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Subclinical delusional ideas, including persecutory beliefs, in otherwise healthy individuals are heritable symptoms associated with increased risk for psychotic illness, possibly representing an expression of one end of a continuum of psychosis severity. The identification of variation in brain function associated with these symptoms may provide insights about the neurobiology of delusions in clinical psychosis.
A resting-state functional magnetic resonance imaging scan was collected from 131 young adults with a wide range of severity of subclinical delusional beliefs, including persecutory ideas. Because of evidence for a key role of the amygdala in fear and paranoia, resting-state functional connectivity of the amygdala was measured.
Connectivity between the amygdala and early visual cortical areas, including striate cortex (V1), was found to be significantly greater in participants with high (n = 43) v. low (n = 44) numbers of delusional beliefs, particularly in those who showed persistence of those beliefs. Similarly, across the full sample, the number of and distress associated with delusional beliefs were positively correlated with the strength of amygdala-visual cortex connectivity. Moreover, further analyses revealed that these effects were driven by those who endorsed persecutory beliefs.
These findings are consistent with the hypothesis that aberrant assignments of threat to sensory stimuli may lead to the downstream development of delusional ideas. Taken together with prior findings of disrupted sensory-limbic coupling in psychosis, these results suggest that altered amygdala-visual cortex connectivity could represent a marker of psychosis-related pathophysiology across a continuum of symptom severity.
To analyze influential infectious diseases, antimicrobial stewardship, infection control, or medical microbiology blogs and bloggers
World wide web
We conducted a systematic search for blogs in accordance with the PRISMA guidelines in September 2015.
A snowball sampling approach was applied to identify blogs using various search engines. Blogs were eligible if they (1) focused on infectious diseases, antimicrobial stewardship, infection control, or medical microbiology; (2) were intended for health professionals; and (3) were written in English and (4) were updated regularly. We mapped blog and blogger characteristics and used an innovative tool to assess the architecture and content of the included blogs. The motivations and perceptions of bloggers and readers were also assessed.
A total of 88 blogs were identified. Moreover, 28 blogs (32%) focused on infectious diseases, 46 (52%) focused on medical microbiology, and 14 (16%) focused on infection control or antimicrobial stewardship. Bloggers were mainly male with medical doctorates and/or PhDs; 32 bloggers (36%) posted at least weekly; and 51 (58%) had a research purpose. The aims were considered clear for 23 blogs (26%), and the field covered was considered broad for 25 blogs (28%). Presentation was considered good for 22 blogs (25%), 51 blogs (58%) were easy to read, and 46 blogs (52%) included expert interpretation. Among the top 10 blogs, 3 focused on infectious diseases, 6 focused on medical microbiology, and 2 focused on infection control (2 were equally ranked). The bloggers we questioned were motivated to share their independent expertise and opinions. Readers appreciated the concise messages on scientific topics and practical updates.
This study describes high-level blogs in the fields of infectious diseases, infection control, and medical microbiology. Our findings suggest ways in which bloggers should build/orientate blogs for readers, and we have highlighted current gaps in blog topics such as antimicrobial stewardship.
Common pharmacological treatments of mood disorders aim to modulate serotonergic neurotransmission and enhance serotonin levels in the brain. Brain serotonin levels are dependent on the availability of its food-derived precursor essential amino acid tryptophan (Trp). We tested the hypothesis that delivery of Trp via food may serve as an alternative treatment, and examined the effects of a Trp-rich, bioavailable dietary supplement from egg protein hydrolysate on cognitive and emotional functions, mood state, and sleep quality. In a randomised, placebo-controlled, parallel trial, fifty-nine mentally and physically healthy women aged 45–65 years received placebo (n 30) or the supplement (n 29) (both as 0·5 g twice per d) for 19 d. Emotional processing was significantly changed by supplementation, exhibiting a shift in bias away from negative stimuli. The results for the Affective Go/No-Go Task exhibited a slowing of responses to negative words, suggesting reduced attention to negative emotional stimuli. The results for the Facial Emotional Expression Rating Task also supported a shift away from attention to negative emotions and a bias towards happiness. An increase in arousal-like symptoms, labelled ‘high energy’, shorter reaction times and a slight benefit to sustained attention were observed in the treated subjects. Finally, when the supplement was taken 60–90 min before bedtime, a feeling of happiness before going to bed was consistently reported. In summary, daily consumption of a low-dose supplement containing bioavailable Trp may have beneficial effects on emotional and cognitive functions.
