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In lifecourse studies that encompass the adolescent period, the assessment of pubertal status is important, but can be challenging. We aimed to identify current methods for pubertal assessment and assess their appropriateness for population-based research by combining a review of the literature with the views of experts in the field. We searched bibliographic databases, extracted data and assessed study quality to inform a workshop with 21 experts. Acceptability of different approaches was explored with a panel of ten adolescents. We screened 11,935 abstracts, assessed 157 articles and summarised results from 38 articles. Combining these with the opinions of experts, self-assessment was found to be a practical method for use in studies where agreement with the gold standard of clinical assessment by physical examination to within one Tanner stage was acceptable. Serial measures of height and foot size accurately indicated timing of the pubertal growth spurt and age at peak height velocity, and were seen as feasible within longitudinal studies. Hormonal and radiological methods did not offer a practical means of assessing pubertal status. Assessment of voice maturation was promising, but needed validation. Young people thought that self-assessment, foot size and voice assessments were acceptable, and preferred an assessor of the same sex for clinical assessment. This review thus informs researchers working in lifecourse and adolescent health, and identifies future directions in order to improve validity of the methods.
In Scotland, the base of the Ballagan Formation has traditionally been placed at the first grey mudstone within a contiguous Late Devonian to Carboniferous succession. This convention places the Devonian–Carboniferous boundary within the Old Red Sandstone (ORS) Kinnesswood Formation. The consequences of this placement are that tetrapods from the Ballagan Formation were dated as late Tournaisian in age and that the ranges of typically Devonian fish found in the Kinnesswood Formation continued into the Carboniferous. The Pease Bay specimen of the fish Remigolepis is from the Kinnesswood Formation. Comparisons with its range in Greenland, calibrated against spores, show it was Famennian in age. Detailed palynological sampling at Burnmouth from the base of the Ballagan Formation proves that the early Tournaisian spore zones (VI and HD plus Cl 1) are present. The Schopfites species that occurs through most of the succession is Schopfites delicatus rather than Schopfites claviger. The latter species defines the late Tournaisian CM spore zone. The first spore assemblage that has been found in Upper ‘ORS' strata underlying the Ballagan Formation (Preston, Whiteadder Water), contains Retispora lepidophyta and is from the early latest Famennian LL spore zone. The spore samples are interbedded with volcaniclastic debris, which shows that the Kelso Volcanic Formation is, in part, early latest Famennian in age. These findings demonstrate that the Ballagan Formation includes most of the Tournaisian with the Devonian–Carboniferous boundary positioned close to the top of the Kinnesswood Formation. The Stage 6 calcrete at Pease Bay can be correlated to the equivalent section at Carham, showing that it represents a time gap equivalent to the latest Famennian glaciation(s). Importantly, some of the recently described Ballagan Formation tetrapods are older than previously dated and now fill the key early part of Romer's Gap.
UK Biobank is a well-characterised cohort of over 500 000 participants that offers unique opportunities to investigate multiple diseases and risk factors.
An online mental health questionnaire completed by UK Biobank participants was expected to expand the potential for research into mental disorders.
An expert working group designed the questionnaire, using established measures where possible, and consulting with a patient group regarding acceptability. Case definitions were defined using operational criteria for lifetime depression, mania, anxiety disorder, psychotic-like experiences and self-harm, as well as current post-traumatic stress and alcohol use disorders.
157 366 completed online questionnaires were available by August 2017. Comparison of self-reported diagnosed mental disorder with a contemporary study shows a similar prevalence, despite respondents being of higher average socioeconomic status than the general population across a range of indicators. Thirty-five per cent (55 750) of participants had at least one defined syndrome, of which lifetime depression was the most common at 24% (37 434). There was extensive comorbidity among the syndromes. Mental disorders were associated with high neuroticism score, adverse life events and long-term illness; addiction and bipolar affective disorder in particular were associated with measures of deprivation.
The questionnaire represents a very large mental health survey in itself, and the results presented here show high face validity, although caution is needed owing to selection bias. Built into UK Biobank, these data intersect with other health data to offer unparalleled potential for crosscutting biomedical research involving mental health.
Declaration of interest
G.B. received grants from the National Institute for Health Research during the study; and support from Illumina Ltd. and the European Commission outside the submitted work. B.C. received grants from the Scottish Executive Chief Scientist Office and from The Dr Mortimer and Theresa Sackler Foundation during the study. C.S. received grants from the Medical Research Council and Wellcome Trust during the study, and is the Chief Scientist for UK Biobank. M.H. received grants from the Innovative Medicines Initiative via the RADAR-CNS programme and personal fees as an expert witness outside the submitted work.
