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Wild sheep and many primitive domesticated breeds have two coats: coarse hairs covering shorter, finer fibres. Both are shed annually. Exploitation of wool for apparel in the Bronze Age encouraged breeding for denser fleeces and continuously growing white fibres. The Merino is regarded as the culmination of this process. Archaeological discoveries, ancient images and parchment records portray this as an evolutionary progression, spanning millennia. However, examination of the fleeces from feral, two-coated and woolled sheep has revealed a ready facility of the follicle population to change from shedding to continuous growth and to revert from domesticated to primitive states. Modifications to coat structure, colour and composition have occurred in timeframes and to sheep population sizes that exclude the likelihood of variations arising from mutations and natural selection. The features are characteristic of the domestication phenotype: an assemblage of developmental, physiological, skeletal and hormonal modifications common to a wide variety of species under human control. The phenotypic similarities appeared to result from an accumulation of cryptic genetic changes early during vertebrate evolution. Because they did not affect fitness in the wild, the mutations were protected from adverse selection, becoming apparent only after exposure to a domestic environment. The neural crest, a transient embryonic cell population unique to vertebrates, has been implicated in the manifestations of the domesticated phenotype. This hypothesis is discussed with reference to the development of the wool follicle population and the particular roles of Notch pathway genes, culminating in the specific cell interactions that typify follicle initiation.
The extent of intertidal flats in the Yellow Sea region has declined significantly in the past few decades, resulting in severe population declines in several waterbird species. The Yellow Sea region holds the primary stopover sites for many shorebirds during their migration to and from northern breeding grounds. However, the functional roles of these sites in shorebirds’ stopover ecology remain poorly understood. Through field surveys between July and November 2015, we investigated the stopover and moult schedules of migratory shorebirds along the southern Jiangsu coast, eastern China during their southbound migration, with a focus on the ‘Critically Endangered’ Spoon-billed Sandpiper Calidris pygmaea and ‘Endangered’ Nordmann’s Greenshank Tringa guttifer. Long-term count data indicate that both species regularly occur in globally important number in southern Jiangsu coast, constituting 16.67–49.34% and 64.0–80.67% of their global population estimates respectively, and it is highly likely that most adults undergo their primary moult during this southbound migration stopover. Our results show that Spoon-billed Sandpiper and Nordmann’s Greenshank staged for an extended period of time (66 and 84 days, respectively) to complete their primary moult. On average, Spoon-billed Sandpipers and Nordmann’s Greenshanks started moulting primary feathers on 8 August ± 4.52 and 27 July ± 1.56 days respectively, and their moult durations were 72.58 ± 9.08 and 65.09 ± 2.40 days. In addition, some individuals of several other shorebird species including the ‘Endangered’ Great Knot Calidris tenuirostris, ‘Near Threatened’ Bar-tailed Godwit Limosa lapponica, ‘Near Threatened’ Eurasian Curlew Numenius arquata and Greater Sand Plover Charadrius leschenaultii also underwent primary moult. Our work highlights the importance of the southern Jiangsu region as the primary moulting ground for these species, reinforcing that conservation of shorebird habitat including both intertidal flats and supratidal roosting sites in this region is critical to safeguard the future of some highly threatened shorebird species.
The rapid cycling variant of bipolar disorder is defined as the occurrence of four periods of either manic or depressive illness within 12 months. Patients suffering from this variant of bipolar disorder have an unmet need for effective treatment. This review examines two major studies in an attempt to update understanding of the current therapies available to treat rapid cycling patients. The first trial compares lamotrigine versus placebo in 182 patients studied for 6 months. The second is a recently completed, 20-month trial comparing divalproate and lithium in 60 patients. Both trials had a double-blind, randomized parallel-group design. The data from the latter study indicate that there are no large differences in efficacy between lithium and divalproate in the long-term treatment of rapid cycling bipolar disorder. In addition, lamotrigine has the potential to complement the spectrum of lithium and divalproate through its greater efficacy for depressive symptoms.
Behavioural therapy often involves self-monitoring techniques to increase awareness about mood and stressful events. In turn, emotional self-awareness is likely to decrease symptoms of depression. Self monitoring also has potential as an early intervention tool for young people, particularly when mobile phones are used as a medium. Previous qualitative research indicates that self-monitoring via mobile phones increase emotional self-awareness with five categories proposed: awareness, identification, communication, contextualisation and decision-making.
This RCT investigates the relationships between self-monitoring, emotional self-awareness and depression using an early intervention mobile phone self-monitoring tool with young people at risk of developing depression.
