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The Square Kilometre Array (SKA) is a planned large radio interferometer designed to operate over a wide range of frequencies, and with an order of magnitude greater sensitivity and survey speed than any current radio telescope. The SKA will address many important topics in astronomy, ranging from planet formation to distant galaxies. However, in this work, we consider the perspective of the SKA as a facility for studying physics. We review four areas in which the SKA is expected to make major contributions to our understanding of fundamental physics: cosmic dawn and reionisation; gravity and gravitational radiation; cosmology and dark energy; and dark matter and astroparticle physics. These discussions demonstrate that the SKA will be a spectacular physics machine, which will provide many new breakthroughs and novel insights on matter, energy, and spacetime.
Recruitment of the limpet Patella ulyssiponensis was investigated in relation to the presence of living crustose coralline algae (CCA) in rocky-shore habitats. Juvenile limpets (≤10 mm maximum shell length) were counted in CCA-present and CCA-absent habitats, on three shores in SW Portugal during summer 2007 and winter 2009. Furthermore, the settling response of laboratory-reared larvae of P. ulyssiponensis to CCA-covered substratum, and bare-rock, was examined. Across the intertidal zone, we found a clear association between the distribution and abundance of juveniles and the presence of CCA. Although the presence of CCA was not an absolute requisite for juvenile occurrence, null juvenile densities were mostly recorded in CCA-absent areas. The highest juvenile densities (maximum of 64 individuals in 15 × 15 cm) were consistently found in CCA-dominated habitats, namely steep wave-exposed areas at low-shore and rock-pools. The hypothesis of CCA-enhanced settlement was not supported, as settlement intensities of laboratory-reared larvae were similar between chips of rock encrusted by CCA and chips of bare-rock. From the overall number of settlers onto CCA-encrusted rock chips, 51% were found in tiny pits lacking CCA. This was the first study of the settlement patterns of larvae of the genus Patella using naturally occurring rocky substrata. These results are preliminary and should be confirmed with choice-experiments and improved monitoring of the position of settlers. We suggest that CCA plays a role in the recruitment of P. ulyssiponensis, potentially promoting survivorship of early benthic stages, but possibly not enhancing settlement.
Human neurocysticercosis (NCC) is a worldwide neglected disease caused by Taenia solium metacestode and responsible for various complications and neurological disorders. This study aimed to evaluate the use of specific immunoglobulin Y (IgY) produced by laying hens immunized with a hydrophobic fraction of Taenia crassiceps metacestodes (hFTc) in NCC diagnosis. Egg yolk IgY antibodies were fractionated, purified and characterized. Enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA) was carried out to evaluate the production kinetics and avidity maturation of anti-hFTc IgY antibodies throughout the IgY obtention process. Antigen recognition tests were carried out by Western blotting and immunofluorescence antibody test using purified and specific anti-hFTc IgY antibodies for detection of parasitic antigens of T. crassiceps and T. solium metacestodes. Sandwich ELISA was performed to detect circulating immune complexes formed by IgG and parasitic antigens in human sera. The results showed high diagnostic values (93.2% sensitivity and 94.3% specificity) for immune complexes detection in human sera with confirmed NCC. In conclusion, specific IgY antibodies produced from immunized hens with hFTc antigens were efficient to detect T. solium immune complexes in human sera, being an innovative and potential tool for NCC immunodiagnosis.
The rocky shores of the north-east Atlantic have been long studied. Our focus is from Gibraltar to Norway plus the Azores and Iceland. Phylogeographic processes shape biogeographic patterns of biodiversity. Long-term and broadscale studies have shown the responses of biota to past climate fluctuations and more recent anthropogenic climate change. Inter- and intra-specific species interactions along sharp local environmental gradients shape distributions and community structure and hence ecosystem functioning. Shifts in domination by fucoids in shelter to barnacles/mussels in exposure are mediated by grazing by patellid limpets. Further south fucoids become increasingly rare, with species disappearing or restricted to estuarine refuges, caused by greater desiccation and grazing pressure. Mesoscale processes influence bottom-up nutrient forcing and larval supply, hence affecting species abundance and distribution, and can be proximate factors setting range edges (e.g., the English Channel, the Iberian Peninsula). Impacts of invasive non-native species are reviewed. Knowledge gaps such as the work on rockpools and host–parasite dynamics are also outlined.
