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The U.S. Army uses universal preventives interventions for several negative outcomes (e.g. suicide, violence, sexual assault) with especially high risks in the early years of service. More intensive interventions exist, but would be cost-effective only if targeted at high-risk soldiers. We report results of efforts to develop models for such targeting from self-report surveys administered at the beginning of Army service.
21 832 new soldiers completed a self-administered questionnaire (SAQ) in 2011–2012 and consented to link administrative data to SAQ responses. Penalized regression models were developed for 12 administratively-recorded outcomes occurring by December 2013: suicide attempt, mental hospitalization, positive drug test, traumatic brain injury (TBI), other severe injury, several types of violence perpetration and victimization, demotion, and attrition.
The best-performing models were for TBI (AUC = 0.80), major physical violence perpetration (AUC = 0.78), sexual assault perpetration (AUC = 0.78), and suicide attempt (AUC = 0.74). Although predicted risk scores were significantly correlated across outcomes, prediction was not improved by including risk scores for other outcomes in models. Of particular note: 40.5% of suicide attempts occurred among the 10% of new soldiers with highest predicted risk, 57.2% of male sexual assault perpetrations among the 15% with highest predicted risk, and 35.5% of female sexual assault victimizations among the 10% with highest predicted risk.
Data collected at the beginning of service in self-report surveys could be used to develop risk models that define small proportions of new soldiers accounting for high proportions of negative outcomes over the first few years of service.
Despite a flood of discoveries over the last ~ 20 years, our knowledge of the exoplanet population is incomplete owing to a gap between the sensitivities of different detection techniques. However, a census of exoplanets at all separations from their host stars is essential to fully understand planet formation mechanisms. Microlensing offers an effective way to bridge the gap around 1–10 AU and is therefore one of the major science goals of the Wide Field Infrared Survey Telescope (WFIRST) mission. WFIRST’s survey of the Galactic Bulge is expected to discover ~ 20,000 microlensing events, including ~ 3000 planets, which represents a substantial data analysis challenge with the modeling software currently available. This paper highlights areas where further work is needed. The community is encouraged to join new software development efforts aimed at making the modeling of microlensing events both more accessible and rigorous.
Four accelerator mass spectrometry (AMS) facilities undertook an interlaboratory exercise designed to examine the reliability and reproducibility of radiocarbon determinations on bone by dating a sample of elk (Alces alces) from Miesenheim IV. This specimen is derived from a secure geological context directly beneath the Laacher See tephra, which provides a precise terminus ante quern of ∼11,060 yr BP (∼13,050 cal yr BP). Regrettably, the results of the intercomparison exercise were complicated by evident contamination of the bone sample by exogenous organic material. This contaminant, probably humic acid, resulted in a wide span of ages (10,010 ± 30 to 11,100 ± 45 BP). The only method that yielded an accurate determination, consistent with the age of the tephra, was Oxford's single amino acid technique, which targets hydroxyproline. An acid hydrolysis step seems to have been crucial in breaking the bonds between the bone collagen and the contaminant.
Although interventions exist to reduce violent crime, optimal implementation requires accurate targeting. We report the results of an attempt to develop an actuarial model using machine learning methods to predict future violent crimes among US Army soldiers.
A consolidated administrative database for all 975 057 soldiers in the US Army in 2004–2009 was created in the Army Study to Assess Risk and Resilience in Servicemembers (Army STARRS). Of these soldiers, 5771 committed a first founded major physical violent crime (murder-manslaughter, kidnapping, aggravated arson, aggravated assault, robbery) over that time period. Temporally prior administrative records measuring socio-demographic, Army career, criminal justice, medical/pharmacy, and contextual variables were used to build an actuarial model for these crimes separately among men and women using machine learning methods (cross-validated stepwise regression, random forests, penalized regressions). The model was then validated in an independent 2011–2013 sample.
Key predictors were indicators of disadvantaged social/socioeconomic status, early career stage, prior crime, and mental disorder treatment. Area under the receiver-operating characteristic curve was 0.80–0.82 in 2004–2009 and 0.77 in the 2011–2013 validation sample. Of all administratively recorded crimes, 36.2–33.1% (male-female) were committed by the 5% of soldiers having the highest predicted risk in 2004–2009 and an even higher proportion (50.5%) in the 2011–2013 validation sample.
Although these results suggest that the models could be used to target soldiers at high risk of violent crime perpetration for preventive interventions, final implementation decisions would require further validation and weighing of predicted effectiveness against intervention costs and competing risks.
