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Initiatives to optimise preconception health are emerging following growing recognition that this may improve the health and well-being of women and men of reproductive age and optimise health in their children. To inform and evaluate such initiatives, guidance is required on indicators that describe and monitor population-level preconception health. We searched relevant databases and websites (March 2021) to identify national and international preconception guidelines, recommendations and policy reports. These were reviewed to identify preconception indicators. Indicators were aligned with a measure describing the prevalence of the indicator as recorded in national population-based data sources in England. From 22 documents reviewed, we identified 66 indicators across 12 domains. Domains included wider (social/economic) determinants of health; health care; reproductive health and family planning; health behaviours; environmental exposures; cervical screening; immunisation and infections; mental health, physical health; medication and genetic risk. Sixty-five of the 66 indicators were reported in at least one national routine health data set, survey or cohort study. A measure of preconception health assessment and care was not identified in any current national data source. Perspectives from three (healthcare) professionals described how indicator assessment and monitoring may influence patient care and inform awareness campaign development. This review forms the foundation for developing a national surveillance system for preconception health in England. The identified indicators can be assessed using national data sources to determine the population’s preconception needs, improve patient care, inform and evaluate new campaigns and interventions and enhance accountability from responsible agencies to improve preconception health.
The use of Spratt’s dog cakes is well documented in the diaries and reminiscences of many early Antarctic expedition members. Commercially produced dog food was promoted by the likes of Spratt’s as an advanced form of animal nutrition and would have been of interest to expedition planners who were already concerned with the nutritional requirements of expedition members. An approximately 100-year-old dog cake recovered from Antarctica was compared by chemical analysis and spectroscopic methods with a series of model dog cakes and a commercial dog biscuit to determine the composition and calorific content. The presence of bone fragments within the dog cake was confirmed, whereas starch in the bulk matrix of the sample was consistent with being a mixture of wheat and oat flour, while only minimal fat or oil was present. Calorific content, while insufficient compared to a modern feed for high-performance dogs, would nonetheless have been a valuable addition to the use of dried or frozen whole meat such as seal, fish, or pemmican and contributed additional energy compared to meat alone.
Recent studies implicate maternal gestational diabetes mellitus (GDM) in differential methylation of infant DNA. Folate and vitamin B12 play a role in DNA methylation, and these vitamins may also influence GDM risk. The aims of this study were to determine folate and vitamin B12 status in obese pregnant women and investigate associations between folate and vitamin B12 status, maternal dysglycaemia and neonatal DNA methylation at cytosine-phosphate-guanine sites previously observed to be associated with dysglycaemia. Obese pregnant women who participated in the UK Pregnancies Better Eating and Activity Trial were included. Serum folate and vitamin B12 were measured at the oral glucose tolerance test (OGTT) visit. Cord blood DNA methylation was assessed using the Infinium MethylationEPIC BeadChip. Regression models with adjustment for confounders were used to examine associations. Of the 951 women included, 356 (37.4%) were vitamin B12 deficient, and 44 (4.6%) were folate deficient. Two-hundred and seventy-one women (28%) developed GDM. Folate and vitamin B12 concentrations were not associated with neonatal DNA methylation. Higher folate was positively associated with 1-h plasma glucose after OGTT (β = 0.031, 95% CI 0.001–0.061, p = 0.045). There was no relationship between vitamin B12 and glucose concentrations post OGTT or between folate or vitamin B12 and GDM. In summary, we found no evidence to link folate and vitamin B12 status with the differential methylation of neonatal DNA previously observed in association with dysglycaemia. We add to the evidence that folate status may be related to maternal glucose homoeostasis although replication in other maternal cohorts is required for validation.
There is limited data on the dietary patterns of 5-year-old children in Asia. The study examined childhood dietary patterns and their maternal and child correlates in a multi-ethnic Asian cohort. Based on caregiver-reported 1-month quantitative FFQ of 777 children from the Growing Up in Singapore Towards healthy Outcomes cohort, cluster analysis identified two mutually exclusive clusters. Children in the ‘Unhealthy’ cluster (43·9 %) consumed more fries, processed meat, biscuits and ice cream, and less fish, fruits and vegetables compared with those in the ‘Healthy’ cluster (56·1 %). Children with mothers of lower educational attainment had twice the odds of being assigned to the ‘Unhealthy’ cluster (adjusted OR (95 % CI) = 2·19 (95 % CI 1·49–3·24)). Children of Malay and Indian ethnicities had higher odds of being assigned to the ‘Unhealthy’ cluster (adjusted OR = 25·46 (95 % CI 15·40, 42·10) and 4·03 (95 % CI 2·68–6·06), respectively), relative to Chinese ethnicity. In conclusion, this study identified two dietary patterns in children, labelled as the ‘Unhealthy’ and ‘Healthy’ clusters. Mothers’ educational attainment and ethnicity were two correlates that were associated with the children’s assignments to the clusters. These findings can assist in informing health promotion programmes targeted at Asian children.
