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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.
This article proposes a new perspective for analysing regulatory reforms by emphasising the important role of policy entrepreneurs. We provide a framework for understanding the interaction between appointed regulators and politicians, as well as other players in the policy arena, by emphasising the strategies that entrepreneurial regulators use to promote their agendas. Analysing the individual regulatory entrepreneur’s barriers, goals and strategies helps us gain a better microunderstanding of how regulatory reforms are actually achieved. We maintain that when regulators act as policy entrepreneurs, they change policy outcomes by adopting strategies that promote their agendas. We develop this argument by analysing two case studies of regulatory reforms in Israel: one in the banking sector and one involving changes in competition policy.
Hepatitis E virus (HEV) is an emerging cause of viral hepatitis worldwide. Recently, HEV-7 has been shown to infect camels and humans. We studied HEV seroprevalence in dromedary camels and among Bedouins, Arabs (Muslims, none-Bedouins) and Jews and assessed factors associated with anti-HEV seropositivity. Serum samples from dromedary camels (n = 86) were used to determine camel anti-HEV IgG and HEV RNA positivity. Human samples collected between 2009 and 2016 from >20 years old Bedouins (n = 305), non-Bedouin Arabs (n = 320) and Jews (n = 195), were randomly selected using an age-stratified sampling design. Human HEV IgG levels were determined using Wantai IgG ELISA assay. Of the samples obtained from camels, 68.6% were anti-HEV positive. Among the human populations, Bedouins and non-Bedouin Arabs had a significantly higher prevalence of HEV antibodies (21.6% and 15.0%, respectively) compared with the Jewish population (3.1%). Seropositivity increased significantly with age in all human populations, reaching 47.6% and 34.8% among ⩾40 years old, in Bedouins and non-Bedouin Arabs, respectively. The high seropositivity in camels and in ⩾40 years old Bedouins and non-Bedouin Arabs suggests that HEV is endemic in Israel. The low HEV seroprevalence in Jews could be attributed to higher socio-economic status.
There is absence knowledge about the effects of lactation trimester and parity on eating behavior, production and efficiency of dairy cows. Objective of this study was to identify and characterize in 340 dairy cows, the 20% high efficient (HE), 20% low efficient (LE) and 60% mid efficient (ME) cows according to their individual residual feed intake (RFI) values, within and between lactation trimesters and between 1st and 2nd parities. Efficiency effect within each lactation trimester, was exhibited in daily dry matter intake (DMI), eating rate and meal size, that were the highest in LE cows, moderate in the ME cows and lowest in the HE group. Daily eating time, meal frequency, yields of milk and energy-corrected milk (ECM) and BW were similar in the three efficiency groups within each trimester. The lower efficiency of the LE cows in each trimester attributes to their larger metabolic energy intake, heat production and energy losses. In subgroup of 52 multiparous cows examined along their 1st and 2nd trimesters, milk and ECM production, DMI, eating behavior and efficiency traits were similar with high Pearson’s correlation (r=0.78 to 0.89) between trimesters. In another subgroup of 42 multiparous cows measured at their 2nd and 3rd trimesters, milk and ECM yield, DMI and eating time were reduced (P<0.01) at the 3rd trimester, but eating rate, meal frequency and meal size remained similar with high Pearson’s correlation (r=0.74 to 0.88) between trimesters. In subgroup of 26 cows measured in 1st and 2nd parities, DMI, BW, milk and ECM yield, and ECM/DMI increased in the 2nd lactation, but eating behavior and RFI traits were similar in both parities. These findings encourage accurate prediction of DMI based on a model that includes eating behavior parameters, together with individual measurement of ECM production. This can be further used to identify HE cows in commercial herd, a step necessary for potential genetic selection program aimed to improve herd efficiency.
