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The interaction of relativistically intense lasers with opaque targets represents a highly non-linear, multi-dimensional parameter space. This limits the utility of sequential 1D scanning of experimental parameters for the optimization of secondary radiation, although to-date this has been the accepted methodology due to low data acquisition rates. High repetition-rate (HRR) lasers augmented by machine learning present a valuable opportunity for efficient source optimization. Here, an automated, HRR-compatible system produced high-fidelity parameter scans, revealing the influence of laser intensity on target pre-heating and proton generation. A closed-loop Bayesian optimization of maximum proton energy, through control of the laser wavefront and target position, produced proton beams with equivalent maximum energy to manually optimized laser pulses but using only 60% of the laser energy. This demonstration of automated optimization of laser-driven proton beams is a crucial step towards deeper physical insight and the construction of future radiation sources.
We present the development and characterization of a high-stability, multi-material, multi-thickness tape-drive target for laser-driven acceleration at repetition rates of up to 100 Hz. The tape surface position was measured to be stable on the sub-micrometre scale, compatible with the high-numerical aperture focusing geometries required to achieve relativistic intensity interactions with the pulse energy available in current multi-Hz and near-future higher repetition-rate lasers (
kHz). Long-term drift was characterized at 100 Hz demonstrating suitability for operation over extended periods. The target was continuously operated at up to 5 Hz in a recent experiment for 70,000 shots without intervention by the experimental team, with the exception of tape replacement, producing the largest data-set of relativistically intense laser–solid foil measurements to date. This tape drive provides robust targetry for the generation and study of high-repetition-rate ion beams using next-generation high-power laser systems, also enabling wider applications of laser-driven proton sources.
This paper presents a compilation of atmospheric radiocarbon for the period 1950–2019, derived from atmospheric CO2 sampling and tree rings from clean-air sites. Following the approach taken by Hua et al. (2013), our revised and extended compilation consists of zonal, hemispheric and global radiocarbon (14C) data sets, with monthly data sets for 5 zones (Northern Hemisphere zones 1, 2, and 3, and Southern Hemisphere zones 3 and 1–2). Our new compilation includes smooth curves for zonal data sets that are more suitable for dating applications than the previous approach based on simple averaging. Our new radiocarbon dataset is intended to help facilitate the use of atmospheric bomb 14C in carbon cycle studies and to accommodate increasing demand for accurate dating of recent (post-1950) terrestrial samples.
We aimed to evaluate how coronavirus (COVID-19) restrictions had altered individual's drinking behaviours, including consumption, hangover experiences, and motivations to drink, and changing levels of depression and anxiety.
We conducted an online cross-sectional self-report survey. Whole group analysis compared pre- versus post-COVID restrictions. A correlation coefficient matrix evaluated the associations between all outcome scores. Self-report data was compared with Alcohol Use Disorders Identification Test (AUDIT) scores from the 2014 Adult Psychiatric Morbidity Survey. Multiple linear modelling (MLM) was calculated to identify factors associated with increasing AUDIT scores and post-restriction AUDIT scores.
In total, 346 individuals completed the survey, of which 336 reported drinking and were therefore analysed. After COVID-19 restrictions 23.2% of respondents reported an increased AUDIT score, and 60.1% a decreased score. AUDIT score change was positively correlated with change in depression (P < 0.01, r = 0.15), anxiety (P < 0.01, r = 0.15) and drinking to cope scores (P < 0.0001, r = 0.35). MLM revealed that higher AUDIT scores were associated with age, mental illness, lack of a garden, self-employed or furloughed individuals, a confirmed COVID-19 diagnosis and smoking status.
COVID-19 restrictions decreased alcohol consumption for the majority of individuals in this study. However, a small proportion increased their consumption; this related to drinking to cope and increased depression and anxiety.
Airborne radio-echo sounding (RES) surveys are widely used to measure ice-sheet bed topography. Measuring bed topography as accurately and widely as possible is of critical importance to modelling ice dynamics and hence to constraining better future ice response to climate change. Measurement accuracy of RES surveys is influenced both by the geometry of bed topography and the survey design. Here we develop a novel approach for simulating RES surveys over glaciated terrain, to quantify the sensitivity of derived bed elevation to topographic geometry. Furthermore, we investigate how measurement errors influence the quantification of glacial valley geometry. We find a negative bias across RES measurements, where off-nadir return measurement error is typically −1.8 ± 11.6 m. Topographic highlands are under-measured an order of magnitude more than lowlands. Consequently, valley depth and cross-sectional area are largely under-estimated. While overall estimates of ice thickness are likely too high, we find large glacier valley cross-sectional area to be under-estimated by −2.8 ± 18.1%. Therefore, estimates of ice flux through large outlet glaciers are likely too low when this effect is not taken into account. Additionally, bed mismeasurements potentially impact our appreciation of outlet-glacier stability.
