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Plasmodium knowlesi has risen in importance as a zoonotic parasite that has been causing regular episodes of malaria throughout South East Asia. The P. knowlesi genome sequence generated in 2008 highlighted and confirmed many similarities and differences in Plasmodium species, including a global view of several multigene families, such as the large SICAvar multigene family encoding the variant antigens known as the schizont-infected cell agglutination proteins. However, repetitive DNA sequences are the bane of any genome project, and this and other Plasmodium genome projects have not been immune to the gaps, rearrangements and other pitfalls created by these genomic features. Today, long-read PacBio and chromatin conformation technologies are overcoming such obstacles. Here, based on the use of these technologies, we present a highly refined de novo P. knowlesi genome sequence of the Pk1(A+) clone. This sequence and annotation, referred to as the ‘MaHPIC Pk genome sequence’, includes manual annotation of the SICAvar gene family with 136 full-length members categorized as type I or II. This sequence provides a framework that will permit a better understanding of the SICAvar repertoire, selective pressures acting on this gene family and mechanisms of antigenic variation in this species and other pathogens.
Antigenic variation in malaria was discovered in Plasmodium knowlesi studies involving longitudinal infections of rhesus macaques (M. mulatta). The variant proteins, known as the P. knowlesi Schizont Infected Cell Agglutination (SICA) antigens and the P. falciparum Erythrocyte Membrane Protein 1 (PfEMP1) antigens, expressed by the SICAvar and var multigene families, respectively, have been studied for over 30 years. Expression of the SICA antigens in P. knowlesi requires a splenic component, and specific antibodies are necessary for variant antigen switch events in vivo. Outstanding questions revolve around the role of the spleen and the mechanisms by which the expression of these variant antigen families are regulated. Importantly, the longitudinal dynamics and molecular mechanisms that govern variant antigen expression can be studied with P. knowlesi infection of its mammalian and vector hosts. Synchronous infections can be initiated with established clones and studied at multi-omic levels, with the benefit of computational tools from systems biology that permit the integration of datasets and the design of explanatory, predictive mathematical models. Here we provide an historical account of this topic, while highlighting the potential for maximizing the use of P. knowlesi – macaque model systems and summarizing exciting new progress in this area of research.
Introduction: Point of care ultrasound (PoCUS) has become an established tool in the initial management of patients with undifferentiated hypotension in the emergency department (ED). Current established protocols (e.g. RUSH and ACES) were developed by expert user opinion, rather than objective, prospective data. Recently the SHoC Protocol was published, recommending 3 core scans; cardiac, lung, and IVC; plus other scans when indicated clinically. We report the abnormal ultrasound findings from our international multicenter randomized controlled trial, to assess if the recommended 3 core SHoC protocol scans were chosen appropriately for this population. Methods: Recruitment occurred at seven centres in North America (4) and South Africa (3). Screening at triage identified patients (SBP<100 or shock index>1) who were randomized to PoCUS or control (standard care with no PoCUS) groups. All scans were performed by PoCUS-trained physicians within one hour of arrival in the ED. Demographics, clinical details and study findings were collected prospectively. A threshold incidence for positive findings of 10% was established as significant for the purposes of assessing the appropriateness of the core recommendations. Results: 138 patients had a PoCUS screen completed. All patients had cardiac, lung, IVC, aorta, abdominal, and pelvic scans. Reported abnormal findings included hyperdynamic LV function (59; 43%); small collapsing IVC (46; 33%); pericardial effusion (24; 17%); pleural fluid (19; 14%); hypodynamic LV function (15; 11%); large poorly collapsing IVC (13; 9%); peritoneal fluid (13; 9%); and aortic aneurysm (5; 4%). Conclusion: The 3 core SHoC Protocol recommendations included appropriate scans to detect all pathologies recorded at a rate of greater than 10 percent. The 3 most frequent findings were cardiac and IVC abnormalities, followed by lung. It is noted that peritoneal fluid was seen at a rate of 9%. Aortic aneurysms were rare. This data from the first RCT to compare PoCUS to standard care for undifferentiated hypotensive ED patients, supports the use of the prioritized SHoC protocol, though a larger study is required to confirm these findings.
