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The search for life in the Universe is a fundamental problem of astrobiology and modern science. The current progress in the detection of terrestrial-type exoplanets has opened a new avenue in the characterization of exoplanetary atmospheres and in the search for biosignatures of life with the upcoming ground-based and space missions. To specify the conditions favourable for the origin, development and sustainment of life as we know it in other worlds, we need to understand the nature of global (astrospheric), and local (atmospheric and surface) environments of exoplanets in the habitable zones (HZs) around G-K-M dwarf stars including our young Sun. Global environment is formed by propagated disturbances from the planet-hosting stars in the form of stellar flares, coronal mass ejections, energetic particles and winds collectively known as astrospheric space weather. Its characterization will help in understanding how an exoplanetary ecosystem interacts with its host star, as well as in the specification of the physical, chemical and biochemical conditions that can create favourable and/or detrimental conditions for planetary climate and habitability along with evolution of planetary internal dynamics over geological timescales. A key linkage of (astro)physical, chemical and geological processes can only be understood in the framework of interdisciplinary studies with the incorporation of progress in heliophysics, astrophysics, planetary and Earth sciences. The assessment of the impacts of host stars on the climate and habitability of terrestrial (exo)planets will significantly expand the current definition of the HZ to the biogenic zone and provide new observational strategies for searching for signatures of life. The major goal of this paper is to describe and discuss the current status and recent progress in this interdisciplinary field in light of presentations and discussions during the NASA Nexus for Exoplanetary System Science funded workshop ‘Exoplanetary Space Weather, Climate and Habitability’ and to provide a new roadmap for the future development of the emerging field of exoplanetary science and astrobiology.
A national need is to prepare for and respond to accidental or intentional disasters categorized as chemical, biological, radiological, nuclear, or explosive (CBRNE). These incidents require specific subject-matter expertise, yet have commonalities. We identify 7 core elements comprising CBRNE science that require integration for effective preparedness planning and public health and medical response and recovery. These core elements are (1) basic and clinical sciences, (2) modeling and systems management, (3) planning, (4) response and incident management, (5) recovery and resilience, (6) lessons learned, and (7) continuous improvement. A key feature is the ability of relevant subject matter experts to integrate information into response operations. We propose the CBRNE medical operations science support expert as a professional who (1) understands that CBRNE incidents require an integrated systems approach, (2) understands the key functions and contributions of CBRNE science practitioners, (3) helps direct strategic and tactical CBRNE planning and responses through first-hand experience, and (4) provides advice to senior decision-makers managing response activities. Recognition of both CBRNE science as a distinct competency and the establishment of the CBRNE medical operations science support expert informs the public of the enormous progress made, broadcasts opportunities for new talent, and enhances the sophistication and analytic expertise of senior managers planning for and responding to CBRNE incidents.
Environmental factors such as sunshine hours, temperature and UV radiation (UVR) are known to influence seasonal fluctuations in vitamin D concentrations. However, currently there is poor understanding regarding the environmental factors or individual characteristics that best predict neonatal 25-hydroxyvitamin D (25(OH)D) concentrations. The aims of this study were to (1) identify environmental and individual determinants of 25(OH)D concentrations in newborns and (2) investigate whether environmental factors and individual characteristics could be used as proxy measures for neonatal 25(OH)D concentrations. 25-Hydroxyvitamin D3 (25(OH)D3) was measured from neonatal dried blood spots (DBS) of 1182 individuals born between 1993 and 2002. Monthly aggregated data on daily number of sunshine hours, temperature and UVR, available from 1993, were retrieved from the Danish Meteorological Institute. The individual predictors were obtained from the Danish National Birth register, and Statistics Denmark. The optimal model to predict 25(OH)D3 concentrations from neonatal DBS was the one including the following variables: UVR, temperature, maternal education, maternal smoking during pregnancy, gestational age at birth and parity. This model explained 30 % of the variation of 25(OH)D3 in the neonatal DBS. Ambient UVR in the month before the birth month was the best single-item predictor of neonatal 25(OH)D3, accounting for 24 % of its variance. Although this prediction model cannot substitute for actual blood measurements, it might prove useful in cohort studies ranking individuals in groups according to 25(OH)D3 status.
