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Q fever (caused by Coxiella burnetii) is thought to have an almost world-wide distribution, but few countries have conducted national serosurveys. We measured Q fever seroprevalence using residual sera from diagnostic laboratories across Australia. Individuals aged 1–79 years in 2012–2013 were sampled to be proportional to the population distribution by region, distance from metropolitan areas and gender. A 1/50 serum dilution was tested for the Phase II IgG antibody against C. burnetii by indirect immunofluorescence. We calculated crude seroprevalence estimates by age group and gender, as well as age standardised national and metropolitan/non-metropolitan seroprevalence estimates. Of 2785 sera, 99 tested positive. Age standardised seroprevalence was 5.6% (95% confidence interval (CI 4.5%–6.8%), and similar in metropolitan (5.5%; 95% CI 4.1%–6.9%) and non-metropolitan regions (6.0%; 95%CI 4.0%–8.0%). More males were seropositive (6.9%; 95% CI 5.2%–8.6%) than females (4.2%; 95% CI 2.9%–5.5%) with peak seroprevalence at 50–59 years (9.2%; 95% CI 5.2%–13.3%). Q fever seroprevalence for Australia was higher than expected (especially in metropolitan regions) and higher than estimates from the Netherlands (2.4%; pre-outbreak) and US (3.1%), but lower than for Northern Ireland (12.8%). Robust country-specific seroprevalence estimates, with detailed exposure data, are required to better understand who is at risk and the need for preventive measures.
During the summer of 2016, the Hawaii Department of Health responded to the second-largest domestic foodborne hepatitis A virus (HAV) outbreak in the post-vaccine era. The epidemiological investigation included case finding and investigation, sequencing of RNA positive clinical specimens, product trace-back and virologic testing and sequencing of HAV RNA from the product. Additionally, an online survey open to all Hawaii residents was conducted to estimate baseline commercial food consumption. We identified 292 confirmed HAV cases, of whom 11 (4%) were possible secondary cases. Seventy-four (25%) were hospitalised and there were two deaths. Among all cases, 94% reported eating at Oahu or Kauai Island branches of Restaurant Chain A, with 86% of those cases reporting raw scallop consumption. In contrast, a food consumption survey conducted during the outbreak indicated 25% of Oahu residents patronised Restaurant Chain A in the 7 weeks before the survey. Product trace-back revealed a single distributor that supplied scallops imported from the Philippines to Restaurant Chain A. Recovery, amplification and sequence comparison of HAV recovered from scallops revealed viral sequences matching those from case-patients. Removal of product from implicated restaurants and vaccination of those potentially exposed led to the cessation of the outbreak. This outbreak further highlights the need for improved imported food safety.
Mechanical forces during machine milking induce changes in teat condition which can be differentiated into short-term and long-term changes. Machine milking-induced short-term changes in teat condition (STC) are defined as tissue responses to a single milking and have been associated with the risk of new intramammary infection. Albeit, their association with teat characteristics, such as teat-end shape, has not been investigated by rigorous methods. The primary objective was to determine the association of STC, as measured by ultrasonography, with teat-end shape. The second objective was to describe possible differences in the recovery time of teat tissue after machine milking among teats with different teat-end shapes. Holstein cows (n=128) were enrolled in an observational study, housed in free-stall pens with sand bedding and milked three times a day. Ultrasonography of the left front and right hind teat was performed after teat preparation before milking (t−1), immediately after milking (t0) and 1, 3, 5 and 7 h after milking (t1, t3, t5, t7). The teat tissue parameters measured from ultrasound scans were teat canal length, teat-end diameter, teat-end diameter at the midpoint between the distal and proximal end of the teat canal, teat wall thickness, and teat cistern width. Teat-end shape was assessed visually and classified into three categories: pointed, flat and round. Multivariable linear regression analyses showed differences in the relative change of teat tissue parameters (compared with t−1) at t0 among teats with different teat-end shapes, with most parameters showing the largest change for round teats. The premilking values were reached (recovery time) after 7 h in teats with a pointed teat-end shape, whereas recovery time was greater than 7 h in teats with flat and round teat-end shapes. Under the same liner and milking machine conditions, teats with a round teat-end shape had the most severe short-term changes. The results of this observational study indicated that teat-end shape may be one of the factors that contribute to the severity of STC.
