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Routine system checks are essential for supervising the performance of an advanced light microscope. Recording and evaluating the point spread function (PSF) of a given system provides information about the resolution and imaging. We compared the performance of fluorescent and gold beads for PSF recordings. We then combined the open-source evaluation software PSFj with a newly developed KNIME pipeline named PSFtracker to create a standardized workflow to track a system's performance over several measurements and thus over long time periods. PSFtracker produces example images of recorded PSFs, plots full-width-half-maximum (FWHM) measurements over time and creates an html file which embeds the images and plots, together with a table of results. Changes of the PSF over time are thus easily spotted, either in FWHM plots or in the time series of bead images which allows recognition of aberrations in the shape of the PSF. The html file, viewed in a local browser or uploaded on the web, therefore provides intuitive visualization of the state of the PSF over time. In addition, uploading of the html file on the web allows other microscopists to compare such data with their own.
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.
Snowmelt regions on Greenland ice are mapped daily with the SeaWinds wideswath Ku-band (13.4 GHz) scatterometer on the QuikSCAT satellite. The approach exploits the high temporal resolution of SeaWinds/QuikSCAT data for the melt mapping using diurnal backscatter change independent of the absolute calibration. The results reveal several pronounced melting and refreezing events, and effects of topography are evident in the melt patterns. The spatial resolution is sufficient to identify melt features on the Sukker-toppen Iskappe west of the main ice sheet. An anomalous warming event, caused by down-ward mixing of warm air, is detected in late September 1999 over the west flank of the southern Greenland ice sheet. Time-series images of melt regions are presented over the period from summer to the fall freeze-up. The satellite observations are verified with in situ measurements from the Greenland Climate Network stations.
The role of episodic mass loss in evolved massive stars is one of the outstanding questions in stellar evolution theory. Integral field spectroscopy of nebulae around massive stars provide information on their recent mass-loss history. η Car is one of the most massive evolved stars and is surrounded by a complex circumstellar environment. We have conducted a three-dimensional morpho-kinematic analysis of η Car’s ejecta outside its famous Homunculus nebula. SHAPE modelling of VLT MUSE data establish unequivocally the spatial cohesion of the outer ejecta and the correlation of ejecta with the soft X-ray emission.
Glacier surface mass-balance measurements on Greenland started more than a century ago, but no compilation exists of the observations from the ablation area of the ice sheet and local glaciers. Such data could be used in the evaluation of modelled surface mass balance, or to document changes in glacier melt independently from model output. Here, we present a comprehensive database of Greenland glacier surface mass-balance observations from the ablation area of the ice sheet and local glaciers. The database spans the 123 a from 1892 to 2015, contains a total of ~3000 measurements from 46 sites, and is openly accessible through the PROMICE web portal (http://www.promice.dk). For each measurement we provide X, Y and Z coordinates, starting and ending dates as well as quality flags. We give sources for each entry and for all metadata. Two thirds of the data were collected from grey literature and unpublished archive documents. Roughly 60% of the measurements were performed by the Geological Survey of Denmark and Greenland (GEUS, previously GGU). The data cover all regions of Greenland except for the southernmost part of the east coast, but also emphasize the importance of long-term time series of which there are only two exceeding 20 a. We use the data to analyse uncertainties in point measurements of surface mass balance, as well as to estimate surface mass-balance profiles for most regions of Greenland.
