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Long-duration gamma-ray burst (GRB) afterglow observations offer cutting-edge opportunities to characterise the star formation history of the Universe back to the epoch of reionisation, and to measure the chemical composition of interstellar and intergalactic gas through absorption spectroscopy. The main barrier to progress is the low efficiency in rapidly and confidently identifying which bursts are high redshift (
$z > 5$
) candidates before they fade, as this requires low-latency follow-up observations at near-infrared wavelengths (or longer) to determine a reliable photometric redshift estimate. Since no current or planned gamma-ray observatories carry near-infrared telescopes on-board, complementary facilities are needed. So far this task has been performed by instruments on the ground, but sky visibility and weather constraints limit the number of GRB targets that can be observed and the speed at which follow-up is possible. In this work we develop a Monte Carlo simulation framework to investigate an alternative approach based on the use of a rapid-response near-infrared nano-satellite, capable of simultaneous imaging in four bands from
m (a mission concept called SkyHopper). Using as reference a sample of 88 afterglows observed with the GROND instrument on the MPG/ESO telescope, we find that such a nano-satellite is capable of detecting in the H-band (1.6
$72.5\% \pm 3.1\%$
of GRBs concurrently observable with the Swift satellite via its UVOT instrument (and
$44.1\% \pm 12.3\%$
of high redshift (
) GRBs) within 60 min of the GRB prompt emission. This corresponds to detecting
GRB afterglows per year, of which 1–3 have
$z > 5$
. These rates represent a substantial contribution to the field of high-z GRB science, as only 23
$z > 5$
GRBs have been collectively discovered by the entire astronomical community over the last
yr. Future discoveries are critically needed to take advantage of next generation follow-up spectroscopic facilities such as 30m-class ground telescopes and the James Webb Space Telescope. Furthermore, a systematic space-based follow-up of afterglows in the near-infrared will offer new insight on the population of dusty (‘dark’) GRBs which are primarily found at cosmic noon (
). Additionally, we find that launching a mini-constellation of 3 near-infrared nano-satellites would increase the detection fraction of afterglows to
and substantially reduce the latency in the photometric redshift determination.
Palmer amaranth (Amaranthus palmeri S. Watson) is one of the most problematic weeds in many cropping systems in the Mid-southern US because of its multiple weedy traits and its propensity to evolve resistance to many herbicides of different mechanisms of action. In Arkansas, A. palmeri has evolved metabolic resistance to S-metolachlor, compromising the effectiveness of an important weed management tool. Greenhouse studies were conducted to evaluate the differential response of A. palmeri accessions from three states (Arkansas, Mississippi and Tennessee) to (1) assess the occurrence of resistance to S-metolachlor among A. palmeri populations, (2) evaluate the resistance level in selected accessions and their resistant progeny, (3) and determine the susceptibility of most resistant accessions to other soil-applied herbicides. Seeds were collected from 168 crop fields between 2017 and 2019. One hundred seeds per accession were planted in silt loam soil without herbicide for >20 years and sprayed with the labeled rate of S-metolachlor (1120 g ai ha-1). Six accessions (four from Arkansas and two from Mississippi) were classified resistant to S-metolachlor. The effective doses (LD50) to control the parent accessions ranged between 73 and 443 g ai ha-1 and those of F1 progeny of survivors were 73 to 577 g ai ha-1. The resistance level was generally greater among progenies of surviving plants than among resistant field populations. The resistant field populations required 2.2 to 7.0 times more S-metolachlor to reduce seedling emergence 50% while the F1 of survivors needed up to 9.2 times more herbicide to reduce emergence 50% compared to the susceptible standard.
To examine differences in surgical practices between salaried and fee-for-service (FFS) surgeons for two common degenerative spine conditions. Surgeons may offer different treatments for similar conditions on the basis of their compensation mechanism.
The study assessed the practices of 63 spine surgeons across eight Canadian provinces (39 FFS surgeons and 24 salaried) who performed surgery for two lumbar conditions: stable spinal stenosis and degenerative spondylolisthesis. The study included a multicenter, ambispective review of consecutive spine surgery patients enrolled in the Canadian Spine Outcomes and Research Network registry between October 2012 and July 2018. The primary outcome was the difference in type of procedures performed between the two groups. Secondary study variables included surgical characteristics, baseline patient factors, and patient-reported outcome.