We present an indentation-scope that interfaces with confocal microscopy, enabling direct observation of the three-dimensional (3D) microstructural response of coatings on substrates. Using this method, we compared microns-thick polymer coatings on glass with and without silica nanoparticle filler. Bulk force data confirmed the >30% modulus difference, while microstructural data further revealed slip at the glass-coating interface. Filled coatings slipped more and about two times faster, as reflected in 3D displacement and von Mises strain fields. Overall, these data indicate that silica-doping of coatings can dramatically alter adhesion. Moreover, this method compliments existing theoretical and modeling approaches for studying indentation in layered systems.
We determined the prevalence of anti-hepatitis B surface antibodies (anti-HBs) among children and adolescents vaccinated for hepatitis B virus in infancy as part of the routine vaccination programme. A representative serum sample of the Israeli population age 0–19 was tested. In a separate pilot study, a booster dose of hepatitis B vaccine was administered to 31 candidates for national service, who were fully vaccinated in infancy and tested negative for hepatitis B surface antibodies at age 17–19 years and anti-HBs antibodies were assessed 8 weeks later. Of the 1273 samples tested, 631 (49·6%) were positive to anti-HBs antibodies. Seropositivity rates were 89·5% among infants aged 6–12 months and declined significantly with age to 20·7% at age 19 years. No differences in seropositivity rates were observed between Jews and Arabs, males and females and those born in Israel and in other countries. Seroconversion rate among the 31 individuals who received a booster dose was 90·3% (95% CI: 75·1–96·6%). We recommend a booster dose for healthcare personnel before starting to work at the health care facility.
This study aimed to investigate the prevalence of and risk factors for Eustachian tube dysfunction leading to middle-ear pathology in patients on chronic mechanical ventilation via tracheostomy tube.
A total of 40 patients on chronic ventilation were included in a prospective cohort study. Middle-ear status was determined by tympanometry. Tympanograms were categorised as types A, B or C; types B and C were defined as middle-ear pathology.
In all, 57 ears of 40 patients were examined. Disease was found in at least 1 ear in 26 out of 40 patients. Middle-ear pathology was found in 25 out of 34 patients who were tube fed (via nasogastric tube or percutaneous endoscopic gastrostomy) vs 1 patient out of the 6 fed orally (p = 0.014), and in 23 out of 31 with conscious or cognitive impairment vs 3 out of 9 cognitively intact patients (p = 0.044).
Middle-ear pathology is common in patients on chronic mechanical ventilation via tracheostomy tube. The highest prevalence was in those with impaired consciousness or cognition, and oral feeding appeared protective.
Moringa oleifera is a rich source of antioxidants and a promising feed for livestock, due to significant amounts of protein, vitamins, carotenoids and polyphenols, and negligible amounts of anti-nutritional factors. The current study tested whether ensiling would preserve the antioxidant capacity of M. oleifera plants, and assessed whether Moringa silage, fed as a substitute for maize silage, would confer health-promoting traits and affect milk production in dairy cows. To this end, hand-harvested M. oleifera plants were ensiled, with or without molasses and inoculants, in anaerobic jars at room temperature (25 °C) for 37 days. At the end of the storage period the silages were analysed for pH, lactic acid and acetic acid concentrations, aerobic stability, antioxidant capacity, polyphenols and protein content, and tocopherols and carotenoids concentrations. Moringa silages exhibited higher antioxidant capacity compared with fresh and dried Moringa plants, not related to polyphenol content but presumably attributed to accumulation of amino acids and low molecular weight peptides. Based on these findings, a large-scale ensiling protocol was implemented, followed by a feeding trial for dairy cows, in which Moringa silage replaced 263 g maize silage/kg in the diet. Cows fed Moringa silage had higher milk yield and antioxidant capacity and lower milk somatic cell counts compared with controls, during some stages of lactation. These findings imply that ensiling M. oleifera is an appropriate practice by which health and production of dairy cows can be improved.
One view of major Solar Energetic Particle (SEP) events is that these (proton-dominated) fluxes are accelerated in heliospheric shock sources created by Interplanetary Coronal Mass Ejections (ICMEs), and then travel mainly along interplanetary magnetic field lines connecting the shock(s) to the observer(s). This places a particular emphasis on the role of the heliospheric conditions during the event, requiring a realistic description of the latter to interpret and/or model SEP events. The well-known ENLIL heliospheric simulation with cone model generated ICME shocks is used together with the SEPMOD particle event modeling scheme to demonstrate the value of applying these concepts at multiple inner heliosphere sites.
