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Parthenium weed is an invasive species in a growing number of countries where it infests numerous crop fields, including sorghum. Two field studies were conducted to quantify the effect of parthenium weed on the performance of grain sorghum at different weed densities (0, 5, 10, 15 and 20 plants m−2) and durations of weed-crop competition (season-long weed-free, weed-free after 2, 4, 6 or 8 weeks, and season-long weedy). Our aim was to identify the density threshold and ideal duration to control parthenium weed in sorghum fields. Both field experiments were planned in a randomised complete block design each with three replications in 2016 and were repeated in 2017. Parthenium weed biomass increased significantly with increasing density and competition duration. The increasing parthenium weed density had a linear negative effect on sorghum growth, yield and yield-contributing traits. The highest yield loss, of up to 66%, was recorded at the highest parthenium weed density of 20 plants m−2 when compared to weed-free treatment. In addition, the season-long competition of this weed with sorghum caused 81% reduction in grain yield over weed-free treatment. According to our results, parthenium weed should be managed below a density of 5 plants m−2 and throughout the crop growth duration in grain sorghum fields as it can cause serious yield losses even at low densities and through strong competition at early as well as late growth stages of the crop.
This study aims to assess the impact of a behavioural intervention, in the form of a self-monitoring record-keeping logbook, in reducing smoking tobacco expenditure amongst adult male household heads in rural Bangladesh.
The experiment was designed as a single-blind clustered randomised controlled trial utilising two-stage random sampling. A total of 650 adult male household heads were sampled from 16 chars (riverine islands) from Gaibandha, Northern Bangladesh, with eight chars in treatment and control groups each, between November 2018 and January 2019. The intervention consisted of a logbook to record daily smoking tobacco intake for 4 weeks provided only to participants in treatment chars (n = 332) while households in control chars received nothing (n = 318).
Final analysis was conducted using 222 and 210 households in the treatment and control chars respectively. The logbook intervention had a significant impact (P-value = 0.040) on reducing daily tobacco expenditure by 14% (α = 95%; CI: −0.273, −0.008) for the treatment group relative to the control group based on a difference-in-difference estimator. This is equivalent to a reduction of 20 cigarettes or 140 bidis smoked in a month.
Our minimal contact intervention successfully induced a reduction in smoking tobacco expenditure, which could effectively be incorporated with existing programs in the char regions of Bangladesh.
Cold dissection is the most commonly used tonsillectomy technique, with low post-operative haemorrhage rates. Coblation is an alternative technique that may cause less pain, but could have higher post-operative haemorrhage rates.
This study evaluated the peri-operative outcomes in paediatric tonsillectomy patients by comparing coblation and cold dissection techniques.
A systematic review was conducted of all comparative studies of paediatric coblation and cold dissection tonsillectomy, up to December 2018. Any studies with adults were excluded. Outcomes such as pain, operative time, and intra-operative, primary and secondary haemorrhages were recorded.
Seven studies contributed to the summative outcome. Coblation tonsillectomy appeared to result in less pain, less intra-operative blood loss (p < 0.01) and a shorter operative time (p < 0.01). There was no significant difference between the two groups for post-operative haemorrhage (p > 0.05).
The coblation tonsillectomy technique may offer better peri-operative outcomes when compared to cold dissection, and should therefore be offered in paediatric cases, before cold dissection tonsillectomy.
Simultaneous PET/MR/EEG (Positron Emission Tomography – Magnetic Resonance – Electroencephalography), a new tool for the investigation of neuronal networks in the human brain, is presented here within the framework of the European Union Project TRIMAGE. The trimodal, cost-effective PET/MR/EEG imaging tool makes use of cutting edge technology both in PET and in MR fields. A novel type of magnet (1.5T, non-cryogenic) has been built together with a PET scanner that makes use of the most advanced photodetectors (i.e., SiPM matrices), scintillators matrices (LYSO) and digital electronics. The combined PET/MR/EEG system is dedicated to brain imaging and has an inner diameter of 260 mm and an axial Field-of-View of 160 mm.
