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Studying phenotypic and genetic characteristics of age at onset (AAO) and polarity at onset (PAO) in bipolar disorder can provide new insights into disease pathology and facilitate the development of screening tools.
To examine the genetic architecture of AAO and PAO and their association with bipolar disorder disease characteristics.
Genome-wide association studies (GWASs) and polygenic score (PGS) analyses of AAO (n = 12 977) and PAO (n = 6773) were conducted in patients with bipolar disorder from 34 cohorts and a replication sample (n = 2237). The association of onset with disease characteristics was investigated in two of these cohorts.
Earlier AAO was associated with a higher probability of psychotic symptoms, suicidality, lower educational attainment, not living together and fewer episodes. Depressive onset correlated with suicidality and manic onset correlated with delusions and manic episodes. Systematic differences in AAO between cohorts and continents of origin were observed. This was also reflected in single-nucleotide variant-based heritability estimates, with higher heritabilities for stricter onset definitions. Increased PGS for autism spectrum disorder (β = −0.34 years, s.e. = 0.08), major depression (β = −0.34 years, s.e. = 0.08), schizophrenia (β = −0.39 years, s.e. = 0.08), and educational attainment (β = −0.31 years, s.e. = 0.08) were associated with an earlier AAO. The AAO GWAS identified one significant locus, but this finding did not replicate. Neither GWAS nor PGS analyses yielded significant associations with PAO.
AAO and PAO are associated with indicators of bipolar disorder severity. Individuals with an earlier onset show an increased polygenic liability for a broad spectrum of psychiatric traits. Systematic differences in AAO across cohorts, continents and phenotype definitions introduce significant heterogeneity, affecting analyses.
A multi-disciplinary expert group met to discuss vitamin D deficiency in the UK and strategies for improving population intakes and status. Changes to UK Government advice since the 1st Rank Forum on Vitamin D (2009) were discussed, including rationale for setting a reference nutrient intake (10 µg/d; 400 IU/d) for adults and children (4+ years). Current UK data show inadequate intakes among all age groups and high prevalence of low vitamin D status among specific groups (e.g. pregnant women and adolescent males/females). Evidence of widespread deficiency within some minority ethnic groups, resulting in nutritional rickets (particularly among Black and South Asian infants), raised particular concern. Latest data indicate that UK population vitamin D intakes and status reamain relatively unchanged since Government recommendations changed in 2016. Vitamin D food fortification was discussed as a potential strategy to increase population intakes. Data from dose–response and dietary modelling studies indicate dairy products, bread, hens’ eggs and some meats as potential fortification vehicles. Vitamin D3 appears more effective than vitamin D2 for raising serum 25-hydroxyvitamin D concentration, which has implications for choice of fortificant. Other considerations for successful fortification strategies include: (i) need for ‘real-world’ cost information for use in modelling work; (ii) supportive food legislation; (iii) improved consumer and health professional understanding of vitamin D’s importance; (iv) clinical consequences of inadequate vitamin D status and (v) consistent communication of Government advice across health/social care professions, and via the food industry. These areas urgently require further research to enable universal improvement in vitamin D intakes and status in the UK population.
Schizophrenia is a highly heritable disorder with undetermined neurobiological causes. Understanding the impact on brain anatomy of carrying genetic risk for the disorder will contribute to uncovering its neurobiological underpinnings.
To examine the effect of rare copy number variants (CNVs) associated with schizophrenia on brain cortical anatomy in a sample of unaffected participants from the UK Biobank.
We used regression analyses to compare cortical thickness and surface area (total and across gyri) between 120 unaffected carriers of rare CNVs associated with schizophrenia and 16 670 participants without any pathogenic CNV. A measure of cortical thickness and surface area covariance across gyri was also compared between groups.
Carrier status was associated with reduced surface area (β = −0.020 mm2, P < 0.001) and less robustly with increased cortical thickness (β = 0.015 mm, P = 0.035), and with increased covariance in thickness (carriers z = 0.31 v. non-carriers z = 0.22, P < 0.0005). Associations were mainly present in frontal and parietal areas and driven by a limited number of rare risk alleles included in our analyses (mainly 15q11.2 deletion for surface area and 16p13.11 duplication for thickness covariance).
