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Critical shortages of personal protective equipment especially N95 respirators during the COVID- 19 pandemic continues to be a source of concern. Novel methods of N95 filtering facepiece respirator decontamination that can be scaled-up for in-hospital use can help address this concern and keep HCWs safe.
A multidisciplinary pragmatic study was conducted to evaluate the use of an ultrasonic room high-level disinfection system (HLDS) that generates aerosolized peracetic acid (PAA) and hydrogen peroxide for decontamination of large numbers of N95 respirators. A cycle duration that consistently achieved disinfection of N95 respirators (defined as ≥6 log10 reductions in bacteriophage MS2 and Geobacillus stearothermophilus spores inoculated onto respirators) was identified. The treated masks were assessed for changes to their hydrophobicity, material structure, strap elasticity, and filtration efficiency (FE). PAA and hydrogen peroxide off-gassing from treated masks were also assessed.
The PAA room HLDS was effective for disinfection of bacteriophage MS2 and G. stearothermophilus spores on respirators in a 2447 cubic feet room with aerosol deploy and dwell times of 16 and 32 minutes, respectively. The total cycle time was 1 hour and 16 minutes. After 5 treatment cycles, no adverse effects were detected on filtration efficiency, structural integrity, or strap elasticity. There was no detectable off-gassing of PAA and hydrogen peroxide from the treated masks at 20 and 60 minutes after the disinfection cycle respectively.
The PAA room disinfection system provides a rapidly scalable solution for in-hospital decontamination of large numbers of N95 respirators during the COVID- 19 pandemic.
We investigate the effects of magnetisation on the two-fluid plasma Richtmyer–Meshkov instability of a single-mode thermal interface using a computational approach. The initial magnetic field is normal to the mean interface location. Results are presented for a magnetic interaction parameter of 0.1 and plasma skin depths ranging from 0.1 to 10 perturbation wavelengths. These are compared to initially unmagnetised and neutral fluid cases. The electron flow is found to be constrained to lie along the magnetic field lines resulting in significant longitudinal flow features that interact strongly with the ion fluid. The presence of an initial magnetic field is shown to suppress the growth of the initial interface perturbation with effectiveness determined by plasma length scale. Suppression of the instability is attributed to the magnetic field's contribution to the Lorentz force. This acts to rotate the vorticity vector in each fluid about the local magnetic-field vector leading to cyclic inversion and transport of the out-of-plane vorticity that drives perturbation growth. The transport of vorticity along field lines increases with decreasing plasma length scales and the wave packets responsible for vorticity transport begin to coalesce. In general, the two-fluid plasma Richtmyer–Meshkov instability is found to be suppressed through the action of the imposed magnetic field with increasing effectiveness as plasma length scale is decreased. For the conditions investigated, a critical skin depth for instability suppression is estimated.
Soybean meal is rich in soybean isoflavones, which exhibit antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, antiviral and anticancer functions in humans and animals. This study was conducted to investigate the effects of soybean isoflavones on the growth performance, intestinal morphology and antioxidative properties in pigs. A total of 72 weaned piglets (7.45 ± 0.13 kg; 36 males and 36 females) were allocated into three treatments and fed corn-soybean meal (C-SBM), corn-soy protein concentrate (C-SPC) or C-SPC supplemented with equal levels of the isoflavones found in the C-SBM diet (C-SPC + ISF) for a 72-day trial. Each treatment had six replicates and four piglets per replicate, half male and half female. On day 42, one male pig from each replicate was selected and euthanized to collect intestinal samples. The results showed that compared to pigs fed the C-SPC diet, pigs fed the C-SBM and C-SPC + ISF diets had higher BW on day 72 (P < 0.05); pigs fed the C-SBM diet had significantly higher average daily gain (ADG) during days 14 to 28 (P < 0.05), with C-SPC + ISF being intermediate; pigs fed the C-SBM diet tended to have higher ADG during days 42 to 72 (P = 0.063), while pigs fed the C-SPC + ISF diet had significantly higher ADG during days 42 to 72 (P < 0.05). Moreover, compared to pigs fed the C-SPC diet, pigs fed the C-SBM diet tended to have greater villus height (P = 0.092), while pigs fed the C-SPC + ISF diet had significantly greater villus height (P < 0.05); pigs fed the C-SBM and C-SPC + ISF diets had significantly increased villus height-to-crypt depth ratio (P < 0.05). Compared with the C-SPC diet, dietary C-SPC + ISF tended to increase plasma superoxide dismutase activity on days 28 (P = 0.085) and 42 (P = 0.075) and reduce plasma malondialdehyde (MDA) content on day 42 (P = 0.089), as well as significantly decreased jejunal mucosa MDA content on day 42 (P < 0.05). However, no significant difference in the expression of tight junction genes among the three groups was found (P > 0.05). In conclusion, our results suggest that a long-term exposure to soybean isoflavones enhances the growth performance, protects the intestinal morphology and improves the antioxidative properties in pigs.
