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Biochar has received attention due to its potential for mitigating climate change through carbon sequestration in soil and improving soil quality and crop productivity. This study evaluated the effects of rice straw biochar (RSB) and rice husk ash (RHA) each applied at 5 Mg ha−1 and four N levels (0, 40, 80, and 120 kg ha−1) on soil fertility, growth, and yield of rice and wheat for three consecutive rice–wheat rotations. RSB significantly increased electrical conductivity, dehydrogenase activity, and P and K contents when compared to control (no amendment) up to 7.5 cm soil depth. Both RSB and RHA did not influence shoot N concentration in wheat plant but significantly increased P and K concentrations at 60 days after sowing. Grain yields of both rice and wheat were significantly higher in RSB as compared to control (no amendment) and RHA treatments. While the highest grain yields of rice and wheat were observed at 120 kg N ha−1 in RHA and no biochar-treated plots, a significant increase in grain yields was observed at 80 kg N ha−1 in RSB treatment, thereby saving 40 kg N ha−1 in each crop. Both agronomic and recovery N efficiencies in rice and wheat were significantly higher in RSB-amended soil compared to control. Significant positive correlations were observed between soil N, P, and K concentrations and total N, P, and K concentrations in aboveground biomass of wheat at 60 days after sowing. This study showed the potential benefits of applying RSB for improving soil fertility and yields of rice and wheat in a rice–wheat system.
A mother's nutritional choices while pregnant may have a great influence on her baby's development in the womb and during infancy. There is evidence that what a mother eats during pregnancy interacts with her genes to affect her child's susceptibility to poor health outcomes including childhood obesity, pre-diabetes, allergy and asthma. Furthermore, after what an infant eats can change his or her intestinal bacteria, which can further influence the development of these poor outcomes. In the present paper, we review the importance of birth cohorts, the formation and early findings from a multi-ethnic birth cohort alliance in Canada and summarise our future research directions for this birth cohort alliance. We summarise a method for harmonising collection and analysis of self-reported dietary data across multiple cohorts and provide examples of how this birth cohort alliance has contributed to our understanding of gestational diabetes risk; ethnic and diet-influences differences in the healthy infant microbiome; and the interplay between diet, ethnicity and birth weight. Ongoing work in this birth cohort alliance will focus on the use of metabolomic profiling to measure dietary intake, discovery of unique diet–gene and diet–epigenome interactions, and qualitative interviews with families of children at risk of metabolic syndrome. Our findings to-date and future areas of research will advance the evidence base that informs dietary guidelines in pregnancy, infancy and childhood, and will be relevant to diverse and high-risk populations of Canada and other high-income countries.
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.
Here, we report that a marine sandworm Nereis virens jaw protein, Nvjp1, nucleates hemozoin with similar activity as the native parasite hemozoin protein, HisRPII. X-ray diffraction and scanning electron microscopy confirm the identity of the hemozoin produced from Nvjp1-containing reactions. Finally, we observed that nAl assembled with hemozoin from Nvjp1 reactions has a substantially higher energetic output when compared to analogous thermite from the synthetic standard or HisRPII-nucleated hemozoin. Our results demonstrate that a marine sandworm protein can nucleate malaria pigment and set the stage for engineering recombinant hemozoin production for nanoenergetic applications.
Chlamydia trachomatis (CT) infections remain highly prevalent. CT reinfection occurs frequently within months after treatment, likely contributing to sustaining the high CT infection prevalence. Sparse studies have suggested CT reinfection is associated with a lower organism load, but it is unclear whether CT load at the time of treatment influences CT reinfection risk. In this study, women presenting for treatment of a positive CT screening test were enrolled, treated and returned for 3- and 6-month follow-up visits. CT organism loads were quantified at each visit. We evaluated for an association of CT bacterial load at initial infection with reinfection risk and investigated factors influencing the CT load at baseline and follow-up in those with CT reinfection. We found no association of initial CT load with reinfection risk. We found a significant decrease in the median log10 CT load from baseline to follow-up in those with reinfection (5.6 CT/ml vs. 4.5 CT/ml; P = 0.015). Upon stratification of reinfected subjects based upon presence or absence of a history of CT infections prior to their infection at the baseline visit, we found a significant decline in the CT load from baseline to follow-up (5.7 CT/ml vs. 4.3 CT/ml; P = 0.021) exclusively in patients with a history of CT infections prior to our study. Our findings suggest repeated CT infections may lead to possible development of partial immunity against CT.
