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Schistosomiasis has been subjected to extensive control efforts in the People's Republic of China (China) which aims to eliminate the disease by 2030. We describe baseline results of a longitudinal cohort study undertaken in the Dongting and Poyang lakes areas of central China designed to determine the prevalence of Schistosoma japonicum in humans, animals (goats and bovines) and Oncomelania snails utilizing molecular diagnostics procedures. Data from the Chinese National Schistosomiasis Control Programme (CNSCP) were compared with the molecular results obtained.
Sixteen villages from Hunan and Jiangxi provinces were surveyed; animals were only found in Hunan. The prevalence of schistosomiasis in humans was 1.8% in Jiangxi and 8.0% in Hunan determined by real-time polymerase chain reaction (PCR), while 18.3% of animals were positive by digital droplet PCR. The CNSCP data indicated that all villages harboured S. japonicum-infected individuals, detected serologically by indirect haemagglutination assay (IHA), but very few, if any, of these were subsequently positive by Kato-Katz (KK).
Based on the outcome of the IHA and KK results, the CNSCP incorporates targeted human praziquantel chemotherapy but this approach can miss some infections as evidenced by the results reported here. Sensitive molecular diagnostics can play a key role in the elimination of schistosomiasis in China and inform control measures allowing for a more systematic approach to treatment.
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.
We conducted a systematic review of randomised controlled trials (RCT) of increased intake of arachidonic acid (ARA) on fatty acid status and health outcomes in humans. We identified twenty-two articles from fourteen RCT. Most studies were conducted in adults. These used between 80 and 2000 mg ARA per d and were of 1–12 weeks duration. Supplementation with ARA doses as low as 80 mg/d increased the content of ARA in different blood fractions. Overall there seem to be few marked benefits for adults of increasing ARA intake from the typical usual intake of 100–200 mg/d to as much as 1000 mg/d; the few studies using higher doses (1500 or 2000 mg/d) also report little benefit. However, there may be an impact of ARA on cognitive and muscle function which could be particularly relevant in the ageing population. The studies reviewed here suggest no adverse effects in adults of increased ARA intake up to at least 1000–1500 mg/d on blood lipids, platelet aggregation and blood clotting, immune function, inflammation or urinary excretion of ARA metabolites. However, in many areas there are insufficient studies to make firm conclusions, and higher intakes of ARA are deserving of further study. Based on the RCT reviewed, there are not enough data to make any recommendations for specific health effects of ARA intake.
Group I xenoliths, orthopyroxene-rich and orthopyroxene-free, contain Cr-spinel and clinopyroxene ± phlogopite, and occur together with Group II clinopyroxenites ± Ti-spinel ± phlogopite in K-mafic pyroclastics southeast of Gees. The petrography and clinopyroxene chemistry of orthopyroxene-rich (opx-rich sub-group) Group I xenoliths is consistent with an ‘original’ harzburgitic mantle that has been transformed to lherzolite by the addition of endiopside. In harzburgites, orthopyroxenes are reacting to diopside + olivine + alkali-silicate melt, and, by inference, the orthopyroxene-free (opx-free subgroup) Group I, dunite-wehrlite series can be linked to the opx-rich sub-group via this reaction. Progressive enrichment of dunitic material in endiopside-diopside has resulted in the formation of wehrlite. Phlogopite is titaniferous and occurs as a trace mineral in opx-rich, Group I xenoliths, whereas substantial phlogopite vein-networks are confined to the opx-free sub-group (dunite-wehrlite series). Interstitial, alkali-felsic glass occurs are veins within, and as extensions of, the phlogopite networks. Clinopyroxenes in phlogopite-veined xenoliths are decreased in Mg/(Mg + FeTotal) (mg) and Cr and increased in Ti, Al and Ca, compared with clinopyroxenes in xenoliths which have trace phlogopite. It is proposed that harzburgitic and dunitic mantle has been infiltrated by a Ca- and alkalirich, hydrous silicate melt rather than an ephemeral carbonatite melt. Dunite has been transformed to phlogopite wehrlite by the invasion of a Ca-, Al-, Ti- and K-rich, hydrous silicate melt. Ca-activity was high initially in the melt and was reduced by clinopyroxene precipitation. This resulted in enhanced K-activity which led to phlogopite veining of clinopyroxene-rich mantle. Group II phlogopite clinopyroxenites contain Ti-spinel and salites that are distinct in their Ti, Al and Cr contents from endiopsides and diopsides in Group I xenoliths. It is unlikely that these Group II xenoliths represent the culmination of the infiltration processes that have transformed dunite to wehrlite, nor can they be related to the host melt. These xenoliths may have crystallised from Ca- and K-bearing, hydrous silicate melts in mantle channelways buffered by previously precipitated clinopyroxene and phlogopite. Gees lherzolites contain pyroxenes and spinel with distinctly lower Al contents than these same minerals in lherzolites described previously from other West Eifel localities, which may reflect a distinctive lithology and/or processes of modification for the Gees mantle.