We developed a kinematic jet model for the motion and flux density evolution of the high frequency VLBI jet components C4 and C5 in the quasar 3C345 (Zensus et al. 1994) assuming the conservation of three basic quantities: the Lorentz factor, the angular momentum, and the opening angle of the jet. This model is a simplified description of the helical motion in a conical jet expected from the magnetodynamical model of Camenzind (1986) which is based on a black hole surrounded by a magnetized accretion disc. Our best fit yields Lorentz factors of 5.7 and 5.0 for components C4 and C5, respectively, and an angle between the jet axis and the observer's line of sight of 7.5°. These values are very close to those obtained by Unwin & Wehrle (1992) from component motion further out. An intrinsic bending of the jet axis is necessary to account for the common bent path of all jet components at core separations larger than about 4 mas. We found that differential Doppler boosting alone is not able to explain the flux density variations of component C4. A non-adiabatic expansion model of an inhomogeneous plasma cloud combined with differential Doppler boosting on a helical path fits the flux density evolution (Steffen et al. 1994). We find that the expansion in the decreasing part of the lightcurve is slower than expected from adiabatic expansion.
This paper briefly describes the principle of operation and science goals of the AMANDA high energy neutrino telescope located at the South Pole, Antarctica. Results from an earlier phase of the telescope, called AMANDA-BIO, demonstrate both reliable operation and the broad astrophysical reach of this device, which includes searches for a variety of sources of ultrahigh energy neutrinos: generic point sources, Gamma-Ray Bursts and diffuse sources. The predicted sensitivity and angular resolution of the telescope were confirmed by studies of atmospheric muon and neutrino backgrounds. We also report on the status of the analysis from AMANDA-II, a larger version with far greater capabilities. At this stage of analysis, details of the ice properties and other systematic uncertainties of the AMANDA-II telescope are under study, but we have made progress toward critical science objectives. In particular, we present the first preliminary flux limits from AMANDA-II on the search for continuous emission from astrophysical point sources, and report on the search for correlated neutrino emission from Gamma Ray Bursts detected by BATSE before decommissioning in May 2000. During the next two years, we expect to exploit the full potential of AMANDA-II with the installation of a new data acquisition system that records full waveforms from the in-ice optical sensors.
We present new VLA observations of IRAS 0421+0400 at 1.4 and 5 GHz, providing dual frequency information and higher resolution than previously available. We find extremely accurate alignment of the central double with the closest (though not brightest) feature in the southern kiloparsec hotspot region. There is a tight relation between the symmetric radio structure and emission line gas in the hotspot regions of this Seyfert 2 type galaxy.
Protein supplementation in combination with resistance training may increase muscle mass and muscle strength in elderly subjects. The objective of this study was to assess the influence of post-exercise protein supplementation with collagen peptides v. placebo on muscle mass and muscle function following resistance training in elderly subjects with sarcopenia. A total of fifty-three male subjects (72·2 (sd 4·68) years) with sarcopenia (class I or II) completed this randomised double-blind placebo-controlled study. All the participants underwent a 12-week guided resistance training programme (three sessions per week) and were supplemented with either collagen peptides (treatment group (TG)) (15 g/d) or silica as placebo (placebo group (PG)). Fat-free mass (FFM), fat mass (FM) and bone mass (BM) were measured before and after the intervention using dual-energy X-ray absorptiometry. Isokinetic quadriceps strength (IQS) of the right leg was determined and sensory motor control (SMC) was investigated by a standardised one-leg stabilisation test. Following the training programme, all the subjects showed significantly higher (P<0·01) levels for FFM, BM, IQS and SMC with significantly lower (P<0·01) levels for FM. The effect was significantly more pronounced in subjects receiving collagen peptides: FFM (TG +4·2 (sd 2·31) kg/PG +2·9 (sd 1·84) kg; P<0·05); IQS (TG +16·5 (sd 12·9) Nm/PG +7·3 (sd 13·2) Nm; P<0·05); and FM (TG –5·4 (sd 3·17) kg/PG –3·5 (sd 2·16) kg; P<0·05). Our data demonstrate that compared with placebo, collagen peptide supplementation in combination with resistance training further improved body composition by increasing FFM, muscle strength and the loss in FM.