Introduction: Point of care ultrasound (PoCUS) is an established tool in the initial management of patients with undifferentiated hypotension in the emergency department (ED). While PoCUS protocols have been shown to improve early diagnostic accuracy, there is little published evidence for any mortality benefit. We report the findings from our international multicenter randomized controlled trial, assessing the impact of a PoCUS protocol on survival and key clinical outcomes. Methods: Recruitment occurred at 7 centres in North America (4) and South Africa (3). Scans were performed by PoCUS-trained physicians. Screening at triage identified patients (SBP<100 or shock index>1), randomized to PoCUS or control (standard care and no PoCUS) groups. Demographics, clinical details and study findings were collected prospectively. Initial and secondary diagnoses were recorded at 0 and 60 minutes, with ultrasound performed in the PoCUS group prior to secondary assessment. The primary outcome measure was 30-day/discharge mortality. Secondary outcome measures included diagnostic accuracy, changes in vital signs, acid-base status, and length of stay. Categorical data was analyzed using Fishers test, and continuous data by Student T test and multi-level log-regression testing. (GraphPad/SPSS) Final chart review was blinded to initial impressions and PoCUS findings. Results: 258 patients were enrolled with follow-up fully completed. Baseline comparisons confirmed effective randomization. There was no difference between groups for the primary outcome of mortality; PoCUS 32/129 (24.8%; 95% CI 14.3-35.3%) vs. Control 32/129 (24.8%; 95% CI 14.3-35.3%); RR 1.00 (95% CI 0.869 to 1.15; p=1.00). There were no differences in the secondary outcomes; ICU and total length of stay. Our sample size has a power of 0.80 (α:0.05) for a moderate effect size. Other secondary outcomes are reported separately. Conclusion: This is the first RCT to compare PoCUS to standard care for undifferentiated hypotensive ED patients. We did not find any mortality or length of stay benefits with the use of a PoCUS protocol, though a larger study is required to confirm these findings. While PoCUS may have diagnostic benefits, these may not translate into a survival benefit effect.
Introduction: In Ottawa, STEMI patients are transported directly to percutaneous coronary intervention (PCI) by advanced care paramedics (ACPs), primary care paramedics (PCPs), or transferred from PCP to ACP crew (ACP-intercept). PCPs have a limited skill set to address complications during transport.The objective of this study was to determine what clinically important events (CIEs) occurred in STEMI patients transported for primary PCI via a PCP crew, and what proportion of such events could only be treated by ACP protocols. Methods: We conducted a health record review of STEMI patients transported for primary PCI from Jan 1, 2011-Dec 21, 2015. Ottawa has a single PCI center and its EMS system employs both PCP and ACP paramedics. We identified consecutive STEMI bypass patients transported by PCP-only and ACP-intercept using the dispatch database. A data extraction form was piloted and used to extract patient demographics, transport times, and primary outcomes: CIEs and interventions performed during transport, and secondary outcomes: hospital diagnosis, and mortality. CIEs were reviewed by two investigators to determine if they would be treated differently by ACP protocols. We present descriptive statistics. Results: We identified 967 STEMI bypass cases among which 214 (118 PCP-only and 96 ACP-intercept) met all inclusion criteria. Characteristics were: mean age 61.4 years, 78% male, 31.8% anterior and 44.4% inferior infarcts, mean response time 6 min, total paramedic contact time 29 min, and in cases of ACP-intercept 7 min of PCP-only contact time.A CIE occurred in 127 (59%) of cases: SBP<90 mmHg 26.2%, HR<60 30.4%, HR>100 20.6%, malignant arrhythmias 7.5%, altered mental status 6.5%, airway intervention 2.3%, 2 patients (0.9%) arrested, both survived. Of the CIE identified, 54 (42.5%) could be addressed differently by ACP vs PCP protocols (25.2% of total cases). The majority related to fluid boluses for hypotension (44 cases; 35% of CIE). ACP intervention for CIEs within the ACP intercept group was 51.6%. There were 6 in-hospital deaths (2.8%) with no difference in transport crew type. Conclusion: CIEs are common in STEMI bypass patients however a smaller proportion of such CIE would be addressed differently by ACP protocols compared to PCP protocols. The vast majority of CIE appeared to be transient and of limited clinical significance.