People released from prison are at higher risk of mortality from potentially preventable causes than their peers in the general population. Because most studies of this phenomenon are reliant on registry data, there is little health and behavioural information available on those at risk, hampering the development of targeted, evidence-based preventive responses. Our aim was to identify modifiable risk and protective factors for external cause and cause-specific mortality after release from prison.
We undertook a nested case–control study using data from a larger retrospective cohort study of mortality after release from prison in Queensland, Australia between 1994 and 2007. Cases were 286 individuals who had died from external causes (drug overdose, suicide, transport accidents, or violence) matched with 286 controls on sex, Indigenous status, and release date. We extracted data from detention, case-management, and prison medical records.
Factors associated with increased risk of external cause mortality included use of heroin and other opioids in the community [odds ratio (OR) = 2.20, 95% CI 1.41–3.43, p < 0.001], a prescription for antidepressants during the current prison sentence (OR = 1.94, 95% CI 1.02–3.67, p = 0.042), a history of problematic alcohol use in the community (OR = 1.54, 95% CI 1.05–2.26, p = 0.028), and having ever served two or more custodial sentences (OR = 1.51, 95% CI 1.01–2.25, p = 0.045). Being married (OR = 0.45, 95% CI 0.29–0.70, p < 0.001) was protective. Fewer predictors were associated with cause-specific mortality.
We identified several behavioural, psychosocial, and clinical markers associated with mortality from preventable causes in people released from prison. Emerging evidence points to interventions that could be targeted at those at increased risk of external cause mortality. These include treatment and harm reduction programmes (for substance use), improving transitional support programmes and continuity of care (for mental health), diversion and drug reform (for repeat incarceration) and nurturing stable relationships during incarceration. The period of imprisonment and shortly after release provides a unique opportunity to improve the long-term health of ex-prisoners and overcome the disadvantage associated with imprisonment.
We conducted a clinical trial to determine if prophylactic anticonvulsants in brain tumour patients (without prior seizures) reduced seizure frequency. We stopped accrual at 100 patients on the basis of the interim analysis.
One hundred newly diagnosed brain tumour patients received anticonvulsants (AC Group) or not (No AC Group) in this prospective randomized unblinded study. Sixty patients had metastatic, and 40 had primary brain tumours. Forty-six (46%) patients were randomized to the AC Group and 54 (54%) to the No AC Group. Median follow-up was 5.44 months (range 0.13 -30.1 months).
Seizures occurred in 26 (26%) patients, eleven in the AC Group and 15 in the No AC Group. Seizure-free survivals were not different; at three months 87% of the AC Group and 90% of the No AC Group were seizure-free (log rank test, p=0.98). Seventy patients died (unrelated to seizures) and survival rates were equivalent in both groups (median survival = 6.8 months versus 5.6 months, respectively; log rank test, p=0.50). We then terminated accrual at 100 patients because seizure and survival rates were much lower than expected; we would need ≥ 900 patients to have a suitably powered study.
These data should be used by individuals contemplating a clinical trial to determine if prophylactic anticonvulsants are effective in subsets of brain tumour patients (e.g. only anaplastic astrocytomas). When taken together with the results of a similar randomized trial, prophylactic anticonvulsants are unlikely to be effective or useful in brain tumour patients who have not had a seizure.
A method of high resolution simulation is proposed for Unmanned Combat Air Vehicles (UCAVs) undergoing manoeuvress at high angle-of-attack or transonic speeds. Motivation for the need to develop such a method is first presented to show payoff in the design cycle, followed by results of using the method on current manned fighter aircraft. Finally, a notional UCAV shape from Boeing military aircraft is presented to show the possibilities of how the method can accurately capture the relevant phenomenon of these difficult flight regimes.
