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Evidence has been accumulating regarding alterations in components of the endocannabinoid system in patients with psychosis. Of all the putative risk factors associated with psychosis, being at clinical high-risk for psychosis (CHR) has the strongest association with the onset of psychosis, and exposure to childhood trauma has been linked to an increased risk of development of psychotic disorder. We aimed to investigate whether being at-risk for psychosis and exposure to childhood trauma were associated with altered endocannabinoid levels.
We compared 33 CHR participants with 58 healthy controls (HC) and collected information about previous exposure to childhood trauma as well as plasma samples to analyse endocannabinoid levels.
Individuals with both CHR and experience of childhood trauma had higher N-palmitoylethanolamine (p < 0.001) and anandamide (p < 0.001) levels in peripheral blood compared to HC and those with no childhood trauma. There was also a significant correlation between N-palmitoylethanolamine levels and symptoms as well as childhood trauma.
Our results suggest an association between CHR and/or childhood maltreatment and elevated endocannabinoid levels in peripheral blood, with a greater alteration in those with both CHR status and history of childhood maltreatment compared to those with either of those risks alone. Furthermore, endocannabinoid levels increased linearly with the number of risk factors and elevated endocannabinoid levels correlated with the severity of CHR symptoms and extent of childhood maltreatment. Further studies in larger cohorts, employing longitudinal designs are needed to confirm these findings and delineate the precise role of endocannabinoid alterations in the pathophysiology of psychosis.
Starting in 2016, we initiated a pilot tele-antibiotic stewardship program at 2 rural Veterans Affairs medical centers (VAMCs). Antibiotic days of therapy decreased significantly (P < .05) in the acute and long-term care units at both intervention sites, suggesting that tele-stewardship can effectively support antibiotic stewardship practices in rural VAMCs.
Introduction: Acute aortic syndrome (AAS) is a time sensitive aortic catastrophe that is often misdiagnosed. There are currently no Canadian guidelines to aid in diagnosis. Our goal was to adapt the existing American Heart Association (AHA) and European Society of Cardiology (ESC) diagnostic algorithms for AAS into a Canadian evidence based best practices algorithm targeted for emergency medicine physicians. Methods: We chose to adapt existing high-quality clinical practice guidelines (CPG) previously developed by the AHA/ESC using the GRADE ADOLOPMENT approach. We created a National Advisory Committee consisting of 21 members from across Canada including academic, community and remote/rural emergency physicians/nurses, cardiothoracic and cardiovascular surgeons, cardiac anesthesiologists, critical care physicians, cardiologist, radiologists and patient representatives. The Advisory Committee communicated through multiple teleconference meetings, emails and a one-day in person meeting. The panel prioritized questions and outcomes, using the Grading of Recommendations Assessment, Development and Evaluation (GRADE) approach to assess evidence and make recommendations. The algorithm was prepared and revised through feedback and discussions and through an iterative process until consensus was achieved. Results: The diagnostic algorithm is comprised of an updated pre test probability assessment tool with further testing recommendations based on risk level. The updated tool incorporates likelihood of an alternative diagnosis and point of care ultrasound. The final best practice diagnostic algorithm defined risk levels as Low (0.5% no further testing), Moderate (0.6-5% further testing required) and High ( >5% computed tomography, magnetic resonance imaging, trans esophageal echocardiography). During the consensus and feedback processes, we addressed a number of issues and concerns. D-dimer can be used to reduce probability of AAS in an intermediate risk group, but should not be used in a low or high-risk group. Ultrasound was incorporated as a bedside clinical examination option in pre test probability assessment for aortic insufficiency, abdominal/thoracic aortic aneurysms. Conclusion: We have created the first Canadian best practice diagnostic algorithm for AAS. We hope this diagnostic algorithm will standardize and improve diagnosis of AAS in all emergency departments across Canada.