The Army Study to Assess Risk and Resilience in Servicemembers (Army STARRS) has found that the proportional elevation in the US Army enlisted soldier suicide rate during deployment (compared with the never-deployed or previously deployed) is significantly higher among women than men, raising the possibility of gender differences in the adverse psychological effects of deployment.
Person-month survival models based on a consolidated administrative database for active duty enlisted Regular Army soldiers in 2004–2009 (n = 975 057) were used to characterize the gender × deployment interaction predicting suicide. Four explanatory hypotheses were explored involving the proportion of females in each soldier's occupation, the proportion of same-gender soldiers in each soldier's unit, whether the soldier reported sexual assault victimization in the previous 12 months, and the soldier's pre-deployment history of treated mental/behavioral disorders.
The suicide rate of currently deployed women (14.0/100 000 person-years) was 3.1–3.5 times the rates of other (i.e. never-deployed/previously deployed) women. The suicide rate of currently deployed men (22.6/100 000 person-years) was 0.9–1.2 times the rates of other men. The adjusted (for time trends, sociodemographics, and Army career variables) female:male odds ratio comparing the suicide rates of currently deployed v. other women v. men was 2.8 (95% confidence interval 1.1–6.8), became 2.4 after excluding soldiers with Direct Combat Arms occupations, and remained elevated (in the range 1.9–2.8) after adjusting for the hypothesized explanatory variables.
These results are valuable in excluding otherwise plausible hypotheses for the elevated suicide rate of deployed women and point to the importance of expanding future research on the psychological challenges of deployment for women.
Stripe rust, caused by Puccinia striiformis f. sp. tritici (Pst), is a major wheat disease that can inflict yield losses of up to 70% on susceptible varieties under favourable environmental conditions. The timely identification of plant genetic resources likely to possess novel resistance to this disease would facilitate the rapid development of resistant wheat varieties. The focused identification of germplasm strategy (FIGS) approach was used to predict stripe rust resistance in a collection of wheat landraces conserved at ICARDA genebank. Long-term climate data for the collection sites, from which these accessions originated and stripe rust evaluation scores for one group of accessions were presented to three different non-linear models to explore the trait×collection site environment interactions. Patterns in the data detected by the models were used to predict stripe rust resistance in a second and different set of accessions. The results of the prediction were then tested against actual evaluation scores of the disease in the field. The study mimics the real scenario where requests are made to plant genetic resources curators to provide accessions that are likely to possess variation for specific traits such as disease resistance.
The models used were able to identify stripe rust-resistant accessions with a high degree of accuracy. Values as high as 0·75 for area under the curve and 0·45 for Kappa statistics, which quantify the agreement between the models’ predictions and the curator's disease scores, were achieved. This demonstrates a strong environmental component in the geographic distribution of resistance genes and therefore supports the theoretical basis for FIGS. It is argued that FIGS will improve the rate of gene discovery and efficiency of mining genetic resource collections for adaptive traits by reducing the number of accessions that are normally required for evaluation to identify such variation.
Long-term fire histories provide insight into the effects of climate, ecology and humans on fire activity; they can be generated using accumulation rates of charcoal and soot black carbon in lacustrine sediments. This study uses both charcoal and black carbon, and other paleoclimate indicators from Lake Kinneret (Sea of Galilee), Israel, to reconstruct late Holocene variations in biomass burning and aridity. We compare the fire history data with a regional biomass-burning reconstruction from 18 different charcoal records and with pollen, climate, and population data to decipher the relative impacts of regional climate, vegetation changes, and human activity on fire. We show a long-term decline in fire activity over the past 3070 years, from high biomass burning ~ 3070–1750 cal yr BP to significantly lower levels after ~ 1750 cal yr BP. Human modification of the landscape (e.g., forest clearing, agriculture, settlement expansion and early industry) in periods of low to moderate precipitation appears to have been the greatest cause of high biomass burning during the late Holocene in southern Levant, while wetter climate apparently reduced fire activity during periods of both low and high human activity.
