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Gravitational waves from coalescing neutron stars encode information about nuclear matter at extreme densities, inaccessible by laboratory experiments. The late inspiral is influenced by the presence of tides, which depend on the neutron star equation of state. Neutron star mergers are expected to often produce rapidly rotating remnant neutron stars that emit gravitational waves. These will provide clues to the extremely hot post-merger environment. This signature of nuclear matter in gravitational waves contains most information in the 2–4 kHz frequency band, which is outside of the most sensitive band of current detectors. We present the design concept and science case for a Neutron Star Extreme Matter Observatory (NEMO): a gravitational-wave interferometer optimised to study nuclear physics with merging neutron stars. The concept uses high-circulating laser power, quantum squeezing, and a detector topology specifically designed to achieve the high-frequency sensitivity necessary to probe nuclear matter using gravitational waves. Above 1 kHz, the proposed strain sensitivity is comparable to full third-generation detectors at a fraction of the cost. Such sensitivity changes expected event rates for detection of post-merger remnants from approximately one per few decades with two A+ detectors to a few per year and potentially allow for the first gravitational-wave observations of supernovae, isolated neutron stars, and other exotica.
Health reform debate understandably focuses on large system design. We should not omit attention to the “last mile” problem of physician payment theory. Achieving fundamental goals of integrative, patient-centered primary care depends on thoughtful financial support. This commentary describes the nature and importance of innovative primary care payment programs.
The radiocarbon (14C) calibration curve so far contains annually resolved data only for a short period of time. With accelerator mass spectrometry (AMS) matching the precision of decay counting, it is now possible to efficiently produce large datasets of annual resolution for calibration purposes using small amounts of wood. The radiocarbon intercomparison on single-year tree-ring samples presented here is the first to investigate specifically possible offsets between AMS laboratories at high precision. The results show that AMS laboratories are capable of measuring samples of Holocene age with an accuracy and precision that is comparable or even goes beyond what is possible with decay counting, even though they require a thousand times less wood. It also shows that not all AMS laboratories always produce results that are consistent with their stated uncertainties. The long-term benefits of studies of this kind are more accurate radiocarbon measurements with, in the future, better quantified uncertainties.
Introduction: For rhythm control of acute atrial flutter (AAFL) in the emergency department (ED), choices include initial drug therapy or initial electrical cardioversion (ECV). We compared the strategies of pharmacological cardioversion followed by ECV if necessary (Drug-Shock), and ECV alone (Shock Only). Methods: We conducted a randomized, blinded, placebo-controlled trial (1:1 allocation) comparing two rhythm control strategies at 11 academic EDs. We included stable adult patients with AAFL, where onset of symptoms was <48 hours. Patients underwent central web-based randomization stratified by site. The Drug-Shock group received an infusion of procainamide (15mg/kg over 30 minutes) followed 30 minutes later, if necessary, by ECV at 200 joules x 3 shocks. The Shock Only group received an infusion of saline followed, if necessary, by ECV x 3 shocks. The primary outcome was conversion to sinus rhythm for ≥30 minutes at any time following onset of infusion. Patients were followed for 14 days. The primary outcome was evaluated on an intention-to-treat basis. Statistical significance was assessed using chi-squared tests and multivariable logistic regression. Results: We randomized 76 patients, and none was lost to follow-up. The Drug-Shock (N = 33) and Shock Only (N = 43) groups were similar for all characteristics including mean age (66.3 vs 63.4 yrs), duration of AAFL (30.1 vs 24.5 hrs), previous AAFL (72.7% vs 69.8%), median CHADS2 score (1 vs 1), and mean initial heart rate (128.9 vs 126.0 bpm). The Drug-Shock and Shock only groups were similar for the primary outcome of conversion (100% vs 93%; absolute difference 7.0%, 95% CI -0.6;14.6; P = 0.25). The multivariable analyses confirmed the similarity of the two strategies (P = 0.19). In the Drug-Shock group 21.2% of patients converted with the infusion. There were no statistically significant differences for time to conversion (84.2 vs 97.6 minutes), total ED length of stay (9.4 vs 7.5 hours), disposition home (100% vs 95.3%), and stroke within 14 days (0 vs 0). Premature discontinuation of infusion (usually for transient hypotension) was more common in the Drug-Shock group (9.1% vs 0.0%) but there were no serious adverse events. Conclusion: Both the Drug-Shock and Shock Only strategies were highly effective and safe in allowing AAFL patients to go home in sinus rhythm. IV procainamide alone was effective in only one fifth of patients, much less than for acute AF.
