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First-degree relatives of patients with psychotic disorder have higher levels of polygenic risk (PRS) for schizophrenia and higher levels of intermediate phenotypes.
We conducted, using two different samples for discovery (n = 336 controls and 649 siblings of patients with psychotic disorder) and replication (n = 1208 controls and 1106 siblings), an analysis of association between PRS on the one hand and psychopathological and cognitive intermediate phenotypes of schizophrenia on the other in a sample at average genetic risk (healthy controls) and a sample at higher than average risk (healthy siblings of patients). Two subthreshold psychosis phenotypes, as well as a standardised measure of cognitive ability, based on a short version of the WAIS-III short form, were used. In addition, a measure of jumping to conclusion bias (replication sample only) was tested for association with PRS.
In both discovery and replication sample, evidence for an association between PRS and subthreshold psychosis phenotypes was observed in the relatives of patients, whereas in the controls no association was observed. Jumping to conclusion bias was similarly only associated with PRS in the sibling group. Cognitive ability was weakly negatively and non-significantly associated with PRS in both the sibling and the control group.
The degree of endophenotypic expression of schizophrenia polygenic risk depends on having a sibling with psychotic disorder, suggestive of underlying gene–environment interaction. Cognitive biases may better index genetic risk of disorder than traditional measures of neurocognition, which instead may reflect the population distribution of cognitive ability impacting the prognosis of psychotic disorder.
Magnetic skyrmions are particle-like, topologically protected magnetization entities that are promising candidates for information carriers in racetrack-memory schemes. The transport of skyrmions in a shift-register-like fashion is crucial for their embodiment in practical devices. Recently, we demonstrated experimentally that chiral skyrmions in Cu2OSeO3 can be effectively manipulated by a magnetic field gradient, leading to a collective rotation of the skyrmion lattice with well-defined dynamics in a radial field gradient. Here, we employ a skyrmion particle model to numerically study the effects of resultant shear forces on the structure of the skyrmion lattice. We demonstrate that anisotropic peak broadening in experimentally observed diffraction patterns can be attributed to extended linear regions in the magnetic field profile. We show that topological (5-7) defects emerge to protect the six-fold symmetry of the lattice under the application of local shear forces, further enhancing the stability of proposed magnetic field driven devices.
The phenomenon of buying-shopping disorder (BSD) was described over 100 years ago. Definitions of BSD refer to extreme preoccupation with shopping and buying, to impulses to purchase that are experienced as irresistible, and to recurrent maladaptive buying excesses that lead to distress and impairments. Efforts to stop BSD episodes are unsuccessful, despite the awareness of repeated break-downs in self-regulation, experiences of post-purchase guilt and regret, comorbid psychiatric disorders, reduced quality of life, familial discord, work impairment, financial problems, and other negative consequences. A recent meta-analysis indicated an estimated point prevalence of BSD of 5%. In this narrative review, the authors offer a perspective to consider BSD as a mental health condition and to classify this disorder as a behavioral addiction, based on both research data and on long-standing clinical experience.
This paper reports the results of a 1997–98 survey designed to explore the careers of the University of Michigan Law School's minority graduates from the classes of 1970 through 1996, and of a random sample of Michigan Law School's white alumni who graduated during the same years. It is to date the most detailed quantitative exploration of how minority students fare after they graduate from law school and enter law practice or related careers. The results reveal that almost all of Michigan Law School's minority graduates pass a bar exam and go on to have careers that appear successful by conventional measures. In particular, the survey indicates that minority graduates (defined so as to include graduates with African American, Latino, and Native American backgrounds) are no less successful than white graduates, whether success is measured by the log of current income, self-reported satisfaction, or an index of service contributions. Also, although an admissions index that combines LSAT scores and undergraduate grade-point average is a significant predictor of law school grades, it does not predict career success on any of our three outcome measures. Michigan is a highly selective law school; our results may not generalize to people who have graduated from other law schools.
Before making a few remarks in response to those who commented on our article (Lempert, Chambers, and Adams 2000), we would like to express our gratitude to the editors of Law and Social Inquiry for securing these commentaries and to the people who wrote them. The comments both highlight the potential uses to which our research and similar studies may be put and give us the opportunity to address methodological concerns and questions that other readers of our article may share with those who commented on it.
This year 2018 has great historical and current significance for stellar spectral classification. Two hundred years ago in Reggio Emilia, Italy, was born Angelo Secchi, a pioneer of observing and classifying the spectra of stars. At the beginning of the IAU, almost a hundred years ago, one of its original Commissions was entitled the Spectral Classification of Stars, from which was generated Commission 45, Spectral Classification and Multi-band Colour Indices. And seventy-five years ago, was published the system-changing MKK, An Atlas of Stellar Spectra. Through this necessarily brief, historical view we shall recall how spectral classification, supported internationally by the IAU, continually updated its techniques, while remaining anchored to standards. This has ensured that the MK classification process stays very relevant to the initial characterizing of stars in the 21st century era of large spectral surveys.
