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In recent years, the discovery of massive quasars at
has provided a striking challenge to our understanding of the origin and growth of supermassive black holes in the early Universe. Mounting observational and theoretical evidence indicates the viability of massive seeds, formed by the collapse of supermassive stars, as a progenitor model for such early, massive accreting black holes. Although considerable progress has been made in our theoretical understanding, many questions remain regarding how (and how often) such objects may form, how they live and die, and how next generation observatories may yield new insight into the origin of these primordial titans. This review focusses on our present understanding of this remarkable formation scenario, based on the discussions held at the Monash Prato Centre from November 20 to 24, 2017, during the workshop ‘Titans of the Early Universe: The Origin of the First Supermassive Black Holes’.
Background: Diffusion-tensor imaging (DTI) tractography is commonly used in neurosurgical practice, but is largely limited to the preoperative setting. This is due primarily to image degradation caused by susceptibility artifact when conventional single-shot (SS) echo-planar imaging DTI is acquired for open cranial, surgical position intraoperative DTI (iDTI). A novel, artifact-resistant, readout-segmented (RS) DTI has not yet been evaluated in the intraoperative MRI (iMRI) environment. Our objective was to evaluate the performance of RS-DTI versus SS-DTI for intraoperative white matter imaging. Methods: Pre- and intraoperative 3T, T1-weighted and DTI (RS-iDTI and SS-iDTI) in 22 adults undergoing intraaxial iMRI resections (low-grade glioma: 14, 64%; high-grade glioma: 7, 32%; cortical dysplasia: 1). Regional susceptibility artifact, anatomical deviation relative to T1WI, and tractographic output were compared between iDTI sequences. Results: RS-iDTI resulted in less regional susceptibility artifact and mean anatomic deviation (RS-iDTI: 2.7±0.2 mm versus SS-iDTI 7.5±0.4 mm; p<0.0001). Tractographic failure occurred in 8/22 (36%) patients for SS-iDTI whereas RS-iDTI permitted successful reconstruction in 4 of these 8. Maximal tractographic differences between DTI sequences were substantial (mean 9.7±5.7 mm). Conclusions: Readout-segmented EPI enables higher quality and more accurate DTI for surgically relevant tractography of major white matter tracts in intraoperative, open cranium, neurosurgical applications at 3T.
Cryo-electron microscopy (cryo-EM) is a powerful tool for macromolecular to near-atomic resolution structure determination in the biological sciences. The specimen is maintained in a near-native environment within a thin film of vitreous ice and imaged in a transmission electron microscope. The images can then be processed by a number of computational methods to produce three-dimensional information. Recent advances in sample preparation, imaging, and data processing have led to tremendous growth in the field of cryo-EM by providing higher resolution structures and the ability to investigate macromolecules within the context of the cell. Here, we review developments in sample preparation methods and substrates, detectors, phase plates, and cryo-correlative light and electron microscopy that have contributed to this expansion. We also have included specific biological applications.
Worldwide, tobacco smoke is still the leading cause of preventable morbidity and mortality. Many smokers develop chronic smoking-related conditions that require emergency department (ED) visits. However, best practices for ED smoking cessation counselling are still unclear.
A randomized controlled trial was conducted to determine whether an “ask, advise, and refer” approach increases 12-month, 30-day quit rates in the stable adult ED smoking population compared to usual care. Patients in the intervention group were referred to a community counselling service that offers a quitline, a text-based program, and a Web-based program. Longitudinal intention-to-treat analyses were performed.
From November 2011 to March 2013, 1,295 patients were enrolled from one academic tertiary care ED. Six hundred thirty-five were allocated to usual care, and 660 were allocated to intervention. Follow-up data were available for 70% of all patients at 12 months. There was no statistically significant difference in 12-month, 30-day quit rates between the two groups. However, there was a trend towards higher 7-day quit attempts, 7-day quit rates, and 30-day quit rates at 3, 6, and 12 months in the intervention group.