Cognitive deficits are a core feature of schizophrenia, and impairments in most domains are thought to be stable over the course of the illness. However, cross-sectional evidence indicates that some areas of cognition, such as visuospatial associative memory, may be preserved in the early stages of psychosis, but become impaired in later established illness stages. This longitudinal study investigated change in visuospatial and verbal associative memory following psychosis onset.
In total 95 first-episode psychosis (FEP) patients and 63 healthy controls (HC) were assessed on neuropsychological tests at baseline, with 38 FEP and 22 HCs returning for follow-up assessment at 5–11 years. Visuospatial associative memory was assessed using the Cambridge Neuropsychological Test Automated Battery Visuospatial Paired-Associate Learning task, and verbal associative memory was assessed using Verbal Paired Associates subtest of the Wechsler Memory Scale - Revised.
Visuospatial and verbal associative memory at baseline did not differ significantly between FEP patients and HCs. However, over follow-up, visuospatial associative memory deteriorated significantly for the FEP group, relative to healthy individuals. Conversely, verbal associative memory improved to a similar degree observed in HCs. In the FEP cohort, visuospatial (but not verbal) associative memory ability at baseline was associated with functional outcome at follow-up.
Areas of cognition that develop prior to psychosis onset, such as visuospatial and verbal associative memory, may be preserved early in the illness. Later deterioration in visuospatial memory ability may relate to progressive structural and functional brain abnormalities that occurs following psychosis onset.
A legionellosis outbreak at an industrial site was investigated to identify and control the source. Cases were identified from disease notifications, workplace illness records, and from clinicians. Cases were interviewed for symptoms and risk factors and tested for legionellosis. Implicated environmental sources were sampled and tested for legionella. We identified six cases with Legionnaires’ disease and seven with Pontiac fever; all had been exposed to aerosols from the cooling towers on the site. Nine cases had evidence of infection with either Legionella pneumophila serogroup (sg) 1 or Legionella longbeachae sg1; these organisms were also isolated from the cooling towers. There was 100% DNA sequence homology between cooling tower and clinical isolates of L. pneumophila sg1 using sequence-based typing analysis; no clinical L. longbeachae isolates were available to compare with environmental isolates. Routine monitoring of the towers prior to the outbreak failed to detect any legionella. Data from this outbreak indicate that L. pneumophila sg1 transmission occurred from the cooling towers; in addition, L. longbeachae transmission was suggested but remains unproven. L. longbeachae detection in cooling towers has not been previously reported in association with legionellosis outbreaks. Waterborne transmission should not be discounted in investigations for the source of L. longbeachae infection.
Objectives: Episodic memory deficits are both common and impactful among persons infected with HIV; however, we know little about how to improve such deficits in the laboratory or in real life. Retrieval practice, by which retrieval of newly learned material improves subsequent recall more than simple restudy, is a robust memory boosting strategy that is effective in both healthy and clinical populations. In this study, we investigated the benefits of retrieval practice in 52 people living with HIV and 21 seronegatives. Methods: In a within-subjects design, all participants studied 48 verbal paired associates in 3 learning conditions: Massed-Restudy, Spaced-Restudy, and Spaced-Testing. Retention of verbal paired associates was assessed after short- (30 min) and long- (30 days) delay intervals. Results: After a short delay, both HIV+ persons and seronegatives benefited from retrieval practice more so than massed and spaced restudy. The same pattern of results was observed specifically for HIV+ persons with clinical levels of memory impairment. The long-term retention interval data evidenced a floor effect that precluded further analysis. Conclusions: This study provides evidence that retrieval practice improves verbal episodic memory more than some other mnemonic strategies among HIV+ persons. (JINS, 2017, 23, 214–222)
As a pilot study to investigate whether personalized medicine approaches could have value for the reduction of malaria-related mortality in young children, we evaluated questionnaire and biomarker data collected from the Mother Offspring Malaria Study Project birth cohort (Muheza, Tanzania, 2002–2006) at the time of delivery as potential prognostic markers for pediatric severe malarial anemia. Severe malarial anemia, defined here as a Plasmodium falciparum infection accompanied by hemoglobin levels below 50 g/L, is a key manifestation of life-threatening malaria in high transmission regions. For this study sample, a prediction model incorporating cord blood levels of interleukin-1β provided the strongest discrimination of severe malarial anemia risk with a C-index of 0.77 (95% CI 0.70–0.84), whereas a pragmatic model based on sex, gravidity, transmission season at delivery, and bed net possession yielded a more modest C-index of 0.63 (95% CI 0.54–0.71). Although additional studies, ideally incorporating larger sample sizes and higher event per predictor ratios, are needed to externally validate these prediction models, the findings provide proof of concept that risk score-based screening programs could be developed to avert severe malaria cases in early childhood.
