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Evidence has been accumulating regarding alterations in components of the endocannabinoid system in patients with psychosis. Of all the putative risk factors associated with psychosis, being at clinical high-risk for psychosis (CHR) has the strongest association with the onset of psychosis, and exposure to childhood trauma has been linked to an increased risk of development of psychotic disorder. We aimed to investigate whether being at-risk for psychosis and exposure to childhood trauma were associated with altered endocannabinoid levels.
We compared 33 CHR participants with 58 healthy controls (HC) and collected information about previous exposure to childhood trauma as well as plasma samples to analyse endocannabinoid levels.
Individuals with both CHR and experience of childhood trauma had higher N-palmitoylethanolamine (p < 0.001) and anandamide (p < 0.001) levels in peripheral blood compared to HC and those with no childhood trauma. There was also a significant correlation between N-palmitoylethanolamine levels and symptoms as well as childhood trauma.
Our results suggest an association between CHR and/or childhood maltreatment and elevated endocannabinoid levels in peripheral blood, with a greater alteration in those with both CHR status and history of childhood maltreatment compared to those with either of those risks alone. Furthermore, endocannabinoid levels increased linearly with the number of risk factors and elevated endocannabinoid levels correlated with the severity of CHR symptoms and extent of childhood maltreatment. Further studies in larger cohorts, employing longitudinal designs are needed to confirm these findings and delineate the precise role of endocannabinoid alterations in the pathophysiology of psychosis.
Background: Cervical sponylotic myelopathy (CSM) may present with neck and arm pain. This study investiagtes the change in neck/arm pain post-operatively in CSM. Methods: This ambispective study llocated 402 patients through the Canadian Spine Outcomes and Research Network. Outcome measures were the visual analogue scales for neck and arm pain (VAS-NP and VAS-AP) and the neck disability index (NDI). The thresholds for minimum clinically important differences (MCIDs) for VAS-NP and VAS-AP were determined to be 2.6 and 4.1. Results: VAS-NP improved from mean of 5.6±2.9 to 3.8±2.7 at 12 months (P<0.001). VAS-AP improved from 5.8±2.9 to 3.5±3.0 at 12 months (P<0.001). The MCIDs for VAS-NP and VAS-AP were also reached at 12 months. Based on the NDI, patients were grouped into those with mild pain/no pain (33%) versus moderate/severe pain (67%). At 3 months, a significantly high proportion of patients with moderate/severe pain (45.8%) demonstrated an improvement into mild/no pain, whereas 27.2% with mild/no pain demonstrated worsening into moderate/severe pain (P <0.001). At 12 months, 17.4% with mild/no pain experienced worsening of their NDI (P<0.001). Conclusions: This study suggests that neck and arm pain responds to surgical decompression in patients with CSM and reaches the MCIDs for VAS-AP and VAS-NP at 12 months.
Introduction: Acute aortic syndrome (AAS) is a time sensitive aortic catastrophe that is often misdiagnosed. There are currently no Canadian guidelines to aid in diagnosis. Our goal was to adapt the existing American Heart Association (AHA) and European Society of Cardiology (ESC) diagnostic algorithms for AAS into a Canadian evidence based best practices algorithm targeted for emergency medicine physicians. Methods: We chose to adapt existing high-quality clinical practice guidelines (CPG) previously developed by the AHA/ESC using the GRADE ADOLOPMENT approach. We created a National Advisory Committee consisting of 21 members from across Canada including academic, community and remote/rural emergency physicians/nurses, cardiothoracic and cardiovascular surgeons, cardiac anesthesiologists, critical care physicians, cardiologist, radiologists and patient representatives. The Advisory Committee communicated through multiple teleconference meetings, emails and a one-day in person meeting. The panel prioritized questions and outcomes, using the Grading of Recommendations Assessment, Development and Evaluation (GRADE) approach to assess evidence and make recommendations. The algorithm was prepared and revised through feedback and discussions and through an iterative process until consensus was achieved. Results: The diagnostic algorithm is comprised of an updated pre test probability assessment tool with further testing recommendations based on risk level. The updated tool incorporates likelihood of an alternative diagnosis and point of care ultrasound. The final best practice diagnostic algorithm defined risk levels as Low (0.5% no further testing), Moderate (0.6-5% further testing required) and High ( >5% computed tomography, magnetic resonance imaging, trans esophageal echocardiography). During the consensus and feedback processes, we addressed a number of issues and concerns. D-dimer can be used to reduce probability of AAS in an intermediate risk group, but should not be used in a low or high-risk group. Ultrasound was incorporated as a bedside clinical examination option in pre test probability assessment for aortic insufficiency, abdominal/thoracic aortic aneurysms. Conclusion: We have created the first Canadian best practice diagnostic algorithm for AAS. We hope this diagnostic algorithm will standardize and improve diagnosis of AAS in all emergency departments across Canada.