Studies have suggested that vitamin D status at birth may be associated with a range of neonatal outcomes. The aim of this study was to assess the association between neonatal 25-hydroxyvitamin D3 (25(OH)D3) concentration and gestational age, birth weight, Ponderal Index and size for gestational age. Neonatal capillary blood stored as dried blood spots was used to assess 25(OH)D3 concentrations among 2686 subjects selected from a random population sub-sample of individuals, born in Denmark from 1 May 1981 to 31 December 2002. There was an inverse association between 25(OH)D3 concentration and gestational age at birth of −0·006 (95 % CI −0·009, −0·003, P<0·001) weeks of gestation per 1 nmol/l increase in 25(OH)D3 concentration. An inverted U-shaped association between 25(OH)D3 and birth weight and Ponderal Index (P=0·04) was found, but no association with size for gestational age was shown. This study suggests that neonatal 25(OH)D3 concentration is associated with anthropometric measures at birth known to be correlated with many subsequent health outcomes such as obesity and type 2 diabetes.
An internationally approved and globally used classification scheme for the diagnosis of CHD has long been sought. The International Paediatric and Congenital Cardiac Code (IPCCC), which was produced and has been maintained by the International Society for Nomenclature of Paediatric and Congenital Heart Disease (the International Nomenclature Society), is used widely, but has spawned many “short list” versions that differ in content depending on the user. Thus, efforts to have a uniform identification of patients with CHD using a single up-to-date and coordinated nomenclature system continue to be thwarted, even if a common nomenclature has been used as a basis for composing various “short lists”. In an attempt to solve this problem, the International Nomenclature Society has linked its efforts with those of the World Health Organization to obtain a globally accepted nomenclature tree for CHD within the 11th iteration of the International Classification of Diseases (ICD-11). The International Nomenclature Society has submitted a hierarchical nomenclature tree for CHD to the World Health Organization that is expected to serve increasingly as the “short list” for all communities interested in coding for congenital cardiology. This article reviews the history of the International Classification of Diseases and of the IPCCC, and outlines the process used in developing the ICD-11 congenital cardiac disease diagnostic list and the definitions for each term on the list. An overview of the content of the congenital heart anomaly section of the Foundation Component of ICD-11, published herein in its entirety, is also included. Future plans for the International Nomenclature Society include linking again with the World Health Organization to tackle procedural nomenclature as it relates to cardiac malformations. By doing so, the Society will continue its role in standardising nomenclature for CHD across the globe, thereby promoting research and better outcomes for fetuses, children, and adults with congenital heart anomalies.
We present an indentation-scope that interfaces with confocal microscopy, enabling direct observation of the three-dimensional (3D) microstructural response of coatings on substrates. Using this method, we compared microns-thick polymer coatings on glass with and without silica nanoparticle filler. Bulk force data confirmed the >30% modulus difference, while microstructural data further revealed slip at the glass-coating interface. Filled coatings slipped more and about two times faster, as reflected in 3D displacement and von Mises strain fields. Overall, these data indicate that silica-doping of coatings can dramatically alter adhesion. Moreover, this method compliments existing theoretical and modeling approaches for studying indentation in layered systems.
We have conducted a series of VLBI observations of the gravitational-lens images of the quasar Q0957+561 (Walsh et al., 1979), utilizing the Mark III VLBI data acquisition system (Rogers et al., 1983). The goals of our observations are to (1) map the milliarcsecond structure of the A and B images, (2) detect the predicted third image of the quasar, and (3) determine the time delay between the images. We will use these results to constrain the mass distribution of the lens and, possibly, cosmological constants.
A series of VLBI observations of the gravitational lens system 0957+561 at λ13 cm has yielded the positions of the A and B images, the relative magnification of their largest discernible radio structures, and the time variability of their smallest discernible radio structures. These observations have also allowed upper limits to be placed on the flux density of an expected third image. The positions and relative magnification of the A and B images provide new information with which to constrain models of the lens that forms the images. The detection of variations in the flux densities of the cores of A and B suggests that observations at shorter wavelengths may reveal superluminal motion, which may in turn provide a means to measure the relative time delay.
