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The Pediatric Heart Network Normal Echocardiogram Database Study had unanticipated challenges. We sought to describe these challenges and lessons learned to improve the design of future studies.
Challenges were divided into three categories: enrolment, echocardiographic imaging, and protocol violations. Memoranda, Core Lab reports, and adjudication logs were reviewed. A centre-level questionnaire provided information regarding local processes for data collection. Descriptive statistics were used, and chi-square tests determined differences in imaging quality.
For the 19 participating centres, challenges with enrolment included variations in Institutional Review Board definitions of “retrospective” eligibility, overestimation of non-White participants, centre categorisation of Hispanic participants that differed from National Institutes of Health definitions, and exclusion of potential participants due to missing demographic data. Institutional Review Board amendments resolved many of these challenges. There was an unanticipated burden imposed on centres due to high numbers of echocardiograms that were reviewed but failed to meet submission criteria. Additionally, image transfer software malfunctions delayed Core Lab image review and feedback. Between the early and late study periods, the proportion of unacceptable echocardiograms submitted to the Core Lab decreased (14 versus 7%, p < 0.01). Most protocol violations were from eligibility violations and inadvertent protected health information disclosure (overall 2.5%). Adjudication committee reviews led to protocol changes.
Numerous challenges encountered during the Normal Echocardiogram Database Study prolonged study enrolment. The retrospective design and flaws in image transfer software were key impediments to study completion and should be considered when designing future studies collecting echocardiographic images as a primary outcome.
To evaluate the National Health Safety Network (NHSN) hospital-onset Clostridioides difficile infection (HO-CDI) standardized infection ratio (SIR) risk adjustment for general acute-care hospitals with large numbers of intensive care unit (ICU), oncology unit, and hematopoietic cell transplant (HCT) patients.
Retrospective cohort study.
Eight tertiary-care referral general hospitals in California.
We used FY 2016 data and the published 2015 rebaseline NHSN HO-CDI SIR. We compared facility-wide inpatient HO-CDI events and SIRs, with and without ICU data, oncology and/or HCT unit data, and ICU bed adjustment.
For these hospitals, the median unmodified HO-CDI SIR was 1.24 (interquartile range [IQR], 1.15–1.34); 7 hospitals qualified for the highest ICU bed adjustment; 1 hospital received the second highest ICU bed adjustment; and all had oncology-HCT units with no additional adjustment per the NHSN. Removal of ICU data and the ICU bed adjustment decreased HO-CDI events (median, −25%; IQR, −20% to −29%) but increased the SIR at all hospitals (median, 104%; IQR, 90%–105%). Removal of oncology-HCT unit data decreased HO-CDI events (median, −15%; IQR, −14% to −21%) and decreased the SIR at all hospitals (median, −8%; IQR, −4% to −11%).
For tertiary-care referral hospitals with specialized ICUs and a large number of ICU beds, the ICU bed adjustor functions as a global adjustment in the SIR calculation, accounting for the increased complexity of patients in ICUs and non-ICUs at these facilities. However, the SIR decrease with removal of oncology and HCT unit data, even with the ICU bed adjustment, suggests that an additional adjustment should be considered for oncology and HCT units within general hospitals, perhaps similar to what is done for ICU beds in the current SIR.
