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Maternal systemic inflammation during pregnancy may restrict embryo−fetal growth, but the extent of this effect remains poorly established in undernourished populations. In a cohort of 653 maternal−newborn dyads participating in a multi-armed, micronutrient supplementation trial in southern Nepal, we investigated associations between maternal inflammation, assessed by serum α1-acid glycoprotein and C-reactive protein, in the first and third trimesters of pregnancy, and newborn weight, length and head and chest circumferences. Median (IQR) maternal concentrations in α1-acid glycoprotein and C-reactive protein in the first and third trimesters were 0.65 (0.53–0.76) and 0.40 (0.33–0.50) g/l, and 0.56 (0.25–1.54) and 1.07 (0.43–2.32) mg/l, respectively. α1-acid glycoprotein was inversely associated with birth size: weight, length, head circumference and chest circumference were lower by 116 g (P = 2.3 × 10−6), and 0.45 (P = 3.1 × 10−5), 0.18 (P = 0.0191) and 0.48 (P = 1.7 × 10−7) cm, respectively, per 50% increase in α1-acid glycoprotein averaged across both trimesters. Adjustment for maternal age, parity, gestational age, nutritional and socio-economic status and daily micronutrient supplementation failed to alter any association. Serum C-reactive protein concentration was largely unassociated with newborn size. In rural Nepal, birth size was inversely associated with low-grade, chronic inflammation during pregnancy as indicated by serum α1-acid glycoprotein.
The replacement of the finite and costly resource fish oil is an important task for aquaculture nutrition. A promising approach could be the use of plant bioactives that may have the potential to influence the metabolism and the synthesis of n-3 long chain polyunsaturated fatty acids, especially EPA (20:5n-3) and DHA (22:6n-3). In this study, the two phytochemicals resveratrol (RV) and genistein (G) were investigated for their effects on fish growth, nutrient utilization and body nutrient composition alongside their effects on whole body fatty acid (FA) composition. In a feeding trial lasting 8 weeks, rainbow trout (initial BW: 81.4±0.5 g) were held in a recirculating aquaculture system and fed six experimental diets with varying fish oil levels as plain variants or supplemented with 0.3% of dry matter (DM) of either RV or G. The six diets were as follows: diet F4 had 4% DM fish oil, diet F0 had 0% DM fish oil, diets F4+RV, F4+G, F0+RV and F0+G were equal to the diets F4 and F0, respectively, and supplemented with the phytochemicals RV and G. The feeding of the F0+RV diet resulted in reduced feed intake, growth rate and slightly reduced whole body lipid levels. At the same time, the amount of polyunsaturated FA and the n-3/n-6 ratio were significantly increased in whole body homogenates of rainbow trout fed diet F0+RV in comparison to the F0 control. The feeding of the F0+G diet led to reduced feed intake, slightly increased protein utilization but did not significantly affect the whole body FA composition. Overall, feeding the fish oil-free diet supplemented with the phytochemicals resulted in more pronounced effects on fish performance and FA composition than the single factors per se (dietary fish oil level or phytochemical). Present data indicate that G might not be of profitable use for trout nutrition. In terms of FA composition, RV could be a potentially useful complement for fish oil. However, the impairment of growth and performance parameters as observed in the present study discourages its use in trout diets.
A range of endophenotypes characterise psychosis, however there has been limited work understanding if and how they are inter-related.
This multi-centre study includes 8754 participants: 2212 people with a psychotic disorder, 1487 unaffected relatives of probands, and 5055 healthy controls. We investigated cognition [digit span (N = 3127), block design (N = 5491), and the Rey Auditory Verbal Learning Test (N = 3543)], electrophysiology [P300 amplitude and latency (N = 1102)], and neuroanatomy [lateral ventricular volume (N = 1721)]. We used linear regression to assess the interrelationships between endophenotypes.
The P300 amplitude and latency were not associated (regression coef. −0.06, 95% CI −0.12 to 0.01, p = 0.060), and P300 amplitude was positively associated with block design (coef. 0.19, 95% CI 0.10–0.28, p < 0.001). There was no evidence of associations between lateral ventricular volume and the other measures (all p > 0.38). All the cognitive endophenotypes were associated with each other in the expected directions (all p < 0.001). Lastly, the relationships between pairs of endophenotypes were consistent in all three participant groups, differing for some of the cognitive pairings only in the strengths of the relationships.
The P300 amplitude and latency are independent endophenotypes; the former indexing spatial visualisation and working memory, and the latter is hypothesised to index basic processing speed. Individuals with psychotic illnesses, their unaffected relatives, and healthy controls all show similar patterns of associations between endophenotypes, endorsing the theory of a continuum of psychosis liability across the population.