Introduction: Point of Care Ultrasound (PoCUS) protocols are commonly used to guide resuscitation for emergency department (ED) patients with undifferentiated non-traumatic hypotension. While PoCUS has been shown to improve early diagnosis, there is a minimal evidence for any outcome benefit. We completed an international multicenter randomized controlled trial (RCT) to assess the impact of a PoCUS protocol on key resuscitation markers in this group. We report diagnostic impact and mortality elsewhere. Methods: The SHoC-ED1 study compared the addition of PoCUS to standard care within the first hour in the treatment of adult patients presenting with undifferentiated hypotension (SBP<100 mmHg or a Shock Index >1.0) with a control group that did not receive PoCUS. Scans were performed by PoCUS-trained physicians. 4 North American, and 3 South African sites participated in the study. Resuscitation outcomes analyzed included volume of fluid administered in the ED, changes in shock index (SI), modified early warning score (MEWS), venous acid-base balance, and lactate, at one and four hours. Comparisons utilized a T-test as well as stratified binomial log-regression to assess for any significant improvement in resuscitation amount the outcomes. Our sample size was powered at 0.80 (α:0.05) for a moderate effect size. Results: 258 patients were enrolled with follow-up fully completed. Baseline comparisons confirmed effective randomization. There was no significant difference in mean total volume of fluid received between the control (1658 ml; 95%CI 1365-1950) and PoCUS groups (1609 ml; 1385-1832; p=0.79). Significant improvements were seen in SI, MEWS, lactate and bicarbonate with resuscitation in both the PoCUS and control groups, however there was no difference between groups. Conclusion: SHOC-ED1 is the first RCT to compare PoCUS to standard of care in hypotensive ED patients. No significant difference in fluid used, or markers of resuscitation was found when comparing the use of a PoCUS protocol to that of standard of care in the resuscitation of patients with undifferentiated hypotension.
Introduction: Point of care ultrasonography (PoCUS) is an established tool in the initial management of hypotensive patients in the emergency department (ED). It has been shown rule out certain shock etiologies, and improve diagnostic certainty, however evidence on benefit in the management of hypotensive patients is limited. We report the findings from our international multicenter RCT assessing the impact of a PoCUS protocol on diagnostic accuracy, as well as other key outcomes including mortality, which are reported elsewhere. Methods: Recruitment occurred at 4 North American and 3 Southern African sites. Screening at triage identified patients (SBP<100 mmHg or shock index >1) who were randomized to either PoCUS or control groups. Scans were performed by PoCUS-trained physicians. Demographics, clinical details and findings were collected prospectively. Initial and secondary diagnoses were recorded at 0 and 60 minutes, with ultrasound performed in the PoCUS group prior to secondary assessment. Final chart review was blinded to initial impressions and PoCUS findings. Categorical data was analyzed using Fishers two-tailed test. Our sample size was powered at 0.80 (α:0.05) for a moderate effect size. Results: 258 patients were enrolled with follow-up fully completed. Baseline comparisons confirmed effective randomization. The perceived shock category changed more frequently in the PoCUS group 20/127 (15.7%) vs. control 7/125 (5.6%); RR 2.81 (95% CI 1.23 to 6.42; p=0.0134). There was no significant difference in change of diagnostic impression between groups PoCUS 39/123 (31.7%) vs control 34/124 (27.4%); RR 1.16 (95% CI 0.786 to 1.70; p=0.4879). There was no significant difference in the rate of correct category of shock between PoCUS (118/127; 93%) and control (113/122; 93%); RR 1.00 (95% CI 0.936 to 1.08; p=1.00), or for correct diagnosis; PoCUS 90/127 (70%) vs control 86/122 (70%); RR 0.987 (95% CI 0.671 to 1.45; p=1.00). Conclusion: This is the first RCT to compare PoCUS to standard care for undifferentiated hypotensive ED patients. We found that the use of PoCUS did change physicians’ perceived shock category. PoCUS did not improve diagnostic accuracy for category of shock or diagnosis.
