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Through drinking water, humans are commonly exposed to atrazine, a herbicide that acts as an endocrine and metabolic disruptor. It interferes with steroidogenesis, including promoting oestrogen production and altering cell metabolism. However, its precise impact on uterine development remains unknown. This study aimed to determine the effect of prolonged atrazine exposure on the uterus. Pregnant mice (n = 5/group) received 5 mg/kg body weight/day atrazine or DMSO in drinking water from gestational day 9.5 until weaning. Offspring continued to be exposed until 3 or 6 months of age (n = 5–9/group), when uteri were collected for morphological and molecular analyses and steroid quantification. Endometrial hyperplasia and leiomyoma were evident in the uteri of atrazine-exposed mice. Uterine oestrogen concentration, oestrogen receptor expression, and localisation were similar between groups, at both ages (P > 0.1). The expression and localisation of key epithelial-to-mesenchymal transition (EMT) genes and proteins, critical for tumourigenesis, remained unchanged between treatments, at both ages (P > 0.1). Hence, oestrogen-mediated changes to established EMT markers do not appear to underlie abnormal uterine morphology evident in atrazine exposure mice. This is the first report of abnormal uterine morphology following prolonged atrazine exposure starting in utero, it is likely that the abnormalities identified would negatively affect female fertility, although mechanisms remain unknown and require further study.
To better characterize brain-based mechanisms of polygenic liability for psychopathology and psychological traits, we extended our previous report (Liu et al. Psychophysiological endophenotypes to characterize mechanisms of known schizophrenia genetic loci. Psychological Medicine, 2017), focused solely on schizophrenia, to test the association between multivariate psychophysiological candidate endophenotypes (including novel measures of θ/δ oscillatory activity) and a range of polygenic scores (PGSs), namely alcohol/cannabis/nicotine use, an updated schizophrenia PGS (containing 52 more genome-wide significant loci than the PGS used in our previous report) and educational attainment.
A large community-based twin/family sample (N = 4893) was genome-wide genotyped and imputed. PGSs were constructed for alcohol use, regular smoking initiation, lifetime cannabis use, schizophrenia, and educational attainment. Eleven endophenotypes were assessed: visual oddball task event-related electroencephalogram (EEG) measures (target-related parietal P3 amplitude, frontal θ, and parietal δ energy/inter-trial phase clustering), band-limited resting-state EEG power, antisaccade error rate. Principal component analysis exploited covariation among endophenotypes to extract a smaller number of meaningful dimensions/components for statistical analysis.
Endophenotypes were heritable. PGSs showed expected intercorrelations (e.g. schizophrenia PGS correlated positively with alcohol/nicotine/cannabis PGSs). Schizophrenia PGS was negatively associated with an event-related P3/δ component [β = −0.032, nonparametric bootstrap 95% confidence interval (CI) −0.059 to −0.003]. A prefrontal control component (event-related θ/antisaccade errors) was negatively associated with alcohol (β = −0.034, 95% CI −0.063 to −0.006) and regular smoking PGSs (β = −0.032, 95% CI −0.061 to −0.005) and positively associated with educational attainment PGS (β = 0.031, 95% CI 0.003–0.058).
Evidence suggests that multivariate endophenotypes of decision-making (P3/δ) and cognitive/attentional control (θ/antisaccade error) relate to alcohol/nicotine, schizophrenia, and educational attainment PGSs and represent promising targets for future research.
Domestic dogs (Canis familiaris) provide important benefits to human beings but can also transmit pathogens. Information on the breadth of canine zoonoses and vectorborne research in North America is scarce. A scoping review was conducted to examine (1) the number and type of canine zoonoses and vectorborne studies in domestic dogs conducted in North America since the start of the 21st century; (2) the main research methods reported; (3) the Inequality-adjusted Human Development Index (IHDI) countries in which research was conducted; and (4) whether collaborative integrated terminology was reported in objectives or methods sections. Title/abstract screening, full-text screening, and data-charting were completed by two reviewers. We identified 507 publications evaluating 43 zoonotic or vectorborne pathogens in domestic dogs. Most studies (n = 391 of 512 (76.37%)) were conducted in the USA. The five most frequently researched pathogens were Ehrlichia spp. (n = 81 of 507 (15.98%)), Borrelia burgdorferi (n = 64 of 507 (12.62%)), Leptospira spp. (n = 54 of 507 (10.65%)), Rabies virus (n = 42 of 507 (8.28%)), and Influenza viruses (n = 41 of 507 (8.09%)). These pathogens can cause moderate to severe health outcomes in human beings and in dogs irrespective of IHDI ranking; our review highlights important counts of research conduct among North American countries.
