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Significant ethnic and socio-economic disparities exist in infectious diseases (IDs) rates in New Zealand, so accurate measures of these characteristics are required. This study compared methods of ascribing ethnicity and socio-economic status. Children in the Growing Up in New Zealand longitudinal cohort were ascribed to self-prioritised, total response and single-combined ethnic groups. Socio-economic status was measured using household income, and both census-derived and survey-derived deprivation indices. Rates of ID hospitalisation were compared using linked administrative data. Self-prioritised ethnicity was simplest to use. Total response accounted for mixed ethnicity and allowed overlap between groups. Single-combined ethnicity required aggregation of small groups to maintain power but offered greater detail. Regardless of the method used, Māori and Pacific children, and children in the most socio-economically deprived households had a greater risk of ID hospitalisation. Risk differences between self-prioritised and total response methods were not significant for Māori and Pacific children but single-combined ethnicity revealed a diversity of risk within these groups. Household income was affected by non-random missing data. The census-derived deprivation index offered a high level of completeness with some risk of multicollinearity and concerns regarding the ecological fallacy. The survey-derived index required extra questions but was acceptable to participants and provided individualised data. Based on these results, the use of single-combined ethnicity and an individualised survey-derived index of deprivation are recommended where sample size and data structure allow it.
While preparing to write a vision of pig production in the UK, the fragility of crystal ball gazing became apparent, when in February 2001, the nightmare scenario of Foot and Mouth disease broke. The problem appears to have started on a pig farm using swill feed in Northumberland and within weeks, primarily associated with the farmer's failure to report a problem and legal but uncontrolled sheep movement, Foot and Mouth Disease spread throughout the West of England, Wales and the South West of Scotland as well as closing a major slaughterhouse for adult pigs. The disease then spread into continental Europe, causing instant havoc to export markets for the UK and then over the whole of the European Union. Had the problem prevented Denmark from exporting globally for any period, this would have resulted in severe price depression in pig production in Europe. And all this in the year following East Anglia's savaging with Classical Swine Fever.
The Foot and Mouth epidemic in the UK is likely to have a long term impact on the country's export capabilities; already there are threats of five year bans from countries like the United States of America. Much will depend on whether natural wildlife, such as deer, have become infected and how effective we are at finding carrier animals.
The care received by people presenting to hospital following self-harm varies and it is unclear how different types of treatment affect risk of further self-harm.
Observational cohort data from the Manchester Self-Harm Project, UK, included 16 456 individuals presenting to an Emergency Department with self-harm between 2003 and 2011. Individuals were followed up for 12 months. We also used data from a smaller cohort of individuals presenting to 31 hospitals in England during a 3-month period in 2010/2011, followed up for 6 months. Propensity score (PS) methods were used to address observed confounding. Missing data were imputed using multiple imputation.
Following PS stratification, those who received a psychosocial assessment had a lower risk of repeat hospital attendance for self-harm than those who were not assessed [RR 0.87, 95% confidence interval (CI) 0.80–0.95]. The risk was reduced most among people less likely to be assessed. Following PS matching, we found no associations between risks of repeat self-harm and admission to a medical bed, referral to outpatient psychiatry or admission to a psychiatric bed. We did not find a relationship between psychosocial assessment and repeat self-harm in the 31 centre cohort.
This study shows the potential value of using novel statistical techniques in large mental health datasets to estimate treatment effects. We found that specialist psychosocial assessment may reduce the risk of repeat self-harm. This type of routine care should be provided for all individuals who present to hospital after self-harm, regardless of perceived risk.
Parental criminal offending is an established risk factor for offending among offspring, but little evidence is available indicating the impact of offending on early childhood functioning. We used data from a large Australian population cohort to determine associations between exposure to parental offending and a range of developmental outcomes at age 5 years.
Multi-generation data in 66 477 children and their parents from the New South Wales Child Development Study were combined using data linkage. Logistic and multinomial regressions tested associations between any and violent offending histories of parents (fathers, mothers, or both parents) obtained from official records, and multiple measures of early childhood developmental functioning (social, emotional–behavioural, cognitive, communication and physical domains) obtained from the teacher-reported 2009 Australian Early Development Census.