To use VRI systems, a field is divided into irrigation management zones (IMZs). While IMZs are dynamic in nature, most of IMZs prescription maps are static. High-resolution thermal images (TI) coupled with measured atmospheric conditions have been utilized to map the within-field water status variability and to delineate in-season IMZs. Unfortunately, spaceborne TIs have coarse spatial resolution and aerial platforms require substantial financial investments, which may inhibit their large-scale adoption. Three approaches are proposed to facilitate large-scale adoption of TI-based IMZs: 1) increase of the capacity of aerial TI by enhancing their spatial resolution; 2) sharpening the spatial resolution of satellite TI by fusing satellite multi-spectral images in the visible-near-infrared (VIS-NIR) range; 3) increase the capacity of aerial TI by fusing satellite multi-spectral images in the VIS-NIR range. The scientific and engineering basis of each of the approaches is described together with initial results.
Recent spectropolarimetric surveys of bright, hot stars have found that ~10% of OB-type stars contain strong (mostly dipolar) surface magnetic fields (~kG). The prominent paradigm describing the interaction between the stellar winds and the surface magnetic field is the magnetically confined wind shock (MCWS) model. In this model, the stellar wind plasma is forced to move along the closed field loops of the magnetic field, colliding at the magnetic equator, and creating a shock. As the shocked material cools radiatively it will emit X-rays. Therefore, X-ray spectroscopy is a key tool in detecting and characterizing the hot wind material confined by the magnetic fields of these stars. Some B-type stars are found to have very short rotational periods. The effects of the rapid rotation on the X-ray production within the magnetosphere have yet to be explored in detail. The added centrifugal force due to rapid rotation is predicted to cause faster wind outflows along the field lines, leading to higher shock temperatures and harder X-rays. However, this is not observed in all rapidly rotating magnetic B-type stars. In order to address this from a theoretical point of view, we use the X-ray Analytical Dynamical Magnetosphere (XADM) model, originally developed for slow rotators, with an implementation of new rapid rotational physics. Using X-ray spectroscopy from ESA’s XMM-Newton space telescope, we observed 5 rapidly rotating B-types stars to add to the previous list of observations. Comparing the observed X-ray luminosity and hardness ratio to that predicted by the XADM allows us to determine the role the added centrifugal force plays in the magnetospheric X-ray emission of these stars.
Owing to nutritional transition in Cameroon, one in two adults is overweight and one in five is obese, and 8·1 % of children are overweight and 2·1 % are obese. Given this phenomenon, dietary intake assessment is needed to establish appropriate preventive nutrition-sensitive strategies. Our aim was to develop and test the validity of two food portion photograph books (FPPB) to be used as visual aids for adults and children taking part in a 24-h dietary recall. To design FPPB, interviews and focus group discussions were undertaken with women to obtain consensus on the local categorisation of foods. For each cooked and weighed food, three photographs of the average small, medium and large serving portion sizes were taken, and four intermediary portion sizes were calculated. To validate the FPPB, a sample of adults (361) and children (224) were asked, at meal times, to self-serve a food portion prepared in the household and the portion sizes were weighed; 24 h after the measurement, the same subjects were shown the appropriate FPPB and were asked to indicate the food and the portion they consumed. In adults, of the 821 portions tested, 77 % were accurately estimated, whereas in children 74 % of the 556 portions tested were accurately estimated. For both groups, the small- and medium-sized portions were frequently selected and accurately estimated (>70 %). Our findings suggest that the adult and children’s FPPB can be used in Cameroon to estimate food portion sizes, and thus nutritional intake in the frame of the 24-h dietary recall.
Brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF) Val66Met polymorphism contributes to the development of depression (major depressive disorder, MDD), but it is unclear whether neural effects observed in healthy individuals are sustained in MDD.