Declining mortality following invasive pneumococcal disease (IPD) has been observed concurrent with a reduced incidence due to effective pneumococcal conjugate vaccines. However, with IPD now increasing due to serotype replacement, we undertook a statistical analysis to estimate the trend in all-cause 30-day case fatality rate (CFR) in the North East of England (NEE) following IPD. Clinical, microbiological and demographic data were obtained for all laboratory-confirmed IPD cases (April 2006–March 2016) and the adjusted association between CFR and epidemiological year estimated using logistic regression. Of the 2510 episodes of IPD included in the analysis, 486 died within 30 days of IPD (CFR 19%). Increasing age, male sex, a diagnosis of septicaemia, being in ⩾1 clinical risk groups, alcohol abuse and individual serotypes were independently associated with increased CFR. A significant decline in CFR over time was observed following adjustment for these significant predictors (adjusted odds ratio 0.93, 95% confidence interval 0.89–0.98; P = 0.003). A small but significant decline in 30-day all-cause CFR following IPD has been observed in the NEE. Nonetheless, certain population groups remain at increased risk of dying following IPD. Despite the introduction of effective vaccines, further strategies to reduce the ongoing burden of mortality from IPD are needed.
Filamentary structures can form within the beam of protons accelerated during the interaction of an intense laser pulse with an ultrathin foil target. Such behaviour is shown to be dependent upon the formation time of quasi-static magnetic field structures throughout the target volume and the extent of the rear surface proton expansion over the same period. This is observed via both numerical and experimental investigations. By controlling the intensity profile of the laser drive, via the use of two temporally separated pulses, both the initial rear surface proton expansion and magnetic field formation time can be varied, resulting in modification to the degree of filamentary structure present within the laser-driven proton beam.
BACKGROUND: IGTS is a rare phenomenon of paradoxical germ cell tumor (GCT) growth during or following treatment despite normalization of tumor markers. We sought to evaluate the frequency, clinical characteristics and outcome of IGTS in patients in 21 North-American and Australian institutions. METHODS: Patients with IGTS diagnosed from 2000-2017 were retrospectively evaluated. RESULTS: Out of 739 GCT diagnoses, IGTS was identified in 33 patients (4.5%). IGTS occurred in 9/191 (4.7%) mixed-malignant GCTs, 4/22 (18.2%) immature teratomas (ITs), 3/472 (0.6%) germinomas/germinomas with mature teratoma, and in 17 secreting non-biopsied tumours. Median age at GCT diagnosis was 10.9 years (range 1.8-19.4). Male gender (84%) and pineal location (88%) predominated. Of 27 patients with elevated markers, median serum AFP and Beta-HCG were 70 ng/mL (range 9.2-932) and 44 IU/L (range 4.2-493), respectively. IGTS occurred at a median time of 2 months (range 0.5-32) from diagnosis, during chemotherapy in 85%, radiation in 3%, and after treatment completion in 12%. Surgical resection was attempted in all, leading to gross total resection in 76%. Most patients (79%) resumed GCT chemotherapy/radiation after surgery. At a median follow-up of 5.3 years (range 0.3-12), all but 2 patients are alive (1 succumbed to progressive disease, 1 to malignant transformation of GCT). CONCLUSION: IGTS occurred in less than 5% of patients with GCT and most commonly after initiation of chemotherapy. IGTS was more common in patients with IT-only on biopsy than with mixed-malignant GCT. Surgical resection is a principal treatment modality. Survival outcomes for patients who developed IGTS are favourable.
Sheep in the uplands of the United Kingdom face a series of choices as to where to graze. These choices have been shown to be influenced by the spatial distribution of nutrient supply from herbage (Duncan et al., 1994). Micro-climatic variation may also determine where animals forage, particularly in topographically complex environments found in upland areas. Wind and rain have marked effects on heat loss and hence on lower critical temperature (LCT) in sheep (Blaxter, 1977). Mount and Brown (1982) demonstrated that there were occasions during a year when sheep were below their LCT. This study assumed that data gathered from a standard meteorological station were applicable to conditions actually experienced by grazing animals and took no account of the ability of herbivores to select a more favourable micro-climate under extreme conditions (Mount and Brown, 1982). The experiment reported here was carried out to examine the extent to which microclimate influenced the distribution of grazing by sheep under windy conditions. Micro-climate was manipulated using artificial shelters.