Parental offending conferred significantly increased risk of vulnerability on all domains, particularly the cognitive domain. Greater risk magnitudes were observed for offending by both parents and by mothers than by fathers, and for violent than for any offending. For all parental offending exposures, vulnerability on multiple domains (where medium to large effects were observed) was more likely than on a single domain (small to medium effects). Relationships remained significant and of comparable magnitude following adjustment for sociodemographic covariates.
The effect of parental offending on early childhood developmental outcomes is pervasive, with the strongest effects on functioning apparent when both parents engage in violent offending. Supporting affected families in early childhood might mitigate both early developmental vulnerability and the propensity for later delinquency among these offspring.
Little is known about the precursors of suicide risk among primary-care patients. This study aimed to examine suicide risk in relation to patterns of clinical consultation, psychotropic drug prescribing, and psychiatric diagnoses.
Nested case-control study in the Clinical Practice Research Datalink (CPRD), England. Patients aged ⩾16 years who died by suicide during 2002–2011 (N = 2384) were matched on gender, age and practice with up to 20 living control patients (N = 46 899).
Risk was raised among non-consulting patients, and increased sharply with rising number of consultations in the preceding year [⩾12 consultations v. 1: unadjusted odds ratio (OR) 6.0, 95% confidence interval (CI) 4.9–7.3]. Markedly elevated risk was also associated with the prescribing of multiple psychotropic medication types (⩾5 types v. 0: OR 62.6, CI 44.3–88.4) and with having several psychiatric diagnoses (⩾4 diagnoses v. 0: OR 31.1, CI 19.3–50.1). Risk was also raised among patients living in more socially deprived localities. The confounding effect of multiple psychotropic drug types largely accounted for the rising risk gradient observed with increasing consultation frequency.
A greater proportion of patients with several psychiatric diagnoses, those prescribed multiple psychotropic medication types, and those who consult at very high frequency might be considered for referral to mental health services by their general practitioners. Non-consulters are also at increased risk, which suggests that conventional models of primary care may not be effective in meeting the needs of all people in the community experiencing major psychosocial difficulties.
Childhood maltreatment and a family history of a schizophrenia spectrum disorder (SSD) are each associated with social-emotional dysfunction in childhood. Both are also strong risk factors for adult SSDs, and social-emotional dysfunction in childhood may be an antecedent of these disorders. We used data from a large Australian population cohort to determine the independent and moderating effects of maltreatment and parental SSDs on early childhood social-emotional functioning.
The New South Wales Child Development Study combines intergenerational multi-agency data using record linkage methods. Multiple measures of social-emotional functioning (social competency, prosocial/helping behaviour, anxious/fearful behaviour; aggressive behaviour, and hyperactivity/inattention) on 69 116 kindergarten children (age ~5 years) were linked with government records of child maltreatment and parental presentations to health services for SSD. Multivariable analyses investigated the association between maltreatment and social-emotional functioning, adjusting for demographic variables and parental SSD history, in the population sample and in sub-cohorts exposed and not exposed to parental SSD history. We also examined the association of parental SSD history and social-emotional functioning, adjusting for demographic variables and maltreatment.
Medium-sized associations were identified between maltreatment and poor social competency, aggressive behaviour and hyperactivity/inattention; small associations were revealed between maltreatment and poor prosocial/helping and anxious/fearful behaviours. These associations did not differ greatly when adjusted for parental SSD, and were greater in magnitude among children with no history of parental SSD. Small associations between parental SSD and poor social-emotional functioning remained after adjusting for demographic variables and maltreatment.
Childhood maltreatment and history of parental SSD are associated independently with poor early childhood social-emotional functioning, with the impact of exposure to maltreatment on social-emotional functioning in early childhood of greater magnitude than that observed for parental SSDs. The impact of maltreatment was reduced in the context of parental SSDs. The influence of parental SSDs on later outcomes of maltreated children may become more apparent during adolescence and young adulthood when overt symptoms of SSD are likely to emerge. Early intervention to strengthen childhood social-emotional functioning might mitigate the impact of maltreatment, and potentially also avert future psychopathology.