The Taipan galaxy survey (hereafter simply ‘Taipan’) is a multi-object spectroscopic survey starting in 2017 that will cover 2π steradians over the southern sky (δ ≲ 10°, |b| ≳ 10°), and obtain optical spectra for about two million galaxies out to z < 0.4. Taipan will use the newly refurbished 1.2-m UK Schmidt Telescope at Siding Spring Observatory with the new TAIPAN instrument, which includes an innovative ‘Starbugs’ positioning system capable of rapidly and simultaneously deploying up to 150 spectroscopic fibres (and up to 300 with a proposed upgrade) over the 6° diameter focal plane, and a purpose-built spectrograph operating in the range from 370 to 870 nm with resolving power R ≳ 2000. The main scientific goals of Taipan are (i) to measure the distance scale of the Universe (primarily governed by the local expansion rate, H0) to 1% precision, and the growth rate of structure to 5%; (ii) to make the most extensive map yet constructed of the total mass distribution and motions in the local Universe, using peculiar velocities based on improved Fundamental Plane distances, which will enable sensitive tests of gravitational physics; and (iii) to deliver a legacy sample of low-redshift galaxies as a unique laboratory for studying galaxy evolution as a function of dark matter halo and stellar mass and environment. The final survey, which will be completed within 5 yrs, will consist of a complete magnitude-limited sample (i ⩽ 17) of about 1.2 × 106 galaxies supplemented by an extension to higher redshifts and fainter magnitudes (i ⩽ 18.1) of a luminous red galaxy sample of about 0.8 × 106 galaxies. Observations and data processing will be carried out remotely and in a fully automated way, using a purpose-built automated ‘virtual observer’ software and an automated data reduction pipeline. The Taipan survey is deliberately designed to maximise its legacy value by complementing and enhancing current and planned surveys of the southern sky at wavelengths from the optical to the radio; it will become the primary redshift and optical spectroscopic reference catalogue for the local extragalactic Universe in the southern sky for the coming decade.
Research has shown both production and health benefits for the use of chicory (Cichorium intybus) within ruminant diets. Despite this, little was known about the effects of this forage, containing differing fatty acid profiles and secondary plant compounds compared with ryegrass, on beef stability, fatty acid composition or sensory properties. An experiment was conducted to investigate whether the inclusion of chicory in the diet of grazing beef steers would alter these three properties in the M. Longissimus muscle when compared with beef steers grazing perennial ryegrass (Lolium perenne). Triplicate 2 ha plots were established with a chicory (cv. Puna II)/perennial ryegrass mix or a perennial ryegrass control. A core group of 36 Belgian Blue – cross steers were used within a 2-year beef finishing experiment (n=6/replicate plot). In the 2nd grazing year, steers were slaughtered as they reached a target fat class of 3. Muscle pH was checked 2 and 48 h post-slaughter. A section of the hindloin joint containing the M. Longissimus lumborum muscle was removed and a 20 mm-thick steak was cut and muscle samples were taken for analysis of vitamin E and fatty acid analysis. The remaining section of the loin was vacuum packed in modified atmosphere packs and subjected to simulated retail display. A section of the conditioned loin was used for sensory analysis. Data on pH, vitamin E concentration and colour stability in a simulated retail display showed there were no effects of including chicory in the diet of grazing beef steers on meat stability. There were also no differences found in the fatty acid composition or the overall eating quality of the steaks from the two treatments. In conclusion, there were no substantive effects of including chicory in the swards of grazing beef cattle on meat stability, fatty acid composition or sensory properties of the M. Longissimus muscle when compared with beef steers grazing ryegrass-only swards.
We conducted a prospective cohort study between 1 January 2010 and 31 December 2012 at five adult and paediatric academic medical centres to identify factors associated with persistent methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) colonisation. Adults and children presenting to ambulatory settings with a MRSA skin and soft tissue infection (i.e. index cases), along with household members, performed self-sampling for MRSA colonisation every 2 weeks for 6 months. Clearance of colonisation was defined as two consecutive negative sampling periods. Subjects without clearance by the end of the study were considered persistently colonised and compared with those who cleared colonisation. Of 243 index cases, 48 (19·8%) had persistent colonisation and 110 (45·3%) cleared colonisation without recurrence. Persistent colonisation was associated with white race (odds ratio (OR), 4·90; 95% confidence interval (CI), 1·38–17·40), prior MRSA infection (OR 3·59; 95% CI 1·05–12·35), colonisation of multiple sites (OR 32·7; 95% CI 6·7–159·3). Conversely, subjects with persistent colonisation were less likely to have been treated with clindamycin (OR 0·28; 95% CI 0·08–0·99). Colonisation at multiple sites is a risk factor for persistent colonisation and may require more targeted decolonisation efforts. The specific effect of clindamycin on MRSA colonisation needs to be elucidated.
To evaluate if n-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFAs) and lipid levels are associated with episodes of self-harm or depression over a 10-year period.
We included 40 individuals who self-harmed and 40 controls. Episodes of self-harm and depression were ascertained and levels of depression, impulsivity, suicidal ideation and plasma lipid levels measured at baseline and at 10-year follow-up.
