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Gravitational waves from coalescing neutron stars encode information about nuclear matter at extreme densities, inaccessible by laboratory experiments. The late inspiral is influenced by the presence of tides, which depend on the neutron star equation of state. Neutron star mergers are expected to often produce rapidly rotating remnant neutron stars that emit gravitational waves. These will provide clues to the extremely hot post-merger environment. This signature of nuclear matter in gravitational waves contains most information in the 2–4 kHz frequency band, which is outside of the most sensitive band of current detectors. We present the design concept and science case for a Neutron Star Extreme Matter Observatory (NEMO): a gravitational-wave interferometer optimised to study nuclear physics with merging neutron stars. The concept uses high-circulating laser power, quantum squeezing, and a detector topology specifically designed to achieve the high-frequency sensitivity necessary to probe nuclear matter using gravitational waves. Above 1 kHz, the proposed strain sensitivity is comparable to full third-generation detectors at a fraction of the cost. Such sensitivity changes expected event rates for detection of post-merger remnants from approximately one per few decades with two A+ detectors to a few per year and potentially allow for the first gravitational-wave observations of supernovae, isolated neutron stars, and other exotica.
Identifying genetic relationships between complex traits in emerging adulthood can provide useful etiological insights into risk for psychopathology. College-age individuals are under-represented in genomic analyses thus far, and the majority of work has focused on the clinical disorder or cognitive abilities rather than normal-range behavioral outcomes.
This study examined a sample of emerging adults 18–22 years of age (N = 5947) to construct an atlas of polygenic risk for 33 traits predicting relevant phenotypic outcomes. Twenty-eight hypotheses were tested based on the previous literature on samples of European ancestry, and the availability of rich assessment data allowed for polygenic predictions across 55 psychological and medical phenotypes.
Polygenic risk for schizophrenia (SZ) in emerging adults predicted anxiety, depression, nicotine use, trauma, and family history of psychological disorders. Polygenic risk for neuroticism predicted anxiety, depression, phobia, panic, neuroticism, and was correlated with polygenic risk for cardiovascular disease.
These results demonstrate the extensive impact of genetic risk for SZ, neuroticism, and major depression on a range of health outcomes in early adulthood. Minimal cross-ancestry replication of these phenomic patterns of polygenic influence underscores the need for more genome-wide association studies of non-European populations.
Subjective reports of insomnia and hypersomnia are common in bipolar disorder (BD). It is unclear to what extent these relate to underlying circadian rhythm disturbance (CRD). In this study we aimed to objectively assess sleep and circadian rhythm in a cohort of patients with BD compared to matched controls.
Forty-six patients with BD and 42 controls had comprehensive sleep/circadian rhythm assessment with respiratory sleep studies, prolonged accelerometry over 3 weeks, sleep questionnaires and diaries, melatonin levels, alongside mood, psychosocial functioning and quality of life (QoL) questionnaires.
Twenty-three (50%) patients with BD had abnormal sleep, of whom 12 (52%) had CRD and 29% had obstructive sleep apnoea. Patients with abnormal sleep had lower 24-h melatonin secretion compared to controls and patients with normal sleep. Abnormal sleep/CRD in BD was associated with impaired functioning and worse QoL.
BD is associated with high rates of abnormal sleep and CRD. The association between these disorders, mood and functioning, and the direction of causality, warrants further investigation.
The Cosmology Distinction Course is a new one-year course to be introduced for Year 12 candidates in the 1994 Higher School Certificate examinations in NSW. It is one of three challenging courses of study that will enrich the HSC for talented students who accelerate and complete part of the HSC one year early. The courses will be taught through distance learning and will include residential seminars. They will be implemented on behalf of the Board of Studies by Charles Sturt University and the University of New England.
The Cosmology Course is organised into nine modules of course work covering historical and social aspects of cosmology, observational techniques, key observations and the various models developed—Newtonian, de Sitter, Friedmann, Lemaitre, steady-state, quasi-steady-state and big bang. Assessment will be through assignments, exams and a major project.
As the first Distinction Course in a scientific area, the Cosmology Course represents an exciting and important educational initiative that needs the cooperation of NSW astronomers and, in return, promises to benefit the astronomical and general scientific community in Australia.