The Genomics Used to Improve DEpresssion Decisions (GUIDED) trial assessed outcomes associated with combinatorial pharmacogenomic (PGx) testing in patients with major depressive disorder (MDD). Analyses used the 17-item Hamilton Depression (HAM-D17) rating scale; however, studies demonstrate that the abbreviated, core depression symptom-focused, HAM-D6 rating scale may have greater sensitivity toward detecting differences between treatment and placebo. However, the sensitivity of HAM-D6 has not been tested for two active treatment arms. Here, we evaluated the sensitivity of the HAM-D6 scale, relative to the HAM-D17 scale, when assessing outcomes for actively treated patients in the GUIDED trial.
Outpatients (N=1,298) diagnosed with MDD and an inadequate treatment response to >1 psychotropic medication were randomized into treatment as usual (TAU) or combinatorial PGx-guided (guided-care) arms. Combinatorial PGx testing was performed on all patients, though test reports were only available to the guided-care arm. All patients and raters were blinded to study arm until after week 8. Medications on the combinatorial PGx test report were categorized based on the level of predicted gene-drug interactions: ‘use as directed’, ‘moderate gene-drug interactions’, or ‘significant gene-drug interactions.’ Patient outcomes were assessed by arm at week 8 using HAM-D6 and HAM-D17 rating scales, including symptom improvement (percent change in scale), response (≥50% decrease in scale), and remission (HAM-D6 ≤4 and HAM-D17 ≤7).
At week 8, the guided-care arm demonstrated statistically significant symptom improvement over TAU using HAM-D6 scale (Δ=4.4%, p=0.023), but not using the HAM-D17 scale (Δ=3.2%, p=0.069). The response rate increased significantly for guided-care compared with TAU using both HAM-D6 (Δ=7.0%, p=0.004) and HAM-D17 (Δ=6.3%, p=0.007). Remission rates were also significantly greater for guided-care versus TAU using both scales (HAM-D6 Δ=4.6%, p=0.031; HAM-D17 Δ=5.5%, p=0.005). Patients taking medication(s) predicted to have gene-drug interactions at baseline showed further increased benefit over TAU at week 8 using HAM-D6 for symptom improvement (Δ=7.3%, p=0.004) response (Δ=10.0%, p=0.001) and remission (Δ=7.9%, p=0.005). Comparatively, the magnitude of the differences in outcomes between arms at week 8 was lower using HAM-D17 (symptom improvement Δ=5.0%, p=0.029; response Δ=8.0%, p=0.008; remission Δ=7.5%, p=0.003).
Combinatorial PGx-guided care achieved significantly better patient outcomes compared with TAU when assessed using the HAM-D6 scale. These findings suggest that the HAM-D6 scale is better suited than is the HAM-D17 for evaluating change in randomized, controlled trials comparing active treatment arms.
Avian influenza virus (AIV) subtypes H5 and H7 can infect poultry causing low pathogenicity (LP) AI, but these LPAIVs may mutate to highly pathogenic AIV in chickens or turkeys causing high mortality, hence H5/H7 subtypes demand statutory intervention. Serological surveillance in the European Union provides evidence of H5/H7 AIV exposure in apparently healthy poultry. To identify the most sensitive screening method as the first step in an algorithm to provide evidence of H5/H7 AIV infection, the standard approach of H5/H7 antibody testing by haemagglutination inhibition (HI) was compared with an ELISA, which detects antibodies to all subtypes. Sera (n = 1055) from 74 commercial chicken flocks were tested by both methods. A Bayesian approach served to estimate diagnostic test sensitivities and specificities, without assuming any ‘gold standard’. Sensitivity and specificity of the ELISA was 97% and 99.8%, and for H5/H7 HI 43% and 99.8%, respectively, although H5/H7 HI sensitivity varied considerably between infected flocks. ELISA therefore provides superior sensitivity for the screening of chicken flocks as part of an algorithm, which subsequently utilises H5/H7 HI to identify infection by these two subtypes. With the calculated sensitivity and specificity, testing nine sera per flock is sufficient to detect a flock seroprevalence of 30% with 95% probability.