We report on an initial long-term study of dissolved inorganic and organic carbon (DIC) from Sabino Creek, located in Sabino Canyon, Pima County, Arizona. The purpose of this study was to monitor changes in dissolved radiocarbon (14C) with time and to understand the processes contributing to these variations. Our results span the period 2009–2016 and show a mixing trend between dissolved inorganic and organic carbon modern end-members with an older component. This study provides preliminary information for more detailed research on recycling of organic components in this stream system.
We assessed self-reported drives for alcohol use and their impact on clinical features of alcohol use disorder (AUD) patients. Our prediction was that, in contrast to “affectively” (reward or fear) driven drinking, “habitual” drinking would be associated with worse clinical features in relation to alcohol use and higher occurrence of associated psychiatric symptoms.
Fifty-eight Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, Fourth Edition (DSM-IV) alcohol abuse patients were assessed with a comprehensive battery of reward- and fear-based behavioral tendencies. An 18-item self-report instrument (the Habit, Reward and Fear Scale; HRFS) was employed to quantify affective (fear or reward) and non-affective (habitual) motivations for alcohol use. To characterize clinical and demographic measures associated with habit, reward, and fear, we conducted a partial least squares analysis.
Habitual alcohol use was significantly associated with the severity of alcohol dependence reflected across a range of domains and with lower number of detoxifications across multiple settings. In contrast, reward-driven alcohol use was associated with a single domain of alcohol dependence, reward-related behavioral tendencies, and lower number of detoxifications.
These results seem to be consistent with a shift from goal-directed to habit-driven alcohol use with severity and progression of addiction, complementing preclinical work and informing biological models of addiction. Both reward-related and habit-driven alcohol use were associated with lower number of detoxifications, perhaps stemming from more benign course for the reward-related and lack of treatment engagement for the habit-related alcohol abuse group. Future work should further explore the role of habit in this and other addictive disorders, and in obsessive-compulsive related disorders.
Maternal polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) has been proposed as a model for investigating the role of prenatal androgen exposure in the development of neuropsychiatric disorders. However, women with PCOS are at higher risk of developing psychiatric conditions and previous studies are likely confounded by genetic influences.
A Swedish nationwide register-based cohort study was conducted to disentangle the influence of prenatal androgen exposure from familial confounding in the association between maternal PCOS and offspring attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), autism spectrum disorders (ASD), and Tourette's disorder and chronic tic disorders (TD/CTD). PCOS-exposed offspring (n = 21 280) were compared with unrelated PCOS-unexposed offspring (n = 200 816) and PCOS-unexposed cousins (n = 17 295). Associations were estimated with stratified Cox regression models.
PCOS-exposed offspring had increased risk of being diagnosed with ADHD, ASD, and TD/CTD compared with unrelated PCOS-unexposed offspring. Associations were stronger in girls for ADHD and ASD but not TD/CTD [ADHD: adjusted hazard ratio (aHR) = 1.61 (95% confidence interval (CI) 1.31–1.99), ASD: aHR = 2.02 (95% CI 1.45–2.82)] than boys [ADHD: aHR = 1.37 (95% CI 1.19–1.57), ASD: aHR = 1.46 (95% CI 1.21–1.76)]. For ADHD and ASD, aHRs for girls were stronger when compared with PCOS-unexposed cousins, but slightly attenuated for boys.
Estimates were similar when accounting for familial confounding (i.e. genetics and environmental factors shared by cousins) and stronger in girls for ADHD and ASD, potentially indicating a differential influence of prenatal androgen exposure v. genetic factors. These results strengthen evidence for a potential causal influence of prenatal androgen exposure on the development of male-predominant neuropsychiatric disorders in female offspring of women with PCOS.