In this study, there was a trend towards increased smoking cessation following referral to a community counselling service. There was no statistically significant difference. However, if ED smoking cessation efforts were to provide even a small positive effect, such an intervention may have a significant public health impact given the extensive reach of emergency physicians.
Dilute magnetic semiconductors are attractive due to their potential in spintronic devices. In this work, vanadium doped ZnO system has been studied to see its future as a dilute magnetic semiconductor. Vanadium doped ZnO thin films where vanadium percentage is 2, 3, and 5% are deposited by pulsed laser technique (PLD). The lattice parameter c derived from the (002) diffraction peak increases as vanadium content increases, suggesting vanadium substitution for Zn in ZnO lattice. Photoluminescence (PL) measurements at low temperature shows the emission peak at 3.30 eV which hint toward p-type doping in ZnO. X-ray photoelectron spectroscopy (XPS) results show that vanadium exists in V2+ and V4+ valence state, which is in agreement with the XRD and PL results and support the vanadium doped ZnO phase. The ferromagnetic behavior also supports the formation of vanadium doped ZnO phase in thin film samples.
Historically, alloy development with better radiation performance has been focused on traditional alloys with one or two principal element(s) and minor alloying elements, where enhanced radiation resistance depends on microstructural or nanoscale features to mitigate displacement damage. In sharp contrast to traditional alloys, recent advances of single-phase concentrated solid solution alloys (SP-CSAs) have opened up new frontiers in materials research. In these alloys, a random arrangement of multiple elemental species on a crystalline lattice results in disordered local chemical environments and unique site-to-site lattice distortions. Based on closely integrated computational and experimental studies using a novel set of SP-CSAs in a face-centered cubic structure, we have explicitly demonstrated that increasing chemical disorder can lead to a substantial reduction in electron mean free paths, as well as electrical and thermal conductivity, which results in slower heat dissipation in SP-CSAs. The chemical disorder also has a significant impact on defect evolution under ion irradiation. Considerable improvement in radiation resistance is observed with increasing chemical disorder at electronic and atomic levels. The insights into defect dynamics may provide a basis for understanding elemental effects on evolution of radiation damage in irradiated materials and may inspire new design principles of radiation-tolerant structural alloys for advanced energy systems.
Vibrio cholerae O139 emerged as a causative agent of epidemic cholera in 1992 in India and Bangladesh, and was subsequently reported in China in 1993. The genetic relatedness and molecular characteristics of V. cholerae O139 in Guangdong Province, located in the southern coastal area of China, remains undetermined. In this study, we investigated 136 clinical V. cholerae O139 isolates from 1993 to 2013 in Guangdong. By conventional PCR, 123 (90·4%) isolates were positive for ctxB, ace and zot. Sequencing of the positive amplicons indicated 113 (91·7%) isolates possessed the El Tor allele of ctxB (genotype 3); seven carried the classical ctxB type (genotype 1) and three harboured a novel ctxB type (genotype 5). With respect to tcpA, 123 (90·4%) isolates were positive for the El Tor allele. In addition, pulsed-field gel electrophoresis (with NotI digestion) differentiated the isolates into clusters A and B. Cluster A contained seven of the non-toxigenic isolates from 1998 to 2000; another six non-toxigenic isolates (from 1998 and 2007) and all of the toxigenic isolates formed cluster B. Our results suggest that over a 20-year period, the predominant O139 clinical isolates have maintained a relatively tight clonal structure, although some genetic variance and shift has occurred. Our data highlight the persistence of toxigenic V. cholerae O139 in clinical settings in the southern coastal area of China.