Studies suggest that alcohol consumption and alcohol use disorders have distinct genetic backgrounds.
We examined whether polygenic risk scores (PRS) for consumption and problem subscales of the Alcohol Use Disorders Identification Test (AUDIT-C, AUDIT-P) in the UK Biobank (UKB; N = 121 630) correlate with alcohol outcomes in four independent samples: an ascertained cohort, the Collaborative Study on the Genetics of Alcoholism (COGA; N = 6850), and population-based cohorts: Avon Longitudinal Study of Parents and Children (ALSPAC; N = 5911), Generation Scotland (GS; N = 17 461), and an independent subset of UKB (N = 245 947). Regression models and survival analyses tested whether the PRS were associated with the alcohol-related outcomes.
In COGA, AUDIT-P PRS was associated with alcohol dependence, AUD symptom count, maximum drinks (R2 = 0.47–0.68%, p = 2.0 × 10−8–1.0 × 10−10), and increased likelihood of onset of alcohol dependence (hazard ratio = 1.15, p = 4.7 × 10−8); AUDIT-C PRS was not an independent predictor of any phenotype. In ALSPAC, the AUDIT-C PRS was associated with alcohol dependence (R2 = 0.96%, p = 4.8 × 10−6). In GS, AUDIT-C PRS was a better predictor of weekly alcohol use (R2 = 0.27%, p = 5.5 × 10−11), while AUDIT-P PRS was more associated with problem drinking (R2 = 0.40%, p = 9.0 × 10−7). Lastly, AUDIT-P PRS was associated with ICD-based alcohol-related disorders in the UKB subset (R2 = 0.18%, p < 2.0 × 10−16).
AUDIT-P PRS was associated with a range of alcohol-related phenotypes across population-based and ascertained cohorts, while AUDIT-C PRS showed less utility in the ascertained cohort. We show that AUDIT-P is genetically correlated with both use and misuse and demonstrate the influence of ascertainment schemes on PRS analyses.
The thymus undergoes a critical period of growth and development early in gestation and, by mid-gestation, immature thymocytes are subject to positive and negative selection. Exposure to undernutrition during these periods may permanently affect phenotype. We measured thymulin concentrations, as a proxy for thymic size and function, in children (n = 290; aged 9–13 years) born to participants in a cluster-randomized trial of maternal vitamin A or β-carotene supplementation in rural Nepal (1994–1997). The geometric mean (95% confidence interval) thymulin concentration was 1.37 ng/ml (1.27, 1.47). A multivariate model of early-life exposures revealed a positive association with gestational age at delivery (β = 0.02; P = 0.05) and higher concentrations among children born to β-carotene-supplemented mothers (β = 0.19; P < 0.05). At ∼9–12 years of age, thymulin was positively associated with all anthropometric measures, with height retained in our multivariate model (β = 0.02; P < 0.001). There was significant seasonal variation: concentrations tended to be lower pre-monsoon (β = −0.13; P = 0.15), during the monsoon (β = −0.22; P = 0.04), and pre-harvest (β = −0.34; P = 0.01), relative to the post-harvest season. All early-life associations, except supplementation, were mediated in part by nutritional status at follow-up. Our findings underscore the known sensitivity of the thymus to nutrition, including potentially lasting effects of early nutritional exposures. The relevance of these findings to later disease risk remains to be explored, particularly given the role of thymulin in the neuroendocrine regulation of inflammation.
Identifying factors that influence the functional outcome is an important goal in schizophrenia research. The 22q11.2 deletion syndrome (22q11DS) is a unique genetic model with high risk (20–25%) for schizophrenia. This study aimed to identify potentially targetable domains of neurocognitive functioning associated with functional outcome in adults with 22q11DS.
We used comprehensive neurocognitive test data available for 99 adults with 22q11DS (n = 43 with schizophrenia) and principal component analysis to derive four domains of neurocognition (Verbal Memory, Visual and Logical Memory, Motor Performance, and Executive Performance). We then investigated the association of these neurocognitive domains with adaptive functioning using Vineland Adaptive Behavior Scales data and a linear regression model that accounted for the effects of schizophrenia status and overall intellectual level.