The majority of paediatric Clostridioides difficile infections (CDI) are community-associated (CA), but few data exist regarding associated risk factors. We conducted a case–control study to evaluate CA-CDI risk factors in young children. Participants were enrolled from eight US sites during October 2014–February 2016. Case-patients were defined as children aged 1–5 years with a positive C. difficile specimen collected as an outpatient or ⩽3 days of hospital admission, who had no healthcare facility admission in the prior 12 weeks and no history of CDI. Each case-patient was matched to one control. Caregivers were interviewed regarding relevant exposures. Multivariable conditional logistic regression was performed. Of 68 pairs, 44.1% were female. More case-patients than controls had a comorbidity (33.3% vs. 12.1%; P = 0.01); recent higher-risk outpatient exposures (34.9% vs. 17.7%; P = 0.03); recent antibiotic use (54.4% vs. 19.4%; P < 0.0001); or recent exposure to a household member with diarrhoea (41.3% vs. 21.5%; P = 0.04). In multivariable analysis, antibiotic exposure in the preceding 12 weeks was significantly associated with CA-CDI (adjusted matched odds ratio, 6.25; 95% CI 2.18–17.96). Improved antibiotic prescribing might reduce CA-CDI in this population. Further evaluation of the potential role of outpatient healthcare and household exposures in C. difficile transmission is needed.
Many patients with advanced serious illness or at the end of life experience delirium, a potentially reversible form of acute brain dysfunction, which may impair ability to participate in medical decision-making and to engage with their loved ones. Screening for delirium provides an opportunity to address modifiable causes. Unfortunately, delirium remains underrecognized. The main objective of this pilot was to validate the brief Confusion Assessment Method (bCAM), a two-minute delirium-screening tool, in a veteran palliative care sample.
This was a pilot prospective, observational study that included hospitalized patients evaluated by the palliative care service at a single Veterans’ Administration Medical Center. The bCAM was compared against the reference standard, the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, fifth edition. Both assessments were blinded and conducted within 30 minutes of each other.
We enrolled 36 patients who were a median of 67 years (interquartile range 63–73). The primary reasons for admission to the hospital were sepsis or severe infection (33%), severe cardiac disease (including heart failure, cardiogenic shock, and myocardial infarction) (17%), or gastrointestinal/liver disease (17%). The bCAM performed well against the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, fifth edition, for detecting delirium, with a sensitivity (95% confidence interval) of 0.80 (0.4, 0.96) and specificity of 0.87 (0.67, 0.96).
Significance of Results
Delirium was present in 27% of patients enrolled and never recognized by the palliative care service in routine clinical care. The bCAM provided good sensitivity and specificity in a pilot of palliative care patients, providing a method for nonpsychiatrically trained personnel to detect delirium.
Filamentary structures can form within the beam of protons accelerated during the interaction of an intense laser pulse with an ultrathin foil target. Such behaviour is shown to be dependent upon the formation time of quasi-static magnetic field structures throughout the target volume and the extent of the rear surface proton expansion over the same period. This is observed via both numerical and experimental investigations. By controlling the intensity profile of the laser drive, via the use of two temporally separated pulses, both the initial rear surface proton expansion and magnetic field formation time can be varied, resulting in modification to the degree of filamentary structure present within the laser-driven proton beam.
BACKGROUND: IGTS is a rare phenomenon of paradoxical germ cell tumor (GCT) growth during or following treatment despite normalization of tumor markers. We sought to evaluate the frequency, clinical characteristics and outcome of IGTS in patients in 21 North-American and Australian institutions. METHODS: Patients with IGTS diagnosed from 2000-2017 were retrospectively evaluated. RESULTS: Out of 739 GCT diagnoses, IGTS was identified in 33 patients (4.5%). IGTS occurred in 9/191 (4.7%) mixed-malignant GCTs, 4/22 (18.2%) immature teratomas (ITs), 3/472 (0.6%) germinomas/germinomas with mature teratoma, and in 17 secreting non-biopsied tumours. Median age at GCT diagnosis was 10.9 years (range 1.8-19.4). Male gender (84%) and pineal location (88%) predominated. Of 27 patients with elevated markers, median serum AFP and Beta-HCG were 70 ng/mL (range 9.2-932) and 44 IU/L (range 4.2-493), respectively. IGTS occurred at a median time of 2 months (range 0.5-32) from diagnosis, during chemotherapy in 85%, radiation in 3%, and after treatment completion in 12%. Surgical resection was attempted in all, leading to gross total resection in 76%. Most patients (79%) resumed GCT chemotherapy/radiation after surgery. At a median follow-up of 5.3 years (range 0.3-12), all but 2 patients are alive (1 succumbed to progressive disease, 1 to malignant transformation of GCT). CONCLUSION: IGTS occurred in less than 5% of patients with GCT and most commonly after initiation of chemotherapy. IGTS was more common in patients with IT-only on biopsy than with mixed-malignant GCT. Surgical resection is a principal treatment modality. Survival outcomes for patients who developed IGTS are favourable.
