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The Murchison Widefield Array (MWA) is an electronically steered low-frequency (<300 MHz) radio interferometer, with a ‘slew’ time less than 8 s. Low-frequency (∼100 MHz) radio telescopes are ideally suited for rapid response follow-up of transients due to their large field of view, the inverted spectrum of coherent emission, and the fact that the dispersion delay between a 1 GHz and 100 MHz pulse is on the order of 1–10 min for dispersion measures of 100–2000 pc/cm3. The MWA has previously been used to provide fast follow-up for transient events including gamma-ray bursts (GRBs), fast radio bursts (FRBs), and gravitational waves, using systems that respond to gamma-ray coordinates network packet-based notifications. We describe a system for automatically triggering MWA observations of such events, based on Virtual Observatory Event standard triggers, which is more flexible, capable, and accurate than previous systems. The system can respond to external multi-messenger triggers, which makes it well-suited to searching for prompt coherent radio emission from GRBs, the study of FRBs and gravitational waves, single pulse studies of pulsars, and rapid follow-up of high-energy superflares from flare stars. The new triggering system has the capability to trigger observations in both the regular correlator mode (limited to ≥0.5 s integrations) and using the Voltage Capture System (VCS, 0.1 ms integration) of the MWA and represents a new mode of operation for the MWA. The upgraded standard correlator triggering capability has been in use since MWA observing semester 2018B (July–Dec 2018), and the VCS and buffered mode triggers will become available for observing in a future semester.
Schistosomiasis is a neglected tropical disease, though it is highly prevalent in many parts of sub-Saharan Africa. While Schistosoma haematobium-bovis hybrids have been reported in West Africa, no data about Schistosoma hybrids in humans are available from Côte d'Ivoire. This study aimed to identify and quantify S. haematobium-bovis hybrids among schoolchildren in four localities of Côte d'Ivoire. Urine samples were collected and examined by filtration to detect Schistosoma eggs. Eggs were hatched and 503 miracidia were individually collected and stored on Whatman® FTA cards for molecular analysis. Individual miracidia were molecularly characterized by analysis of mitochondrial cox1 and nuclear internal transcribed spacer 2 (ITS 2) DNA regions. A mitochondrial cox1-based diagnostic polymerase chain reaction was performed on 459 miracidia, with 239 (52.1%) exhibiting the typical band for S. haematobium and 220 (47.9%) the S. bovis band. The cox1 and ITS 2 amplicons were Sanger sequenced from 40 randomly selected miracidia to confirm species and hybrids status. Among the 33 cox1 sequences analysed, we identified 15 S. haematobium sequences (45.5%) belonging to seven haplotypes and 18 S. bovis sequences (54.5%) belonging to 12 haplotypes. Of 40 ITS 2 sequences analysed, 31 (77.5%) were assigned to pure S. haematobium, four (10.0%) to pure S. bovis and five (12.5%) to S. haematobium-bovis hybrids. Our findings suggest that S. haematobium-bovis hybrids are common in Côte d'Ivoire. Hence, intense prospection of domestic and wild animals is warranted to determine whether zoonotic transmission occurs.
A new fossil site in a previously unexplored part of western Madagascar (the Beanka Protected Area) has yielded remains of many recently extinct vertebrates, including giant lemurs (Babakotia radofilai, Palaeopropithecus kelyus, Pachylemur sp., and Archaeolemur edwardsi), carnivores (Cryptoprocta spelea), the aardvark-like Plesiorycteropus sp., and giant ground cuckoos (Coua). Many of these represent considerable range extensions. Extant species that were extirpated from the region (e.g., Prolemur simus) are also present. Calibrated radiocarbon ages for 10 bones from extinct primates span the last three millennia. The largely undisturbed taphonomy of bone deposits supports the interpretation that many specimens fell in from a rock ledge above the entrance. Some primates and other mammals may have been prey items of avian predators, but human predation is also evident. Strontium isotope ratios (87Sr/86Sr) suggest that fossils were local to the area. Pottery sherds and bones of extinct and extant vertebrates with cut and chop marks indicate human activity in previous centuries. Scarcity of charcoal and human artifacts suggests only occasional visitation to the site by humans. The fossil assemblage from this site is unusual in that, while it contains many sloth lemurs, it lacks ratites, hippopotami, and crocodiles typical of nearly all other Holocene subfossil sites on Madagascar.
Sleep disturbances are prevalent in cancer patients, especially those with advanced disease. There are few published intervention studies that address sleep issues in advanced cancer patients during the course of treatment. This study assesses the impact of a multidisciplinary quality of life (QOL) intervention on subjective sleep difficulties in patients with advanced cancer.
This randomized trial investigated the comparative effects of a multidisciplinary QOL intervention (n = 54) vs. standard care (n = 63) on sleep quality in patients with advanced cancer receiving radiation therapy as a secondary endpoint. The intervention group attended six intervention sessions, while the standard care group received informational material only. Sleep quality was assessed using the Pittsburgh Sleep Quality Index (PSQI) and Epworth Sleepiness Scale (ESS), administered at baseline and weeks 4 (post-intervention), 27, and 52.
The intervention group had a statistically significant improvement in the PSQI total score and two components of sleep quality and daytime dysfunction than the control group at week 4. At week 27, although both groups showed improvements in sleep measures from baseline, there were no statistically significant differences between groups in any of the PSQI total and component scores, or ESS. At week 52, the intervention group used less sleep medication than control patients compared to baseline (p = 0.04) and had a lower ESS score (7.6 vs. 9.3, p = 0.03).