Young people (between 14 and 24 years of age) identified by their GP as being at risk of depression were recruited by GPs in rural and metropolitan Victoria and randomly assigned to either the intervention group (where they monitored their mood, stress and daily activities) or the comparison group (where the questions about mood and stress were excluded). Participants completed baseline and follow-up measures of depression as well as measures of emotional self-awareness.
Results will be presented on the effects of self-monitoring on emotional self-awareness, the effects of self-monitoring on depression, anxiety and stress and the relationship between emotional self-awareness and depression, anxiety and stress.
Emotional self-awareness as a mediator in the relationship between self-monitoring and depression will be discussed focusing on the relationships between
(ii) emotional self-awareness and
(iii) symptoms of depression, anxiety and stress.
Possible avenues for early intervention are suggested.
Reconstructions of prehistoric vegetation composition help establish natural baselines, variability, and trajectories of forest dynamics before and during the emergence of intensive anthropogenic land use. Pollen–vegetation models (PVMs) enable such reconstructions from fossil pollen assemblages using process-based representations of taxon-specific pollen production and dispersal. However, several PVMs and variants now exist, and the sensitivity of vegetation inferences to PVM selection, variant, and calibration domain is poorly understood. Here, we compare the reconstructions, parameter estimates, and structure of a Bayesian hierarchical PVM, STEPPS, both to observations and to REVEALS, a widely used PVM, for the pre–Euro-American settlement-era vegetation in the northeastern United States (NEUS). We also compare NEUS-based STEPPS parameter estimates to those for the upper midwestern United States (UMW). Both PVMs predict the observed macroscale patterns of vegetation composition in the NEUS; however, reconstructions of minor taxa are less accurate and predictions for some taxa differ between PVMs. These differences can be attributed to intermodel differences in structure and parameter estimates. Estimates of pollen productivity from STEPPS broadly agree with estimates produced for use in REVEALS, while comparison between pollen dispersal parameter estimates shows no significant relationship. STEPPS parameter estimates are similar between the UMW and NEUS, suggesting that STEPPS parameter estimates are transferable between floristically similar regions and scales.
We present the first results of the MINDVIEW project. An innovative imaging system for the human brain examination, allowing simultaneous acquisition of PET/MRI images, has been designed and constructed. It consists of a high sensitivity and high resolution PET scanner integrated in a novel, head-dedicated, radio frequency coil for a 3T MRI scanner. Preliminary measurements from the PET scanner show sensitivity 3 times higher than state-of-the-art PET systems that will allow safe repeated studies on the same patient. The achieved spatial resolution, close to 1 mm, will enable differentiation of relevant brain structures for schizophrenia. A cost-effective and simple method of radiopharmaceutical production from 11C-carbon monoxide and a mini-clean room has been demonstrated. It has been shown that 11C-raclopride has higher binding potential in a new VAAT null mutant mouse model of schizophrenia compared to wild type control animals. A significant reduction in TSPO binding has been found in gray matter in a small sample of drug-naïve, first episode psychosis patients, suggesting a reduced number or an altered function of immune cells in brain at early stage schizophrenia.
We examined Clostridioides difficile infection (CDI) prevention practices and their relationship with hospital-onset healthcare facility-associated CDI rates (CDI rates) in Veterans Affairs (VA) acute-care facilities.
From January 2017 to February 2017, we conducted an electronic survey of CDI prevention practices and hospital characteristics in the VA. We linked survey data with CDI rate data for the period January 2015 to December 2016. We stratified facilities according to whether their overall CDI rate per 10,000 bed days of care was above or below the national VA mean CDI rate. We examined whether specific CDI prevention practices were associated with an increased risk of a CDI rate above the national VA mean CDI rate.
All 126 facilities responded (100% response rate). Since implementing CDI prevention practices in July 2012, 60 of 123 facilities (49%) reported a decrease in CDI rates; 22 of 123 facilities (18%) reported an increase, and 41 of 123 (33%) reported no change. Facilities reporting an increase in the CDI rate (vs those reporting a decrease) after implementing prevention practices were 2.54 times more likely to have CDI rates that were above the national mean CDI rate. Whether a facility’s CDI rates were above or below the national mean CDI rate was not associated with self-reported cleaning practices, duration of contact precautions, availability of private rooms, or certification of infection preventionists in infection prevention.
We found considerable variation in CDI rates. We were unable to identify which particular CDI prevention practices (i.e., bundle components) were associated with lower CDI rates.
