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Clostridium difficile, the most common cause of hospital-associated diarrhoea in developed countries, presents major public health challenges. The high clinical and economic burden from C. difficile infection (CDI) relates to the high frequency of recurrent infections caused by either the same or different strains of C. difficile. An interval of 8 weeks after index infection is commonly used to classify recurrent CDI episodes. We assessed strains of C. difficile in a sample of patients with recurrent CDI in Western Australia from October 2011 to July 2017. The performance of different intervals between initial and subsequent episodes of CDI was investigated. Of 4612 patients with CDI, 1471 (32%) were identified with recurrence. PCR ribotyping data were available for initial and recurrent episodes for 551 patients. Relapse (recurrence with same ribotype (RT) as index episode) was found in 350 (64%) patients and reinfection (recurrence with new RT) in 201 (36%) patients. Our analysis indicates that 8- and 20-week intervals failed to adequately distinguish reinfection from relapse. In addition, living in a non-metropolitan area modified the effect of age on the risk of relapse. Where molecular epidemiological data are not available, we suggest that applying an 8-week interval to define recurrent CDI requires more consideration.
Childhood obesity rates are higher among Indigenous compared with non-Indigenous Australian children. It has been hypothesized that early-life influences beginning with the intrauterine environment predict the development of obesity in the offspring. The aim of this paper was to assess, in 227 mother–child dyads from the Gomeroi gaaynggal cohort, associations between prematurity, Gestation Related-Optimal Weight (GROW) centiles, maternal adiposity (percentage body fat, visceral fat area), maternal non-fasting plasma glucose levels (measured at mean gestational age of 23.1 weeks) and offspring BMI and adiposity (abdominal circumference, subscapular skinfold thickness) in early childhood (mean age 23.4 months). Maternal non-fasting plasma glucose concentrations were positively associated with infant birth weight (P=0.005) and GROW customized birth weight centiles (P=0.008). There was a significant association between maternal percentage body fat (P=0.02) and visceral fat area (P=0.00) with infant body weight in early childhood. Body mass index (BMI) in early childhood was significantly higher in offspring born preterm compared with those born at term (P=0.03). GROW customized birth weight centiles was significantly associated with body weight (P=0.01), BMI (P=0.007) and abdominal circumference (P=0.039) at early childhood. Our findings suggest that being born preterm, large for gestational age or exposed to an obesogenic intrauterine environment and higher maternal non-fasting plasma glucose concentrations are associated with increased obesity risk in early childhood. Future strategies should aim to reduce the prevalence of overweight/obesity in women of child-bearing age and emphasize the importance of optimal glycemia during pregnancy, particularly in Indigenous women.
For livestock production systems to play a positive role in global food security, the balance between their benefits and disbenefits to society must be appropriately managed. Based on the evidence provided by field-scale randomised controlled trials around the world, this debate has traditionally centred on the concept of economic-environmental trade-offs, of which existence is theoretically assured when resource allocation is perfect on the farm. Recent research conducted on commercial farms indicates, however, that the economic-environmental nexus is not nearly as straightforward in the real world, with environmental performances of enterprises often positively correlated with their economic profitability. Using high-resolution primary data from the North Wyke Farm Platform, an intensively instrumented farm-scale ruminant research facility located in southwest United Kingdom, this paper proposes a novel, information-driven approach to carry out comprehensive assessments of economic-environmental trade-offs inherent within pasture-based cattle and sheep production systems. The results of a data-mining exercise suggest that a potentially systematic interaction exists between ‘soil health’, ecological surroundings and livestock grazing, whereby a higher level of soil organic carbon (SOC) stock is associated with a better animal performance and less nutrient losses into watercourses, and a higher stocking density with greater botanical diversity and elevated SOC. We contend that a combination of farming system-wide trials and environmental instrumentation provides an ideal setting for enrolling scientifically sound and biologically informative metrics for agricultural sustainability, through which agricultural producers could obtain guidance to manage soils, water, pasture and livestock in an economically and environmentally acceptable manner. Priority areas for future farm-scale research to ensure long-term sustainability are also discussed.
