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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.
To identify potential participants for clinical trials, electronic health records (EHRs) are searched at potential sites. As an alternative, we investigated using medical devices used for real-time diagnostic decisions for trial enrollment.
To project cohorts for a trial in acute coronary syndromes (ACS), we used electrocardiograph-based algorithms that identify ACS or ST elevation myocardial infarction (STEMI) that prompt clinicians to offer patients trial enrollment. We searched six hospitals’ electrocardiograph systems for electrocardiograms (ECGs) meeting the planned trial’s enrollment criterion: ECGs with STEMI or > 75% probability of ACS by the acute cardiac ischemia time-insensitive predictive instrument (ACI-TIPI). We revised the ACI-TIPI regression to require only data directly from the electrocardiograph, the e-ACI-TIPI using the same data used for the original ACI-TIPI (development set n = 3,453; test set n = 2,315). We also tested both on data from emergency department electrocardiographs from across the US (n = 8,556). We then used ACI-TIPI and e-ACI-TIPI to identify potential cohorts for the ACS trial and compared performance to cohorts from EHR data at the hospitals.
Receiver-operating characteristic (ROC) curve areas on the test set were excellent, 0.89 for ACI-TIPI and 0.84 for the e-ACI-TIPI, as was calibration. On the national electrocardiographic database, ROC areas were 0.78 and 0.69, respectively, and with very good calibration. When tested for detection of patients with > 75% ACS probability, both electrocardiograph-based methods identified eligible patients well, and better than did EHRs.
Using data from medical devices such as electrocardiographs may provide accurate projections of available cohorts for clinical trials.
An internationally approved and globally used classification scheme for the diagnosis of CHD has long been sought. The International Paediatric and Congenital Cardiac Code (IPCCC), which was produced and has been maintained by the International Society for Nomenclature of Paediatric and Congenital Heart Disease (the International Nomenclature Society), is used widely, but has spawned many “short list” versions that differ in content depending on the user. Thus, efforts to have a uniform identification of patients with CHD using a single up-to-date and coordinated nomenclature system continue to be thwarted, even if a common nomenclature has been used as a basis for composing various “short lists”. In an attempt to solve this problem, the International Nomenclature Society has linked its efforts with those of the World Health Organization to obtain a globally accepted nomenclature tree for CHD within the 11th iteration of the International Classification of Diseases (ICD-11). The International Nomenclature Society has submitted a hierarchical nomenclature tree for CHD to the World Health Organization that is expected to serve increasingly as the “short list” for all communities interested in coding for congenital cardiology. This article reviews the history of the International Classification of Diseases and of the IPCCC, and outlines the process used in developing the ICD-11 congenital cardiac disease diagnostic list and the definitions for each term on the list. An overview of the content of the congenital heart anomaly section of the Foundation Component of ICD-11, published herein in its entirety, is also included. Future plans for the International Nomenclature Society include linking again with the World Health Organization to tackle procedural nomenclature as it relates to cardiac malformations. By doing so, the Society will continue its role in standardising nomenclature for CHD across the globe, thereby promoting research and better outcomes for fetuses, children, and adults with congenital heart anomalies.
We have previously shown that the minor alleles of vascular endothelial growth factor A (VEGFA) single-nucleotide polymorphism rs833069 and superoxide dismutase 2 (SOD2) single-nucleotide polymorphism rs2758331 are both associated with improved transplant-free survival after surgery for CHD in infants, but the underlying mechanisms are unknown. We hypothesised that one or both of these minor alleles are associated with better systemic ventricular function, resulting in improved survival.
This study is a follow-up analysis of 422 non-syndromic CHD patients who underwent neonatal cardiac surgery with cardiopulmonary bypass. Echocardiographic reports were reviewed. Systemic ventricular function was subjectively categorised as normal, or as mildly, moderately, or severely depressed. The change in function was calculated as the change from the preoperative study to the last available study. Stepwise linear regression, adjusting for covariates, was performed for the outcome of change in ventricular function. Model comparison was performed using Akaike’s information criterion. Only variables that improved the model prediction of change in systemic ventricular function were retained in the final model.