For stable spinal stenosis (n = 2234), salaried surgeons performed statistically fewer uninstrumented fusion (p < 0.05) than FFS surgeons. For degenerative spondylolisthesis (n = 1292), salaried surgeons performed significantly more instrumentation plus interbody fusions (p < 0.05). There were no statistical differences in patient-reported outcomes between the two groups.
Surgeon compensation was associated with different approaches to stable lumbar spinal stenosis and degenerative lumbar spondylolisthesis. Salaried surgeons chose a more conservative approach to spinal stenosis and a more aggressive approach to degenerative spondylolisthesis, which highlights that remuneration is likely a minor determinant in the differences in practice of spinal surgery in Canada. Further research is needed to further elucidate which variables, other than patient demographics and financial incentives, influence surgical decision-making.
The Hierarchical Taxonomy of Psychopathology (HiTOP) has emerged out of the quantitative approach to psychiatric nosology. This approach identifies psychopathology constructs based on patterns of co-variation among signs and symptoms. The initial HiTOP model, which was published in 2017, is based on a large literature that spans decades of research. HiTOP is a living model that undergoes revision as new data become available. Here we discuss advantages and practical considerations of using this system in psychiatric practice and research. We especially highlight limitations of HiTOP and ongoing efforts to address them. We describe differences and similarities between HiTOP and existing diagnostic systems. Next, we review the types of evidence that informed development of HiTOP, including populations in which it has been studied and data on its validity. The paper also describes how HiTOP can facilitate research on genetic and environmental causes of psychopathology as well as the search for neurobiologic mechanisms and novel treatments. Furthermore, we consider implications for public health programs and prevention of mental disorders. We also review data on clinical utility and illustrate clinical application of HiTOP. Importantly, the model is based on measures and practices that are already used widely in clinical settings. HiTOP offers a way to organize and formalize these techniques. This model already can contribute to progress in psychiatry and complement traditional nosologies. Moreover, HiTOP seeks to facilitate research on linkages between phenotypes and biological processes, which may enable construction of a system that encompasses both biomarkers and precise clinical description.
Patients with Duchenne muscular dystrophy have multiple risk factors for lower extremity oedema. This study sought to define the frequency and predictors of oedema. Patients aged 15 years and older were screened by patient questionnaire, and the presence of oedema was confirmed by subsequent physical exam. Twenty-four of 52 patients (46%) had oedema, 12 of whom had swelling extending above the foot and two with sores/skin breakdown. There was no significant difference in age, frequency, or duration of glucocorticoid use, non-invasive respiratory support use, forced vital capacity, cardiac medication use, or ejection fraction between patients with and without oedema (all p > 0.2). Those with oedema had a greater time since the loss of ambulation (8.4 years versus 3.5 years; p = 0.004), higher body mass index (28.3 versus 24.8; p = 0.014), and lower frequency of deflazacort use (67% versus 89%; p = 0.008). Multivariate analysis revealed a longer duration of loss of ambulation (p = 0.02) and higher body mass index (p = 0.009) as predictors of oedema. Lower extremity oedema is common in Duchenne muscular dystrophy but independent of cardiac function. Interventions focused on minimising body mass index increases over time may be a therapeutic target.
Response to lithium in patients with bipolar disorder is associated with clinical and transdiagnostic genetic factors. The predictive combination of these variables might help clinicians better predict which patients will respond to lithium treatment.
To use a combination of transdiagnostic genetic and clinical factors to predict lithium response in patients with bipolar disorder.
This study utilised genetic and clinical data (n = 1034) collected as part of the International Consortium on Lithium Genetics (ConLi+Gen) project. Polygenic risk scores (PRS) were computed for schizophrenia and major depressive disorder, and then combined with clinical variables using a cross-validated machine-learning regression approach. Unimodal, multimodal and genetically stratified models were trained and validated using ridge, elastic net and random forest regression on 692 patients with bipolar disorder from ten study sites using leave-site-out cross-validation. All models were then tested on an independent test set of 342 patients. The best performing models were then tested in a classification framework.
