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The preconception, pregnancy and immediate postpartum and newborn periods are times for mothers and their offspring when they are especially vulnerable to major stressors – those that are sudden and unexpected and those that are chronic. Their adverse effects can transcend generations. Stressors can include natural disasters or political stressors such as conflict and/or migration. Considerable evidence has accumulated demonstrating the adverse effects of natural disasters on pregnancy outcomes and developmental trajectories. However, beyond tracking outcomes, the time has arrived for gathering more information related to identifying mechanisms, predicting risk and developing stress-reducing and resilience-building interventions to improve outcomes. Further, we need to learn how to encapsulate both the quantitative and qualitative information available and share it with communities and authorities to mitigate the adverse developmental effects of future disasters, conflicts and migrations. This article briefly reviews prenatal maternal stress and identifies three contemporary situations (wildfire in Fort McMurray, Alberta, Canada; hurricane Harvey in Houston, USA and transgenerational and migrant stress in Pforzheim, Germany) where current studies are being established by Canadian investigators to test an intervention. The experiences from these efforts are related along with attempts to involve communities in the studies and share the new knowledge to plan for future disasters or tragedies.
Lebanon has a need for innovative approaches to increase access to mental health care to meet the country's current high demand. E-mental health has been included in its national mental health strategy while in parallel the World Health Organization has produced an online intervention called ‘Step-by-Step’ to treat symptoms of depression that is being tested in Lebanon over the coming years.
The primary aim of this study is to conduct bottom-up, community-driven qualitative cognitive interviewing from a multi-stakeholder perspective to inform the cultural adaptation of an Internet-delivered mental health intervention based on behavioural activation in Lebanon.
National Mental Health Programme staff conducted a total of 11 key informant interviews with three mental health professionals, six front-line workers in primary health care centres (PHCCs) and two community members. Also, eight focus group discussions, one with seven front-line workers and seven others with a total of 66 community members (Lebanese, Syrians and Palestinians) were conducted in several PHCCs to inform the adaptation of Step-by-Step. Results were transcribed and analysed thematically by the project coordinator and two research assistants.
Feedback generated from the cognitive interviewing mainly revolved around amending the story, illustrations and the delivery methods to ensure relevance and sensitivity to the local context. The results obtained have informed major edits to the content of Step-by-Step and also to the model of provision. Notably, the intervention was made approximately 30% shorter; it includes additional videos of content alongside the originally proposed comic book-style delivery; there is less emphasis on total inactivity as a symptom of low mood and more focus on enjoyable activities to lift mood; the story and ways to contact participants to provide support were updated in line with local gender norms; and many of the suggested or featured activities have been revised in line with suggestions from community members.
These findings promote and advocate the use of community-driven adaptation of evidence-based psychological interventions. Some of the phenomena recorded mirror findings from other research about barriers to care seeking in the region and so changes made to the intervention should be useful in improving utility and uptake of ‘Step-by-Step’.
Antibodies at gastrointestinal mucosal membranes play a vital role in immunological protection against a range of pathogens, including helminths. Gastrointestinal health is central to efficient livestock production, and such infections cause significant losses. Fecal samples were taken from 114 cattle, across three beef farms, with matched blood samples taken from 22 of those animals. To achieve fecal antibody detection, a novel fecal supernatant was extracted. Fecal supernatant and serum samples were then analysed, using adapted enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay protocols, for levels of total immunoglobulin (Ig)A, IgG, IgM, and Teladorsagia circumcincta-specific IgA, IgG, IgM and IgE (in the absence of reagents for cattle-specific nematode species). Fecal nematode egg counts were conducted on all fecal samples. Assays performed successfully and showed that IgA was the predominant antibody in fecal samples, whereas IgG was predominant in serum. Total IgA in feces and serum correlated within individuals (0.581, P = 0.005), but other Ig types did not. Results support the hypothesis that the tested protocols are an effective method for the non-invasive assessment of cattle immunology. The method could be used as part of animal health assessments, although further work is required to interpret the relationship between results and levels of infection and immunity.