We have measured the absolute and relative positions of the components of Sco X-1 (Fig. 1) with the VLA from 1980–1986 (Geldzahler, Fomalont, Hilldrup, and Corey, 1981, A.J., 86, 1036; Fomalont, Geldzahler, Hjellming, and Wade, 1983, Ap.J., 275, 802; Geldzahler and Fomalont, 1986, Ap.J., 313, 815). We have used these observations to test the dual-beam model of radio sources proposed by Blandford and Rees (1974).
Schizotypal traits are considered a phenotypic-indicator of schizotypy, a latent personality organization reflecting a putative liability for psychosis. To date, no previous study has examined the comparability of factorial structures across samples originating from different countries and cultures. The main goal was to evaluate the factorial structure and reliability of the Schizotypal Personality Questionnaire (SPQ) scores by amalgamating data from studies conducted in 12 countries and across 21 sites.
The overall sample consisted of 27 001 participants (37.5% males, n = 4251 drawn from the general population). The mean age was 22.12 years (s.d. = 6.28, range 16–55 years). The SPQ was used. Confirmatory factor analysis (CFA) and Multilevel CFA (ML-CFA) were used to evaluate the factor structure underlying the SPQ scores.
At the SPQ item level, the nine factor and second-order factor models showed adequate goodness-of-fit. At the SPQ subscale level, three- and four-factor models displayed better goodness-of-fit indices than other CFA models. ML-CFA showed that the intraclass correlation coefficients values were lower than 0.106. The three-factor model showed adequate goodness of fit indices in multilevel analysis. The ordinal α coefficients were high, ranging from 0.73 to 0.94 across individual samples, and from 0.84 to 0.91 for the combined sample.
The results are consistent with the conceptual notion that schizotypal personality is a multifaceted construct and support the validity and utility of SPQ in cross-cultural research. We discuss theoretical and clinical implications of our results for diagnostic systems, psychosis models and cross-national mental health strategies.
Large magnetometric surveys have contributed to the detection of an increasing number of magnetic massive stars, and to the recognition of a population of magnetic massive stellar objects with distinct properties. Among these, NGC 1624-2 possesses the largest magnetic field of any O-type star; such a field confines the stellar wind into a circumstellar magnetosphere, which can be probed using observations at different wavelength regimes. Recent optical and X-ray observations suggest that NGC 1624-2’s magnetosphere is much larger than that of any other magnetic O star. By modeling the variations of UV resonance lines, we can constrain its velocity structure. Furthermore, recent spectropolarimetric observations raise the possibility of a more complex field topology than previously expected. Putting all of these multi-wavelength constraints together will allow us to paint a consistent picture of NGC 1624-2 and its surprising behavior, giving us valuable insight into the very nature of massive star magnetospheres.
Chemical and structural similarities between poorly preserved charcoal and its contaminants, as well as low radiocarbon concentrations in old samples, complicate 14C age determinations. Here, we characterize 4 fossil charcoal samples from the late Middle Paleolithic and early Upper Paleolithic strata of Kebara Cave, Israel, with respect to the structural and chemical changes that occur when they are subjected to the acid-base-acid (ABA) treatment. Differential thermal analysis and TEM show that acid treatment disrupts the structure, whereas alkali treatment results in the reformation of molecular aggregates. The major changes are ascribed to the formation of salt bridges at high pH and the disruption of the graphite-like crystallites at low pH. Weight losses during the treatments are consistently greater for older samples, implying that they are less well preserved. Based on the changes observed in vitro due to pH fluctuations, various methods for removing contamination, as well as a mechanism for preferential preservation of charcoal in nature, are proposed.
Major depressive disorder (MDD) is a common and disabling condition with well-established heritability and environmental risk factors. Gene–environment interaction studies in MDD have typically investigated candidate genes, though the disorder is known to be highly polygenic. This study aims to test for interaction between polygenic risk and stressful life events (SLEs) or childhood trauma (CT) in the aetiology of MDD.
