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Culture-based studies, which focus on individual organisms, have implicated stethoscopes as potential vectors of nosocomial bacterial transmission. However, the full bacterial communities that contaminate in-use stethoscopes have not been investigated.
We used bacterial 16S rRNA gene deep-sequencing, analysis, and quantification to profile entire bacterial populations on stethoscopes in use in an intensive care unit (ICU), including practitioner stethoscopes, individual-use patient-room stethoscopes, and clean unused individual-use stethoscopes. Two additional sets of practitioner stethoscopes were sampled before and after cleaning using standardized or practitioner-preferred methods.
Bacterial contamination levels were highest on practitioner stethoscopes, followed by patient-room stethoscopes, whereas clean stethoscopes were indistinguishable from background controls. Bacterial communities on stethoscopes were complex, and community analysis by weighted UniFrac showed that physician and patient-room stethoscopes were indistinguishable and significantly different from clean stethoscopes and background controls. Genera relevant to healthcare-associated infections (HAIs) were common on practitioner stethoscopes, among which Staphylococcus was ubiquitous and had the highest relative abundance (6.8%–14% of contaminating bacterial sequences). Other HAI-related genera were also widespread although lower in abundance. Cleaning of practitioner stethoscopes resulted in a significant reduction in bacterial contamination levels, but these levels reached those of clean stethoscopes in only a few cases with either standardized or practitioner-preferred methods, and bacterial community composition did not significantly change.
Stethoscopes used in an ICU carry bacterial DNA reflecting complex microbial communities that include nosocomially important taxa. Commonly used cleaning practices reduce contamination but are only partially successful at modifying or eliminating these communities.
The 7 and 13-valent pneumococcal conjugate vaccines (PCVs) have reduced the incidence of invasive pneumococcal disease (IPD) in children in many countries. The objective of this work was to assess the impact of PCVs and potential herd-protection in older adults in Ireland. IPD notification and typing data from adults ⩾65 years of age from July 2007 to June 2016 was assessed using national surveillance data. There was a 94% reduction in PCV7 serotypes from 2007–2008 to 2015–2016, incidence rate ratio (IRR 0·05, P < 0·0001). However, there was no decline in the additional PCV13 (PCV13-7) serotypes over the same period (IRR 0·90) nor in comparison with the pre-PCV13 period 2009–2010 (IRR 0·92). The incidence of serotypes in the 23-valent pneumococcal polysaccharide vaccine only (PPV23-PCV13) and non-vaccine types (NVTs) increased significantly (IRR 2·17, P = 0·0002 and IRR 3·43, P = 0·0001 respectively). Consequently, the overall IPD incidence rate in adults has remained relatively unchanged (from 28·66/100 000 to 28·88/100 000, IRR 1·01, P = 0·9477). Serotype 19A and NVTs were mainly responsible for penicillin resistance in recent years. The decline of PCV7 serotypes indicate that the introduction of PCV7 resulted in herd-protection for adults. However, increases in PPV23-PCV13 and NVTs suggest that changes in vaccination strategy amongst older adults are needed to build on the success of PCVs in children.
Not only is depression associated with increased inflammation but inflammation is a risk factor for the genesis of depression. Many of the environmental risk factors for depression are transduced through inflammatory signaling. Anti-inflammatory agents show promise for the management of depression in preclinical, epidemiological, and early clinical studies. This opens the door to the potential for anti-inflammatory agents to treat and prevent depression. There are no evidence-based pharmacotherapies for depression prevention.
ASPREE-D, aspirin in the prevention of depression in the elderly, is a sub study of ASPREE, which explores the potential of aspirin to prevent a range of inflammation related disorders in the elderly. With a sample size of 19,114, and a duration of 5 years, this placebo controlled study will be one of the largest randomized controlled trials in psychiatry and will provide definitive evidence on the ability of aspirin to prevent depression.
This paper presents the rationale for the study and presents a summary of the study design.
ASPREE-D may not only define novel therapy but will provide mechanistic proof of concept of the role of inflammation in depression.
