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The COllaborative project of Development of Anthropometrical measures in Twins (CODATwins) project is a large international collaborative effort to analyze individual-level phenotype data from twins in multiple cohorts from different environments. The main objective is to study factors that modify genetic and environmental variation of height, body mass index (BMI, kg/m2) and size at birth, and additionally to address other research questions such as long-term consequences of birth size. The project started in 2013 and is open to all twin projects in the world having height and weight measures on twins with information on zygosity. Thus far, 54 twin projects from 24 countries have provided individual-level data. The CODATwins database includes 489,981 twin individuals (228,635 complete twin pairs). Since many twin cohorts have collected longitudinal data, there is a total of 1,049,785 height and weight observations. For many cohorts, we also have information on birth weight and length, own smoking behavior and own or parental education. We found that the heritability estimates of height and BMI systematically changed from infancy to old age. Remarkably, only minor differences in the heritability estimates were found across cultural–geographic regions, measurement time and birth cohort for height and BMI. In addition to genetic epidemiological studies, we looked at associations of height and BMI with education, birth weight and smoking status. Within-family analyses examined differences within same-sex and opposite-sex dizygotic twins in birth size and later development. The CODATwins project demonstrates the feasibility and value of international collaboration to address gene-by-exposure interactions that require large sample sizes and address the effects of different exposures across time, geographical regions and socioeconomic status.
The Square Kilometre Array will be an amazing instrument for pulsar astronomy. While the full SKA will be sensitive enough to detect all pulsars in the Galaxy visible from Earth, already with SKA1, pulsar searches will discover enough pulsars to increase the currently known population by a factor of four, no doubt including a range of amazing unknown sources. Real time processing is needed to deal with the 60 PB of pulsar search data collected per day, using a signal processing pipeline required to perform more than 10 POps. Here we present the suggested design of the pulsar search engine for the SKA and discuss challenges and solutions to the pulsar search venture.
Sarcoma of the head and neck is a rare condition that poses significant challenges in management and often requires radical multimodality treatment.
This study aimed to analyse current clinical presentation, evaluation, management dilemmas and oncological outcomes.
Computer records and case notes were analysed, and 39 patients were identified. Variables were compared using Pearson's chi-square test and the log-rank test, while survival outcomes were calculated using the Kaplan–Meier method.
The histopathological diagnosis was Kaposi sarcoma in 20.5 per cent of cases, chondrosarcoma in 15.3 per cent and osteosarcoma in 10.2 per cent. A range of other sarcomas were diagnosed in the remaining patients. The site of disease was most commonly sinonasal, followed by the oral cavity and larynx.
Wide local excision with clear resection margins is essential to achieve local control and long-term survival. There is a need for cross-specialty collaboration in order to accrue the evidence which will be necessary to improve long-term outcomes.
The transition to the diverse and complex biosphere of the Ediacaran and early Paleozoic is the culmination of a complex history of tectonic, climate, and geochemical development. Although much of this rise occurred in the middle and late intervals of the Neoproterozoic Era (1000–541 million years ago [Ma]), the foundation for many of these developments was laid much earlier, during the latest Mesoproterozic Stenian Period (1200–1000 Ma) and early Neoproterozoic Tonian Period (1000–720 Ma). Concurrent with the development of complex ecosystems, changes in the composition, configuration, and tectonic interaction between continental plates have been proposed as major shapers of both climate and biogeochemical cycling, but there is little support in the geologic record for overriding tectonic controls. Biogeochemical evidence, however, suggests that an expansion of marine oxygen concentrations may have stabilized nutrient cycles and created more stable environmental conditions under which complex, eukaryotic life could gain a foothold and flourish. The interaction of tectonic, biogeochemical, and climate processes, as described in this paper, resulted in the establishment of habitable environments that fostered the Ediacaran and early Phanerozoic radiations of animal life and the emergence of complex, modern-style ecosystems.