This research investigates the impact of deprivation on demographic inequalities in England and Wales among adults. Using demographic measures including the modal age at death, life expectancy, lifespan variation and mortality, it shows a negative correlation with deprivation as measured by the 2015 Index of Multiple Deprivation. Although it finds that life expectancy is increasing overall and the gap between men and women is lessening, improvements are slower paced in more deprived areas such that the gap between rich and poor is slowly worsening over time. Men are more adversely impacted by deprivation than women with the gap in period life expectancy at age 30 in 2015 between the top and bottom 1% of deprived neighbourhoods at 10.9 years for men and 8.4 years for women. Between 2001 and 2015 inequalities in male mortality rates at age 44 were 4.4 times greater in the most deprived 10% of neighbourhoods than those in the 10% least deprived and were much higher than in intervening deciles. The worst deprivation is concentrated in specific areas. For example, in 22 out of 326 English districts, 25% or more of neighbourhoods are in the most deprived 10% and in 5 districts it is 40% or above.
We present a detailed overview of the cosmological surveys that we aim to carry out with Phase 1 of the Square Kilometre Array (SKA1) and the science that they will enable. We highlight three main surveys: a medium-deep continuum weak lensing and low-redshift spectroscopic HI galaxy survey over 5 000 deg2; a wide and deep continuum galaxy and HI intensity mapping (IM) survey over 20 000 deg2 from
$z = 0.35$
to 3; and a deep, high-redshift HI IM survey over 100 deg2 from
$z = 3$
to 6. Taken together, these surveys will achieve an array of important scientific goals: measuring the equation of state of dark energy out to
$z \sim 3$
with percent-level precision measurements of the cosmic expansion rate; constraining possible deviations from General Relativity on cosmological scales by measuring the growth rate of structure through multiple independent methods; mapping the structure of the Universe on the largest accessible scales, thus constraining fundamental properties such as isotropy, homogeneity, and non-Gaussianity; and measuring the HI density and bias out to
$z = 6$
. These surveys will also provide highly complementary clustering and weak lensing measurements that have independent systematic uncertainties to those of optical and near-infrared (NIR) surveys like Euclid, LSST, and WFIRST leading to a multitude of synergies that can improve constraints significantly beyond what optical or radio surveys can achieve on their own. This document, the 2018 Red Book, provides reference technical specifications, cosmological parameter forecasts, and an overview of relevant systematic effects for the three key surveys and will be regularly updated by the Cosmology Science Working Group in the run up to start of operations and the Key Science Programme of SKA1.
To date, there are no published data on the association of patient-centered outcomes and accurate public-safety answering point (PSAP) dispatch in an American population. The goal of this study is to determine if PSAP dispatcher recognition of out-of-hospital cardiac arrest (OHCA) is associated with neurologically intact survival to hospital discharge.
This retrospective cohort study is an analysis of prospectively collected Quality Assurance/Quality Improvement (QA/QI) data from the San Antonio Fire Department (SAFD; San Antonio, Texas USA) OHCA registry from January 2013 through December 2015. Exclusion criteria were: Emergency Medical Services (EMS)-witnessed arrest, traumatic arrest, age <18 years old, no dispatch type recorded, and missing outcome data. The primary exposure was dispatcher recognition of cardiac arrest. The primary outcome was neurologically intact survival (defined as Cerebral Performance Category [CPC] 1 or 2) to hospital discharge. The secondary outcomes were: bystander cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR), automated external defibrillator (AED) use, and prehospital return of spontaneous return of circulation (ROSC).