Accurate and complete reporting of study methods, results and interpretation are essential components for any scientific process, allowing end-users to evaluate the internal and external validity of a study. When animals are used in research, excellence in reporting is expected as a matter of continued ethical acceptability of animal use in the sciences. Our primary objective was to assess completeness of reporting for a series of studies relevant to mitigation of pain in neonatal piglets undergoing routine management procedures. Our second objective was to illustrate how authors can report the items in the Reporting guidElines For randomized controLled trials for livEstoCk and food safety (REFLECT) statement using examples from the animal welfare science literature. A total of 52 studies from 40 articles were evaluated using a modified REFLECT statement. No single study reported all REFLECT checklist items. Seven studies reported specific objectives with testable hypotheses. Six studies identified primary or secondary outcomes. Randomization and blinding were considered to be partially reported in 21 and 18 studies, respectively. No studies reported the rationale for sample sizes. Several studies failed to report key design features such as units for measurement, means, standard deviations, standard errors for continuous outcomes or comparative characteristics for categorical outcomes expressed as either rates or proportions. In the discipline of animal welfare science, authors, reviewers and editors are encouraged to use available reporting guidelines to ensure that scientific methods and results are adequately described and free of misrepresentations and inaccuracies. Complete and accurate reporting increases the ability to apply the results of studies to the decision-making process and prevent wastage of financial and animal resources.
Infection of pregnant cows with noncytopathic (ncp) bovine viral diarrhea virus (BVDV) induces rapid innate and adaptive immune responses, resulting in clearance of the virus in less than 3 weeks. Seven to 14 days after inoculation of the cow, ncpBVDV crosses the placenta and induces a fetal viremia. Establishment of persistent infection with ncpBVDV in the fetus has been attributed to the inability to mount an immune response before 90–150 days of gestational age. The result is ‘immune tolerance’, persistent viral replication and shedding of ncpBVDV. In contrast, we describe the chronic upregulation of fetal Type I interferon (IFN) pathway genes and the induction of IFN-γ pathways in fetuses of cows infected on day 75 of gestation. Persistently infected (PI) fetal IFN-γ concentrations also increased at day 97 at the peak of fetal viremia and IFN-γ mRNA was significantly elevated in fetal thymus, liver and spleen 14–22 days post maternal inoculation. PI fetuses respond to ncpBVDV infection through induction of Type I IFN and IFN-γ activated genes leading to a reduction in ncpBVDV titer. We hypothesize that fetal infection with BVDV persists because of impaired induction of IFN-γ in the face of activated Type I IFN responses. Clarification of the mechanisms involved in the IFN-associated pathways during BVDV fetal infection may lead to better detection methods, antiviral compounds and selection of genetically resistant breeding animals.
Depression is characterized by poor executive function, but – counterintuitively – in some studies, it has been associated with highly accurate performance on certain cognitively demanding tasks. The psychological mechanisms responsible for this paradoxical finding are unclear. To address this issue, we applied a drift diffusion model (DDM) to flanker task data from depressed and healthy adults participating in the multi-site Establishing Moderators and Biosignatures of Antidepressant Response for Clinical Care for Depression (EMBARC) study.
One hundred unmedicated, depressed adults and 40 healthy controls completed a flanker task. We investigated the effect of flanker interference on accuracy and response time, and used the DDM to examine group differences in three cognitive processes: prepotent response bias (tendency to respond to the distracting flankers), response inhibition (necessary to resist prepotency), and executive control (required for execution of correct response on incongruent trials).
Consistent with prior reports, depressed participants responded more slowly and accurately than controls on incongruent trials. The DDM indicated that although executive control was sluggish in depressed participants, this was more than offset by decreased prepotent response bias. Among the depressed participants, anhedonia was negatively correlated with a parameter indexing the speed of executive control (r = −0.28, p = 0.007).
Executive control was delayed in depression but this was counterbalanced by reduced prepotent response bias, demonstrating how participants with executive function deficits can nevertheless perform accurately in a cognitive control task. Drawing on data from neural network simulations, we speculate that these results may reflect tonically reduced striatal dopamine in depression.
Models for traveling waves in multi-fluid plasmas give essential insight into fully nonlinear wave structures in plasmas, not readily available from either numerical simulations or from weakly nonlinear wave theories. We illustrate these ideas using one of the simplest models of an electron–proton multi-fluid plasma for the case where there is no magnetic field or a constant normal magnetic field present. We show that the traveling waves can be reduced to a single first-order differential equation governing the dynamics. We also show that the equations admit a multi-symplectic Hamiltonian formulation in which both the space and time variables can act as the evolution variable. An integral equation useful for calculating adiabatic, electrostatic solitary wave signatures for multi-fluid plasmas with arbitrary mass ratios is presented. The integral equation arises naturally from a fluid dynamics approach for a two fluid plasma, with a given mass ratio of the two species (e.g. the plasma could be an electron–proton or an electron–positron plasma). Besides its intrinsic interest, the integral equation solution provides a useful analytical test for numerical codes that include a proton–electron mass ratio as a fundamental constant, such as for particle in cell (PIC) codes. The integral equation is used to delineate the physical characteristics of ion acoustic traveling waves consisting of hot electron and cold proton fluids.
