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Biobased and biodegradable mulches (BDM) are a potentially sustainable alternative to polyethylene plastic mulch because they can be tilled into the soil at the end of the growing season. However, their degradation rate in the soil is uncertain, limiting their on-farm adoption. The objective of this study was to determine whether organic soil management practices could be leveraged to speed degradation of two potentially BDM across two diverse agroecoregions [Lincoln (LNK) and Scottsbluff (SBF), NE, USA]. Management treatments included compost, compost extract, cover crops, all three of these practices combined and a control. The two mulch types studied were a nonwoven polylactic acid fabric with embedded wood particles (PLA), and a starch-polyester mulch film (BLK). Mulches were applied in spring 2017 for vegetable production and removed in fall after harvest. Recovered mulch was sectioned into squares 10 cm2 and buried in mesh bags for 22 months. Mulch degradation, and soil chemical, physical and biological properties were measured at four times over 2 years. Management treatments applied seasonally across 2 years led to expected changes in soil properties, yet they had no effect on mulch degradation. Instead, mulch degradation was driven by the interaction of location and mulch type. The BLK mulch had degraded by 98% at LNK after 12 months, but only by half after 22 months at SBF. Degradation of PLA after 22 months was similar between locations with 29 ± 4% mulch mass remaining at SBF and 33 ± 4% remaining at LNK. Climate and soil characteristics at each location were strong determinants of mulch degradation. Specifically, soils at LNK were finer textured, lower in pH, higher in soil water content, organic matter and nitrates, and with greater bacterial abundance compared to SBF. The strong location by mulch type interaction observed could inform the development of regionally specific predictive models of degradation.
Modafinil was tested for efficacy in facilitating abstinence in cocaine-dependent patients, compared to placebo.
This is a double-blind placebo-controlled study, with 12 weeks of treatment and a 4-week follow-up. 210 treatment-seekers with DSM-IV diagnosis of cocaine dependence consented and enrolled. 72 participants were randomized to placebo, 69 to modafinil 200mg, and 69 to modafinil 400mg, taken once daily on awakening. Participants attended the clinic three times per week for assessments and urine drug screens, and had one hour of individual psychotherapy once per week. The primary outcome was the increase in weekly percentage of non-use days. Secondary outcomes included: decrease in the weekly median log of urine benzoylecgonine, subgroup analyses of balancing factors and co-morbid conditions, self-report of alcohol use, addiction severity, craving, and risk behaviors for HIV.
125 participants completed 12 weeks of treatment (60%). The GEE regression analysis showed that for the total sample, the difference between modafinil groups and placebo in the weekly percentage of cocaine non-use days over the 12-week treatment period was not statistically significant (p=0.95). A post-hoc analysis showed a significant effect for modafinil, only in the subgroup of cocaine patients without alcohol dependence. Modafinil 200mg also showed significant effects of an increase in the total number of consecutive non-use days for cocaine (p=0.02), and a reduction in craving (p=0.04).
These data suggest that modafinil, in combination with individual behavioral therapy, was effective for increasing cocaine non-use days in participants without co-morbid alcohol dependence, and in reducing craving.
In sub-Saharan Africa, there are limited data on burden of non-alcohol substance abuse (NAS) and depressive symptoms (DS), yet potential risk factors such as alcohol and intimate partner violence (IPV) are common and NAS abuse may be the rise. The aim of this study was to measure the burden of DS and NAS abuse, and determine whether alcohol use and IPV are associated with DS and/or NAS abuse. We conducted a cross-sectional study at five sites in four countries: Nigeria (nurses), South Africa (teachers), Tanzania (teachers) and two sites in Uganda (rural and peri-urban residents). Participants were selected by simple random sampling from a sampling frame at each of the study sites. We used a standardized tool to collect data on demographics, alcohol use and NAS use, IPV and DS and calculated prevalence ratios (PR). We enrolled 1415 respondents and of these 34.6% were male. DS occurred among 383 (32.3%) and NAS use among 52 (4.3%). In the multivariable analysis, being female (PR = 1.49, p = 0.008), NAS abuse (PR = 2.06, p = 0.02) and IPV (PR = 2.93, p < 0.001) were significantly associated with DS. Older age [odds ratio (OR) = 0.31, p < 0.001)], female (OR = 0.48, p = 0.036) were protective of NAS but current smokers (OR = 2.98, p < 0.001) and those reporting IPV (OR = 2.16, p = 0.024) were more likely to use NAS. Longitudinal studies should be done to establish temporal relationships with these risk factors to provide basis for interventions.