It enables the acquisition and assessment of molecular metabolic information with high spatial and temporal resolution in a given brain simultaneously. The dopaminergic system and the glutamatergic system in schizophrenic patients are investigated via PET, the same physiological/pathophysiological conditions with regard to functional connectivity, via fMRI, and its electrophysiological signature via EEG. In addition to basic neuroscience questions addressing neurovascular-metabolic coupling, this new methodology lays the foundation for individual physiological and pathological fingerprints for a wide research field addressing healthy aging, gender effects, plasticity and different psychiatric and neurological diseases.
The preliminary performances of two components of the imaging tool (PET and MR) are discussed. Initial results of the search of possible candidates for suitable schizophrenia biomarkers are also presented as obtained with PET/MR systems available to the collaboration.
Semiconducting nanostructures such as nanowires (NWs) have been used as building blocks for various types of sensors, energy storage and generation devices, electronic devices and for new manufacturing methods involving printed NWs. The response of these sensing/energy/electronic components and the new fabrication methods depends very much on the quality of NWs and for this reason it is important to understand the growth mechanism of 1D semiconducting nanostructures. This is also important to understand the compatibility of NW growth steps and tools used in the process with these unconventional substrates such as plastic that are used in flexible and large area electronics. Therefore, this Element presents at length discussion about the growth mechanisms, growth conditions and the tools used for the synthesis of NWs. Although NWs from Si, ZnO and carbon nanotubes (CNTs) are included, the discussion is generic and relevant to several other types of NWs as well as heterostructures.
There is a scarcity of specialist trainers and supervisors for psychosocial interventions in low- and middle-income countries. A cascaded model of training and supervision was developed to sustain delivery of an evidence-based peer-delivered intervention for perinatal depression (the Thinking Healthy Programme) in rural Pakistan. The study aimed to evaluate the model.
Mixed methods were employed as part of a randomised controlled trial of the intervention. Quantitative data consisted of the peers' competencies assessed during field training and over the implementation phase of the intervention, using a specially developed checklist. Qualitative data were collected from peers and their trainers through 11 focus groups during the second and third year of intervention rollout.
Following training, 43 peers out of 45 (95%) achieved at least a ‘satisfactory’ level of competency (scores of ⩾70% on the Quality and Competency Checklist). Of the cohort of 45 peers initially recruited 34 (75%) were retained over 3 years and showed sustained or improved competencies over time. Qualitatively, the key factors contributing to peers' competency were use of interactive training and supervision techniques, the trainer–peer relationship, and their cultural similarity. The partnership with community health workers and use of primary health care facilities for training and supervision gave credibility to the peers in the community.
The study demonstrates that lay-workers such as peers can be trained and supervised to deliver a psychological intervention using a cascaded model, thus addressing the barrier of scarcity of specialist trainers and supervisors.
A core question in the debate about how to organise mental healthcare is whether in- and out-patient treatment should be provided by the same (personal continuity) or different psychiatrists (specialisation). The controversial debate drives costly organisational changes in several European countries, which have gone in opposing directions. The existing evidence is based on small and low-quality studies which tend to favour whatever the new experimental organisation is.
We compared 1-year clinical outcomes of personal continuity and specialisation in routine care in a large scale study across five European countries.
This is a 1-year prospective natural experiment conducted in Belgium, England, Germany, Italy and Poland. In all these countries, both personal continuity and specialisation exist in routine care. Eligible patients were admitted for psychiatric in-patient treatment (18 years of age), and clinically diagnosed with a psychotic, mood or anxiety/somatisation disorder.
Outcomes were assessed 1 year after the index admission. The primary outcome was re-hospitalisation and analysed for the full sample and subgroups defined by country, and different socio-demographic and clinical criteria. Secondary outcomes were total number of inpatient days, involuntary re-admissions, adverse events and patients’ social situation. Outcomes were compared through mixed regression models in intention-to-treat analyses. The study is registered (ISRCTN40256812).
We consecutively recruited 7302 patients; 6369 (87.2%) were followed-up. No statistically significant differences were found in re-hospitalisation, neither overall (adjusted percentages: 38.9% in personal continuity, 37.1% in specialisation; odds ratio = 1.08; confidence interval 0.94–1.25; p = 0.28) nor for any of the considered subgroups. There were no significant differences in any of the secondary outcomes.