The best performing linear model explained 5.1% (P = 0.0001) of variance in lithium response and was composed of clinical variables, PRS variables and interaction terms between them. The best performing non-linear model used only clinical variables and explained 8.1% (P = 0.0001) of variance in lithium response. A priori genomic stratification improved non-linear model performance to 13.7% (P = 0.0001) and improved the binary classification of lithium response. This model stratified patients based on their meta-polygenic loadings for major depressive disorder and schizophrenia and was then trained using clinical data.
Using PRS to first stratify patients genetically and then train machine-learning models with clinical predictors led to large improvements in lithium response prediction. When used with other PRS and biological markers in the future this approach may help inform which patients are most likely to respond to lithium treatment.
To date, besides genome-wide association studies, a variety of other genetic analyses (e.g. polygenic risk scores, whole-exome sequencing and whole-genome sequencing) have been conducted, and a large amount of data has been gathered for investigating the involvement of common, rare and very rare types of DNA sequence variants in bipolar disorder. Also, non-invasive neuroimaging methods can be used to quantify changes in brain structure and function in patients with bipolar disorder.
To provide a comprehensive assessment of genetic findings associated with bipolar disorder, based on the evaluation of different genomic approaches and neuroimaging studies.
We conducted a PubMed search of all relevant literatures from the beginning to the present, by querying related search strings.
ANK3, CACNA1C, SYNE1, ODZ4 and TRANK1 are five genes that have been replicated as key gene candidates in bipolar disorder pathophysiology, through the investigated studies. The percentage of phenotypic variance explained by the identified variants is small (approximately 4.7%). Bipolar disorder polygenic risk scores are associated with other psychiatric phenotypes. The ENIGMA-BD studies show a replicable pattern of lower cortical thickness, altered white matter integrity and smaller subcortical volumes in bipolar disorder.
The low amount of explained phenotypic variance highlights the need for further large-scale investigations, especially among non-European populations, to achieve a more complete understanding of the genetic architecture of bipolar disorder and the missing heritability. Combining neuroimaging data with genetic data in large-scale studies might help researchers acquire a better knowledge of the engaged brain regions in bipolar disorder.
Fibricola and Neodiplostomum are diplostomid genera with very similar morphology that are currently separated based on their definitive hosts. Fibricola spp. are normally found in mammals, while Neodiplostomum spp. typically parasitize birds. Previously, no DNA sequence data was available for any member of Fibricola. We generated nuclear ribosomal and mtDNA sequences of Fibricola cratera (type-species), Fibricola lucidum and 6 species of Neodiplostomum. DNA sequences were used to examine phylogenetic interrelationships among Fibricola and Neodiplostomum and re-evaluate their systematics. Molecular phylogenies and morphological study suggest that Fibricola should be considered a junior synonym of Neodiplostomum. Therefore, we synonymize the two genera and transfer all members of Fibricola into Neodiplostomum. Specimens morphologically identified as Neodiplostomum cratera belonged to 3 distinct phylogenetic clades based on mitochondrial data. One of those clades also included sequences of specimens identified morphologically as Neodiplostomum lucidum. Further study is necessary to resolve the situation regarding the morphology of N. cratera. Our results demonstrated that some DNA sequences of N. americanum available in GenBank originate from misidentified Neodiplostomum banghami. Molecular phylogentic data revealed at least 2 independent host-switching events between avian and mammalian hosts in the evolutionary history of Neodiplostomum; however, the directionality of these host-switching events remains unclear.
Cross-species evidence suggests that the ability to exert control over a stressor is a key dimension of stress exposure that may sensitize frontostriatal-amygdala circuitry to promote more adaptive responses to subsequent stressors. The present study examined neural correlates of stressor controllability in young adults. Participants (N = 56; Mage = 23.74, range = 18–30 years) completed either the controllable or uncontrollable stress condition of the first of two novel stressor controllability tasks during functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) acquisition. Participants in the uncontrollable stress condition were yoked to age- and sex-matched participants in the controllable stress condition. All participants were subsequently exposed to uncontrollable stress in the second task, which is the focus of fMRI analyses reported here. A whole-brain searchlight classification analysis revealed that patterns of activity in the right dorsal anterior insula (dAI) during subsequent exposure to uncontrollable stress could be used to classify participants' initial exposure to either controllable or uncontrollable stress with a peak of 73% accuracy. Previous experience of exerting control over a stressor may change the computations performed within the right dAI during subsequent stress exposure, shedding further light on the neural underpinnings of stressor controllability.
