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Early Palaeozoic crinoids are known only patchily from the British Isles except for accumulations at starfish beds. A single, exquisitely preserved crinoid is reported from the Telychian (Llandovery, Silurian) of the Pysgotwr Grits Formation of the Llangurig area, Powys, mid-Wales. This sedimentary succession is turbiditic in origin and poorly fossiliferous. The crinoid is a diplobathrid camerate, Euptychocrinus longipinnulus sp. nov., preserved as an external mould without counterpart. It has a high, shuttlecock-like crown; a conical, unsculptured cup; low infrabasals; a pair of long, slender, feather-like arms on each ray, each bearing numerous long pinnules; and a heteromorphic column. Most previous reports of this genus have been from the Upper Ordovician – lower Silurian series of Laurentia; uncertainly, it is described from the Upper Ordovician deposits of Morocco (Gondwana). Euptychocrinus longipinnulus is the first Avalonian occurrence. The beautiful preservation of the arms, including cover plates of pinnules, contrasts with the proxistele, which is a series of ‘broken sticks’. This crinoid responded to an adverse environmental fluctuation, probably a turbidity current, by autotomizing the stem, but it was carried downslope and buried alive.
The objective was to evaluate the association between changes in daily rumination time (dRT) and early stages of disease during early lactation and to assess the performance of two proposed disease detection indices. This cohort study included 210 multiparous Holstein cows at the University of Florida Dairy Unit. Cows were affixed with a neck collar containing rumination loggers providing rumination time. The occurrence of health disorders (mastitis, metritis, clinical hypocalcemia, depression/dehydration/fever (DDF), digestive conditions, lameness and clinical ketosis) was assessed until 60 days in milk. Two indices were developed to explore the association between dRT and disease: (i) Cow index (CIx), based on changes in dRT in the affected cow during the days before the diagnosis of health disorders; (ii) Mates index (MIx), index based on deviations in dRT relative to previous days and healthy pen mate cohorts. Subsequently, an alert model was proposed for each index (ACIx and AMIx) considering the reference alert cut-off values as the differences between average index values in healthy and sick cows for each specific disease. The sensitivity (SE) of ACIx detecting disease ranged from 42% (digestive conditions and DDF) to 80% (clinical hypocalcemia) with 84% specificity (SP). The SE of AMIx ranged from 46% (digestive conditions and DDF) to 100% (clinical hypocalcemia) with 85% SP. Consistent reductions in rumination activity, both within cow and relative to healthy mate cohorts, were observed for each health disorder at the day of diagnosis. However, the ability of the proposed algorithms for detecting each specific disease was variable.
Several outbreaks of hepatitis A in men who have sex with men (MSM) were reported in the 1980s and 1990s in Australia and other countries. An effective hepatitis A virus (HAV) vaccine has been available in Australia since 1994 and is recommended for high-risk groups including MSM. No outbreaks of hepatitis A in Australian MSM have been reported since 1996. In this study, we aimed to estimate HAV transmissibility in MSM populations in order to inform targets for vaccine coverage in such populations. We used mathematical models of HAV transmission in a MSM population to estimate the basic reproduction number (R0) and the probability of an HAV epidemic occurring as a function of the immune proportion. We estimated a plausible range for R0 of 1·71–3·67 for HAV in MSM and that sustained epidemics cannot occur once the proportion immune to HAV is greater than ~70%. To our knowledge this is the first estimate of R0 and the critical population immunity threshold for HAV transmission in MSM. As HAV is no longer endemic in Australia or in most other developed countries, vaccination is the only means of maintaining population immunity >70%. Our findings provide impetus to promote HAV vaccination in high-risk groups such as MSM.
Obesity and its related non-communicable diseases (NCDs), such as type 2 diabetes, heart disease and cancer, impose huge burdens on society, particularly the healthcare system. Until recently, public health and policy were primarily focused on secondary prevention and treatment of NCDs. However, epidemiological and experimental evidence indicates that early-life exposures influence the risk of childhood obesity and related diseases later in life, and has now focused attention on the health of both mother and child. During pregnancy and the early neonatal period, individuals respond to their environment by establishing anatomical, physiological and biochemical trajectories that shape their future health. This period of developmental plasticity provides an early window of opportunity to mitigate the environmental insults that may increase an individual’s sensitivity to, or risk of, developing obesity or related diseases later in life. Although much investigation has already occurred in the area of Developmental Origins of Health and Disease research, the science itself is still in its infancy. It remains for researchers to tackle the important outstanding questions and translate their knowledge into workable solutions for the public good. The challenge, however, is to decide which areas to focus on. With these opportunities and challenges in mind, the 2014 Gravida Summit convened to examine how its early-life research program can determine which areas of research into mechanisms, biomarkers and interventions could contribute to the international research strategy to fight childhood obesity and its related diseases.