To compare combined conventional Freer medialisation and controlled synechiae, performed for middle meatal access (during the initial steps of functional endoscopic sinus surgery) and post-operative middle turbinate medialisation, with basal lamella relaxing incision, the latter of which is a single step for achieving both middle meatal access and post-operative medialisation. The study also compared the effects of controlled synechiae and basal lamella relaxing incision on post-operative olfaction.
A randomised prospective study was performed on 52 nasal cavity sides (32 patients). Only basal lamella relaxing incision was performed in one group, and both conventional medialisation and controlled synechiae were performed in the other. Intra-operative and post-operative photography was used to measure the middle meatal area. A pocket smell test was used to assess olfaction.
There were no significant differences in operative middle meatal access and post-operative medialisation of the middle turbinate. Post-operative olfaction was affected more in the combined conventional medialisation and controlled synechiae group, compared to the basal lamella relaxing incision group, but this finding was not statistically significant.
Basal lamella relaxing incision is an effective single-step technique for achieving adequate middle meatal access and post-operative medialisation, with no significant effect on olfaction.
Introduction: Anaphylaxis is a life-threatening condition that paramedics are equipped to treat effectively in the field. Current literature suggests improvements in paramedic recognition and treatment of anaphylaxis could be made. The aim of this study was to compare the proportion of cases of anaphylaxis appropriately treated with epinephrine by paramedics before and after a targeted educational intervention. Methods: This was a retrospective medical records review of patients with anaphylaxis managed by primary or advanced care paramedics in five Emergency Medical Service areas in Ontario, before and after an educational module was introduced. This module included education on anaphylaxis diagnosis, recognition, treatment priorities, and feedback on the recognition and management from the before period. All paramedic call records (PCRs) coded as local allergic reaction or anaphylaxis during 12-month periods before and after the intervention were reviewed by trained data abstractors to determine if patients met an international definition of anaphylaxis. The details of interventions performed by the paramedics were used to determine primary and secondary outcomes. Results: Of the 600 PCRs reviewed, 99/120 PCRs in the before and 300/480 in the after period were included. Of the charts included, 63/99 (63.6%) in the before and 136/300 (45.3%) in the after period met criteria for anaphylaxis (p=0.002). Of the cases meeting anaphylaxis criteria, 41/63 (65.1%) in the before and 88/136 (64.7%) in the after period were correctly identified as anaphylaxis (p=0.96). Epinephrine was administered in 37/63 (58.7%) of anaphylaxis cases in the before period and 76/136 (55.9%) in the after period (p=0.70). Anaphylactic patients with only two-system involvement received epinephrine in 20/40 (50.0%) cases in the before period and 45/93 (48.4%) in the after period (p=0.86). Conclusion: There are gaps in paramedic recognition and management of anaphylaxis, particularly in cases of two-system involvement. These gaps persisted after the implementation of an educational intervention. Other quality interventions and periodic refreshers may be necessary to improve prehospital treatment of anaphylaxis. Limitations include an increase in overall cases and decrease in rate of true anaphylaxis in the after period, which may relate to better case identification after electronic PCR implementation and changes in paramedic recognition.
The correlation between objective and subjective nasal obstruction is poor, and dissatisfaction rates after surgery for nasal obstruction are high. Accordingly, novel assessment techniques may be required. This survey aimed to determine patient experience and preferences for the measurement of nasal obstruction.