We examined parent- and adolescent-reported executive functioning (EF) behaviors following pediatric traumatic brain injury (TBI) in the context of Online Family Problem-Solving Therapy (OFPST) and moderators of change in EF behaviors.
In total, 274 families were randomized to OFPST or an internet resource comparison group. Parents and adolescents completed the Behavior Rating Inventory of Executive Function at four time points. Mixed models were used to examine EF behaviors, assessing the effects of visit, treatment group, rater, TBI severity, age, socioeconomic status, and family functioning.
Parents rated their adolescents’ EF as poorer (F(3,1156) = 220.15, p < .001; M = 58.11, SE = 0.73) than adolescents rated themselves (M = 51.81, SE = 0.73). Across raters, EF behaviors were poorer for adolescents whose parents had less education (F(3,1156) = 8.60, p = .003; M = 56.76, SE = 0.98) than for those with more education (M = 53.16, SE = 0.88). Age at baseline interacted with visit (F(3,1156) = 5.05, p = .002), such that families of older adolescents reported improvement in EF behaviors over time. Family functioning also interacted with visit (F(3, 1156) = 2.61, p = .049), indicating more improvement in EF behaviors over time in higher functioning families. There were no effects of treatment or TBI severity.
We identified a discrepancy between parent- and adolescent-reported EF, suggesting reduced awareness of deficits in adolescents with TBI. We also found that poorer family functioning and younger age were associated with poorer recovery after TBI, whereas adolescents of parents with less education were reported as having greater EF deficits across time points.
To identify a posteriori dietary patterns among women planning pregnancy and assess the reproducibility of these patterns in a subsample using two dietary assessment methods.
A semi-quantitative FFQ was administered to women enrolled in the Singapore PREconception Study of long-Term maternal and child Outcomes study. Dietary patterns from the FFQ were identified using exploratory factor analysis (EFA). In a subsample of women (n 289), 3-d food diaries (3DFD) were also completed and analysed. Reproducibility of the identified patterns was assessed using confirmatory factor analysis (CFA) in the subsample, and goodness of fit of the CFA models was examined using several fit indices. Subsequently, EFA was conducted in the subsample and dietary patterns of the FFQ and the 3DFD were compared.
1007 women planning pregnancy (18–45 years).
Three dietary patterns were identified from the FFQ: the ‘Fish, Poultry/Meat and Noodles’ pattern was characterised by higher intakes of fish, poultry/meat and noodles in soup; ‘Fast Food and Sweetened Beverages’ pattern was characterised by higher intakes of fast food, sweetened beverages and fried snacks; ‘Bread, Legumes and Dairy’ pattern was characterised by higher intakes of buns/ethnic breads, nuts/legumes and dairy products. The comparative fit indices from the CFA models were 0·79 and 0·34 for the FFQ and 3DFD of the subsample, respectively. In the subsample, three similar patterns were identified in the FFQ while only two for the 3DFD.
Dietary patterns from the FFQ are reproducible within this cohort, providing a basis for future investigations on diet and health outcomes.
Ecosystem modeling, a pillar of the systems ecology paradigm (SEP), addresses questions such as, how much carbon and nitrogen are cycled within ecological sites, landscapes, or indeed the earth system? Or how are human activities modifying these flows? Modeling, when coupled with field and laboratory studies, represents the essence of the SEP in that they embody accumulated knowledge and generate hypotheses to test understanding of ecosystem processes and behavior. Initially, ecosystem models were primarily used to improve our understanding about how biophysical aspects of ecosystems operate. However, current ecosystem models are widely used to make accurate predictions about how large-scale phenomena such as climate change and management practices impact ecosystem dynamics and assess potential effects of these changes on economic activity and policy making. In sum, ecosystem models embedded in the SEP remain our best mechanism to integrate diverse types of knowledge regarding how the earth system functions and to make quantitative predictions that can be confronted with observations of reality. Modeling efforts discussed are the Century ecosystem model, DayCent ecosystem model, Grassland Ecosystem Model ELM, food web models, Savanna model, agent-based and coupled systems modeling, and Bayesian modeling.