Results for surface area conformed with previous clinical findings, supporting surface area reductions as an indicator of genetic liability for schizophrenia. Results for cortical thickness, though, argued against its validity as a potential risk marker. Increased structural thickness covariance across gyri also appears related to risk for schizophrenia. The heterogeneity found across the effects of rare risk alleles suggests potential different neurobiological gateways into schizophrenia's phenotype.
Addition of wavelength selective absorbers on microbolometers tends to increase their thermal mass and slow their infrared response times. Making the bolometric material an integral part of the absorber and minimizing layer thicknesses is one possible way to maintain high detector speeds. Here, we study experimentally the effect on permittivity of adding a layer of semiconducting VOx between two layers of SiO2. Additionally, we investigate theoretically the effect on resonance wavelength of thinning the metal in metal-insulator-metal plasmonic resonant absorbers.
Bloodstream infection (BSI) due to methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) is associated with considerable morbidity and mortality.
To determine the incidence of MRSA BSI in Canadian hospitals and to identify variables associated with increased mortality.
Prospective surveillance for MRSA BSI conducted in 53 Canadian hospitals from January 1, 2008, through December 31, 2012. Thirty-day all-cause mortality was determined, and logistic regression analysis was used to identify variables associated with mortality.
A total of 1,753 patients with MRSA BSI were identified (incidence, 0.45 per 1,000 admissions). The most common sites presumed to be the source of infection were skin/soft tissue (26.6%) and an intravascular catheter (22.0%). The most common spa types causing MRSA BSI were t002 (USA100/800; 55%) and t008 (USA300; 29%). Thirty-day all-cause mortality was 23.8%. Mortality was associated with increasing age (odds ratio, 1.03 per year [95% CI, 1.02–1.04]), the presence of pleuropulmonary infection (2.3 [1.4–3.7]), transfer to an intensive care unit (3.2 [2.1–5.0]), and failure to receive appropriate antimicrobial therapy within 24 hours of MRSA identification (3.2 [2.1–5.0]); a skin/soft-tissue source of BSI was associated with decreased mortality (0.5 [0.3–0.9]). MRSA genotype and reduced susceptibility to vancomycin were not associated with risk of death.
This study provides additional insight into the relative impact of various host and microbial factors associated with mortality in patients with MRSA BSI. The results emphasize the importance of ensuring timely receipt of appropriate antimicrobial agents to reduce the risk of an adverse outcome.
Infect. Control Hosp. Epidemiol. 2016;37(4):390–397
Influenza A (H1N1) pdm09 became the predominant circulating strain in the United States during the 2013–2014 influenza season. Little is known about the epidemiology of severe influenza during this season.
A retrospective cohort study of severely ill patients with influenza infection in intensive care units in 33 US hospitals from September 1, 2013, through April 1, 2014, was conducted to determine risk factors for mortality present on intensive care unit admission and to describe patient characteristics, spectrum of disease, management, and outcomes.
A total of 444 adults and 63 children were admitted to an intensive care unit in a study hospital; 93 adults (20.9%) and 4 children (6.3%) died. By logistic regression analysis, the following factors were significantly associated with mortality among adult patients: older age (>65 years, odds ratio, 3.1 [95% CI, 1.4–6.9], P=.006 and 50–64 years, 2.5 [1.3–4.9], P=.007; reference age 18–49 years), male sex (1.9 [1.1–3.3], P=.031), history of malignant tumor with chemotherapy administered within the prior 6 months (12.1 [3.9–37.0], P<.001), and a higher Sequential Organ Failure Assessment score (for each increase by 1 in score, 1.3 [1.2–1.4], P<.001).
Risk factors for death among US patients with severe influenza during the 2013–2014 season, when influenza A (H1N1) pdm09 was the predominant circulating strain type, shifted in the first postpandemic season in which it predominated toward those of a more typical epidemic influenza season.