In Australia, free-range egg production pullets are typically reared indoors, but adult layers get outdoor access. This new environment may be challenging to adapt to, which could impair egg production and/or egg quality. Adaptation might be enhanced through rearing enrichments. We reared 1386 Hy-Line Brown® chicks indoors with three treatments across 16 weeks: (1) a control group with standard litter housing conditions, (2) a novelty group providing novel objects that changed weekly, and (3) a structural enrichment group with custom-designed structures to partially impair visibility across the pen and allow for vertical movement. Pullets were transferred to a free-range system at 16 weeks of age with daily outdoor access provided from 25 until 64 weeks. Daily egg production at different laying locations (large nests, small nests and floor), weekly egg weights and egg abnormalities were recorded from 18 to 64 weeks old. External and internal egg quality parameters of egg weight, shell reflectivity, albumen height, haugh unit, yolk colour score, shell weight and shell thickness were measured at 44, 52, 60 and 64 weeks. There was a significant interaction between rearing treatment and nest box use on hen-day production from weeks 18 to 25 (P < 0.0001) with the novelty hens laying the most eggs and the control hens the fewest eggs in the nest box. Similarly, from 26 to 64 weeks, the novelty hens laid more eggs in the large nest boxes and fewer eggs on the floor than both the structural and control hens (P < 0.0001). Egg weight and abnormalities increased with age (P < 0.0001), but rearing treatment had no effect on either measure (both P ≥ 0.19). Rearing treatment affected shell reflectivity and yolk colour with the control hens showing paler colours across time relative to the changes observed in the eggs from enriched hens. The novelty hens may have established nest box laying patterns as they were more accustomed to exploring new environments. The differences in egg quality could be related to stress adaptability or ranging behaviour. This study shows that enriching environments during rearing can have some impacts on production parameters in free-range hens.
The search for life in the Universe is a fundamental problem of astrobiology and modern science. The current progress in the detection of terrestrial-type exoplanets has opened a new avenue in the characterization of exoplanetary atmospheres and in the search for biosignatures of life with the upcoming ground-based and space missions. To specify the conditions favourable for the origin, development and sustainment of life as we know it in other worlds, we need to understand the nature of global (astrospheric), and local (atmospheric and surface) environments of exoplanets in the habitable zones (HZs) around G-K-M dwarf stars including our young Sun. Global environment is formed by propagated disturbances from the planet-hosting stars in the form of stellar flares, coronal mass ejections, energetic particles and winds collectively known as astrospheric space weather. Its characterization will help in understanding how an exoplanetary ecosystem interacts with its host star, as well as in the specification of the physical, chemical and biochemical conditions that can create favourable and/or detrimental conditions for planetary climate and habitability along with evolution of planetary internal dynamics over geological timescales. A key linkage of (astro)physical, chemical and geological processes can only be understood in the framework of interdisciplinary studies with the incorporation of progress in heliophysics, astrophysics, planetary and Earth sciences. The assessment of the impacts of host stars on the climate and habitability of terrestrial (exo)planets will significantly expand the current definition of the HZ to the biogenic zone and provide new observational strategies for searching for signatures of life. The major goal of this paper is to describe and discuss the current status and recent progress in this interdisciplinary field in light of presentations and discussions during the NASA Nexus for Exoplanetary System Science funded workshop ‘Exoplanetary Space Weather, Climate and Habitability’ and to provide a new roadmap for the future development of the emerging field of exoplanetary science and astrobiology.
Hepatitis E virus (HEV) is an emerging cause of viral hepatitis worldwide. Recently, HEV-7 has been shown to infect camels and humans. We studied HEV seroprevalence in dromedary camels and among Bedouins, Arabs (Muslims, none-Bedouins) and Jews and assessed factors associated with anti-HEV seropositivity. Serum samples from dromedary camels (n = 86) were used to determine camel anti-HEV IgG and HEV RNA positivity. Human samples collected between 2009 and 2016 from >20 years old Bedouins (n = 305), non-Bedouin Arabs (n = 320) and Jews (n = 195), were randomly selected using an age-stratified sampling design. Human HEV IgG levels were determined using Wantai IgG ELISA assay. Of the samples obtained from camels, 68.6% were anti-HEV positive. Among the human populations, Bedouins and non-Bedouin Arabs had a significantly higher prevalence of HEV antibodies (21.6% and 15.0%, respectively) compared with the Jewish population (3.1%). Seropositivity increased significantly with age in all human populations, reaching 47.6% and 34.8% among ⩾40 years old, in Bedouins and non-Bedouin Arabs, respectively. The high seropositivity in camels and in ⩾40 years old Bedouins and non-Bedouin Arabs suggests that HEV is endemic in Israel. The low HEV seroprevalence in Jews could be attributed to higher socio-economic status.
