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This work summarizes the methodical capabilities, improvements, and new developments in the radiocarbon laboratory of the accelerator mass spectrometry (AMS) facility at the University of Cologne, Germany, which was established in 2010. During the past years, the laboratory has specialized in the analysis of small and gaseous samples. We thus, recently installed a second ion source dedicated for radiocarbon (14C) analysis of CO2 samples at our 6 MV Tandetron AMS from High Voltage Engineering Europe B.V. that is coupled with the gas injection system from Ionplus and an EuroVector EA 3000 elemental analyzer. This work summarizes all pretreatment methods and analytical facilities established in our laboratory during the last years including 14C analysis of individual organic compounds and of CO2 trapped on molecular sieves. We also report different blank values including our long-term blank since 2011, which is for normal-sized, solid samples (650–1000 µg C) 0.0012 ± 0.0004 F14C (54,305 ± 2581 yr BP, n = 484). The precision obtained for modern samples measured as graphite is 0.5% and for gaseous samples injected with the GIS ≤2%.
Cir X-1 is a young X-ray binary exhibiting X-ray flux changes of four orders of magnitude over several decades. It has been observed many times since the launch of the Chandra X-ray Observatory with high energy transmission grating spectrometer and each time the source gave us a vastly different look. At its very lowest X-ray flux we found a single 1.7 keV blackbody spectrum with an emission radius of 0.5 km. Since the neutron star in Cir X-1 is only few thousand years old we identify this as emission from an accretion column since at this youth the neutron star is assumed to be highly magnetized. At an X-ray flux of 1.8×10−11 erg cm−2 s−1 this implies a moderate magnetic field of a few times of 1011 G. The photoionized X-ray emission line properties at this low flux are consistent with B5-type companion wind. We suggest that Cir X-1 is a very young Be-star binary.
Bipolar disorder (BD), with the hallmark symptoms of elevated and depressed mood, is thought to be characterized by underlying alterations in reward-processing networks. However, to date the neural circuitry underlying abnormal responses during reward processing in BD remains largely unexplored. The aim of this study was to investigate whether euthymic BD is characterized by aberrant ventral striatal (VS) activation patterns and altered connectivity with the prefrontal cortex in response to monetary gains and losses.
During functional magnetic resonance imaging 20 euthymic BD patients and 20 age-, gender- and intelligence quotient-matched healthy controls completed a monetary incentive delay paradigm, to examine neural processing of reward and loss anticipation. A priori defined regions of interest (ROIs) included the VS and the anterior prefrontal cortex (aPFC). Psychophysiological interactions (PPIs) between these ROIs were estimated and tested for group differences for reward and loss anticipation separately.
BD participants, relative to healthy controls, displayed decreased activation selectively in the left and right VS during anticipation of reward, but not during loss anticipation. PPI analyses showed decreased functional connectivity between the left VS and aPFC in BD patients compared with healthy controls during reward anticipation.
This is the first study showing decreased VS activity and aberrant connectivity in the reward-processing circuitry in euthymic, medicated BD patients during reward anticipation. Our findings contrast with research supporting a reward hypersensitivity model of BD, and add to the body of literature suggesting that blunted activation of reward processing circuits may be a vulnerability factor for mood disorders.
Patients with psychosis display the so-called ‘Jumping to Conclusions’ bias (JTC) – a tendency for hasty decision-making in probabilistic reasoning tasks. So far, only a few studies have evaluated the JTC bias in ‘at-risk mental state’ (ARMS) patients, specifically in ARMS samples fulfilling ‘ultra-high risk’ (UHR) criteria, thus not allowing for comparisons between different ARMS subgroups.
In the framework of the PREVENT (secondary prevention of schizophrenia) study, a JTC task was applied to 188 patients either fulfilling UHR criteria or presenting with cognitive basic symptoms (BS). Similar data were available for 30 healthy control participants matched for age, gender, education and premorbid verbal intelligence. ARMS patients were identified by the Structured Interview for Prodromal Symptoms (SIPS) and the Schizophrenia Proneness Instrument – Adult Version (SPI-A).
The mean number of draws to decision (DTD) significantly differed between ARM -subgroups: UHR patients made significantly less draws to make a decision than ARMS patients with only cognitive BS. Furthermore, UHR patients tended to fulfil behavioural criteria for JTC more often than BS patients. In a secondary analysis, ARMS patients were much hastier in their decision-making than controls. In patients, DTD was moderately associated with positive and negative symptoms as well as disorganization and excitement.