We describe two cases of infant botulism due to Clostridium butyricum producing botulinum type E neurotoxin (BoNT/E) and a previously unreported environmental source. The infants presented at age 11 days with poor feeding and lethargy, hypotonia, dilated pupils and absent reflexes. Faecal samples were positive for C. butyricum BoNT/E. The infants recovered after treatment including botulism immune globulin intravenous (BIG-IV). C. butyricum BoNT/E was isolated from water from tanks housing pet ‘yellow-bellied’ terrapins (Trachemys scripta scripta): in case A the terrapins were in the infant's home; in case B a relative fed the terrapin prior to holding and feeding the infant when both visited another relative. C. butyricum isolates from the infants and the respective terrapin tank waters were indistinguishable by molecular typing. Review of a case of C. butyricum BoNT/E botulism in the UK found that there was a pet terrapin where the infant was living. It is concluded that the C. butyricum-producing BoNT type E in these cases of infant botulism most likely originated from pet terrapins. These findings reinforce public health advice that reptiles, including terrapins, are not suitable pets for children aged <5 years, and highlight the importance of hand washing after handling these pets.
The objective of this study was to identify detailed fertility traits in dairy and beef cattle from transrectal ultrasonography records and quantify the associated risk factors. Data were available on 148 947 ultrasound observations of the reproductive tract from 75 949 cows in 843 Irish dairy and beef herds between March 2008 and October 2012. Traits generated included (1) cycling at time of examination, (2) cystic structures, (3) early ovulation, (4) embryo death and (5) uterine score; the latter was measured on a scale of 1 (good) to 4 (poor) characterising the tone of the uterine wall and fluid present in the uterus. After editing, 72 773 records from 44 415 dairy and beef cows in 643 herds remained. Factors associated with the logit of the probability of a positive outcome for each of the binary fertility traits were determined using generalised estimating equations; linear mixed model analysis was used for the analysis of uterine score. The prevalence of cycling, cystic structures, early ovulation and embryo death was 84.75%, 3.87%, 7.47% and 3.84%, respectively. The occurrence of the uterine heath score of 1, 2, 3 and 4 was 70.63%, 19.75%, 8.36% and 1.26%, respectively. Cows in beef herds had a 0.51 odds (95% CI=0.41 to 0.63, P<0.001) of cycling at the time of examination compared with cows in dairy herds; stage of lactation at the time of examination was the same in both herd types. Furthermore, cows in dairy herds had an inferior uterine score (indicating poorer tone and a greater quantity of uterine fluid present) compared with cows in beef herds. The likelihood of cycling at the time of examination increased with parity and stage of lactation, but was reduced in cows that had experienced dystocia in the previous calving. The presence of cystic structures on the ovaries increased with parity and stage of lactation. The likelihood of embryo/foetal death increased with parity and stage of lactation. Dystocia was not associated with the presence of cystic structures or embryo death. Uterine score improved with parity and stage of lactation, while cows that experienced dystocia in the previous calving had an inferior uterine score. Heterosis was the only factor associated with increased likelihood of early ovulation. The fertility traits identified, and the associated risk factors, provide useful information on the reproductive status of dairy and beef cows.
Feet and legs issues are some of the main causes for sow removal in the US swine industry. More timely lameness detection among breeding herd females will allow better treatment decisions and outcomes. Producers will be able to treat lame females before the problem becomes too severe and cull females while they still have salvage value. The objective of this study was to compare the predictive abilities and accuracies of weight distribution and gait measures relative to each other and to a visual lameness detection method when detecting induced lameness among multiparous sows. Developing an objective lameness diagnosis algorithm will benefit animals, producers and scientists in timely and effective identification of lame individuals as well as aid producers in their efforts to decrease herd lameness by selecting animals that are less prone to become lame. In the early stages of lameness, weight distribution and gait are impacted. Lameness was chemically induced for a short time period in 24 multiparous sows and their weight distribution and walking gait were measured in the days following lameness induction. A linear mixed model was used to determine differences between measurements collected from day to day. Using a classification tree analysis, it was determined that the mean weight being placed on each leg was the most predictive measurement when determining whether the leg was sound or lame. The classification tree’s predictive ability decreased as the number of days post-lameness induction increased. The weight distribution measurements had a greater predictive ability compared with the gait measurements. The error rates associated with the weight distribution trees were 29.2% and 31.3% at 6 days post-lameness induction for front and rear injected feet, respectively. For the gait classification trees, the error rates were 60.9% and 29.8% at 6 days post-lameness induction for front and rear injected feet, respectively. More timely lameness detection can improve sow lifetime productivity as well as animal welfare.