The aim of the present study is to use the syndemic framework to investigate the risk of contracting HIV in the US population. Cross-sectional analyses are from The National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey. We extracted and aggregated data on HIV antibody test, socio-demographic characteristics, alcohol use, drug use, depression, sexual behaviours and sexually transmitted diseases from cycle 2009–2010 to 2015–2016. We carried out weighted regression among young adults (20–39 years) and adults (40–59 years) separately. In total, 5230 men and 5794 women aged 20–59 years were included in the present analyses. In total, 0.8% men and 0.2% women were tested HIV-positive. Each increasing HIV risk behaviour was associated with elevated odds of being tested HIV-positive (1.15, 95% CI 1.15–1.15) among young adults and adults (1.61, 95% CI 1.61–1.61). Multi-faceted, community-based interventions are urgently required to reduce the incidence of HIV in the USA.
Clostridioides difficile (C. difficile) poses a major challenge to the healthcare system. We assessed factors that should be considered when designing subprocesses of a C. difficile infection (CDI) prevention bundle.
Phenomenological qualitative study.
We conducted 3 focus groups of environmental services (EVS) staff, physicians, and nurses to assess their perspectives on a CDI prevention bundle. We used the Systems Engineering Initiative for Patient Safety (SEIPS) model to examine 5 subprocesses of the CDI bundle: diagnostic testing, empiric isolation, contact isolation, hand hygiene, and environmental disinfection. We coded transcripts to the 5 SEIPS elements and ensured scientific rigor. We sought to determine common, unique, and conflicting factors across stakeholder groups and subprocesses of the CDI bundle.
Each focus group lasted 1.5 hours on average. Common work-system barriers included inconsistencies in knowledge and practice of CDI management procedures; increased workload; poor setup of aspects of the physical environment (eg, inconvenient location of sinks); and inconsistencies in CDI documentation. Unique barriers and facilitators were related to specific activities performed by the stakeholder group. For instance, algorithmic approaches used by physicians facilitated timely diagnosis of CDI. Conflicting barriers or facilitators were related to opposing objectives; for example, clinicians needed rapid placement of a patient in a room while EVS staff needed time to disinfect the room.
A systems engineering approach can help to holistically identify factors that influence successful implementation of subprocesses of infection prevention bundles.
The use of three-dimensional printing has been rapidly expanding over the last several decades. Virtual surgical three-dimensional simulation and planning has been shown to increase efficiency and accuracy in various clinical scenarios.
To report the feasibility of three-dimensional printing in paediatric laryngotracheal stenosis and discuss potential applications of three-dimensional printed models in airway surgery.
Retrospective case series in a tertiary care aerodigestive centre.
Three-dimensional printing was undertaken in two cases of paediatric laryngotracheal stenosis. One patient with grade 4 subglottic stenosis with posterior glottic involvement underwent an extended partial cricotracheal reconstruction. Another patient with grade 4 tracheal stenosis underwent tracheal resection and end-to-end anastomosis. Models of both tracheas were printed using PolyJet technology from a Stratasys Connex2 printer.
It is feasible to demonstrate stenosis in three-dimensional printed models, allowing for patient-specific pre-operative surgical simulation. The models serve as an educational tool for patients’ understanding of the surgery, and for teaching residents and fellows.
Studies have shown that the reduction in serum TAG concentrations with long-chain n-3 fatty acid supplementation is highly variable among individuals. The objectives of the present study were to compare the proportions of individuals whose TAG concentrations lowered after high-dose DHA and EPA, and to identify the predictors of response to both modalities. In a double-blind, controlled, crossover study, 154 men and women were randomised to three supplemented phases of 10 weeks each: (1) 2·7 g/d of DHA, (2) 2·7 g/d of EPA and (3) 3 g/d of maize oil, separated by 9-week washouts. As secondary analyses, the mean intra-individual variation in TAG was calculated using the standard deviation from the mean of four off-treatment samples. The response remained within the intra-individual variation (±0·25 mmol/l) in 47 and 57 % of participants after DHA and EPA, respectively. Although there was a greater proportion of participants with a reduction >0·25 mmol/l after DHA than after EPA (45 υ. 32 %; P < 0·001), the mean TAG reduction was comparable between groups (–0·59 (sem 0·04) υ. –0·57 (sem 0·05) mmol/l). Participants with a reduction >0·25 mmol/l after both DHA and EPA had higher non-HDL-cholesterol, TAG and insulin concentrations compared with other responders at baseline (all P < 0·05). In conclusion, supplementation with 2·7 g/d DHA or EPA had no meaningful effect on TAG concentrations in a large proportion of individuals with normal mean TAG concentrations at baseline. Although DHA lowered TAG in a greater proportion of individuals compared with EPA, the magnitude of TAG lowering among them was similar.
We describe diet quality by demographic factors and weight status among Barbadian children and examine associations with excess energy intake (EI). A screening tool for the identification of children at risk of excess EI was developed.