Spineless cactus is a useful feed for various animal species in arid and semiarid regions due to its adaptability to dry and harsh soil, high efficiency of water use and carbohydrates storage. This meta-analysis was carried out to assess the effect of spineless cactus on animal performance, and develop and evaluate equations to predict dry matter intake (DMI) and average daily gain (ADG) in meat lambs. Equations for predicting DMI and ADG as a function of animal and diet characteristics were developed using data from eight experiments. The dataset was comprised of 40 treatment means from 289 meat lambs, in which cactus was included from 0 to 75% of the diet dry matter (DM). Accuracy and precision were evaluated by cross-validation using the mean square error of prediction (MSEP), which was decomposed into mean bias, systematic bias and random error; concordance correlation coefficient, which was decomposed into accuracy (Cb) and precision (ρ); and coefficient of determination (R2). In addition, the data set was used to evaluate the predicting accuracy and precision of the main lamb feeding systems (Agricultural and Food Research Council, Small Ruminant Nutritional System, National Research Council and Institut National de la Recherche Agronomique) and also two Brazilian studies. The DMI, CP intake (CPI), metabolizable energy (ME) intake and ADG increased when cactus was included up to 499 g/kg DM (P<0.001). In contrast, animals fed high levels of cactus (>500 g/kg DM) had a decreased DMI, CPI and NDF intake, but increased feed efficiency (P<0.001) and similar ADG compared with those without cactus addition. The DMI was positively correlated with initial BW, final BW, concentrate and ADG, while it was negatively correlated with cactus inclusion and ME of the diet. On other hand, ADG was positively correlated with DMI, initial and mean BW and concentrate, and it was negatively correlated with cactus inclusion. The two developed equations had high accuracy (Cb of 0.95 for DMI and 0.94 for ADG) and the random error of MSEP was 99% for both equations. The precision of both equations was moderate, with R2 values of 0.53 and 0.50 and ρ values of 0.73 and 0.71 for DMI and ADG, respectively. In conclusion, the developed equation to predict DMI had moderate precision and high accuracy, nonetheless, it was more efficient than those reported in the literature. The proposed equations can be a useful alternative to estimate intake and performance of lambs fed cactus.
This paper describes a model of electron energization and cyclotron-maser emission applicable to astrophysical magnetized collisionless shocks. It is motivated by the work of Begelman, Ergun and Rees [Astrophys. J. 625, 51 (2005)] who argued that the cyclotron-maser instability occurs in localized magnetized collisionless shocks such as those expected in blazar jets. We report on recent research carried out to investigate electron acceleration at collisionless shocks and maser radiation associated with the accelerated electrons. We describe how electrons accelerated by lower-hybrid waves at collisionless shocks generate cyclotron-maser radiation when the accelerated electrons move into regions of stronger magnetic fields. The electrons are accelerated along the magnetic field and magnetically compressed leading to the formation of an electron velocity distribution having a horseshoe shape due to conservation of the electron magnetic moment. Under certain conditions the horseshoe electron velocity distribution function is unstable to the cyclotron-maser instability [Bingham and Cairns, Phys. Plasmas 7, 3089 (2000); Melrose, Rev. Mod. Plasma Phys. 1, 5 (2017)].
Hafnium diselenide (HfSe2) has a high theoretical carrier mobility but is among the most reactive transition-metal dichalcogenides (TMDs). Herein, we have investigated the air stability of 2H polytype HfSe2 single-crystal thin films by spectroscopic and microscopic techniques. Raman spectroscopy measurements in conjunction with atomic force microscopy reveal the formation of selenium-rich blisters on the surface of the crystals upon air exposure. Transmission electron microscopy analysis indicates that 2H-HfSe2 undergoes a spontaneous phase change to 1T-HfSe2. These results offer Raman spectroscopy as a fast, convenient, non-destructive technique to reliably monitor the surface degradation of TMDs and present an opportunity for further study of phase changes in this material.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), from 2000 to 2014, reported cases of legionellosis per 100 000 population increased by 300% in the USA, although reports on disease seasonality are inconsistent. Using two national databases, we assessed seasonal patterns of legionellosis in the USA. We created a monthly time series from 1993 to 2015 of reported cases of legionellosis from the CDC, and from 1997 to 2006 of medical claims of legionellosis-related hospitalisation in older adults from the Centers for Medicaid and Medicare Services (CMS). We split the study time interval into two segments (before and after 2003), and applied a Poisson harmonic regression model to each dataset and each segment. The time series of monthly counts exhibited a significant shift of seasonal peaks from mid-September (9.676 ± 0.164 months) before 2003 to mid-August (8.452 ± 0.042 months) after 2003, along with an alarming increase in the amplitude of seasonal peaks in both CDC and CMS data. The lowest monthly reported cases of legionellosis in 2015 (281) exceed the maximum value reported before 2003 (206). We also observed a discrepancy between CDC and CMS data, suggesting that not all cases of legionellosis diagnosed by hospital-based laboratories were reported to the CDC. Improved reporting of legionellosis is required to better inform the public and organise disease prevention.
