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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.
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.
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.
Determining infectious cross-transmission events in healthcare settings involves manual surveillance of case clusters by infection control personnel, followed by strain typing of clinical/environmental isolates suspected in said clusters. Recent advances in genomic sequencing and cloud computing now allow for the rapid molecular typing of infecting isolates.
To facilitate rapid recognition of transmission clusters, we aimed to assess infection control surveillance using whole-genome sequencing (WGS) of microbial pathogens to identify cross-transmission events for epidemiologic review.
Clinical isolates of Staphylococcus aureus, Enterococcus faecium, Pseudomonas aeruginosa, and Klebsiella pneumoniae were obtained prospectively at an academic medical center, from September 1, 2016, to September 30, 2017. Isolate genomes were sequenced, followed by single-nucleotide variant analysis; a cloud-computing platform was used for whole-genome sequence analysis and cluster identification.
Most strains of the 4 studied pathogens were unrelated, and 34 potential transmission clusters were present. The characteristics of the potential clusters were complex and likely not identifiable by traditional surveillance alone. Notably, only 1 cluster had been suspected by routine manual surveillance.
Our work supports the assertion that integration of genomic and clinical epidemiologic data can augment infection control surveillance for both the identification of cross-transmission events and the inclusion of missed and exclusion of misidentified outbreaks (ie, false alarms). The integration of clinical data is essential to prioritize suspect clusters for investigation, and for existing infections, a timely review of both the clinical and WGS results can hold promise to reduce HAIs. A richer understanding of cross-transmission events within healthcare settings will require the expansion of current surveillance approaches.
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.
This study assessed variation in coverage of maternal pertussis vaccination, introduced in England in October 2012 in response to a national outbreak, and a new infant rotavirus vaccination programme, implemented in July 2013. Vaccine eligible patients were included from national vaccine coverage datasets and covered April 2014 to March 2015 for pertussis and January 2014 to June 2016 for rotavirus. Vaccine coverage (%) was calculated overall and by NHS England Local Team (LT), ethnicity and Index of Multiple Deprivation (IMD) quintile, and compared using binomial regression. Compared with white-British infants, the largest differences in rotavirus coverage were in ‘other’, white-Irish and black-Caribbean infants (−13·9%, −12·1% and −10·7%, respectively), after adjusting for IMD and LT. The largest differences in maternal pertussis coverage were in black-other and black-Caribbean women (−16·3% and −15·4%, respectively). Coverage was lowest in London LT for both programmes. Coverage decreased with increasing deprivation and was 14·0% lower in the most deprived quintile compared with the least deprived for the pertussis programme and 4·4% lower for rotavirus. Patients’ ethnicity and deprivation were therefore predictors of coverage which contributed to, but did not wholly account for, geographical variation in coverage in England.
Arterial wall thickening, stimulated by low-grade systemic inflammation, underlies many cardiovascular events. As diet is a significant moderator of systemic inflammation, the dietary inflammatory index (DIITM) has recently been devised to assess the overall inflammatory potential of an individual’s diet. The primary objective of this study was to assess the association of the DII with common carotid artery–intima-media thickness (CCA–IMT) and carotid plaques. To substantiate the clinical importance of these findings we assessed the relationship of DII score with atherosclerotic vascular disease (ASVD)-related mortality, ischaemic cerebrovascular disease (CVA)-related mortality and ischaemic heart disease (IHD)-related mortality more. The study was conducted in Western Australian women aged over 70 years (n 1304). Dietary data derived from a validated FFQ (completed at baseline) were used to calculate a DII score for each individual. In multivariable-adjusted models, DII scores were associated with sub-clinical atherosclerosis: a 1 sd (2·13 units) higher DII score was associated with a 0·013-mm higher mean CCA–IMT (P=0·016) and a 0·016-mm higher maximum CCA–IMT (P=0·008), measured at 36 months. No relationship was seen between DII score and carotid plaque severity. There were 269 deaths during follow-up. High DII scores were positively associated with ASVD-related death (per sd, hazard ratio (HR): 1·36; 95 % CI 1·15, 1·60), CVA-related death (per sd, HR: 1·30; 95 % CI 1·00, 1·69) and IHD-related death (per sd, HR: 1·40; 95 % CI 1·13, 1·75). These results support the hypothesis that a pro-inflammatory diet increases systemic inflammation leading to development and progression of atherosclerosis and eventual ASVD-related death.