In a cross-sectional survey, the Diet Quality Index–International (DQI-I) was used to assess dietary intakes from repeat 24h recalls among 362 children aged 9–10 years. Participants were selected by probability proportional to size. A model to identify excess energy intake from easily measured components of the DQI-I was developed.
Primary-school children in Barbados.
Over one-third of children were overweight/obese, and mean EI for boys (8644 (se 174·5) kJ/d (2066 (se 41·7) kcal/d)) and girls (8912 (se 169·9) kJ/d (2130 (se 40·6) kcal/d)) exceeded the RDA. Children consuming a variety of food groups, more vegetables and fruits, and lower percentage energy contribution from empty-calorie foods showed reduced likelihood of excess EI. Intake of more than 2400 mg Na/d and higher macronutrient and fatty acid ratios were positively related to the consumption of excess energy. A model using five DQI-I components (overall food group variety, variety for protein source, vegetables, fruits and empty calorie intake) had high sensitivity for identification of children at risk of excess EI.
Children’s diet quality, despite low intakes of fruit and vegetables, was within acceptable ranges as assessed by the DQI-I and RDA; however, portion size was large and EI high. A practical model for identification of children at risk of excess EI has been developed.
We present a workflow to track icebergs in proglacial fjords using oblique time-lapse photos and the Lucas-Kanade optical flow algorithm. We employ the workflow at LeConte Bay, Alaska, where we ran five time-lapse cameras between April 2016 and September 2017, capturing more than 400 000 photos at frame rates of 0.5–4.0 min−1. Hourly to daily average velocity fields in map coordinates illustrate dynamic currents in the bay, with dominant downfjord velocities (exceeding 0.5 m s−1 intermittently) and several eddies. Comparisons with simultaneous Acoustic Doppler Current Profiler (ADCP) measurements yield best agreement for the uppermost ADCP levels (~ 12 m and above), in line with prevalent small icebergs that trace near-surface currents. Tracking results from multiple cameras compare favorably, although cameras with lower frame rates (0.5 min−1) tend to underestimate high flow speeds. Tests to determine requisite temporal and spatial image resolution confirm the importance of high image frame rates, while spatial resolution is of secondary importance. Application of our procedure to other fjords will be successful if iceberg concentrations are high enough and if the camera frame rates are sufficiently rapid (at least 1 min−1 for conditions similar to LeConte Bay).
The GaLactic and Extragalactic All-sky Murchison Widefield Array survey is a radio continuum survey at 72–231 MHz of the whole sky south of declination +30º, carried out with the Murchison Widefield Array. In this paper, we derive source counts from the GaLactic and Extragalactic All-sky Murchison data at 200, 154, 118, and 88 MHz, to a flux density limit of 50, 80, 120, and 290 mJy respectively, correcting for ionospheric smearing, incompleteness and source blending. These counts are more accurate than other counts in the literature at similar frequencies as a result of the large area of sky covered and this survey’s sensitivity to extended emission missed by other surveys. At S154 MHz > 0.5 Jy, there is no evidence of flattening in the average spectral index (α ≈ −0.8 where S ∝ vα) towards the lower frequencies. We demonstrate that the Square Kilometre Array Design Study model by Wilman et al. significantly underpredicts the observed 154-MHz GaLactic and Extragalactic All-sky Murchison counts, particularly at the bright end. Using deeper Low-Frequency Array counts and the Square Kilometre Array Design Study model, we find that sidelobe confusion dominates the thermal noise and classical confusion at v ≳ 100 MHz due to both the limited CLEANing depth and the undeconvolved sources outside the field-of-view. We show that we can approach the theoretical noise limit using a more efficient and automated CLEAN algorithm.
The prevalence of mental disorders among Black, Latino, and Asian adults is lower than among Whites. Factors that explain these differences are largely unknown. We examined whether racial/ethnic differences in exposure to traumatic events (TEs) or vulnerability to trauma-related psychopathology explained the lower rates of psychopathology among racial/ethnic minorities.
We estimated the prevalence of TE exposure and associations with onset of DSM-IV depression, anxiety and substance disorders and with lifetime post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) in the Collaborative Psychiatric Epidemiology Surveys, a national sample (N = 13 775) with substantial proportions of Black (35.9%), Latino (18.9%), and Asian Americans (14.9%).