Kinetoplastid parasites are responsible for both human and animal diseases across the globe where they have a great impact on health and economic well-being. Many species and life cycle stages are difficult to study due to limitations in isolation and culture, as well as to their existence as heterogeneous populations in hosts and vectors. Single-cell transcriptomics (scRNA-seq) has the capacity to overcome many of these difficulties, and can be leveraged to disentangle heterogeneous populations, highlight genes crucial for propagation through the life cycle, and enable detailed analysis of host–parasite interactions. Here, we provide a review of studies that have applied scRNA-seq to protozoan parasites so far. In addition, we provide an overview of sample preparation and technology choice considerations when planning scRNA-seq experiments, as well as challenges faced when analysing the large amounts of data generated. Finally, we highlight areas of kinetoplastid research that could benefit from scRNA-seq technologies.
The National Neuropsychology Network (NNN) is a multicenter clinical research initiative funded by the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH; R01 MH118514) to facilitate neuropsychology’s transition to contemporary psychometric assessment methods with resultant improvement in test validation and assessment efficiency.
The NNN includes four clinical research sites (Emory University; Medical College of Wisconsin; University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA); University of Florida) and Pearson Clinical Assessment. Pearson Q-interactive (Q-i) is used for data capture for Pearson published tests; web-based data capture tools programmed by UCLA, which serves as the Coordinating Center, are employed for remaining measures.
NNN is acquiring item-level data from 500–10,000 patients across 47 widely used Neuropsychology (NP) tests and sharing these data via the NIMH Data Archive. Modern psychometric methods (e.g., item response theory) will specify the constructs measured by different tests and determine their positive/negative predictive power regarding diagnostic outcomes and relationships to other clinical, historical, and demographic factors. The Structured History Protocol for NP (SHiP-NP) helps standardize acquisition of relevant history and self-report data.
NNN is a proof-of-principle collaboration: by addressing logistical challenges, NNN aims to engage other clinics to create a national and ultimately an international network. The mature NNN will provide mechanisms for data aggregation enabling shared analysis and collaborative research. NNN promises ultimately to enable robust diagnostic inferences about neuropsychological test patterns and to promote the validation of novel adaptive assessment strategies that will be more efficient, more precise, and more sensitive to clinical contexts and individual/cultural differences.
ABSTRACT IMPACT: This work will standardize necessary image pre-processing for diagnostic and prognostic clinical workflows dependent on quantitative analysis of conventional magnetic resonance imaging. OBJECTIVES/GOALS: Conventional magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) poses challenges for quantitative analysis due to a lack of uniform inter-scanner voxel intensity values. Head and neck cancer (HNC) applications in particular have not been well investigated. This project aims to systematically evaluate voxel intensity standardization (VIS) methods for HNC MRI. METHODS/STUDY POPULATION: We utilize two separate cohorts of HNC patients, where T2-weighted (T2-w) MRI sequences were acquired before beginning radiotherapy for five patients in each cohort. The first cohort corresponds to patients with images taken at various institutions with a variety of non-uniform acquisition scanners and parameters. The second cohort corresponds to patients from a prospective clinical trial with uniformity in both scanner and acquisition parameters. Regions of interest from a variety of healthy tissues assumed to have minimal interpatient variation were manually contoured for each image and used to compare differences between a variety of VIS methods for each cohort. Towards this end, we implement a new metric for cohort intensity distributional overlap to compare region of interest similarity in a given cohort. RESULTS/ANTICIPATED RESULTS: Using a simple and interpretable metric, we have systematically investigated the effects of various commonly implementable VIS methods on T2-w sequences for two independent cohorts of HNC patients based on region of interest intensity similarity. We demonstrate VIS has a substantial effect on T2-w images where non-uniform acquisition parameters and scanners are utilized. Oppositely, it has a modest to minimal impact on T2-w images generated from the same scanner with the same acquisition parameters. Moreover, with a few notable exceptions, there does not seem to be a clear advantage or disadvantage to using one VIS method over another for T2-w images with non-uniform acquisition parameters. DISCUSSION/SIGNIFICANCE OF FINDINGS: Our results inform which VIS methods should be favored in HNC MRI and may indicate VIS is not a critical factor to consider in circumstances where similar acquisition parameters can be utilized. Moreover, our results can help guide downstream quantitative imaging tasks that may one day be implemented in clinical workflows.