The buffalo has a seasonal reproduction activity with mating and non-mating periods occurring from late autumn to winter and from late spring to beginning of autumn, respectively. Sperm glycocalyx plays an important role in reproduction as it is the first interface between sperm and environment. Semen quality is poorer during non-mating periods, so we aimed to evaluate if there were also seasonal differences in the surface glycosylation pattern of mating period spermatozoa (MPS) compared with non-mating period spermatozoa (NMPS). The complexity of carbohydrate structures makes their analysis challenging, and recently the high-throughput microarray approach is now providing a new tool into the evaluation of cell glycosylation status. We adopted a novel procedure in which spermatozoa was spotted on microarray slides, incubated with a panel of 12 biotinylated lectins and Cy3-conjugated streptavidin, and then signal intensity was detected using a microarray scanner. Both MPS and NMPS microarrays reacted with all the lectins and revealed that the expression of (i) O-glycans with NeuNAcα2-3Galβ1,3(±NeuNAcα2-6)GalNAc, Galβ1,3GalNAc and GalNAcα1,3(l-Fucα1,2)Galβ1,3/4GlcNAcβ1 was not season dependent; (ii) O-linked glycans terminating with GalNAc, asialo N-linked glycans terminating with Galβ1,4GlcNAc, GlcNAc, as well as α1,6 and α1,2-linked fucosylated oligosaccharides was predominant in MPS; (iii) high mannose- and biantennary complex types N-glycans terminating with α2,6 sialic acids and terminal galactose were lower in MPS. Overall, this innovative cell microarray method was able to identify specific glycosylation changes that occur on buffalo bull sperm surface during the mating and non-mating periods.
Snowpit samples collected at the West Antarctic Ice Sheet (WAIS) Divide location in January 2013 were analysed to investigate the levels and variations of perchlorate concentrations in Antarctic snow. During 2008–12, the perchlorate concentration in WAIS Divide snow ranged between 6–180 ng l–1 and followed a seasonal cycle. The highest concentrations appeared in the autumn, and the lowest in winter and spring. No apparent correlation was observed between perchlorate and nitrate or chloride concentrations in snow. Since perchlorate is believed to form in the atmosphere when chlorine species are oxidized in reactions involving ozone, perchlorate concentrations were hypothesized to be high during the spring, based on the assumption that stratospheric ozone depletion enhances tropospheric perchlorate production. The data show that perchlorate concentrations in snow were sharply reduced during stratospheric ozone depletion events; the evidence, therefore, does not support the hypothesis. Instead, the results suggest a stratospheric origin of perchlorate in Antarctic snow.
Plasmodium knowlesi a simian malaria parasite is currently affecting humans in Southeast Asia. Malaysia has reported the most number of cases and P. knowlesi is the predominant species occurring in humans. The vectors of P. knowlesi belong to the Leucosphyrus group of Anopheles mosquitoes. These are generally described as forest-dwelling mosquitoes. With deforestation and changes in land-use, some species have become predominant in farms and villages. However, knowledge on the distribution of these vectors in the country is sparse. From a public health point of view it is important to know the vectors, so that risk factors towards knowlesi malaria can be identified and control measures instituted where possible. Here, we review what is known about the knowlesi malaria vectors and ascertain the gaps in knowledge, so that future studies could concentrate on this paucity of data in-order to address this zoonotic problem.