The MIAMI* facility at the University of Huddersfield is one of a number of facilities worldwide that permit the ion irradiation of thin foils in-situ in a transmission electron microscope. MIAMI has been developed with a particular focus on enabling the in-situ implantation of helium and hydrogen into thin electron transparent foils, necessitating ion energies in the range 1 – 10 keV. In addition, however, ions of a variety of species can be provided at energies of up to 100 keV (for singly charged ions), enabling studies to focus on the build up of radiation damage in the absence or presence of implanted gas.
This paper reports on a number of ongoing studies being carried out at MIAMI, and also at JANNuS (Orsay, France) and the IVEM / Ion Accelerator Facility (Argonne National Lab, US). This includes recent work on He bubbles in SiC and Cu; the former work concerned with modification to bubble populations by ion and electron beams and the latter project concerned with the formation of bubble super-lattices in metals.
A study is also presented consisting of experiments aimed at shedding light on the origins of the dimensional changes known to occur in nuclear graphite under irradiation with either neutrons or ions. Single crystal graphite foils have been irradiated with 60 keV Xe ions in order to create a non-uniform damage profile throughout the foil thickness. This gives rise to varying basal-plane contraction throughout the foil resulting in almost macroscopic (micron scale) deformation of the graphite. These observations are presented and discussed with a view to reconciling them with current understanding of point defect behavior in graphite.
*Microscope and Ion Accelerator for Materials Investigations
Dietary polyphenols, such as those from grape products, may exert beneficial effects on cardiovascular health, including anti-hypertensive effects. We investigated the effect of a specific grape seed extract (GSE) rich in low-molecular-weight polyphenolic compounds on ambulatory blood pressure (ABP) in untreated subjects with pre- and stage I hypertension. In addition, potential mechanisms that could underlie the hypothesised effect of GSE on blood pressure (BP), and platelet aggregation, were explored. The study was designed as a double-blind, placebo-controlled, randomised, parallel-group intervention study including seventy healthy subjects with systolic BP between 120 and 159 mmHg. A 1-week run-in period was followed by an 8-week intervention period, during which subjects consumed capsules containing either 300 mg/d of GSE or a placebo (microcrystalline cellulose). Before and after the intervention, daytime ABP readings, 24 h urine samples and fasting and non-fasting blood samples were taken. The mean baseline systolic BP was 135·8 (se 1·3) mmHg and diastolic BP was 81·5 (se 0·9) mmHg. BP values were modestly, but not significantly, affected by the polyphenol-rich GSE treatment v. placebo with an effect of − 3·0 mmHg for systolic BP (95 % CI − 6·5, 0·5) and − 1·4 mmHg for diastolic BP (95 % CI − 3·5, 0·6). Vasoactive markers including endothelin-1, NO metabolites and asymmetric dimethylarginine, plasma renin activity and platelet aggregation were not affected by the GSE intervention. Our findings show that consumption of polyphenol-rich GSE does not significantly lower ABP in untreated subjects with pre- and stage I hypertension.
Echocardiography detects a greater prevalence of rheumatic heart disease than heart auscultation. Echocardiographic screening for rheumatic heart disease combined with secondary prophylaxis may potentially prevent severe rheumatic heart disease in high-risk populations. We aimed to determine the prevalence of rheumatic heart disease in children from an urban New Zealand population at high risk for acute rheumatic fever.
Methods and results
To optimise accurate diagnosis of rheumatic heart disease, we utilised a two-step model. Portable echocardiography was conducted on 1142 predominantly Māori and Pacific children aged 10–13 years. Children with an abnormal screening echocardiogram underwent clinical assessment by a paediatric cardiologist together with hospital-based echocardiography. Rheumatic heart disease was then classified as definite, probable, or possible. Portable echocardiography identified changes suggestive of rheumatic heart disease in 95 (8.3%) of 1142 children, which reduced to 59 (5.2%) after cardiology assessment. The prevalence of definite and probable rheumatic heart disease was 26.0 of 1000, with 95% confidence intervals ranging from 12.6 to 39.4. Portable echocardiography overdiagnosed rheumatic heart disease with physiological valve regurgitation diagnosed in 28 children. A total of 30 children (2.6%) had non-rheumatic cardiac abnormalities, 11 of whom had minor congenital mitral valve anomalies.
We found high rates of undetected rheumatic heart disease in this high-risk population. Rheumatic heart disease screening has resource implications with cardiology evaluation required for accurate diagnosis. Echocardiographic screening for rheumatic heart disease may overdiagnose rheumatic heart disease unless congenital mitral valve anomalies and physiological regurgitation are excluded.
