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Cover crops (CCs) play an important role in integrated weed management. Data necessary to evaluate the role of CCs in weed management at the watershed scale with topographic positions are lacking. We evaluated the effects of cereal rye and hairy vetch CCs on weed suppression at different topographic positions (shoulder, backslope, and footslope) at a watershed scale. Watersheds with a CC treatment followed a crop rotation of corn–cereal rye–soybean–hairy vetch, whereas watersheds without a CC (no-CC) had a crop rotation of corn–winter fallow–soybean–winter fallow. A negative relationship was present between CCs and weed biomass at the shoulder, backslope, and footslope topographic landscape positions, with R2 values of 0.40, 0.48, and 0.50, respectively. In 2016, a cereal rye CC reduced weed biomass 46% to 50% at footslope and shoulder positions compared to no CC. In 2018, a cereal rye CC reduced weed biomass between 52% and 85% at all topographic positions in CC treatment watersheds compared to no-CC watersheds. Hairy vetch in 2017 reduced weed biomass 62% to 72% at footslope and shoulder topographic positions in CC watersheds compared to no-CC. The C:N ratio of weed biomass in CC treatment watersheds was generally higher compared to watersheds without CCs. In this study, several significant interactions were found between the topographic positions and CC treatments. Cover crop–induced weed suppression at different topographic positions can lead to developing better site-specific weed control strategies. Therefore, CC interactions with topography, weed germination potential, and the role of soil moisture at the watershed scale should be further evaluated.
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 majority of paediatric Clostridioides difficile infections (CDI) are community-associated (CA), but few data exist regarding associated risk factors. We conducted a case–control study to evaluate CA-CDI risk factors in young children. Participants were enrolled from eight US sites during October 2014–February 2016. Case-patients were defined as children aged 1–5 years with a positive C. difficile specimen collected as an outpatient or ⩽3 days of hospital admission, who had no healthcare facility admission in the prior 12 weeks and no history of CDI. Each case-patient was matched to one control. Caregivers were interviewed regarding relevant exposures. Multivariable conditional logistic regression was performed. Of 68 pairs, 44.1% were female. More case-patients than controls had a comorbidity (33.3% vs. 12.1%; P = 0.01); recent higher-risk outpatient exposures (34.9% vs. 17.7%; P = 0.03); recent antibiotic use (54.4% vs. 19.4%; P < 0.0001); or recent exposure to a household member with diarrhoea (41.3% vs. 21.5%; P = 0.04). In multivariable analysis, antibiotic exposure in the preceding 12 weeks was significantly associated with CA-CDI (adjusted matched odds ratio, 6.25; 95% CI 2.18–17.96). Improved antibiotic prescribing might reduce CA-CDI in this population. Further evaluation of the potential role of outpatient healthcare and household exposures in C. difficile transmission is needed.
The St. Louis aerosol was sampled during the period 16-22 August 1973 simultaneously at two locations using cascade impactors for sequential 12-hour samples. The six particle size fractions of each sampling were individually analyzed using PIXE for elements from S to Br and beyond and for heavy elements including Pb which permitted time variations of concentrations and particle size distributions to be followed and related to meteorological changes during the sampling period. In addition, the data were compared with average levels of the elements in coastal north Florida and maritime Bermuda as well as at a third St. Louis site. From this it appeared that some of the concentrations in St. Louis were at natural levels whereas others appeared to be higher and linked to air pollution sources. These relationships and others in this study may lead to criteria for distinguishing between pollutants and natural background in urban aerosols.
Laser-based compact MeV X-ray sources are useful for a variety of applications such as radiography and active interrogation of nuclear materials. MeV X rays are typically generated by impinging the intense laser onto ~mm-thick high-Z foil. Here, we have characterized such a MeV X-ray source from 120 TW (80 J, 650 fs) laser interaction with a 1 mm-thick tantalum foil. Our measurements show X-ray temperature of 2.5 MeV, flux of 3 × 1012 photons/sr/shot, beam divergence of ~0.1 sr, conversion efficiency of ~1%, that is, ~1 J of MeV X rays out of 80 J incident laser, and source size of 80 m. Our measurement also shows that MeV X-ray yield and temperature is largely insensitive to nanosecond laser contrasts up to 10−5. Also, preliminary measurements of similar MeV X-ray source using a double-foil scheme, where the laser-driven hot electrons from a thin foil undergoing relativistic transparency impinging onto a second high-Z converter foil separated by 50–400 m, show MeV X-ray yield more than an order of magnitude lower compared with the single-foil results.