Acinetobacter spp. are important healthcare pathogens, being closely linked to antibiotic resistance and outbreaks worldwide. Although such species are rarely observed in patients with cystic fibrosis (CF), we describe the characteristics of 53 strains of Acinetobacter spp. isolated from the sputum of 39 Brazilian patients with CF. The species distribution was A. baumannii (n = 29), A. pittii (n = 13), A. nosocomialis (n = 8), A. seifertii (n = 1), A. soli (n = 1) and A. variabilis (n = 1) determined by partial rpoB gene sequencing. Sixteen strains (10 A. baumannii, 3 A. pittii and 3 A. nosocomialis) were multidrug-resistant (MDR) by disk diffusion test (30%) and eight MDR carbapenem-resistant A. baumannii strains harboured the blaOXA-23-like oxacillinase gene. Thirty-three sequence types (STs) were identified by multilocus sequence typing of which eight were novel (A. baumannii: 843, 844, 845, 847, 848; A. pitti: 643; A. nosocomialis: 862 and A. seifertii: 846); six STs (2 A. baumannii, 3 A. pittii and 1 A. nosocomialis) were found in more than one patient. Four strains of A. baumannii were assigned to two common clonal complexes (CCs), namely, CC1 (ST1, ST20 and ST160), and CC79 (ST79). This study underlines the extensive species diversity of Acinetobacter spp. strains in CF lung infections which may present difficulties for therapy due to significant antimicrobial resistance.
An internationally approved and globally used classification scheme for the diagnosis of CHD has long been sought. The International Paediatric and Congenital Cardiac Code (IPCCC), which was produced and has been maintained by the International Society for Nomenclature of Paediatric and Congenital Heart Disease (the International Nomenclature Society), is used widely, but has spawned many “short list” versions that differ in content depending on the user. Thus, efforts to have a uniform identification of patients with CHD using a single up-to-date and coordinated nomenclature system continue to be thwarted, even if a common nomenclature has been used as a basis for composing various “short lists”. In an attempt to solve this problem, the International Nomenclature Society has linked its efforts with those of the World Health Organization to obtain a globally accepted nomenclature tree for CHD within the 11th iteration of the International Classification of Diseases (ICD-11). The International Nomenclature Society has submitted a hierarchical nomenclature tree for CHD to the World Health Organization that is expected to serve increasingly as the “short list” for all communities interested in coding for congenital cardiology. This article reviews the history of the International Classification of Diseases and of the IPCCC, and outlines the process used in developing the ICD-11 congenital cardiac disease diagnostic list and the definitions for each term on the list. An overview of the content of the congenital heart anomaly section of the Foundation Component of ICD-11, published herein in its entirety, is also included. Future plans for the International Nomenclature Society include linking again with the World Health Organization to tackle procedural nomenclature as it relates to cardiac malformations. By doing so, the Society will continue its role in standardising nomenclature for CHD across the globe, thereby promoting research and better outcomes for fetuses, children, and adults with congenital heart anomalies.
We present an indentation-scope that interfaces with confocal microscopy, enabling direct observation of the three-dimensional (3D) microstructural response of coatings on substrates. Using this method, we compared microns-thick polymer coatings on glass with and without silica nanoparticle filler. Bulk force data confirmed the >30% modulus difference, while microstructural data further revealed slip at the glass-coating interface. Filled coatings slipped more and about two times faster, as reflected in 3D displacement and von Mises strain fields. Overall, these data indicate that silica-doping of coatings can dramatically alter adhesion. Moreover, this method compliments existing theoretical and modeling approaches for studying indentation in layered systems.
Immunological hypotheses have become increasingly prominent suggesting that autoimmunity may be involved in the pathogenesis of schizophrenia. Schizophrenia was found to be associated with a wide range of autoimmune diseases. However, the association between pemphigus and schizophrenia has not been established yet. We aimed to estimate the association between pemphigus and schizophrenia using a large-scale real-life computerised database.
This study was conducted as a cross-sectional study utilising the database of Clalit Health Services. The proportion of schizophrenia was compared between patients diagnosed with pemphigus and age-, gender- and ethnicity-matched control subjects. Univariate analysis was performed using χ2 and Student's t-test and a multivariate analysis was performed using a logistic regression model.