Whether the same or different psychiatrists provide in- and out-patient treatment appears to have no substantial impact on patient outcomes over a 1-year period. Initiatives to improve long-term outcomes of psychiatric patients may focus on aspects other than the organisation of personal continuity v. specialisation.
Accurate three-dimensional dosimetry is essential in modern radiotherapy techniques such as volumetric-modulated arc therapy (VMAT) and intensity-modulated radiation therapy (IMRT). In this research work, the PRESAGE® dosimeter was used as quality assurance (QA) tool for VMAT planning for head and neck (H&N) cancer.
Material and method
Computer tomography (CT) scans of an Image Radiation Oncology Core (IROC) H&N anthropomorphic phantom with both IROC standard insert and PRESAGE® insert were acquired separately. Both CT scans were imported into the Pinnacle (9.4 version) TPS for treatment planning, where the structures [planning target volume (PTV), organs at risk) and thermoluminescent detectors (TLDs) were manually contoured and used to optimise a VMAT plan. Treatment planning was done using VMAT (dual arc: 182°–178°, 178°–182°). Beam profile comparisons and gamma analysis were used to quantify agreement with film, PRESAGE® measurement and treatment planning system (TPS) calculated dose distribution.
The average ratio of TLD measured to calculated doses at the four PTV locations in the H&N phantom were between 0·95 to 0·99 for all three VMAT deliveries. Dose profiles were taken along the left–right, the anterior–posterior and superior–inferior axes, and good agreement was found between the PRESAGE® and Pinnacle profile. The mean value of gamma results for three VMAT deliveries in axial and sagittal planes were found to be 94·24 and 93·16% when compared with film and Pinnacle, respectively. The average values comparing the PRESAGE® results and dose values calculated on Pinnacle were observed to be 95·29 and 94·38% in the said planes, respectively, using a 5%/3 mm gamma criteria.
The PRESAGE® dose measurements and calculated dose of pinnacle show reasonable agreement in both axial and sagittal planes for complex dual arc VMAT treatment plans. In general, the PRESAGE® dosimeter is found to be a feasible QA tool of VMAT plan for H&N cancer treatment.
UK guidelines recommend routine HIV testing in high prevalence emergency departments (ED) and targeted testing for HBV and HCV. The ‘Going Viral’ campaign implemented opt-out blood-borne virus (BBV) testing in adults in a high prevalence ED, to assess seroprevalence, uptake, linkage to care (LTC) rates and staff time taken to achieve LTC. Diagnosis status (new/known/unknown), current engagement in care, and severity of disease was established. LTC was defined as patient informed plus ⩾1 clinic visit. A total of 6211/24 981 ED attendees were tested (uptake 25%); 257 (4.1%) were BBV positive (15 co-infected), 84 (33%) required LTC. 100/147 (68%) HCV positives were viraemic; 44 (30%) required LTC (13 new, 16 disengaged). 26/54 (48%) HBV required LTC (seven new, 11 disengaged). 16/71 (23%) HIV required LTC (10 new, five disengaged). 26/84 (31%) patients requiring LTC had advanced disease (CD4 <350, APRI (AST-to-Platelet Ratio Index) >1, Fibroscan F3/F4 or liver cancer), including five with AIDS-defining conditions and three hepatocellular carcinomas. There were five BBV-related deaths. BBV prevalence was high (4.1%); most were HCV (2.4%). HIV patients were more successfully and quickly LTC than HBV or HCV patients. ED testing was valuable as one-third of those requiring LTC (new, disengaged or unknown status patients) had advanced disease.