Cannabis use shows a robust dose-dependent relationship with psychosis risk among the general population. Despite this, it has been difficult to link cannabis use with risk for transitioning to a psychotic disorder among individuals at ultra-high risk (UHR) for psychosis. The present study examined UHR transition risk as a function of cannabis use characteristics which vary substantially between individuals including age of first use, cannabis abuse severity and a history of cannabis-induced attenuated psychotic symptoms (APS).
Participants were 190 UHR individuals (76 males) recruited at entry to treatment between 2000 and 2006. They completed a comprehensive baseline assessment including a survey of cannabis use characteristics during the period of heaviest use. Outcome was transition to a psychotic disorder, with mean time to follow-up of 5.0 years (range 2.4–8.7 years).
A history of cannabis abuse was reported in 58% of the sample. Of these, 26% reported a history of cannabis-induced APS. These individuals were 4.90 (95% confidence interval 1.93–12.44) times more likely to transition to a psychotic disorder (p = 0.001). Greater severity of cannabis abuse also predicted transition to psychosis (p = 0.036). However, this effect was mediated by higher abuse severity among individuals with a history of cannabis-induced APS.
Findings suggest that cannabis use poses risk in a subpopulation of UHR individuals who manifest cannabis-induced APS. Whether this reflects underlying genetic vulnerability requires further study. Nevertheless, findings reveal an important early marker of risk with potentially significant prognostic utility for UHR individuals.
We appreciate the authors of the target article (Britt, Shen, Sinclair, Grossman, & Klieger, 2016) shining a spotlight on the important work being done in the study of resilience and providing a historical overview of how resilience has been conceptualized and assessed in the past. To add to this review, we would briefly like to comment on current developments in the field of resilience and related fields that may have broader implications for both the study of resilience and for many other topics in the industrial–organizational literature as well.
In recent years there have been numerous investigations of the helium shell-burning evolution of low-mass stars, and it was in such studies that Schwarzschild and Härm and Weigert independently discovered the thermal instability phenomenon. In the case of stars with hydrogen-rich envelopes, its reality has been amply confirmed. On the other hand, studies have also been made of the shell-burning in pure helium stars (many for comparison with the nuclei of planetary nebulae), and here the situation is far less clear. Some investigators have found the instability, while others have not. Paczyński has drawn attention to the fact that in all cases where thermal pulses have been reported for pure helium stars, the helium shell-source was treated as an abundance discontinuity, while in all cases where a detailed abundance profile was used, there was no evidence of pulses. He suggests therefore that the shells in pure helium stars are stable. We wish to report a calculation for a 0.8 ɱ⊙ pure helium star, with a detailed shell abundance profile, in which a single thermal pulse was encountered at the end of the shell-burning evolution.
We have discovered a radiation levitation mechanism which, under certain circumstances, can remove the last vestiges of hydrogen-rich material from an incipient planetary nebula nucleus if its mass exceeds a critical value of about 0.85M⊙. This process may be responsible for the production of helium-rich planetary nuclei, and their progeny the DB white dwarfs.