The discovery of the first electromagnetic counterpart to a gravitational wave signal has generated follow-up observations by over 50 facilities world-wide, ushering in the new era of multi-messenger astronomy. In this paper, we present follow-up observations of the gravitational wave event GW170817 and its electromagnetic counterpart SSS17a/DLT17ck (IAU label AT2017gfo) by 14 Australian telescopes and partner observatories as part of Australian-based and Australian-led research programs. We report early- to late-time multi-wavelength observations, including optical imaging and spectroscopy, mid-infrared imaging, radio imaging, and searches for fast radio bursts. Our optical spectra reveal that the transient source emission cooled from approximately 6 400 K to 2 100 K over a 7-d period and produced no significant optical emission lines. The spectral profiles, cooling rate, and photometric light curves are consistent with the expected outburst and subsequent processes of a binary neutron star merger. Star formation in the host galaxy probably ceased at least a Gyr ago, although there is evidence for a galaxy merger. Binary pulsars with short (100 Myr) decay times are therefore unlikely progenitors, but pulsars like PSR B1534+12 with its 2.7 Gyr coalescence time could produce such a merger. The displacement (~2.2 kpc) of the binary star system from the centre of the main galaxy is not unusual for stars in the host galaxy or stars originating in the merging galaxy, and therefore any constraints on the kick velocity imparted to the progenitor are poor.
Some studies suggested that the chemical abundance trend with the condensation temperature, Tc, is a signature of rocky planet formation. Very recently, a strong Tc trend was reported in ζ2 Ret relative to its companion (ζ1 Ret) and was explained by the presence of a debris disk around ζ2 Ret. We re-evaluated the presence and variability of the Tc trend in this system with a goal to understand the impact of the presence of the debris disk on a star. Our results confirm the reported abundance difference between ζ2 Ret and ζ1 Ret and its dependence on the Tc. However, we also found that the Tc trends depend on the individual spectrum used. We conclude that for the ζ Reticuli system, for example, nonphysical factors can be at the root of the Tc trends for the case of individual spectra. For more details see Adibekyan et al. (2016b).
We present an in-depth study of metal-poor stars, based high resolution spectra combined with newly released astrometric data from Gaia, with special attention to observational uncertainties. The results are compared to those of other studies, including Gaia benchmark stars. Chemical evolution models are discussed, highlighting few puzzles that are still affecting our understanding of stellar nucleosynthesis and of the evolution of our Galaxy.
In this work we present chemical abundances of heavy elements (Z>28) for a homogeneous sample of 1059 stars from HARPS planet search program. We also derive ages using parallaxes from Hipparcos and Gaia DR1 to compare the results. We study the [X/Fe] ratios for different populations and compare them with models of Galactic chemical evolution. We find that thick disk stars are chemically disjunt for Zn adn Eu. Moreover, the high-alpha metal-rich population presents an interesting behaviour, with clear overabundances of Cu and Zn and lower abundances of Y and Ba with respect to thin disk stars. Several abundance ratios present a significant correlation with age for chemically separated thin disk stars (regardless of their metallicity) but thick disk stars do not present that behaviour. Moreover, at supersolar metallicities the trends with age tend to be weaker for several elements.
The Dark Energy Survey is undertaking an observational programme imaging 1/4 of the southern hemisphere sky with unprecedented photometric accuracy. In the process of observing millions of faint stars and galaxies to constrain the parameters of the dark energy equation of state, the Dark Energy Survey will obtain pre-discovery images of the regions surrounding an estimated 100 gamma-ray bursts over 5 yr. Once gamma-ray bursts are detected by, e.g., the Swift satellite, the DES data will be extremely useful for follow-up observations by the transient astronomy community. We describe a recently-commissioned suite of software that listens continuously for automated notices of gamma-ray burst activity, collates information from archival DES data, and disseminates relevant data products back to the community in near-real-time. Of particular importance are the opportunities that non-public DES data provide for relative photometry of the optical counterparts of gamma-ray bursts, as well as for identifying key characteristics (e.g., photometric redshifts) of potential gamma-ray burst host galaxies. We provide the functional details of the DESAlert software, and its data products, and we show sample results from the application of DESAlert to numerous previously detected gamma-ray bursts, including the possible identification of several heretofore unknown gamma-ray burst hosts.