Sufficiently strong electric fields in plasmas can accelerate charged particles to relativistic energies. In this paper we describe the dynamics of positrons accelerated in such electric fields, and calculate the fraction of created positrons that become runaway accelerated, along with the amount of radiation that they emit. We derive an analytical formula that shows the relative importance of the different positron production processes, and show that, above a certain threshold electric field, the pair production by photons is lower than that by collisions. We furthermore present analytical and numerical solutions to the positron kinetic equation; these are applied to calculate the fraction of positrons that become accelerated or thermalized, which enters into rate equations that describe the evolution of the density of the slow and fast positron populations. Finally, to indicate operational parameters required for positron detection during runaway in tokamak discharges, we give expressions for the parameter dependencies of detected annihilation radiation compared to bremsstrahlung detected at an angle perpendicular to the direction of runaway acceleration. Using the full leading-order pair-production cross-section, we demonstrate that previous related work has overestimated the collisional pair production by at least a factor of four.
To quantify the survival of Clostridium difficile spores on hospital bed sheets through the United Kingdom National Health System (UK NHS) healthcare laundry process (Health Technical Memorandum (HTM) 01-04) in vitro and on bed sheets from patients with C. difficile through the commercial laundry.
Clostridium difficile spores were inoculated onto cotton sheets and laundered through a simulated washer extractor cycle using an industrial bleach detergent with sodium hypochlorite 15% and peracetic acid sour 14% (acetic acid and hydrogen peroxide; pH, 2–4). Spore survival on hospital sheets naturally contaminated with C. difficile was also assessed using a washer extractor plus drying and finishing cycles at a commercial laundry.
Naturally contaminated C. difficile bed sheets were taken from beds of patients that had previously been diagnosed with C. difficile infection (CDI) and had received care on an isolated C. difficile ward.
The simulated washer extractor cycle, with an industrial detergent, demonstrated survival of 2 strains of C. difficile NCTC 11209 (0–4 colony-forming units [cfu] per 25 cm2) and ribotype 001/072 (0–9 cfu per 25 cm2). Before laundering, naturally contaminated bed sheets had an average spore load of 51 cfu per 25 cm2, and after washing, drying, and finishing, the spore load was 33 cfu per 25 cm2. Before and after washing, the C. difficile strain was identified as ribotype 001/072. Both the simulated and in-situ laundering processes failed the microbiological standards of no pathogenic bacteria remaining.
Clostridium difficile spores are able to survive laundering through a commercial washer extractor and may be contributing to sporadic outbreaks of CDI. Further research to establish exposure of laundry workers, patients, and the hospital environment to C. difficile spores from bed sheets is needed.
The value of the nosological distinction between non-affective and affective psychosis has frequently been challenged. We aimed to investigate the transdiagnostic dimensional structure and associated characteristics of psychopathology at First Episode Psychosis (FEP). Regardless of diagnostic categories, we expected that positive symptoms occurred more frequently in ethnic minority groups and in more densely populated environments, and that negative symptoms were associated with indices of neurodevelopmental impairment.
This study included 2182 FEP individuals recruited across six countries, as part of the EUropean network of national schizophrenia networks studying Gene–Environment Interactions (EU-GEI) study. Symptom ratings were analysed using multidimensional item response modelling in Mplus to estimate five theory-based models of psychosis. We used multiple regression models to examine demographic and context factors associated with symptom dimensions.
A bifactor model, composed of one general factor and five specific dimensions of positive, negative, disorganization, manic and depressive symptoms, best-represented associations among ratings of psychotic symptoms. Positive symptoms were more common in ethnic minority groups. Urbanicity was associated with a higher score on the general factor. Men presented with more negative and less depressive symptoms than women. Early age-at-first-contact with psychiatric services was associated with higher scores on negative, disorganized, and manic symptom dimensions.
Our results suggest that the bifactor model of psychopathology holds across diagnostic categories of non-affective and affective psychosis at FEP, and demographic and context determinants map onto general and specific symptom dimensions. These findings have implications for tailoring symptom-specific treatments and inform research into the mood-psychosis spectrum.
One of the goals of soft robotics is the ability to interface with the human body. Traditionally, silicone materials have dominated the field of soft robotics. In order to shift to materials that are more compatible with the body, developments will have to be made into biodegradable and biocompatible soft robots. This investigation focused on developing gummy actuators which are biodegradable, edible, and tasty. Creating biodegradable and edible actuators can be both sold as an interactive candy product and also inform the design of implantable soft robotic devices. First, commercially available gelatin-based candies were recast into pneumatic actuators utilizing molds. Edible robotic devices were pneumatically actuated repeatedly (up to n=8 actuations) using a 150 psi power inflator. To improve upon the properties of actuators formed from commercially available candy, a novel gelatin-based formulation, termed the “Fordmula” was also developed and used to create functional actuators. To investigate the mechanics and functionality of the recast gummy material and the Fordmula, compression testing and biodegradation studies were performed. Mechanical compression tests showed that recast gummy materials had similar properties to commercially available candies and at low strain had similar behavior to traditional silicone materials. Degradation studies showed that actuation was possible within 15 minutes in a biologically relevant solution followed by complete dissolution of the actuator afterwards. A taste test with elementary aged children demonstrated the fun, edible, and educational appeal of the candy actuators. Edible actuator development was an entry and winning submission in the High School Division of the Soft Robotics Toolkit Design Competition hosted by Harvard University. Demonstration of edible soft robotic actuators created by middle and high school aged students shows the applicability of the Soft Robotics Toolkit for K12 STEM education.