The mechanism by which planetary nebula (PN) shells are ejected is still subject to considerable uncertainty. It is generally assumed that the precursors of these objects are low mass (M< 5 M⊙) asymptotic giant branch (AGB) stars, and that the nucleus of a planetary nebula (NPN) is undergoing a final gravitational contraction to the white dwarf state. The shell consists of some or all of the remaining unburnt (though not necessarily uncontaminated), hydrogen-rich material out of which the star was originally formed.
Evolutionary calculations have been made for a star of initial mass 17.5 M⊙ in order to emulate the evolution of the precursor of SN1987A. The results give good agreement (i) with the observed properties of Sanduleak -69°202 (star 1) when the model reaches the supernova epoch, and (ii) with the observed distribution of red and blue supergiants in the LMC. Mass loss throughout the life of the star at rates reasonably consistent with observed values is required to produce these results. At the time of explosion, the supernova has a mass of only ∼ 5.4 M⊙ and it is surrounded by about 8 M⊙ of wind material in a shell of ∼0.4 pc radius.
A rationalized lithostratigraphy for the Great Scar Limestone Group of the southeast Askrigg Block is established. The basal Chapel House Limestone Formation, assessed from boreholes, comprises shallow-marine to supratidal carbonates that thin rapidly northwards across the Craven Fault System, onlapping a palaeotopographical high of Lower Palaeozoic strata. The formation is of late Arundian age in the Silverdale Borehole, its northernmost development. The overlying Kilnsey Formation represents a southward-thickening and upward-shoaling carbonate development on a S-facing carbonate ramp. Foraminiferal/algal assemblages suggest a late Holkerian and early Asbian age, respectively, for the uppermost parts of the lower Scaleber Force Limestone and upper Scaleber Quarry Limestone members, significantly younger than previously interpreted. The succeeding Malham Formation comprises the lower Cove Limestone and upper Gordale Limestone members. Foraminiferal/algal assemblages indicate a late Asbian age for the formation, contrasting with the Holkerian age previously attributed to the Cove Limestone. The members reflect a change from a partially shallow-water lagoon (Cove Limestone) to more open-marine shelf (Gordale Limestone), coincident with the onset of marked sea-level fluctuations and formation of palaeokarstic surfaces with palaeosoils in the latter. Facies variations along the southern flank of the Askrigg Block, including an absence of fenestral lime-mudstone in the upper part of the Cove Limestone and presence of dark grey cherty grainstone/packstone in the upper part the Gordale Limestone are related to enhanced subsidence during late Asbian movement on the Craven Fault System. This accounts for the marked thickening of both members towards the Greenhow Inlier.
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.
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.
Individuals identified as at ultra-high risk (UHR) for psychosis are at risk of poor functional outcome regardless of development of psychotic disorder. Studies examining longitudinal predictors of poor functioning have tended to be small and report only medium-term follow-up data. We sought to examine clinical predictors of functional outcome in a long-term longitudinal study.
Participants were 268 (152 females, 116 males) individuals identified as UHR 2–14 years previously. A range of clinical and sociodemographic variables were assessed at baseline. Functioning at follow-up was assessed using the Social and Occupational Functioning Assessment Scale (SOFAS).
Baseline negative symptoms, impaired emotional functioning, disorders of thought content, low functioning, past substance use disorder and history of childhood maltreatment predicted poor functioning at follow-up in univariate analyses. Only childhood maltreatment remained significant in the multivariate analysis (p < 0.001). Transition to psychosis was also significantly associated with poor functioning at long-term follow-up [mean SOFAS score 59.12 (s.d. = 18.54) in the transitioned group compared to 70.89 (s.d. = 14.00) in the non-transitioned group, p < 0.001]. Childhood maltreatment was a significant predictor of poor functioning in both the transitioned and non-transitioned groups.
Childhood maltreatment and transition to psychotic disorder independently predicted poor long-term functioning. This suggests that it is important to assess history of childhood maltreatment in clinical management of UHR individuals. The finding that transition to psychosis predicts poor long-term functioning strengthens the evidence that the UHR criteria detect a subgroup at risk for schizophrenia.