We present results from a multiwavelength study of the blazar PKS 1954–388 at radio, UV, X-ray, and gamma-ray energies. A RadioAstron observation at 1.66 GHz in June 2012 resulted in the detection of interferometric fringes on baselines of 6.2 Earth-diameters. This suggests a source frame brightness temperature of greater than 2 × 1012 K, well in excess of both equipartition and inverse Compton limits and implying the existence of Doppler boosting in the core. An 8.4-GHz TANAMI VLBI image, made less than a month after the RadioAstron observations, is consistent with a previously reported superluminal motion for a jet component. Flux density monitoring with the Australia Telescope Compact Array confirms previous evidence for long-term variability that increases with observing frequency. A search for more rapid variability revealed no evidence for significant day-scale flux density variation. The ATCA light-curve reveals a strong radio flare beginning in late 2013, which peaks higher, and earlier, at higher frequencies. Comparison with the Fermi gamma-ray light-curve indicates this followed ~ 9 months after the start of a prolonged gamma-ray high-state—a radio lag comparable to that seen in other blazars. The multiwavelength data are combined to derive a Spectral Energy Distribution, which is fitted by a one-zone synchrotron-self-Compton (SSC) model with the addition of external Compton (EC) emission.
A number of laser facilities coming online all over the world promise the capability of high-power laser experiments with shot repetition rates between 1 and 10 Hz. Target availability and technical issues related to the interaction environment could become a bottleneck for the exploitation of such facilities. In this paper, we report on target needs for three different classes of experiments: dynamic compression physics, electron transport and isochoric heating, and laser-driven particle and radiation sources. We also review some of the most challenging issues in target fabrication and high repetition rate operation. Finally, we discuss current target supply strategies and future perspectives to establish a sustainable target provision infrastructure for advanced laser facilities.
Internet-based cognitive–behavioural treatment (ICBT) for anxiety disorders has shown some promise, but no study has yet examined unguided ICBT in primary care. This randomized controlled trial (RCT) investigated whether a transdiagnostic, unguided ICBT programme for anxiety disorders is effective in primary care settings, after a face-to-face consultation with a physician (MD). We hypothesized that care as usual (CAU) plus unguided ICBT would be superior to CAU in reducing anxiety and related symptoms among patients with social anxiety disorder (SAD), panic disorder with or without agoraphobia (PDA) and/or generalized anxiety disorder (GAD).
Adults (n = 139) with at least one of these anxiety disorders, as reported by their MD and confirmed by a structured diagnostic interview, were randomized. Unguided ICBT was provided by a novel transdiagnostic ICBT programme (‘velibra’). Primary outcomes were generic measures, such as anxiety and depression symptom severity, and diagnostic status at post-treatment (9 weeks). Secondary outcomes included anxiety disorder-specific measures, quality of life, treatment adherence, satisfaction, and general psychiatric symptomatology at follow-up (6 months after randomization).
CAU plus unguided ICBT was more effective than CAU at post-treatment, with small to medium between-group effect sizes on primary (Cohen's d = 0.41–0.47) and secondary (Cohen's d = 0.16–0.61) outcomes. Treatment gains were maintained at follow-up. In the treatment group, 28.2% of those with a SAD diagnosis, 38.3% with a PDA diagnosis, and 44.8% with a GAD diagnosis at pretreatment no longer fulfilled diagnostic criteria at post-treatment.
The unguided ICBT intervention examined is effective for anxiety disorders when delivered in primary care.
Innate-like B1a lymphocytes arise from long-lived progenitors produced exclusively by fetal stem cells. Any insults coinciding with this early lymphopoietic wave could have a permanent impact on the B1a population and its unique protein products, the natural antibodies (NAb). We investigated early life nutritional influences on NAb concentrations of pre-adolescent children (n=290) in rural Nepal for whom we had extensive information on exposures from pregnancy and early infancy. Infant size and growth were strongly associated with NAb concentrations at 9–13 years of age among males (e.g., for neonatal weight: βBOYS=0.43; P<0.001), but not females (e.g., for neonatal weight: βGIRLS=−0.16; P=0.26). In females, season of birth was associated with NAb concentrations, with marked reductions among girls born during the pre-monsoon (March–May; βGIRLS=−0.39; P=0.01) and pre-harvest (September–November; βGIRLS=−0.35; P=0.03) seasons. Our findings suggest that nutritional or other environmental influences on immune development may vary by sex, with potential consequences for immune function during infancy and long-term risk of immune-mediated disease.
Mineral nitrogen (N) fertilization in cereals is commonly split into three or four applications. In order to simplify N fertilization, a single N application either broadcast or placed on the soil surface was compared to conventionally split fertilization for winter wheat (Triticum aestivum L.). The 4-year experiment (2007–2010) was performed using a participatory approach on farmers’ fields on deep loamy soils (Luvisols) in South-West Germany.