Efforts to address health disparities and achieve health equity are critically dependent on the development of a diverse research workforce. However, many researchers from underrepresented backgrounds face challenges in advancing their careers, securing independent funding, and finding the mentorship needed to expand their research.
Faculty from the University of Maryland at College Park and the University of Wisconsin-Madison developed and evaluated an intensive week-long research and career-development institute—the Health Equity Leadership Institute (HELI)—with the goal of increasing the number of underrepresented scholars who can sustain their ongoing commitment to health equity research.
In 2010-2016, HELI brought 145 diverse scholars (78% from an underrepresented background; 81% female) together to engage with each other and learn from supportive faculty. Overall, scholar feedback was highly positive on all survey items, with average agreement ratings of 4.45-4.84 based on a 5-point Likert scale. Eighty-five percent of scholars remain in academic positions. In the first three cohorts, 73% of HELI participants have been promoted and 23% have secured independent federal funding.
HELI includes an evidence-based curriculum to develop a diverse workforce for health equity research. For those institutions interested in implementing such an institute to develop and support underrepresented early stage investigators, a resource toolbox is provided.
To characterize meal patterns across ten European countries participating in the European Prospective Investigation into Cancer and Nutrition (EPIC) calibration study.
Cross-sectional study utilizing dietary data collected through a standardized 24 h diet recall during 1995–2000. Eleven predefined intake occasions across a 24 h period were assessed during the interview. In the present descriptive report, meal patterns were analysed in terms of daily number of intake occasions, the proportion reporting each intake occasion and the energy contributions from each intake occasion.
Twenty-seven centres across ten European countries.
Women (64 %) and men (36 %) aged 35–74 years (n 36 020).
Pronounced differences in meal patterns emerged both across centres within the same country and across different countries, with a trend for fewer intake occasions per day in Mediterranean countries compared with central and northern Europe. Differences were also found for daily energy intake provided by lunch, with 38–43 % for women and 41–45 % for men within Mediterranean countries compared with 16–27 % for women and 20–26 % for men in central and northern European countries. Likewise, a south–north gradient was found for daily energy intake from snacks, with 13–20 % (women) and 10–17 % (men) in Mediterranean countries compared with 24–34 % (women) and 23–35 % (men) in central/northern Europe.
We found distinct differences in meal patterns with marked diversity for intake frequency and lunch and snack consumption between Mediterranean and central/northern European countries. Monitoring of meal patterns across various cultures and populations could provide critical context to the research efforts to characterize relationships between dietary intake and health.
Higher fruit intake is associated with lower risk of all-cause and disease-specific mortality. However, data on individual fruits are limited, and the generalisability of these findings to the elderly remains uncertain. The objective of this study was to examine the association of apple intake with all-cause and disease-specific mortality over 15 years in a cohort of women aged over 70 years. Secondary analyses explored relationships of other fruits with mortality outcomes. Usual fruit intake was assessed in 1456 women using a FFQ. Incidence of all-cause and disease-specific mortality over 15 years was determined through the Western Australian Hospital Morbidity Data system. Cox regression was used to determine the hazard ratios (HR) for mortality. During 15 years of follow-up, 607 (41·7 %) women died from any cause. In the multivariable-adjusted analysis, the HR for all-cause mortality was 0·89 (95 % CI 0·81, 0·97) per sd (53 g/d) increase in apple intake, HR 0·80 (95 % CI 0·65, 0·98) for consumption of 5–100 g/d and HR 0·65 (95 % CI 0·48, 0·89) for consumption of >100 g/d (an apple a day), compared with apple intake of <5 g/d (Pfor trend=0·03). Our analysis also found that higher apple intake was associated with lower risk for cancer mortality, and that higher total fruit and banana intakes were associated lower risk of CVD mortality (P<0·05). Our results support the view that regular apple consumption may contribute to lower risk of mortality.