Sheep in the uplands of the United Kingdom face a series of choices as to where to graze. These choices have been shown to be influenced by the spatial distribution of nutrient supply from herbage (Duncan et al., 1994). Micro-climatic variation may also determine where animals forage, particularly in topographically complex environments found in upland areas. Wind and rain have marked effects on heat loss and hence on lower critical temperature (LCT) in sheep (Blaxter, 1977). Mount and Brown (1982) demonstrated that there were occasions during a year when sheep were below their LCT. This study assumed that data gathered from a standard meteorological station were applicable to conditions actually experienced by grazing animals and took no account of the ability of herbivores to select a more favourable micro-climate under extreme conditions (Mount and Brown, 1982). The experiment reported here was carried out to examine the extent to which microclimate influenced the distribution of grazing by sheep under windy conditions. Micro-climate was manipulated using artificial shelters.
The Molonglo Observatory Synthesis Telescope (MOST) is an 18000 m2 radio telescope located 40 km from Canberra, Australia. Its operating band (820–851 MHz) is partly allocated to telecommunications, making radio astronomy challenging. We describe how the deployment of new digital receivers, Field Programmable Gate Array-based filterbanks, and server-class computers equipped with 43 Graphics Processing Units, has transformed the telescope into a versatile new instrument (UTMOST) for studying the radio sky on millisecond timescales. UTMOST has 10 times the bandwidth and double the field of view compared to the MOST, and voltage record and playback capability has facilitated rapid implementaton of many new observing modes, most of which operate commensally. UTMOST can simultaneously excise interference, make maps, coherently dedisperse pulsars, and perform real-time searches of coherent fan-beams for dispersed single pulses. UTMOST operates as a robotic facility, deciding how to efficiently target pulsars and how long to stay on source via real-time pulsar folding, while searching for single pulse events. Regular timing of over 300 pulsars has yielded seven pulsar glitches and three Fast Radio Bursts during commissioning. UTMOST demonstrates that if sufficient signal processing is applied to voltage streams, innovative science remains possible even in hostile radio frequency environments.
Understanding the organic chemistry of molecular clouds, particularly the formation of biologically important molecules, is fundamental to the study of the processes which lead to the origin, evolution and distribution of life in the Galaxy. Determining the level of molecular complexity attainable in the clouds, and the nature of the complex organic material available to protostellar disks and the planetary systems that form from them, requires an understanding of the possible chemical pathways and is therefore a central question in astrochemistry. We have thus searched for prebiologically important molecules in the hot molecular cloud cores: Sgr B2(N-LMH), W51 e1/e2 and Orion-KL. Among the molecules searched: Pyrimidine is the unsubstituted ring analogue for three of the DNA and RNA bases. 2H-Azirine and Aziridine are azaheterocyclic compounds. And Glycine is the simplest amino acid. Detections of these interstellar organic molecular species will thus have important implications for Astrobiology. Our preliminary results indicate a tentative detection of interstellar glycine. If confirmed, this will be the first detection of an amino acid in interstellar space and will greatly strengthen the thesis that interstellar organic molecules could have played a pivotal role in the prebiotic chemistry of the early Earth.
The class of radio transients called Fast Radio Bursts (FRBs) encompasses enigmatic single pulses, each unique in its own way, hindering a consensus for their origin. The key to demystifying FRBs lies in discovering many of them in order to identity commonalities – and in real time, in order to find potential counterparts at other wavelengths. The recently upgraded UTMOST in Australia, is undergoing a backend transformation to rise as a fast transient detection machine. The first interferometric detections of FRBs with UTMOST, place their origin beyond the near-field region of the telescope thus ruling out local sources of interference as a possible origin. We have localised these bursts to much better than the ones discovered at the Parkes radio telescope and have plans to upgrade UTMOST to be capable of much better localisation still.