A total of 1985 pemphigus patients and 9874 controls were included in the study. The prevalence of schizophrenia was greater in patients with pemphigus as compared to the control group (2.0% v. 1.3%, respectively; p = 0.019). In a multivariate analysis, pemphigus was significantly associated with schizophrenia (OR, 1.5; 95% CI, 1.1–2.2). The association was more prominent among females, patients older than 60 years, and Jews.
Pemphigus is significantly associated with schizophrenia. Physicians treating patients with pemphigus should be aware of this possible association. Patients with pemphigus should be carefully assessed for comorbid schizophrenia and be treated appropriately.
We have previously shown that the minor alleles of vascular endothelial growth factor A (VEGFA) single-nucleotide polymorphism rs833069 and superoxide dismutase 2 (SOD2) single-nucleotide polymorphism rs2758331 are both associated with improved transplant-free survival after surgery for CHD in infants, but the underlying mechanisms are unknown. We hypothesised that one or both of these minor alleles are associated with better systemic ventricular function, resulting in improved survival.
This study is a follow-up analysis of 422 non-syndromic CHD patients who underwent neonatal cardiac surgery with cardiopulmonary bypass. Echocardiographic reports were reviewed. Systemic ventricular function was subjectively categorised as normal, or as mildly, moderately, or severely depressed. The change in function was calculated as the change from the preoperative study to the last available study. Stepwise linear regression, adjusting for covariates, was performed for the outcome of change in ventricular function. Model comparison was performed using Akaike’s information criterion. Only variables that improved the model prediction of change in systemic ventricular function were retained in the final model.
Genetic and echocardiographic data were available for 335/422 subjects (79%). Of them, 33 (9.9%) developed worse systemic ventricular function during a mean follow-up period of 13.5 years. After covariate adjustment, the presence of the VEGFA minor allele was associated with preserved ventricular function (p=0.011).
These data support the hypothesis that the mechanism by which the VEGFA single-nucleotide polymorphism rs833069 minor allele improves survival may be the preservation of ventricular function. Further studies are needed to validate this genotype–phenotype association and to determine whether this mechanism is related to increased vascular endothelial growth factor production.
Schizotypal traits are considered a phenotypic-indicator of schizotypy, a latent personality organization reflecting a putative liability for psychosis. To date, no previous study has examined the comparability of factorial structures across samples originating from different countries and cultures. The main goal was to evaluate the factorial structure and reliability of the Schizotypal Personality Questionnaire (SPQ) scores by amalgamating data from studies conducted in 12 countries and across 21 sites.
The overall sample consisted of 27 001 participants (37.5% males, n = 4251 drawn from the general population). The mean age was 22.12 years (s.d. = 6.28, range 16–55 years). The SPQ was used. Confirmatory factor analysis (CFA) and Multilevel CFA (ML-CFA) were used to evaluate the factor structure underlying the SPQ scores.
At the SPQ item level, the nine factor and second-order factor models showed adequate goodness-of-fit. At the SPQ subscale level, three- and four-factor models displayed better goodness-of-fit indices than other CFA models. ML-CFA showed that the intraclass correlation coefficients values were lower than 0.106. The three-factor model showed adequate goodness of fit indices in multilevel analysis. The ordinal α coefficients were high, ranging from 0.73 to 0.94 across individual samples, and from 0.84 to 0.91 for the combined sample.
The results are consistent with the conceptual notion that schizotypal personality is a multifaceted construct and support the validity and utility of SPQ in cross-cultural research. We discuss theoretical and clinical implications of our results for diagnostic systems, psychosis models and cross-national mental health strategies.
One view of major Solar Energetic Particle (SEP) events is that these (proton-dominated) fluxes are accelerated in heliospheric shock sources created by Interplanetary Coronal Mass Ejections (ICMEs), and then travel mainly along interplanetary magnetic field lines connecting the shock(s) to the observer(s). This places a particular emphasis on the role of the heliospheric conditions during the event, requiring a realistic description of the latter to interpret and/or model SEP events. The well-known ENLIL heliospheric simulation with cone model generated ICME shocks is used together with the SEPMOD particle event modeling scheme to demonstrate the value of applying these concepts at multiple inner heliosphere sites.
Systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE) is a chronic, autoimmune disease that has a wide variety of physical manifestations, including neuropsychiatric features. Bipolar disorder (BD) is a chronic, episodic illness, that may present as depression or as mania. The objective of this study was to investigate the association between SLE and BD using big data analysis methods.
Patients with SLE were compared with age- and sex-matched controls regarding the prevalence of BD in a cross-sectional study. Chi-square and t-tests were used for univariate analysis and a logistic regression model was used for multivariate analysis, adjusting for confounders. The study was performed utilizing the chronic disease registry of Clalit Health Services medical database.
The study included 5018 SLE patients and 25,090 matched controls. BD was found in a higher prevalence among SLE patients compared to controls (0.62% vs. 0.26%, respectively, P < 0.001). BD patients had a greater prevalence of smokers compared to non-BD patients (62.5% vs 23.5%, respectively, P < 0.001). In a multivariate analysis, smoking and SLE were both found to be significantly associated with BD.
SLE was found to be independently associated with BD. These findings may imply that an autoimmune process affecting the central nervous system among SLE patients facilitates the expression of concomitant BD.
Anomalous aortic origin of the coronary arteries is associated with exercise-induced ischaemia, leading some physicians to restrict exercise in patients with this condition. We sought to determine whether exercise restriction was associated with increasing body mass index over time. From 1998 to 2015, 440 patients ⩽30 years old were enrolled into an inception cohort. Exercise-restriction status was documented in 143 patients. Using linear mixed model repeated-measures regression, factors associated with increasing body mass index z-score over time, including exercise restriction and surgical intervention as time-varying covariates, were investigated. The 143 patients attended 558 clinic visits for which exercise-restriction status was recorded. The mean number of clinic visits per patient was 4, and the median duration of follow-up was 1.7 years (interquartile range (IQR) 0.5–4.4). The median age at first clinic visit was 10.3 years (IQR 7.1–13.9), and 71% (101/143) were males. All patients were alive at their most recent follow-up. At the first clinic visit, 54% (78/143) were exercise restricted, and restriction status changed in 34% (48/143) during follow-up. The median baseline body mass index z-score was 0.2 (IQR 0.3–0.9). In repeated-measures analysis, neither time-related exercise restriction nor its interaction with time was associated with increasing body mass index z-score. Surgical intervention and its interaction with time were associated with decreasing body mass index z-score. Although exercise restriction was not associated with increasing body mass index over time, surgical intervention was associated with decreasing body mass index z-score over time in patients with anomalous aortic origin of the coronary arteries.
Recent spectropolarimetric surveys of bright, hot stars have found that ~10% of OB-type stars contain strong (mostly dipolar) surface magnetic fields (~kG). The prominent paradigm describing the interaction between the stellar winds and the surface magnetic field is the magnetically confined wind shock (MCWS) model. In this model, the stellar wind plasma is forced to move along the closed field loops of the magnetic field, colliding at the magnetic equator, and creating a shock. As the shocked material cools radiatively it will emit X-rays. Therefore, X-ray spectroscopy is a key tool in detecting and characterizing the hot wind material confined by the magnetic fields of these stars. Some B-type stars are found to have very short rotational periods. The effects of the rapid rotation on the X-ray production within the magnetosphere have yet to be explored in detail. The added centrifugal force due to rapid rotation is predicted to cause faster wind outflows along the field lines, leading to higher shock temperatures and harder X-rays. However, this is not observed in all rapidly rotating magnetic B-type stars. In order to address this from a theoretical point of view, we use the X-ray Analytical Dynamical Magnetosphere (XADM) model, originally developed for slow rotators, with an implementation of new rapid rotational physics. Using X-ray spectroscopy from ESA’s XMM-Newton space telescope, we observed 5 rapidly rotating B-types stars to add to the previous list of observations. Comparing the observed X-ray luminosity and hardness ratio to that predicted by the XADM allows us to determine the role the added centrifugal force plays in the magnetospheric X-ray emission of these stars.
