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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.
Blood samples from normal and Plasmodium berghei infected mice are being analyzed for trace elements by charged particle induced x-rays. Approximately 0.25 ml of the sample (whole blood, washed red cells, or plasma) is dry ashed. The ashes are mounted on a 0.003 inch Kapton foil. The analysis is performed by bombardment of the samples by a beam of 2.0 MeV protons and detection of the characteristic x-rays by a 175-eV-resolution lithium-drifted silicon detector. The data are analyzed by an on-line PDP-9 computer-based data acquisition system. Results indicate an increase in the K, Ca, Cu, and Zn per unit volume of the red cells of the malaria infected mice relative to the amounts measured for uninfected blood, and a decrease in the K, Ca, and Fe and an increase in the Cu per unit volume in the plasma of the infected mice.
Movement disorders associated with exposure to antipsychotic drugs are common and stigmatising but underdiagnosed.
To develop and evaluate a new clinical procedure, the ScanMove instrument, for the screening of antipsychotic-associated movement disorders for use by mental health nurses.
Item selection and content validity assessment for the ScanMove instrument were conducted by a panel of neurologists, psychiatrists and a mental health nurse, who operationalised a 31-item screening procedure. Interrater reliability was measured on ratings for 30 patients with psychosis from ten mental health nurses evaluating video recordings of the procedure. Criterion and concurrent validity were tested comparing the ScanMove instrument-based rating of 13 mental health nurses for 635 community patients from mental health services with diagnostic judgement of a movement disorder neurologist based on the ScanMove instrument and a reference procedure comprising a selection of commonly used rating scales.
Interreliability analysis showed no systematic difference between raters in their prediction of any antipsychotic-associated movement disorders category. On criterion validity testing, the ScanMove instrument showed good sensitivity for parkinsonism (90%) and hyperkinesia (89%), but not for akathisia (38%), whereas specificity was low for parkinsonism and hyperkinesia, and moderate for akathisia.
The ScanMove instrument demonstrated good feasibility and interrater reliability, and acceptable sensitivity as a mental health nurse-administered screening tool for parkinsonism and hyperkinesia.
We present a new distance determination to the Small Magellanic Cloud from the surface brightness technique applied to the Cepheid variable HV 829. Although this is a preliminary distance based on only one star, it illustrates the power of the surface brightness technique to extragalactic Cepheid distances, it develops the technique which we will apply to additional SMC and LMC Cepheids, and the distance is of intrinsic interest because of the current controvery concerning distances for the Magellanic Clouds.
For HV 829 itself we obtain a distance modulus of 18.91 ± 0.20 mag. From other evidence we infer that HV 829 is slightly in front of the SMC centroid distance. Correcting to the SMC centroid yields a distance to the SMC of 19.05 ± 0.20 mag. We stress that this distance modulus is fully independent of any other distance modulus for the SMC, including those based upon Cepheids. Even so, our result agrees more closely with other, independent Cepheid distances than with RR Lyrae distances and main sequence fitting distances.
Treatment of medical patients with the inflammatory cytokine, interferon-α (IFN-α), is frequently associated with the development of clinical depressive symptomatology. Several important biological correlates of the effect of IFN-α on mood have been described, but the neuropsychological changes associated with IFN-α treatment are largely unexplored. The aim of the present preliminary study was to assess the effect of IFN-α on measures of emotional processing.
We measured changes in emotional processing over 6–8 weeks in 17 patients receiving IFN-α as part of their treatment for hepatitis C virus infection. Emotional processing tasks included those which have previously been shown to be sensitive to the effects of depression and antidepressant treatment, namely facial expression recognition, emotional categorisation and the dot probe attentional task.
Following IFN-α, patients were more accurate at detecting facial expressions of disgust; they also showed diminished attentional vigilance to happy faces. IFN-α produced the expected increases in scores on depression rating scales, but there was no correlation between these scores and the changes in emotional processing.
Our preliminary findings suggest that IFN-α treatment produces negative biases in emotional processing, and this effect is not simply a consequence of depression. It is possible that increased recognition of disgust may represent a neuropsychological marker of depressive disorders related to inflammation.
Recent studies have improved our understanding of nearshore marine ecosystems surrounding Ascension Island (central Atlantic Ocean), but little is known about Ascension's benthic environment beyond its shallow coastal waters. Here, we report the first detailed physical and biological examination of the seabed surrounding Ascension Island at 100–1000 m depth. Multibeam swath data were used to map fine scale bathymetry and derive seabed slope and rugosity indices for the entire area. Water temperature and salinity profiles were obtained from five Conductivity, Temperature, Depth (CTD) deployments, revealing a spatially consistent thermocline at 80 m depth. A camera lander (Shelf Underwater Camera System; SUCS) provided nearly 400 images from 21 sites (100 m transects) at depths of 110–1020 m, showing high variability in the structure of benthic habitats and biological communities. These surveys revealed a total of 95 faunal morphotypes (mean richness >14 per site), complemented by 213 voucher specimens constituting 60 morphotypes collected from seven targeted Agassiz trawl (AGT) deployments. While total faunal density (maximum >300 m−2 at 480 m depth) increased with rugosity, characteristic shifts in multivariate assemblage structure were driven by depth and substratum type. Shallow assemblages (~100 m) were dominated by black coral (Antipatharia sp.) on rocky substrata, cup corals (Caryophyllia sp.) and sea urchins (Cidaris sp.) were abundant on fine sediment at intermediate depths (250–500 m), and shrimps (Nematocarcinus spp.) were common at greater depths (>500 m). Other ubiquitous taxa included serpulid and sabellid polychaetes and brittle stars (Ophiocantha sp.). Cold-water corals (Lophelia cf. pertusa), indicative of Vulnerable Marine Ecosystems (VMEs) and representing substantial benthic carbon accumulation, occurred in particularly dense aggregations at <350 m but were encountered as deep as 1020 m. In addition to enhancing marine biodiversity records at this locality, this study provides critical baseline data to support the future management of Ascension's marine environment.