Genetic and echocardiographic data were available for 335/422 subjects (79%). Of them, 33 (9.9%) developed worse systemic ventricular function during a mean follow-up period of 13.5 years. After covariate adjustment, the presence of the VEGFA minor allele was associated with preserved ventricular function (p=0.011).
These data support the hypothesis that the mechanism by which the VEGFA single-nucleotide polymorphism rs833069 minor allele improves survival may be the preservation of ventricular function. Further studies are needed to validate this genotype–phenotype association and to determine whether this mechanism is related to increased vascular endothelial growth factor production.
We determined the prevalence of anti-hepatitis B surface antibodies (anti-HBs) among children and adolescents vaccinated for hepatitis B virus in infancy as part of the routine vaccination programme. A representative serum sample of the Israeli population age 0–19 was tested. In a separate pilot study, a booster dose of hepatitis B vaccine was administered to 31 candidates for national service, who were fully vaccinated in infancy and tested negative for hepatitis B surface antibodies at age 17–19 years and anti-HBs antibodies were assessed 8 weeks later. Of the 1273 samples tested, 631 (49·6%) were positive to anti-HBs antibodies. Seropositivity rates were 89·5% among infants aged 6–12 months and declined significantly with age to 20·7% at age 19 years. No differences in seropositivity rates were observed between Jews and Arabs, males and females and those born in Israel and in other countries. Seroconversion rate among the 31 individuals who received a booster dose was 90·3% (95% CI: 75·1–96·6%). We recommend a booster dose for healthcare personnel before starting to work at the health care facility.
A segment of the Milky Way in Norma, from ℓ = 327° to 335°, |b|≦ 1°, has been studied as part of the Columbia CO survey of the fourth galactic quadrant. Description of the entire survey is given by Cohen elsewhere in this volume.
The CO emission within a few kiloparsecs of the Sun is dominated by a small number of very large molecular complexes, including those associated with the Orion Nebula (Thaddeus 1982), M16 and M17 (Elmegreen, Lada, and Dickinson 1979), and NGC7538 (Cohen et al. 1980). These complexes have masses from several 105 to 106 M⊙ and are generally very well-defined objects. They are also well endowed with HII regions, stellar clusters and associations, masers, and other Population-I objects whose distances can be measured. The complexes are thus valuable probes of the large-scale structure of the Galaxy.
When the Columbia Southern Millimeter-Wave Telescope on Cerro Tololo, Chile, began operation in January 1983, one of the main goals was to make the first extensive out-of-plane survey of 2.6-mm CO emission in the Southern Milky Way. Because this telescope, a 1.2-meter Cassegrain, is a close copy of the Columbia telescope in New York – with nearly identical antenna, feed, and calibration – it will be very easy to join our northern and southern surveys to make the first homogeneous radio survey of the entire Galaxy. The Chile telescope does have one important improvement over the New York system: a liquid-nitrogen-cooled receiver with a single-sideband noise temperature of 385 K. Details of the telescope are given in Cohen (1983).
Recent spectropolarimetric surveys of bright, hot stars have found that ~10% of OB-type stars contain strong (mostly dipolar) surface magnetic fields (~kG). The prominent paradigm describing the interaction between the stellar winds and the surface magnetic field is the magnetically confined wind shock (MCWS) model. In this model, the stellar wind plasma is forced to move along the closed field loops of the magnetic field, colliding at the magnetic equator, and creating a shock. As the shocked material cools radiatively it will emit X-rays. Therefore, X-ray spectroscopy is a key tool in detecting and characterizing the hot wind material confined by the magnetic fields of these stars. Some B-type stars are found to have very short rotational periods. The effects of the rapid rotation on the X-ray production within the magnetosphere have yet to be explored in detail. The added centrifugal force due to rapid rotation is predicted to cause faster wind outflows along the field lines, leading to higher shock temperatures and harder X-rays. However, this is not observed in all rapidly rotating magnetic B-type stars. In order to address this from a theoretical point of view, we use the X-ray Analytical Dynamical Magnetosphere (XADM) model, originally developed for slow rotators, with an implementation of new rapid rotational physics. Using X-ray spectroscopy from ESA’s XMM-Newton space telescope, we observed 5 rapidly rotating B-types stars to add to the previous list of observations. Comparing the observed X-ray luminosity and hardness ratio to that predicted by the XADM allows us to determine the role the added centrifugal force plays in the magnetospheric X-ray emission of these stars.