Aberrant aggregation of improperly folded proteins is the hallmark of several human neurodegenerative disorders, including Huntington's Disease (HD) with autosomal-dominant inheritance. In HD, expansion of the CAG-repeat-encoded polyglutamine (polyQ) stretch beyond ~40 glutamines in huntingtin (Htt) and its N-terminal fragments leads to the formation of large (up to several μm) globular neuronal inclusion bodies (IBs) over time. We report direct observations of aggregating Htt exon 1 in living and fixed cells at enhanced spatial resolution by stimulated emission depletion (STED) microscopy and single-molecule super-resolution optical imaging. Fibrils of Htt exon 1 arise abundantly across the cytosolic compartment and also in neuritic processes only after nucleation and aggregation into a fairly advanced stage of growth of the prominent IB have taken place. Structural characterizations of fibrils by STED show a distinct length cutoff at ~1·5 µm and reveal subsequent coalescence (bundling/piling). Cytosolic fibrils are observed even at late stages in the process, side-by-side with the mature IB. Htt sequestration into the IB, which in neurons has been argued to be a cell-protective phenomenon, thus appears to saturate and over-power the cellular degradation systems and leaves cells vulnerable to further aggregation producing much smaller, potentially toxic, conformational protein species of which the fibrils may be comprised. We further found that exogenous delivery of the apical domain of the chaperonin subunit CCT1 to the cells via the cell medium reduced the aggregation propensity of mutant Htt exon 1 in general, and strongly reduced the occurrence of such late-stage fibrils in particular.
Outer-halo globular clusters show large half-light radii and flat stellar mass functions, depleted in low-mass stars. Using N-body simulations of globular clusters on eccentric orbits within a Milky Way-like potential, we show how a cluster’s half-mass radius and its mass function develop over time. The slope of the central mass function flattens proportionally to the amount of mass a cluster has lost, and the half-mass radius grows to a size proportional to the average strength of the tidal field. The main driver of these processes is mass segregation of dark remnants. We conclude that the extended, depleted clusters observed in the Milky Way must have had small half-mass radii in the past, and that they expanded due to the weak tidal field they spend most of their lifetime in. Moreover, their mass functions must have been steeper in the past but flattened significantly as a cause of mass segregation and tidal mass loss.
The majority of studies of the living cell rely on capturing images using fluorescence microscopy. Unfortunately, for centuries, diffraction of light was limiting the spatial resolution in the optical microscope: structural and molecular details much finer than about half the wavelength of visible light (~200 nm) could not be visualized, imposing significant limitations on this otherwise so promising method. The surpassing of this resolution limit in far-field microscopy is currently one of the most momentous developments for studying the living cell, as the move from microscopy to super-resolution microscopy or ‘nanoscopy’ offers opportunities to study problems in biophysical and biomedical research at a new level of detail. This review describes the principles and modalities of present fluorescence nanoscopes, as well as their potential for biophysical and cellular experiments. All the existing nanoscopy variants separate neighboring features by transiently preparing their fluorescent molecules in states of different emission characteristics in order to make the features discernible. Usually these are fluorescent ‘on’ and ‘off’ states causing the adjacent molecules to emit sequentially in time. Each of the variants can in principle reach molecular spatial resolution and has its own advantages and disadvantages. Some require specific transitions and states that can be found only in certain fluorophore subfamilies, such as photoswitchable fluorophores, while other variants can be realized with standard fluorescent labels. Similar to conventional far-field microscopy, nanoscopy can be utilized for dynamical, multi-color and three-dimensional imaging of fixed and live cells, tissues or organisms. Lens-based fluorescence nanoscopy is poised for a high impact on future developments in the life sciences, with the potential to help solve long-standing quests in different areas of scientific research.