CdTe is well known as an excellent photovoltaic material for high efficiency solar cell applications because it has a direct band-gap, low fabrication cost and high optical absorption coefficient. However, the nonradiative recombination and low average minority carrier lifetime caused by the defects in CdTe solar cells limit its efficiency. So far, grain boundaries (GB) have been considered to be the major origin of the nonradiative recombination. However, we show that CdTe grains contain many dislocations that could limit device efficiency. Scanning transmission electron microscopy (STEM) was used to determine the atomic structure of intrinsic and extrinsic stacking faults and their terminating partial dislocation cores. Z-contrast images are sensitive to atomic number and are able to distinguish Cd and Te atomic columns. Unpaired Cd and Te atomic columns were found to form the partial dislocation cores, suggesting the presence of dangling bonds. These defects are likely to be electrically active, and may be the origin of the low minority carrier lifetime.
The interactions between native and exotic species occur on a continuum from facilitative to competitive. A growing thrust in invasive species science is differentiating where particular native species occur along this continuum, with practical implications for identifying species that might reduce the invasibility of ecosystems. We used a greenhouse experiment to develop a competitive hierarchy of 27 native species with red brome, an invasive annual grass in the arid lands of the southwestern United States, and a field study to assess in situ responses of brome to native perennial species in the Mojave Desert. Native species most competitive with brome in the competition experiment included the annuals Esteve's pincushion and western fiddleneck and the perennials eastern Mojave buckwheat, sweetbush, and brittlebush, which reduced brome biomass to 49 to 70% of its grown-alone amount. There was no clear difference in competitive abilities with brome between annual and perennial natives, and competiveness was not strongly correlated (r = 0.15) with the biomass of the native species. In the field, sweetbush and brittlebush supported among the least cover of brome, suggesting congruence of the strong early competitive abilities of these species with in situ patterns of brome distribution. At the other extreme, brome attained its highest average cover (19%) below littleleaf ratany, significantly greater than all but 3 of the 16 species evaluated. Cover by brome was only weakly related (r = 0.19) to the area of the perennial canopy, suggesting that factors other than the sizes of perennial plants were linked to differences in brome cover among species. Results suggest that (1) interactions with brome differ substantially among native species, (2) these interactions are not as closely linked to biomass production as in more temperate regions, and (3) there is potential for identifying native species that can reduce invasion of desert ecosystems.
We report the discovery in the Greenland ice sheet of a discrete layer of free nanodiamonds (NDs) in very high abundances, implying most likely either an unprecedented influx of extraterrestrial (ET) material or a cosmic impact event that occurred after the last glacial episode. From that layer, we extracted n-diamonds and hexagonal diamonds (lonsdaleite), an accepted ET impact indicator, at abundances of up to about 5×106 times background levels in adjacent younger and older ice. The NDs in the concentrated layer are rounded, suggesting they most likely formed during a cosmic impact through some process similar to carbon-vapor deposition or high-explosive detonation. This morphology has not been reported previously in cosmic material, but has been observed in terrestrial impact material. This is the first highly enriched, discrete layer of NDs observed in glacial ice anywhere, and its presence indicates that ice caps are important archives of ET events of varying magnitudes. Using a preliminary ice chronology based on oxygen isotopes and dust stratigraphy, the ND-rich layer appears to be coeval with ND abundance peaks reported at numerous North American sites in a sedimentary layer, the Younger Dryas boundary layer (YDB), dating to 12.9 ± 0.1 ka. However, more investigation is needed to confirm this association.
In spite of the virtually ubiquitous nature of the initial 10-day placebo run-in period (IPR) in drug trials, there is little empirical data establishing its relevance.
Data from 593 subjects were examined retrospectively to determine whether or not the prognosis of subjects minimally improved during the IPR was different to those who were unimproved. The IPR period was single-blind and was followed by a six-week double-blind phase in all studies.
Twenty-six per cent of the subjects were minimally improved and 74% were unimproved. Approximately 10% of the subjects who were much improved were not followed systematically. Across a range of diagnosis, severity and chronicity subjects minimally improved (versus unimproved) after IPR had a more favourable prognosis whether assigned to drug or placebo.
Change during IPR appears to be a meaningful predictor. Stratification should be considered in future antidepressant studies.
Auger electron spectroscopy was used to examine the nitridation behavior of GaAs, sapphire and lithium aluminate (LAO) substrates exposed to an RF nitrogen plasma. No evidence of nitridation was found for the sapphire and LAO substrates. GaAs substrates did show evidence of nitridation which led to smooth InN surface morphology without the need for a low temperature buffer. Comparable InN films were obtained on sapphire and LAO substrates when a low temperature AlN buffer was used. Hall measurements indicate background carrier concentrations are relatively insensitive to substrate type, though mobilities decreased as surface morphology was improved.