Good bone quality in breeding ewes is important for the mineralisation of foetal skeletons and to sustain maternal dentition, as tooth loss is the main reason for culling sheep in the UK. Among other functions, bone is a storage depot for calcium and other key minerals that are mobilised to meet major demands such as during lactation. As other studies in humans and poultry have shown, there is substantial genetic variation (h2 between 0.5 and 0.8) for bone properties, suggesting a similar situation in ewes. These properties, e.g. bone density, are key to successful production and nurturing of healthy lambs, which can be used in selective breeding strategies to extend breeding ewes’ productive lives. CT has been shown to be a useful method of assessing bone properties in sheep (Rubin et al., 2001). This study quantifies the main bone types in Scottish Blackface ewes and investigates environmental factors affecting bone quality.
The management of human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) infection continues to evolve rapidly. Amazing advances have been made in therapy of primary infection, prevention of opportunistic infections, and prevention of perinatal transmission since the first cases of acquired immune deficiency syndrome (AIDS) were described in 1981. Perinatal transmission rates have decreased from 20–30% early in the epidemic to < 1% in high-income countries with the use of antiretroviral therapy and scheduled cesarean delivery.
Matter in neutron star cores reaches extremely high densities, forming states of matter that cannot be generated in the laboratory. The Equation of State (EOS) of the matter links to macroscopic observables, such as mass M and radius R, via the stellar structure equations. A promising technique for measuring M and R exploits hotspots (burst oscillations) that form on the stellar surface when material accreted from a companion star undergoes a thermonuclear explosion. As the star rotates, the hotspot gives rise to a pulsation, and relativistic effects encode information about M and R into the pulse profile. However the burst oscillation mechanism remains unknown, introducing uncertainty when inferring the EOS. I review the progress that we are making towards cracking this long-standing problem, and establishing burst oscillations as a robust tool for measuring M and R. This is a major goal for future large area X-ray telescopes.
Superburst oscillations are high frequency X-ray variations observed during hours’ long superbursts on accreting neutron stars. We investigate a potential mechanism to explain these observations; a buoyant r-mode, excited in the ocean layers of the star. These modes are affected by ash composition in the ocean so are a good probe of nuclear burning processes. The phenomenon could be used in pulse profile modelling as a way of measuring neutron star mass and radius, and so the dense matter equation of state.
In this study the onset of stress-free Boussinesq thermal convection in rotating spherical shells with aspect ratio η = rinner/router = 0.9, Prandtl numbers Pr ∈ [10−4, 10−1], and Taylor numbers Ta ∈ [104, 1012] is considered. We focus on the form of the convective cell pattern that develops, and on its time scales, since this may have observational consequences for thermonuclear burning and the development of burst oscillations in the exploding oceans of accreting neutron stars (Watts (2012)).
This paper reports three cases of severe post-stapedectomy granuloma, emphasising the variable presentation of this devastating complication and the challenges of its management.
A retrospective review was conducted of three cases of post-stapedectomy granuloma requiring surgical debulking between 2010 and 2015. Clinical symptoms, serial imaging, histopathology and post-operative outcomes were considered.
Intra-operatively, extensive granulation tissue with erosion of the otic capsule was found. There was spread along the VIIth and VIIIth cranial nerves to the cochlear nucleus in one patient. Post-operative clinical improvement was demonstrable, corroborated by diminution of contrast enhancement on serial magnetic resonance imaging. Facial nerve function recovered, tinnitus amelioration was variable and some otalgia persisted. Post-operative complications included grade IV facial weakness and late Pseudomonas aeruginosa meningitis, which all resolved.
To the authors’ knowledge, this paper reports the only case of post-stapedectomy granuloma tracking to the brainstem. Otalgia was present in all our cases, and may be deemed a red flag symptom of progressive bony destruction and otic capsule involvement. Although granuloma remains rare, it should be considered in any patient with worsening otological symptoms following stapes surgery.
A short-pulse, long-wavelength radio-echo sounder has successfully measured the ice depth on the South Cascade Glacier. Depths up to 250 m were determined with resolution of about 5%. Bottom returns were clear and almost never ambiguous. Their accuracy was confirmed by comparison with hot-point drilling results. The secret for successful sounding in temperate glaciers is the use of a sufficiently low center frequency. Five megahertz was most successful. Tests at 15 MHz indicated an increase in coherent clutter which rendered the bottom return observable only with prior knowledge of its location. The cause of the clutter is probably water-filled voids in the ice which behave as Rayleigh scatterers.
