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Synthetic biology has a huge potential to produce the next generation of advanced materials by accessing previously unreachable (bio)chemical space. In this prospective review, we take a snapshot of current activity in this rapidly developing area, focusing on prominent examples for high-performance applications such as those required for protective materials and the aerospace sector. The continued growth of this emerging field will be facilitated by the convergence of expertise from a range of diverse disciplines, including molecular biology, polymer chemistry, materials science, and process engineering. This review highlights the most significant recent advances and addresses the cross-disciplinary challenges currently being faced.
Impaired β-cell development and insulin secretion are characteristic of intrauterine growth-restricted (IUGR) fetuses. In normally grown late gestation fetal sheep pancreatic β-cell numbers and insulin secretion are increased by 7–10 days of pulsatile hyperglycemia (PHG). Our objective was to determine if IUGR fetal sheep β-cell numbers and insulin secretion could also be increased by PHG or if IUGR fetal β-cells do not have the capacity to respond to PHG. Following chronic placental insufficiency producing IUGR in twin gestation pregnancies (n=7), fetuses were administered a PHG infusion, consisting of 60 min, high rate, pulsed infusions of dextrose three times a day with an additional continuous, low-rate infusion of dextrose to prevent a decrease in glucose concentrations between the pulses or a control saline infusion. PHG fetuses were compared with their twin IUGR fetus, which received a saline infusion for 7 days. The pulsed glucose infusion increased fetal arterial glucose concentrations an average of 83% during the infusion. Following the 7-day infusion, a square-wave fetal hyperglycemic clamp was performed in both groups to measure insulin secretion. The rate of increase in fetal insulin concentrations during the first 20 min of a square-wave hyperglycemic clamp was 44% faster in the PHG fetuses compared with saline fetuses (P<0.05). There were no differences in islet size, the insulin+ area of the pancreas and of the islets, and β-cell mass between groups (P>0.23). Chronic PHG increases early phase insulin secretion in response to acute hyperglycemia, indicating that IUGR fetal β-cells are functionally responsive to chronic PHG.
Mitochondrial dysfunction and resulting changes in adiposity have been observed in the offspring of animals fed a high fat (HF) diet. As iron is an important component of the mitochondria, we have studied the offspring of female rats fed complete (Con) or iron-deficient (FeD) rations for the duration of gestation to test for similar effects. The FeD offspring were ~12% smaller at weaning and remained so because of a persistent reduction in lean tissue mass. The offspring were fed a complete (stock) diet until 52 weeks of age after which some animals from each litter were fed a HF diet for a further 12 weeks. The HF diet increased body fat when compared with animals fed the stock diet, however, prenatal iron deficiency did not change the ratio of fat:lean in either the stock or HF diet groups. The HF diet caused triglyceride to accumulate in the liver, however, there was no effect of prenatal iron deficiency. The activity of the mitochondrial electron transport complexes was similar in all groups including those challenged with a HF diet. HF feeding increased the number of copies of mitochondrial DNA and the prevalence of the D-loop mutation, however, neither parameter was affected by prenatal iron deficiency. This study shows that the effects of prenatal iron deficiency differ from other models in that there is no persistent effect on hepatic mitochondria in aged animals exposed to an increased metabolic load.
There is a lack of evidence pointing to the efficacy of any specific psychotherapy for adults with anorexia nervosa (AN). The aim of this study was to compare three psychological treatments for AN: Specialist Supportive Clinical Management, Maudsley Model Anorexia Nervosa Treatment for Adults and Enhanced Cognitive Behavioural Therapy.
A multi-centre randomised controlled trial was conducted with outcomes assessed at pre-, mid- and post-treatment, and 6- and 12-month follow-up by researchers blind to treatment allocation. All analyses were intention-to-treat. One hundred and twenty individuals meeting diagnostic criteria for AN were recruited from outpatient treatment settings in three Australian cities and offered 25–40 sessions over a 10-month period. Primary outcomes were body mass index (BMI) and eating disorder psychopathology. Secondary outcomes included depression, anxiety, stress and psychosocial impairment.
Treatment was completed by 60% of participants and 52.5% of the total sample completed 12-month follow-up. Completion rates did not differ between treatments. There were no significant differences between treatments on continuous outcomes; all resulted in clinically significant improvements in BMI, eating disorder psychopathology, general psychopathology and psychosocial impairment that were maintained over follow-up. There were no significant differences between treatments with regard to the achievement of a healthy weight (mean = 50%) or remission (mean = 28.3%) at 12-month follow-up.
The findings add to the evidence base for these three psychological treatments for adults with AN, but the results underscore the need for continued efforts to improve outpatient treatments for this disorder.
We present the first description of an antimicrobial stewardship program (ASP) used to successfully manage a multi-antimicrobial drug shortage. Without resorting to formulary restriction, meropenem utilization decreased by 69% and piperacillin-tazobactam by 73%. During the shortage period, hospital mortality decreased (P=.03), while hospital length of stay remained unchanged.
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.
Introduction: Although tobacco dependence treatment (TDT) is key to tobacco control, there continues to be a shortage of services in the Eastern Mediterranean Region (EMR). Barriers to offering services include the lack of training and education.
Aims: To create a network of healthcare providers (HCPs) capable of advancing TDT, King Hussein Cancer Center – the regional host for Global Bridges in the EMR – developed, implemented, and evaluated a regional TDT training programme.