The prevalence of type 2 diabetes mellitus (T2DM) is increasing and it is estimated that by 2030 approximately 366 million people will be diagnosed with this condition. The use of dipeptidyl peptidase IV (DPP-IV) inhibitors is an emerging strategy for the treatment of T2DM. DPP-IV is a ubiquitous aminodipeptidase that cleaves incretins such as glucagon like peptide 1 (GLP-1) and glucose-dependent insulinotropic polypeptide (GIP), resulting in a loss in their insulinotropic activity. Synthetic DPP-IV drug inhibitors are being used to increase the half-life of the active GLP-1 and GIP. Dietary intervention is accepted as a key component in the prevention and management of T2DM. Therefore, identification of natural food protein-derived DPP-IV inhibitors is desirable. Peptides with DPP-IV inhibitory activity have been identified in a variety of food proteins. This review aims to provide an overview of food protein hydrolysates as a source of the DPP-IV inhibitory peptides with particular focus on milk proteins. In addition, the proposed modes of inhibition and structure–activity relationship of peptide inhibitors are discussed. Milk proteins and associated peptides also display insulinotropic activity and help regulate blood glucose in healthy and diabetic subjects. Therefore, milk protein derived peptide inhibitors may be a unique multifunctional peptide approach for the management of T2DM.
In June 2011, a cluster of suspected cases of Guillain–Barré syndrome (GBS), which can follow Campylobacter jejuni infection, was identified in San Luis Río Colorado (SLRC), Sonora, Mexico and Yuma County, Arizona, USA. An outbreak investigation identified 26 patients (18 from Sonora, eight from Arizona) with onset of GBS 4 May–21 July 2011, exceeding the expected number of cases (n = 1–2). Twenty-one (81%) patients reported antecedent diarrhoea, and 61% of 18 patients tested were seropositive for C. jejuni IgM antibodies. In a case-control study matched on age group, sex, ethnicity, and neighbourhood of residence, all Arizona GBS patients travelled to SLRC during the exposure period vs. 45% of matched controls (matched odds ratio 8·1, 95% confidence interval 1·5–∞). Exposure information and an environmental assessment suggested that GBS cases resulted from a large outbreak of C. jejuni infection from inadequately disinfected tap water in SLRC. Binational collaboration was essential in investigating this cross-border GBS outbreak, the first in mainland North America since 1976.
High contrast imaging observations with the Hubble Space Telescope show that the nearby star Fomalhaut is surrounded by a dusty debris belt and a candidate planet, Fomalhaut b, located just inside the edge of the belt. Fomalhaut b has unexpected characteristics, such as a relatively blue spectrum, leading to the hypothesis that the detected object is a low-mass planet hosting a giant planetary dust ring or cloud seen in reflected light. Here we present new HST/STIS observations made in 2010 and 2012 that authenticate the existence of Fomalhaut b. Our MCMC analysis of four epochs of astrometry spread over eight years indicate that the orbit has a~170 AU and e~0.85. Fomalhaut b's orbit is apsidally aligned with the main belt, and periapse is located approximately ~30 AU south of the star. We also show the existence of a ~50 AU wide azimuthal dust depletion in the dust belt. These new findings provide a revised picture of Fomalhaut as a dynamically complex system, where the orbit of Fomalhaut b and the belt structure signify the presence of additional massive planets orbiting the star.
The Gemini Planet Imager (GPI) is a high contrast coronagraph designed to directly image exoplanets and circumstellar disks. GPI includes a polarimetry mode designed to characterize dust grains and enhance the contrast of scattered, polarized light by a factor of 100. Reflections and birefringence of optics within the optical train induce a polarization signature that needs to be measured a priori and calibrated out during data reduction. Here we report on the results of an extensive laboratory characterization campaign of the polarimetry mode. The linear instrumental polarization has been measured in 4 GPI passbands and found to be between 3.5 ± 0.3 % at 1.0 micron and 1.1 ± 0.3 % at 2.0 microns. Modulation efficiency has been measured to be 94% at 1.0 micron increasing to 97% at 2.0 microns. Stability has been shown to better than 0.6% over timescales of ~ 3 months and over cool down cycles. The tests show that GPI passes all polarimetry design requirements and should be able to measure circumstellar disk linear polarization to 1% accuracy.