The regression model explained 46.8% of the variance in functional outcome (p < 0.0001). Executive Performance was significantly associated with functional outcome (p = 0.048). Age and schizophrenia were also significant factors. The effects of Executive Performance on functioning did not significantly differ between those with and without psychotic illness.
The findings provide the impetus for further studies to examine the potential of directed (early) interventions targeting Executive Performance to improve long-term adaptive functional outcome in individuals with, or at high risk for, schizophrenia. Moreover, the neurocognitive test profiles may benefit caregivers and clinicians by providing insight into the relative strengths and weaknesses of individuals with 22q11DS, with and without psychotic illness.
Soil-applied herbicides alone or followed by postemergence (POST) applications of CGA-277476 were evaluated for season-long weed control in soybean. Common cocklebur, hemp sesbania, and pitted morningglory control was not consistently improved with a soil-applied herbicide followed by a POST application of 79 g ai/ha CGA-277476. However, in locations with heavy weed pressure, a tank-mix of chlorimuron + metribuzin + trifluralin or imazaquin + pendimethalin followed by CGA-277476 improved common cocklebur, hemp sesbania, and pitted morningglory over CGA-277476 alone. Sequential application of CGA-277476 following SAN 582 improved weed control over SAN 582 alone. When weed pressure was not severe, there were no differences in control from CGA-277476 alone or following soil-applied herbicides. A POST application of CGA-277476 following soil-applied herbicides did not consistently improve soybean yield over CGA-277476 alone. Yield from soybean treated with SAN 582 was improved when CGA-277476 was applied. In contrast, when chlorimuron + metribuzin + trifluralin or imazaquin + pendimethalin were applied at planting, yield was similar with or without POST application of CGA-277476.
Results are presented from our ongoing studies of Titan using ALMA during the period 2012-2015, including a confirmation of the previous detection of vinyl cyanide (C2H3CN), as well as the first spatial map for this species on Titan. Simultaneous mapping of HC3N, CH3CN and C2H5CN reveal characteristic abundance patterns for each species that provide insight into their individual photochemical lifetimes, and help inform our understanding of Titan’s unique, time-variable atmospheric chemistry and global circulation. A time-sequence of HC3N maps covering 38 months reveals a dramatic change in the distribution of this gas consistent with high-altitude photochemical production followed by advection towards the southern (winter) pole, combined with rapid loss in the north after Titan’s 2009 seasonal equinox. The 2015 C2H3CN and C2H5CN maps show abundance peaks in Titan’s southern hemisphere, similar to those observed for the short-lived HC3N molecule. The longer-lived CH3CN, on the other hand, remains more concentrated in the north.
Field research was conducted at three locations in Mississippi to evaluate CGA-277476 tank mixtures with four broadleaf herbicides for possible improvement of broadleaf weed control. Tank mixtures in this research were typically additive, although some instances of antagonism were noted. Control of morningglory (Ipomoea) species and hemp sesbania (Sesbania exaltata) was not consistently improved by the addition of acifluorfen, chlorimuron, fomesafen, or imazaquin to 59 or 79 g ai/ha CGA-277476. However, when a large population of weeds was present, the addition of acifluorfen, chlorimuron, or fomesafen to 59 or 79 g/ha CGA-277476 improved control over CGA-277476 alone. Prickly sida (Sida spinosa) was not controlled more than 68% with any treatment in this study; however, horse purslane (Trianthema portulacastrum) was controlled at least 90% with either 79 g/ha CGA-277476 alone or tank-mixed with acifluorfen, fomesafen, chlorimuron, or imazaquin. The addition of CGA-277476 to acifluorfen or fomesafen did not improve control over acifluorfen or fomesafen alone on any of the weeds evaluated; however, the addition of CGA-277476 to imazaquin improved hemp sesbania control over imazaquin alone. Tank mixtures did not result in yields greater than CGA-277476 alone in areas with moderate weed pressure, whereas in areas with severe weed pressure, tank mixtures improved soybean (Glycine max) yield over CGA-277476 alone.
