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Space Infrared Telescope for Cosmology and Astrophysics (SPICA), the cryogenic infrared space telescope recently pre-selected for a ‘Phase A’ concept study as one of the three remaining candidates for European Space Agency (ESA's) fifth medium class (M5) mission, is foreseen to include a far-infrared polarimetric imager [SPICA-POL, now called B-fields with BOlometers and Polarizers (B-BOP)], which would offer a unique opportunity to resolve major issues in our understanding of the nearby, cold magnetised Universe. This paper presents an overview of the main science drivers for B-BOP, including high dynamic range polarimetric imaging of the cold interstellar medium (ISM) in both our Milky Way and nearby galaxies. Thanks to a cooled telescope, B-BOP will deliver wide-field 100–350
m images of linearly polarised dust emission in Stokes Q and U with a resolution, signal-to-noise ratio, and both intensity and spatial dynamic ranges comparable to those achieved by Herschel images of the cold ISM in total intensity (Stokes I). The B-BOP 200
m images will also have a factor
30 higher resolution than Planck polarisation data. This will make B-BOP a unique tool for characterising the statistical properties of the magnetised ISM and probing the role of magnetic fields in the formation and evolution of the interstellar web of dusty molecular filaments giving birth to most stars in our Galaxy. B-BOP will also be a powerful instrument for studying the magnetism of nearby galaxies and testing Galactic dynamo models, constraining the physics of dust grain alignment, informing the problem of the interaction of cosmic rays with molecular clouds, tracing magnetic fields in the inner layers of protoplanetary disks, and monitoring accretion bursts in embedded protostars.
The search for life in the Universe is a fundamental problem of astrobiology and modern science. The current progress in the detection of terrestrial-type exoplanets has opened a new avenue in the characterization of exoplanetary atmospheres and in the search for biosignatures of life with the upcoming ground-based and space missions. To specify the conditions favourable for the origin, development and sustainment of life as we know it in other worlds, we need to understand the nature of global (astrospheric), and local (atmospheric and surface) environments of exoplanets in the habitable zones (HZs) around G-K-M dwarf stars including our young Sun. Global environment is formed by propagated disturbances from the planet-hosting stars in the form of stellar flares, coronal mass ejections, energetic particles and winds collectively known as astrospheric space weather. Its characterization will help in understanding how an exoplanetary ecosystem interacts with its host star, as well as in the specification of the physical, chemical and biochemical conditions that can create favourable and/or detrimental conditions for planetary climate and habitability along with evolution of planetary internal dynamics over geological timescales. A key linkage of (astro)physical, chemical and geological processes can only be understood in the framework of interdisciplinary studies with the incorporation of progress in heliophysics, astrophysics, planetary and Earth sciences. The assessment of the impacts of host stars on the climate and habitability of terrestrial (exo)planets will significantly expand the current definition of the HZ to the biogenic zone and provide new observational strategies for searching for signatures of life. The major goal of this paper is to describe and discuss the current status and recent progress in this interdisciplinary field in light of presentations and discussions during the NASA Nexus for Exoplanetary System Science funded workshop ‘Exoplanetary Space Weather, Climate and Habitability’ and to provide a new roadmap for the future development of the emerging field of exoplanetary science and astrobiology.
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.
India has the second largest number of people with type 2 diabetes (T2D) globally. Epidemiological evidence indicates that consumption of white rice is positively associated with T2D risk, while intake of brown rice is inversely associated. Thus, we explored the effect of substituting brown rice for white rice on T2D risk factors among adults in urban South India. A total of 166 overweight (BMI ≥ 23 kg/m2) adults aged 25–65 years were enrolled in a randomised cross-over trial in Chennai, India. Interventions were a parboiled brown rice or white rice regimen providing two ad libitum meals/d, 6 d/week for 3 months with a 2-week washout period. Primary outcomes were blood glucose, insulin, glycosylated Hb (HbA1c), insulin resistance (homeostasis model assessment of insulin resistance) and lipids. High-sensitivity C-reactive protein (hs-CRP) was a secondary outcome. We did not observe significant between-group differences for primary outcomes among all participants. However, a significant reduction in HbA1c was observed in the brown rice group among participants with the metabolic syndrome (−0·18 (se 0·08) %) relative to those without the metabolic syndrome (0·05 (se 0·05) %) (P-for-heterogeneity = 0·02). Improvements in HbA1c, total and LDL-cholesterol were observed in the brown rice group among participants with a BMI ≥ 25 kg/m2 compared with those with a BMI < 25 kg/m2 (P-for-heterogeneity < 0·05). We observed a smaller increase in hs-CRP in the brown (0·03 (sd 2·12) mg/l) compared with white rice group (0·63 (sd 2·35) mg/l) (P = 0·04). In conclusion, substituting brown rice for white rice showed a potential benefit on HbA1c among participants with the metabolic syndrome and an elevated BMI. A small benefit on inflammation was also observed.