Methods: The programme employed a predisposing–enabling–reinforcing framework, and utilised a combination of learning techniques. The evidence-informed curriculum aimed to influence knowledge, confidence, and competence, and the evaluation mechanism was aligned with these aims.
Results and discussion: Training produced a 37% and 23% gain in knowledge and TDT-specific competencies, respectively. The majority of participants reported that the workshops enhanced confidence, and 72% reported intentions for positive change. Participants rated the workshops highly, and anticipated value from joining Global Bridges network. Immediate outcomes indicate success in advancing participants’ self-efficacy and readiness to treat. Intentions for positive change may potentially be the first step in modifying practice.
Conclusion: Capacity building in TDT could be the first step in meeting the need for trained HCPs through positively influencing knowledge, confidence, competence, and intentions.
The IntCal09 and Marine09 radiocarbon calibration curves have been revised utilizing newly available and updated data sets from 14C measurements on tree rings, plant macrofossils, speleothems, corals, and foraminifera. The calibration curves were derived from the data using the random walk model (RWM) used to generate IntCal09 and Marine09, which has been revised to account for additional uncertainties and error structures. The new curves were ratified at the 21st International Radiocarbon conference in July 2012 and are available as Supplemental Material at www.radiocarbon.org. The database can be accessed at http://intcal.qub.ac.uk/intcal13/.
The Fezzan Project completed its five-year fieldwork cycle in 2001. The geographical research team located numerous additional palaeolake sites within the Edeyen Ubari, using a combination of Remote Sensing technology and field visits. Additional samples were taken for analysis and dating from many lake edge locations, relating to both the large Pleistocene lake and to the numerous smaller Holocene lakes that have been identified by the team. The excavations at Old Germa were taken down through Garamantian occupation levels to the natural subsoil below the earliest cultural horizon. The earliest activity, represented by a few mudbrick walls and hearths built directly on the natural soil, is believed to date to c. 400-300 BC. Traces of several phases of Garamantian buildings were uncovered, along with numerous rubbish pits, which yielded a rich assemblage of finds, including, for the first time, examples of Garamantian figurines, small 3-D sculptures of humans and animals. Work on the various classes of finds (pottery, small finds, lithics and other stone artefacts, metallurgical evidence, etc.) complemented the excavation work. In addition, a small amount of further survey work was carried out on sites in the Wadi al-Ajal, along with a contour survey of Old Germa and standing building survey at a number of other sites.
This paper describes the system architecture of a newly constructed radio telescope – the Boolardy engineering test array, which is a prototype of the Australian square kilometre array pathfinder telescope. Phased array feed technology is used to form multiple simultaneous beams per antenna, providing astronomers with unprecedented survey speed. The test array described here is a six-antenna interferometer, fitted with prototype signal processing hardware capable of forming at least nine dual-polarisation beams simultaneously, allowing several square degrees to be imaged in a single pointed observation. The main purpose of the test array is to develop beamforming and wide-field calibration methods for use with the full telescope, but it will also be capable of limited early science demonstrations.
Anorexia nervosa (AN) is a serious disorder incurring high costs due to hospitalization. International treatments vary, with prolonged hospitalizations in Europe and shorter hospitalizations in the USA. Uncontrolled studies suggest that longer initial hospitalizations that normalize weight produce better outcomes and fewer admissions than shorter hospitalizations with lower discharge weights. This study aimed to compare the effectiveness of hospitalization for weight restoration (WR) to medical stabilization (MS) in adolescent AN.
We performed a randomized controlled trial (RCT) with 82 adolescents, aged 12–18 years, with a DSM-IV diagnosis of AN and medical instability, admitted to two pediatric units in Australia. Participants were randomized to shorter hospitalization for MS or longer hospitalization for WR to 90% expected body weight (EBW) for gender, age and height, both followed by 20 sessions of out-patient, manualized family-based treatment (FBT).
The primary outcome was the number of hospital days, following initial admission, at the 12-month follow-up. Secondary outcomes were the total number of hospital days used up to 12 months and full remission, defined as healthy weight (>95% EBW) and a global Eating Disorder Examination (EDE) score within 1 standard deviation (s.d.) of published means. There was no significant difference between groups in hospital days following initial admission. There were significantly more total hospital days used and post-protocol FBT sessions in the WR group. There were no moderators of primary outcome but participants with higher eating psychopathology and compulsive features reported better clinical outcomes in the MS group.
Outcomes are similar with hospitalizations for MS or WR when combined with FBT. Cost savings would result from combining shorter hospitalization with FBT.
Carefully timed tandem microbubbles have been shown to produce directional and targeted membrane poration of individual cells in microfluidic systems, which could be of use in ultrasound-mediated drug and gene delivery. This study aims at contributing to the understanding of the mechanisms at play in such an interaction. The dynamics of single and tandem microbubbles between two parallel plates is studied numerically and analytically. Comparisons are then made between the numerical results and the available experimental results. Numerically, assuming a potential flow, a three-dimensional boundary element method (BEM) is used to describe complex bubble deformations, jet formation, and bubble splitting. Analytically, compressibility and viscous boundary layer effects along the channel walls, neglected in the BEM model, are considered while shape of the bubble is not considered. Comparisons show that energy losses modify the bubble dynamics when the two approaches use identical initial conditions. The initial conditions in the boundary element method can be adjusted to recover the bubble period and maximum bubble volume when in an infinite medium. Using the same conditions enables the method to recover the full dynamics of single and tandem bubbles, including large deformations and fast re-entering jet formation. This method can be used as a design tool for future tandem-bubble sonoporation experiments.