Depression and anxiety in Parkinson's disease are common and frequently co-morbid, with significant impact on health outcome. Nevertheless, management is complex and often suboptimal. The existence of clinical subtypes would support stratified approaches in both research and treatment.
Five hundred and thirteen patients with Parkinson's disease were assessed annually for up to 4 years. Latent transition analysis (LTA) was used to identify classes that may conform to clinically meaningful subgroups, transitions between those classes over time, and baseline clinical and demographic features that predict common trajectories.
In total, 64.1% of the sample remained in the study at year 4. LTA identified four classes, a ‘Psychologically healthy’ class (approximately 50%), and three classes associated with psychological distress: one with moderate anxiety alone (approximately 20%), and two with moderate levels of depression plus moderate or severe anxiety. Class membership tended to be stable across years, with only about 15% of individuals transitioning between the healthy class and one of the distress classes. Stable distress was predicted by higher baseline depression and psychiatric history and younger age of onset of Parkinson's disease. Those with younger age of onset were also more likely to become distressed over the course of the study.
Psychopathology was characterized by relatively stable anxiety or anxious-depression over the 4-year period. Anxiety, with or without depression, appears to be the prominent psychopathological phenotype in Parkinson's disease suggesting a pressing need to understanding its mechanisms and improve management.
To examine cross-national patterns and correlates of lifetime and 12-month comorbid DSM-IV anxiety disorders among people with lifetime and 12-month DSM-IV major depressive disorder (MDD).
Nationally or regionally representative epidemiological interviews were administered to 74 045 adults in 27 surveys across 24 countries in the WHO World Mental Health (WMH) Surveys. DSM-IV MDD, a wide range of comorbid DSM-IV anxiety disorders, and a number of correlates were assessed with the WHO Composite International Diagnostic Interview (CIDI).
45.7% of respondents with lifetime MDD (32.0–46.5% inter-quartile range (IQR) across surveys) had one of more lifetime anxiety disorders. A slightly higher proportion of respondents with 12-month MDD had lifetime anxiety disorders (51.7%, 37.8–54.0% IQR) and only slightly lower proportions of respondents with 12-month MDD had 12-month anxiety disorders (41.6%, 29.9–47.2% IQR). Two-thirds (68%) of respondents with lifetime comorbid anxiety disorders and MDD reported an earlier age-of-onset (AOO) of their first anxiety disorder than their MDD, while 13.5% reported an earlier AOO of MDD and the remaining 18.5% reported the same AOO of both disorders. Women and previously married people had consistently elevated rates of lifetime and 12-month MDD as well as comorbid anxiety disorders. Consistently higher proportions of respondents with 12-month anxious than non-anxious MDD reported severe role impairment (64.4 v. 46.0%; χ21 = 187.0, p < 0.001) and suicide ideation (19.5 v. 8.9%; χ21 = 71.6, p < 0.001). Significantly more respondents with 12-month anxious than non-anxious MDD received treatment for their depression in the 12 months before interview, but this difference was more pronounced in high-income countries (68.8 v. 45.4%; χ21 = 108.8, p < 0.001) than low/middle-income countries (30.3 v. 20.6%; χ21 = 11.7, p < 0.001).
Patterns and correlates of comorbid DSM-IV anxiety disorders among people with DSM-IV MDD are similar across WMH countries. The narrow IQR of the proportion of respondents with temporally prior AOO of anxiety disorders than comorbid MDD (69.6–74.7%) is especially noteworthy. However, the fact that these proportions are not higher among respondents with 12-month than lifetime comorbidity means that temporal priority between lifetime anxiety disorders and MDD is not related to MDD persistence among people with anxious MDD. This, in turn, raises complex questions about the relative importance of temporally primary anxiety disorders as risk markers v. causal risk factors for subsequent MDD onset and persistence, including the possibility that anxiety disorders might primarily be risk markers for MDD onset and causal risk factors for MDD persistence.