Large magnetometric surveys have contributed to the detection of an increasing number of magnetic massive stars, and to the recognition of a population of magnetic massive stellar objects with distinct properties. Among these, NGC 1624-2 possesses the largest magnetic field of any O-type star; such a field confines the stellar wind into a circumstellar magnetosphere, which can be probed using observations at different wavelength regimes. Recent optical and X-ray observations suggest that NGC 1624-2’s magnetosphere is much larger than that of any other magnetic O star. By modeling the variations of UV resonance lines, we can constrain its velocity structure. Furthermore, recent spectropolarimetric observations raise the possibility of a more complex field topology than previously expected. Putting all of these multi-wavelength constraints together will allow us to paint a consistent picture of NGC 1624-2 and its surprising behavior, giving us valuable insight into the very nature of massive star magnetospheres.
Preliminary results are reported from an OH mainline absorption study of the galactic centre. The molecular clouds form a well-defined structure 2 kpc in projected diameter, which is warped in its outer regions. The distribution of molecular clouds is highly organised. There are places where the line-widths are anomalously high. The possible nature of these broad-line clouds is briefly discussed.
Start-up performance and first results of the new Woods Hole Accelerator Mass Spectrometer are discussed. Special attention is given to the hemispherical ionizer sputter source and the triple-isotope injector design.
Chemical and structural similarities between poorly preserved charcoal and its contaminants, as well as low radiocarbon concentrations in old samples, complicate 14C age determinations. Here, we characterize 4 fossil charcoal samples from the late Middle Paleolithic and early Upper Paleolithic strata of Kebara Cave, Israel, with respect to the structural and chemical changes that occur when they are subjected to the acid-base-acid (ABA) treatment. Differential thermal analysis and TEM show that acid treatment disrupts the structure, whereas alkali treatment results in the reformation of molecular aggregates. The major changes are ascribed to the formation of salt bridges at high pH and the disruption of the graphite-like crystallites at low pH. Weight losses during the treatments are consistently greater for older samples, implying that they are less well preserved. Based on the changes observed in vitro due to pH fluctuations, various methods for removing contamination, as well as a mechanism for preferential preservation of charcoal in nature, are proposed.
The Midcourse Space (MSX) Experiment (Price 1995) detected large numbers of point sources in the LMC at 8.28 μm (Egan et al. 2001). Near-infrared J H K L imaging and monitoring of the 504 MSX sources in a region of size 3° x 3.5° covering most of the LMC bar has been carried out. Spectra have been taken for most of the post-AGB stars and a selection of the AGB stars and red supergiants.
Combined ISO SWS and LWS spectroscopy is presented of the late WC-type planetary nebula nucleus CPD-56†8032 and its carbon-rich nebula. The extremely broad coverage (2.4–197 μm) enables us to recognize the clear and simultaneous presence of emission features from both oxygen- and carbon-rich circumstellar materials. Removing a smooth continuum highlights bright emission bands characteristic of polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (hereafter PAHs) in the 3–15 μm region, bands from crystalline silicates longwards of 18 μm, and the 43- and 62-μm bands of crystalline water ice. We discuss the probable evolutionary state and history of this unusual object in terms of (a) a recent transition from an O-rich to a C-rich outflow following a helium shell flash; or (b) a carbon-rich nebular outflow encountering an O-rich comet cloud orbiting in a Kuiper-belt-like distribution.