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The potential of capillary forces to retain water in pores is an important property of snow and firn at glaciers. Meltwater suspended in pores does not contribute to runoff and may refreeze during winter, which can affect the climatic mass balance and the subsurface density and temperature. However, measurement of firn water content is challenging and few values have been reported in the literature. Here, we use subsurface temperature and density measured at the accumulation zone of Lomonosovfonna (1200 m a.s.l.), Svalbard, to derive water content of the firn profiles after the 2014 and 2015 melt seasons. We do this by comparing measured and simulated rates of freezing front propagation. The calculated volumetric water content of firn is ~1.0–2.5 vol.% above the depth of 5 m and <0.5 vol.% below. Results derived using different thermistor strings suggest a prominent lateral variability in firn water content. Reported values are considerably lower than those commonly used in snow/firn models. This is interpreted as a result of preferential water flow in firn leaving dry volumes within wetted firn. This suggests that the implementation of irreducible water content values below 0.5 vol.% within snow/firn models should be considered at the initial phase of water infiltration.
To determine whether food security, diet diversity and diet quality are associated with anthropometric measurements and body composition among women of reproductive age. The association between food security and anaemia prevalence was also tested.
Secondary analysis of cross-sectional data from the Healthy Life Trajectories Initiative (HeLTI) study. Food security and dietary data were collected by an interviewer-administered questionnaire. Hb levels were measured using a HemoCue, and anaemia was classified as an altitude-adjusted haemoglobin level < 12·5 g/dl. Body size and composition were assessed using anthropometry and dual-energy x-ray absorptiometry.
The urban township of Soweto, Johannesburg, South Africa.
Non-pregnant women aged 18–25 years (n 1534).
Almost half of the women were overweight or obese (44 %), and 9 % were underweight. Almost a third of women were anaemic (30 %). The prevalence rates of anaemia and food insecurity were similar across BMI categories. Food insecure women had the least diverse diets, and food security was negatively associated with diet quality (food security category v. diet quality score: B = –0·35, 95 % CI –0·70, –0·01, P = 0·049). Significant univariate associations were observed between food security and total lean mass. However, there were no associations between food security and body size or composition variables in multivariate models.
Our data indicate that food security is an important determinant of diet quality in this urban-poor, highly transitioned setting. Interventions to improve maternal and child nutrition should recognise both food security and the food environment as critical elements within their developmental phases.
Gravitational waves from coalescing neutron stars encode information about nuclear matter at extreme densities, inaccessible by laboratory experiments. The late inspiral is influenced by the presence of tides, which depend on the neutron star equation of state. Neutron star mergers are expected to often produce rapidly rotating remnant neutron stars that emit gravitational waves. These will provide clues to the extremely hot post-merger environment. This signature of nuclear matter in gravitational waves contains most information in the 2–4 kHz frequency band, which is outside of the most sensitive band of current detectors. We present the design concept and science case for a Neutron Star Extreme Matter Observatory (NEMO): a gravitational-wave interferometer optimised to study nuclear physics with merging neutron stars. The concept uses high-circulating laser power, quantum squeezing, and a detector topology specifically designed to achieve the high-frequency sensitivity necessary to probe nuclear matter using gravitational waves. Above 1 kHz, the proposed strain sensitivity is comparable to full third-generation detectors at a fraction of the cost. Such sensitivity changes expected event rates for detection of post-merger remnants from approximately one per few decades with two A+ detectors to a few per year and potentially allow for the first gravitational-wave observations of supernovae, isolated neutron stars, and other exotica.
To explore community perceptions on maternal and child nutrition issues in Sub-Saharan Africa.
Thirty focus groups with men and women from three communities facilitated by local researchers.
One urban (Soweto, South Africa) and two rural settings (Navrongo, Ghana and Nanoro, Burkina Faso) at different stages of economic transition.
Two hundred thirty-seven men and women aged 18–55 years, mostly subsistence farmers in Navrongo and Nanoro and low income in Soweto.