Prospective survey of rhinology patients.
Of 72 questionnaires distributed, 60 were completed (response rate of 83 per cent). Obstruction duration (more than one year) (χ2 = 13.5, p = 0.00024), but not obstruction severity, affected willingness to spend more time being assessed. Questionnaires (48 per cent) and nasal inspiratory peak flow measurement (53 per cent) are the most commonly used assessment techniques. Forty-nine per cent of participants found their assessment unhelpful in understanding their obstruction. Eighty-two per cent agreed or strongly agreed that a visual and numerical aid would help them understand their blockage.
Many patients are dissatisfied with current assessment techniques; a novel device with visual or numerical results may help. Obstruction duration determines willingness to undergo longer assessment.
The study proposes a semi-analytical model for the pulse compression of two co-propagating intense laser beams having Gaussian intensity profile in the temporal domain. The high power laser beams create the relativistic nonlinearity during propagation in plasma, which leads to the modification of the refractive index profile. The co-propagating laser beams get self- compressed by virtue of group velocity dispersion and induced nonlinearity. The induced nonlinearity in the plasma broadens the frequency spectrum of the pulse via self-phase modulation, turn to shorter the pulse duration and enhancement of laser beam intensity. The nonlinear Schrodinger equations were set up for co-propagating laser beams in plasmas and have been solved in Matlab by considering paraxial approximation. The propagation characteristics of both laser beams inside plasma are divided into three regions through the critical divider curve, which has been plotted between pulse width τ01 and laser beam power P01. Based on the preferred value of critical parameters, these regions are oscillatory compression, oscillatory broadening, and steady broadening. In findings, it is observed that the compression of the laser beam depends on the combined intensity of both beams, plasma density, and initial pulse width.
This paper follows the progress made in India for research and farmer adoption of conservation agriculture (CA) since the publication of Erenstein (2012), who contested the idea that zero-till (ZT) establishment of wheat in rice–wheat systems could be further developed into full CA systems. Data presented in this paper show that research has successfully found solutions for both the wheat and rice phases of the rice–wheat systems of the Indo-Gangetic Plains (IGP) in the past 8 years. It shows that by finding solutions in both the rice and wheat phases, yields, water use efficiency and profits increased, while labour needs reduced. Indian scientists have also confirmed these benefits in participatory on-farm research in various locations, both east and west regions of the IGP. Farmers see for themselves through experimentation that they get higher yields with less cost and with more efficient use of inputs and water. A key factor has been the development of improved seed drills with the help of Indian private sector manufacturers of agricultural equipment. Indian scientists have also successfully conducted CA research on several other crops and in other regions besides the IGP. The paper shows that it is better to introduce parts of the CA management practices in a step-wise fashion first, rather than introducing the entire package at once since farmers first have to test and evaluate a new technology to understand how it benefits them personally before they will adopt it. The paper concludes that in the rice–wheat systems of South Asia, adoption of CA is indeed possible to achieve although it is still a work in progress. CA is a complex technology package and it takes time to overcome all of the contested issues mentioned in Erenstein (2012).
Introduction: Active substance use and unstable housing are both associated with increased emergency department (ED) utilization. This study examined ED health care costs among a cohort of substance using and/or homeless adults following an index ED visit, relative to a control ED population. Methods: Consecutive patients presenting to an inner-city ED between August 2010 and November 2011 who reported unstable housing and/or who had a chief presenting complaint related to acute or chronic substance use were evaluated. Controls were enrolled in a 1:4 ratio. Participants’ health care utilization was tracked via electronic medical record for six months after the index ED visit. Costing data across all EDs in the region was obtained from Alberta Health Services and calculated to include physician billing and the cost of an ED visit excluding investigations. The cost impact of ED utilization was estimated by multiplying the derived ED cost per visit by the median number of visits with interquartile ranges (IQR) for each group during follow up. Proportions were compared using non-parametric tests. Results: From 4679 patients screened, 209 patients were enrolled (41 controls, 46 substance using, 91 unstably housed, 31 both unstably housed and substance using (UHS)). Median costs (IQR) per group over the six-month period were $0 ($0-$345.42) for control, $345.42 ($0-$1139.89) for substance using, $345.42 ($0-$1381.68) for unstably housed and $1381.68 ($690.84-$4248.67) for unstably housed and substance using patients (p<0.05). Conclusion: The intensity of excess ED costs was greatest in patients who were both unstably housed and presenting with a chief complaint related to substance use. This group had a significantly larger impact on health care expenditure relative to ED users who were not unstably housed or who presented with a substance use related complaint. Further research into how care or connection to community resources in the ED can reduce these costs is warranted.