Salmonella is a leading cause of bacterial foodborne illness. We report the collaborative investigative efforts of US and Canadian public health officials during the 2013–2014 international outbreak of multiple Salmonella serotype infections linked to sprouted chia seed powder. The investigation included open-ended interviews of ill persons, traceback, product testing, facility inspections, and trace forward. Ninety-four persons infected with outbreak strains from 16 states and four provinces were identified; 21% were hospitalized and none died. Fifty-four (96%) of 56 persons who consumed chia seed powder, reported 13 different brands that traced back to a single Canadian firm, distributed by four US and eight Canadian companies. Laboratory testing yielded outbreak strains from leftover and intact product. Contaminated product was recalled. Although chia seed powder is a novel outbreak vehicle, sprouted seeds are recognized as an important cause of foodborne illness; firms should follow available guidance to reduce the risk of bacterial contamination during sprouting.
This article explores the three-dimensional flow structure of a streamwise-oriented vortex incident on a finite aspect-ratio wing. The vertical positioning of the incident vortex relative to the wing is shown to have a significant impact on the unsteady flow structure. A direct impingement of the streamwise vortex produces a spiralling instability in the vortex just upstream of the leading edge, reminiscent of the helical instability modes of a Batchelor vortex. A small negative vertical offset develops a more pronounced instability while a positive vertical offset removes the instability altogether. These differences in vertical position are a consequence of the upstream influence of pressure gradients provided by the wing. Direct impingement or a negative vertical offset subject the vortex to an adverse pressure gradient that leads to a reduced axial velocity and diminished swirl conducive to hydrodynamic instability. Conversely, a positive vertical offset removes instability by placing the streamwise vortex in line with a favourable pressure gradient, thereby enhancing swirl and inhibiting the growth of unstable modes. In every case, the helical instability only occurs when the properties of the incident vortex fall within the instability threshold predicted by linear stability theory. The influence of pressure gradients associated with separation and stall downstream also have the potential to introduce suction-side instabilities for a positive vertical offset. The influence of the wing is more severe for larger vortices and diminishes with vortex size due to weaker interaction and increased viscous stability. Helical instability is not the only possible outcome in a direct impingement. Jet-like vortices and a higher swirl ratio in wake-like vortices can retain stability upon impact, resulting in the laminar vortex splitting over either side of the wing.
The Murchison Widefield Array is a Square Kilometre Array Precursor. The telescope is located at the Murchison Radio–astronomy Observatory in Western Australia. The MWA consists of 4 096 dipoles arranged into 128 dual polarisation aperture arrays forming a connected element interferometer that cross-correlates signals from all 256 inputs. A hybrid approach to the correlation task is employed, with some processing stages being performed by bespoke hardware, based on Field Programmable Gate Arrays, and others by Graphics Processing Units housed in general purpose rack mounted servers. The correlation capability required is approximately 8 tera floating point operations per second. The MWA has commenced operations and the correlator is generating 8.3 TB day−1 of correlation products, that are subsequently transferred 700 km from the MRO to Perth (WA) in real-time for storage and offline processing. In this paper, we outline the correlator design, signal path, and processing elements and present the data format for the internal and external interfaces.
The Millimetre Astronomy Legacy Team 90 GHz (MALT90) survey aims to characterise the physical and chemical evolution of high-mass star-forming clumps. Exploiting the unique broad frequency range and on-the-fly mapping capabilities of the Australia Telescope National Facility Mopra 22 m single-dish telescope1, MALT90 has obtained 3′ × 3′ maps towards ~2 000 dense molecular clumps identified in the ATLASGAL 870 μm Galactic plane survey. The clumps were selected to host the early stages of high-mass star formation and to span the complete range in their evolutionary states (from prestellar, to protostellar, and on to
regions and photodissociation regions). Because MALT90 mapped 16 lines simultaneously with excellent spatial (38 arcsec) and spectral (0.11 km s−1) resolution, the data reveal a wealth of information about the clumps’ morphologies, chemistry, and kinematics. In this paper we outline the survey strategy, observing mode, data reduction procedure, and highlight some early science results. All MALT90 raw and processed data products are available to the community. With its unprecedented large sample of clumps, MALT90 is the largest survey of its type ever conducted and an excellent resource for identifying interesting candidates for high-resolution studies with ALMA.