Grain yield and crude protein contents differed only slightly or not at all between treatments including different N fertilizer types (calcium ammonium nitrate, urea ammonium nitrate solution, urea) and application techniques (broadcast, placed). Furthermore, no differences were found for the yield components ears/m2 and thousand grain weight. Inorganic N in the soil profile after harvest was generally below 40 kg N/ha and did not differ between treatments. In the area where N was placed, mineral N was depleted during the vegetation period.
At the experimental sites a single N application in the period between tillering and stem elongation was sufficient to achieve high yield and quality of winter wheat without increased risk of nitrate leaching. This finding was independent of the method of application or the type of fertilizer.
CTGS (Ca3TaGa3Si2O14) is a commercially available, Czochralski-grown piezoelectric material from the langasite family that has an ordered crystal structure. It can be excited piezoelectrically up to at least 1285 °C, which is very close to the melting temperature of 1350 °C. In order to determine the loss at elevated temperatures, two different resonance techniques are used. A contactless transduction method is employed up to about 600 °C, whereas transduction involving standard keyhole-shaped film electrodes is employed up to 1285 °C. Comparison of the temperature-dependent inverse Q factor shows that contactless measurements are best suited for the lower temperature range, where sample clamping and losses caused by the electrodes contribute significantly to the total loss. However, at higher temperatures, measurement of the electrical impedance of samples with film electrodes in the vicinity of the resonance frequency proves to be suitable. Even at 1100 °C, 5 MHz CTGS resonators are found to have a Q factor of about 1200, which is great enough to enable numerous bulk-acoustic-wave applications. Further, a nearly linear temperature dependence of the resonance frequency with a temperature coefficient of 210 Hz/K makes Y-cut CTGS well suited for temperature-sensing applications.
Relatively lower executive functioning is characteristic of individuals with schizophrenia. As low socio-economic status (SES) early in life (i.e. parent SES) has been linked with lower executive skills in healthy children, we hypothesized that parental SES (pSES) would be more strongly related to executive functioning in individuals with schizophrenia than in controls and have a greater impact on prefrontal cortical morphology.
Healthy controls (n = 125) and individuals with schizophrenia (n = 102) completed tests assessing executive functioning and intelligence. The groups were matched on pSES, which was evaluated with the Hollingshead–Redlich scale. A principal components analysis (PCA) was conducted on 10 variables from six executive tests, yielding three specific components (fluency, planning and response inhibition). Voxel-based morphometry (VBM) was used to evaluate effects of pSES on gray matter (GM) concentration.
Lower pSES was associated with lower scores across the three executive functioning components, and a significant group by pSES interaction was observed such that low pSES, in particular, affected individuals with schizophrenia. These effects remained significant when intellectual ability, education and self-SES (sSES) were added as covariates. VBM revealed that lower pSES was associated with reduced GM volume in several anterior brain regions, especially the superior frontal gyrus, in patients but not in controls.
These findings suggest that individuals with schizophrenia may be particularly vulnerable to the adverse impact of low pSES, in terms of both lower executive skills and reduced anterior GM volumes.
The neuropeptide oxytocin (OT) has positive effects on the processing of emotional stimuli such as facial expressions. To date, research has focused primarily on conditions of overt visual attention.
We investigated whether a single intranasal dose of OT (24 IU) would modulate the allocation of attentional resources towards positive and negative facial expressions using a dot-probe paradigm in a sample of 69 healthy men. Attentional capacity for these facial cues was limited by presentation time (100 or 500 ms). In addition, we controlled for overt visual attention by recording eye movements using a remote eye tracker.
Reaction times (RTs) in the dot-probe paradigm revealed a pronounced shift of attention towards happy facial expressions presented for 100 ms after OT administration, whereas there were no OT-induced effects for longer presentation times (500 ms). The results could not be attributed to modulations of overt visual attention as no substance effects on gazes towards the facial target were observed.
The results suggest that OT increased covert attention to happy faces, thereby supporting the hypothesis that OT modulates early attentional processes that might promote prosocial behavior.
Previous studies have suggested that motivational aspects of executive functioning, which may be disrupted in schizophrenia patients with negative symptoms, are mediated in part by the striatum. Negative symptoms have been linked to impaired recruitment of both the striatum and the dorsolateral prefrontal cortex (DLPFC). Here we tested the hypothesis that negative symptoms are associated primarily with striatal dysfunction, using functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI).
