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In several species, adult metabolic phenotype is influenced by the intrauterine environment, often in a sex-linked manner. In horses, there is also a window of susceptibility to programming immediately after birth but whether adult glucose–insulin dynamics are altered by neonatal conditions remains unknown. Thus, this study investigated the effects of birth weight, sex and neonatal glucocorticoid overexposure on glucose–insulin dynamics of young adult horses. For the first 5 days after birth, term foals were treated with saline as a control or ACTH to raise cortisol levels to those of stressed neonates. At 1 and 2 years of age, insulin secretion and sensitivity were measured by exogenous glucose administration and hyperinsulinaemic–euglycaemic clamp, respectively. Glucose-stimulated insulin secretion was less in males than females at both ages, although there were no sex-linked differences in glucose tolerance. Insulin sensitivity was greater in females than males at 1 year but not 2 years of age. Birth weight was inversely related to the area under the glucose curve and positively correlated to insulin sensitivity at 2 years but not 1 year of age. In contrast, neonatal glucocorticoid overexposure induced by adrenocorticotropic hormone (ACTH) treatment had no effect on whole body glucose tolerance, insulin secretion or insulin sensitivity at either age, although this treatment altered insulin receptor abundance in specific skeletal muscles of the 2-year-old horses. These findings show that glucose–insulin dynamics in young adult horses are sexually dimorphic and determined by a combination of genetic and environmental factors acting during early life.
Top-down biomedical interventions to control schistosomiasis in sub-Saharan Africa have had limited success, primarily because they fail to engage with the social, political, economic and ecological contexts in which they are delivered. Despite the call to foster community engagement and to adapt interventions to local circumstances, programmes have rarely embraced such an approach. This article outlines a community co-designed process, based upon Human-Centered Design, to demonstrate how this approach works in practice. It is based on initial work undertaken by social science researchers, public health practitioners and community members from the Zanzibar Islands, Tanzania, between November 2011 and December 2013. During the process, 32 community members participated in a qualitative and quantitative data-driven workshop where they interpreted data on local infections from S. haematobium and co-designed interventions with the assistance of a facilitator trained in the social sciences. These interventions included the implementation of novel school-based education and training, the identification of relevant safe play activities and events at local schools, the installation of community-designed urinals for boys and girls and the installation of community-designed laundry-washing platforms to reduce exposure to cercariae-contaminated fresh water. It is suggested that the a community co-designed process, drawing from Human-Centered Design principles and techniques, enables the development of more sustainable and effective interventions for the control of schistosomiasis.
The ALFA mission is designed to map the entire sky at frequencies between approximately 0.3 and 30 MHz with angular resolution limited by interstellar and interplanetary scattering. Most of this region of the spectrum is inaccessible from the ground because of absorption and refraction by the Earth’s ionosphere. A wide range of astrophysical questions concerning solar system, galactic, and extragalactic objects could be answered with high resolution images at low frequencies, where absorption effects and coherent emission processes become important and the synchrotron lifetimes of electrons are comparable to the age of the universe.
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.
BOUT++ is a 3D nonlinear finite-difference plasma simulation code, capable of solving quite general systems of Partial Differential Equations (PDEs), but targeted particularly on studies of the edge region of tokamak plasmas. BOUT++ is publicly available, and has been adopted by a growing number of researchers worldwide. Here we present improvements which have been made to the code since its original release, both in terms of structure and its capabilities. Some recent applications of these methods are reviewed, and areas of active development are discussed. We also present algorithms and tools which have been developed to enable creation of inputs from analytic expressions and experimental data, and for processing and visualisation of output results. This includes a new tool Hypnotoad for the creation of meshes from experimental equilibria. Algorithms have been implemented in BOUT++ to solve a range of linear algebraic problems encountered in the simulation of reduced Magnetohydrodynamics (MHD) and gyro-fluid models: A preconditioning scheme is presented which enables the plasma potential to be calculated efficiently using iterative methods supplied by the PETSc library (the Portable, Extensible Toolkit for Scientific Computation) (Balay et al. 2014), without invoking the Boussinesq approximation. Scaling studies are also performed of a linear solver used as part of physics-based preconditioning to accelerate the convergence of implicit time-integration schemes.
The amygdala and subgenual anterior cingulate cortex (sACC) are key brain regions for the generation of negative affect. In this longitudinal fMRI study of adolescents we investigated how amygdala–sACC connectivity was correlated with negative affectivity (NA) both cross-sectionally and longitudinally, and examined its relationship to the onset of first-episode depression.