Civilian suicide rates vary by occupation in ways related to occupational stress exposure. Comparable military research finds suicide rates elevated in combat arms occupations. However, no research has evaluated variation in this pattern by deployment history, the indicator of occupation stress widely considered responsible for the recent rise in the military suicide rate.
The joint associations of Army occupation and deployment history in predicting suicides were analysed in an administrative dataset for the 729 337 male enlisted Regular Army soldiers in the US Army between 2004 and 2009.
There were 496 suicides over the study period (22.4/100 000 person-years). Only two occupational categories, both in combat arms, had significantly elevated suicide rates: infantrymen (37.2/100 000 person-years) and combat engineers (38.2/100 000 person-years). However, the suicide rates in these two categories were significantly lower when currently deployed (30.6/100 000 person-years) than never deployed or previously deployed (41.2–39.1/100 000 person-years), whereas the suicide rate of other soldiers was significantly higher when currently deployed and previously deployed (20.2–22.4/100 000 person-years) than never deployed (14.5/100 000 person-years), resulting in the adjusted suicide rate of infantrymen and combat engineers being most elevated when never deployed [odds ratio (OR) 2.9, 95% confidence interval (CI) 2.1–4.1], less so when previously deployed (OR 1.6, 95% CI 1.1–2.1), and not at all when currently deployed (OR 1.2, 95% CI 0.8–1.8). Adjustment for a differential ‘healthy warrior effect’ cannot explain this variation in the relative suicide rates of never-deployed infantrymen and combat engineers by deployment status.
Efforts are needed to elucidate the causal mechanisms underlying this interaction to guide preventive interventions for soldiers at high suicide risk.
The Army Study to Assess Risk and Resilience in Servicemembers (Army STARRS) has found that the proportional elevation in the US Army enlisted soldier suicide rate during deployment (compared with the never-deployed or previously deployed) is significantly higher among women than men, raising the possibility of gender differences in the adverse psychological effects of deployment.
Person-month survival models based on a consolidated administrative database for active duty enlisted Regular Army soldiers in 2004–2009 (n = 975 057) were used to characterize the gender × deployment interaction predicting suicide. Four explanatory hypotheses were explored involving the proportion of females in each soldier's occupation, the proportion of same-gender soldiers in each soldier's unit, whether the soldier reported sexual assault victimization in the previous 12 months, and the soldier's pre-deployment history of treated mental/behavioral disorders.
The suicide rate of currently deployed women (14.0/100 000 person-years) was 3.1–3.5 times the rates of other (i.e. never-deployed/previously deployed) women. The suicide rate of currently deployed men (22.6/100 000 person-years) was 0.9–1.2 times the rates of other men. The adjusted (for time trends, sociodemographics, and Army career variables) female:male odds ratio comparing the suicide rates of currently deployed v. other women v. men was 2.8 (95% confidence interval 1.1–6.8), became 2.4 after excluding soldiers with Direct Combat Arms occupations, and remained elevated (in the range 1.9–2.8) after adjusting for the hypothesized explanatory variables.
These results are valuable in excluding otherwise plausible hypotheses for the elevated suicide rate of deployed women and point to the importance of expanding future research on the psychological challenges of deployment for women.
Introduction: Despite smoking fewer cigarettes per day, African American smokers have greater difficulty quitting compared to Caucasian smokers. Further elucidating the impact of smoking motivations on smoking behaviour would contribute to understanding the factors that maintain smoking.
Aims: This study examined the factor structure of a brief assessment examining smoking dependence motives among a sample of African American light smokers.
Methods: Data from a double-blind, placebo-controlled randomised smoking cessation trial involving 540 participants. Results were analysed using an exploratory factor analysis (EFA) and a randomly split EFA.