Of 3,469 consecutive OHCA cases, 2,569 cases were included in this analysis. The PSAP dispatched 1,964/2,569 (76.4%) of confirmed OHCA cases correctly. The PSAP dispatched 605/2,569 (23.6%) of confirmed OHCA cases as another chief complaint. Neurologically intact survival to hospital discharge occurred in 99/1,964 (5.0%) of the recognized cardiac arrest group and 28/605 (4.6%) of the unrecognized cardiac arrest group (OR = 1.09; 95% CI, 0.71–1.70). Bystander CPR occurred in 975/1,964 (49.6%) of the recognized cardiac arrest group versus 138/605 (22.8%) of the unrecognized cardiac arrest group (OR = 3.34; 95% CI, 2.70–4.11).
This study found no association between PSAP dispatcher identification of OHCA and neurologically intact survival to hospital discharge. Dispatcher identification of OHCA remains an important, but not singularly decisive link in the OHCA chain of survival.
Subclinical adolescent alcohol use is highly prevalent and may have deleterious effects on important psychosocial and brain outcomes. Prior research has focused on identifying endophenotypes of pathological drinking, and the predictors of normative drinking remain understudied. This study investigated the incremental predictive value of two potential psychophysiological endophenotypes, P3 amplitude (an index of decision making) and midfrontal theta power (a correlate of attentional control), for prospectively predicting the expression and initiation of alcohol use emerging in adolescence.
A large (N = 594) epidemiological sample was prospectively assessed at ages 11/14/17. Alcohol/substance use was assessed at all ages via a computerized self-report inventory. EEG was recorded at age-14 during a visual oddball task to elicit P3 and theta.
Reduced target-related P3 and theta at age-14 prospectively predicted drinking at age-17 independent of one another. Among alcohol-naive individuals at age-14, attenuated P3 and theta increased the odds of new-onset alcohol behaviors 3 years later. Importantly, the endophenotypes provided significant incremental predictive power of future non-clinical alcohol use beyond relevant risk factors (prior alcohol use; tobacco/illicit drug initiation; parental alcohol use disorder).
The current report is the first of our knowledge to demonstrate that deviations in parietal P3 and midfrontal theta prospectively predict the emergence of normative/non-pathological drinking. P3 and theta provide modest yet significant explanatory variance beyond prominent self-report and familial risk measures. Findings offer strong evidence supporting the predictive utility of P3 and theta as candidate endophenotypes for adolescent drinking.
Use of the herbicide atrazine (ATR) is banned in the European Union; yet, it is still widely used in the USA and Australia. ATR is known to alter testosterone and oestrogen production and thus reproductive characteristics in numerous species. In this proof of concept study, we examined the effect of ATR exposure, at a supra-environmental dose (5 mg/kg bw/day), beginning on E9.5 in utero, prior to sexual differentiation of the reproductive tissues, until 26 weeks of age, on the development of the mouse penis. Notably, this is the first study to specifically investigate whether ATR can affect penis characteristics. We show that ATR exposure, beginning in utero, causes a shortening (demasculinisation) of penis structures and increases the incidence of hypospadias in mice. These data indicate the need for further studies of ATR on human reproductive development and fertility, especially considering its continued and widespread use.
Background: Spinal muscular atrophy (SMA) is a children’s neuromuscular disorder. Although motor neuron loss is a major feature of the disease, we have identified fatty acid abnormalities in SMA patients and in preclinical animal models, suggesting metabolic perturbation is also an important component of SMA. Methods: Biochemical, histological, proteomic, and high resolution respirometry were used. Results: SMA patients are more susceptible to dyslipidemia than the average population as determined by a standard lipid profile in a cohort of 72 pediatric patients. As well, we observed a non-alcoholic liver disease phenotype in apreclinical mouse model. Denervation alone was not sufficient to induce liver steatosis, as a mouse model of ALS, did not develop fatty liver. Hyperglucagonemia in Smn2B/-mice could explain the hepatic steatosis by increasing plasma substrate availability via glycogen depletion and peripheral lipolysis. Proteomic analysis identified mitochondrion and lipid metabolism as major clusters. Alterations in mitochondrial function were revealed by high-resolution respirometry. Finally, low-fat diets led to increased survival in Smn2B/-mice. Conclusions: These results provide strong evidence for lipid metabolism defects in SMA. Further investigation will be required to establish the primary mechanism of these alterations and understand how they lead to additional co-morbidities in SMA patients.