Significance of results
A multidisciplinary intervention to improve QOL can also improve sleep quality of advanced cancer patients undergoing radiation therapy. Those patients who completed the intervention also reported the use of less sleep medication.
Microcredit – joint-liability loans to the poorest of the poor – has been touted as a powerful approach for combatting global poverty, but sustainability varies dramatically across banks. Efforts to improve the sustainability of microcredit have assumed defaults are caused by free-riding. Here, we point out that the response of other group members to delinquent groupmates also plays an important role in defaults. Even in the absence of any free-rider problem, some people will be unable to make their payments due to bad luck. It is other group members’ unwillingness to pitch in extra – due to, among other things, not wanting to have less than other group members – that leads to default. To support this argument, we utilize the Ultimatum Game (UG), a standard paradigm from behavioral economics for measuring one's aversion to inequitable outcomes. First, we show that country-level variation in microloan default rates is strongly correlated (overall r = 0.81) with country-level UG rejection rates, but not free-riding measures. We then introduce a laboratory model ‘Microloan Game’ and present evidence that defaults arise from inequity-averse individuals refusing to make up the difference when others fail to pay their fair share. This perspective suggests a suite of new approaches for combatting defaults that leverage findings on reducing UG rejections.
TwinsUK is the largest cohort of community-dwelling adult twins in the UK. The registry comprises over 14,000 volunteer twins (14,838 including mixed, single and triplets); it is predominantly female (82%) and middle-aged (mean age 59). In addition, over 1800 parents and siblings of twins are registered volunteers. During the last 27 years, TwinsUK has collected numerous questionnaire responses, physical/cognitive measures and biological measures on over 8500 subjects. Data were collected alongside four comprehensive phenotyping clinical visits to the Department of Twin Research and Genetic Epidemiology, King’s College London. Such collection methods have resulted in very detailed longitudinal clinical, biochemical, behavioral, dietary and socioeconomic cohort characterization; it provides a multidisciplinary platform for the study of complex disease during the adult life course, including the process of healthy aging. The major strength of TwinsUK is the availability of several ‘omic’ technologies for a range of sample types from participants, which includes genomewide scans of single-nucleotide variants, next-generation sequencing, metabolomic profiles, microbiomics, exome sequencing, epigenetic markers, gene expression arrays, RNA sequencing and telomere length measures. TwinsUK facilitates and actively encourages sharing the ‘TwinsUK’ resource with the scientific community — interested researchers may request data via the TwinsUK website (http://twinsuk.ac.uk/resources-for-researchers/access-our-data/) for their own use or future collaboration with the study team. In addition, further cohort data collection is planned via the Wellcome Open Research gateway (https://wellcomeopenresearch.org/gateways). The current article presents an up-to-date report on the application of technological advances, new study procedures in the cohort and future direction of TwinsUK.
This study used repeated measures data to identify developmental profiles of elevated risk for ADHD (i.e., six or more inattentive and/or hyperactive-impulsive symptoms), with an interest in the age at which ADHD risk first emerged. Risk factors that were measured across the first 3 years of life were used to predict profile membership. Participants included 1,173 children who were drawn from the Family Life Project, an ongoing longitudinal study of children's development in low-income, nonmetropolitan communities. Four heuristic profiles of ADHD risk were identified. Approximately two thirds of children never exhibited elevated risk for ADHD. The remaining children were characterized by early childhood onset and persistent risk (5%), early childhood limited risk (10%), and middle childhood onset risk (19%). Pregnancy and delivery complications and harsh-intrusive caregiving behaviors operated as general risk for all ADHD profiles. Parental history of ADHD was uniquely predictive of early onset and persistent ADHD risk, and low primary caregiver education was uniquely predictive of early childhood limited ADHD risk. Results are discussed with respect to how changes to the age of onset criterion for ADHD in DSM5 may affect etiological research and the need for developmental models of ADHD that inform ADHD symptom persistence and desistance.
We conducted research into the ‘Data Deficient’ and endemic Tagula Honeyeater Microptilotis vicina of the Louisiade Archipelago, Papua New Guinea. This species was only observed on Sudest and Junet Islands. Islands were visited between October and January in the years from 2012–2014 and in 2016. We conducted the first assessment of spatial and habitat use by this species using radio-tracking in 2016. These findings were also used to inform estimates using traditional population density methods. CTMM package in R was used for home-range estimation for the tracked honeyeaters. Our results supported that members of this species display territoriality during the breeding season, occupying a mean of 2.0 ± 0.6 (SE) ha on Junet Island (n = 5). Whether individuals defended defined territories at other times of the year was not known but re-sightings of marked birds confirmed them to be locally resident. Population estimates ranged between 53,000 and 85,000 individuals. However, more conservative estimates nearing 50,000 individuals were considered prudent given lower population densities observed on parts of the larger Sudest Island (0.64/ha). This species utilised the canopy and understorey layers in a range of habitats from mangroves at sea-level, gardens and regrowth of various ages to cloud forest on the highest point of Sudest Island (∼800 m asl). Dietary observations support that like many closely related species, Tagula Honeyeaters have a broad diet of mostly insects supplemented with nectar and fruit. Observations indicated that this species had life history attributes toward the slower end of the spectrum but similar to other congeners. Vocalisations were more diverse in both structure and complexity than those of suspected close relatives the Mimic Microptilotis analogus and Graceful Microptilotis gracilis Honeyeaters. Morphological measures were similarly different, supporting species level recognition.