Flavonoids are natural compounds derived from different types of vegetables, fruits, and medicinal herbal plants. Hesperidin, a flavanone (a class of flavonoids) glycoside is found abundantly in citrus fruits such as oranges, lemons tangerines and limes and is known to possess significant benefits, such as anti-inflammatory, anti-stress, antioxidant, growth promoting, anticancer and immunological properties. Hesperidin enhances mucosal and humoral immunity by increasing intestinal intraepithelial lymphocyte numbers, lymphoid organs (thymus, spleen and bursa) indices, as well as improving anti-avian influenza and anti-Newcastle disease antibody titres in poultry. In addition, hesperidin is a strong chain-breaking antioxidant that provides potent cellular antioxidant defence against the damaging effects induced by peroxide hydrogen. As a natural antioxidant, hesperidin could help mitigate heat stress during summer by decreasing heterophil-to-lymphocyte ratios, and quenching reactive oxygen species generated by summer heat stress. The aim of this review was to elucidate the biological effects and health benefits of hesperidin as an alternative of synthetic immune boosters and growth promoters in poultry diets.
In the light curves of some solar-type stars, both rotational modulation (caused by corotating bright or dark magnetic features) and flare phenomena can be seen simultaneously. Based on these light curve observations, the relation between stellar magnetic feature activity (reflected by the rotational modulation component of the light curves) and flare activity can be investigated. Here, we analyze the light curve data of a flare-abundant solar-type star, KIC 6034120, observed with Kepler space telescope, and describe magnetic feature activity property by fluctuation range of light curves and flare activity property by time occupation ratio of flares. Distinct phase difference between long-term magnetic feature activity and flare activity is found for this star, which indicates that the source regions of stellar flares (e.g., starspots) on this star do not dominate the rotational modulation of light curves, yet they might be related to a same stellar dynamo process.
The Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province of North-West Pakistan has endured increased levels of violence in recent years. The psychological sequelae of such trauma including the presence of dissociative symptoms has been minimally investigated to date. The study examines psychopathology experienced including the presence of dissociative symptoms, and ascertain what factors are potentially predictive of these symptoms.
Third-level students (n=303) completed psychometric instruments relating to their experience of traumatic events and assessed depression, anxiety and dissociative symptoms.
Symptoms suggestive of post-traumatic stress disorder were evident in 28% of individuals. Symptoms relating to intrusive experiences and alterations in reactivity predicted dissociative, depressive and anxiety symptoms (p<0.01).
Trauma related to violence in this study was associated with significant pathology including dissociative symptoms. Identification and subsequent treatment of dissociative symptoms in individuals who have experienced trauma, may have a significant ameliorating effect on levels of functioning and thus should be included in clinical assessment.
B-cell non-Hodgkin lymphoma (B-cell NHL) is the second commonest malignancy in the stomach. We determined the distribution of Helicobacter pylori outer membrane protein Q (HopQ) allelic type, cytotoxin-associated gene (cag)-pathogenicity activity island (cag-PAI) and vacuolation activating cytotoxin A (vacA) genes, respectively, in patients with B-cell NHL. We also compared them with their distribution in non-ulcer dyspepsia (NUD). H. pylori was cultured from gastric biopsy tissue obtained at endoscopy. Polymerase chain reaction was performed. Of 170 patients enrolled, 114 (63%) had NUD and 56 (37%) had B-cell NHL. HopQ type 1 was positive in 66 (58%) in NUD compared with 46 (82%) (P = 0·002) in B-cell NHL; HopQ type 2 was positive in 93 (82%) with NUD compared with 56 (100%) (P < 0·001) in B-cell NHL. Multiple HopQ types were present in 46 (40%) in NUD compared with 46 (82%) (P < 0·001) in B-cell NHL. CagA was positive in 48 (42%) in NUD vs. 50 (89%) (P < 0·001) in B-cell NHL; cagT was positive in 35 (31%) in NUD vs. 45 (80%) (P < 0·001) in B-cell NHL; left end of the cagA gene (LEC)1 was positive in 23 (20%) in NUD vs. 43 (77%) (P < 0·001) in B-cell NHL. VacAs1am1 positive in B-cell NHL in 48 (86%) (P < 0·001) vs. 50 (44%) in NUD, while s1am2 was positive in 20 (17%) in NUD vs. 46 (82%) (P < 0·001) in B-cell NHL. H. pylori strains with multiple HopQ allelic types, truncated cag-PAI evidenced by expression of cagA, cagT and cag LEC with virulent vacAs1 alleles are associated with B-cell NHL development.
