledge developed by any one team. Keys to success are each team’s willingness to engage and commitment to working across teams, funding to support this collaboration, and distributed leadership across the working group. Reaching consensus on collection of common indicators is challenging but achievable.
There is evidence for the cost-effectiveness of health visitor (HV) training to assess postnatal depression (PND) and deliver psychological approaches to women at risk of depression. Whether this approach is cost-effective for lower-risk women is unknown. There is a need to know the cost of HV-delivered universal provision, and how much it might cost to improve health-related quality of life for postnatal women. A sub-study of a cluster-randomised controlled trial in the former Trent region (England) previously investigated the effectiveness of PoNDER HV training in mothers at lower risk of PND. We conducted a parallel cost-effectiveness analysis at 6-months postnatal for all mothers with lower-risk status attributed to an Edinburgh Postnatal Depression Scale (EPDS) score <12 at 6-weeks postnatal.
Intervention HVs were trained in assessment and cognitive behavioural or person-centred psychological support techniques to prevent depression. Outcomes examined: quality-adjusted life-year (QALY) gains over the period between 6 weeks and 6 months derived from SF-6D (from SF-36); risk-of-depression at 6 months (dichotomising 6-month EPDS scores into lower risk (<12) and at-risk (⩾12).
In lower-risk women, 1474 intervention (63 clusters) and 767 control participants (37 clusters) had valid 6-week and 6-month EPDS scores. Costs and outcomes data were available for 1459 participants. 6-month adjusted costs were £82 lower in intervention than control groups, with 0.002 additional QALY gained. The probability of cost-effectiveness at £20 000 was very high (99%).
PoNDER HV training was highly cost-effective in preventing symptoms of PND in a population of lower-risk women and cost-reducing over 6 months.
A sample of AGB/RGB stars with an excess of Li abundances is considered in order to estimate their mass loss rates. Our method is based on a correlation between the Li abundances and the stellar luminosity, using a modified version of the Reimers formula. We have adopted a calibration based on an empirical correlation between the mass loss rate and stellar parameters. We conclude that most Li-rich stars have lower mass loss rates compared with the majority of AGB/RGB stars, which show no evidences of Li enhancements, so that the Li enrichment process is probably not associated with an increased mass loss rate.
In this work, we propose an azimuthally-invariant periodic leaky-wave (LW) radiator for the generation of Bessel beams and X-waves by means of backward cylindrical LWs at millimeter wavelengths. A rigorous framework is first outlined to understand the theoretical constraints of such a novel design. A specific attention is devoted to the impact of the attenuation constant on the focusing properties of the generated Bessel beams. On this basis, a practical design is then proposed to meet the previous requirements. Numerical results for different frequency spectra confirm the interesting capabilities of the considered structure, paving the way for the first generation of nondiffracting pulses produced by focusing LWs.
This work addresses the piezoelectric induced reduction of quality factor in fully-printed metal-insulator-metal (MIM) barium strontium titanate (BST) thick film varactors designed for high power operation. An acoustically optimized varactor design is presented and compared to a non-optimized high-power varactor. The design is utilized to present a narrowband acoustic suppression technique based on defined weights. The acoustically optimized varactor consists of 162 varactor cells in a capacitive matrix. The cells in the matrix are interconnectable allowing for a variable unbiased capacitance and power rating. Due to this setup, surface acoustic waves are interrupted, and the reduced size of the cells allows for a reduced BST layer thickness, shifting the acoustic resonance away from the operational frequency. Therefore, an inverted behavior in comparison to the high-power varactor is observed with an increasing quality factor with biasing voltage. Compared to the high-power varactor, the acoustically optimized varactor design shows a 40% increased quality factor in biased state. By applying the narrowband acoustic suppression technique, an increase in quality factor of 145% is achieved compared to the unsuppressed design. In comparison to the high-power varactor, the acoustical suppressed design shows an increase in quality factor of 480% at the first acoustic resonance frequency.
Objectives: Pedophilia (P) is a psychiatric disease associated with sexual attraction toward children and often accompanied by child sexual offending (CSO). Consequently, it is important to address the understanding of executive dysfunctions that may increase the probability of CSO. Moreover, this research field has been lacking to disentangle executive deficits associated with pedophilia (as a deviant sexual preference) from those associated with CSO (as a deviant sexual behavior). Methods: The German multi-sided research network NeMUP offers the opportunity to overcome these limitations. By applying the Cambridge Automated Neuropsychological Test Battery in four carefully matched groups of men: (1) pedophiles with (N=45) and (2) without (N=45) a history of sexual offending against children; (3) child molesters without pedophilia (N=19), and (4) non-offending controls (N=49), we were able to analyze executive functioning in pedophilia and CSO independently. Results: Both CSO groups as compared to both non-CSO groups exhibited worsened response inhibition ability. However, only non-pedophilic offenders showed additionally disabled strategy use ability. Regarding set-shifting abilities, the P+CSO group showed the best performance. We also found that performances were affected by age: only in pedophiles, response inhibition worsened with age, while age-related deficits in set-shifting abilities were restricted to non-pedophilic participants. The latter also differentiated between both sexual preference groups. Conclusions: Our results are the first to demonstrate that executive dysfunctions are related to offense status rather than pedophilic preference. Furthermore, there was evidence for differentiating age and performance correlations between pedophiles and non-pedophiles, which warrants further investigation. (JINS, 2017, 23, 460–470)