Differences in community concerns about maternal and child health and nutrition reflected the transitional stage of the country. Community priorities revolved around poor nutrition and hunger caused by poverty, lack of economic opportunity and traditional gender roles. Men and women felt they had limited control over food and other resources. Women wanted men to take more responsibility for domestic chores, including food provision, while men wanted more involvement in their families but felt unable to provide for them. Solutions suggested focusing on ways of increasing control over economic production, family life and domestic food supplies. Rural communities sought agricultural support, while the urban community wanted regulation of the food environment.
To be acceptable and effective, interventions to improve maternal and child nutrition need to take account of communities’ perceptions of their needs and address wider determinants of nutritional status and differences in access to food reflecting the stage of the country’s economic transition. Findings suggest that education and knowledge are necessary but not sufficient to support improvements in women’s and children’s nutritional status.
To explore, from the perspectives of adolescents and caregivers, and using qualitative methods, influences on adolescent diet and physical activity in rural Gambia.
Six focus group discussions (FGD) with adolescents and caregivers were conducted. Thematic analysis was employed across the data set.
Rural region of The Gambia, West Africa.
Participants were selected using purposive sampling. Four FGD, conducted with forty adolescents, comprised: girls aged 10–12 years; boys aged 10–12 years; girls aged 15–17 years, boys aged 15–17 years. Twenty caregivers also participated in two FGD (mothers and fathers).
All participants expressed an understanding of the association between salt and hypertension, sugary foods and diabetes, and dental health. Adolescents and caregivers suggested that adolescent nutrition and health were shaped by economic, social and cultural factors and the local environment. Adolescent diet was thought to be influenced by: affordability, seasonality and the receipt of remittances; gender norms, including differences in opportunities afforded to girls, and mother-led decision-making; cultural ceremonies and school holidays. Adolescent physical activity included walking or cycling to school, playing football and farming. Participants felt adolescent engagement in physical activity was influenced by gender, seasonality, cultural ceremonies and, to some extent, the availability of digital media.
These novel insights into local understanding should be considered when formulating future interventions. Interventions need to address these interrelated factors, including misconceptions regarding diet and physical activity that may be harmful to health.
This study provides a morphological and phylogenetic characterization of two novel species of the order Haplosporida (Haplosporidium carcini n. sp., and H. cranc n. sp.) infecting the common shore crab Carcinus maenas collected at one location in Swansea Bay, South Wales, UK. Both parasites were observed in the haemolymph, gills and hepatopancreas. The prevalence of clinical infections (i.e. parasites seen directly in fresh haemolymph preparations) was low, at ~1%, whereas subclinical levels, detected by polymerase chain reaction, were slightly higher at ~2%. Although no spores were found in any of the infected crabs examined histologically (n = 334), the morphology of monokaryotic and dikaryotic unicellular stages of the parasites enabled differentiation between the two new species. Phylogenetic analyses of the new species based on the small subunit (SSU) rDNA gene placed H. cranc in a clade of otherwise uncharacterized environmental sequences from marine samples, and H. carcini in a clade with other crustacean-associated lineages.
Our research group demonstrated that vitamin A restriction affected meat quality of Angus cross and Simmental steers. Therefore, the aim of this study is to highlight the genotype variations in response to dietary vitamin A levels. Commercial Angus and Simmental steers (n = 32 per breed; initial BW = 337.2 ± 5.9 kg; ~8 months of age) were fed a low-vitamin A (LVA) (1017 IU/kg DM) backgrounding diet for 95 days to reduce hepatic vitamin A stores. During finishing, steers were randomly assigned to treatments in a 2 × 2 factorial arrangement of genotype × dietary vitamin A concentration. The LVA treatment was a finishing diet with no supplemental vitamin A (723 IU vitamin A/kg DM); the control (CON) was the LVA diet plus supplementation with 2200 IU vitamin A/kg DM. Blood samples were collected at three time points throughout the study to analyze serum retinol concentration. At the completion of finishing, steers were slaughtered at a commercial abattoir. Meat characteristics assessed were intramuscular fat concentration, color, Warner-Bratzler shear force, cook loss and pH. Camera image analysis was used for determination of marbling, 12th rib back fat and longissimus muscle area (LMA). The LVA steers had lower (P < 0.001) serum retinol concentration than CON steers. The LVA treatment resulted in greater (P = 0.03) average daily gain than the CON treatment, 1.52 and 1.44 ± 0.03 kg/day, respectively; however, there was no effect of treatment on final BW, DM intake or feed efficiency. Cooking loss and yield grade were greater and LMA was smaller in LVA steers (P < 0.05). There was an interaction between breed and treatment for marbling score (P = 0.01) and percentage of carcasses grading United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) Prime (P = 0.02). For Angus steers, LVA treatment resulted in a 16% greater marbling score than CON (683 and 570 ± 40, respectively) and 27% of LVA Angus steers graded USDA Prime compared with 0% for CON. Conversely, there was no difference in marbling score or USDA Quality Grades between LVA and CON for Simmental steers. In conclusion, feeding a LVA diet during finishing increased marbling in Angus but not in Simmental steers. Reducing the vitamin A level of finishing diets fed to cattle with a high propensity to marble, such as Angus, has the potential to increase economically important traits such as marbling and quality grade without negatively impacting gain : feed or yield grade.