A new protocol has been devised for determining elastic properties of natural biocomposites in the form of bivalve shells under wet and dry conditions. Four-point bending on shell slices of Mytilus edulis, Ensis siliqua, and Pecten maximus give generally lower and more reliable values of Young’s modulus, E, than those in the literature from three-point bending, due to the more even distribution of strain. Finite element analysis of the prismatic microstructure of Pinna nobilis, obtained by X-ray tomography, shows that values of E ≈ 20 GPa can be understood in terms of the real microstructure containing a small proportion of organic matrix phase with E ≈ 1 GPa and a dominant proportion of calcite with E ≈ 90 GPa. Higher values of E obtained by nanoindentation give results which are biased toward the properties of the carbonate phase rather than of the biocomposite as a whole.
Lowering dietary protein concentration is known to decrease urinary nitrogen (N) losses and increase milk N efficiency in dairy cows, but it may negatively affect animal productivity. Plant-derived essential oils (EO) may alleviate these negative effects by improving the efficiency of rumen fermentation in cows fed reduced feed protein diets. The experiment was conducted to investigate the effects of lowering crude protein (CP) supply alone or in a combination with an EO product on feed intake, milk production and composition, rumen fermentation, total tract digestibility and N utilization in dairy cows. Twenty-one Holstein cows were used in a replicated 3 × 3 Latin square design experiment. Each period consisted of 14 days for adaptation and 14 days for data collection and sampling. Cows were randomly assigned to one of three experimental diets: a 165 g/kg CP diet (control), a 155 g/kg CP diet (LCP) and LCP supplemented with 35 g/day per cow EO (LCPEO). The dry matter (DM) intake was decreased by LCP and LCPEO compared with the control; there was no effect of EO on DM intake. Milk yield and composition and feed efficiency were similar among treatments. Ruminal pH, lactate, ammonia and volatile fatty acids concentrations were not affected by treatment, except increased valerate concentration by LCPEO compared with LCP. The supplementation of EO tended to decrease protozoal counts. The LCP and LCPEO increased total tract digestibility of DM and organic matter and decreased CP digestibility compared with the control. Supplementation with EO did not affect total tract digestibility of dietary nutrients compared with the control or LCP. The LCP and LCPEO decreased urinary and fecal N excretions and increased milk N efficiency; nitrogen losses were not affected by EO. In this study, lowering dietary CP by 10 g/kg decreased urinary and fecal N excretion without affecting productivity. The supplementation of EO to LCP had only minor effects on rumen fermentation and did not affect productivity, digestibility and N excretion in lactating dairy cows.
To assess variability in antimicrobial use and associations with infection testing in pediatric ventilator-associated events (VAEs).
Descriptive retrospective cohort with nested case-control study.
Pediatric intensive care units (PICUs), cardiac intensive care units (CICUs), and neonatal intensive care units (NICUs) in 6 US hospitals.
Children≤18 years ventilated for≥1 calendar day.
We identified patients with pediatric ventilator-associated conditions (VACs), pediatric VACs with antimicrobial use for≥4 days (AVACs), and possible ventilator-associated pneumonia (PVAP, defined as pediatric AVAC with a positive respiratory diagnostic test) according to previously proposed criteria.
Among 9,025 ventilated children, we identified 192 VAC cases, 43 in CICUs, 70 in PICUs, and 79 in NICUs. AVAC criteria were met in 79 VAC cases (41%) (58% CICU; 51% PICU; and 23% NICU), and varied by hospital (CICU, 20–67%; PICU, 0–70%; and NICU, 0–43%). Type and duration of AVAC antimicrobials varied by ICU type. AVAC cases in CICUs and PICUs received broad-spectrum antimicrobials more often than those in NICUs. Among AVAC cases, 39% had respiratory infection diagnostic testing performed; PVAP was identified in 15 VAC cases. Also, among AVAC cases, 73% had no associated positive respiratory or nonrespiratory diagnostic test.