In this paper, we propose a method of using an autonomous flying robot to explore an underground tunnel environment and build a 3D map. The robot model we use is an extension of a 2D non-holonomic robot. The measurements and sensors we considered in the presented method are simple and valid in practical unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) engineering. The proposed safe exploration algorithm belongs to a class of probabilistic area search, and with a mathematical proof, the performance of the algorithm is analysed. Based on the algorithm, we also propose a sliding control law to apply the algorithm to a real quadcopter in experiments. In the presented experiment, we use a DJI Guidance sensing system and an Intel depth camera to complete the localization, obstacle detection and 3D environment information capture. Furthermore, the simulations show that the algorithm can be implemented in sloping tunnels and with multiple UAVs.
Global inequity in access to and availability of essential mental health services is well recognized. The mental health treatment gap is approximately 50% in all countries, with up to 90% of people in the lowest-income countries lacking access to required mental health services. Increased investment in global mental health (GMH) has increased innovation in mental health service delivery in LMICs. Situational analyses in areas where mental health services and systems are poorly developed and resourced are essential when planning for research and implementation, however, little guidance is available to inform methodological approaches to conducting these types of studies. This scoping review provides an analysis of methodological approaches to situational analysis in GMH, including an assessment of the extent to which situational analyses include equity in study designs. It is intended as a resource that identifies current gaps and areas for future development in GMH. Formative research, including situational analysis, is an essential first step in conducting robust implementation research, an essential area of study in GMH that will help to promote improved availability of, access to and reach of mental health services for people living with mental illness in low- and middle-income countries (LMICs). While strong leadership in this field exists, there remain significant opportunities for enhanced research representing different LMICs and regions.
Introduction: Our team developed “The Ottawa Troponin Pathway” (OTP) for Non-ST Elevation Myocardial Infarction (NSTEMI) diagnosis using serial conventional troponin (cTnI) 3 hours apart to aid in safe and early disposition of ED patients. The primary objective of this study is to validate the diagnostic accuracy of the OTP in the cohort of patients with cTnI values above the 99th percentile ( > 45ng/L). Methods: This study is a health records review conducted at the Civic and General Campuses of The Ottawa Hospital from August 2017 to December 2017. Adults (≥18 years) who presented to the ED with symptoms of ACS, and who had serial cTnI (at least two values 3 hours ±15 minutes apart) performed for diagnosis of NSTEMI and at least one cTnI value > 45ng/L were included. Patients with cardiac arrest, STEMI, unstable angina or those with TnI values ≤45ng/L were excluded. The outcomes were death due to unknown cause or NSTEMI adjudicated by two blinded investigators within 30 days. Data collected include baseline characteristics, ED management, length of stay, cTnI values and times of measurement, disposition, and outcome. We used descriptive statistics and test diagnostic characteristics to analyze our data. Results: We screened 53,077 patients, of whom 635 patients were included in the study (mean age 71.6 years; 57.6% males; 59.7% hospitalized; median ED length of stay 4.7 hours.). 107 patients (16.9%; 95%CI 14.1%-20.0%) were diagnosed with NSTEMI within 30 days. Among patients with TNI values above the 99th percentile, the OTP did not miss any patients diagnosed with NSTEMI. The sensitivity and the specificity of the OTP were 100% (95%CI 96.6%-100%) and 32.2% (95%CI 28.2%-36.4%) respectively. Conclusion: Our results show that the OTP is diagnostically accurate in ruling out NSTEMI among patients with cTNI values above the 99th percentile with symptoms concerning for ACS. Using the OTP will allow for early referral to consulting services for management, safe and early discharge home, and improve ED crowding.