A considerable amount of observational information has been gathered on the so-called Hubble-Sandage Variables or S Doradus variable stars, largely due to the efforts of the Heidelberg group (see Wolf, this volume for a review). It is believed that the star P Cygni also belongs to this category. This group of objects is now being referred to as Luminous Blue Variables because they are massive (>10 M⊙), evolved (spectral type B or later) objects showing variability of more than one kind, and evidence of nuclear processed material at the surface.
Timing of weed emergence and seed persistence in the soil influence the ability to implement timely and effective control practices. Emergence patterns and seed persistence of kochia populations were monitored in 2010 and 2011 at sites in Kansas, Colorado, Wyoming, Nebraska, and South Dakota. Weekly observations of emergence were initiated in March and continued until no new emergence occurred. Seed was harvested from each site, placed into 100-seed mesh packets, and buried at depths of 0, 2.5, and 10 cm in fall of 2010 and 2011. Packets were exhumed at 6-mo intervals over 2 yr. Viability of exhumed seeds was evaluated. Nonlinear mixed-effects Weibull models were fit to cumulative emergence (%) across growing degree days (GDD) and to viable seed (%) across burial time to describe their fixed and random effects across site-years. Final emergence densities varied among site-years and ranged from as few as 4 to almost 380,000 seedlings m−2. Across 11 site-years in Kansas, cumulative GDD needed for 10% emergence were 168, while across 6 site-years in Wyoming and Nebraska, only 90 GDD were needed; on the calendar, this date shifted from early to late March. The majority (>95%) of kochia seed did not persist for more than 2 yr. Remaining seed viability was generally >80% when seeds were exhumed within 6 mo after burial in March, and declined to <5% by October of the first year after burial. Burial did not appear to increase or decrease seed viability over time but placed seed in a position from which seedling emergence would not be possible. High seedling emergence that occurs very early in the spring emphasizes the need for fall or early spring PRE weed control such as tillage, herbicides, and cover crops, while continued emergence into midsummer emphasizes the need for extended periods of kochia management.
To achieve their conservation goals individuals, communities and organizations need to acquire a diversity of skills, knowledge and information (i.e. capacity). Despite current efforts to build and maintain appropriate levels of conservation capacity, it has been recognized that there will need to be a significant scaling-up of these activities in sub-Saharan Africa. This is because of the rapid increase in the number and extent of environmental problems in the region. We present a range of socio-economic contexts relevant to four key areas of African conservation capacity building: protected area management, community engagement, effective leadership, and professional e-learning. Under these core themes, 39 specific recommendations are presented. These were derived from multi-stakeholder workshop discussions at an international conference held in Nairobi, Kenya, in 2015. At the meeting 185 delegates (practitioners, scientists, community groups and government agencies) represented 105 organizations from 24 African nations and eight non-African nations. The 39 recommendations constituted six broad types of suggested action: (1) the development of new methods, (2) the provision of capacity building resources (e.g. information or data), (3) the communication of ideas or examples of successful initiatives, (4) the implementation of new research or gap analyses, (5) the establishment of new structures within and between organizations, and (6) the development of new partnerships. A number of cross-cutting issues also emerged from the discussions: the need for a greater sense of urgency in developing capacity building activities; the need to develop novel capacity building methodologies; and the need to move away from one-size-fits-all approaches.
Accurate models of X-ray absorption and re-emission in partly stripped ions are necessary to calculate the structure of stars, the performance of hohlraums for inertial confinement fusion and many other systems in high-energy-density plasma physics. Despite theoretical progress, a persistent discrepancy exists with recent experiments at the Sandia Z facility studying iron in conditions characteristic of the solar radiative–convective transition region. The increased iron opacity measured at Z could help resolve a longstanding issue with the standard solar model, but requires a radical departure for opacity theory. To replicate the Z measurements, an opacity experiment has been designed for the National Facility (NIF). The design uses established techniques scaled to NIF. A laser-heated hohlraum will produce X-ray-heated uniform iron plasmas in local thermodynamic equilibrium (LTE) at temperatures
eV and electron densities
. The iron will be probed using continuum X-rays emitted in a
diameter source from a 2 mm diameter polystyrene (CH) capsule implosion. In this design,
of the NIF beams deliver 500 kJ to the
mm diameter hohlraum, and the remaining
directly drive the CH capsule with 200 kJ. Calculations indicate this capsule backlighter should outshine the iron sample, delivering a point-projection transmission opacity measurement to a time-integrated X-ray spectrometer viewing down the hohlraum axis. Preliminary experiments to develop the backlighter and hohlraum are underway, informing simulated measurements to guide the final design.