Chemoradiotherapy followed by monthly temozolomide (TMZ) is the standard of care for patients with glioblastoma multiforme (GBM). Case reports have identified GBM patients who experienced transient radiological deterioration after concurrent chemoradiotherapy which stabilized or resolved after additional cycles of adjuvant TMZ, a phenomenon known as radiographic pseudoprogression. Little is known about the natural history of radiographic pseudoprogression.
We retrospectively evaluated the incidence of radiographic pseudoprogression in a population-based cohort of GBM patients and determined its relationship with outcome and MGMT promoter methylation status.
Out of 43 evaluable patients, 25 (58%) exhibited radiographic progression on the first MRI after concurrent treatment. Twenty of these went on to receive adjuvant TMZ, and subsequent investigation demonstrated radiographic pseudoprogression in 10 cases (50%). Median survival (MS) was better in patients with pseudoprogression (MS 14.5 months) compared to those with true radiologic progression (MS 9.1 months, p=0.025). The MS of patients with pseudoprogression was similar to those who stabilized/responded during concurrent treatment (p=0.31). Neither the extent of the initial resection nor dexamethasone dosing was associated with pseudoprogression.
These data suggest that physicians should continue adjuvant TMZ in GBM patients when early MRI scans show evidence of progression following concurrent chemoradiotherapy, as up to 50% of these patients will experience radiologic stability or improvement in subsequent treatment cycles.
This paper describes the system architecture of a newly constructed radio telescope – the Boolardy engineering test array, which is a prototype of the Australian square kilometre array pathfinder telescope. Phased array feed technology is used to form multiple simultaneous beams per antenna, providing astronomers with unprecedented survey speed. The test array described here is a six-antenna interferometer, fitted with prototype signal processing hardware capable of forming at least nine dual-polarisation beams simultaneously, allowing several square degrees to be imaged in a single pointed observation. The main purpose of the test array is to develop beamforming and wide-field calibration methods for use with the full telescope, but it will also be capable of limited early science demonstrations.
This article investigates the difficulties in transplanting global legal norms into developing countries, specifically the problem of ‘false friends.’ This is a linguistics concept describing the situation where there is a striking resemblance between two words in two different languages, leading speakers of each language to assume, incorrectly, that they understand the word's meaning in the other language. Even more problematically, the misunderstanding is hidden by the assumption of understanding. We argue that similar problems can occur when there is a superficial similarity (but a fundamental mismatch) between particular global and local norms. We illustrate this through the example of global intellectual property regimes and their reception in Vanuatu and Mexico, showing how reforms are sometimes welcomed into developing countries on the basis of false assumptions that their aims are congruent with existing understandings. Finally, the paper develops some policy implications for avoiding the ‘false friends’ problem in a transnational legal context.
There is increasing epidemiological evidence linking sub-optimal vitamin D status with overweight and obesity. Although increasing BMI and adiposity have also been negatively associated with the change in vitamin D status following supplementation, results have been equivocal. The aim of this randomised, placebo-controlled study was to investigate the associations between anthropometric measures of adiposity and the wintertime serum 25-hydroxycholecalciferol (25(OH)D) response to 15 μg cholecalciferol per d in healthy young and older Irish adults. A total of 110 young adults (20–40 years) and 102 older adults ( ≥ 64 years) completed the 22-week intervention with >85 % compliance. The change in 25(OH)D from baseline was calculated. Anthropometric measures of adiposity taken at baseline included height, weight and waist circumference (WC), along with skinfold thickness measurements to estimate fat mass (FM). FM was subsequently expressed as FM (kg), FM (%), FM index (FMI (FM kg/height m2)) and as a percentage ratio to fat-free mass (FFM). In older adults, vitamin D status was inversely associated with BMI (kg/m2), WC (cm), FM (kg and %), FMI (kg/m2) and FM:FFM (%) at baseline (r − 0·33, − 0·36, − 0·33, − 0·30, − 0·33 and − 0·27, respectively, all P values < 0·01). BMI in older adults was also negatively associated with the change in 25(OH)D following supplementation (β − 1·27, CI − 2·37, − 0·16, P = 0·026); however, no such associations were apparent in younger adults. Results suggest that adiposity may need to be taken into account when determining an adequate wintertime dietary vitamin D intake for healthy older adults residing at higher latitudes.