The Centro de Laseres Pulsados in Salamanca, Spain has recently started operation phase and the first user access period on the 6 J 30 fs 200 TW system (VEGA 2) already started at the beginning of 2018. In this paper we report on two commissioning experiments recently performed on the VEGA 2 system in preparation for the user campaign. VEGA 2 system has been tested in different configurations depending on the focusing optics and targets used. One configuration (long focal length
cm) is for underdense laser–matter interaction where VEGA 2 is focused onto a low density gas-jet generating electron beams (via laser wake field acceleration mechanism) with maximum energy up to 500 MeV and an X-ray betatron source with a 10 keV critical energy. A second configuration (short focal length
cm) is for overdense laser–matter interaction where VEGA 2 is focused onto a
thick Al target generating a proton beam with a maximum energy of 10 MeV and temperature of 2.5 MeV. In this paper we present preliminary experimental results.
Thermal cycling of planar solid oxide cell (SOC) stacks can lead to failure due to thermal stresses arising from differences in thermal expansion of the stack’s materials. The interfaces between the cell, interconnect, and sealing are particularly critical. Hence, understanding possible failure mechanisms at the interfaces and developing robust sealing concepts are important for stack reliability. In this work, the mechanical performance of interfaces in the sealing region of SOC stacks is studied. Joints comprising Crofer22APU (preoxidized or coated with MnCo2O4 or Al2O3) are sealed using V11 glass. The fracture energy of the joints is measured, and the fractured interfaces are analyzed using microscopy. The results show that choosing the right coating solution would increase the fracture energy of the sealing area by more than 70%. We demonstrate that the test methodology could also be used to test the adhesion of thin coatings on metallic substrates.
Microsupercapacitors (MSCs) are miniaturized energy storage devices that can be integrated in an on-chip platform as a component of a power supply for Internet of things’ sensors. Integration of these on-chip MSCs require them to be fabricated through CMOS compatible fabrication techniques such as spin coating. One of the biggest challenges in spin coated MSCs is the poor surface adhesion. In this work, we present a CMOS compatible electrode deposition process with enhanced adhesion and retention for reduced graphene oxide (rGO) using spin coating. In order to improve the adhesion and surface uniformity of the deposited electrode material, the surface of Si/SiO2 wafers was subjected to roughening through Fe nanoparticle formation. A 4 nm thick Fe layer deposition substantially magnified the average mean surface roughness of the substrates. In comparison with substrates without the Fe deposition, the treated ones have more than 300% improvement in surface coverage and rGO mass retention after sonication testing. These results suggest that the surface roughening has a positive influence on electrode deposition via a spin-coating method.
More than 1 million tons of oil is inadvertently spilled each year. The economic and environmental costs of these spills are enormous and compel further development of environmentally friendly sorbent materials. Here, we demonstrate a vapor-phase modification approach to create a new class of oil sorbents composed of cellulosic materials (cotton) coated with a subnanometer layer of inorganic oxide. This new cellulosic sorbent remains buoyant in water indefinitely and achieves a selective oil sorption capacity (23 g/g or 1.05 g/cm3) that is at least 35 times better than untreated cellulose in aqueous environments. This new sorbent particularly excels under “realistic” conditions such as continuous agitation (e.g., simulated waves) and presoaking in water (e.g., rain or forced immersion). When sorption performance is compared on a per-volume basis—which better captures use conditions than a per-mass basis—this modified natural product becomes comparable to the best sorbents reported in the literature.
Scanning transmission electron microscopy (STEM) has become the main stay for materials characterization on atomic level, with applications ranging from visualization of localized and extended defects to mapping order parameter fields. In recent years, attention has focused on the potential of STEM to explore beam induced chemical processes and especially manipulating atomic motion, enabling atom-by-atom fabrication. These applications, as well as traditional imaging of beam sensitive materials, necessitate increasing the dynamic range of STEM in imaging and manipulation modes, and increasing the absolute scanning speed which can be achieved by combining sparse sensing methods with nonrectangular scanning trajectories. Here we have developed a general method for real-time reconstruction of sparsely sampled images from high-speed, noninvasive and diverse scanning pathways, including spiral scan and Lissajous scan. This approach is demonstrated on both the synthetic data and experimental STEM data on the beam sensitive material graphene. This work opens the door for comprehensive investigation and optimal design of dose efficient scanning strategies and real-time adaptive inference and control of e-beam induced atomic fabrication.