We initiated a long-term and highly frequent monitoring project toward 442 methanol masers at 6.7 GHz (Dec >−30 deg) using the Hitachi 32-m radio telescope in December 2012. The observations have been carried out daily, monitoring a spectrum of each source with intervals of 9–10 days. In September 2015, the number of the target sources and intervals were redesigned into 143 and 4–5 days, respectively. This monitoring provides us complete information on how many sources show periodic flux variations in high-mass star-forming regions, which have been detected in 20 sources with periods of 29.5–668 days so far (e.g., Goedhart et al. 2004). We have already obtained new detections of periodic flux variations in 31 methanol sources with periods of 22–409 days. These periodic flux variations must be a unique tool to investigate high-mass protostars themselves and their circumstellar structure on a very tiny spatial scale of 0.1–1 au.
The interferometric and single-dish observations of the Extended Green Objects sample have been carried out in order to check the possible common pumping mechanism of class I methanol maser (cIMM) and OH(1720 MHz) maser and their identification with a front of bipolar outflow as a source of interstellar shock stimulating collisional pumping of the molecules. High spatial and spectral resolution observations of OH masers allow us to investigate structure, kinematics, and magnetic field configuration of the inner region of the source, i.e., the outflow ejection region. Analysis of magnetic field strength in a disk area is crucial to understanding of the outflow origin.
We discuss specific aspects of space-ground VLBI (SVLBI) data processing of spectral line experiments (H2O & OH masers) in Radioastron project. In order to meet all technical requirements of the Radioastron mission a new software FX correlator (ASCFX) and the unique data archive which stores raw data from all VLBI stations for all experiments of the project were developed in Astro Space Center. Currently all maser observations conducted in Radioastron project were correlated using the ASCFX correlator. Positive detections on the space-ground baselines were found in 38 sessions out of 144 (detection rate of about 27%). Finally, we presented upper limits on the angular size of the most compact spots observed in two galactic H2O masers, W3OH(H2O) and OH043.8-0.1.
Outstanding problems concerning mass-loss from evolved stars include initial wind acceleration and what determines the clumping scale. Reconstructing physical conditions from maser data has been highly uncertain due to the exponential amplification. ALMA and e-MERLIN now provide image cubes for five H2O maser transitions around VY CMa, at spatial resolutions comparable to the size of individual clouds or better, covering excitation states from 204 to 2360 K. We use the model of Gray et al. 2016, to constrain variations of number density and temperature on scales of a few au, an order of magnitude finer than is possible with thermal lines, comparable to individual cloud sizes or locally almost homogeneous regions. We compare results with the models of Decin et al. 2006 and Matsuura et al. 2014 for the circumstellar envelope of VY CMa; in later work this will be extended to other maser sources.
This study aimed to monitor the microbiological effect of cleaning near-patient sites over a 48-hour period with a novel disinfectant, electrolyzed water.
One ward dedicated to acute care of the elderly population in a district general hospital in Scotland.
Lockers, left and right cotsides, and overbed tables in 30 bed spaces were screened for aerobic colony count (ACC), methicillin-susceptible Staphylococcus aureus (MSSA), and methicillin-resistant S. aureus (MRSA) before cleaning with electrolyzed water. Sites were rescreened at varying intervals from 1 to 48 hours after cleaning. Microbial growth was quantified as colony-forming units (CFUs) per square centimeter and presence or absence of MSSA and MRSA at each site. The study was repeated 3 times at monthly intervals.