Various imaging modalities are useful in confirming the diagnosis, determining the etiology of adult hydrocephalus, providing intraoperative guidance, and improving the follow-up of patients who have undergone treatment including cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) shunting or endoscopic third ventriculostomy (ETV). These include: conventional X-rays, ultrasonography, computerized axial tomography (CT), magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), and radionuclide shunt patency (SP) imaging. CT scans are performed to obtain a baseline image postoperatively to demonstrate the location of the proximal catheter in the ventricular system, the baseline size of the ventricles, and any postoperative intraventricular hemorrhage. CTs are helpful in diagnosing shunt malfunctions in younger patients. MRI provides excellent multiplanar anatomic definition of the ventricular system, subarachnoid spaces, and brain parenchyma. The SP study is a valuable tool in the diagnosis of shunt malfunction particularly in the idiopathic normal pressure hydrocephalus (iNPH) patient population.
We are presently using the Chandra X-ray Observatory to conduct the first systematic X-ray survey of planetary nebulae (PNe) in the solar neighborhood. The Chandra Planetary Nebula Survey (ChanPlaNS) is a 570 ks Chandra Cycle 12 Large Program targeting 21 high-excitation PNe within ~1.5 kpc of Earth. When complete, this survey will provide a suite of new X-ray diagnostics that will inform the study of late stellar evolution, binary star astrophysics, and wind interactions. Among the early results of ChanPlaNS (when combined with archival Chandra data) is a surprisingly high detection rate of relatively hard X-ray emission from CSPNe. Specifically, X-ray point sources are clearly detected in roughly half of the ~30 high-excitation PNe observed thus far by Chandra, and all but one of these X-ray-emitting CSPNe display evidence for a hard (few MK) component in their Chandra spectra. Only the central star of the Dumbbell appears to display “pure” hot blackbody emission from a ~200 kK hot white dwarf photosphere in the X-ray band. Potential explanations for the“excess” hard X-ray emission detected from the other CSPNe include late-type companions (heretofore undetected, in most cases) whose coronae have been rejuvenated by recent interactions with the mass-losing WD progenitor, non-LTE effects in hot white dwarf photospheres, self-shocking variable winds from the central star, and slow (re-)accretion of previously ejected red giant envelope mass.
We present the results of 3D hydrodynamic simulations aimed to explore the binary scenario for shaping bipolar, point- and mirror-symmetric proto-Planetary Nebulae. We consider a jet launched by the secondary star of a binary system, located at the center of the PPN, which propagates within a circumstellar medium swept previously up by the wind of the giant companion. As a result of the presence of the companion star, the accretion disk around the jet source is likely to precess. We have carried out 3D hydrodynamical simulations with the YGUAZÚ-A code including the combination of an orbital motion plus a precession. Our results show that to produce a multipolar nebula, it is necessary to have a precessing jet in a binary system with a time-dependent ejection velocity.
Tripodal ligand complexes of copper salts are described that display redoxdependent exciton coupled circular dichroism spectra. Significant spectral amplitude is observed at 400 nm in both solution and microcrystalline films. The synthesis and characterization of two new ligands and the preliminary characterization of the circular dichroism properties of their copper complexes is reported. The results constitute a significant step toward the development of molecules that can be used as on/off molecular switches.
Attempts to reduce high utilisation of mental health inpatient care by targeting the critical time of hospital discharge are rare. In this study, we test the effect of a needs-oriented discharge planning intervention on number and duration of psychiatric inpatient treatment episodes (primary), as well as on outpatient service use, needs, psychopathology, depression and quality of life (secondary).
Four hundred and ninety-one adults with a defined high utilisation of mental health care gave informed consent to participate in a multicentre RCT carried out at five psychiatric hospitals in Germany (Düsseldorf, Greifswald, Regensburg, Ravensburg and Günzburg). Subjects allocated to the intervention group were offered a manualised needs-led discharge planning and monitoring intervention with two intertwined sessions administered at hospital discharge and 3 months thereafter. Outcomes were assessed at four measurement points during a period of 18 months following discharge.
Intention-to-treat analyses showed no effect of the intervention on primary or secondary outcomes.
Process evaluation pending, the intervention cannot be recommended for implementation in routine care. Other approaches, e.g. team-based community care, might be more beneficial for people with persistent and severe mental illness.