Distributions of Δ14CTOC studied in bottom sediments collected during 2011–2016 in the Curonian Lagoon and in the open Baltic Sea indicated wide variations of Δ14CTOC values. Laboratory experiments on differential carbon utilization by Pseudomonas putida isolated from bottom sediments were carried out for better understanding of impacts of different sources on Δ14CTOC variations. Preferential glucose uptake (up to 80%) as a carbon source and a rather low (2–10%) inorganic carbon incorporation was found in media with diesel fuel. Pseudomonas putida a specific biomarker analyzed in biomass cultivated on the media with different carbon sources has been used to characterize microbial communities responsible for degradation of organic substances in bottom sediments. Large 14C depletions observed in sediments collected in the Gotland Deep of the Baltic Sea may indicate leakage from dumped chemical weapons.
The role that vitamin D plays in pulmonary function remains uncertain. Epidemiological studies reported mixed findings for serum 25-hydroxyvitamin D (25(OH)D)–pulmonary function association. We conducted the largest cross-sectional meta-analysis of the 25(OH)D–pulmonary function association to date, based on nine European ancestry (EA) cohorts (n 22 838) and five African ancestry (AA) cohorts (n 4290) in the Cohorts for Heart and Aging Research in Genomic Epidemiology Consortium. Data were analysed using linear models by cohort and ancestry. Effect modification by smoking status (current/former/never) was tested. Results were combined using fixed-effects meta-analysis. Mean serum 25(OH)D was 68 (sd 29) nmol/l for EA and 49 (sd 21) nmol/l for AA. For each 1 nmol/l higher 25(OH)D, forced expiratory volume in the 1st second (FEV1) was higher by 1·1 ml in EA (95 % CI 0·9, 1·3; P<0·0001) and 1·8 ml (95 % CI 1·1, 2·5; P<0·0001) in AA (Prace difference=0·06), and forced vital capacity (FVC) was higher by 1·3 ml in EA (95 % CI 1·0, 1·6; P<0·0001) and 1·5 ml (95 % CI 0·8, 2·3; P=0·0001) in AA (Prace difference=0·56). Among EA, the 25(OH)D–FVC association was stronger in smokers: per 1 nmol/l higher 25(OH)D, FVC was higher by 1·7 ml (95 % CI 1·1, 2·3) for current smokers and 1·7 ml (95 % CI 1·2, 2·1) for former smokers, compared with 0·8 ml (95 % CI 0·4, 1·2) for never smokers. In summary, the 25(OH)D associations with FEV1 and FVC were positive in both ancestries. In EA, a stronger association was observed for smokers compared with never smokers, which supports the importance of vitamin D in vulnerable populations.
Group-3 medulloblastoma (MBL) is highly resistant to radiation (IR) and chemotherapy and has the worst prognosis. Hence, there is an urgent need to elucidate targets that sensitize these tumors to chemotherapy and IR. Employing standard assays for viability and sensitization to IR, we identified PRDX1 as a therapeutic target in Group-3 MBL. Specifically, targeting PRDX1 by RNAi or inhibition by Adenanthin led to specific killing and sensitization to IR of Group-3 MBL cells. We rescued sensitization of Daoy and UW228 cells by hypermorphic expression of PRDX1. PRDX1 knockdown caused oxidative DNA damage and induced apoptosis. We correlated PRDX1 expression to patient outcomes in a validated MBL tumor-microarray. Whole genome sequencing identified pathways/genes that were dysregulated with PRDX1 inhibition or silencing. Our in vivo studies in mice employing flank/orthotopic tumors from patient derived xenografts/Group-3 MBL cells confirmed in vitro observations. Animals with tumors in which PRDX1 was targeted by RNAi or Adenanthin (using mini osmotic pumps) showed decreased tumor burden and increased survival when compared to controls. Since, Adenanthin does not cross the blood brain barrier (BBB) we used HAV6 peptide to transiently disrupt the BBB and deliver Adenanthin to the tumor. Immunohistochemistry confirmed that targeting PRDX1 resulted in increased oxidative DNA damage, apoptosis and decreased proliferation. In summary, we have validated PRDX1 as a therapeutic target in group-3 MBL, identified Adenanthin as a potent chemical inhibitor of PRDX1 and confirmed the role of HAV peptide (in the transient modulation of BBB permeability) in an orthotopic model of group-3 MBL.