The role of ferroelectric LiNbO3 (LNB) in altering the frequency dependence of the capacitance of CaCu3Ti4O12 (CCTO) thin films has been investigated. A cost effective spin coating deposition process was used to integrate the oxide heterostructures onto silicon substrates. This study showed that the frequency stability of the CCTO/LNB structure was much improved when the crystallization conditions and physical dimension of each layer were optimized. To integrate this structure with current silicon technology, heterostructures of CCTO and LNB thin films were fabricated on HF terminated Si using chemical solution deposition. It was found that the order of deposition of the two layers was important for the structural quality of the heterostructures with the CCTO layer followed by the LNB layer being the preferred structure. In addition to improvement of the capacitance variation with frequency, the heterostructures also provide a path to tuning the frequency of operation.
Antarctic and Southern Ocean science is vital to understanding natural variability, the processes that govern global change and the role of humans in the Earth and climate system. The potential for new knowledge to be gained from future Antarctic science is substantial. Therefore, the international Antarctic community came together to ‘scan the horizon’ to identify the highest priority scientific questions that researchers should aspire to answer in the next two decades and beyond. Wide consultation was a fundamental principle for the development of a collective, international view of the most important future directions in Antarctic science. From the many possibilities, the horizon scan identified 80 key scientific questions through structured debate, discussion, revision and voting. Questions were clustered into seven topics: i) Antarctic atmosphere and global connections, ii) Southern Ocean and sea ice in a warming world, iii) ice sheet and sea level, iv) the dynamic Earth, v) life on the precipice, vi) near-Earth space and beyond, and vii) human presence in Antarctica. Answering the questions identified by the horizon scan will require innovative experimental designs, novel applications of technology, invention of next-generation field and laboratory approaches, and expanded observing systems and networks. Unbiased, non-contaminating procedures will be required to retrieve the requisite air, biota, sediment, rock, ice and water samples. Sustained year-round access to Antarctica and the Southern Ocean will be essential to increase winter-time measurements. Improved models are needed that represent Antarctica and the Southern Ocean in the Earth System, and provide predictions at spatial and temporal resolutions useful for decision making. A co-ordinated portfolio of cross-disciplinary science, based on new models of international collaboration, will be essential as no scientist, programme or nation can realize these aspirations alone.
Understanding the genetic and environmental contributions to measures of brain structure such as surface area and cortical thickness is important for a better understanding of the nature of brain-behavior relationships and changes due to development or disease. Continuous spatial maps of genetic influences on these structural features can contribute to our understanding of regional patterns of heritability, since it remains to be seen whether genetic contributions to brain structure respect the boundaries of any traditional parcellation approaches. Using data from magnetic resonance imaging scans collected on a large sample of monozygotic and dizygotic twins in the Vietnam Era Twin Study of Aging, we created maps of the heritability of areal expansion (a vertex-based area measure) and cortical thickness and examined the degree to which these maps were affected by adjustment for total surface area and mean cortical thickness. We also compared the approach of estimating regional heritability based on the average heritability of vertices within the region to the more traditional region-of-interest (ROI)-based approach. The results suggested high heritability across the cortex for areal expansion and, to a slightly lesser degree, for cortical thickness. There was a great deal of genetic overlap between global and regional measures for surface area, so maps of region-specific genetic influences on surface area revealed more modest heritabilities. There was greater inter-regional variability in heritabilities when calculated using the traditional ROI-based approach compared to summarizing vertex-by-vertex heritabilities within regions. Discrepancies between the approaches were greatest in small regions and tended to be larger for surface area than for cortical thickness measures. Implications regarding brain phenotypes for future genetic association studies are discussed.
We explored the comorbidity between panic attacks (PA), whose symptoms can include gastrointestinal discomfort, and gastrointestinal disorders (GD). Structural equation modeling was used to analyze data from 1,874 MZ and 1,498 DZ male–male twin pairs from the Vietnam Era Twin Registry. PA and GD were associated (relative risk for GD = 2). The percentage of liability due to genetic factors was estimated to be 37% for PA and 31% for GD. There was significant correlation between the genetic risk factors for PA and GD (estimated r = .55, 95% CI of 34% to 82%) and no evidence of correlation between the environmental causes of PA and GD. Therefore, PA and GD comorbidity can be explained by overlapping genetic factors and not overlapping environmental factors. Although these data cannot identify a biological pathway for such a shared liability, it suggests the presence of GD may be informative for genetic studies of panic.