To investigate BDNF Val66Met effects on key regions in MDD neurocircuitry: amygdala, anterior cingulate, middle frontal and orbitofrontal regions.
Magnetic resonance imaging scans were acquired in 79 persons with MDD (mean age 49 years) and 74 healthy volunteers (mean age 50 years). Effects on surface area and cortical thickness were examined with multiple comparison correction.
People who were Met allele carriers showed reduced caudal middle frontal thickness in both study groups. Significant interaction effects were found in the anterior cingulate and rostral middle frontal regions, in which participants in the MDD group who were Met carriers showed the greatest reduction in surface area.
Modulatory effects of the BDNF Val66Met polymorphism on distinct subregions in the prefrontal cortex in MDD support the neurotrophin model of depression.
In flows where the ratio of inertia to gravity varies strongly, large variations in the fluid thickness appear and hydraulic jumps arise, as depicted by Rayleigh. We report a new family of hydraulic jumps, where the capillary effects dominate the gravitational acceleration. The Bond number – which measures the importance of gravitational body forces compared to surface tension – must be small in order to observe such objects using capillarity as a driving force. For water, the typical length should be smaller than 3 mm. Nevertheless, for such small scales, solid boundaries induce viscous stresses, which dominate inertia, and capillary jumps should not be described by the inertial shock wave theory that one would deduce from Bélanger or Rayleigh for hydraulic jumps. In order to get rid of viscous shears, we consider Plateau borders, which are the microchannels defined by the merging of three films inside liquid foams, and we show that capillary jumps propagate along these deformable conduits. We derive a simple model that predicts the velocity, geometry and shape of such fronts. A strong analogy with Rayleigh’s description is pointed out. In addition, we carried out experiments on a single Plateau border generated with soap films to observe and characterize these capillary jumps. Our theoretical predictions agree remarkably well with the experimental measurements.
We provide an update on the epidemiology of shigellosis in Israel using data generated by a sentinel laboratory-based surveillance network for the period 1998–2012. The average annual incidence of culture-proven shigellosis was 97/100 000. We estimated that each case of shigellosis accounted for 25 cases in the community indicating the high burden of disease. Orthodox Jewish communities, living in highly crowded conditions and with a high number of children aged <5 years were the epicentre of country-wide biennial propagated epidemics of S. sonnei shigellosis. S. flexneri was the leading Shigella serogroup in Israeli Arabs. S. flexneri 2a and S. flexneri 6 alternated as the most common serotypes. Both S. sonnei and S. flexneri isolates showed high rates of resistance to ampicillin and trimethoprim/sulfamethoxazole and very low rates of resistance to quinolones and third-generation cephalosporins. Shigellosis due to S. sonnei conferred 81% (95% confidence interval 69–89) protection against the homologous Shigella serotype when epidemic exposure re-occurred 2 years later. These data are of value in the process of Shigella vaccine development.
The magnetic activity of solar-type and low-mass stars is a well known source of coronal X-ray emission. At the other end of the main sequence, X-rays emission is instead associated with the powerful, radiatively driven winds of massive stars. Indeed, the intrinsically unstable line-driving mechanism of OB star winds gives rise to shock-heated, soft emission (~0.5 keV) distributed throughout the wind. Recently, the latest generation of spectropolarimetric instrumentation has uncovered a population of massive OB-stars hosting strong, organized magnetic fields. The magnetic characteristics of these stars are similar to the apparently fossil magnetic fields of the chemically peculiar ApBp stars. Magnetic channeling of these OB stars' strong winds leads to the formation of large-scale shock-heated magnetospheres, which can modify UV resonance lines, create complex distributions of cooled Halpha emitting material, and radiate hard (~2-5 keV) X-rays. This presentation summarizes our coordinated observational and modelling efforts to characterize the manifestation of these magnetospheres in the X-ray domain, providing an important contrast between the emission originating in shocks associated with the large-scale fossil fields of massive stars, and the X-rays associated with the activity of complex, dynamo-generated fields in lower-mass stars.