Identification of quantitative trait loci (QTL) provides insight into the genetic control of growth and body composition in pigs. The majority of QTL have been identified on autosomes with less QTL reported on the sex chromosomes. A reason may be that the genomic analysis of the X chromosome is more statistically challenging. Computer programmes accounting for the unique features of chromosome X have been unavailable until recently. Most studies have adopted a regression-based approach analysing males and females separately, which results in a decrease in power to detect QTL. In the present study, a QTL analysis of pig chromosome X (SSCX) was carried out using a method which accounts for the unique features associated with chromosome X, including the pseudoautosomal region of the Y chromosome.
The Molonglo Observatory Synthesis Telescope (MOST) is an 18000 m2 radio telescope located 40 km from Canberra, Australia. Its operating band (820–851 MHz) is partly allocated to telecommunications, making radio astronomy challenging. We describe how the deployment of new digital receivers, Field Programmable Gate Array-based filterbanks, and server-class computers equipped with 43 Graphics Processing Units, has transformed the telescope into a versatile new instrument (UTMOST) for studying the radio sky on millisecond timescales. UTMOST has 10 times the bandwidth and double the field of view compared to the MOST, and voltage record and playback capability has facilitated rapid implementaton of many new observing modes, most of which operate commensally. UTMOST can simultaneously excise interference, make maps, coherently dedisperse pulsars, and perform real-time searches of coherent fan-beams for dispersed single pulses. UTMOST operates as a robotic facility, deciding how to efficiently target pulsars and how long to stay on source via real-time pulsar folding, while searching for single pulse events. Regular timing of over 300 pulsars has yielded seven pulsar glitches and three Fast Radio Bursts during commissioning. UTMOST demonstrates that if sufficient signal processing is applied to voltage streams, innovative science remains possible even in hostile radio frequency environments.
Understanding the organic chemistry of molecular clouds, particularly the formation of biologically important molecules, is fundamental to the study of the processes which lead to the origin, evolution and distribution of life in the Galaxy. Determining the level of molecular complexity attainable in the clouds, and the nature of the complex organic material available to protostellar disks and the planetary systems that form from them, requires an understanding of the possible chemical pathways and is therefore a central question in astrochemistry. We have thus searched for prebiologically important molecules in the hot molecular cloud cores: Sgr B2(N-LMH), W51 e1/e2 and Orion-KL. Among the molecules searched: Pyrimidine is the unsubstituted ring analogue for three of the DNA and RNA bases. 2H-Azirine and Aziridine are azaheterocyclic compounds. And Glycine is the simplest amino acid. Detections of these interstellar organic molecular species will thus have important implications for Astrobiology. Our preliminary results indicate a tentative detection of interstellar glycine. If confirmed, this will be the first detection of an amino acid in interstellar space and will greatly strengthen the thesis that interstellar organic molecules could have played a pivotal role in the prebiotic chemistry of the early Earth.
The class of radio transients called Fast Radio Bursts (FRBs) encompasses enigmatic single pulses, each unique in its own way, hindering a consensus for their origin. The key to demystifying FRBs lies in discovering many of them in order to identity commonalities – and in real time, in order to find potential counterparts at other wavelengths. The recently upgraded UTMOST in Australia, is undergoing a backend transformation to rise as a fast transient detection machine. The first interferometric detections of FRBs with UTMOST, place their origin beyond the near-field region of the telescope thus ruling out local sources of interference as a possible origin. We have localised these bursts to much better than the ones discovered at the Parkes radio telescope and have plans to upgrade UTMOST to be capable of much better localisation still.