To assess the monitoring of antipsychotic medication in secondary care services in accordance with The National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) guidelines1.
Recent NICE guidelines on Psychosis and schizophrenia in adults1state that the secondary care team should monitor patients' physical health and the effects of antipsychotic medication for at least 12 months or until the person's condition has stabilised, and thereafter consider shared care with Primary care.
The electronic database generated a sample of 30 new service users attending a local community team in Solihull, UK who were initiated on antipsychotics between January 2012 and March 2013. We analysed electronic documentation according to an audit tool developed by our Trust Clinical Pharmacist, based on NICE guidelines.
Results showed that 83% of patients were monitored for over 12 months or until stabilised. Other documentations included response to treatment and side effects of treatment (96.7%), emergence of movement disorders (36.7%), adherence to treatment (86.7%) and physical health (90%).
Most patients were followed up for their mental health. Documentation and/or specific monitoring of physical health parameters as detailed in the guidelines remained less than 30%. Similarly, the emergence of movement disorders was infrequently recorded. Training is required to improve the understanding of the importance of monitoring of physical health in individuals with psychosis or schizophrenia, especially those taking antipsychotics. Re-audit to follow.
As the primary risk factor for cardiovascular disease (CVD), hypertension is the leading cause of preventable, premature mortality globally. Hypertension, or elevated blood pressure (BP), has a number of well-established risk factors, including genetics. A common C677T polymorphism in the gene encoding the folate metabolising enzyme methylenetetrahydrofolate reductase (MTHFR) affects 10–12% of UK and Irish populations and has been linked with 24–87% increased risk of hypertension globally. Evidence from randomised controlled trials (RCTs) conducted at this Centre has shown BP to be highly responsive (by 5–13 mmHg) to supplementation with riboflavin (MTHFR co-factor), an effect confined to homozygous individuals (TT genotype). To date, our trials have focused on peripheral BP; however, additional measures of vascular health such as central pressure are reported to be more closely correlated with CVD risk. Investigation of central BP, augmentation index (AIx) and pulse pressure amplification (PPA) may thus offer further insight into the role of this gene-nutrient interaction in blood pressure. The present study aims to investigate BP, and measures of vascular health in healthy adults stratified by MTHFR 677 genotype. Apparently healthy adults aged 18–60 years were recruited from workplaces across Northern Ireland and screened for MTHFR genotype via buccal swab. Clinic BP, anthropometry and blood sample were measured in TT individuals (n 209) and age and sex-matched CC (n 98) and CT (n 102) controls. AIx and central BP were assessed using SphygmoCor® (AtCor Medical, Australia). Preliminary results demonstrate higher BP in individuals with the MTHFR 677TT genotype compared to non-TT controls (systolic BP 134.7 ± 13.8 mmHg vs 129.7 ± 12.4 mmHg, P < 0.001; diastolic BP 81.6 ± 9.5 mmHg vs 79.7 mmHg ± 8.9 mmHg, P = 0.023, respectively). The MTHFR 677TT genotype group had significantly higher central systolic BP (119.4 ± 11.8 vs 116.7 ± 10.9 mmHg, P = 0.018), central pulse pressure (P = 0.006) and central mean pressure (P = 0.011) compared to the non-TT group. No significant differences for central diastolic BP, pulse pressure amplification, pulse pressure ratio and augmentation index were observed. This study confirms the phenotype of elevated BP in individuals with the C677T polymorphism in the gene encoding MTHFR. For the first time, this study reports that individuals with the MTHFR 677TT genotype have higher central systolic BP, central mean pressure and pulse pressure. Further investigations through RCTs investigating the effect of the MTHFR cofactor, riboflavin, on central blood pressure in these genetically at-risk adults are warranted.