There was an early and significant reduction in average ACC (360 sampled sites) from a before-cleaning level of 4.3 to 1.65 CFU/cm2 at 1 hour after disinfectant cleaning (P <.0001). Average counts then increased to 3.53 CFU/cm2 at 24 hours and 3.68 CFU/cm2 at 48 hours. Total MSSA/MRSA (34 isolates) decreased by 71% at 4 hours after cleaning but then increased to 155% (53 isolates) of precleaning levels at 24 hours.
Cleaning with electrolyzed water reduced ACC and staphylococci on surfaces beside patients. ACC remained below precleaning levels at 48 hours, but MSSA/MRSA counts exceeded original levels at 24 hours after cleaning. Although disinfectant cleaning quickly reduces bioburden, additional investigation is required to clarify the reasons for rebound contamination of pathogens at near-patient sites.
Infect Control Hosp Epidemiol 2014;35(12):1505–1510
Electroconvulsive therapy (ECT) is an effective treatment for depression but the extent and persistence of cognitive side-effects remain uncertain. It has been reported that there is little evidence that impairments last longer than up to 15 days post-ECT. However, relatively few studies have followed patients for even as long as 1 month post-ECT. Here we report results from a brief cognitive battery given prior to ECT and repeated five times up to 6 months post-ECT.
In a retrospective case-note study of routinely collected clinical data 126 patients treated with ECT completed two neuropsychological tests [Cambridge Neuropsychological Test Automated Battery (CANTAB) spatial recognition memory (SRM) and Mini Mental State Examination (MMSE)] and two subjective reports of memory function, prior to ECT. Patients were reassessed following ECT and at 1, 3 and 6 months post-ECT although not all patients completed all assessments.
Performance relative to pre-ECT baseline was significantly poorer at each post-ECT assessment up to 3 months post-ECT using the CANTAB SRM, but was improved at 6 months. Conversely, MMSE score showed improvements relative to baseline from 1 month post-ECT. Mood and subjective memory scores improved following ECT and were correlated with one another, but not with either neuropsychological measure.
The CANTAB SRM task revealed reversible cognitive deficiencies relative to a pre-ECT baseline for at least 3 months following ECT, while MMSE score and patients' subjective reports showed only improvement. Visuospatial memory scores eventually exceeded baseline 6 months post-ECT.
Human campylobacteriosis exhibits a distinctive seasonality in temperate regions. This paper aims to identify the origins of this seasonality. Clinical isolates [typed by multi-locus sequence typing (MLST)] and epidemiological data were collected from Scotland. Young rural children were found to have an increased burden of disease in the late spring due to strains of non-chicken origin (e.g. ruminant and wild bird strains from environmental sources). In contrast the adult population had an extended summer peak associated with chicken strains. Travel abroad and UK mainland travel were associated with up to 17% and 18% of cases, respectively. International strains were associated with chicken, had a higher diversity than indigenous strains and a different spectrum of MLST types representative of these countries. Integrating empirical epidemiology and molecular subtyping can successfully elucidate the seasonal components of human campylobacteriosis. The findings will enable public health officials to focus strategies to reduce the disease burden.
To investigate microbiological biofilm contamination of retrieved bone-anchored hearing aids.
Materials and methods:
Nine failed, retrieved bone-anchored hearing aids and 16 internal screws were examined by scanning electron microscopy. A fixture from a failing implant, which had been removed and disassembled under aseptic conditions, was cultured. Finally, an internal screw from a new, unimplanted fixture was examined by scanning electron microscopy.
Debris was seen on the fixture and abutment of all bone-anchored hearing aids, and on the heads of the 16 internal screws. On eight screws, biofilm extended down the shaft to the threads, where it was several micrometres thick. Culture of a failing fixture yielded staphylococcus. The new, unimplanted fixture internal screw showed evidence of scratching and metallic debris on the threads, which may interfere with close fitting of the screw and subsequently facilitate microleakage.