A prompt radio burst has been observed from the supernova 1987a in the Large Magellanic Cloud. Observations were made at 0.843, 1.415, 2.29, and 8.41 GHz. At frequencies around 1 GHz, the peak flux density reached about 150 mJy and occurred within four days of the supernova. This event may be a weak precursor to a major radio outburst of the type previously observed in other extragalactic supernovae. Radio monitoring of the supernova is continuing at each of the above frequencies, and coordination is underway of a southern hemisphere VLBI array to map the radio outburst region as it expands. Differential astrometry carried out on prime-focus plates taken with the Anglo-Australian telescope indicates that the component, star 1, of Sanduleak's star SK-69202 is within 0.05 ± 0.13 arcsec of the supernova.
To achieve their conservation goals individuals, communities and organizations need to acquire a diversity of skills, knowledge and information (i.e. capacity). Despite current efforts to build and maintain appropriate levels of conservation capacity, it has been recognized that there will need to be a significant scaling-up of these activities in sub-Saharan Africa. This is because of the rapid increase in the number and extent of environmental problems in the region. We present a range of socio-economic contexts relevant to four key areas of African conservation capacity building: protected area management, community engagement, effective leadership, and professional e-learning. Under these core themes, 39 specific recommendations are presented. These were derived from multi-stakeholder workshop discussions at an international conference held in Nairobi, Kenya, in 2015. At the meeting 185 delegates (practitioners, scientists, community groups and government agencies) represented 105 organizations from 24 African nations and eight non-African nations. The 39 recommendations constituted six broad types of suggested action: (1) the development of new methods, (2) the provision of capacity building resources (e.g. information or data), (3) the communication of ideas or examples of successful initiatives, (4) the implementation of new research or gap analyses, (5) the establishment of new structures within and between organizations, and (6) the development of new partnerships. A number of cross-cutting issues also emerged from the discussions: the need for a greater sense of urgency in developing capacity building activities; the need to develop novel capacity building methodologies; and the need to move away from one-size-fits-all approaches.
The volume of ice that flows annually from the Skelton Glacier on the west side of the Ross Ice Shelf between the Worcester and Royal Society Ranges was determined during 1958–59 traverse operations to be approximately 791 × 106 m.3 or 712 × 106 m.3 water equivalent. Annual accumulation on the Skelton névé field and small cirque glaciers is estimated to be 1,018 × 106 m.3 water equivalent, but this figure can be reduced to 712 × 106 m.3 by assuming that 30 per cent of the expected accumulation in the lower slopes of the glacier is lost to adjacent areas of the Ross Ice Shelf by katabatic winds. It is evident that little or no contribution to the nourishment of the Skelton Glacier comes from the high plateau area of East Antarctica. It is suggested that this condition exists generally in the western Ross Sea and Ross Shelf area, and is responsible for the existence of the present “dry” valleys in the McMurdo Sound area.
Some estimates of local ice regime are made at two sites on the glacier where ice thickness and strain rates are known.
Data are supplied to show that the “blue” surface ice zone encountered in the Skelton Glacier, Antarctica, results from horizontal compressive forces. Examples of the densification of surface snows of the Ross Ice Shelf by this means are also given. Such density changes should be expected in any area where either of the principal horizontal strain-rates is negative.
Accurate models of X-ray absorption and re-emission in partly stripped ions are necessary to calculate the structure of stars, the performance of hohlraums for inertial confinement fusion and many other systems in high-energy-density plasma physics. Despite theoretical progress, a persistent discrepancy exists with recent experiments at the Sandia Z facility studying iron in conditions characteristic of the solar radiative–convective transition region. The increased iron opacity measured at Z could help resolve a longstanding issue with the standard solar model, but requires a radical departure for opacity theory. To replicate the Z measurements, an opacity experiment has been designed for the National Facility (NIF). The design uses established techniques scaled to NIF. A laser-heated hohlraum will produce X-ray-heated uniform iron plasmas in local thermodynamic equilibrium (LTE) at temperatures
eV and electron densities
. The iron will be probed using continuum X-rays emitted in a
diameter source from a 2 mm diameter polystyrene (CH) capsule implosion. In this design,
of the NIF beams deliver 500 kJ to the
mm diameter hohlraum, and the remaining
directly drive the CH capsule with 200 kJ. Calculations indicate this capsule backlighter should outshine the iron sample, delivering a point-projection transmission opacity measurement to a time-integrated X-ray spectrometer viewing down the hohlraum axis. Preliminary experiments to develop the backlighter and hohlraum are underway, informing simulated measurements to guide the final design.