Multi-dimensional Alfvén simple waves in magnetohydrodynamics (MHD) are investigated using Boillat's formalism. For simple wave solutions, all physical variables (the gas density, pressure, fluid velocity, entropy, and magnetic field induction in the MHD case) depend on a single phase function ϕ, which is a function of the space and time variables. The simple wave ansatz requires that the wave normal and the normal speed of the wave front depend only on the phase function ϕ. This leads to an implicit equation for the phase function and a generalization of the concept of a plane wave. We obtain examples of Alfvén simple waves, based on the right eigenvector solutions for the Alfvén mode. The Alfvén mode solutions have six integrals, namely that the entropy, density, magnetic pressure, and the group velocity (the sum of the Alfvén and fluid velocity) are constant throughout the wave. The eigenequations require that the rate of change of the magnetic induction B with ϕ throughout the wave is perpendicular to both the wave normal n and B. Methods to construct simple wave solutions based on specifying either a solution ansatz for n(ϕ) or B(ϕ) are developed.
Drop-on-demand inkjet printing is a fabrication technique that is capable of depositing materials layer-by-layer to form complex 3-dimensional (3-D) constructs. Here we present a new single drop delivery method in which both the matrix and cross-linker are present but separated through the use of vesicle packaging. Changing the printing parameters has little effect on the integrity of the calcium(II)-loaded vesicles, with calcium(II) released selectively by warming after printing. Alginate solutions containing calcium(II)-loaded vesicles were successfully printed and the printed layers were shown to gel on demand at 37 °C. The printed alginate layers were evaluated with regards to their potential to provide 3-D structures for cell culture.
The post-fertilisation developmental capacity of bovine oocytes recovered by ultrasound guided transvaginal follicular aspiration (ovum pick-up, OPU) is influenced by diet-induced changes in hormone and metabolite concentrations. The objectives of this experiment were first to determine whether post-prandial changes in hormone concentrations, induced by changing the frequency of feeding, influenced oocyte quality and second whether changes in plasma glucagon concentration were associated with oocyte quality. Using a 2 × 2 factorial design, Holstein heifers (six per treatment) were fed either fibre- or starch-based diets containing either 189 or 478 g starch/kg dry matter. The diets were offered in either two or four equal meals per day and supplied twice the maintenance energy requirement. Blood samples were obtained both at weekly intervals (three samples per heifer, collected before feeding) during the experiment and throughout an entire 24-h period (15 or 17 samples per heifer for twice or four times daily-fed heifers, respectively). Each heifer underwent six sessions of OPU (twice weekly) beginning 25 days after introduction of the diets. Oocyte quality was assessed by development to the blastocyst stage in synthetic oviductal fluid following in vitro fertilisation. Mean weekly plasma insulin concentrations did not differ between diets, but plasma glucagon concentrations were greatest when heifers were fed the starch-based diet twice daily compared with the other diets. When heifers were offered four meals per day, there were no meal-related changes in hormone concentrations. However, when heifers were offered two meals per day, plasma insulin concentration increased after feeding the starch-based, but not the fibre-based diet. Plasma glucagon concentration increased after meals when heifers were fed twice daily and the increase was substantially greater when the starch-based diet was fed. Treatments did not influence (overall mean with mean ± s.e.) ovarian follicle size distribution or oocyte recovery by OPU (6.2 ± 0.4 per heifer), the proportion of oocytes that cleaved following insemination (0.57 ± 0.030) or blastocyst yield (0.27 ± 0.027 of oocytes cleaved). In conclusion, by feeding diets differing in carbohydrate source at different frequencies of feeding, meal-related changes in plasma hormone profiles were altered significantly, but oocyte quality was not affected. Therefore effects of diet on oocyte quality appear not to be mediated by meal-related fluctuations in hormone concentrations.
Fertility in dairy cows has been declining for the past three decades. Genetic selection for increased milk production has been associated with changes in key metabolic hormones (growth hormone, insulin, IGF and leptin) that regulate metabolism by homoeostasis and homeorhesis. These metabolic hormones, particularly insulin, provide signals to the reproductive system so that regulation of ovarian function is coordinated with changes in metabolic status. Studies have shown, for example, that increasing circulating insulin concentrations during the early postpartum period can advance the resumption of oestrous cycles by enhancing follicular growth. However, high concentrations of insulin can be detrimental to the developmental competence of oocytes, which is also influenced by the supply of fatty acids at the systemic level and at the ovarian level. Insulin status is also associated with the incidence and characteristics of abnormal ovarian cycles. These changes can occur without significant variation in circulating gonadotrophin concentrations. This suggests that additional factors, such as peripheral metabolites, metabolic hormones and locally produced growth factors, may have a modulating role. Recent evidence has demonstrated that ovarian responses to metabolic signals and nutrient profile vary according to the stage of the reproductive cycle. Improved understanding of this multifactorial process enables nutrition to be matched to genotype and milk production, with a positive impact on pregnancy rate.