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.
A study of the daily motions of individual sunspots and of sunspot groups has been undertaken using Kodaikanal and Mount Wilson white-light observations. The Mount Wilson measurements were completed several years ago, and the Kodaikanal measurements have recently been started, using a technique identical to that used for the Mount Wilson data. Both data sets started early in this century, and both have continued to the present time. Preliminary results of a comparison of the two data sets are presented which show a good agreement between them in spot areas and motions. Analysis of the combined data set for the years that are available so far indicates that many more spots are available in such a reduction because the 12-hour time difference between the two sites allows for a more certain identification of individual spots from one observation to the next than in the case when data from only one site are used. This greatly increases the number of sunspots available for motion studies, particularly the smaller sunspots. Preliminary rotation and latitude drift reduction from the combined data set confirm earlier results from the Mount Wilson data alone.
The Global Meningococcal Initiative (GMI) is an international group of scientists and clinicians with recognized expertise in meningococcal disease including microbiology, immunology, epidemiology, public health and vaccinology. The GMI was established to promote the global prevention of meningococcal disease through education, research and international cooperation. The GMI held its second summit meeting in 2013 to discuss the different aspects of existing meningococcal immunization programmes and surveillance systems. Laboratory confirmation and characterization were identified as essential for informing evidence-based vaccine implementation decisions. The relative merits of different confirmatory methodologies and their applications in different resource settings were a key component of the discussions. This paper summarizes the salient issues discussed, with special emphasis on the recommendations made and any deficiencies that were identified.
Winter cooling and persistent mixing for more than a quarter of year (November to early March) along the North Eastern Arabian Sea (NEAS) results in nutrient enrichment of the euphotic column thereby triggering biological production. Hydrographic characteristics of NEAS during Late Winter Monsoon (LWM) and Early Spring Inter Monsoon (ESIM) and the influence on biological production are overviewed here. Winter convective mixing signatures were evident during LWM with low SST (24°C), high SSS (36.4), deep mixed layers (>100 m) and increased surface nitrate (~1 µM). Open ocean waters observed high chlorophyll a (1–2 mg m−3) and microphytoplankton abundance (1.2–1.5 × 104 cells l−1). Diatoms and green Noctiluca scintillans were the major microphytoplankton identified. ESIM observed gradual stabilization of water column with curtailment of winter signatures and strengthening of Noctiluca scintillans blooms. Mesozooplankton biomass was higher during LWM and decreased towards ESIM with intensification of Noctiluca blooms. However during ESIM, abundance of gelatinous zooplankton occurred in the bloom region. Inter-annual variations were observed in the biological responses along with the hydrographic changes. Thus the convective process during winter monsoon and stabilization of the water column during ESIM plays a significant role in the production pattern of NEAS.