Fifty-six adolescents who were part of a larger longitudinal study of adolescent development were included. They had no history of mental illness at the time of their baseline scan (mean age 16.5 years) and had a follow-up scan 2 years later (mean age 18.8 years). We used resting-state functional-connectivity MRI to investigate whether cross-sectional and change measures of amygdala–sACC connectivity were (i) correlated with NA and its change over time, and (ii) related to the onset of first-episode depression.
The magnitude of amygdala connectivity with sACC showed significant positive correlation with NA at both time-points. Further analysis confirmed that change in amygdala–sACC connectivity between assessments was correlated with change in NA. Eight participants developed a first episode of depression between the baseline and follow-up assessments: they showed increased amygdala–sACC connectivity at follow-up.
Amygdala–sACC connectivity is associated with NA in adolescence, with change in connectivity between these regions showing positive correlation with change in NA. Our observation that the onset of depression was associated with an increase in connectivity between the regions provides support for the neurobiological ‘scar’ hypothesis of depression.
A new surveillance system for outbreaks of norovirus in English hospitals, the hospital norovirus outbreak reporting system (HNORS), was launched in January 2009. On site investigators were enabled to enter data on outbreaks of norovirus directly onto a tailored system via an internet-based front end. A standard dataset was designed to collect information describing the key epidemiological characteristics of each outbreak. In the period 1992–2008, 1817 suspected and confirmed outbreaks of norovirus in English hospitals were reported to national surveillance. After introduction of the new system there were 3980 reports of outbreaks of suspected and confirmed norovirus received in the years 2009–2011. Data from the new reporting system demonstrates that transmission of norovirus levies a heavy burden on English hospitals. On average, reported outbreaks are associated with 13 000 patients and 3400 staff becoming ill, 8900 days of ward closure and the loss of over 15 500 bed-days annually.
In Ontario, Canada, the number of Salmonella Enteritidis (SE) cases increased over the years 2005–2010. A population-based case-control study was undertaken from January to August 2011 for the purpose of identifying risk factors for acquiring illness due to SE within Ontario. A total of 199 cases and 241 controls were enrolled. After adjustment for confounders, consuming any poultry meat [adjusted odds ratio (aOR) 2·24, 95% confidence interval (CI) 1·31–3·83], processed chicken (aOR 3·32, 95% CI 1·26–8·76) and not washing hands following handling of raw eggs (OR 2·82, 95% CI 1·48–5·37) were significantly associated with SE infection. The population attributable fraction was 46% for any poultry meat consumption and 10% for processed chicken. Poultry meat continues to be identified as a risk factor for SE illness. Control of SE at source, as well as proper food handling practices, are required to reduce the number of SE cases.
The protein-rich non-conventional detoxified karanja cake (dKC) can be used in place of conventional protein supplements like soybean meal (SBM), groundnut meal, etc. in livestock feed. The present study was conducted to assess the effect of two levels of dKC by replacing SBM on testicular architecture, semen quality and expressions of mRNAs encoding luteinizing hormone receptor (LHR) and insulin-like growth factor (IGF-I) in testes of ram lambs. Eighteen ram lambs were randomly divided into three groups (n = 6) and fed different levels (%) of karanja cake (0% replacement – control; 50% replacement – dKC-50 and 75% replacement – dKC-75) for 140 days. After 120 days of feeding, the semen from the animals was collected and analysed. The testes samples were collected on day 140 of feeding for transcripts expression studies. The dKC-50 group had no change in BW, whereas dKC-75 group showed decreased (P < 0.05) BW as compared with control. The number of animals ejaculated semen in dKC-75 group was lower (P < 0.05) than the control group. A reduction (P < 0.05) in LHR expression in dKC-75 was observed, whereas a reduction in IGF-I expression (P < 0.05) was observed in dKC-50 and dKC-75 as compared with control group. The study reveals that in ram lambs, long-term feeding of dKC at 50% replacement of SBM may not affect BW. However, long-term feeding of dKC as a replacement of SBM may affect testicular function.
Grey matter volume and cortical thickness represent two complementary aspects of brain structure. Several studies have described reductions in grey matter volume in people at ultra-high risk (UHR) of psychosis; however, little is known about cortical thickness in this group. The aim of the present study was to investigate cortical thickness alterations in UHR subjects and compare individuals who subsequently did and did not develop psychosis.
We examined magnetic resonance imaging data collected at four different scanning sites. The UHR subjects were followed up for at least 2 years. Subsequent to scanning, 50 UHR subjects developed psychosis and 117 did not. Cortical thickness was examined in regions previously identified as sites of neuroanatomical alterations in UHR subjects, using voxel-based cortical thickness.
At baseline UHR subjects, compared with controls, showed reduced cortical thickness in the right parahippocampal gyrus (p < 0.05, familywise error corrected). There were no significant differences in cortical thickness between the UHR subjects who later developed psychosis and those who did not.