Experiments on the National Ignition Facility show that multi-dimensional effects currently dominate the implosion performance. Low mode implosion symmetry and hydrodynamic instabilities seeded by capsule mounting features appear to be two key limiting factors for implosion performance. One reason these factors have a large impact on the performance of inertial confinement fusion implosions is the high convergence required to achieve high fusion gains. To tackle these problems, a predictable implosion platform is needed meaning experiments must trade-off high gain for performance. LANL has adopted three main approaches to develop a one-dimensional (1D) implosion platform where 1D means measured yield over the 1D clean calculation. A high adiabat, low convergence platform is being developed using beryllium capsules enabling larger case-to-capsule ratios to improve symmetry. The second approach is liquid fuel layers using wetted foam targets. With liquid fuel layers, the implosion convergence can be controlled via the initial vapor pressure set by the target fielding temperature. The last method is double shell targets. For double shells, the smaller inner shell houses the DT fuel and the convergence of this cavity is relatively small compared to hot spot ignition. However, double shell targets have a different set of trade-off versus advantages. Details for each of these approaches are described.
We describe the performance of the Boolardy Engineering Test Array, the prototype for the Australian Square Kilometre Array Pathfinder telescope. Boolardy Engineering Test Array is the first aperture synthesis radio telescope to use phased array feed technology, giving it the ability to electronically form up to nine dual-polarisation beams. We report the methods developed for forming and measuring the beams, and the adaptations that have been made to the traditional calibration and imaging procedures in order to allow BETA to function as a multi-beam aperture synthesis telescope. We describe the commissioning of the instrument and present details of Boolardy Engineering Test Array’s performance: sensitivity, beam characteristics, polarimetric properties, and image quality. We summarise the astronomical science that it has produced and draw lessons from operating Boolardy Engineering Test Array that will be relevant to the commissioning and operation of the final Australian Square Kilometre Array Path telescope.
Skin and soft tissue infections (SSTIs) due to Staphylococcus aureus have become increasingly common in the outpatient setting; however, risk factors for differentiating methicillin-resistant S. aureus (MRSA) and methicillin-susceptible S. aureus (MSSA) SSTIs are needed to better inform antibiotic treatment decisions. We performed a case-case-control study within 14 primary-care clinics in South Texas from 2007 to 2015. Overall, 325 patients [S. aureus SSTI cases (case group 1, n = 175); MRSA SSTI cases (case group 2, n = 115); MSSA SSTI cases (case group 3, n = 60); uninfected control group (control, n = 150)] were evaluated. Each case group was compared to the control group, and then qualitatively contrasted to identify unique risk factors associated with S. aureus, MRSA, and MSSA SSTIs. Overall, prior SSTIs [adjusted odds ratio (aOR) 7·60, 95% confidence interval (CI) 3·31–17·45], male gender (aOR 1·74, 95% CI 1·06–2·85), and absence of healthcare occupation status (aOR 0·14, 95% CI 0·03–0·68) were independently associated with S. aureus SSTIs. The only unique risk factor for community-associated (CA)-MRSA SSTIs was a high body weight (⩾110 kg) (aOR 2·03, 95% CI 1·01–4·09).
The Southern Hemisphere VLBI Experiment (SHEVE) program is aimed at producing high-resolution images of southern radio sources. The radio telescopes of the present SHEVE array are described below and some recent results presented.