There may be a link between internal microbial contamination and failure of bone-anchored hearing aids.
Pseudomonas aeruginosa was isolated from the ears of 18 of the 25 members of a team of competitive swimmers who complained of painful discharging ears. This group of swimmers trained twice daily in the pool, in the early morning and late afternoon. In contrast swabbing of the ears of a similar group of 54 competitive swimmers who used the pool only in the afternoon revealed only one swimmer with P. aeruginosa. Investigation of the swimming pool revealed that chlorination was often inadequate when the first group of swimmers were training in the early morning. Strains of P. aeruginosa were isolated from various sites around the pool and from the bag of a vacuum used to clean the pool.
Pyocin typing, serotyping and phage typing were performed on all isolates. The dominant strain recovered from the swimmers' ears was found to be almost identical to that from the vacuum bag and belonged to serotype 0–11 which has been particularly associated with outbreaks of P. aeruginosa infection in whirlpools in the United States.
These results support the hypothesis that there is a direct correlation between the development of otitis externa and swimming in water contaminated with P. aeruginosa.
An estimate of the benefits which would result from a ban on the sale of non-pasteurized milk in Scotland has been assessed by costing a recent outbreak of milk-borne salmonellosis in the Grampian Region.
The cost of such a ban would not exceed the benefits under any but the most severe assumptions about the values attached to intangible benefits
Two incidents of toxin-type food poisoning in N.E. Scotland associated with the consumption of red whelks (Neptunea antiqua) are described. Four patients developed symptoms within 1 h of consuming whole whelks. These included visual distrubances—double vision and difficulty in focusing-ingling of the fingers, prostration and in one subject nausea, vomiting, diarrhoea and ataxia. In all cases recovery was complete in 24 h. Using a newly developed analytical technique the concentration of the causative toxin, tetramine, in the salivary glands of the whelks consumed was estimated at 0.07%, equivalent to a content of 3.75mg/100g of the shellfish.
As part of the Canadian Galactic Plane Survey (CGPS) we have imaged the polarized emission from the plane of the Milky Way at 1420 MHz, covering 1200 square degrees with arc-minute resolution. Structure on all scales is represented by combining aperture-synthesis data with single-antenna data. The survey depicts the Magneto-Ionic Medium at a resolution that matches images of other components of the Interstellar Medium within the CGPS database (http://www4.cadc.hia.nrc.gc.ca).
The complex pathogen–host–vector system of the tick-borne louping-ill virus causes economic losses to sheep and red grouse in upland United Kingdom. This paper examines the spatial distribution, incidence and effect of control measures on louping-ill virus in the Bowland Fells of Lancashire. Seroprevalence in sheep at the beginning of the study varied within the area and was affected significantly by the frequency of acaricide treatment. There was a clear decrease over 5 years in the effective force of infection on farms implementing a vaccination programme, irrespective of acaricide treatment regime, however, only one third of farms apparently eliminated infection. On farms where vaccination did not occur or where vaccination was carried out intermittently, the estimated force of infection was variable or possibly increased. Thus, as befits a complex host–pathogen system, reductions in prevalence were not as dramatic as predicted; we discuss the potential explanations for these observations.
We present the results of two imaging surveys for companions to low-luminosity dwarfs, one with Keck to a limiting magnitude of K = 20, and the other with HST to a limiting magnitude of I = 23. No companions were found at separations of 0″.5 to 20″.0, but seven companions were found within 0″.5. Based on sub-stellar evolutionary models, we estimate the companion detection efficiency as a function of mass ratio. This modeling, coupled with the data, place strong upper limits on the mass ratios of unobserved companions. We conclude that no companions exist in the optimal sensitivity regions of both surveys for q > 0.85 (HST), and q > 0.4 (Keck).