Our data indicate an enhanced JTC bias in the UHR group compared to ARMS patients with only cognitive BS. This underscores the importance of reasoning deficits within cognitive theories of the developing psychosis. Interactions with the liability to psychotic transitions and therapeutic interventions should be unravelled in longitudinal studies.
In the “Weather on Other Worlds” Spitzer Exploration Science program, we surveyed 44 nearby L3–T8 dwarfs for spot-induced rotational variability. Among single L3–L9.5 dwarfs, we found that 80% are variable at >0.2% in the 3–5 μm wavelength range, while 36% of T0–T8 were variable at >0.4%. Taking into account viewing angle and sensitivity considerations, both of these findings are consistent with spots being present on ~100% of L3–T8 dwarfs. Intriguingly, we find a tentative association (92% confidence) between low surface gravity and high-amplitude variability among L3–L5.5 dwarfs. Although we can not confirm whether lower gravity is also correlated with a higher incidence of variables, the result is promising for the characterization of directly imaged young extrasolar planets through variability.
Using data from the WISE All-Sky Survey, we have found >100 new infrared excess sources around main-sequence Hipparcos stars within 75 pc. Our empirical calibration of WISE photospheric colors and removal of non-trivial false-positive sources are responsible for the high confidence (>99.5%) of detections, while our corrections to saturated W1 and W2 photometry have for the first time allowed us to search for new infrared excess sources around bright field stars in WISE. The careful calibration and filtering of the WISE data have allowed us to probe excess fluxes down to roughly 8% of the photospheric emission at 22μm around saturated stars in WISE. We expect that the increased sensitivity of our survey will not only aid in understanding the evolution of debris disks, but will also benefit future studies using WISE.
The physico-chemical and interfacial properties of fat emulsions influence lipid digestion and may affect postprandial responses. The aim of the present study was to determine the effects of the modification of the interfacial layer of a fat emulsion by cross-linking on postprandial metabolic and appetite responses. A total of fifteen healthy individuals (26·5 (sem 6·9) years and BMI 21·9 (sem 2·0) kg/m2) participated in a cross-over design experiment in which they consumed two isoenergetic (1924 kJ (460 kcal)) and isovolumic (250 g) emulsions stabilised with either sodium caseinate (Cas) or transglutaminase-cross-linked sodium caseinate (Cas-TG) in a randomised order. Blood samples were collected from the individuals at baseline and for 6 h postprandially for the determination of serum TAG and plasma NEFA, cholecystokinin (CCK), glucagon-like peptide 1 (GLP-1), glucose and insulin responses. Appetite was assessed using visual analogue scales. Postprandial TAG and NEFA responses and gastric emptying (GE) rates were comparable between the emulsions. CCK increased more after the ingestion of Cas-TG than after the ingestion of Cas (P< 0·05), while GLP-1 responses did not differ between the two test emulsions. Glucose and insulin profiles were lower after consuming Cas-TG than after consuming Cas (P< 0·05). The overall insulin, glucose and CCK responses, expressed as areas above/under the curve, did not differ significantly between the Cas and Cas-TG meal conditions. Satiety ratings were reduced and hunger, desire to eat and thirst ratings increased more after the ingestion of Cas-TG than after the ingestion of Cas (P< 0·05). The present results suggest that even a subtle structural modification of the interfacial layer of a fat emulsion can alter the early postprandial profiles of glucose, insulin, CCK, appetite and satiety through decreased protein digestion without affecting significantly on GE or overall lipid digestion.
Eating out has been linked to the current obesity epidemic, but the evaluation of the extent to which out of home (OH) dietary intakes are different from those at home (AH) is limited. Data collected among 8849 men and 14 277 women aged 35–64 years from the general population of eleven European countries through 24-h dietary recalls or food diaries were analysed to: (1) compare food consumption OH to those AH; (2) describe the characteristics of substantial OH eaters, defined as those who consumed 25 % or more of their total daily energy intake at OH locations. Logistic regression models were fit to identify personal characteristics associated with eating out. In both sexes, beverages, sugar, desserts, sweet and savoury bakery products were consumed more OH than AH. In some countries, men reported higher intakes of fish OH than AH. Overall, substantial OH eating was more common among men, the younger and the more educated participants, but was weakly associated with total energy intake. The substantial OH eaters reported similar dietary intakes OH and AH. Individuals who were not identified as substantial OH eaters reported consuming proportionally higher quantities of sweet and savoury bakery products, soft drinks, juices and other non-alcoholic beverages OH than AH. The OH intakes were different from the AH ones, only among individuals who reported a relatively small contribution of OH eating to their daily intakes and this may partly explain the inconsistent findings relating eating out to the current obesity epidemic.