It is uncertain whether antipsychotic long-acting injection (LAI) medication in schizophrenia is associated with better clinical outcomes than oral preparations.
To examine the impact of prior treatment delivery route on treatment outcomes and whether any differences are moderated by adherence.
Analysis of data from two pragmatic 1-year clinical trials in which patients with schizophrenia were randomised to either an oral first-generation antipsychotic (FGA), or a non-clozapine second-generation antipsychotic (SGA, CUtLASS 1 study), or a non-clozapine SGA or clozapine (CUtLASS 2 study).
Across both trials, 43% (n = 155) of participants were prescribed an FGA-LAI before randomisation. At 1-year follow-up they showed less improvement in quality of life, symptoms and global functioning than those randomised from oral medication. This difference was confined to patients rated as less than consistently adherent pre-randomisation. The relatively poor improvement in the patients prescribed an LAI pre-randomisation was ameliorated if they had been randomised to clozapine rather than another SGA. There was no advantage to being randomly assigned from an LAI at baseline to a non-clozapine oral SGA rather than an oral FGA.
A switch at randomisation from an LAI to an oral antipsychotic was associated with poorer clinical and functional outcomes at 1-year follow-up compared with switching from one oral antipsychotic to another. This effect appears to be moderated by adherence, and may not extend to switching to clozapine. This has implications for clinical trial design: the drug from which a participant is randomised may have a greater effect than the drug to which they are randomised.
We characterise the Millimetre Astronomy Legacy Team 90 GHz Survey (MALT90) and the Mopra telescope at 90 GHz. We combine repeated position-switched observations of the source G300.968+01.145 with a map of the same source in order to estimate the pointing reliability of the position-switched observations and, by extension, the MALT90 survey; we estimate our pointing uncertainty to be 8 arcsec. We model the two strongest sources of systematic gain variability as functions of elevation and time-of-day and quantify the remaining absolute flux uncertainty. Corrections based on these two variables reduce the scatter in repeated observations from 12%–25% down to 10%–17%. We find no evidence for intrinsic source variability in G300.968+01.145. For certain applications, the corrections described herein will be integral for improving the absolute flux calibration of MALT90 maps and other observations using the Mopra telescope at 90 GHz.
The development of depressive symptomatology is a recognized complication of treatment with the cytokine interferon-α (IFN-α) and has been seen as supporting inflammatory theories of the pathophysiology of major depression. Major depression has been associated with changes in glutamatergic activity and recent formulations of IFN-induced depression have implicated neurotoxic influences that could also lead to changes in glutamate function. The present study used magnetic resonance spectroscopy (MRS) to measure glutamate and its major metabolite glutamine in patients with hepatitis C who received treatment with pegylated IFN-α and ribavirin.
MRS measurements of glutamate and glutamine were taken from a 25 × 20 × 20 mm voxel including the pregenual anterior cingulate cortex in 12 patients before and after 4–6 weeks of treatment with IFN.
IFN treatment led to an increase in cortical levels of glutamine (p = 0.02) and a significant elevation in the ratio of glutamine to glutamate (p < 0.01). Furthermore, changes in glutamine level correlated significantly with ratings of depression and anxiety at the time of the second scan.
We conclude that treatment with IFN-α is associated with MRS-visible changes in glutamatergic metabolism. However, the changes seen differ from those reported in major depression, which suggests that the pathophysiology of IFN-induced depression may be distinct from that of major depression more generally.
Tomography is a standard and invaluable technique that covers a large range of length scales. It gives access to the inner morphology of specimens and to the three-dimensional (3D) distribution of physical quantities such as elemental composition, crystalline phases, oxidation state, or strain. These data are necessary to determine the effective properties of investigated heterogeneous media. However, each tomographic technique relies on severe sampling conditions and physical principles that require the sample to be adequately shaped. For that purpose, a wide range of sample preparation techniques is used, including mechanical machining, polishing, sawing, ion milling, or chemical techniques. Here, we focus on the basics of tomography that justify such advanced sample preparation, before reviewing and illustrating the main techniques. Performances and limits are highlighted, and we identify the best preparation technique for a particular tomographic scale and application. The targeted tomography techniques include hard X-ray micro- and nanotomography, electron nanotomography, and atom probe tomography. The article mainly focuses on hard condensed matter, including porous materials, alloys, and microelectronics applications, but also includes, to a lesser extent, biological considerations.
The Murchison Widefield Array (MWA) is one of three Square Kilometre Array Precursor telescopes and is located at the Murchison Radio-astronomy Observatory in the Murchison Shire of the mid-west of Western Australia, a location chosen for its extremely low levels of radio frequency interference. The MWA operates at low radio frequencies, 80–300 MHz, with a processed bandwidth of 30.72 MHz for both linear polarisations, and consists of 128 aperture arrays (known as tiles) distributed over a ~3-km diameter area. Novel hybrid hardware/software correlation and a real-time imaging and calibration systems comprise the MWA signal processing backend. In this paper, the as-built MWA is described both at a system and sub-system level, the expected performance of the array is presented, and the science goals of the instrument are summarised.