As clinical trials were rapidly initiated in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, Data and Safety Monitoring Boards (DSMBs) faced unique challenges overseeing trials of therapies never tested in a disease not yet characterized. Traditionally, individual DSMBs do not interact or have the benefit of seeing data from other accruing trials for an aggregated analysis to meaningfully interpret safety signals of similar therapeutics. In response, we developed a compliant DSMB Coordination (DSMBc) framework to allow the DSMB from one study investigating the use of SARS-CoV-2 convalescent plasma to treat COVID-19 to review data from similar ongoing studies for the purpose of safety monitoring.
The DSMBc process included engagement of DSMB chairs and board members, execution of contractual agreements, secure data acquisition, generation of harmonized reports utilizing statistical graphics, and secure report sharing with DSMB members. Detailed process maps, a secure portal for managing DSMB reports, and templates for data sharing and confidentiality agreements were developed.
Four trials participated. Data from one trial were successfully harmonized with that of an ongoing trial. Harmonized reports allowing for visualization and drill down into the data were presented to the ongoing trial’s DSMB. While DSMB deliberations are confidential, the Chair confirmed successful review of the harmonized report.
It is feasible to coordinate DSMB reviews of multiple independent studies of a similar therapeutic in similar patient cohorts. The materials presented mitigate challenges to DSMBc and will help expand these initiatives so DSMBs may make more informed decisions with all available information.
Two introduced carnivores, the European red fox Vulpes vulpes and domestic cat Felis catus, have had extensive impacts on Australian biodiversity. In this study, we collate information on consumption of Australian birds by the fox, paralleling a recent study reporting on birds consumed by cats. We found records of consumption by foxes on 128 native bird species (18% of the non-vagrant bird fauna and 25% of those species within the fox’s range), a smaller tally than for cats (343 species, including 297 within the fox’s Australian range, a subset of that of the cat). Most (81%) bird species eaten by foxes are also eaten by cats, suggesting that predation impacts are compounded. As with consumption by cats, birds that nest or forage on the ground are most likely to be consumed by foxes. However, there is also some partitioning, with records of consumption by foxes but not cats for 25 bird species, indicating that impacts of the two predators may also be complementary. Bird species ≥3.4 kg were more likely to be eaten by foxes, and those <3.4 kg by cats. Our compilation provides an inventory and describes characteristics of Australian bird species known to be consumed by foxes, but we acknowledge that records of predation do not imply population-level impacts. Nonetheless, there is sufficient information from other studies to demonstrate that fox predation has significant impacts on the population viability of some Australian birds, especially larger birds, and those that nest or forage on the ground.
To understand the transmission dynamics of severe acute respiratory coronavirus virus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) in a hospital outbreak to inform infection control actions.
Retrospective cohort study.
General medical and elderly inpatient wards in a hospital in England.
Coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) patients were classified as community or healthcare associated by time from admission to onset or positivity using European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control definitions. COVID-19 symptoms were classified as asymptomatic, nonrespiratory, or respiratory. Infectiousness was calculated from 2 days prior to 14 days after symptom onset or positive test. Cases were defined as healthcare-associated COVID-19 when infection was acquired from the wards under investigation. COVID-19 exposures were calculated based on symptoms and bed proximity to an infectious patient. Risk ratios and adjusted odds ratios (aORs) were calculated from univariable and multivariable logistic regression.
Of 153 patients, 65 were COVID-19 patients and 45 of these were healthcare-associated cases. Exposure to a COVID-19 patient with respiratory symptoms was associated with healthcare-associated infection irrespective of proximity (aOR, 3.81; 95% CI, 1.6.3–8.87). Nonrespiratory exposure was only significant within 2.5 m (aOR, 5.21; 95% CI, 1.15–23.48). A small increase in risk ratio was observed for exposure to a respiratory patient for >1 day compared to 1 day from 2.04 (95% CI, 0.99–4.22) to 2.36 (95% CI, 1.44–3.88).