Working-memory load-dependent activation and gray matter volumes of the striatum and DLPFC were measured using a region-of-interest (ROI) approach, in 147 schizophrenia patients and 160 healthy controls. In addition to testing for a linear relationships between striatal function and negative symptoms, we chose a second, categorical analytic strategy in which we compared three demographically and behaviorally matched subgroups: patients with a high burden of negative symptoms, patients with minimal negative symptoms, and healthy subjects.
There were no differences in striatal response magnitudes between schizophrenia patients and healthy controls, but right DLPFC activity was higher in patients than in controls. Negative symptoms were inversely associated with striatal, but not DLPFC, activity. In addition, patients with a high burden of negative symptoms exhibited significantly lower bilateral striatal, but not DLPFC, activation than schizophrenia patients with minimal negative symptoms. Working memory performance, antipsychotic exposure and changes in gray matter volumes did not account for these differences.
These data provide further evidence for a robust association between negative symptoms and diminished striatal activity. Future work will determine whether low striatal activity in schizophrenia patients could serve as a reliable biomarker for negative symptoms.
We present an investigation of the band offsets in amorphous/crystalline silicon heterojunctions (a-Si:H/c-Si) using low energy photoelectron spectroscopy, ellipsometry and surface photovoltage data. For a variation of deposition conditions that lead to changes in hydrogen content and the thereby the a-Si:H band gap by ∼180 meV, we find that mainly the conduction band offset ΔEV varies, while ΔEC stays constant within experimental error. This result can be understood in the framework of charge neutrality (CNL) band lineup theory.
This paper describes a three-step process regime for the integration of porous SiCOH based ultra low-k materials in existing copper damascene technologies. During the work with these complex and sensitive materials, it became more and more clear, that a successful patterning depends not only on the etch step but also on the adjustment between the etch and the following cleaning and k-restore processes. The presented process regime starts with a reactive ion etch process for trench patterning followed by a post etch clean to remove etch residues. Finally a k-restore process was performed to repair the damaged regions in the trench sidewalls. In this work it became clear, that the etch chemistry influences not only the results of the etch process ostensibly sidewall damage but also kind and effect of the post etch clean. Each plasma composition results in the necessity of a customized post etch cleaning solution. Finally a k-restore process using Hexamethyldisilazane (HMDS) as restore chemical was demonstrated successfully. Enhanced temperatures and an additional UV-treatment are possibilities to promote the restore effect.
The aim of this study was to determine the potential association between housing type and multiple drug resistance (MDR) in Escherichia coli and Enterococcus faecalis isolates recovered from 283 laying-hen flocks. In each flock, a cloacal swab from four hens was collected and produced 1102 E. coli and 792 E. faecalis isolates. Broth microdilution was used to test susceptibility to antimicrobials. Country and housing type interacted differently with the MDR levels of both species. In the E. coli model, housing in a raised-floor system was associated with an increased risk of MDR compared to the conventional battery system [odds ratio (OR) 2·12, 95% confidence interval (CI) 1·13–3·97)]. In the E. faecalis model the MDR levels were lower in free-range systems than in conventional battery cages (OR 0·51, 95% CI 0·27–0·94). In Belgium, ceftiofur-resistant E. coli isolates were more numerous than in the other countries.
Vitamin A plays an important role in fetal renal and cardiovascular development, yet there has been little research on its effects on cardiovascular risk factors later in childhood. To examine this question, we followed the children of women who had been participants in a cluster-randomized, double blind, placebo-controlled trial of weekly supplementation with 7000 μg retinol equivalents of preformed vitamin A or 42 mg of β-carotene from 1994 to 1997 in rural Nepal. Women received their assigned supplements before, during and after pregnancy. Over a study period of 3 years, 17,531 infants were born to women enrolled in the trial. In 2006–2008, we revisited and assessed 13,118 children aged 9–13 years to examine the impact of maternal supplementation on early biomarkers of chronic disease. Blood pressure was measured in the entire sample of children. In a subsample of 1390 children, venous blood was collected for plasma glucose, Hb1Ac and lipids and a morning urine specimen was collected to measure the ratio of microalbumin/creatinine. Detailed anthropometry was also conducted in the subsample. The mean ± s.d. systolic and diastolic blood pressure was 97.2 ± 8.2 and 64.6 ± 8.5 mm Hg, respectively, and about 5.0% had high-blood pressure (⩾120/80 mm Hg). The prevalence of microalbuminuria (⩾30 mg/g creatinine) was also low at 4.8%. There were no differences in blood pressure or the risk of microalbuminuria between supplement groups. There were also no group differences in fasting glucose, glycated hemoglobin, triglycerides or cholesterol. Maternal supplementation with vitamin A or β-carotene had no overall impact on cardiovascular risk factors in this population at pre-adolescent age in rural Nepal.