To characterise auditory involvement secondary to excessive craniotubular bone growth in individuals with sclerosteosis in South Africa.
This cross-sectional study assessed the auditory profile of 10 participants with sclerosteosis. An auditory test battery was used and results for each ear were recorded using descriptive and comparative analyses.
All participants presented with bilateral, mixed hearing losses. Of the 20 ears, hearing loss was moderate in 5 per cent (n = 1), severe in 55 per cent (n = 11) and profound in 40 per cent (n = 8). Air–bone gaps were smaller in older participants, although the difference was not statistically significant (p > 0.05). Computed tomography scans indicated pervasive abnormalities of the external auditory canal, tympanic membrane, middle-ear space, ossicles, oval window, round window and internal auditory canal. Narrowed internal auditory canals corresponded to poor speech discrimination, indicative of retrocochlear pathology and absent auditory brainstem response waves.
Progressive abnormal bone formation in sclerosteosis involves the middle ear, the round and oval windows of the cochlea, and the internal auditory canal. The condition compromises conductive, sensory and neural auditory pathways, which results in moderate to profound, mixed hearing loss.
Physico-chemical and textural properties of foods in addition to their chemical composition modify postprandial metabolism and signals from the gastrointestinal tract. Enzymatic cross-linking of protein is a tool to modify food texture and structure without changing nutritional composition. We investigated the effects of structure modification of a milk protein-based model food and the type of milk protein used on postprandial hormonal, metabolic and appetitive responses. Healthy males (n 8) consumed an isoenergetic and isovolumic test product containing either whey protein (Wh, low-viscous liquid), casein (Cas, high-viscous liquid) or Cas protein cross-linked with transglutaminase (Cas-TG, rigid gel) in a randomised order. Blood samples were drawn for plasma glucose, insulin, cholecystokinin (CCK), glucagon-like peptide 1 and peptide YY analysis for 4 h. Appetite was assessed at concomitant time points. Cas and Wh were more potent in lowering postprandial glucose than Cas-TG during the first hour. Insulin concentrations peaked at 30 min, but the peaks were more pronounced for Cas and Wh than for Cas-TG. The increase in CCK was similar for Cas and Wh in the first 15 min, whereas for Cas-TG, the CCK release was significantly lower, but more sustained. The feeling of fullness was stronger after the consumption of Cas-TG than after the consumption of Cas and Wh. The present results suggest that food structure is more effective in modulating the postprandial responses than the type of dairy protein used. Modification of protein-based food structure could thus offer a possible tool for lowering postprandial glucose and insulin concentrations and enhancing postprandial fullness.
Perspectives from 22 countries on aspects of the legal environment for selection are presented in this article. Issues addressed include (a) whether there are racial/ethnic/religious subgroups viewed as “disadvantaged,” (b) whether research documents mean differences between groups on individual difference measures relevant to job performance, (c) whether there are laws prohibiting discrimination against specific groups, (d) the evidence required to make and refute a claim of discrimination, (e) the consequences of violation of the laws, (f) whether particular selection methods are limited or banned, (g) whether preferential treatment of members of disadvantaged groups is permitted, and (h) whether the practice of industrial and organizational psychology has been affected by the legal environment.
The relative incidence of childhood-onset bipolar illness in the USA compared with that in Europe is controversial. We examined this issue in more than 500 out-patients (average age 42 years) with bipolar illness who reported age at onset of first episode, family history, and childhood physical or sexual abuse. Childhood or adolescent onset of bipolar illness was reported by 61% of those in the US cohort but by only 30% of those in The Netherlands or Germany. In the USA there was also twice the incidence of childhood adversity and genetic/familial risk for affective disorder. The findings deserve replication and further exploration.
LC-NANOP is an ESF EUROCORES SONS Collaborative Research Project that is addressing an innovative approach to self-organized nanostructures by combination of a variety of organic, inorganic and metal scaffolds with the unique self-organization properties of liquid crystals to obtain liquid crystal nano-particles. LC-NANOP is concerned with the synthesis, analysis, characterization, modeling and physico-chemical properties of super- and supra-molecular systems which are formed from a nano-particle as a central scaffold, surrounded by a layer of liquid crystal. The self-organization properties of the liquid crystal coating is the driving force leading to the self-assembly of the nano-particles into secondary or tertiary hierarchical structures, with emphasis on the systematic variation of nano-particle size, chirality, shape and functionality. This bottom-up approach to nano-structuring is very powerful as it combines the extraordinary variety of morphologies that liquid crystals present with the combination of functional entities, relevant for chemical, biological, optoelectronic, and photonic tasks, etc, to create ordered nano-structures that can be controlled by external stimuli.