Vitamin B12 deficiency is common among older adults, even with dietary intakes well in excess of current recommendations. Severe clinical B12 deficiency (i.e. pernicious anaemia) leads to irreversible neurological damage, but once diagnosed, can be treated effectively with B12 injections. A much more common cause of low vitamin B12 status in older adults is food-bound malabsorption owing to atrophic gastritis. This in turn leads to reduced gastric acid secretion, thus limiting B12 absorption from food (given the essential role of gastric acid in releasing B12 from food proteins). Proton pump inhibitor (PPI) drugs reduce gastric acid secretion, similar to atrophic gastritis, thus there is a concern that these medications may lead to vitamin B12 malabsorption. Therefore, the aim of this study was to investigate biomarker status of vitamin B12 in relation to atrophic gastritis and PPI usage. Data were accessed from The Trinity Ulster Department of Agriculture (TUDA) Ageing Cohort Study, a cross-sectional study of community-dwelling adults (n 5186, ≥ 60 years) recruited across Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland (2008–2012). TUDA participants were classified into 3 groups; ‘healthy’ controls, atrophic gastritis and PPI users. Vitamin B12 status was assessed using a total of four biomarkers: serum total B12; serum holotranscobalamin, holoTC; plasma methylmalonic acid, MMA; plasma homocysteine. Atrophic gastritis was identified using pepsinogen analysis (via ELISA), with a pepsinogen I : II ratio of < 3 considered indicative of atrophic gastritis. Based on results from all four biomarkers, participants with atrophic gastritis were found to have significantly lower B12 status compared to healthy controls: e.g. mean (95% CI) serum total vitamin B12, 188 (156, 218) pmol/L vs. 262 (252, 272) pmol/L P < 0.001; holoTC, 46.0 (38.1, 53.8) pmol/L vs. 60.3 (57.8, 62.8) pmol/L P < 0.001; plasma MMA, 0.65 (0.52, 0.78) μmol/L vs. 0.37 (0.32, 0.42) μmol/L P = 0.001. No differences in B12 biomarker concentrations were observed between PPI users and healthy controls. Regular consumption of fortified foods (i.e. ≥ 5 portions per week) compared to non-regular consumption (i.e. 0–4 portions per week) impacted positively on B12 biomarker status in all participants. This effect however appeared insufficient to restore normal vitamin B12 status in those with atrophic gastritis. These results show that older adults with atrophic gastritis have significantly lower vitamin B12 biomarker status, particularly in those who did not regularly consume fortified foods. Further investigations of the effect of atrophic gastritis and PPI usage on B12 status are warranted.