Glacier change has been recognized as an important climate variable due to its sensitive response to climate change. Although there are a large number of glaciers distributed over the southeastern Qinghai–Tibetan Plateau, the region is poorly represented in glacier databases due to seasonal snow cover and frequent cloud cover. Here, we present an improved glacier inventory for this region by combining Landsat observations acquired over 2011–13 (Landsat 8/OLI and Landsat TM/ETM+), coherence images from Advanced Land Observing Satellite Phased Array type L-band Synthetic Aperture Radar images and the Shuttle Radar Topography Mission (SRTM) DEM. We present a semi-automated scheme for integrating observations from multi-temporal Landsat scenes to mitigate cloud obscuration. Further, the clean-ice observations, together with coherence information, slope constraints, vegetation cover and water classification information extracted from the Landsat scenes, are integrated to determine the debris-covered glacier area. After manual editing, we derive a new glacier inventory containing 6892 glaciers >0.02 km2, covering a total area of 6566 ± 197 km2. This new glacier inventory indicates gross overestimation in glacier area (over 30%) in previously published glacier inventories, and reveals various spatial characteristics of glaciers in the region. Our inventory can be used as a baseline dataset for future studies including glacier change assessment.
The aim of this study was to explore the effect of single-dose albendazole and vitamin A intervention on the anaemic status and Fe metabolism of pre-school children. This study was a randomised, placebo-controlled and double-blinded intervention trial. All eligible anaemic pre-school children were randomly divided into three groups: group 1 received no intervention, which served as the control group, group 2 received 400 mg single-dose albendazole administration and group 3 received a 60000 μg vitamin A capsule combined with 400 mg single-dose albendazole at the beginning of the study. The follow-up period was for 6 months. Anthropometry and biochemical index about Fe metabolism were measured before and after intervention. A total of 209 pre-school anaemic children were randomly divided into three intervention groups (sixty-four, sixty-two and sixty for groups 1, 2 and 3, respectively). The mean age of the children in the study was 4·4 (sd 0·7) years and 50·5 % of the children were female (94/186). After a follow-up period of 6 months, the levels of serum retinol, ferritin, transferrin receptor-ferritin index and body total Fe content of children in group 3 were significantly higher compared with children in groups 1 and 2 (P<0·05). Moreover, the proportion of vitamin A deficiency, marginal vitamin A deficiency and Fe deficiency among children in group 3 were markedly lower compared with children in groups 1 and 2 (P<0·05). Albendazole plus vitamin A administration showed more efficacy on the improvement of serum retinol and Fe metabolic status.
Electron microscopy (EM), cryo-electron microscopy (cryo-EM), and cryo-electron tomography (cryo-ET) are essential techniques used for characterizing basic virus morphology and determining the three-dimensional structure of viruses. Enveloped viruses, which contain an outer lipoprotein coat, constitute the largest group of pathogenic viruses to humans. The purification of enveloped viruses from cell culture presents certain challenges. Specifically, the inclusion of host-membrane-derived vesicles, the complete destruction of the viruses, and the disruption of the internal architecture of individual virus particles. Here, we present a strategy for capturing enveloped viruses on affinity grids (AG) for use in both conventional EM and cryo-EM/ET applications. We examined the utility of AG for the selective capture of human immunodeficiency virus virus-like particles, influenza A, and measles virus. We applied nickel-nitrilotriacetic acid lipid layers in combination with molecular adaptors to selectively adhere the viruses to the AG surface. This further development of the AG method may prove essential for the gentle and selective purification of enveloped viruses directly onto EM grids for ultrastructural analyses.
We present a route for direct growth of boron nitride via a polyborazylene to h-BN conversion process. This two-step growth process ultimately leads to a >25x reduction in the root-mean-square surface roughness of h-BN films when compared to a high temperature growth on Al2O3(0001) and Si(111) substrates. Additionally, the stoichiometry is shown to be highly dependent on the initial polyborazylene deposition temperature. Importantly, chemical vapor deposition (CVD) graphene transferred to direct-grown boron nitride films on Al2O3 at 400 °C results in a >1.5x and >2.5x improvement in mobility compared to CVD graphene transferred to Al2O3 and SiO2 substrates, respectively, which is attributed to the combined reduction of remote charged impurity scattering and surface roughness scattering. Simulation of mobility versus carrier concentration confirms the importance of limiting the introduction of charged impurities in the h-BN film and highlights the importance of these results in producing optimized h-BN substrates for high performance graphene and TMD devices.