Changed spatial configurations at sowing have been investigated as a strategy to minimize interspecific competition and improve the establishment and persistence of multi-species plantings in pastures, but the impact of this practice on the soil microbiome has received almost no previous research attention. Differences in populations of bacteria and fungi in the surface 10 cm of soil in the third year following pasture establishment were quantified using quantitative polymerase chain reaction and terminal restriction fragment length polymorphism methods. Populations were compared on, and between, drill rows sown to either the perennial grass phalaris (Phalaris aquatica L.), perennial legume lucerne (alfalfa; Medicago sativa L.) or the annual legume subterranean clover (Trifolium subterraneum L.). Results showed that soil microbial abundance and diversity were related to plant distribution across the field at the time of sampling and to soil chemical parameters including total carbon (C), mineral nitrogen (N), pH, and available phosphorus (P), potassium (K) and sulfur (S). Despite the 27-month lag since sowing, pasture species remained concentrated around the original drill row with very little colonization of the inter-row area. The abundance and diversity of bacterial and fungal populations were consistently greater under drill rows associated with higher total C concentrations in the surface soil compared with the inter-row areas. Our results showed that the pH and available nutrients were similar between the subterranean clover drill row and the inter-row, suggesting that soil microbial populations were not impacted directly by these soil fertility parameters, but rather were related to the presence or absence of plants. The abundance of bacteria and fungi were numerically lower under phalaris rows compared to rows sown to legumes. The richness and diversity of fungal populations were lowest between rows where lucerne was planted. Possible explanations for this observation include a lower C:N ratio of lucerne roots and/or a lack of fibrous roots at the soil surface compared to the other species, illustrating the influence of contrasting plant types on the soil microflora community. This study highlights the enduring legacy of the drill row on the spatial distribution of plants well into the pasture phase of a cropping rotation and discusses the opportunity to enhance the microbiome of cropping soils on a large scale during the pasture phase by increasing plant distribution across the landscape.
Acute change in mental status (ACMS), defined by the Confusion Assessment Method, is used to identify infections in nursing home residents. A medical record review revealed that none of 15,276 residents had an ACMS documented. Using the revised McGeer criteria with a possible ACMS definition, we identified 296 residents and 21 additional infections. The use of a possible ACMS definition should be considered for retrospective nursing home infection surveillance.
Cariprazine is a potent D3/D2 partial agonist with preferential binding to D3 receptors.
To evaluate the efficacy and safety of cariprazine versus placebo in acute exacerbation of schizophrenia.
A multinational, multicenter, double-blind, randomized, placebo- and active-controlled, fixed-dose trial in patients aged 18–60 years with DSM-IV-TR-defined schizophrenia, current psychotic episode < 2 weeks, and PANSS total score between 80 and 120. After 1-week washout, patients received 6-weeks treatment (cariprazine 1.5, 3.0, or 4.5 mg/d, risperidone 4.0 mg/d, or placebo) and 2-week safety follow-up. Risperidone was used to assess assay sensitivity. Primary and secondary efficacy: baseline to Week 6 change (LOCF) in PANSS total and CGI-S scores, respectively. Safety: adverse events (AEs), vital signs, laboratory measures, extrapyramidal symptom (EPS) scales.