We present radial velocities for approximately 40 stars in each of four optically obscured, off-axis fields toward the Galactic bulge. The mean heliocentric radial velocity and velocity dispersion are −75 ± 24 km s–1 and 127 ± 16 km s–1 2 ± 23 km s–1 and 127 ± 14 km s–1, −14 ± 22 km s–1 and 126 ± 14 km s–1, and −31 ± 28 km s–1 and 153 ± 17 km s–1 for fields located at 299, 288, 171, and 160 pc projected radius, respectively. The dispersions generally match Kent's (1992) axisymmetric mass model but may be higher than the model's predictions at small projected radius.
We are measuring Fe abundances of cool, luminous stars within 30 pc of the center of the Milky Way. Our sample contains both AGB stars and M supergiants. Low-resolution (λ/Δλ = 500) H and K band spectra are used to estimate temperatures and gravities. Stellar Fe abundances are determined from high-resolution (λ/Δλ = 40 000) K band spectra obtained on the IRTF using CSHELL. We find that Fe abundances of stars in the Galactic Center are consistent with the solar Fe abundance.
Star formation in the Galactic Center (GC) happens under unusual conditions, which include high gas temperatures, high velocity dispersions, and strong tidal shear (Spergel & Blitz 1992; Blitz et al. 1993). All these conditions may lead to an initial mass function (IMF) dominated by massive stars (Morris & Serabyn 1996). A history of chemical evolution dominated by massive stars is expected to result in enhancements of α-elements (Mg, Si, Ca, Ti) relative to Fe (Wheeler et al. 1989). This argument is the main motivation to study the abundance of Fe and Mg in GC stars.
We aimed to characterize the geographic distribution of post-Hurricane Sandy emergency department use in administrative flood evacuation zones of New York City.
Using emergency claims data, we identified significant deviations in emergency department use after Hurricane Sandy. Using time-series analysis, we analyzed the frequency of visits for specific conditions and comorbidities to identify medically vulnerable populations who developed acute postdisaster medical needs.
We found statistically significant decreases in overall post-Sandy emergency department use in New York City but increased utilization in the most vulnerable evacuation zone. In addition to dialysis- and ventilator-dependent patients, we identified that patients who were elderly or homeless or who had diabetes, dementia, cardiac conditions, limitations in mobility, or drug dependence were more likely to visit emergency departments after Hurricane Sandy. Furthermore, patients were more likely to develop drug-resistant infections, require isolation, and present for hypothermia, environmental exposures, or administrative reasons.
Our study identified high-risk populations who developed acute medical and social needs in specific geographic areas after Hurricane Sandy. Our findings can inform coherent and targeted responses to disasters. Early identification of medically vulnerable populations can help to map “hot spots” requiring additional medical and social attention and prioritize resources for areas most impacted by disasters. (Disaster Med Public Health Preparedness. 2016;10:351–361)
Intrauterine growth restriction (IUGR) and postnatal catch-up growth confer an increased risk of adult-onset disease. Overnourishment of adolescent ewes generates IUGR in ∼50% of lambs, which subsequently exhibit increased fractional growth rates. We investigated putative epigenetic changes underlying this early postnatal phenotype by quantifying gene-specific methylation at cytosine:guanine (CpG) dinucleotides. Hepatic DNA/RNA was extracted from IUGR [eight male (M)/nine female (F)] and normal birth weight (12 M/9 F) lambs. Polymerase chain reaction was performed using primers targeting CpG islands in 10 genes: insulin, growth hormone, insulin-like growth factor (IGF)1, IGF2, H19, insulin receptor, growth hormone receptor, IGF receptors 1 and 2, and the glucocorticoid receptor. Using pyrosequencing, methylation status was determined by quantifying cytosine:thymine ratios at 57 CpG sites. Messenger RNA (mRNA) expression of IGF system genes and plasma IGF1/insulin were determined. DNA methylation was independent of IUGR status but sexual dimorphism in IGF1 methylation was evident (M<F, P=0.008). IGF1 mRNA:18S and plasma IGF1 were M>F (both P<0.001). IGF1 mRNA expression correlated negatively with IGF1 methylation (r=−0.507, P=0.002) and positively with plasma IGF1 (r=0.884, P<0.001). Carcass and empty body weights were greater in males (P=0.002–0.014) and this gender difference in early body conformation was mirrored by sexual dimorphism in hepatic IGF1 DNA methylation, mRNA expression and plasma IGF1 concentrations.