Lower Cretaceous pedogenic carbonates exposed in SE China have been dated by U–Pb isotope measurements on single zircons taken from intercalated volcanic rocks, and the ages integrated with existing stratigraphy. δ13C values of calcretes range from –7.0‰ to –3.0‰ and can be grouped into five episodes of increasing–decreasing values. The carbon isotope proxy derived from these palaeosol carbonates suggests pCO2 mostly in the range 1000–2000 parts per million by volume (ppmV) at S(z) (CO2 contributed by soil respiration) = 2500 ppmV and 25°C during the Hauterivian–Albian interval (c. 30 Ma duration). Such atmospheric CO2 levels are 4–8 times pre-industrial values, almost double those estimated by geochemical modelling and much higher than those established from stomatal indices in fossil plants. Rapid rises in pCO2 are identified for early Hauterivian, middle Barremian, late Aptian, early Albian and middle Albian time, and rapid falls for intervening periods. These episodic cyclic changes in pCO2 are not attributed to local tectonism and volcanism but rather to global changes. The relationship between reconstructed pCO2 and the development of large igneous provinces (LIPs) remains unclear, although large-scale extrusion of basalt may well be responsible for relatively high atmospheric levels of this greenhouse gas. Suggested levels of relatively low pCO2 correspond in timing to intervals of regional to global enrichment of marine carbon in sediments and negative carbon isotope (δ13C) excursions characteristic of the oceanic anoxic events OAE1a (Selli Event), Kilian and Paquier events (constituting part of the OAE 1b cluster) and OAE1d. Short-term episodes of high pCO2 coincide with negligible carbon isotope excursions associated with the Faraoni Event and the Jacob Event. Given that episodes of regional organic carbon burial would draw down CO2 and negative δ13C excursions indicate the addition of isotopically light carbon to the ocean–atmosphere system, controls on the carbon cycle in controlling pCO2 during Early Cretaceous time were clearly complex and made more so by atmospheric composition also being affected by changes in silicate weathering intensity.
We report the installation and performance evaluation of a probe aberration-corrected high-resolution JEOL JEM-ARM200F transmission electron microscope (TEM). We provide details on construction of the room that enables us to obtain scanning transmission electron microscope (STEM) data without any evident distortions/noise from the external environment. The microscope routinely delivers expected performance. We show that the highest STEM spatial resolution and energy resolution achieved with this microscope are 0.078 nm and 0.34 eV, respectively. We report a direct comparative evaluation of the performance of this microscope with a Schottky thermal field-emission gun versus a cold field-emission gun. Cold field-emission illumination improves spatial resolution of the high current probe for analytical spectroscopy, the TEM information limit, and the electron energy resolution compared to the Schottky thermal field-emission source.
Contaminated water is one of the main sources of norovirus (NoV) gastroenteritis outbreaks globally. Waterborne NoV outbreaks are infrequently attributed to GII.4 NoV. In September 2009, a NoV outbreak affected a small school in Guangdong Province, China. Epidemiological investigations indicated that household use water, supplied by a well, was the probable source (relative risk 1·9). NoV nucleic acid material in concentrated well-water samples was detected using real-time RT–PCR. Nucleotide sequences of NoV extracted from diarrhoea and well-water specimens were identical and had the greatest sequence identity to corresponding sequences from the epidemic strain GII.4-2006b. Our report documents the first laboratory-confirmed waterborne outbreak caused by GII.4 NoV genotype in China. Our investigations indicate that well water, intended exclusively for household use but not for consumption, caused this outbreak. The results of this report serve as a reminder that private well water intended for household use should be tested for NoV.