These data suggest that UHR symptomatology is characterized by alterations in the thickness of the medial temporal cortex. We did not find evidence that the later progression to psychosis was linked to additional alterations in cortical thickness, although we cannot exclude the possibility that the study lacked sufficient power to detect such differences.
Mg@ZnO thin films were prepared by DC/RF magnetron co-sputtering in (N2+O2) ambient conditions using metallic Mg and Zn targets. We present a comprehensive study of the effects of film thickness, variation of O2 content in the working gas and annealing temperature on the structural, optical and magnetic properties. The band gap energy of the films is found to increase from 4.1 to 4.24 eV with the increase of O2 partial pressures from 5 to 20 % in the working gas. The films are found to be ferromagnetic at room temperature and the saturation magnetization increases initially with the film’s thickness reaching a maximum value of 14.6 emu/cm3 and then decreases to finally become diamagnetic beyond 95 nm thickness. Intrinsic strain seems to play an important role in the observed structural and magnetic properties of the Mg@ZnO films. On annealing, the as-obtained ‘mostly amorphous’ films in the temperature range 600 to 800°C become more crystalline and consequently the saturation magnetization values reduce.
Thin films of ZnO co-doped with lithium and phosphorus were deposited on sapphire substrates by RF magnetron sputtering. The films were sequentially deposited from ultra pure ZnO and Li3PO4 solid targets. Post deposition annealing was carried using a rapid thermal processor in O2 and N2 at temperatures ranging from 500 °C to 1000 °C for 3 min. Analyses performed using low temperature photoluminescence spectroscopy measurements reveal luminescence peaks at 3.359, 3.306, 3.245 eV for the co-doped samples. The x-ray diffraction 2θ-scans for all the films showed a single peak at about 34.4° with full width at half maximum of about 0.17°. Hall Effect measurements revealed conductivities that change from p-type to n-type over time.
ZnO has a huge potential and is already a crucial material in a range of key technologies from photovoltaics to opto and printed electronics. ZnO is being characterized by versatile metrologies to reveal electrical, optical, structural and other parameters with the aim of process optimization for best device performance. The aim of the present work is to reveal the capabilities of vacuum ultra-violet (VUV) reflectometry for the characterization of ZnO films of nominally 50 nm, doped by Ga and In. Optical metrologies have already shown to be able to sensitively measure the gap energy, the exciton strength, the density, the surface nanoroughness and a range of technologically important structural and material parameters. It has also been shown that these optical properties closely correlate with the most important electrical properties like the carrier density and hence the specific resistance of the film. We show that VUV reflectometry is a highly sensitive optical method that is capable of the characterization of crucial film properties. Our results have been cross-checked by reference methods such as ellipsometry and X-ray fluorescence.
We have deposited porous ZnO films on aluminum-doped ZnO (ZnO/AZO) and fluorine-doped tin oxide (ZnO/FTO) transparent substrates, and annealed both in air at 500°C. X-ray diffraction measurements of the nanoporous ZnO films after heat treatment showed that, ZnO/AZO film exhibited a dominant (002) diffraction while the ZnO/FTO showed mixed diffraction peaks with the (100) and (101) being dominant. Dye-sensitized solar cells (DSC) based on the sensitization of the porous ZnO films on AZO and FTO substrates with an indoline dye were constructed. The photoaction spectrum, which is a measure of the degree of sunlight harvesting, was broad and higher in the ZnO/AZO DSC than that of the ZnO/FTO DSC. Conversion efficiency of 7.3 % was obtained for the ZnO/AZO DSC while 4.5 % was recorded for the ZnO/FTO. The superior photovoltaic performance of the ZnO/AZO DSC is attributed to better ZnO film orientation after thermal treatment and the higher sunlight harvesting.
Herpes virus infections can cause cognitive impairment during and after acute encephalitis. Although chronic, latent/persistent infection is considered to be relatively benign, some studies have documented cognitive impairment in exposed persons that is untraceable to encephalitis. These studies were conducted among schizophrenia (SZ) patients or older community dwellers, among whom it is difficult to control for the effects of co-morbid illness and medications. To determine whether the associations can be generalized to other groups, we examined a large sample of younger control individuals, SZ patients and their non-psychotic relatives (n=1852).
Using multivariate models, cognitive performance was evaluated in relation to exposures to herpes simplex virus type 1 (HSV-1), herpes simplex virus type 2 (HSV-2) and cytomegalovirus (CMV), controlling for familial and diagnostic status and sociodemographic variables, including occupation and educational status. Composite cognitive measures were derived from nine cognitive domains using principal components of heritability (PCH). Exposure was indexed by antibodies to viral antigens.