Sugar-beet crops, Beta vulgaris spp. vulgaris (L), suffer from premature bolting and flowering as a consequence of prolonged exposure to cold conditions (vernalization). This reduces crop yield and quality and could be avoided if bolting-resistant varieties were available. Traditionally, development of bolting-resistant varieties has relied on selection against the annual growth habit associated with the bolting gene B. However, this has failed to deliver crops that can be reliably sown in early spring or grown over winter without the risk of bolting. New breeding targets and selection strategies are required and have become tractable with the recent development of the vernalization-intensity model. This model uses parameters for the intensity and duration of vernalization (vernalization hours) to predict bolting responses and discriminates between varieties by the minimum number of vernalization hours needed to induce bolting (vernalization requirement (VR)) and by the increase in bolting incidence for each extra vernalizing hour once the VR has been satisfied (bolting sensitivity (BS)). Since the vernalization-intensity model was developed from variety-assessment trials data, the present work sought to refine and test it through controlled environment (CE) experiments in which seven sugar-beet varieties were exposed to differing levels of accurately defined vernalization treatments and scored for bolting rates to determine their VR and BS values. The results confirmed and improved the model and showed that VR, not BS, has more potential for developing bolting resistant varieties. It was also observed that there exist in current varieties, the genetic potential to breed for higher VR. Further experiments assessed the correlation of attainment of VR with changes in gene expression and shoot apical meristem (SAM) morphology to identify potential markers for this trait. It was found that the time when VR is attained correlates with up-regulation of gibberellin biosynthetic genes and floral transcription factors in leaf and shoot apices; most prominently, GIBBERELLIN 20-OXIDASE 2 (BvGA20ox2) and FLOWERING LOCUS T 2 (BvFT2). To integrate the results with weather data, temperature records for the past 47 years from the Broom's Barn weather station were used to develop a tool for predicting accumulated vernalization hours based on sowing date. The results, together with data from the CE experiments, were used to establish VR-breeding targets for bolting-resistant varieties for spring- and autumn-sown sugar-beet crops. The present paper shows that integration of weather, VR and genetic data provide useful tools to aid both cultivation and breeding selection. For growers, it provides a weather data tool to assist with the selection of suitable sowing dates. For breeders, it provides the first identification of molecular genetic factors that correlate with VR and the physiological changes associated with vernalization responses in sugar beet. The results suggest that gene-expression profiles can be developed into tools for quantifying bolting resistance in beet, thereby providing a cost-effective, high-throughput and simple method for breeders to apply the vernalization-intensity model.
Recently, the use of graded density impactors for dynamic compression experiments has received increasing interest. These gas gun experiments have demonstrated complex loading paths which can last microseconds, and may be capable of bridging the timescales of existing static and dynamic compression experiments. A tape casting technique has been developed for fabrication of the impactors. In the technique, a series of tapes were prepared in the Mg-Cu system with compositions ranging from 100% Mg to 100% Cu. The tapes were characterized for their layer thickness, density, and sound wave velocity. Impactors were fabricated by punching individual layers from the tapes, stacking and laminating them, removing the organic matrix, and hot-pressing the laminated structure. The density profile is determined by the order in which the tapes are stacked in the laminate and is therefore highly flexible. The resultant thickness and average density of the impactors is consistent with the data for the individual layers. Impactors were characterized for uniformity by ultrasonic C-scan and white light interferometry. Dynamic compression experiments were performed on a two-stage helium gas gun using the graded density impactors. Results will be presented and shown to agree well with hydrocode modeling.
We have studied grain growth and electrical properties of polycrystalline tin oxide (SnO2) thin films prepared by vacuum-evaporation with a two-step process: evaporation of tin metal films and then oxidation of these metal films. Surface morphology of the SnO2 thin films was observed by atomic force microscopy. The grain size of the SnO2 thin films is found to increase with the film thickness and oxidation temperature. Kinetics of the grain growth is discussed in terms of a 3-dimensional diffusion limited process. The diode current-voltage (I-V) characteristic of the SnO2/Si heterojunctions (isotype and anisotype) was measured in the temperature range of 14K-383K. Changes in the diode ideality factor and threshold voltage with temperature are discussed. In addition, we present ambient tunnelling I-V results measured from individual SnO2 grains.