Little is known about Clostridium difficile infection (CDI) in Asia. The aims of our study were to explore (i) the prevalence, risk factors and molecular epidemiology of CDI and colonization in a tertiary academic hospital in North-Eastern Peninsular Malaysia; (ii) the rate of carriage of C. difficile among the elderly in the region; (iii) the awareness level of this infection among the hospital staffs and students. For stool samples collected from hospital inpatients with diarrhea (n = 76) and healthy community members (n = 138), C. difficile antigen and toxins were tested by enzyme immunoassay. Stool samples were subsequently analyzed by culture and molecular detection of toxin genes, and PCR ribotyping of isolates. To examine awareness among hospital staff and students, participants were asked to complete a self-administered questionnaire. For the hospital and community studies, the prevalence of non-toxigenic C. difficile colonization was 16% and 2%, respectively. The prevalence of CDI among hospital inpatients with diarrhea was 13%. Out of 22 C. difficile strains from hospital inpatients, the toxigenic ribotypes 043 and 017 were most common (both 14%). In univariate analysis, C. difficile colonization in hospital inpatients was significantly associated with greater duration of hospitalization and use of penicillin (both P < 0·05). Absence of these factors was a possible reason for low colonization in the community. Only 3% of 154 respondents answered all questions correctly in the awareness survey. C. difficile colonization is prevalent in a Malaysian hospital setting but not in the elderly community with little or no contact with hospitals. Awareness of CDI is alarmingly poor.
As part of a program to study surge-type glaciers, a radar-depth survey, using a frequency of 620 MHz, has been made of Trapridge Glacier, Yukon Territory. Soundings were taken at 26 locations on the glacier surface and a maximum ice thickness of 143 m was measured. A rapid change in surface slope in the lower ablation region marks the boundary between active and stagnant ice and is suggestive of an “ice dam” or the water “collection zone” postulated by Robin and Weertman for surging glaciers.
We report on the progress of the compilation and analysis of the Durham/UKST galaxy redshift survey. This survey will probe a large contiguous volume of space within a 1500 sq. deg. area of sky around the SGP. It will contain redshifts of ∼ 4000 galaxies of bJ < 17m providing detailed information about the structure of the Universe on large scales. Large features on scales of ∼ 100h−1 Mpc are clearly visible on examination of the completed section of the survey, although a statistical analysis of the survey by means of the two-point correlation function is close to zero on scales of r > 10h−1 Mpc.
The evidence underpinning the developmental origins of health and disease (DOHaD) is overwhelming. As the emphasis shifts more towards interventions and the translational strategies for disease prevention, it is important to capitalize on collaboration and knowledge sharing to maximize opportunities for discovery and replication. DOHaD meetings are facilitating this interaction. However, strategies to perpetuate focussed discussions and collaborations around and between conferences are more likely to facilitate the development of DOHaD research. For this reason, the DOHaD Society of Australia and New Zealand (DOHaD ANZ) has initiated themed Working Groups, which convened at the 2014–2015 conferences. This report introduces the DOHaD ANZ Working Groups and summarizes their plans and activities. One of the first Working Groups to form was the ActEarly birth cohort group, which is moving towards more translational goals. Reflecting growing emphasis on the impact of early life biodiversity – even before birth – we also have a Working Group titled Infection, inflammation and the microbiome. We have several Working Groups exploring other major non-cancerous disease outcomes over the lifespan, including Brain, behaviour and development and Obesity, cardiovascular and metabolic health. The Epigenetics and Animal Models Working Groups cut across all these areas and seeks to ensure interaction between researchers. Finally, we have a group focussed on ‘Translation, policy and communication’ which focusses on how we can best take the evidence we produce into the community to effect change. By coordinating and perpetuating DOHaD discussions in this way we aim to enhance DOHaD research in our region.
On May 22, 1989 the Japanese Ginga Team discovered a new X-ray source that was cataloged as GS 2023+338. This source was subsequently identified as coincident in position with a previously known nova cataloged as V404 Cygni. Its last recorded outburst was in 1938 when it rose to about 12th mag. Spectroscopic data were obtained and confirmed the nature of the outburst. Additional ground based data were obtained by us at CTIO and the VLA. The X-ray behavior of this object has been reported to be very unusual and it reached a peak of about 17 crab about one week after discovery. Since then it has varied widely in magnitude at all wavelengths at which it has been studied. We present a brief summary of the observations that have been obtained up to the time of the meeting and shortly thereafter.
Laser and oven annealing effects on hydrogen concentration, hydrogen diffusion and material microstructure in hydrogenated amorphous silicon films deposited on crystalline silicon substrates are compared. For laser annealing, a 6 W green (532 nm) continuous wave laser with 100 µm focus diameter was applied and samples of about 1 cm2 were scanned in ambient with a line distance of 50 µm and at a speed of 1 – 100 mm/s. Hydrogen content and microstructure were measured by infrared spectroscopy, and hydrogen diffusion was investigated by secondary ion mass spectroscopy (SIMS) measurements of depth profiles of deuterium and hydrogen in layered structures of deuterated and hydrogenated material. The results show that in both annealing experiments hydrogen diffuses predominantly in form of atoms although some formation of H2 molecules cannot be excluded. By comparison of laser and oven treatment, an effective temperature describing the laser treated state can be defined. Furthermore, the temperature of the thin silicon film during laser treatment is estimated.