n-Alkane biomarker distributions in sediments from Swamp Lake (SL), in the central Sierra Nevada of California (USA), provide evidence for an increase in mean lake level ~ 3000 yr ago, in conjunction with widespread climatic change inferred from marine and continental records in the eastern North Pacific region. Length distributions of n-alkane chains in modern plants growing at SL were determined and compared to sedimentary distributions in a core spanning the last 13 ka. As a group, submerged and floating aquatic plants contained high proportions of short chain lengths (< nC25) compared to emergent, riparian and upland terrestrial species, for which chain lengths > nC27 were dominant. Changes in the sedimentary n-alkane distribution over time were driven by variable inputs from plant sources in response to changing lake level, sedimentation and plant community composition. A shift toward shorter chain lengths (nC21,nC23) occurred between 3.1 and 2.9 ka and is best explained by an increase in the abundance of aquatic plants and the availability of shallow-water habitat in response to rising lake level. The late Holocene expansion of SL following a dry mid-Holocene is consistent with previous evidence for increased effective moisture and the onset of wetter conditions in the Sierra Nevada between 4.0 and 3.0 ka.
Depressive symptoms may increase the risk of progressing from mild cognitive impairment (MCI) to dementia. Consumption of n-3 PUFA may alleviate both cognitive decline and depression. The aim of the present study was to investigate the benefits of supplementing a diet with n-3 PUFA, DHA and EPA, for depressive symptoms, quality of life (QOL) and cognition in elderly people with MCI. We conducted a 6-month double-blind, randomised controlled trial. A total of fifty people aged >65 years with MCI were allocated to receive a supplement rich in EPA (1·67 g EPA+0·16 g DHA/d; n 17), DHA (1·55 g DHA+0·40 g EPA/d; n 18) or the n-6 PUFA linoleic acid (LA; 2·2 g/d; n 15). Treatment allocation was by minimisation based on age, sex and depressive symptoms (Geriatric Depression Scale, GDS). Physiological and cognitive assessments, questionnaires and fatty acid composition of erythrocytes were obtained at baseline and 6 months (completers: n 40; EPA n 13, DHA n 16, LA n 11). Compared with the LA group, GDS scores improved in the EPA (P = 0·04) and DHA (P = 0·01) groups and verbal fluency (Initial Letter Fluency) in the DHA group (P = 0·04). Improved GDS scores were correlated with increased DHA plus EPA (r 0·39, P = 0·02). Improved self-reported physical health was associated with increased DHA. There were no treatment effects on other cognitive or QOL parameters. Increased intakes of DHA and EPA benefited mental health in older people with MCI. Increasing n-3 PUFA intakes may reduce depressive symptoms and the risk of progressing to dementia. This needs to be investigated in larger, depressed samples with MCI.
Gravitational microlensing is a well established and unique field of time-domain astrophysics. For two decades microlensing surveys have been regularly observing millions of stars to detect elusive events that follow a characteristic Paczyński lightcurve. This workshop reviewed the current state of the field, and covered the major topics related to microlensing: searches for extrasolar planets, and studies of dark matter. There were also discussions of issues relating to the organisation of follow-up observations for microlensing, as well as serendipitous scientific outcomes resulting from extensive microlensing data.
Las Cumbres Observatory Global Telescope Network (LCOGT) is currently building a new kind of general-purpose astronomical facility: a fully robotic network of telescopes of 2m, 1m and 0.4m apertures and homogeneous instrumentation. A pan-network approach to scheduling (rather than per individual telescope) offers redundancy in the event of poor weather or technical failure, as well as the ability to observe a target around the clock. Here we describe the network design and instrumentation under development, together with the main science programmes already being lead by LCOGT staff.
The development of electronic paper has been a long-term goal and electrophoretic displays are a promising candidate for this application. Apart from developing the electrophoretic display medium there are important issues to solve regarding the overall system. The importance of the electronic addressing method increases with the demand for arbitrary images or text. We have developed and tested active-matrix backplanes based on amorphous silicon technology, as well as the driver electronics. The electrophoretic ink is combined with the backplane employing polymer MEMS cell structures. This system allows us to display high-resolution images and it is a good test bed for investigating various parameters of the electrophoretic display medium and of the electronics.
Two-dimensional image sensor arrays incorporating an organic light sensor are reported, with potential application to digital cameras and x-ray imaging. The 512×512 element array has pixel size of 100 micron, and operates with active matrix addressing using amorphous silicon thin film transistors. The array design allows the use of a continuous layer of the organic sensor material without the need for pixel-level patterning. The sensor is a bilayer comprising a thin generator layer and a thicker hole transport layer. Generator materials benzimidazole perylene (BZP) and hydroxy gallium phthalocyanine (HOGaPc) have been studied, with a tetraphenyldiamine (TPD) transport layer. Both sensors give excellent imaging properties with low leakage current, good charge collection and high spatial resolution.