To evaluate whole-genome sequencing (WGS) as a molecular typing tool for MRSA outbreak investigation.
Investigation of MRSA colonization/infection in a neonatal intensive care unit (NICU) over 3 years (2014–2017).
Single-center level IV NICU.
NICU infants and healthcare workers (HCWs).
Infants were screened for MRSA using a swab of the anterior nares, axilla, and groin, initially by targeted (ring) screening, and later by universal weekly screening. Clinical cultures were collected as indicated. HCWs were screened once using swabs of the anterior nares. MRSA isolates were typed using WGS with core-genome multilocus sequence typing (cgMLST) analysis and by pulsed-field gel electrophoresis (PFGE). Colonized and infected infants and HCWs were decolonized. Control strategies included reinforcement of hand hygiene, use of contact precautions, cohorting, enhanced environmental cleaning, and remodeling of the NICU.
We identified 64 MRSA-positive infants: 53 (83%) by screening and 11 (17%) by clinical cultures. Of 85 screened HCWs, 5 (6%) were MRSA positive. WGS of MRSA isolates identified 2 large clusters (WGS groups 1 and 2), 1 small cluster (WGS group 3), and 8 unrelated isolates. PFGE failed to distinguish WGS group 2 and 3 isolates. WGS groups 1 and 2 were codistributed over time. HCW MRSA isolates were primarily in WGS group 1. New infant MRSA cases declined after implementation of the control interventions.
We identified 2 contemporaneous MRSA outbreaks alongside sporadic cases in a NICU. WGS was used to determine strain relatedness at a higher resolution than PFGE and was useful in guiding efforts to control MRSA transmission.
Hill (Twin Research and Human Genetics, Vol. 21, 2018, 84–88) presented a critique of our recently published paper in Cell Reports entitled ‘Large-Scale Cognitive GWAS Meta-Analysis Reveals Tissue-Specific Neural Expression and Potential Nootropic Drug Targets’ (Lam et al., Cell Reports, Vol. 21, 2017, 2597–2613). Specifically, Hill offered several interrelated comments suggesting potential problems with our use of a new analytic method called Multi-Trait Analysis of GWAS (MTAG) (Turley et al., Nature Genetics, Vol. 50, 2018, 229–237). In this brief article, we respond to each of these concerns. Using empirical data, we conclude that our MTAG results do not suffer from ‘inflation in the FDR [false discovery rate]’, as suggested by Hill (Twin Research and Human Genetics, Vol. 21, 2018, 84–88), and are not ‘more relevant to the genetic contributions to education than they are to the genetic contributions to intelligence’.
Whether monozygotic (MZ) and dizygotic (DZ) twins differ from each other in a variety of phenotypes is important for genetic twin modeling and for inferences made from twin studies in general. We analyzed whether there were differences in individual, maternal and paternal education between MZ and DZ twins in a large pooled dataset. Information was gathered on individual education for 218,362 adult twins from 27 twin cohorts (53% females; 39% MZ twins), and on maternal and paternal education for 147,315 and 143,056 twins respectively, from 28 twin cohorts (52% females; 38% MZ twins). Together, we had information on individual or parental education from 42 twin cohorts representing 19 countries. The original education classifications were transformed to education years and analyzed using linear regression models. Overall, MZ males had 0.26 (95% CI [0.21, 0.31]) years and MZ females 0.17 (95% CI [0.12, 0.21]) years longer education than DZ twins. The zygosity difference became smaller in more recent birth cohorts for both males and females. Parental education was somewhat longer for fathers of DZ twins in cohorts born in 1990–1999 (0.16 years, 95% CI [0.08, 0.25]) and 2000 or later (0.11 years, 95% CI [0.00, 0.22]), compared with fathers of MZ twins. The results show that the years of both individual and parental education are largely similar in MZ and DZ twins. We suggest that the socio-economic differences between MZ and DZ twins are so small that inferences based upon genetic modeling of twin data are not affected.