Spray carrier pH affects the solubility of sulfonylurea herbicides and, therefore, could affect absorption and subsequent translocation of these compounds in weeds. Trifloxysulfuron is a sulfonylurea herbicide developed for POST weed control in cotton, sugarcane, and turfgrass with a pKa of 4.81. The objective of this study was to evaluate the absorption and translocation of foliar-applied 14C-trifloxysulfuron in Palmer amaranth and Texasweed at pH 5, 7, and 9 over a period of 4 to 72 h after treatment (HAT). For absorption, effects of time, species, and pH were significant. Absorption averaged over species and pH increased logarithmically from 4 to 72 HAT. Absorption was greater for Palmer amaranth (88%) than for Texasweed (29%) when averaged over time and pH. Absorption averaged over species and time increased in the order of pH 5 (52%) < pH 9 (60%) = pH 7 (61%). Consequently, this translated into greater translocation of 14C-trifloxysulfuron in Texasweed when sprayed with the higher pH spray solutions. These data indicate that absorption and translocation of trifloxysulfuron in some weed species may be enhanced by increasing the pH of the spray solution by 2 pH units above the pKa.
Leaf mass per area (MA) is a central ecological trait that is intercorrelated with leaf life span, photosynthetic rate, nutrient concentration, and palatability to herbivores. These coordinated variables form a globally convergent leaf economics spectrum, which represents a general continuum running from rapid resource acquisition to maximized resource retention. Leaf economics are little studied in ancient ecosystems because they cannot be directly measured from leaf fossils. Here we use a large extant data set (65 sites; 667 species-site pairs) to develop a new, easily measured scaling relationship between petiole width and leaf mass, normalized for leaf area; this enables MA estimation for fossil leaves from petiole width and leaf area, two variables that are commonly measurable in leaf compression floras. The calibration data are restricted to woody angiosperms exclusive of monocots, but a preliminary data set (25 species) suggests that broad-leaved gymnosperms exhibit a similar scaling. Application to two well-studied, classic Eocene floras demonstrates that MA can be quantified in fossil assemblages. First, our results are consistent with predictions from paleobotanical and paleoclimatic studies of these floras. We found exclusively low-MA species from Republic (Washington, U.S.A., 49 Ma), a humid, warm-temperate flora with a strong deciduous component among the angiosperms, and a wide MA range in a seasonally dry, warm-temperate flora from the Green River Formation at Bonanza (Utah, U.S.A., 47 Ma), presumed to comprise a mix of short and long leaf life spans. Second, reconstructed MA in the fossil species is negatively correlated with levels of insect herbivory, whether measured as the proportion of leaves with insect damage, the proportion of leaf area removed by herbivores, or the diversity of insect-damage morphotypes. These correlations are consistent with herbivory observations in extant floras and they reflect fundamental trade-offs in plant-herbivore associations. Our results indicate that several key aspects of plant and plant-animal ecology can now be quantified in the fossil record and demonstrate that herbivory has helped shape the evolution of leaf structure for millions of years.
Heritability estimates from twin studies of the multi-faceted phenotype of nicotine dependence (ND) range from moderate to high (31–60%), but vary substantially based on the specific ND-related construct examined. The current study estimated the aggregate role of common genetic variants on key ND constructs.
Genomic-relationship-matrix restricted maximum likelihood (GREML) was used to decompose phenotypic variance across multiple ND indices using 796 125 polymorphisms from 2346 unrelated ‘lifetime ever smokers’ of European ancestry. Measures included DSM-IV ND and Fagerström Test for Nicotine Dependence (FTND) summary measures and constituent constructs (e.g. withdrawal severity, tolerance, heaviness of smoking and time spent smoking). Exploratory and confirmatory factor models were used to describe the covariance structure across ND measures; resulting factor(s) were the subject(s) of GREML analyses.
Factor models indicated highly correlated DSM-IV and FTND factors for ND (0.545, 95% confidence interval 0.50–0.60) that could be represented as a higher-order factor (NIC DEP). Additive genetic influence on NIC DEP was 33% (s.e. = 0.14, p = 0.009). Post-hoc analyses indicated moderate genetic effects on the DSM-IV (34%, s.e. = 0.14, p = 0.008) and FTND (26%, s.e. = 0.14, p = 0.032) factors, both of which were influenced by the same genetic effects (rG-SNP = 1.00, s.e. = 0.09, p < 0.00001).
Overall, common single nucleotide polymorphisms accounted for a large proportion of the genetic influences on ND-related phenotypes that have been observed in twin studies. Genetic contributions across distinct ND scales were largely influenced by shared genetic factors.
There are now significant data to support the hypothesis that early life nutrition in the fetus, infant and young child can have profound effects on long-term health. This review considers some of this evidence with specific reference to the current burden of disease in Australia and New Zealand. As the findings of further research become available, recommendations on optimizing early life nutrition should be formulated and made widely available as part of the preventative health policy agenda in both Australia and New Zealand.