Of 732 randomized patients, 64% completed the study. Mean baseline PANSS (98) and CGI-S scores (4.8) were similar across groups. PANSS total score improvement at Week 6 was statistically significant versus placebo for cariprazine 1.5 mg/d, 3.0 mg/d, and 4.5 mg/d (placebo-adjusted improvements: −7.5, −8.9, −10.4, respectively; P < .001; LOCF) and risperidone (−15.0, P < .001, LOCF); significant improvement on CGI-S was demonstrated for all active treatments (P < .05). The most common cariprazine AEs were insomnia, EPS, akathisia, sedation, nausea, dizziness, and constipation. AE discontinuation rates were 15% for placebo, 10%, 5% and 8% for cariprazine 1.5, 3.0, and 4.5 mg/d, respectively, and 9% for risperidone 4.0 mg/d.
Cariprazine significantly improved PANSS and CGI-S scores versus placebo in acute exacerbation of schizophrenia and was generally well tolerated.
Modafinil was tested for efficacy in facilitating abstinence in cocaine-dependent patients, compared to placebo.
This is a double-blind placebo-controlled study, with 12 weeks of treatment and a 4-week follow-up. 210 treatment-seekers with DSM-IV diagnosis of cocaine dependence consented and enrolled. 72 participants were randomized to placebo, 69 to modafinil 200mg, and 69 to modafinil 400mg, taken once daily on awakening. Participants attended the clinic three times per week for assessments and urine drug screens, and had one hour of individual psychotherapy once per week. The primary outcome was the increase in weekly percentage of non-use days. Secondary outcomes included: decrease in the weekly median log of urine benzoylecgonine, subgroup analyses of balancing factors and co-morbid conditions, self-report of alcohol use, addiction severity, craving, and risk behaviors for HIV.
125 participants completed 12 weeks of treatment (60%). The GEE regression analysis showed that for the total sample, the difference between modafinil groups and placebo in the weekly percentage of cocaine non-use days over the 12-week treatment period was not statistically significant (p=0.95). A post-hoc analysis showed a significant effect for modafinil, only in the subgroup of cocaine patients without alcohol dependence. Modafinil 200mg also showed significant effects of an increase in the total number of consecutive non-use days for cocaine (p=0.02), and a reduction in craving (p=0.04).
These data suggest that modafinil, in combination with individual behavioral therapy, was effective for increasing cocaine non-use days in participants without co-morbid alcohol dependence, and in reducing craving.
To evaluate the upper airway morphology changes associated with ageing in adult Chinese patients with obstructive sleep apnoea.
A total of 124 male patients diagnosed with obstructive sleep apnoea by overnight polysomnography, who underwent upper airway computed tomography, were enrolled. The linear dimensions, cross-sectional area and volume of the upper airway region and the surrounding bony frame were measured. The association between ageing and upper airway morphology was analysed.
Soft palate length, minimum cross-sectional area of the retroglossal region, lateral dimensions at the minimum cross-sectional area of the retropalatal and retroglossal regions, nasopharyngeal volume, and average cross-sectional area of the nasopharyngeal region were found to significantly increase with ageing in all patients, while the upper airway shape flattened with ageing. The volume of the retropalatal region increased with ageing among the patients with a body mass index of less than 24 kg/m2. The volume of parapharyngeal fat pad increased with ageing among patients with a body mass index greater than 28 kg/m2.
A number of dimensional, cross-sectional and volumetric parameters of the pharynx increased with age, indicating that non-anatomical factors may play a more important role in the pathogenesis of obstructive sleep apnoea in aged patients.