The purpose of this study was to quantify the effect of multidrug-resistant (MDR) gram-negative bacteria and methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) healthcare-associated infections (HAIs) on mortality following infection, regardless of patient location.
We conducted a retrospective cohort study of patients with an inpatient admission in the US Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) system between October 1, 2007, and November 30, 2010. We constructed multivariate log-binomial regressions to assess the impact of a positive culture on mortality in the 30- and 90-day periods following the first positive culture, using a propensity-score–matched subsample.
Patients identified with positive cultures due to MDR Acinetobacter (n=218), MDR Pseudomonas aeruginosa (n=1,026), and MDR Enterobacteriaceae (n=3,498) were propensity-score matched to 14,591 patients without positive cultures due to these organisms. In addition, 3,471 patients with positive cultures due to MRSA were propensity-score matched to 12,499 patients without positive MRSA cultures. Multidrug-resistant gram-negative bacteria were associated with a significantly elevated risk of mortality both for invasive (RR, 2.32; 95% CI, 1.85–2.92) and noninvasive cultures (RR, 1.33; 95% CI, 1.22–1.44) during the 30-day period. Similarly, patients with MRSA HAIs (RR, 2.77; 95% CI, 2.39–3.21) and colonizations (RR, 1.32; 95% CI, 1.22–1.50) had an increased risk of death at 30 days.
We found that HAIs due to gram-negative bacteria and MRSA conferred significantly elevated 30- and 90-day risks of mortality. This finding held true both for invasive cultures, which are likely to be true infections, and noninvasive infections, which are possibly colonizations.
We present an overview of the survey for radio emission from active stars that has been in progress for the last six years using the observatories at Fleurs, Molonglo, Parkes and Tidbinbilla. The role of complementary optical observations at the Anglo-Australian Observatory, Mount Burnett, Mount Stromlo and Siding Spring Observatories and Mount Tamborine are also outlined. We describe the different types of star that have been included in our survey and discuss some of the problems in making the radio observations.
Although only three antennas of the Australia Telescope Compact Array are currently operational, we have made use of the technique of bandwidth synthesis to make an image of the radio galaxy 2152 – 69. The three baselines were used to observe the source at three different frequencies, effectively resulting in nine baselines, which have been used to produce an image with a surprisingly high dynamic range, and with a slightly higher resolution than any existing image.
The production of such a worthwhile result, despite being made with a small subset of the capabilities of the Australia Telescope, bodes well for the future operation of the instrument.
We present some preliminary results of an optical and radio study of the very active RS CVn binary HD 127535. Photometric measurements show the presence of a large amplitude wave which exhibits marked changes in shape and range on time scales as short as a few months. This photometric variation is almost certainly due to large cool starspots on the cooler, more luminous component. As part of a survey of southern active-chromosphere stars with the Parkes radio telescope, HD 127535 has been observed at 5, 8.4 and 22 GHz. No detection was made at 5 GHz, possibly because of confusion due to the angular proximity of the star to the galatic plane. However, it is one of the strongest sources detected in the 8.4 GHz survey, and is one of only two stars detected at 22 GHz. Photometry obtained two cycles before the 8.4 GHz observations suggest a possible correlation between the radio emission and the photometric wave, i.e. spot visibility, but more data are needed.
We describe bright microwave events that were first detected with the Parkes 64-m telescope at 8.4 or 22 GHz from six active-chromosphere stars. In some flares spectral data were obtained over a large frequency range from simultaneous measurements with the Parkes reflector (8.4 or 22 GHz), the Tidbinbilla interferometer (8.4 and 2.29 GHz), the Fleurs synthesis telescope (1.42 GHz) and the Molonglo Observatory synthesis telescope (0.843 GHz). Data on circular polarization were obtained from the Parkes observations at 8.4 GHz.