Antibiotic resistance has led poultry nutritionists to find alternatives for antibacterial growth promoters in broilers. Among these substitutes, one is mannan oligosaccharides (MOS), a yeast cell wall derived prebiotic. MOS decreases the load of pathogenic bacteria through 1) binding bacterial type-1 fimbriae 2) increasing goblet cells which produce bactericidal mucin and 3) providing favourable environment for the growth of beneficial bacteria leading to competitive exclusion. Balance between pathogenic and beneficial bacteria causes increase in villus length and decrease in crypt depth which are biomarkers for gut morphological improvement. As structure is equal to function, improvement in intestinal morphology increases activity of digestive enzymes and ultimately improves digestion. Besides these, immunomodulatory effect of MOS activates macrophages of gut associated lymphoid tissues resulting in improvement in cellular, humoral and cutaneous immunity. MOS also increases production of butyric acid and decrease pH of intestine in broilers. Though these combined mechanisms, MOS improves growth rate and performance of broilers.
Avian influenza virus (AIV) type A subtype H9N2 usually causes mild asymptomatic infections, and is mostly undetected and is, therefore, under-reported. This has allowed the virus to rapidly evolve via mutations and reassortments in its genome with other avian influenza subtypes especially H1N1, H5N1 and H7N3 thereby introducing new variant strains and producing severe disease. It has been reported that the AIV H9N2 donated its internal genes for the devastating 1997 Hong Kong outbreak and furthermore, it may be the cause of the next influenza pandemic. There are many factors such as its wide host range, ability to cross the species barrier, ecological diversity, antiviral resistance and zoonotic importance that make it an excellent candidate for the next influenza pandemic. These and other factors like ineffective vaccination, negative immunological pressures, lack of surveillance, which contribute to its continuous persistence and evolutionary dynamics are discussed in this paper. It is important to take the necessary measures to control and prevent its unchecked circulation to prevent the future outbreaks.
The nuculanid bivalve Costinuculana magharensis new genus new species is described from the middle to upper Bathonian Kehailia Formation of Gebel Maghara, North Sinai, Egypt. Costinuculana differs from other genera of the family Nuculanidae by the presence of opisthocline ribs along the rostrum. These ribs are variable in shape and size, straight to folded posteriorly, bifurcate ventrally and occasionally postero-dorsally, and cover an area ~45% of the total valve length from the posterior end. The life position of C. magharensis n. gen. n. sp. is reconstructed on the basis of a functional interpretation of its morphology and by comparison with closely related Recent forms. The asymmetrical commarginal ribs facilitated the burrowing process. The posterior oblique ribs are asymmetrical in cross-section with a steeply concave side in the burrowing direction and slightly convex side in the opposite direction. They probably kept the bivalve in a stable position once the desired depth had been reached. The thick oblique ribs probably also increased the strength of the rostrum and offered resistance against durophagous predators, being presumably partly exposed above the sediment-water interface. Based on the associated fauna, Costinuculana n. gen. lived in a low-energy environment characterized by a fine-grained, soft substrate.
A paraxial ray formalism is developed to study the evolution of an on axis intensity spike on a Gaussian laser beam in a plasma dominated by relativistic and ponderomotive non-linearities. Ion motion is taken to be frozen. A single beam width parameter characterizes the evolution of the spike. The spike introduces two competing influences: diffraction divergence and self-convergence. The former grows with the reduction in spot size of the spike, while the latter depends on the gradient in non-linear permittivity. Parameter δ = (ωpr00/c) a00/(3.5 r00/r01) characterizes the relative importance of the two, where r01 and r00 are the spike and main beam radii, ωp is the plasma frequency, and a00 is the normalized laser amplitude. For δ > 1, the intensity ripple causes faster self-focusing of the beam; higher the ripple amplitude stronger the focusing. In the opposite limit, diffraction divergence increases more rapidly, slowing down the self-focusing of the beam. As the beam intensity rises due to self-focusing, it causes stronger generation of the third harmonic.