Purification of amyloid plaque core proteins (APCP) from Alzheimer's disease brains to complete homogeneity and in high yield permitted its chemical fractionation and characterization of its components. APCP is mainly made of β-amyloid (βA) and an assortment of glycoproteins (accounting for 20%) rich in carbohydrates compatible with N-and O-linked saccharides. When added to tissue culture of sympathetic and sensory neurons APCP and βA inhibited neuritic sprouting, a reversible phenomenon at low doses. Higher concentrations of both substances kill the neurons in culture. APCP is significantly more toxic than βA, suggesting the minor components may play an important role in increasing the toxicity of βA. If the observed toxic effects of APCP in situ are occurring in vivo during the course of AD, then the accumulation of these extracellular proteins could be largely responsible for some of the neuronal death observed in this neuropathology.
Innate-like B1a lymphocytes arise from long-lived progenitors produced exclusively by fetal stem cells. Any insults coinciding with this early lymphopoietic wave could have a permanent impact on the B1a population and its unique protein products, the natural antibodies (NAb). We investigated early life nutritional influences on NAb concentrations of pre-adolescent children (n=290) in rural Nepal for whom we had extensive information on exposures from pregnancy and early infancy. Infant size and growth were strongly associated with NAb concentrations at 9–13 years of age among males (e.g., for neonatal weight: βBOYS=0.43; P<0.001), but not females (e.g., for neonatal weight: βGIRLS=−0.16; P=0.26). In females, season of birth was associated with NAb concentrations, with marked reductions among girls born during the pre-monsoon (March–May; βGIRLS=−0.39; P=0.01) and pre-harvest (September–November; βGIRLS=−0.35; P=0.03) seasons. Our findings suggest that nutritional or other environmental influences on immune development may vary by sex, with potential consequences for immune function during infancy and long-term risk of immune-mediated disease.
Information-processing biases may contribute to the intergenerational transmission of depression. There is growing evidence that children of depressed mothers exhibit attentional biases for sad faces. However, findings are mixed as to whether this bias reflects preferential attention toward, versus attentional avoidance of, sad faces, suggesting the presence of unmeasured moderators. To address these mixed findings, we focused on the potential moderating role of genes associated with hypothalamic–pituitary–adrenal axis reactivity. Participants included children (8–14 years old) of mothers with (n = 81) and without (n = 81) a history of depression. Eye movements were recorded while children passively viewed arrays of angry, happy, sad, and neutral faces. DNA was obtained from buccal cells. Children of depressed mothers exhibited more sustained attention to sad faces than did children of nondepressed mothers. However, it is important that this relation was moderated by children's genotype. Specifically, children of depressed mothers who carried reactive genotypes across the corticotropin-releasing hormone type 1 receptor (CHRH1) TAT haplotype and FK506 binding protein 5 (FKBP5) rs1360780 (but not the solute carrier family C6 member 4 [SLC6A4] of the serotonin transporter linked polymorphic region [5-HTTLPR]) exhibited less sustained attention to sad faces and more sustained attention to happy faces. These findings highlight the role played by specific genetic influences and suggest that previous mixed findings may have been due to genetic heterogeneity across the samples.
Diethylstilbestrol (DES) is a non-steroidal estrogen that was commonly prescribed during pregnancy from the late 1940s to 1971. A potent endocrine disruptor, prenatal DES exposure has been linked with reproductive tract malformations, adverse pregnancy outcomes, cancer, infertility and earlier menopause. DES was used for years as a growth promoter in animal production. Some animal studies suggest that prenatal DES exposure is associated with obesity and metabolic disturbances. Using data from the National Cancer Institute DES Follow-Up Study, we evaluated the association between DES and adult obesity, weight gain from age 20 to mid-life, central adiposity and height among 2871 prenatally exposed and 1352 unexposed women between 23 and 52 years of age (median 41.5) at baseline in 1994. DES exposure status was confirmed by prenatal medical record review. We used multivariable log-binomial models to calculate risk ratios (RRs) for obesity in 2006, and linear regression to calculate mean differences in body mass index, weight gain, waist circumference and height. The adjusted RR for DES and obesity was 1.09 [95% confidence interval (CI): 0.97, 1.22], and RRs were 1.23 (CI: 1.07, 1.42) and 1.05 (CI: 0.91, 1.20) for low and high estimated total DES dose, respectively, compared with no exposure. DES-exposed women gained slightly more weight than unexposed women [mean difference, 0.70 kg (CI: −0.27, 1.66)]. This study suggests that prenatal DES exposure may be associated with a small increase in adult obesity.