TE exposure varied across racial/ethnic groups. Asians were most likely to experience organized violence – particularly being a refugee – but had the lowest exposure to all other TEs. Blacks had the greatest exposure to participation in organized violence, sexual violence, and other TEs, Latinos had the highest exposure to physical violence, and Whites were most likely to experience accidents/injuries. Racial/ethnic minorities had lower odds ratios of depression, anxiety, and substance disorder onset relative to Whites. Neither variation in TE exposure nor vulnerability to psychopathology following TEs across racial/ethnic groups explained these differences. Vulnerability to PTSD did vary across groups, however, such that Asians were less likely and Blacks more likely to develop PTSD following TEs than Whites.
Lower prevalence of mental disorders among racial/ethnic minorities does not appear to reflect reduced vulnerability to TEs, with the exception of PTSD among Asians. This highlights the importance of investigating other potential mechanisms underlying racial/ethnic differences in psychopathology.
Measurements in the infrared wavelength domain allow direct assessment of the physical state and energy balance of cool matter in space, enabling the detailed study of the processes that govern the formation and evolution of stars and planetary systems in galaxies over cosmic time. Previous infrared missions revealed a great deal about the obscured Universe, but were hampered by limited sensitivity.
SPICA takes the next step in infrared observational capability by combining a large 2.5-meter diameter telescope, cooled to below 8 K, with instruments employing ultra-sensitive detectors. A combination of passive cooling and mechanical coolers will be used to cool both the telescope and the instruments. With mechanical coolers the mission lifetime is not limited by the supply of cryogen. With the combination of low telescope background and instruments with state-of-the-art detectors SPICA provides a huge advance on the capabilities of previous missions.
SPICA instruments offer spectral resolving power ranging from R ~50 through 11 000 in the 17–230 μm domain and R ~28.000 spectroscopy between 12 and 18 μm. SPICA will provide efficient 30–37 μm broad band mapping, and small field spectroscopic and polarimetric imaging at 100, 200 and 350 μm. SPICA will provide infrared spectroscopy with an unprecedented sensitivity of ~5 × 10−20 W m−2 (5σ/1 h)—over two orders of magnitude improvement over what earlier missions. This exceptional performance leap, will open entirely new domains in infrared astronomy; galaxy evolution and metal production over cosmic time, dust formation and evolution from very early epochs onwards, the formation history of planetary systems.
To determine which healthcare worker (HCW) roles and patient care activities are associated with acquisition of vancomycin-resistant Enterococcus (VRE) on HCW gloves or gowns after patient care, as a surrogate for transmission to other patients.
Prospective cohort study.
Medical and surgical intensive care units at a tertiary-care academic institution.
VRE-colonized patients on Contact Precautions and their HCWs.
Overall, 94 VRE-colonized patients and 469 HCW–patient interactions were observed. Research staff recorded patient care activities and cultured HCW gloves and gowns for VRE before doffing and exiting patient room.
VRE were isolated from 71 of 469 HCWs’ gloves or gowns (15%) following patient care. Occupational/physical therapists, patient care technicians, nurses, and physicians were more likely than environmental services workers and other HCWs to have contaminated gloves or gowns. Compared to touching the environment alone, the odds ratio (OR) for VRE contamination associated with touching both the patient (or objects in the immediate vicinity of the patient) and environment was 2.78 (95% confidence interval [CI], 0.99–0.77) and the OR associated with touching only the patient (or objects in the immediate vicinity) was 3.65 (95% CI, 1.17–11.41). Independent risk factors for transmission of VRE to HCWs were touching the patient’s skin (OR, 2.18; 95% CI, 1.15–4.13) and transferring the patient into or out of bed (OR, 2.66; 95% CI, 1.15–6.43).
Patient contact is a major risk factor for HCW contamination and subsequent transmission. Interventions should prioritize contact precautions and hand hygiene for HCWs whose activities involve touching the patient.
We evaluated and compared the completeness, timeliness, simplicity, usefulness and flexibility between the former National Tuberculosis (TB) Surveillance System (NTBSS) and the newer Computerised Infectious Disease Reporting System (CIDR). Completeness was assessed by examining the field completion of key variables and median time from diagnosis to notification was calculated to evaluate timeliness. Differences between the two systems on completeness and timeliness were statistically assessed using χ2 and Wilcoxon rank-sum test, respectively. An online questionnaire on simplicity, flexibility and usefulness was sent to key stakeholders. Time and diagnosis-related variables were more complete in NTBSS, while variables on drug susceptibility, HIV and laboratory tests were more complete in CIDR (P < 0.05). The median time notification interval increased significantly in CIDR (P < 0.05). Stakeholders thought that CIDR is simpler (37.5%), more useful (41.7%) and more flexible (29.2%) than NTBSS. This study demonstrated that CIDR did not improve data completeness and decreased timeliness of notification. Simplicity, usefulness and flexibility were improved but qualitative methods should be applied to further explore these results.