Extracorporeal circulatory membrane oxygenation (ECMO) is a technology that allows recovery of adults in cardiorespiratory failure with encouraging results, but is not available in the Brazilian universal public health system (SUS) due to high implementation costs. Time-driven activity based costing (TDABC) is applied to measure processes in an economic perspective by identifying opportunities to make processes more efficient through the reduction of resources used in each activity. The literature has explored the use of TDABC to measure costs related with clinical procedures and technologies in microcosting studies, identifying opportunities to improve the process by making it more efficient. This research measures the real costs to implement ECMO in Brazil to compare with the current public reimbursement system.
This study applied TDABC using data from 6 patients to measure costs of ECMO intervention considering the public perspective in Brazil. In sequence, standard price payed by SUS was used to estimate the current reimbursement amount received by the hospital for ECMO procedure. Cost variable analysis was conducted to understand when and how patients receiving ECMO are using hospital resources. Cost data were collected from an academic public hospital using an average of 18 months (2016–2017) for the department costs.
The real average cost was USD 128,923. Most significant resource costs was medical staff, particularly for the three survivor patients, and the ECMO equipment presented the second highest cost. ECMO activities were separated into: before implantation of ECMO, period using ECMO, intensive care post-ECMO and rehabilitation, being the period where ECMO is the most expensive, particularly in nurse and physician costs. The SUS average was USD 31,437, which shows a difference of USD 97,485 between the real ECMO cost and the public reimbursement in Brazil.
A critical element of the propagation of ECMO in Brazil and its reimbursement by public health system is the high cost and out-of-date standard payments by the Ministry of Health. Effort to implement a trustworthy method to guide decisions of SUS for the adoption and financing new technologies is essential to contribute to the optimization of public health policies in a country with a universal health system and limited resources dedicated to health sectors.
To examine a library-based approach to addressing food insecurity through a child and adult summer meal programme. The study examines: (i) risk of household food insecurity among participants; (ii) perspectives on the library meal programme; and (iii) barriers to utilizing other community food resources.
Quantitative surveys with adult participants and qualitative semi-structured interviews with a sub-sample of adult participants.
Ten libraries using public and private funding to serve meals to children and adults for six to eight weeks in low-income Silicon Valley communities (California, USA) during summer 2015.
Adult survey participants (≥18 years) were recruited to obtain maximum capture, while a sub-sample of interview participants was recruited through maximum variation purposeful sampling.
Survey participants (n 161) were largely Latino (71 %) and Asian (23 %). Forty-one per cent of participants screened positive for risk of food insecurity in the past 12 months. A sub-sample of programme participants engaged in qualitative interviews (n 67). Interviewees reported appreciating the library’s child enrichment programmes, resources, and open and welcoming atmosphere. Provision of adult meals was described as building community among library patrons, neighbours and staff. Participants emphasized lack of awareness, misinformation about programmes, structural barriers (i.e. transportation), immigration fears and stigma as barriers to utilizing community food resources.
Food insecurity remains high in our study population. Public libraries are ideal locations for community-based meal programmes due to their welcoming and stigma-free environment. Libraries are well positioned to link individuals to other social services given their reputation as trusted community organizations.
Previous investigations suggested that elevated cell-free DNA (cfDNA) can indicate non-healthy states. However, the potential association between cfDNA seminal plasma levels and fertility sperm parameters has not yet been determined. Therefore, the present study evaluated the association between seminal cfDNA levels and sperm fertility criteria to determine the use of seminal cfDNA quantification. An in vivo protocol quantified cfDNA levels of semen samples obtained from 163 male patients using fluorescent PicoGreen dye staining. To confirm if semen cfDNA quantification is realistic, an in vitro complementary test was performed using three or four semen samples. The fresh sperm samples were exposed to paraquat that generates high levels of superoxide anion causing oxidative stress and cell mortality. The results showed significant association between dsDNA levels and several sperm fertility parameters, such as low viability and alterations of motility and morphology. The in vitro analysis confirmed the association between dsDNA levels and sperm viability. Together, these results suggest that dsDNA levels could be an important biomarker to test sperm fertility.