Large magnetometric surveys have contributed to the detection of an increasing number of magnetic massive stars, and to the recognition of a population of magnetic massive stellar objects with distinct properties. Among these, NGC 1624-2 possesses the largest magnetic field of any O-type star; such a field confines the stellar wind into a circumstellar magnetosphere, which can be probed using observations at different wavelength regimes. Recent optical and X-ray observations suggest that NGC 1624-2’s magnetosphere is much larger than that of any other magnetic O star. By modeling the variations of UV resonance lines, we can constrain its velocity structure. Furthermore, recent spectropolarimetric observations raise the possibility of a more complex field topology than previously expected. Putting all of these multi-wavelength constraints together will allow us to paint a consistent picture of NGC 1624-2 and its surprising behavior, giving us valuable insight into the very nature of massive star magnetospheres.
Systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE) is a prototypic autoimmune disease involving multiple organs, including the central nervous system. Evidence of immune dysfunction exists also in schizophrenia, a psychiatric illness involving chronic or recurrent psychosis. The aim of our study was to investigate if there is an epidemiological association between SLE and schizophrenia.
A cross-sectional study was conducted comparing patients with SLE with age and gender-matched controls regarding the proportion of patients with comorbid schizophrenia. χ2- and t-tests were used for univariate analysis, and interaction of schizophrenia with SLE across strata of covariates was checked. A logistic regression model was used for multivariate analysis. The study was performed utilising the medical database of Clalit Health Services in Israel.
The study included 5018 patients with SLE and 25 090 controls. SLE patients had a female predominance, and a higher proportion of smoking compared with age and sex-matched controls. In multivariate analysis, SLE was found to be independently associated with schizophrenia while controlling for age, gender, socioeconomic status (SES) and smoking (OR 1.33, p = 0.042).
We found a positive association between SLE and schizophrenia across patients of different age, gender and SES. This association can contribute to understanding the pathophysiology of the two disorders and may also have clinical implications for earlier as well as better diagnosis and treatment.
III Zw 35 is a pair of galaxies characterised by intense OH maser emission, and powerful far-infrared and radio continuum. We have made a detailed study of the galaxy pair based on optical, infrared and radio observations. The brighter northern component is identified as a LINER or Seyfert galaxy and contains an active nuclear region from which radio continuum, OH maser and thermal dust emission are detected. We propose that the northern component has a compact active nucleus deeply embedded in an obscured region of diameter ~ 210 pc within which enhanced star-formation occurs. The lower luminosity, southern component is of low mass and is undergoing starburst activity over an extended region of diameter ~ 5.5 kpc. The origin of the starburst and non-thermal activity appears to be an interaction between the two components.
Low circulating levels of total 25-hydroxyvitamin D (25(OH)D) have been associated with an increased risk of adverse effects after cardiac surgery. The metabolites, 25(OH)D2 and 25(OH)D3, provide a good index of vitamin D status. In this study, we examined the association between preoperative plasma levels of total 25(OH)D, 25(OH)D2 and 25(OH)D3 and the risk of postoperative atrial fibrillation (POAF) following open heart surgery. The levels of plasma 25(OH)D2 and 25(OH)D3 in 118 patients, who underwent coronary artery bypass grafting and/or valvular surgery, were measured immediately prior to surgery and on postoperative day 3 by liquid chromatography–tandem mass spectrometry. Patients who developed POAF had higher median plasma levels of 25(OH)D2 than those who remained in sinus rhythm (SR) (P = 0·003), but no significant difference was noted in levels of 25(OH)D3 or total 25(OH)D between the two groups (P > 0·05). By univariate analysis, patients with total 25(OH)D and 25(OH)D2 levels above the median had higher frequency of POAF (P < 0·05) and the incidence of POAF increased significantly with each higher quartile of preoperative plasma levels of 25(OH)D2 (P = 0·001), an association that was independent of confounding factors. In both the SR and POAF groups, the median plasma levels of 25(OH)D2, 25(OH)D3 and total 25(OH)D were lower (P < 0·05) on the third postoperative day compared with preoperatively. Our findings demonstrate that higher plasma levels of 25(OH)D2 are associated with increased risk of POAF, while this is not the case for 25(OH)D3 or total 25(OH)D. The reason for these discrepant results is not clear but warrants further study.