We have investigated the effects of Cu and Si dopants on electromigration mass transport in Al interconnects for VLSI technology. Four Al alloys with different Cu and Si dopant concentrations (AI-1.5%Cu, AI-1.5%Cu-I.5%Si, AI-0.5%Cu-I.0%Si, and AI-I.O%Cu-I.0%Si) were sputter deposited onto Si substrates covered with 0.55 pRm of Si02 (tetraethylorthosilicate). All metal films were deposited using an MRC903 sputter deposition system to a thickness of 6800Å. Deposition parameters were held constant for each metallurgy, with a base pressure of 7x 10−2 torr, deposition pressure of 102 torr, forward power of 7 Kwatts, and substrate bias of 125 volts. Test structures designed according to National Institute of Standards design guidelines were fabricated in each metallurgy using conventional photolithography and reactive ion etching methods for line widths of 1.0, 1.8, 3.0, 5.0 and 10.0 μm. Accelerated test conditions of T=200°C and DC current density of 2x106 A/cm−2 were used. The results show that electromigration resistance increases with increasing Cu content and decreases as Si content increases. These results are explained in terms of precipitate, grain size distribution, orientation and stress by Transmission Electron Microscopy (TEM) and X-ray Diffraction (XRD). Our results provide a general guideline relating Cu and Si dopant concentrations, film microstructure and the intrinsic reliability of the metallization system.
Al and AI-1%Si 900 nanometer thin films were deposited on 100 nanometer Cu films on thermally oxidized (100 nanometer) Si wafers. The Al and Cu films were deposited using evaporation techniques, and the Al-1%Si film was sputter deposited. Different thin film samples were heated in vacuum to 175, 250, 330 and 400°C for 1 hour. The various annealed and original samples were compared using surface morphology, as well as composition versus sample depth. Differences between the Al and Al-1%Si samples are discussed.
Cold Gas Dynamic Manufacturing (CGDM) is a high-rate, direct deposition process capable of combining many dissimilar materials in the production of a single component. The process is based on Cold Gas Dynamic Spraying (CGDS) – a surface coating technology in which small, un-heated particles are accelerated to high velocities (typically above 500 m/s) in a supersonic gas jet and directed towards a substrate material. The process does not use a heat source (as with similar plasma and HVOF spray technologies), but rather employs the high kinetic energy of the particles to effect bonding through plastic deformation upon impact with the substrate or previously deposited layer. As a consequence it lends itself to the processing of temperature sensitive material systems such as oxidising, phase-sensitive or nano-structured materials. To achieve metallic bonding incident particles require velocities greater than a certain material-specific threshold value, such that thin surface films are ruptured, generating a direct interface. This bonding mechanism has been compared to explosive welding.
This paper discusses the further development of the CGDS technique from surface coating technology into the basis for a novel Additive Fabrication process. The description of the apparatus is presented in addition to the basic processing conditions for the deposition of aluminium material. Particular attention is paid to the morphology of the deposited material, the microstructure and the interfacial boundary between splats.
We present a study of the effects of blending electroluminescent polymers with platinum (II) octaethylporphyrin (PtOEP). We find that in the case of polymers which are measured to have HOMO and LUMO levels respectively below and above those of the PtOEP, and which have emission spectra overlapping the PtOEP absorption spectra, energy transfer occurs as expected. We find further evidence, in the form of steady state and time-resolved electroluminescence and photoluminescence measurements, which indicates additional transfer of triplet excitons between polymer and porphyrin. Where the polymers have emission spectra overlapping the absorption spectra of PtOEP, but which are measured to have a HOMO or LUMO level between those of the porphyrin, quenching of the photoluminescence efficiency occurs. We propose this is due to charge separation between the porphyrin and the polymer, and show evidence for this in the form of photoinduced absorption measurements.