A very large enhancement of the photoconductivity in pentacene transistors at negative gate voltages is observed. The enhancement is attributed to the separation of electron-hole pairs by the gate field and the consequent slow recombination. The ratio of photoconductivity to dark conductivity is approximately independent of mobility, for samples with a wide range of microstructure. The pentacene films were thermally deposited at different deposition rates and temperatures on silicon thermal oxide. The structure and the morphology of the films were studied by x-ray diffraction measurements and atomic force microscopy, and the influence of the deposition temperature on the morphology and structural properties is discussed. The size of the crystals is correlated with the crystalline bulk phase of the material, which increases with the deposition temperature and the film thickness. The mobility of the transistors increases with the size of the crystallites.
Pulsed excimer-laser processing of amorphous silicon on non-crystalline substrates allows for the fabrication of high-quality polysilicon thin-film transistors (TFTs). It also provides procedures for doping self-aligned amorphous silicon TFTs. In addition, laser-crystallized polysilicon exhibits some interesting materials properties, such as, large lateral grain growth with a corresponding enhancement in the electron mobility. Under optimized processing conditions, excellent polysilicon TFTs with high mobilities, sharp turn on, low off-state leakage currents and good spatial uniformity have been achieved. These improved parameters, particularly the low off-state leakage currents and good uniformity, enable not only displays but also the moredemanding flat-panel imaging arrays to be fabricated in polysilicon. Results on both polysilicon CMOS circuits and a polysilicon flat-panel imager are presented.
The pixel cross-talk is investigated in two-dimensional amorphous silicon (a-Si:H) imager arrays based on the new high fill factor design. In this configuration a continuous a-Si:H sensor extends over the whole surface of the imager, and a buried insulator material with low dielectric constant is used to separate the sensor from the underlying active matrix readout circuit. We find that the lateral conduction between neighboring pixels is mainly determined by the quality of the buried insulator-sensor interface, rather than the specific buried material itself. Minimum cross-talk values below 1% are obtained for different insulator materials including silicon oxynitride and thicker polymer based resins. The quality of this interface also affects trapping and recombination of the photogenerated carriers, influencing important imager properties such as sensitivity and image lag.
Micromachining has potential applications for large area image sensors and displays, but conventional MEMS technology, based on crystalline silicon wafers cannot be used. Instead, large area devices use deposited films on glass substrates. This presents many challenges for MEMS, both as regards materials for micro-machined structures and the integration with large area electronic devices. We are exploring the novel thick photoresist SU-8, as well as plating techniques for the fabrication of large area MEMS. As an example of its application, we have applied this MEMS technology to improve the performance of an amorphous silicon based image sensor array. SU-8 is explored as the structural material for the X-ray conversion screen and as a thick interlayer dielectric for the thin film readout electronics of the imager.
We report studies of the image-blur effects caused by lateral cross-talk between neighboring pixels of large-area amorphous silicon (a-Si:H) image sensors. The lateral conduction is attributed to three effects: conduction along the interface between the a-Si:H film and the underlying passivation; field-dependent electron injection at the edge of the sensor; and a field enhancement of the interface conduction due to the bias applied to the address lines. We show that the cross-talk can be controlled by choice of the operating conditions and optimization of the materials.
Pulsed Excimer-Laser Annealing (ELA) has become an important technology to produce high performance, poly-Si Thin Film Transistors (TFTs) for large area electronics. The much-improved performance of these poly-Si TFTs over the conventional hydrogenated amorphous Si TFTs enables the possibility of building next generation flat panel imagers with higher-level integration and better noise performance. Both the on-glass integration of peripheral driver electronics to reduce the cost of interconnection and the integration of a pixel level amplifier to improve the noise performance of large area imagers have been demonstrated and are discussed in this paper.
Phase-change wax-based printed masks were used to fabricate a-Si:H thin-film transistors (TFTs) in place of conventional lithography. Wax-mask features with a minimum feature size of ∼20 [.proportional]m was achieved using an acoustic-ink-printing process. Bottom-gate TFTs with source-drain contacts overlapping the channel were created using a four-mask process. The TFTs have I-V characteristics comparable to photolithographically patterned devices, with mobility of 0.6-1 cm2/V·s, threshold voltage of 2-3 V, and on/off ratios exceeding 107, for devices with channel lengths below 50[.proportional]m.