Antimicrobial use is common in pediatric VAC, with variability in spectrum and duration of antimicrobials within hospitals and across ICU types, while PVAP is uncommon. Prolonged antimicrobial use despite low rates of PVAP or positive laboratory testing for infection suggests that AVAC may provide a lever for antimicrobial stewardship programs to improve utilization.
Digital markets offer abundant free content but exhibit extreme concentration among content aggregation intermediaries. These characteristics are linked. Weak copyright environments select against stand-alone content-delivery structures and select for bundled aggregation structures in which free content for users promotes positively priced advertising and data-collection services for firms. Dominant intermediaries promote commoditization, and the reallocation of market rents from content producers to content aggregators, through litigation and free content distribution that weaken copyright protections. The potential net welfare effects raise concern. Network effects, compounded by weak inventory constraints, scale economies, and learning effects, promote winner-takes-all outcomes in the intermediary services market while weak copyright may generate output distortions in the content production market.
Lebanon has a need for innovative approaches to increase access to mental health care to meet the country's current high demand. E-mental health has been included in its national mental health strategy while in parallel the World Health Organization has produced an online intervention called ‘Step-by-Step’ to treat symptoms of depression that is being tested in Lebanon over the coming years.
The primary aim of this study is to conduct bottom-up, community-driven qualitative cognitive interviewing from a multi-stakeholder perspective to inform the cultural adaptation of an Internet-delivered mental health intervention based on behavioural activation in Lebanon.
National Mental Health Programme staff conducted a total of 11 key informant interviews with three mental health professionals, six front-line workers in primary health care centres (PHCCs) and two community members. Also, eight focus group discussions, one with seven front-line workers and seven others with a total of 66 community members (Lebanese, Syrians and Palestinians) were conducted in several PHCCs to inform the adaptation of Step-by-Step. Results were transcribed and analysed thematically by the project coordinator and two research assistants.
Feedback generated from the cognitive interviewing mainly revolved around amending the story, illustrations and the delivery methods to ensure relevance and sensitivity to the local context. The results obtained have informed major edits to the content of Step-by-Step and also to the model of provision. Notably, the intervention was made approximately 30% shorter; it includes additional videos of content alongside the originally proposed comic book-style delivery; there is less emphasis on total inactivity as a symptom of low mood and more focus on enjoyable activities to lift mood; the story and ways to contact participants to provide support were updated in line with local gender norms; and many of the suggested or featured activities have been revised in line with suggestions from community members.
These findings promote and advocate the use of community-driven adaptation of evidence-based psychological interventions. Some of the phenomena recorded mirror findings from other research about barriers to care seeking in the region and so changes made to the intervention should be useful in improving utility and uptake of ‘Step-by-Step’.
The discovery of the first electromagnetic counterpart to a gravitational wave signal has generated follow-up observations by over 50 facilities world-wide, ushering in the new era of multi-messenger astronomy. In this paper, we present follow-up observations of the gravitational wave event GW170817 and its electromagnetic counterpart SSS17a/DLT17ck (IAU label AT2017gfo) by 14 Australian telescopes and partner observatories as part of Australian-based and Australian-led research programs. We report early- to late-time multi-wavelength observations, including optical imaging and spectroscopy, mid-infrared imaging, radio imaging, and searches for fast radio bursts. Our optical spectra reveal that the transient source emission cooled from approximately 6 400 K to 2 100 K over a 7-d period and produced no significant optical emission lines. The spectral profiles, cooling rate, and photometric light curves are consistent with the expected outburst and subsequent processes of a binary neutron star merger. Star formation in the host galaxy probably ceased at least a Gyr ago, although there is evidence for a galaxy merger. Binary pulsars with short (100 Myr) decay times are therefore unlikely progenitors, but pulsars like PSR B1534+12 with its 2.7 Gyr coalescence time could produce such a merger. The displacement (~2.2 kpc) of the binary star system from the centre of the main galaxy is not unusual for stars in the host galaxy or stars originating in the merging galaxy, and therefore any constraints on the kick velocity imparted to the progenitor are poor.