Deep-brain magnetic stimulation (DMS) is an effective therapy for various neuropsychiatric disorders including major depression disorder. The molecular and cellular mechanisms underlying the impacts of DMS on the brain remain unclear. Studies have reported abnormalities in the white matter of depressive brains, suggesting the involvement of myelin and oligodendrocyte pathologies in the development of major depressive disorder. In this study, we use a cuprizone induced demyelination animal model to generate depressive like behaviours and white matter and oligodendrocyte damages. Meanwhile, we treated the animal with DMS 20 minutes daily during the cuprizone challenge or recovery period. Behavioural tests, including nesting, new objective recognition, working memory and depression-like behaviours were tested periodically. Histological staining and western blotting were used to examine the underlying mechanism of DMS. We found that DMS reverse cuprizone induced behavioural deficits in acute demyelination but not during the recovery period. DMS alleviated demyelination and inflammation induced by cuprizone. During the recovery period, DMS had no impacts on overall neural progenitor cell proliferation, but enhanced the maturation of oligodendrocyte. This data suggest that DMS may be a promising treatment option for improving white matter function in psychiatric disorders and neurological diseases in future.
Disclosure of interest
The authors have not supplied their declaration of competing interest.
United Nations (UN) personnel address a diverse range of political, social, and cultural crises throughout the world. Compared with other occupations routinely exposed to traumatic stress, there remains a paucity of research on mental health disorders and access to mental healthcare in this population. To fill this gap, personnel from UN agencies were surveyed for mental health disorders and mental healthcare utilization.
UN personnel (N = 17 363) from 11 UN entities completed online measures of generalized anxiety disorder (GAD), major depressive disorder (MDD), posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD), trauma exposure, mental healthcare usage, and socio-demographic information.
Exposure to one or more traumatic events was reported by 36.2% of survey responders. Additionally, 17.9% screened positive for GAD, 22.8% for MDD, and 19.9% for PTSD. Employing multivariable logistic regressions, low job satisfaction, younger age (<35 years of age), greater length of employment, and trauma exposure on or off-duty was significantly associated with all the three disorders. Among individuals screening positive for a mental health disorder, 2.05% sought mental health treatment within and 10.01% outside the UN in the past year.
UN personnel appear to be at high risk for trauma exposure and screening positive for a mental health disorder, yet a small percentage screening positive for mental health disorders sought treatment. Despite the mental health gaps observed in this study, additional research is needed, as these data reflect a large sample of convenience and it cannot be determined if the findings are representative of the UN.
The Murchison Widefield Array (MWA) is an open access telescope dedicated to studying the low-frequency (80–300 MHz) southern sky. Since beginning operations in mid-2013, the MWA has opened a new observational window in the southern hemisphere enabling many science areas. The driving science objectives of the original design were to observe 21 cm radiation from the Epoch of Reionisation (EoR), explore the radio time domain, perform Galactic and extragalactic surveys, and monitor solar, heliospheric, and ionospheric phenomena. All together
programs recorded 20 000 h producing 146 papers to date. In 2016, the telescope underwent a major upgrade resulting in alternating compact and extended configurations. Other upgrades, including digital back-ends and a rapid-response triggering system, have been developed since the original array was commissioned. In this paper, we review the major results from the prior operation of the MWA and then discuss the new science paths enabled by the improved capabilities. We group these science opportunities by the four original science themes but also include ideas for directions outside these categories.
Maternal obesity is associated with obesity and metabolic disorders in offspring. However, there remains a paucity of data on strategies to reverse the effects of maternal obesity on maternal and offspring health. With maternal undernutrition, taurine supplementation improves outcomes in offspring mediated in part via improved glucose–insulin homeostasis. The efficacy of taurine supplementation in the setting of maternal obesity on health and well-being of offspring is unknown. We examined the effects of taurine supplementation on outcomes related to growth and metabolism in offspring in a rat model of maternal obesity.
Wistar rats were randomised to: 1) control diet during pregnancy and lactation (CON); 2) CON with 1.5% taurine in drinking water (CT); 3) maternal obesogenic diet (MO); or 4) MO with taurine (MOT). Offspring were weaned onto the control diet for the remainder of the study.