Experiments on the National Ignition Facility show that multi-dimensional effects currently dominate the implosion performance. Low mode implosion symmetry and hydrodynamic instabilities seeded by capsule mounting features appear to be two key limiting factors for implosion performance. One reason these factors have a large impact on the performance of inertial confinement fusion implosions is the high convergence required to achieve high fusion gains. To tackle these problems, a predictable implosion platform is needed meaning experiments must trade-off high gain for performance. LANL has adopted three main approaches to develop a one-dimensional (1D) implosion platform where 1D means measured yield over the 1D clean calculation. A high adiabat, low convergence platform is being developed using beryllium capsules enabling larger case-to-capsule ratios to improve symmetry. The second approach is liquid fuel layers using wetted foam targets. With liquid fuel layers, the implosion convergence can be controlled via the initial vapor pressure set by the target fielding temperature. The last method is double shell targets. For double shells, the smaller inner shell houses the DT fuel and the convergence of this cavity is relatively small compared to hot spot ignition. However, double shell targets have a different set of trade-off versus advantages. Details for each of these approaches are described.
The Antarctic Roadmap Challenges (ARC) project identified critical requirements to deliver high priority Antarctic research in the 21st century. The ARC project addressed the challenges of enabling technologies, facilitating access, providing logistics and infrastructure, and capitalizing on international co-operation. Technological requirements include: i) innovative automated in situ observing systems, sensors and interoperable platforms (including power demands), ii) realistic and holistic numerical models, iii) enhanced remote sensing and sensors, iv) expanded sample collection and retrieval technologies, and v) greater cyber-infrastructure to process ‘big data’ collection, transmission and analyses while promoting data accessibility. These technologies must be widely available, performance and reliability must be improved and technologies used elsewhere must be applied to the Antarctic. Considerable Antarctic research is field-based, making access to vital geographical targets essential. Future research will require continent- and ocean-wide environmentally responsible access to coastal and interior Antarctica and the Southern Ocean. Year-round access is indispensable. The cost of future Antarctic science is great but there are opportunities for all to participate commensurate with national resources, expertise and interests. The scope of future Antarctic research will necessitate enhanced and inventive interdisciplinary and international collaborations. The full promise of Antarctic science will only be realized if nations act together.
We describe the performance of the Boolardy Engineering Test Array, the prototype for the Australian Square Kilometre Array Pathfinder telescope. Boolardy Engineering Test Array is the first aperture synthesis radio telescope to use phased array feed technology, giving it the ability to electronically form up to nine dual-polarisation beams. We report the methods developed for forming and measuring the beams, and the adaptations that have been made to the traditional calibration and imaging procedures in order to allow BETA to function as a multi-beam aperture synthesis telescope. We describe the commissioning of the instrument and present details of Boolardy Engineering Test Array’s performance: sensitivity, beam characteristics, polarimetric properties, and image quality. We summarise the astronomical science that it has produced and draw lessons from operating Boolardy Engineering Test Array that will be relevant to the commissioning and operation of the final Australian Square Kilometre Array Path telescope.
Skin and soft tissue infections (SSTIs) due to Staphylococcus aureus have become increasingly common in the outpatient setting; however, risk factors for differentiating methicillin-resistant S. aureus (MRSA) and methicillin-susceptible S. aureus (MSSA) SSTIs are needed to better inform antibiotic treatment decisions. We performed a case-case-control study within 14 primary-care clinics in South Texas from 2007 to 2015. Overall, 325 patients [S. aureus SSTI cases (case group 1, n = 175); MRSA SSTI cases (case group 2, n = 115); MSSA SSTI cases (case group 3, n = 60); uninfected control group (control, n = 150)] were evaluated. Each case group was compared to the control group, and then qualitatively contrasted to identify unique risk factors associated with S. aureus, MRSA, and MSSA SSTIs. Overall, prior SSTIs [adjusted odds ratio (aOR) 7·60, 95% confidence interval (CI) 3·31–17·45], male gender (aOR 1·74, 95% CI 1·06–2·85), and absence of healthcare occupation status (aOR 0·14, 95% CI 0·03–0·68) were independently associated with S. aureus SSTIs. The only unique risk factor for community-associated (CA)-MRSA SSTIs was a high body weight (⩾110 kg) (aOR 2·03, 95% CI 1·01–4·09).