The common C677T polymorphism in the MTHFR gene encoding the folate-metabolising enzyme methylenetetrahydrofolate reductase is implicated in hypertension and hypertension in pregnancy. Hypertension affects up to 15% of all pregnancies and has been identified as a leading cause of maternal and neonatal morbidity and mortality worldwide. We previously reported higher systolic and diastolic blood pressure (BP) in non-pregnant women with the variant MTHFR 677TT genotype compared to CT/CC genotypes. In addition, randomised controlled trials (RCTs) in non-pregnant hypertensive adults from our Centre demonstrated that supplemental riboflavin (co-factor for MTHFR) lowers BP specifically in those with the TT genotype. However, the role of this common folate polymorphism and its interaction with riboflavin during pregnancy remains unclear. The aim of this study was to investigate the impact of MTHFR genotype and riboflavin status on BP in pregnancy. Data were generated from the ongoing Optimal Nutrition for the Prevention of Hypertension (OptiPREG) project. Pregnant women were recruited at the end of the first trimester from antenatal clinics in Northern Ireland and in the Republic of Ireland. Participants were screened for MTHFR genotype and BP was measured according to current clinical guidelines. Biomarker status of riboflavin was determined using the erythrocyte glutathione reductase activation coefficient (EGRac), a functional assay with higher EGRac values representing a lower status. Overall, 117 (11.6%) participants were identified with the variant MTHFR 677TT genotype. Both systolic and diastolic BP decreased from 8th to 16th gestational week (GW), however, this typical BP pattern was not observed in the TT genotype group. After adjusting for maternal age, GW and body mass index, women with the TT genotype at 12th GW had higher mean systolic (P 0.035) and diastolic (P 0.034) BP. When the results at the 12th GW were stratified by riboflavin status, the BP phenotype owing to this polymorphism was evident only among women with lower status (i.e. EGRac > 1.30), with mean (SEM) systolic BP of 120.4 (3.1) mmHg compared to 112.6 (2.5) mmHg in those with higher status (EGRac ≤ 1.30) within the TT genotype group; in contrast, low versus high riboflavin status had no impact on BP in CT/CC genotype groups. These results suggest that MTHFR genotype influences BP during pregnancy and that riboflavin can exert an important modulating effect on BP in women with TT genotype. An RCT is required to fully investigate the role of MTHFR genotype and its interactive effect with riboflavin in BP during pregnancy.
Early childhood is a well-established critical period for growth and development, potentially impacting on life-long health. Healthy dietary habits formed during the transition from a predominantly milk-based to a food-based diet track into later life. Globally, there is no established process for developing food-based dietary guidelines (FBDG) for 1–5 year old children. This study aims to establish a protocol for developing FBDG for 1–5 year old children for use in population health globally.
Foods consumed by > 10% of consumers aged 1–5 years (at each eating occasion) were identified by secondary analysis of the Irish National Pre-School Nutrition Survey (NPNS; 2012). Consultations were held with registered dietitians to update the NPNS data and reflect current dietary habits. Dietary modelling, based on healthy eating principles, was conducted on boys (n30) and girls (n30) at five percentiles on the World Health Organisation (WHO) growth charts (0.4th; 25th; 50th; 75th; 99.6th) and at six age time-points (1y; 1.5y; 2y; 3y; 4y and 5y). Intake targets were identified for energy, macronutrients and 6 key micronutrients. For those with inadequate nutrient intakes, key contributing foods were identified and used in the modelling.
Dietary modelling yielded 640 four-day food intake patterns. For 1–3 year olds, especially those < 25th growth percentile, iron was identified as an at-risk nutrient as the intake target was not achieved. For all 1–5 year olds, vitamin D was identified as an at-risk nutrient. Red meat and iron-fortified cereal (> 12mg/100g) were identified as key contributors to iron intake. A combination of red meat (30 g, 3 days/week) and iron-fortified cereal (30 g, 5 days/week) resolved inadequate iron intakes for 1–3 year olds, except those < 25th growth percentile. For those children, the additional inclusion of 4 mg iron from use of iron-fortified milk (1.2mg/100mL) or a low-dose iron supplement (7 mg, 4 days/week) resulted in adequate iron intakes. For all children aged 1–5 years, vitamin D intakes improved by including a daily 5μg vitamin D supplement, but still did not reach the intake target.
Worldwide, significant resources are invested in assessing growth and development of 1–5 year olds. This study provides a protocol for developing FBDG to meet nutritional needs of 1–5 year olds at various growth parameters (age and percentiles), using WHO charts. This enables the provision of practical food-based interventions to nutritionally vulnerable children. Using national dietary data, this approach can be applied for developing FBDG specific to a country's needs.