We examine brand building from the perspective of complex adaptive systems. Brand building is a neglected engine of capital formation, innovation and institutional change in market economies. The nature of brands and the service streams they generate have been construed too narrowly. Brands are capital: entrepreneurs use brands as market-making devices that create value and capture profit, while consumers use brands to derive psychic income and lifestyle benefits. Brands are building blocks that can be combined in production to fill perceived gaps in brand architectures and capital structures. These structures are themselves complex adaptive systems. In an era of digital technological platforms, complex generative networks are the institutional locus of brand creation and brand extensions. Innovation in brand building is a socially distributed, service-intensive and interpretive process; it entails combinatorial experiments in resource integration by heterogeneous and socially connected actors, such as entrepreneur-producers, end-users and distributors. Legal brand owners never have total control over their brands – customer networks often exercise substantial de facto control rights (economic property rights) over the use and transformation of brands. Both the entire branding system (as a form of organization) and individual iconic brands can crystallize into relatively stable institutions that orient and coordinate market behaviour.
Adult ventilator-associated event (VAE) definitions include ventilator-associated conditions (VAC) and subcategories for infection-related ventilator-associated complications (IVAC) and possible ventilator-associated pneumonia (PVAP). We explored these definitions for children.
Pediatric, cardiac, or neonatal intensive care units (ICUs) in 6 US hospitals
Patients ≤18 years old ventilated for ≥1 day
We identified patients with pediatric VAC based on previously proposed criteria. We applied adult temperature, white blood cell count, antibiotic, and culture criteria for IVAC and PVAP to these patients. We matched pediatric VAC patients with controls and evaluated associations with adverse outcomes using Cox proportional hazards models.
In total, 233 pediatric VACs (12,167 ventilation episodes) were identified. In the cardiac ICU (CICU), 62.5% of VACs met adult IVAC criteria; in the pediatric ICU (PICU), 54.2% of VACs met adult IVAC criteria; and in the neonatal ICU (NICU), 20.2% of VACs met adult IVAC criteria. Most patients had abnormal white blood cell counts and temperatures; we therefore recommend simplifying surveillance by focusing on “pediatric VAC with antimicrobial use” (pediatric AVAC). Pediatric AVAC with a positive respiratory diagnostic test (“pediatric PVAP”) occurred in 8.9% of VACs in the CICU, 13.3% of VACs in the PICU, and 4.3% of VACs in the NICU. Hospital mortality was increased, and hospital and ICU length of stay and duration of ventilation were prolonged among all pediatric VAE subsets compared with controls.
We propose pediatric AVAC for surveillance related to antimicrobial use, with pediatric PVAP as a subset of AVAC. Studies on generalizability and responsiveness of these metrics to quality improvement initiatives are needed, as are studies to determine whether lower pediatric VAE rates are associated with improvements in other outcomes.
The occurrence of pearls in the ‘true’ oysters, the Ostreioidea, is poorly documented despite being the most produced mollusc species in the world. Oysters of the Crassostrea genus were collected in two different sites in southern Portugal where both Crassostrea angulata and C. gigas are present, namely in: (1) the Ria Formosa lagoon where pearls were not observed (N = 446); and (2) the Guadiana estuary where pearls were found in 12 out of the 798 oysters analysed. The pearls were located mainly at the edge of the right mantle lobe in the inhalant chamber and their maximum length ranged from 0.9 to 5.5 mm. Almost all the pearls had a white-cream colouration with the exception of two pearls that had a black-brown colour. X-ray diffraction analysis of one pearl showed that it was entirely calcitic with no traces of either aragonite or vaterite. The pearls observed were therefore non-nacreous pearls. Scanning electron microscopy (SEM) revealed a diversity of microstructures including prismatic, foliae-like sheets and blocky textures, i.e. highly reminiscent of the host oyster shell microstructures. Parasites (e.g. parasitic copepods, Haplosporidium-like plasmodia) and signs of diseases (e.g. foot disease) were observed in some of the oysters analysed, but they were not associated with the occurrence of pearls. The present work is one of the few studies on the occurrence of natural pearls in ‘true’ oysters and to our knowledge the first description of their microstructure by SEM.