Results/Findings: Findings from the initial EFA analysis produced an eight-factor model, explaining 69% of the variation in responses. The overall Measure of Sampling Adequacy (MSA) was 0.88 with item level MSA ranging 0.68–0.94 across the 30 items. Results from the randomly split EFA replicated the findings of the original EFA; with the exception of the item ‘I smoke within the first 30 minutes of awakening in the morning’.
Conclusions: These findings support the hypothesis of a multidimensional approach to conceptualising nicotine dependence, and provide information regarding characteristics of nicotine dependence in African American light smokers which may be helpful in identifying targets for cessation treatment in this population of smokers.
When a person has a goal of drinking alcohol or using another addictive substance, the person appears to be automatically distracted by stimuli related to the goal. Because the attentional bias might propel the person to use the substance, an intervention might help modify it. In this article, we discuss techniques that have been developed to help people overcome their attentional bias for alcohol, smoking-related stimuli, drugs, or unhealthy food. We also discuss how these techniques are being adapted for use on mobile devices. The latter would allow people with an addictive behavior to use the attentional training in privacy and as frequently as needed. The attentional training techniques discussed here appear to have several advantages. They are inexpensive, can be fun to use, and have flexibility in when, where, and how often they are used. The evidence so far also suggests that they are effective.
We investigated whether straight-line distance from residential compounds to healthcare facilities influenced mortality, the incidence of pneumonia and vaccine efficacy against pneumonia in rural Gambia. Clinical surveillance for pneumonia was conducted on 6938 children living in the catchment areas of the two largest healthcare facilities. Deaths were monitored by three-monthly home visits. Children living >5 km from the two largest healthcare facilities had a 2·78 [95% confidence interval (CI) 1·74–4·43] times higher risk of all-cause mortality compared to children living within 2 km of these facilities. The observed rate of clinical and radiological pneumonia was lower in children living >5 km from these facilities compared to those living within 2 km [rate ratios 0·65 (95% CI 0·57–0·73) and 0·74 (95% CI 0·55–0·98), respectively]. There was no association between distance and estimated pneumococcal vaccine efficacy. Geographical access to healthcare services is an important determinant of survival and pneumonia in children in rural Gambia.
The US Army suicide rate has increased sharply in recent years. Identifying significant predictors of Army suicides in Army and Department of Defense (DoD) administrative records might help focus prevention efforts and guide intervention content. Previous studies of administrative data, although documenting significant predictors, were based on limited samples and models. A career history perspective is used here to develop more textured models.
The analysis was carried out as part of the Historical Administrative Data Study (HADS) of the Army Study to Assess Risk and Resilience in Servicemembers (Army STARRS). De-identified data were combined across numerous Army and DoD administrative data systems for all Regular Army soldiers on active duty in 2004–2009. Multivariate associations of sociodemographics and Army career variables with suicide were examined in subgroups defined by time in service, rank and deployment history.
Several novel results were found that could have intervention implications. The most notable of these were significantly elevated suicide rates (69.6–80.0 suicides per 100 000 person-years compared with 18.5 suicides per 100 000 person-years in the total Army) among enlisted soldiers deployed either during their first year of service or with less than expected (based on time in service) junior enlisted rank; a substantially greater rise in suicide among women than men during deployment; and a protective effect of marriage against suicide only during deployment.
A career history approach produces several actionable insights missed in less textured analyses of administrative data predictors. Expansion of analyses to a richer set of predictors might help refine understanding of intervention implications.
We present the first results of an exploratory VLT/X-Shooter survey of near-infrared diffuse interstellar bands (DIBs) in diffuse to translucent interstellar clouds. These observations confirm the presence of recently discoved NIR DIBs and provide more accurate rest wavelengths and line widths. Example spectra are shown for the reddened, AV ~ 10 mag, line-of-sight towards the distant binary system 4U 1907+09.