The Southern dietary pattern, derived within the REasons for Geographic And Racial Differences in Stroke (REGARDS) cohort, is characterised by high consumption of added fats, fried food, organ meats, processed meats and sugar-sweetened beverages and is associated with increased risk of several chronic diseases. The aim of the present study was to identify characteristics of individuals with high adherence to this dietary pattern. We analysed data from REGARDS, a national cohort of 30 239 black and white adults ≥45 years of age living in the USA. Dietary data were collected using the Block 98 FFQ. Multivariable linear regression was used to calculate standardised beta coefficients across all covariates for the entire sample and stratified by race and region. We included 16 781 participants with complete dietary data. Among these, 34·6 % were black, 45·6 % male, 55·2 % resided in stroke belt region and the average age was 65 years. Black race was the factor with the largest magnitude of association with the Southern dietary pattern (Δ = 0·76 sd, P < 0·0001). Large differences in Southern dietary pattern adherence were observed between black participants and white participants in the stroke belt and non-belt (stroke belt Δ = 0·75 sd, non-belt Δ = 0·77 sd). There was a high consumption of the Southern dietary pattern in the US black population, regardless of other factors, underlying our previous findings showing the substantial contribution of this dietary pattern to racial disparities in incident hypertension and stroke.
Recent drilling successes on Rutford Ice Stream in West Antarctica demonstrate the viability of hot water drilling subglacial access holes to depths >2000 m. Having techniques to access deep subglacial environments reliably paves the way for subglacial lake exploration beneath the thick central West Antarctic Ice Sheet. An ideal candidate lake, overlain by ~2650 m of ice, identified by Centro de Estudios Científicos (CECs), Chile, has led to collaboration with British Antarctic Survey to access Subglacial Lake CECs (SLCECs). To conform with the Scientific Committee on Antarctic Research code of conduct, which provides a guide to responsible scientific exploration and stewardship of these pristine systems, any access drilling must minimise all aspects of contamination and disturbance of the subglacial environment. To meet these challenges, along with thicker ice and 2000 m elevation, pumping and water treatment systems developed for the Subglacial Lake Ellsworth project, together with new diesel generators, additional water heating and longer drill hose, are currently being integrated with the BEAMISH hot water drill. A dedicated test season near SLCECs will commission the new clean hot water drill, with testing and validation of all clean operating procedures. A subsequent season will then access SLCECs cleanly.
A programmable borehole measurement system was deployed in hot water drilled ice holes during the ‘Bed Access and Monitoring of Ice Sheet History’ (BEAMISH) project to drill to the bed of the Rutford Ice Stream in West Antarctica. This system operates autonomously (no live data) after deployment, and records borehole diameter (non-contact measurement), water column pressure, heading and inclination. Three cameras, two sideways looking and one vertical, are also included for visual inspection of hole integrity and sediments. The system is small, lightweight (~35.5 kg) and low power using only 6 ‘D’ cell sized lithium batteries, making it ideal for transport and use in remote field sites. The system is 2.81 m long and 165 mm in diameter, and can be deployed attached to the drill hose for measurements during drilling or on its own deployment line afterwards. The full system is discussed in detail, highlighting design strengths and weaknesses. Data from the BEAMISH project are also presented in the form of camera images showing hole integrity, and sensor data used to calculate borehole diameter through the full length of the hole. These data are used to show confidence in hole verticality and subsurface cavity development and connection.
During the 2018/19 Antarctic field season, the British Antarctic Survey (BAS) Basal conditions on Rutford Ice Stream: BEd Access, Monitoring and Ice Sheet History’ (BEAMISH) project drilled three holes through the Rutford Ice Stream, West Antarctica. At up to 2154 m, these are the deepest hot water drilled subglacial access holes yet created, enabling the recovery of sediment from the subglacial environment, and instrumenting the ice stream and its bed. The BEAMISH hot-water drill system was built on extensive experience with the BAS ice shelf hot-water drill and utilises many identical components. With up to 1 MW of heating power available, the hot water drill produces 140 L min−1 of water at 85°C to create a 300 mm diameter access hole to the base of the ice stream. New systems and processes were developed for BEAMISH to aid critical aspects of deep access drilling, most notably the creation of cavities interlinking boreholes at 230 m below the surface and enabling water recirculation throughout the deep drilling operations. The modular design of the BEAMISH drill offers many benefits in its adaptability, redundancy, and minimal logistical footprint. These design features can easily accommodate the modifications needed for future deep, clean access hole creation in the exploration of subglacial environments.
Subglacial sediments have the potential to reveal information about the controls on glacier flow, changes in ice-sheet history and characterise life in those environments. Retrieving sediments from beneath the ice, through hot water drilled access holes at remote field locations, present many challenges. Motivated by the need to minimise weight, corer diameter and simplify assembly and operation, British Antarctic Survey, in collaboration with UWITEC, developed a simple mechanical percussion corer. At depths over 1000 m however, manual operation of the percussion hammer is compromised by the lack of clear operator feedback at the surface. To address this, we present a new auto-release-recovery percussion hammer mechanism that makes coring operations depth independent and improves hammer efficiency. Using a single rope tether for both the corer and hammer operation, this modified percussion corer is relatively simple to operate, easy to maintain, and has successfully operated at a depth of >2130 m.