Introduction: Substance use and unstable housing are associated with heavy use of the Emergency Department (ED). This study examined the impact of substance use and unstable housing on the probability of future ED use. Methods: Case-control study of patients presenting to an urban ED. Patients were eligible if they were unstably housed for the past 30 days, and/or if their chief complaint was related to substance use. Following written informed consent, patients completed a baseline survey and health care use was tracked via electronic medical records for the next six months. Controls were enrolled in a 1:4 ratio. More than 2 ED visits during the follow-up was pre-specified as a measure of excess ED use. Descriptive analyses included proportions and medians with interquartile ranges (IQR). Binomial logistic regression models were used to estimate the impact of housing status, high-risk alcohol use (AUDIT) and drug use (DUDIT), and combinations of these factors on subsequent acute care system contacts (ED visits + admissions). We controlled for age, gender, comorbidities at baseline, and baseline presenting acuity. Results: 41 controls, 46 substance using, 91 unstably housed, and 31 both unstably housed and substance using patients were enrolled (n = 209). Median ED visits during follow up were 0 (IQR: 0-1.0) for controls, 1.0 (IQR: 0-3.3) for substance using, 1.0 (IQR: 0-4.0) for unstably housed and 4 (IQR: 2-12.3) for unstably housed and substance using patients. The median acute care system contacts over the same period was 1.0 (IQR 0-2.0) for controls, 1.0 (IQR: 0-4.0) for substance using, 1.0 (IQR: 0-5.0) for unstably housed and 4.5 (IQR: 2.8-14.3) for unstably housed and substance using patients. Being unstably housed was the factor most strongly associated with having > 2 ED visits (b=3.288, p<0.005) followed by high-risk alcohol and drug use (b=2.149, p<0.08); high risk alcohol use alone was not significantly associated with ED visits (b=1.939, p<0.1). The number of comorbidities present at baseline was a small but statistically significant additional risk factor (b=0.478, p<0.05). The model correctly predicted 70.1% of patients’ ED utilization status. Conclusion: Unstable housing is a substantial risk factor for ED use; high-risk alcohol and drug use, and comorbidities at baseline increased this risk. The intensity of excess ED use was greatest in patients who were unstably housed and substance using.
Pulsation is ubiquitous among chemically normal A-type stars, but comparatively rare among chemically peculiar Am and Ap stars of the same temperature range. The conventional explanation for this is that diffusion produces the surface abundance anomalies in the Am and Ap stars, and also drains He from the He-II ionisation zone, thus quenching the κ-mechanism that drives δ Scuti pulsation. The pulsating Am and Ap stars exhibit dichotomous pulsation characteristics. The Am stars (and related stars) exhibit low-overtone δ Scuti pulsation, with amplitudes ranging from a few mmag to 0.1 mag. The pulsating Ap stars exhibit high-overtone pulsation with periods in the range 6-16 min and Johnson B semi-amplitudes typically ≤ 5 mmag. These stars are referred to as rapidly oscillating Ap stars, or ‘roAp’ stars (the see review by Martinez & Kurtz 1995).
Genetic diversity of a red clover global collection was assessed using 36 simple sequence repeat (SSR) primers representing all seven linkage groups (LGs). The number of fragments amplified ranged from 1 to 6 for all the primers. Primer RCS0060 detected highest number of fragments, whereas four SSRs viz., RCS0899, RCS1594, TPSSR40 and RCS6927 amplified single fragment. Size range of amplicons generated by all the primers varied from 100 to 400 bp. Polymorphism information content values ranged from 0.301 to 0.719 with an average value of 0.605. LG wise diversity analysis showed that LG 3 was most diverse (I = 0.65, Ht = 0.44), whereas LG-1 showed minimum diversity (I = 0.48, Ht = 0.26) for the microsatellites used. Bayesian model-based clustering inferred three genetically distinct populations in the red clover germplasm holding and showed considerable admixture in individuals within clusters. Neighbour-joining analysis showed intermixing of accessions within groups. Principal component analysis plot complemented the clustering shown by Structure and distinguished three populations to greater extent. Analysis of molecular variance showed that 91% of the genetic variation was residing within populations, while 9% variation was among populations. Overall, the results showed that a high level of genetic diversity is prevailing in this worldwide collection of red clover, which can be exploited for its genetic improvement through breeding approaches.