The sounding system consists of an avalanche-transistor transmitter, which delivers a pulse to an acute-angle crossed-wire antenna. The pulse is shaped and given its center-frequency characteristics by the resonant properties of the antenna. The transmitting and receiving antennas are identical, consisting of wires and lumped resistors. The resistors reduce antennas ringing, thereby maintaining as short a pulse as possible. The receiver consists of an oscilloscope and a Polaroid camera. No preamplification is required for depths up to 250 m, but may be necessary for deeper glaciers.
Most of the recent advances in X-ray astronomy have resulted from satellite observations in the low energy (< 20 keV) range. The Einstein X-ray Observatory in particular has been responsible for a dramatic increase in our knowledge of the X-ray sky, in that all major classes of astronomical objects have been detected.
A number of electronic systems are used on the ANTARES accelerator at ANSTO to implement its fast cycling accelerator mass spectrometry (AMS) capability. The fast cycling system was originally installed and commissioned in 1993 and has recently been updated. This paper describes the more significant of the electronic systems, such as the controller (“sequencer”), the high-voltage power supply (“bouncer”), the fast electrostatic beam chopper, and those used for measurement of the pulsed ion beam current. The sequencer, a programmable 15-bit digital pulse generator, generates the timing and sequencing of the control signals for bouncing voltage selection, beam chopping, Faraday cup current measurement, and rare isotope event measurement. The new sequencer is implemented using a National Instruments FPGA (field programmable gate array) card, programmed using LabVIEW 2010. This device has the benefits of host CPU-independent operation, simple interfacing (PCI), a small footprint, off-the-shelf availability at modest cost, and ease of functionality upgrade. The sequencer provides 15 synchronous digital signals, whose “on” and “off” transitions can be independently specified, in both number and time, with a time resolution of between 0.5 and 128 μs, and with the total duration between repetitions adjustable between 65.5 ms and 8.4 s per cycle. It is hosted by a generic PC because of the low-cost and ubiquity of these. The stand-alone FPGA-based approach ensures that the sequencer determinism is unaffected by processes executing in the host CPU.
This study aimed to estimate the prevalence and risk factors for hepatitis C virus (HCV) infection in Mexican Americans living in South Texas. We tested plasma for the presence of HCV antibody from the Cameron County Hispanic Cohort (CCHC), a randomized, population-based cohort in an economically disadvantaged Mexican American community on the United States/Mexico border with high rates of chronic disease. A weighted prevalence of HCV antibody of 2·3% [n = 1131, 95% confidence interval (CI) 1·2–3·4] was found. Participants with diabetes had low rates of HCV antibody (0·4%, 95% CI 0·0–0·9) and logistic regression revealed a statistically significant negative association between HCV and diabetes (OR 0·20, 95% CI 0·05–0·77) after adjusting for sociodemographic and clinical factors. This conflicts with reported positive associations of diabetes and HCV infection. No classic risk factors were identified, but important differences between genders emerged in analysis. This population-based study of HCV in Mexican Americans suggests that national studies do not adequately describe the epidemiology of HCV in this border community and that unique risk factors may be involved.
An epitaxial shell of cadmium sulphide is grown on lead sulphide quantum dots in order to reduce the concentration of surface defects. Thin solid films of these core/shell materials are found to have low carrier concentrations due to effective surface passivation which reduces the number of dangling bonds. In this paper PbS/CdS is used as a quasi-intrinsic layer in p-i-n photovoltaic devices where PbS acts as the p-layer and ZnO the n-layer. By studying different permutations of these layers and the degree of PbS p-type doping by annealing we optimise fill factor and open-circuit voltage.
The Helicon-Cathode(HelCat) device is a medium-size linear experiment suitable for a wide range of basic plasma science experiments in areas such as electrostatic turbulence and transport, magnetic relaxation, and high power microwave (HPM)-plasma interactions. The HelCat device is based on dual plasma sources located at opposite ends of the 4 m long vacuum chamber – an RF helicon source at one end and a thermionic cathode at the other. Thirteen coils provide an axial magnetic field B ⩾ 0.220 T that can be configured individually to give various magnetic configurations (e.g. solenoid, mirror, cusp). Additional plasma sources, such as a compact coaxial plasma gun, are also utilized in some experiments, and can be located either along the chamber for perpendicular (to the background magnetic field) plasma injection, or at one of the ends for parallel injection. Using the multiple plasma sources, a wide range of plasma parameters can be obtained. Here, the HelCat device is described in detail and some examples of results from previous and ongoing experiments are given. Additionally, examples of planned experiments and device modifications are also discussed.