The stars were in a wide variety of evolutionary states, ranging from a single pre-main-sequence star (HD 36705), two RS CVn binaries (HD 127535, HD 128171), an Algol (HD 132742) and two apparently single K giants (HD 32918 and HD 196818). Their high brightness temperatures, positive spectral indices and low polarization are consistent with optically thick gyrosynchrotron emission from mildly relativistic electrons with average energies 0.5 to 3 MeV gyrating in inhomogeneous magnetic fields of 5 to 100 G.
One of the first stellar photometry programs completed with the High Speed Photometer (HSP) on the Hubble Space Telescope (HST) was visual and ultraviolet observations of the Crab pulsar. We obtained continuous observations on four consecutive days using a visual filter (4000 - 7000 Å) and an additional observation, approximately two months later, using an ultraviolet filter (1600 - 3000 Å). Each observation has a time resolution of 10.7 μsec and spans approximately 30 minutes in duration. In addition to the observations made with the HSP, contemporaneous UBVR observations were also made at Jodrell Bank and McDonald Observatory. Some of the more prominent results include the following: 1) the main pulse arrival time is the same in the UV as it is in the optical and the radio regions of the spectrum, 2) there is essentially no difference in the shape of the optical pulse from one observation to the next, 3) the “flatness” of the peak of the main pulse suggests that the main pulse has been resolved in time, and 4) in accordance with the trend of observations from the radio to infrared wavelengths, the main pulse is slightly narrower in the UV than in the optical.
A second HSP science observing program was a long-term program to monitor the eclipsing dwarf nova, Z Chamaeleontis (Porb = 107 minutes). We obtained a total of 42 observations of Z Cha in the UV (1120 - 1580 Å) each with a duration of approximately 45 minutes and separated by approximately three days. Although the majority of the observations cover the eclipse of the white dwarf and hot spot, a few observations were obtained outside-of-eclipse in order to obtain the complete light curve. During the course of this program, Z Cha underwent two “normal” outbursts in which the shape of the light curve changed dramatically. We will present a comparison of the light curve in quiescence with that during a “normal” outburst and quantify such geometrical and physical parameters as temperature and size of the white dwarf, hot spot, and accretion disk.
We analyzed birth order differences in means and variances of height and body mass index (BMI) in monozygotic (MZ) and dizygotic (DZ) twins from infancy to old age. The data were derived from the international CODATwins database. The total number of height and BMI measures from 0.5 to 79.5 years of age was 397,466. As expected, first-born twins had greater birth weight than second-born twins. With respect to height, first-born twins were slightly taller than second-born twins in childhood. After adjusting the results for birth weight, the birth order differences decreased and were no longer statistically significant. First-born twins had greater BMI than the second-born twins over childhood and adolescence. After adjusting the results for birth weight, birth order was still associated with BMI until 12 years of age. No interaction effect between birth order and zygosity was found. Only limited evidence was found that birth order influenced variances of height or BMI. The results were similar among boys and girls and also in MZ and DZ twins. Overall, the differences in height and BMI between first- and second-born twins were modest even in early childhood, while adjustment for birth weight reduced the birth order differences but did not remove them for BMI.
A trend toward greater body size in dizygotic (DZ) than in monozygotic (MZ) twins has been suggested by some but not all studies, and this difference may also vary by age. We analyzed zygosity differences in mean values and variances of height and body mass index (BMI) among male and female twins from infancy to old age. Data were derived from an international database of 54 twin cohorts participating in the COllaborative project of Development of Anthropometrical measures in Twins (CODATwins), and included 842,951 height and BMI measurements from twins aged 1 to 102 years. The results showed that DZ twins were consistently taller than MZ twins, with differences of up to 2.0 cm in childhood and adolescence and up to 0.9 cm in adulthood. Similarly, a greater mean BMI of up to 0.3 kg/m2 in childhood and adolescence and up to 0.2 kg/m2 in adulthood was observed in DZ twins, although the pattern was less consistent. DZ twins presented up to 1.7% greater height and 1.9% greater BMI than MZ twins; these percentage differences were largest in middle and late childhood and decreased with age in both sexes. The variance of height was similar in MZ and DZ twins at most ages. In contrast, the variance of BMI was significantly higher in DZ than in MZ twins, particularly in childhood. In conclusion, DZ twins were generally taller and had greater BMI than MZ twins, but the differences decreased with age in both sexes.