The discipline of weed science is at a critical juncture. Decades of efficient chemical weed control have led to a rise in the number of herbicide-resistant weed populations, with few new herbicides with unique modes of action to counter this trend and often no economical alternatives to herbicides in large-acreage crops. At the same time, the world population is swelling, necessitating increased food production to feed an anticipated 9 billion people by the year 2050. Here, we consider these challenges along with emerging trends in technology and innovation that offer hope of providing sustainable weed management into the future. The emergence of natural product leads in discovery of new herbicides and biopesticides suggests that new modes of action can be discovered, while genetic engineering provides additional options for manipulating herbicide selectivity and creating entirely novel approaches to weed management. Advances in understanding plant pathogen interactions will contribute to developing new biological control agents, and insights into plant–plant interactions suggest that crops can be improved by manipulating their response to competition. Revolutions in computing power and automation have led to a nascent industry built on using machine vision and global positioning system information to distinguish weeds from crops and deliver precision weed control. These technologies open multiple possibilities for efficient weed management, whether through chemical or mechanical mechanisms. Information is also needed by growers to make good decisions, and will be delivered with unprecedented efficiency and specificity, potentially revolutionizing aspects of extension work. We consider that meeting the weed management needs of agriculture by 2050 and beyond is a challenge that requires commitment by funding agencies, researchers, and students to translate new technologies into durable weed management solutions. Integrating old and new weed management technologies into more diverse weed management systems based on a better understanding of weed biology and ecology can provide integrated weed management and resistance management strategies that will be more sustainable than the technologies that are now failing.
This study assessed the virulence of Trypanosoma evansi, the causative agent of camel trypanosomiasis (surra), affecting mainly camels among other hosts in Africa, Asia and South America, with high mortality and morbidity. Using Swiss white mice, we assessed virulence of 17 T. evansi isolates collected from surra endemic countries. We determined parasitaemia, live body weight, packed cell volume (PCV) and survivorship in mice, for a period of 60 days’ post infection. Based on survivorship, the 17 isolates were classified into three virulence categories; low (31–60 days), moderate (11–30 days) and high (0–10 days). Differences in survivorship, PCV and bodyweights between categories were significant and correlated (P < 0.05). Of the 10 Kenyan isolates, four were of low, five moderate and one (Type B) of high virulence. These findings suggest differential virulence between T. evansi isolates. In conclusion, these results show that the virulence of T. evansi may be region specific, the phenotype of the circulating parasite should be considered in the management of surra. There is also need to collect more isolates from other surra endemic regions to confirm this observation.
The anti-inflammatory mechanisms of low-fat dairy product consumption are largely unknown. The objective of this study was to determine whether low-fat yogurt reduces biomarkers of chronic inflammation and endotoxin exposure in women. Premenopausal women (BMI 18·5–27 and 30–40 kg/m2) were randomised to consume 339 g of low-fat yogurt (yogurt non-obese (YN); yogurt obese (YO)) or 324 g of soya pudding (control non-obese; control obese (CO)) daily for 9 weeks (n 30/group). Fasting blood samples were analysed for IL-6, TNF-α/soluble TNF II (sTNF-RII), high-sensitivity C-reactive protein, 2-arachidonoyl glycerol, anandamide, monocyte gene expression, soluble CD14 (sCD14), lipopolysaccharide (LPS), LPS binding protein (LBP), IgM endotoxin-core antibody (IgM EndoCAb), and zonulin. BMI, waist circumference and blood pressure were also determined. After 9-week yogurt consumption, YO and YN had decreased TNF-α/sTNFR-RII. Yogurt consumption increased plasma IgM EndoCAb regardless of obesity status. sCD14 was not affected by diet, but LBP/sCD14 was lowered by yogurt consumption in both YN and YO. Yogurt intervention increased plasma 2-arachidonoylglycerol in YO but not YN. YO peripheral blood mononuclear cells expression of NF-κB inhibitor α and transforming growth factor β1 increased relative to CO at 9 weeks. Other biomarkers were unchanged by diet. CO and YO gained approximately 0·9 kg in body weight. YO had 3·6 % lower diastolic blood pressure at week 3. Low-fat yogurt for 9 weeks reduced biomarkers of chronic inflammation and endotoxin exposure in premenopausal women compared with a non-dairy control food. This trial was registered as NCT01686204.