The West Virginia University Hot hELIcon eXperiment (HELIX) provides variable density and ion temperature plasmas, with controllable levels of thermal anisotropy, for space relevant laboratory experiments in the Large Experiment on Instabilities and Anisotropy (LEIA) as well as fundamental studies of helicon source physics in HELIX. Through auxiliary ion heating, the ion temperature anisotropy (T⊥/T∥) is variable from 1 to 20 for parallel plasma beta (β = 8πnkTi∥/B2) values that span the range of 0.0001 to 0.01 in LEIA. The ion velocity distribution function is measured throughout the discharge volume in steady-state and pulsed plasmas with laser induced fluorescence (LIF). The wavelengths of very short wavelength electrostatic fluctuations are measured with a coherent microwave scattering system. Operating at low neutral pressures triggers spontaneous formation of a current-free electric double layer. Ion acceleration through the double layer is detected through LIF. LIF-based velocity space tomography of the accelerated beam provides a two-dimensional mapping of the bulk and beam ion distribution functions. The driving frequency for the m = 1 helical antenna is continuously variable from 8.5 to 16 MHz and frequency dependent variations of the RF coupling to the plasma allow the spontaneously appearing double layers to be turned on and off without modifying the plasma collisionality or magnetic field geometry. Single and multi-species plasmas are created with argon, helium, nitrogen, krypton, and xenon. The noble gas plasmas have steep neutral density gradients, with ionization levels reaching 100% in the core of the plasma source. The large plasma density in the source enables the study of Aflvén waves in the HELIX device.
To determine adherence to nutritional guidelines by pregnant women in New Zealand and maternal characteristics associated with adherence.
A cohort of the pregnant women enrolled into New Zealand’s new birth cohort study, Growing Up in New Zealand.
Women residing within a North Island region of New Zealand, where one-third of the national population lives.
Pregnant women (n 5664) were interviewed during 2009–2010. An FFQ was administered during the face-to-face interview.
The recommended daily number of servings of vegetables and fruit (≥6) were met by 25 % of the women; of breads and cereals (≥6) by 26 %; of milk and milk products (≥3) by 58 %; and of lean meat, meat alternatives and eggs (≥2) by 21 %. One in four women did not meet the recommendations for any food group. Only 3 % met all four food group recommendations. Although adherence to recommendation for the vegetables/fruit group did not vary by ethnicity (P=0·38), it did vary for the breads/cereals, milk/milk products and meat/eggs groups (all P<0·001). Adherence to recommendations for the vegetables/fruit group was higher among older women (P=0·001); for the breads/cereals group was higher for women with previous children (P<0·001) and from lower-income households (P<0·001); and for the meat/eggs group was higher for women with previous children (P=0·003) and from lower-income households (P=0·004).
Most pregnant women in New Zealand do not adhere to nutritional guidelines in pregnancy, with only 3 % meeting the recommendations for all four food groups. Adherence varies more so with ethnicity than with other sociodemographic characteristics.
There are insufficient data from nationwide surveys on the prevalence of specific psychotic disorders and associated co-morbidities.
The 2010 Australian national psychosis survey used a two-phase design to draw a representative sample of adults aged 18–64 years with psychotic disorders in contact with public treatment services from an estimated resident population of 1 464 923 adults. This paper is based on data from 1642 participants with an International Classification of Diseases (ICD)-10 psychotic disorder. Its aim is to present estimates of treated prevalence and lifetime morbid risk of psychosis, and to describe the cognitive, physical health and substance use profiles of participants.
The 1-month treated prevalence of psychotic disorders was 3.10 cases per 1000 population aged 18–64 years, not accounting for people solely accessing primary care services; lifetime morbid risk was 3.45 per 1000. Mean premorbid intelligence quotient was approximately 0.5 s.d.s below the population mean; current cognitive ability (measured with a digit symbol coding task) was 1.6 s.d.s below the population mean. For both cognitive tests, higher scores were significantly associated with better independent functioning. The prevalence of the metabolic syndrome was high, affecting 60.8% of participants, and pervasive across diagnostic groups. Of the participants, two-thirds (65.9%) were current smokers, 47.4% were obese and 32.4% were sedentary. Of the participants, half (49.8%) had a lifetime history of alcohol abuse/dependence and 50.8% lifetime cannabis abuse/dependence.