Estimates of the excess length of stay (LOS) attributable to healthcare-associated infections (HAIs) in which total LOS of patients with and without HAIs are biased because of failure to account for the timing of infection. Alternate methods that appropriately treat HAI as a time-varying exposure are multistate models and cohort studies, which match regarding the time of infection. We examined the magnitude of this time-dependent bias in published studies that compared different methodological approaches.
We conducted a systematic review of the published literature to identify studies that report attributable LOS estimates using both total LOS (time-fixed) methods and either multistate models or matching patients with and without HAIs using the timing of infection.
Of the 7 studies that compared time-fixed methods to multistate models, conventional methods resulted in estimates of the LOS to HAIs that were, on average, 9.4 days longer or 238% greater than those generated using multistate models. Of the 5 studies that compared time-fixed methods to matching on timing of infection, conventional methods resulted in estimates of the LOS to HAIs that were, on average, 12.6 days longer or 139% greater than those generated by matching on timing of infection.
Our results suggest that estimates of the attributable LOS due to HAIs depend heavily on the methods used to generate those estimates. Overestimation of this effect can lead to incorrect assumptions of the likely cost savings from HAI prevention measures.
Infect. Control Hosp. Epidemiol. 2015;36(9):1089–1094
For over 100 years, the genetics of human anthropometric traits has attracted scientific interest. In particular, height and body mass index (BMI, calculated as kg/m2) have been under intensive genetic research. However, it is still largely unknown whether and how heritability estimates vary between human populations. Opportunities to address this question have increased recently because of the establishment of many new twin cohorts and the increasing accumulation of data in established twin cohorts. We started a new research project to analyze systematically (1) the variation of heritability estimates of height, BMI and their trajectories over the life course between birth cohorts, ethnicities and countries, and (2) to study the effects of birth-related factors, education and smoking on these anthropometric traits and whether these effects vary between twin cohorts. We identified 67 twin projects, including both monozygotic (MZ) and dizygotic (DZ) twins, using various sources. We asked for individual level data on height and weight including repeated measurements, birth related traits, background variables, education and smoking. By the end of 2014, 48 projects participated. Together, we have 893,458 height and weight measures (52% females) from 434,723 twin individuals, including 201,192 complete twin pairs (40% monozygotic, 40% same-sex dizygotic and 20% opposite-sex dizygotic) representing 22 countries. This project demonstrates that large-scale international twin studies are feasible and can promote the use of existing data for novel research purposes.
Standard estimates of the impact of Clostridium difficile infections (CDI) on inpatient lengths of stay (LOS) may overstate inpatient care costs attributable to CDI. In this study, we used multistate modeling (MSM) of CDI timing to reduce bias in estimates of excess LOS.
A retrospective cohort study of all hospitalizations at any of 120 acute care facilities within the US Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) between 2005 and 2012 was conducted. We estimated the excess LOS attributable to CDI using an MSM to address time-dependent bias. Bootstrapping was used to generate 95% confidence intervals (CI). These estimates were compared to unadjusted differences in mean LOS for hospitalizations with and without CDI.
During the study period, there were 3.96 million hospitalizations and 43,540 CDIs. A comparison of unadjusted means suggested an excess LOS of 14.0 days (19.4 vs 5.4 days). In contrast, the MSM estimated an attributable LOS of only 2.27 days (95% CI, 2.14–2.40). The excess LOS for mild-to-moderate CDI was 0.75 days (95% CI, 0.59–0.89), and for severe CDI, it was 4.11 days (95% CI, 3.90–4.32). Substantial variation across the Veteran Integrated Services Networks (VISN) was observed.
CDI significantly contributes to LOS, but the magnitude of its estimated impact is smaller when methods are used that account for the time-varying nature of infection. The greatest impact on LOS occurred among patients with severe CDI. Significant geographic variability was observed. MSM is a useful tool for obtaining more accurate estimates of the inpatient care costs of CDI.
Infect. Control Hosp. Epidemiol. 2015;36(9):1024–1030