Respiratory exposure anywhere within a 4-bed bay was a risk, whereas nonrespiratory exposure required bed distance ≤2.5 m. Standard infection control measures required beds to be >2 m apart. Our findings suggest that this may be insufficient to stop SARS-CoV-2 transmission. We recommend improving cohorting and further studies into bed distance and transmission factors.
Studying phenotypic and genetic characteristics of age at onset (AAO) and polarity at onset (PAO) in bipolar disorder can provide new insights into disease pathology and facilitate the development of screening tools.
To examine the genetic architecture of AAO and PAO and their association with bipolar disorder disease characteristics.
Genome-wide association studies (GWASs) and polygenic score (PGS) analyses of AAO (n = 12 977) and PAO (n = 6773) were conducted in patients with bipolar disorder from 34 cohorts and a replication sample (n = 2237). The association of onset with disease characteristics was investigated in two of these cohorts.
Earlier AAO was associated with a higher probability of psychotic symptoms, suicidality, lower educational attainment, not living together and fewer episodes. Depressive onset correlated with suicidality and manic onset correlated with delusions and manic episodes. Systematic differences in AAO between cohorts and continents of origin were observed. This was also reflected in single-nucleotide variant-based heritability estimates, with higher heritabilities for stricter onset definitions. Increased PGS for autism spectrum disorder (β = −0.34 years, s.e. = 0.08), major depression (β = −0.34 years, s.e. = 0.08), schizophrenia (β = −0.39 years, s.e. = 0.08), and educational attainment (β = −0.31 years, s.e. = 0.08) were associated with an earlier AAO. The AAO GWAS identified one significant locus, but this finding did not replicate. Neither GWAS nor PGS analyses yielded significant associations with PAO.
AAO and PAO are associated with indicators of bipolar disorder severity. Individuals with an earlier onset show an increased polygenic liability for a broad spectrum of psychiatric traits. Systematic differences in AAO across cohorts, continents and phenotype definitions introduce significant heterogeneity, affecting analyses.
Cognitive tasks are used to probe neuronal activity during functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) to detect signs of aberrant cognitive functioning in patients diagnosed with schizophrenia (SZ). However, nonlinear (inverted-U-shaped) associations between neuronal activity and task difficulty can lead to misinterpretation of group differences between patients and healthy comparison subjects (HCs). In this paper, we evaluated a novel method for correcting these misinterpretations based on conditional performance analysis.
Participants included 25 HCs and 27 SZs who performed a working memory (WM) task (N-back) with 5 load conditions while undergoing fMRI. Neuronal activity was regressed onto: 1) task load (i.e., parametric task levels), 2) marginal task performance (i.e., performance averaged over all load conditions), or 3) conditional task performance (i.e., performance within each load condition).
In most regions of interest, conditional performance analysis uniquely revealed inverted-U-shaped neuronal activity in both SZs and HCs. After accounting for conditional performance differences between groups, we observed few difference in both the pattern and level of neuronal activity between SZs and HCs within regions that are classically associated with WM functioning (e.g., posterior dorsolateral prefrontal and parietal association cortices). However, SZs did show aberrant activity within the anterior dorsolateral prefrontal cortex.
Interpretations of differences in neuronal activity between groups, and of associations between neuronal activity and performance, should be considered within the context of task performance. Whether conditional performance-based differences reflect compensation, dedifferentiation, or other processes is not a question that is easily resolved by examining activation and performance data alone.
This article examines large-scale spatial and temporal patterns in the agricultural demographic transition (ADT) of Mesoamerica and southwestern North America (“the Southwest”). An analysis of published settlement and subsistence data suggests that the prolonged ADTs of these regions involved two successive eras of rapid population growth. Although both periods of growth were fueled by the introduction or development of more productive domesticates, they had distinctive demographic and social consequences. The first phase of the ADT occurred only in a scattering of favorable regions, between 1900 and 1000 BC in Mesoamerica and 1200 BC–AD 400 in the Southwest. Its demographic consequences were modest because it was underwritten by still rather unproductive maize. During this phase, increased population was confined mainly to a few agricultural heartlands, whereas surrounding regions remained sparsely populated. The second phase of the ADT was more dramatic in the spatial scale of its impact. This “high productivity” phase unfolded between 1000 and 200 BC in Mesoamerica and AD 500–1300 in the Southwest, and it was fueled by more productive maize varieties and improving agricultural technologies. It was accompanied by sweeping social, economic, and political changes in both regions.