At day 150, offspring body weights and adipose tissue weights were increased in MO groups compared to CON. Adipose tissue weights were reduced in MOT versus MO males but not females. Plasma fasting leptin and insulin were increased in MO offspring groups but were not altered by maternal taurine supplementation. Plasma homocysteine concentrations were reduced in all maternal taurine-supplemented offspring groups. There were significant interactions across maternal diet, taurine supplementation and sex for response to an oral glucose tolerance test , a high-fat dietary preference test and pubertal onset in offspring.
These results demonstrate that maternal taurine supplementation can partially ameliorate adverse developmental programming effects in offspring in a sex-specific manner.
Space Infrared Telescope for Cosmology and Astrophysics (SPICA), the cryogenic infrared space telescope recently pre-selected for a ‘Phase A’ concept study as one of the three remaining candidates for European Space Agency (ESA's) fifth medium class (M5) mission, is foreseen to include a far-infrared polarimetric imager [SPICA-POL, now called B-fields with BOlometers and Polarizers (B-BOP)], which would offer a unique opportunity to resolve major issues in our understanding of the nearby, cold magnetised Universe. This paper presents an overview of the main science drivers for B-BOP, including high dynamic range polarimetric imaging of the cold interstellar medium (ISM) in both our Milky Way and nearby galaxies. Thanks to a cooled telescope, B-BOP will deliver wide-field 100–350
m images of linearly polarised dust emission in Stokes Q and U with a resolution, signal-to-noise ratio, and both intensity and spatial dynamic ranges comparable to those achieved by Herschel images of the cold ISM in total intensity (Stokes I). The B-BOP 200
m images will also have a factor
30 higher resolution than Planck polarisation data. This will make B-BOP a unique tool for characterising the statistical properties of the magnetised ISM and probing the role of magnetic fields in the formation and evolution of the interstellar web of dusty molecular filaments giving birth to most stars in our Galaxy. B-BOP will also be a powerful instrument for studying the magnetism of nearby galaxies and testing Galactic dynamo models, constraining the physics of dust grain alignment, informing the problem of the interaction of cosmic rays with molecular clouds, tracing magnetic fields in the inner layers of protoplanetary disks, and monitoring accretion bursts in embedded protostars.
The COllaborative project of Development of Anthropometrical measures in Twins (CODATwins) project is a large international collaborative effort to analyze individual-level phenotype data from twins in multiple cohorts from different environments. The main objective is to study factors that modify genetic and environmental variation of height, body mass index (BMI, kg/m2) and size at birth, and additionally to address other research questions such as long-term consequences of birth size. The project started in 2013 and is open to all twin projects in the world having height and weight measures on twins with information on zygosity. Thus far, 54 twin projects from 24 countries have provided individual-level data. The CODATwins database includes 489,981 twin individuals (228,635 complete twin pairs). Since many twin cohorts have collected longitudinal data, there is a total of 1,049,785 height and weight observations. For many cohorts, we also have information on birth weight and length, own smoking behavior and own or parental education. We found that the heritability estimates of height and BMI systematically changed from infancy to old age. Remarkably, only minor differences in the heritability estimates were found across cultural–geographic regions, measurement time and birth cohort for height and BMI. In addition to genetic epidemiological studies, we looked at associations of height and BMI with education, birth weight and smoking status. Within-family analyses examined differences within same-sex and opposite-sex dizygotic twins in birth size and later development. The CODATwins project demonstrates the feasibility and value of international collaboration to address gene-by-exposure interactions that require large sample sizes and address the effects of different exposures across time, geographical regions and socioeconomic status.
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.