Our findings highlight the need for comprehensive, integrative models of recovery to maximize the potential for good health and quality of life for people with psychotic illness.
The PULSE@Parkes project has been designed to monitor the rotation of radio pulsars over time spans of days to years. The observations are obtained using the Parkes 64-m and 12-m radio telescopes by Australian and international high school students. These students learn the basis of radio astronomy and undertake small projects with their observations. The data are fully calibrated and obtained with the state-of-the-art pulsar hardware available at Parkes. The final data sets are archived and are currently being used to carry out studies of 1) pulsar glitches, 2) timing noise, 3) pulse profile stability over long time scales and 4) the extreme nulling phenomenon. The data are also included in other projects such as gamma-ray observatory support and for the Parkes Pulsar Timing Array project. In this paper we describe the current status of the project and present the first scientific results from the Parkes 12-m radio telescope. We emphasise that this project offers a straightforward means to enthuse high school students and the general public about radio astronomy while obtaining scientifically valuable data sets.
Childhood adversity is a putative risk factor for schizophrenia, although evidence supporting this suggestion is inconsistent and controversial. The aim of this review was to pool and quality assess the current evidence pertaining to childhood adversity in people with schizophrenia compared to other psychiatric disorders and to non-psychiatric controls.
Included were case-control, cohort and cross-sectional studies. Medline, EMBASE and PsycINFO databases were searched. Study reporting was assessed using the Strengthening the Reporting of Observational Studies in Epidemiology (STROBE) checklist and pooled evidence quality was assessed by the Grading of Recommendations Assessment, Development and Evaluation (GRADE) approach.
Twenty-five studies met inclusion criteria. Moderate to high quality evidence suggests increased rates of childhood adversity in schizophrenia compared to controls [odds ratio (OR) 3.60, p < 0.00001]. Increased childhood adversity was also reported in schizophrenia compared to anxiety disorders (OR 2.54, p = 0.007), although the effect was not significant in the subgroup analysis of five studies assessing only sexual abuse. No differences in rates of childhood adversity were found between schizophrenia and affective psychosis, depression and personality disorders whereas decreased rates of childhood adversity were found in schizophrenia relative to dissociative disorders and post-traumatic stress disorder (OR 0.03, p < 0.0001).
This is the first meta-analysis to report a medium to large effect of childhood adversity in people with schizophrenia and to assess specificity for schizophrenia. Further research is required that incorporates longitudinal design and other potentially causal variables to assess additive and/or interactive effects.
The use of killed cover crop mulch for weed suppression, soil erosion prevention and many other soil and crop benefits has been demonstrated in organic no-till or zero-till farming systems in eastern US regions and in Canada. Implements have been developed to make this system possible by terminating cover crops mechanically with little, if any, soil disturbance. Ongoing research in the US northern Great Plains is being conducted to identify cover crop species and termination methods for use in organic zero-till (OZ) systems that are adapted to the crop rotations and climate of this semi-arid region. Current termination strategies must be improved so that cover crop species are killed consistently and early enough in the growing season so that subsequent cash crops can be grown and harvested successfully. Delaying termination until advanced growth stages improves killing efficacy of cover crops and may provide weed-suppressive mulch for the remainder of the growing season, allowing no-till spring seeding of cash crops during the next growing season. Excessive water use by cover crops, inability of legume cover crops to supply adequate amounts of N for subsequent cash crops and failure of cover crops to suppress perennial weeds are additional obstacles that must be overcome before the use of killed cover crop mulch can be promoted as a weed control alternative to tillage in the US northern Great Plains. Use of vegetative mulch produced by killed cover crops will not be a panacea for the weed control challenges faced by organic growers, but rather one tool along with crop rotation, novel grazing strategies, the judicious use of high-residue cultivation equipment, such as the blade plow, and the use of approved herbicides with systemic activity in some instances, to provide organic farmers with new opportunities to incorporate OZ practices into their cropping systems. Emerging crop rotation designs for organic no-till systems may provide for more efficient use of nutrient and water resources, opportunities for livestock grazing before, during or after cash crop phases and improved integrated weed management strategies on organic farms.