PCH1, the most heritable component of cognitive performance, declines with exposure to CMV or HSV-1 regardless of case/relative/control group status (p = 1.09 × 10−5 and 0.01 respectively), with stronger association with exposure to multiple herpes viruses (β = −0.25, p = 7.28 × 10−10). There were no significant interactions between exposure and group status.
Latent/persistent herpes virus infections can be associated with cognitive impairments regardless of other health status.
This Summary for Policymakers presents key findings from the Special Report on Managing the Risks of Extreme Events and Disasters to Advance Climate Change Adaptation (SREX). The SREX approaches the topic by assessing the scientific literature on issues that range from the relationship between climate change and extreme weather and climate events (‘climate extremes’) to the implications of these events for society and sustainable development. The assessment concerns the interaction of climatic, environmental, and human factors that can lead to impacts and disasters, options for managing the risks posed by impacts and disasters, and the important role that non-climatic factors play in determining impacts. Box SPM.1 defines concepts central to the SREX.
The character and severity of impacts from climate extremes depend not only on the extremes themselves but also on exposure and vulnerability. In this report, adverse impacts are considered disasters when they produce widespread damage and cause severe alterations in the normal functioning of communities or societies. Climate extremes, exposure, and vulnerability are influenced by a wide range of factors, including anthropogenic climate change, natural climate variability, and socioeconomic development (Figure SPM.1). Disaster risk management and adaptation to climate change focus on reducing exposure and vulnerability and increasing resilience to the potential adverse impacts of climate extremes, even though risks cannot fully be eliminated (Figure SPM.2). Although mitigation of climate change is not the focus of this report, adaptation and mitigation can complement each other and together can significantly reduce the risks of climate change. [SYR AR4, 5.3]
This chapter addresses changes in weather and climate events relevant to extreme impacts and disasters. An extreme (weather or climate) event is generally defined as the occurrence of a value of a weather or climate variable above (or below) a threshold value near the upper (or lower) ends (‘tails’) of the range of observed values of the variable. Some climate extremes (e.g., droughts, floods) may be the result of an accumulation of weather or climate events that are, individually, not extreme themselves (though their accumulation is extreme). As well, weather or climate events, even if not extreme in a statistical sense, can still lead to extreme conditions or impacts, either by crossing a critical threshold in a social, ecological, or physical system, or by occurring simultaneously with other events. A weather system such as a tropical cyclone can have an extreme impact, depending on where and when it approaches landfall, even if the specific cyclone is not extreme relative to other tropical cyclones. Conversely, not all extremes necessarily lead to serious impacts. [3.1]
Many weather and climate extremes are the result of natural climate variability (including phenomena such as El Niño), and natural decadal or multi-decadal variations in the climate provide the backdrop for anthropogenic climate changes. Even if there were no anthropogenic changes in climate, a wide variety of natural weather and climate extremes would still occur. [3.1]
A changing climate leads to changes in the frequency, intensity, spatial extent, duration, and timing of weather and climate extremes, and can result in unprecedented extremes. Changes in extremes can also be directly related to changes in mean climate, because mean future conditions in some variables are projected to lie within the tails of present-day conditions. Nevertheless, changes in extremes of a climate or weather variable are not always related in a simple way to changes in the mean of the same variable, and in some cases can be of opposite sign to a change in the mean of the variable. Changes in phenomena such as the El Nino-Southern Oscillation or monsoons could affect the frequency and intensity of extremes in several regions simultaneously. [3.1]
Depression has been associated with functional alterations in several areas of the cingulate cortex. In this study we have taken a systematic approach to examining how alterations in functional connectivity vary across the functionally diverse subregions of the rostral cingulate cortex.
Eighteen patients with major depressive disorder, aged 15 to 24 years, were matched with 20 healthy control participants. Using resting-state functional connectivity magnetic resonance imaging (fcMRI), we systematically investigated the functional connectivity of four subregions of the rostral cingulate cortex. Voxelwise statistical maps of each subregion's connectivity with other brain areas were compared between the patient and control groups.
The depressed participants showed altered patterns of connectivity with ventral cingulate subregions. They showed increased connectivity between subgenual anterior cingulate cortex (ACC) and dorsomedial frontal cortex, with connectivity strength showing positive correlation with illness severity. Depressed participants also showed increased connectivity between pregenual ACC and left dorsolateral frontal cortex, and decreased connectivity between pregenual ACC and the caudate nucleus bilaterally.
The results reinforce the importance of subgenual ACC for depression, and show a close link between brain regions that support self-related processes and affective visceromotor function. The pregenual ACC also has an important role, with its increased connectivity with dorsolateral frontal cortex suggesting heightened cognitive regulation of affect; and reduced connectivity with the caudate nucleus potentially underlying symptoms such as anhedonia, reduced motivation and psychomotor dysfunction.