An EBIC analysis is made of decorated heteroepitaxial misfit dislocations formed at the interface of Si-Si (Ge) epitaxial layers grown in a CVD reactor on Si substrates. The electrical activity of the dislocations is studied after decorating the dislocations with Ni and Au impurities introduced by ion-implantation and backside deposited metallic thin films. The impurities are activated by RTA annealing at 400, 800 and 1000°C. A model is presented for the formation of NiSi2 precipitates on misfit dislocations which suggests that the nucleation and growth of NiSi2 precipitates is a function of the cleanliness of the as-grown dislocations. It is concluded that the distribution of electrical activity of impurity decorated misfit dislocations is a strong function of the impurity type, condition of the as-grown material, and concentration of metallic impurities introduced during the process of decoration.
Co(SiGe)x contacts have been formed on low defect density, relaxed Si0.7Ge0.3 layers by conventional self-aligned contact processing techniques. Test structures measuring the contact metal sheet resistance indicate that the resistivity is high for anneal temperatures from 450°C to 750°C. The lowest sheet resistivity was 100 Ω/□, about 10 times the resistivity of a comparable amount of CoSi2. Contact resistivities, measured by the transmission line method, were as low as 2 × 10−5 Ω cm2. There is a large discrepancy between contact resistivities measured by transmission line and 4 point Kelvin test structures that may be due to the fabricated contact sizes.
Campylobacter is a common but decreasing cause of foodborne infections in the USA. Outbreaks are uncommon and have historically differed from sporadic cases in seasonality and contamination source. We reviewed reported outbreaks of campylobacteriosis. From 1997 to 2008, 262 outbreaks were reported, with 9135 illnesses, 159 hospitalizations, and three deaths. The annual mean was 16 outbreaks for 1997–2002, and 28 outbreaks for 2003–2008. Almost half occurred in warmer months. Foodborne transmission was reported in 225 (86%) outbreaks, water in 24 (9%), and animal contact in seven (3%). Dairy products were implicated in 65 (29%) foodborne outbreaks, poultry in 25 (11%), and produce in 12 (5%). Reported outbreaks increased during a period of declining overall incidence, and seasonality of outbreaks resembled that of sporadic infections. Unlike sporadic illnesses, which are primarily attributed to poultry, dairy products are the most common vehicle identified for outbreaks.
Although evidence-based clinical practice guidelines (CPGs) exist, emergency department (ED) asthma management remains highly variable. Our objective was to compare asthma management at a tertiary care ED with that advised by the Canadian Association of Emergency Physicians' (CAEP) asthma CPG and current best practice.
This medical record study enrolled patients between the ages of 19 and 60 years with a previous diagnosis of asthma who were seen for an acute asthma exacerbation at the Vancouver General Hospital ED in 2008. Standard methodology guidelines for medical record review were followed, including explicitly defined criteria and determination of interrater reliability. Primary outcomes were the proportion of cases with the following: objective assessment of severity using peak expiratory flow (PEF), use of systemic corticosteroids (SCSs) in the ED and at discharge, prescription for any inhaled corticosteroids (ICSs), and documentation of outpatient follow-up.
A total of 204 patient encounters were enrolled. Kappa values for interrater assessment ranged from 0.93 to 1.00. Compliance with primary outcomes was as follows: measurement of PEF, 90% (95% CI 85–94); use of SCSs in the ED, 64% (95% CI 57–71); prescription of SCSs at discharge, 59% (95% CI 51–67); prescription of any ICS at discharge, 51% (95% CI 41–61); and documentation of outpatient follow-up, 78% (95% CI 71–84).
This study indicates an improvement in ED asthma care compared to previously published studies; however, discordance still exists between asthma management at a tertiary care ED and the CAEP asthma CPG and current best practice. Further research is warranted to understand the reasons for this finding.