We apply two methods to estimate the 21-cm bispectrum from data taken within the Epoch of Reionisation (EoR) project of the Murchison Widefield Array (MWA). Using data acquired with the Phase II compact array allows a direct bispectrum estimate to be undertaken on the multiple redundantly spaced triangles of antenna tiles, as well as an estimate based on data gridded to the uv-plane. The direct and gridded bispectrum estimators are applied to 21 h of high-band (167–197 MHz; z = 6.2–7.5) data from the 2016 and 2017 observing seasons. Analytic predictions for the bispectrum bias and variance for point-source foregrounds are derived. We compare the output of these approaches, the foreground contribution to the signal, and future prospects for measuring the bispectra with redundant and non-redundant arrays. We find that some triangle configurations yield bispectrum estimates that are consistent with the expected noise level after 10 h, while equilateral configurations are strongly foreground-dominated. Careful choice of triangle configurations may be made to reduce foreground bias that hinders power spectrum estimators, and the 21-cm bispectrum may be accessible in less time than the 21-cm power spectrum for some wave modes, with detections in hundreds of hours.
The order Onchoproteocephalidea (Eucestoda) was recently erected to accommodate the hook-bearing tetraphyllideans and the proteocephalideans, which are characterized by internal proglottization and a tetra-acetabulate scolex. The recognized subfamilies in the Proteocephalidae appeared to be non-monophyletic based on 28S recombinant DNA (rDNA) sequence data. Other molecular markers with higher phylogenetic resolution, such as large mitochondrial DNA fragments and multiple genes, are obviously needed. Thus the mitochondrial genome of Gangesia oligonchis, belonging to the putative earliest diverging group of the Proteocephalidae, was sequenced. The circular mitogenome of G. oligonchis was 13,958 bp in size, and contained the standard 36 genes: 22 transfer RNA genes, two rRNA genes and 12 protein-coding genes, as well as two major non-coding regions. A short NCR and a large NCR (lNCR) region were 216 bp and 419 bp in size, respectively. Highly repetitive regions in the lNCR region were detected with that of 11 repeat units. The mitogenome of G. oligonchis shared 71.1% nucleotide identity with Testudotaenia sp. WL-2016. Phylogenetic analyses of the complete mitochondrial genomes with Bayesian inference and maximum likelihood methods indicated that G. oligonchis formed a sister clade with Testudotaenia sp. WL-2016 with maximum support. The ordinal topology is (Caryophyllidea, (Diphyllobothriidea, (Bothriocephalidea, (Onchoproteocephalidea, Cyclophyllidea)))). The mitogenomic gene arrangement of G. oligonchis was identical to that of Testudotaenia sp. WL-2016. Both mitogenomic and nuclear sequence data for many more taxa are required to effectively explore the inter-relationships among the Onchoproteocephalidea.
India has the second largest number of people with type 2 diabetes (T2D) globally. Epidemiological evidence indicates that consumption of white rice is positively associated with T2D risk, while intake of brown rice is inversely associated. Thus, we explored the effect of substituting brown rice for white rice on T2D risk factors among adults in urban South India. A total of 166 overweight (BMI ≥ 23 kg/m2) adults aged 25–65 years were enrolled in a randomised cross-over trial in Chennai, India. Interventions were a parboiled brown rice or white rice regimen providing two ad libitum meals/d, 6 d/week for 3 months with a 2-week washout period. Primary outcomes were blood glucose, insulin, glycosylated Hb (HbA1c), insulin resistance (homeostasis model assessment of insulin resistance) and lipids. High-sensitivity C-reactive protein (hs-CRP) was a secondary outcome. We did not observe significant between-group differences for primary outcomes among all participants. However, a significant reduction in HbA1c was observed in the brown rice group among participants with the metabolic syndrome (−0·18 (se 0·08) %) relative to those without the metabolic syndrome (0·05 (se 0·05) %) (P-for-heterogeneity = 0·02). Improvements in HbA1c, total and LDL-cholesterol were observed in the brown rice group among participants with a BMI ≥ 25 kg/m2 compared with those with a BMI < 25 kg/m2 (P-for-heterogeneity < 0·05). We observed a smaller increase in hs-CRP in the brown (0·03 (sd 2·12) mg/l) compared with white rice group (0·63 (sd 2·35) mg/l) (P = 0·04). In conclusion, substituting brown rice for white rice showed a potential benefit on HbA1c among participants with the metabolic syndrome and an elevated BMI. A small benefit on inflammation was also observed.