The neuropeptide oxytocin is proposed as a promising therapy for social dysfunction by modulating amygdala-mediated social-emotional behavior. Although clinical trials report some benefits of chronic treatment, it is unclear whether efficacy may be influenced by dose frequency or genotype.
In a randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled pharmaco-functional magnetic resonance imaging trial (150 male subjects), we investigated acute and different chronic (every day or on alternate days for 5 days) intranasal oxytocin (24 international units) effects and oxytocin receptor genotype-mediated treatment sensitivity on amygdala responses to face emotions. We also investigated similar effects on resting-state functional connectivity between the amygdala and prefrontal cortex.
A single dose of oxytocin-reduced amygdala responses to all face emotions but for threatening (fear and anger) and happy faces, this effect was abolished after daily doses for 5 days but maintained by doses given every other day. The latter dose regime also enhanced associated anxious-arousal attenuation for fear faces. Oxytocin effects on reducing amygdala responses to face emotions only occurred in AA homozygotes of rs53576 and A carriers of rs2254298. The effects of oxytocin on resting-state functional connectivity were not influenced by either dose-frequency or receptor genotype.
Infrequent chronic oxytocin administration may be therapeutically most efficient and its anxiolytic neural and behavioral actions are highly genotype-dependent in males.
Abundant species are typically also viewed as ecologically dominant, and are frequently used to characterize the communities in which they live. Such characteristic assemblages may also be used as indicators of environmental conditions, such as relative stability. Fossil and modern turritelline gastropods are often the most abundant species in the marine assemblages and communities in which they occur, forming ‘turritelline-dominated assemblages’ (TDAs). We use data on modern Turritella bacillum from waters around Hong Kong as a case study to analyse fluctuations in abundance over 25 years. While turritellines were not always dominant in the area surveyed (~1650 km2), populations were notably persistent, and rebound after decline of abundances occurred within ~5 years at some sites. δ18O sclerochronology suggests that individuals were ~1–2 years old. It is also notable that T. bacillum was found to be abundant at salinities as low as 10–15 psu, despite the general characterization of turritellines as fully marine. Comparison with data on modern T. communis in the western English Channel corroborates this pattern, as localized sites of high abundance also appear transient. These results have implications for the interpretation of TDAs in the fossil record: they may signify the cumulative result of short-lived, spatially restricted populations, possibly resulting from essentially stochastic larval settlement. This suggests that the palaeoenvironmental setting of fossil TDAs does not always control their occurrence on short temporal scales.
The Rapid ASKAP Continuum Survey (RACS) is the first large-area survey to be conducted with the full 36-antenna Australian Square Kilometre Array Pathfinder (ASKAP) telescope. RACS will provide a shallow model of the ASKAP sky that will aid the calibration of future deep ASKAP surveys. RACS will cover the whole sky visible from the ASKAP site in Western Australia and will cover the full ASKAP band of 700–1800 MHz. The RACS images are generally deeper than the existing NRAO VLA Sky Survey and Sydney University Molonglo Sky Survey radio surveys and have better spatial resolution. All RACS survey products will be public, including radio images (with
15 arcsec resolution) and catalogues of about three million source components with spectral index and polarisation information. In this paper, we present a description of the RACS survey and the first data release of 903 images covering the sky south of declination
made over a 288-MHz band centred at 887.5 MHz.
The peoples of southern Mesoamerica, including the Classic period Maya, are often claimed to exhibit a distinct type of spatial organization relative to contemporary urban systems. Here, we use the settlement scaling framework and properties of settlements recorded in systematic, full-coverage surveys to examine ways in which southern Mesoamerican settlement systems were both similar to and different from contemporary systems. We find that the population-area relationship in these settlements differs greatly from that reported for other agrarian settlement systems, but that more typical patterns emerge when one considers a site epicenter as the relevant social interaction area, and the population administered from a given center as the relevant interacting population. Our results imply that southern Mesoamerican populations mixed socially at a slower temporal rhythm than is typical of contemporary systems. Residential locations reflected the need to balance energetic and transport costs of farming with lower-frequency costs of commuting to central places. Nevertheless, increasing returns in activities such as civic construction were still realized through lower-frequency social mixing. These findings suggest that the primary difference between low-density urbanism and contemporary urban systems lies in the spatial and temporal rhythms of social mixing.