New combined main- and side-chain azobenzene polyesters, which exhibit an intensity dependent refractive index, have been prepared in order to optically fabricate nonlinear waveguides. Novel sulfone azobenzenes, a diester, (4-[[5-(ethoxycarbonyl)pentyl]sulfonyl]-4'-[[5-(ethoxycarbonyl)pentyl]methylamino] azobenzene, and a diol, 4-[[(8-hydroxy-7-methylhydroxy)-octyl]sulfonyl]-4'-N, N-dimethylamino azobenzene, have been used to prepare new polyesters by transesterification in the molten state. The polyesters have been characterized by UV-visible spectroscopy, differential scanning calorimetry (DSC), size exclusion chromatography (SEC), third harmonic generation (THG) and optical anisotropy measurements. The molar masses of the polyesters were in the range of 5000-10000 g mol−1, which was sufficient in order to spin coat thin films. From THG measurements the polymers are shown to possess an offresonance electronic X(3) of the order 10−12 esu corresponding to a nonlinear refractive index of 2.3×10−14 cm2/W.
Basal plane sapphire is a common substrate for the heteroepitaxy of GaN. This presents a challenge for fabrication of cleaved facet GaN lasers because the natural cleavage planes in (0001) α-A12O3 are not perpendicular to the wafer surface. This paper describes a method for achieving perpendicular cleaved facets through wafer fusion that can potentially be used to fabricate GaN based in-plane lasers. We demonstrate successful fusion of GaN to InP without voids or oxide at the interface and fabricate optically flat cleaved GaN facets that are parallel to the crystallographic planes of the host InP. I-V measurements have been performed across the n-N fused interface. These results show that the fused interface exhibits a barrier for electrons passing from the InP to the GaN and ohmic conduction of electrons moving in the opposite direction.
Seventy-three cultures of Clostridium difficile isolated both during, and in the period immediately following, an outbreak of infection in a group of three hospitals, were characterized by one-dimensional sodium dodecyl sulphate–polyacrylamide gel electrophoresis (SDS–PAGE) of whole-cell proteins. Each protein pattern was characterized by the presence of one or two dense bands which were highly reproducible. The protein patterns were used as the basis for a numerical analysis which divided the strains into five phenons (electrophoretic or EP types). The majority, 60 of the 73 cultures, belonged to a single phenon which included strains from both patients and the environment. We conclude that high-resolution SDS–PAGE of proteins provides an effective method for typing C. difficile and therefore for tracing the possible spread of epidemic strains in hospitals and other institutions, thereby allowing a better understanding of the epidemiology of the organism.
An outbreak of cryptosporidiosis which affected 44 people in January and February 1991 was identified through local surveillance at a South London Public Health Laboratory. Preliminary enquiries revealed that more than half the patients were adult and that there were no common factors other than geographical association. A case-control study showed a significant association between illness and consumption of tap water supplied by a particular water company, as well as a dose response effect. There were no apparent breaches or irregularities in the water distribution system and no indication of a problem through routine monitoring indices. This incident demonstrates the problems of establishing the source of cryptosporidiosis outbreaks in the absence of evidence of environmental abnormality, as well as possibly indicating that water conforming to current treatment standards may occasionally contain sufficient numbers of Cryptosporidium oocysts to cause sporadic cases or clusters.
Susceptibility to coeliac disease involves HLA and non-HLA-linked genes. The CTLA4/CD28 gene region encodes immune regulatory T-cell surface molecules and is a strong candidate as a susceptibility locus. We evaluated CTLA4/CD28 in coeliac disease by genetic linkage and association and combined our findings with published studies through a meta-analysis. 116 multiplex families were genotyped across CTLA4/CD28 using eight markers. The contribution of CTLA4/CD28 to coeliac disease was assessed by non-parametric linkage and association analyses. Seven studies were identified that had evaluated the relationship between CTLA4/CD28 and coeliac disease and a pooled analysis of data undertaken. In our study there was evidence for a relationship between variation in the CTLA4/CD28 region and coeliac disease by linkage and association analyses. However, the findings did not attain formal statistical significance (p = 0·004 and 0·039, respectively). Pooling findings with published results showed significant evidence for linkage (504 families) and association (940 families): p values, 0·0001 and 0·0014 at D2S2214, respectively, and 0·0008 and 0·0006 at D2S116, respectively. These findings suggest that variation in the CD28/CTLA4 gene region is a determinant of coeliac disease susceptibility. Dissecting the sequence variation underlying this relationship will depend on further analyses utilising denser sets of markers.