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The 2012 West Nile virus (WNV) epidemic was the largest since 2003 and the North Texas region was the most heavily impacted. We conducted a serosurvey of blood donors from four counties in the Dallas–Fort Worth area to characterize the epidemic. Blood donor specimens collected in November 2012 were tested for WNV-specific antibodies. Donors positive for WNV-specific IgG, IgM, and neutralizing antibodies were considered to have been infected in 2012. This number was adjusted using a multi-step process that accounted for timing of IgM seroreversion determined from previous longitudinal studies of WNV-infected donors. Of 4971 donations screened, 139 (2·8%) were confirmed WNV IgG positive, and 69 (1·4%) had IgM indicating infection in 2012. After adjusting for timing of sampling and potential seroreversion, we estimated that 1·8% [95% confidence interval (CI) 1·5–2·2] of the adult population in the Dallas–Fort Worth area were infected during 2012. The resulting overall estimate for the ratio of infections to reported WNV neuroinvasive disease (WNND) cases was 238:1 (95% CI 192–290), with significantly increased risk of WNND in older age groups. These findings were very similar to previous estimates of infections per WNND case, indicating no change in virulence as WNV evolved into an endemic infection in the United States.
The UK has seen a significant transition from Defined Benefit (“DB”) to Defined Contribution (“DC”) for occupational pension saving. The planned automatic enrolment program starting in 2012 is expected to increase the use of DC. The main features of DC are that investment risk falls onto the individual during the pre-retirement phase and that there are no guarantees as to investment returns or the level of pension. In July 2012, Steve Webb, the Pensions Minister, challenged industry to think hard about meeting the need for more certainty about pension savings in DC plans and to consider providing an affordable ‘Money Safe’ guarantee where the member would get back at least the nominal value of their contributions (individual, employer and tax relief). This paper explores whether this is viable for the mass market.
Forty-three near-isogenic lines (NILs) of white clover (Trifolium repens), derived from four parental self-compatible genotypes containing the rare self-fertility allele, were inoculated with the arbuscular mycorrhizal fungus Glomus mossae. Plant growth response (shoot and root weight and root length), shoot P uptake and mycorrhizal root infection rates were recorded 12 weeks after inoculation. There was generally a high degree of variation between individual lines in all recorded parameters. The most sensitive indicator of plant response to mycorrhizal infection was root length with almost half of all lines showing significant responses (in most cases a decrease in root length). Shoot weight was significantly different between mycorrhizal and nonmycorrhizal plants in nine lines. Parental genotype significantly affected both plant response to mycorrhiza as well as mycorrhizal infection rates. The results suggest that the NILs will prove useful for further studies to elucidate the molecular genetic control of the symbiosis and inform plant breeding strategies of this agronomically important species.
The laser ablation of stationary KNbO3 single crystal targets induces a Nb enrichment of the target surface. In rotated targets this effect is observed only in those areas irradiated with low laser fluence. The composition of the plasma formed close to the target surface is congruent with the target composition; however, at further distances K-deficient films are formed due to the preferential backscattering of K in the plasma. This loss may be compensated for by using K-rich ceramic targets. Best results so far have been obtained with [K]/[Nb] = 2.85 target composition, and crystalline KNbO3 films are formed when heating the substrates to 650 °C. Films formed on (100)MgO single crystals are usually single phase and oriented with the (110) film plane parallel to the (100) substrate surface. (100)NbO may coexist with KNbO3 on (100)MgO. At substrate temperatures higher than 650 °C, niobium diffuses into MgO forming Mg4Nb2O9 and NbO, leading to K evaporation from the film. Films formed on (001) α–Al2O3 (sapphire) show the coexistence of (111), (110), and (001) orientations of KNbO3, and the presence of NbO2 is also observed. KNbO3 films deposited on (001)LiNbO3 crystallize with the (111) plane of the film parallel to the substrate surface. For the latter two substrates the Nb diffusion into the substrate is lower than in MgO and consequently the K concentration retained in the film is comparatively larger.
As part of the Leicester electroconvulsive therapy (ECT) study, the role of ECT in schizophrenia was investigated in a double-blind trial. The Present State Examination criteria for schizophrenia were fulfilled by 22 patients, of whom 19 gave consent and entered the trial. Neuroleptic medication was restricted during the trial period. Patients were randomly allocated to eight real ECT or eight simulated ECT. At the end of the four-week trial period, patients receiving real ECT showed a significantly greater improvement when measured on the Montgomery-Asberg Schizophrenia Scale (MASS), the visual analogue global psychopathology scale, and the depression scale. The differences on the MASS and visual analogue global psychopathology scale were not due to improvement in depressive symptoms. The superiority of real ECT was not demonstrated at the 12- and 28- week follow-up, when treatment was not controlled.
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