Flash-lamp annealing (FLA) has been investigated for the crystallization of a 60 nm amorphous silicon (a-Si) layer deposited by PECVD on display glass. Input factors to the FLA system included lamp intensity and pulse duration. Conditions required for crystallization included use of a 100 nm SiO2 capping layer, and substrate heating resulting in a surface temperature ∼ 460 °C. An irradiance threshold of ∼ 20 kW/cm2 was established, with successful crystallization achieved at a radiant exposure of 5 J/cm2, as verified using variable angle spectroscopic ellipsometry (VASE) and Raman spectroscopy. Nickel-enhanced crystallization (NEC) using FLA was also investigated, with results suggesting an increase in crystalline volume. Different combinations of furnace annealing and FLA were studied for crystallization and activation of samples implanted with boron and phosphorus. Boron activation demonstrated a favorable response to FLA, achieving a resistivity ρ < 0.01 Ω•cm. Phosphorus activation by FLA resulted in a resistivity ρ ∼ 0.03 Ω•cm.
The excavations of the cemetery groups at Balneaves, Loanleven and Park of Tongland facilitate an examination of many aspects of Bronze Age burial practices in Scotland. They are notable as much for the differences in burial ritual they imply as for the very narrow chronological period in which they were used. The three sites produced a total of seventeen 14C dates, two of which are aberrant, with means of the remaining fifteen falling within a period of 250 years (3370–3610 bp in radiocarbon years). The excavations were sponsored by Historic Scotland (formerly Historic Buildings and Monuments, Scotland).
At Balneaves, a penannular ditch enclosed sixteen features, including a group of seven pits with cremation burials, four of which were associated with a distinctive assemblage of collared urns. The cremated bone was well preserved. At least one large standing stone had been erected on the site, and this was buried in the medieval period.
At Loanleven, only a segment of the enclosing ring-ditch survived, within which were four cists, two containing inhumations and two cremations, one of the latter (Cist 2) associated with a fragment of a food vessel. A decorated slab, in so-called ‘Passage Grave Style’, was recovered from Cist 1, and the same cist produced palynological evidence for grave furnishings in the form of a mat of plant material which probably underlay the body. 14C dates give a terminus ante quem of 3620±50 bp (GU–2543) for the re-use of the decorated slab, and a terminus post quem of 3410±50 bp (GU–2542) for the food vessel grave.
Park of Tongland, regarded as a Four-Poster stone circle, was excavated after the fall of a standing stone. It was shown to be of multi-period construction, consisting of a cairn which overlay seven pits containing fragmentary cremation burials, two associated with collared urns. The standing stones may not all have been erect at the same time. A series of 14C dates fell within the range of 1480–1530 bc.
Silicon nanoparticles (Si NPs) were synthesized by plasma enhanced chemical vapor deposition (PECVD) using silane as a silicon source. Allylamine was used as passivation ligands to form water-soluble Si NPs. Finally, aqueous asymmetric flow field-flow fractionation was used to successfully separate the polydisperse Si NPs into monodisperse Si NP fractions.
A retrospective case–case control study was conducted, including 60 cases with daptomycin-nonsusceptible vancomycin-resistant enterococci (DNS-VRE) matched to cases with daptomycin-susceptible VRE and to uninfected controls (1:1:3 ratio). Immunosuppression, presence of comorbid conditions, and prior exposure to antimicrobials were independent predictors of DNS-VRE, although prior daptomycin exposure occurred rarely. In summary, a case–case control study identified independent risk factors for the isolation of DNS-VRE: immunosuppression, multiple comorbid conditions, and prior exposures to cephalosporines and metronidazole.
The passive film stability of several Fe-based amorphous metal formulations have been found to be comparable to that of high-performance Ni-based alloys, and superior to that of stainless steels, based on electrochemical measurements of the passive film breakdown potential and general corrosion rates. Chromium (Cr), molybdenum (Mo) and tungsten (W) provide corrosion resistance; boron (B) enables glass formation; and rare earths such as yttrium (Y) lower critical cooling rate (CCR). The high boron content of this particular amorphous metal also makes it an effective neutron absorber, and suitable for criticality control applications, as discussed in companion publications. Corrosion data for SAM2X5 (Fe49.7Cr17.7Mn1.9Mo7.4W1.6B15.2C3.8Si2.4) is discussed here.