The RADIANT UK sample consists of 1605 MDD cases and 1064 controls with SLE data, and a subset of 240 cases and 272 controls with CT data. Polygenic risk scores (PRS) were constructed using results from a mega-analysis on MDD by the Psychiatric Genomics Consortium. PRS and environmental factors were tested for association with case/control status and for interaction between them.
PRS significantly predicted depression, explaining 1.1% of variance in phenotype (p = 1.9 × 10−6). SLEs and CT were also associated with MDD status (p = 2.19 × 10−4 and p = 5.12 × 10−20, respectively). No interactions were found between PRS and SLEs. Significant PRSxCT interactions were found (p = 0.002), but showed an inverse association with MDD status, as cases who experienced more severe CT tended to have a lower PRS than other cases or controls. This relationship between PRS and CT was not observed in independent replication samples.
CT is a strong risk factor for MDD but may have greater effect in individuals with lower genetic liability for the disorder. Including environmental risk along with genetics is important in studying the aetiology of MDD and PRS provide a useful approach to investigating gene–environment interactions in complex traits.
To provide a richer understanding of food access and purchasing practices among US urban food desert residents and their association with diet and BMI.
Data on food purchasing practices, dietary intake, height and weight from the primary food shopper in randomly selected households (n 1372) were collected. Audits of all neighbourhood food stores (n 24) and the most-frequented stores outside the neighbourhood (n 16) were conducted. Aspects of food access and purchasing practices and relationships among them were examined and tests of their associations with dietary quality and BMI were conducted.
Two low-income, predominantly African-American neighbourhoods with limited access to healthy food in Pittsburgh, PA, USA.
Household food shoppers.
Only one neighbourhood outlet sold fresh produce; nearly all respondents did major food shopping outside the neighbourhood. Although the nearest full-service supermarket was an average of 2·6 km from their home, respondents shopped an average of 6·0 km from home. The average trip was by car, took approximately 2 h for the round trip, and occurred two to four times per month. Respondents spent approximately $US 37 per person per week on food. Those who made longer trips had access to cars, shopped less often and spent less money per person. Those who travelled further when they shopped had higher BMI, but most residents already shopped where healthy foods were available, and physical distance from full-service supermarkets was unrelated to weight or dietary quality.
Improved access to healthy foods is the target of current policies meant to improve health. However, distance to the closest supermarket might not be as important as previously thought, and thus policy and interventions that focus merely on improving access may not be effective.
The Vista Variables in the Vía Láctea (VVV) ESO Public Survey is an ongoing time-series, near-infrared (IR) survey of the Galactic bulge and an adjacent portion of the inner disk, covering 562 square degrees of the sky, using ESO's VISTA telescope. The survey has provided superb multi-color photometry in 5 broadband filters (Z, Y, J, H, and Ks), leading to the best map of the inner Milky Way ever obtained, particularly in the near-IR. The main part of the survey, which is focused on the variability in the Ks-band, is currently underway, with bulge fields observed between 34 and 73 times, and disk fields between 34 and 36 times. When the survey is complete, bulge (disk) fields will have been observed up to a total of 100 (60) times, providing unprecedented depth and time coverage in the near-IR. Here we provide a first overview of stellar variability in the VVV data.
Although usually thought of as external environmental stressors, a significant heritable component has been reported for measures of stressful life events (SLEs) in twin studies.
We examined the variance in SLEs captured by common genetic variants from a genome-wide association study (GWAS) of 2578 individuals. Genome-wide complex trait analysis (GCTA) was used to estimate the phenotypic variance tagged by single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs). We also performed a GWAS on the number of SLEs, and looked at correlations between siblings.
A significant proportion of variance in SLEs was captured by SNPs (30%, p = 0.04). When events were divided into those considered to be dependent or independent, an equal amount of variance was explained for both. This ‘heritability’ was in part confounded by personality measures of neuroticism and psychoticism. A GWAS for the total number of SLEs revealed one SNP that reached genome-wide significance (p = 4 × 10−8), although this association was not replicated in separate samples. Using available sibling data for 744 individuals, we also found a significant positive correlation of R2 = 0.08 in SLEs (p = 0.03).
These results provide independent validation from molecular data for the heritability of reporting environmental measures, and show that this heritability is in part due to both common variants and the confounding effect of personality.