To examine associations between diet and risk of developing gastro-oesophageal reflux disease (GERD).
Prospective cohort with a median follow-up of 15·8 years. Baseline diet was measured using a FFQ. GERD was defined as self-reported current or history of daily heartburn or acid regurgitation beginning at least 2 years after baseline. Sex-specific logistic regressions were performed to estimate OR for GERD associated with diet quality scores and intakes of nutrients, food groups and individual foods and beverages. The effect of substituting saturated fat for monounsaturated or polyunsaturated fat on GERD risk was examined.
A cohort of 20 926 participants (62 % women) aged 40–59 years at recruitment between 1990 and 1994.
For men, total fat intake was associated with increased risk of GERD (OR 1·05 per 5 g/d; 95 % CI 1·01, 1·09; P = 0·016), whereas total carbohydrate (OR 0·89 per 30 g/d; 95 % CI 0·82, 0·98; P = 0·010) and starch intakes (OR 0·84 per 30 g/d; 95 % CI 0·75, 0·94; P = 0·005) were associated with reduced risk. Nutrients were not associated with risk for women. For both sexes, substituting saturated fat for polyunsaturated or monounsaturated fat did not change risk. For both sexes, fish, chicken, cruciferous vegetables and carbonated beverages were associated with increased risk, whereas total fruit and citrus were associated with reduced risk. No association was observed with diet quality scores.
Diet is a possible risk factor for GERD, but food considered as triggers of GERD symptoms might not necessarily contribute to disease development. Potential differential associations for men and women warrant further investigation.
The direct carbonate procedure for accelerator mass spectrometry radiocarbon (AMS 14C) dating of submilligram samples of biogenic carbonate without graphitization is becoming widely used in a variety of studies. We compare the results of 153 paired direct carbonate and standard graphite 14C determinations on single specimens of an assortment of biogenic carbonates. A reduced major axis regression shows a strong relationship between direct carbonate and graphite percent Modern Carbon (pMC) values (m = 0.996; 95% CI [0.991–1.001]). An analysis of differences and a 95% confidence interval on pMC values reveals that there is no significant difference between direct carbonate and graphite pMC values for 76% of analyzed specimens, although variation in direct carbonate pMC is underestimated. The difference between the two methods is typically within 2 pMC, with 61% of direct carbonate pMC measurements being higher than their paired graphite counterpart. Of the 36 specimens that did yield significant differences, all but three missed the 95% significance threshold by 1.2 pMC or less. These results show that direct carbonate 14C dating of biogenic carbonates is a cost-effective and efficient complement to standard graphite 14C dating.
The success rate for translation of newly engineered medical technologies into clinical practice is low. Traversing the “translational valleys of death” requires a high level of knowledge of the complex landscape of technical, ethical, regulatory, and commercialization challenges along a multi-agency path of approvals. The Indiana Clinical and Translational Sciences Institute developed a program targeted at increasing that success rate through comprehensive training, education, and resourcing. The Medical Technology Advance Program (MTAP) provides technical, educational, and consultative assistance to investigators that leverages partnerships with experts in the health products industry to speed progress toward clinical implementation. The training, resourcing, and guidance are integrated through the entire journey of medical technology translation. Investigators are supported through a set of courses that cover bioethics, ethical engineering, preclinical and clinical study design, regulatory submissions, entrepreneurship, and commercialization. In addition to the integrated technical and educational resources, program experts provide direct consultation for planning each phase along the life cycle of translation. Since 2008, nearly 200 investigators have gained assistance from MTAP resulting in over 100 publications and patents. This support via medicine–engineering–industry partnership provides a unique and novel opportunity to expedite new medical technologies into clinical and product implementation.