Further episode(s) of self-harm occurred in 26% of cases. Omega-3 PUFAs or lipids were not predictive of depressive or self-harm episodes. Baseline eicosapentaenoic acid levels were modestly correlated with suicidal ideation at follow-up and dihomo-γ-linolenic acid and arachidonic acid were modestly correlated with motor impulsivity at follow-up in cases.
Despite significant negative correlations at baseline between plasma lipids, n-3 PUFAs and psychopathology, these levels were not predictive of clinical outcome over a 10-year period. Further research however is required due to the relatively low sample size and the risk of selection bias due to loss to follow-up in this study.
We report on the present status of the Lawrence Livermore AMS spectrometer, including sample throughput and progress towards routine 1% measurement capability for 14C, first results on other isotopes and experience with a multisample high-intensity ion source.
We present the results of two imaging surveys for companions to low-luminosity dwarfs, one with Keck to a limiting magnitude of K = 20, and the other with HST to a limiting magnitude of I = 23. No companions were found at separations of 0″.5 to 20″.0, but seven companions were found within 0″.5. Based on sub-stellar evolutionary models, we estimate the companion detection efficiency as a function of mass ratio. This modeling, coupled with the data, place strong upper limits on the mass ratios of unobserved companions. We conclude that no companions exist in the optimal sensitivity regions of both surveys for q > 0.85 (HST), and q > 0.4 (Keck).
A radiochemical 71Ga−71 Ge experiment to determine the integral flux of neutrinos from the sun has been constructed at the Baksan Neutrino Observatory in the USSR. Measurements have begun with 30 tonnes of gallium. The experiment is being expanded with the addition of another 30 tonnes. The motivation, experimental procedures, and present status of this experiment are presented.
Recent observations of the Magellanic Stream can be used to set limits on a possible hot halo surrounding the Galaxy. The observations are described in detail elsewhere (Mirabel, Cohen & Davies, submitted to Mon. Not. R. astr. Soc.). Briefly, the neutral hydrogen in the northern end of the Magellanic Stream is concentrated in narrow filaments which contain small elongated clouds of typical size 0°.4 × 0°.6. These clouds have a large velocity halfpower width (25 km s−1 and are gravitationally unstable, unless there is a massive low luminosity stellar component. If we consider only the observed gas the expansion age of a typical cloud is 6 × 105 D years, where D is the distance in kpc from the Sun, and this falls at least a factor of ten short of the age of the Stream predicted by current models. This strongly suggests that some containment mechanism is operating.
There is limited evidence on the acceptability, feasibility and cost-effectiveness of task-sharing interventions to narrow the treatment gap for mental disorders in sub-Saharan Africa. The purpose of this article is to describe the rationale, aims and methods of the Africa Focus on Intervention Research for Mental health (AFFIRM) collaborative research hub. AFFIRM is investigating strategies for narrowing the treatment gap for mental disorders in sub-Saharan Africa in four areas. First, it is assessing the feasibility, acceptability and cost-effectiveness of task-sharing interventions by conducting randomised controlled trials in Ethiopia and South Africa. The AFFIRM Task-sharing for the Care of Severe mental disorders (TaSCS) trial in Ethiopia aims to determine the acceptability, affordability, effectiveness and sustainability of mental health care for people with severe mental disorder delivered by trained and supervised non-specialist, primary health care workers compared with an existing psychiatric nurse-led service. The AFFIRM trial in South Africa aims to determine the cost-effectiveness of a task-sharing counselling intervention for maternal depression, delivered by non-specialist community health workers, and to examine factors influencing the implementation of the intervention and future scale up. Second, AFFIRM is building individual and institutional capacity for intervention research in sub-Saharan Africa by providing fellowship and mentorship programmes for candidates in Ethiopia, Ghana, Malawi, Uganda and Zimbabwe. Each year five Fellowships are awarded (one to each country) to attend the MPhil in Public Mental Health, a joint postgraduate programme at the University of Cape Town and Stellenbosch University. AFFIRM also offers short courses in intervention research, and supports PhD students attached to the trials in Ethiopia and South Africa. Third, AFFIRM is collaborating with other regional National Institute of Mental Health funded hubs in Latin America, sub-Saharan Africa and south Asia, by designing and executing shared research projects related to task-sharing and narrowing the treatment gap. Finally, it is establishing a network of collaboration between researchers, non-governmental organisations and government agencies that facilitates the translation of research knowledge into policy and practice. This article describes the developmental process of this multi-site approach, and provides a narrative of challenges and opportunities that have arisen during the early phases. Crucial to the long-term sustainability of this work is the nurturing and sustaining of partnerships between African mental health researchers, policy makers, practitioners and international collaborators.
Experiments reporting magnetic-field generation by the ablative nonlinear Rayleigh–Taylor (RT) instability are reviewed. The experiments show how large-scale magnetic fields can, under certain circumstances, emerge and persist in strongly driven laboratory and astrophysical flows at drive pressures exceeding one million times atmospheric pressure.