Infect. Control Hosp. Epidemiol. 2015;36(11):1251–1260
This study examines the motivation behind contracts and vertical integration in the pork industry, and simulates the effects of potential improvements in coordination. Incentives related to lowering costs of measuring and sorting hogs, and protecting against opportunistic behavior associated with specific assets, can result in hog quality improvements. A framework for simulating the effects of increased coordination through contracts and vertical integration was developed and used to evaluate potential improvements in leanness. Although simulations suggest only modest changes in pork prices and supplies, gains in consumers' surplus could be substantial for larger demand shifts due to quality improvements.
Meso-scale structure in polymeric foams determines the mechanical properties of the material. Density variations, even more than variations in the anisotropic void structure, can greatly vary the compressive and tensile response of the material. With their diverse use as both a structural material and space filler, polyurethane (PU) foams are widely studied. In this manuscript, quantitative measures of the density and anisotropic structure are provided by using micro X-ray computed tomography (microCT) to better understand the results of mechanical testing. MicroCT illustrates the variation in the density, cell morphology, size, shape, and orientation in different regions in blown foam due to the velocity profile near the casting surface. “Interrupted” in situ imaging of the material during compression of these sub-regions indicates the pathways of the structural response to the mechanical load and the changes in cell morphology as a result. It is found that molded PU foam has a 6 mm thick “skin” of higher density and highly eccentric morphological structure that leads to wide variations in mechanical performance depending upon sampling location. This comparison is necessary to understand the mechanical performance of the anisotropic structure.
Detection and tracking of stem cell state are difficult due to insufficient means for rapidly screening cell state in a noninvasive manner. This challenge is compounded when stem cells are cultured in aggregates or three-dimensional (3D) constructs because living cells in this form are difficult to analyze without disrupting cellular contacts. Multiphoton laser scanning microscopy is uniquely suited to analyze 3D structures due to the broad tunability of excitation sources, deep sectioning capacity, and minimal phototoxicity but is throughput limited. A novel multiphoton fluorescence excitation flow cytometry (MPFC) instrument could be used to accurately probe cells in the interior of multicell aggregates or tissue constructs in an enhanced-throughput manner and measure corresponding fluorescent properties. By exciting endogenous fluorophores as intrinsic biomarkers or exciting extrinsic reporter molecules, the properties of cells in aggregates can be understood while the viable cellular aggregates are maintained. Here we introduce a first generation MPFC system and show appropriate speed and accuracy of image capture and measured fluorescence intensity, including intrinsic fluorescence intensity. Thus, this novel instrument enables rapid characterization of stem cells and corresponding aggregates in a noninvasive manner and could dramatically transform how stem cells are studied in the laboratory and utilized in the clinic.
A system to grow heteroepitaxial thin-films of solid oxide fuel cell (SOFC) cathodes on single crystal substrates was developed. The cathode composition investigated was 20% strontium-doped lanthanum manganite (LSM) grown by pulsed laser deposition (PLD) on single crystal (111) yttria-stabilized zirconia (YSZ) substrates. By combining electrochemical impedance spectroscopy (EIS) with x-ray photoemission spectroscopy (XPS) and x-ray absorption spectroscopy XAS measurements, we conclude that electrically driven cation migration away from the two-phase gas-cathode interface results in improved electrochemical performance. Our results provide support to the premise that the removal of surface passivating phases containing Sr2+ and Mn2+, which readily form at elevated temperatures even in O2 atmospheric pressures, is responsible for the improved cathodic performance upon application of a bias.
Infrared absorbance and visible/near-IR excited plasmon resonances are investigated in gold-black, a porous nano-structured conducting film. Polymer infusion (for hardening) generally reduced absorbance in the long wave IR but has little effect at THz wavelengths. The characteristic length scales of the structured films vary considerably as a function of deposition parameters, but the absorbance is found to be only weakly correlated with these distributions. Initial investigations of gold-black by photoelectron emission microscopy (PEEM) reveal plasmon resonances, which have potential to enhance the efficiency of thin film solar cells. For films with different characteristic length scales, the plasmon resonances appear in structures with similar length scales.