Space Infrared Telescope for Cosmology and Astrophysics (SPICA), the cryogenic infrared space telescope recently pre-selected for a ‘Phase A’ concept study as one of the three remaining candidates for European Space Agency (ESA's) fifth medium class (M5) mission, is foreseen to include a far-infrared polarimetric imager [SPICA-POL, now called B-fields with BOlometers and Polarizers (B-BOP)], which would offer a unique opportunity to resolve major issues in our understanding of the nearby, cold magnetised Universe. This paper presents an overview of the main science drivers for B-BOP, including high dynamic range polarimetric imaging of the cold interstellar medium (ISM) in both our Milky Way and nearby galaxies. Thanks to a cooled telescope, B-BOP will deliver wide-field 100–350
m images of linearly polarised dust emission in Stokes Q and U with a resolution, signal-to-noise ratio, and both intensity and spatial dynamic ranges comparable to those achieved by Herschel images of the cold ISM in total intensity (Stokes I). The B-BOP 200
m images will also have a factor
30 higher resolution than Planck polarisation data. This will make B-BOP a unique tool for characterising the statistical properties of the magnetised ISM and probing the role of magnetic fields in the formation and evolution of the interstellar web of dusty molecular filaments giving birth to most stars in our Galaxy. B-BOP will also be a powerful instrument for studying the magnetism of nearby galaxies and testing Galactic dynamo models, constraining the physics of dust grain alignment, informing the problem of the interaction of cosmic rays with molecular clouds, tracing magnetic fields in the inner layers of protoplanetary disks, and monitoring accretion bursts in embedded protostars.
Subclinical delusional ideas, including persecutory beliefs, in otherwise healthy individuals are heritable symptoms associated with increased risk for psychotic illness, possibly representing an expression of one end of a continuum of psychosis severity. The identification of variation in brain function associated with these symptoms may provide insights about the neurobiology of delusions in clinical psychosis.
A resting-state functional magnetic resonance imaging scan was collected from 131 young adults with a wide range of severity of subclinical delusional beliefs, including persecutory ideas. Because of evidence for a key role of the amygdala in fear and paranoia, resting-state functional connectivity of the amygdala was measured.
Connectivity between the amygdala and early visual cortical areas, including striate cortex (V1), was found to be significantly greater in participants with high (n = 43) v. low (n = 44) numbers of delusional beliefs, particularly in those who showed persistence of those beliefs. Similarly, across the full sample, the number of and distress associated with delusional beliefs were positively correlated with the strength of amygdala-visual cortex connectivity. Moreover, further analyses revealed that these effects were driven by those who endorsed persecutory beliefs.
These findings are consistent with the hypothesis that aberrant assignments of threat to sensory stimuli may lead to the downstream development of delusional ideas. Taken together with prior findings of disrupted sensory-limbic coupling in psychosis, these results suggest that altered amygdala-visual cortex connectivity could represent a marker of psychosis-related pathophysiology across a continuum of symptom severity.
Neck dissection is associated with post-operative shoulder dysfunction in a substantial number of patients, affecting quality of life and return to work. There is no current UK national practice regarding physiotherapy after neck dissection.
Nine regional centres were surveyed to determine their standard physiotherapy practice pre- and post-neck dissection, and to determine pre-emptive physiotherapy for any patients.
Eighty-nine per cent of centres never arranged any pre-emptive physiotherapy for any patients. Thirty-three per cent of centres offered routine in-patient physiotherapy after surgery. No centres offered out-patient physiotherapy for all patients regardless of symptoms. Seventy-eight per cent offered physiotherapy for patients with any symptoms, with 11 per cent offering physiotherapy for those with severe dysfunction only. Eleven per cent of centres never offered physiotherapy for any dysfunction.
The provision of physiotherapy is most commonly reactive rather than proactive, and usually driven by patient request. There is little evidence of pre-arranged physiotherapy for patients to treat or prevent shoulder dysfunction in the UK.
Direct ink writing of silicone elastomers enables printing with precise control of porosity and mechanical properties of ordered cellular solids, suitable for shock absorption and stress mitigation applications. With the ability to manipulate structure and feedstock stiffness, the design space becomes challenging to parse to obtain a solution producing a desired mechanical response. Here, we derive an analytical design approach for a specific architecture. Results from finite element simulations and quasi-static mechanical tests of two different parallel strand architectures were analyzed to understand the structure-property relationships under uniaxial compression. Combining effective stiffness-density scaling with least squares optimization of the stress responses yielded general response curves parameterized by resin modulus and strand spacing. An analytical expression of these curves serves as a reduced order model, which, when optimized, provides a rapid design capability for filament-based 3D printed structures. As a demonstration, the optimal design of a face-centered tetragonal architecture is computed that satisfies prescribed minimum and maximum load constraints.