Stable, catalytically active, and inexpensive halogen electrodes are essential for the success of the regenerative hydrogen-halogen fuel cell as a competitive means of large-scale electricity storage. We report the synthesis and electrochemical testing of two novel electrode materials — ruthenium-cobalt and ruthenium-manganese alloy oxides. These alloys were fabricated by wet chemical synthesis methods as a coating on a titanium metal substrate and tested for chloride and bromide oxidation and for chlorine and bromine reduction. These alloy oxides exhibit high catalytic potency and good electrical conductivity good stability, while having a significantly reduced precious metal composition compared to commercial chloride oxidation electrodes made of the oxide of a ruthenium-titanium alloy. We tested alloys with Ru content as low as 1% that maintained good electrochemical activity. Stability tests indicate immeasurably small mass loss.
In this work, we investigated the electrocatalytic oxygen reduction reaction (ORR) activity of vertically aligned, single-layer, carbon-free, and single crystal Pt nanorod arrays utilizing cyclic voltammetry (CV) and rotating-disk electrode (RDE) techniques. A glancing angle deposition (GLAD) technique was used to fabricate 200 nm long Pt nanorods, which corresponds to Pt loading of 0.16 mg/cm2, on glassy carbon (GC) electrode at a glancing angle of 85° as measured from the substrate normal. An electrode comprised of conventional carbon-supported Pt nanoparticles (Pt/C) was also prepared for comparison with the electrocatalytic ORR activity and stability of Pt nanorods. CV results showed that the Pt nanorod electrocatalyst exhibits a more positive oxide reduction peak potential compared to Pt/C, indicating that GLAD Pt nanorods are less oxophilic. In addition, a series of CV cycles in acidic electrolyte revealed that Pt nanorods are significantly more stable against electrochemically-active surface area loss than Pt/C. Moreover, room temperature RDE results demonstrated that GLAD Pt nanorods exhibit higher area-specific ORR activity than Pt/C. The enhanced electrocatalytic ORR activity of Pt nanorods is attributed to their larger crystallite size, single-crystal property, and the dominance of (110) crystal planes on the large surface area nanorods sidewalls, which has been found to be the most active plane for ORR. However, the Pt nanorods showed lower mass specific activity than the Pt/C electrocatalyst due to the large diameter of the Pt nanorods.
Detection and tracking of stem cell state are difficult due to insufficient means for rapidly screening cell state in a noninvasive manner. This challenge is compounded when stem cells are cultured in aggregates or three-dimensional (3D) constructs because living cells in this form are difficult to analyze without disrupting cellular contacts. Multiphoton laser scanning microscopy is uniquely suited to analyze 3D structures due to the broad tunability of excitation sources, deep sectioning capacity, and minimal phototoxicity but is throughput limited. A novel multiphoton fluorescence excitation flow cytometry (MPFC) instrument could be used to accurately probe cells in the interior of multicell aggregates or tissue constructs in an enhanced-throughput manner and measure corresponding fluorescent properties. By exciting endogenous fluorophores as intrinsic biomarkers or exciting extrinsic reporter molecules, the properties of cells in aggregates can be understood while the viable cellular aggregates are maintained. Here we introduce a first generation MPFC system and show appropriate speed and accuracy of image capture and measured fluorescence intensity, including intrinsic fluorescence intensity. Thus, this novel instrument enables rapid characterization of stem cells and corresponding aggregates in a noninvasive manner and could dramatically transform how stem cells are studied in the laboratory and utilized in the clinic.
The bacteriological investigation of an outbreak of Legionnaires' disease in Glasgow Royal Infirmary affecting 16 patients is described. Most of the patients had been treated in high-dependency areas on two floors of the hospital supplied by the same two air-conditioned ventilation systems. The source of infection was traced to contamination of a cooling tower from which a plume of spray discharged into the intake vents of the two ventilation systems. Rubber grommets within the cooling tower probably provided a nidus of infection there. The control and management of the outbreak are discussed: a policy of frankness about the course and progress of the investigations was adopted and helped to allay anxiety on the part of both staff and media.
The mutation rate at seven specific loci was measured among the offspring of male and female mice exposed as 17½-day-old foetuses to 200 r. X-rays. In the female series the mutation rate was lower, by a factor of about four, than the comparable adult rate; in the male series the mutation rate was lower but not statistically significantly lower than in adults.