Exposure to intrauterine growth restriction (IUGR) is an important risk factor for impaired learning and memory, particularly in males. Although the basis of IUGR-associated learning and memory dysfunction is unknown, potential molecular participants may be insulin-like growth factor 1 (Igf1) and its receptor, IGF1r. We hypothesized that transcript levels and protein abundance of Igf1 and IGF1r in the hippocampus, a brain region critical for learning and memory, would be lower in IUGR male rats than in age-matched male controls at birth (postnatal day 0, P0), at weaning (P21) and adulthood (P120). We also hypothesized that changes in messenger Ribonucleic acid (mRNA) transcript levels and protein abundance would be associated with specific histone marks in IUGR male rats. Lastly, we hypothesized that IUGR male rats would perform poorer on tests of hippocampal function at P120. IUGR was induced by bilateral ligation of the uterine arteries in pregnant dams at embryonic day 19 (term is 21 days). Hippocampal Igf1 mRNA transcript levels and protein abundance were unchanged in IUGR male rats at P0, P21 or P120. At P0 and P120, IGF1r expression was increased in IUGR male rats. At P21, IGF1r expression was decreased in IUGR male rats. Increased IGF1r expression was associated with more histone 3 lysine 4 dimethylation (H3K4Me2) in the promoter region. In addition, IUGR male rats performed poorer on intermediate-term spatial working memory testing at P120. We speculate that altered IGF1r expression in the hippocampus of IUGR male rats may play a role in learning and memory dysfunction later in life.
The association between renal cell cancer (RCC) and intake of fruit, vegetables and nutrients was examined in a population-based case–control study of 323 cases and 1827 controls; dietary intake was obtained using a mailed questionnaire. Cancer risks were estimated by OR and 95 % CI, adjusting for age, sex, smoking, obesity, hypertension, proxy status, alcohol consumption and dietary fat intake and energy. Intake of vegetables was associated with a decreased risk of RCC (OR 0·5; 95 % CI 0·3, 0·7; Ptrend = 0·002), (top compared to the bottom quartile of intake). When intake of individual nutrients was investigated, vegetable fibre intake was associated with decreased risks (OR 0·4; 95 % CI 0·2, 0·6; P < 0·001), but this was not the case with fruit fibre (OR 0·7; 95 % CI 0·4, 1·1) or grain fibre (OR 1·0; 95 % CI 0·6, 1·5). β-Cryptoxanthin and lycopene were also associated with decreased risks, but when both were included in a mutually adjusted backwards stepwise regression model, only β-cryptoxanthin remained significant (OR 0·5; 95 % CI 0·3, 0·8). When other micronutrients and types of fibre were investigated together, only vegetable fibre and β-cryptoxanthin had significant trends (P < 0·01) (OR 0·6; 95 % CI 0·3, 0·9) (OR 0·5; 95 % CI 0·3, 0·9), respectively. These findings were stronger in those aged over 65 years (Pinteraction = 0·001). Among non-smokers, low intake of cruciferous vegetables and fruit fibre was also associated with increased risk of RCC (Pinteraction = 0·03); similar inverse associations were found for β-cryptoxanthin, lycopene and vitamin C. When nutrients were mutually adjusted by backwards regression in these subgroups, only β-cryptoxanthin remained associated with lower RCC risk. These findings deserve further investigation in ongoing prospective studies when sample size becomes sufficient.
Knowledge of compound word structures in Chinese and English was investigated, comparing 435 Chinese and 258 Americans, including second, fourth, and sixth graders, and college undergraduates. As anticipated, the results revealed that Chinese speakers performed better on a word structure analogy task than their English-speaking counterparts. Also, as anticipated, speakers of both languages performed better on noun + noun and verb + particle compounds, which are more productive in their respective languages than noun + verb and verb + noun compounds, which are less productive. Both Chinese and English speakers performed significantly better on novel compounds than on familiar compounds, most likely because familiar compounds are lexicalized and do not invite decomposition into constituents.