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We report key learning from the public health management of the first two confirmed cases of COVID-19 identified in the UK. The first case imported, and the second associated with probable person-to-person transmission within the UK. Contact tracing was complex and fast-moving. Potential exposures for both cases were reviewed, and 52 contacts were identified. No further confirmed COVID-19 cases have been linked epidemiologically to these two cases. As steps are made to enhance contact tracing across the UK, the lessons learned from earlier contact tracing during the country's containment phase are particularly important and timely.
The current study examined whether social status and social integration, two related but distinct indicators of an adolescent's standing within a peer network, mediate the association between risky symptoms (depressive symptoms and deviant behavior) and substance use across adolescence. The sample of 6,776 adolescents participated in up to seven waves of data collection spanning 6th to 12th grades. Scores indexing social status and integration were derived from a social network analysis of six schools and subsequent psychometric modeling. Results of latent growth models showed that social integration and status mediated the relation between risky symptoms and substance use and that risky symptoms mediated the relation between social standing and substance use during the high school transition. Before this transition, pathways involving deviant behavior led to high social integration and status and in turn to substance use. After this transition, both deviant behavior and depressive symptoms led to low social integration and status and in turn greater substance use. These findings suggest that the high school transition is a risky time for substance use related to the interplay of increases in depressive symptoms and deviant behavior on the one hand and decreases in social status and integration on the other.
The association between lower birth weight and increased disease risk in adulthood has drawn attention to the physiological processes that shape the gestational environment. We implement genome-wide transcriptional profiling of maternal blood samples to identify subsets of genes and associated transcription control pathways that predict offspring birth weight. Female participants (N = 178, mean = 27.0 years) in a prospective observational birth cohort study were contacted between 2009 and 2014 to identify new pregnancies. An in-home interview was scheduled for early in the third trimester (mean = 30.3 weeks) to collect pregnancy-related information and a blood sample, and birth weight was measured shortly after delivery. Transcriptional activity in white blood cells was determined with a whole-genome gene expression direct hybridization assay. Fifty transcripts were differentially expressed in association with offspring birth weight, with 18 up-regulated in relation to lower birth weight, and 32 down-regulated. Examination of transcription control pathways identified increased activity of NF-κB, AP-1, EGR1, EGR4, and Gfi families, and reduced the activity of CEBP, in association with lower birth weight. Transcript origin analyses identified non-classical CD16+ monocytes, CD1c+ myeloid dendritic cells, and neutrophils as the primary cellular mediators of differential gene expression. These results point toward a systematic regulatory shift in maternal white blood cell activity in association with lower offspring birth weight, and they suggest that analyses of gene expression during gestation may provide insight into regulatory and cellular mechanisms that influence birth outcomes.
Timing of weed emergence and seed persistence in the soil influence the ability to implement timely and effective control practices. Emergence patterns and seed persistence of kochia populations were monitored in 2010 and 2011 at sites in Kansas, Colorado, Wyoming, Nebraska, and South Dakota. Weekly observations of emergence were initiated in March and continued until no new emergence occurred. Seed was harvested from each site, placed into 100-seed mesh packets, and buried at depths of 0, 2.5, and 10 cm in fall of 2010 and 2011. Packets were exhumed at 6-mo intervals over 2 yr. Viability of exhumed seeds was evaluated. Nonlinear mixed-effects Weibull models were fit to cumulative emergence (%) across growing degree days (GDD) and to viable seed (%) across burial time to describe their fixed and random effects across site-years. Final emergence densities varied among site-years and ranged from as few as 4 to almost 380,000 seedlings m−2. Across 11 site-years in Kansas, cumulative GDD needed for 10% emergence were 168, while across 6 site-years in Wyoming and Nebraska, only 90 GDD were needed; on the calendar, this date shifted from early to late March. The majority (>95%) of kochia seed did not persist for more than 2 yr. Remaining seed viability was generally >80% when seeds were exhumed within 6 mo after burial in March, and declined to <5% by October of the first year after burial. Burial did not appear to increase or decrease seed viability over time but placed seed in a position from which seedling emergence would not be possible. High seedling emergence that occurs very early in the spring emphasizes the need for fall or early spring PRE weed control such as tillage, herbicides, and cover crops, while continued emergence into midsummer emphasizes the need for extended periods of kochia management.
High conflict and low warmth in families may contribute to immune cells developing a tendency to respond to threats with exaggerated inflammation that is insensitive to inhibitory signaling. We tested associations between family environments and expression of genes bearing response elements for transcription factors that regulate inflammation: nuclear factor kappa B (NF-κB) and glucocorticoid receptor. The overall sample (47 families) completed interviews, questionnaires, and 8-week daily diary assessments of conflict and warmth, which were used to create composite family conflict and warmth scores. The diaries assessed upper respiratory infection (URI) symptoms, and URI episodes were clinically verified. Leukocyte RNA was extracted from whole blood samples provided by a subsample of 42 children (8–13 years of age) and 73 parents. In children, higher conflict and lower warmth were related to greater expression of genes bearing response elements for the proinflammatory transcription factor NF-κB, and more severe URI symptoms. In parents, higher conflict and lower warmth were also related to greater NF-κB–associated gene expression. Monocytes and dendritic cells were implicated as primary cellular sources of differential gene expression in the sample. Consistent with existing conceptual frameworks, stressful family environments were related to a proinflammatory phenotype at the level of the circulating leukocyte transcriptome.
Research was conducted from 2011 to 2014 to determine weed population
dynamics and frequency of glyphosate-resistant (GR) Palmer amaranth with
herbicide programs consisting of glyphosate, dicamba, and residual
herbicides in dicamba-tolerant cotton. Five treatments were maintained in
the same plots over the duration of the experiment: three sequential POST
applications of glyphosate with or without pendimethalin plus diuron PRE;
three sequential POST applications of glyphosate plus dicamba with and
without the PRE herbicides; and a POST application of glyphosate plus
dicamba plus acetochlor followed by one or two POST applications of
glyphosate plus dicamba without PRE herbicides. Additional treatments
included alternating years with three sequential POST applications of
glyphosate only and glyphosate plus dicamba POST with and without PRE
herbicides. The greatest population of Palmer amaranth was observed when
glyphosate was the only POST herbicide throughout the experiment. Although
diuron plus pendimethalin PRE in a program with only glyphosate POST
improved control during the first 2 yr, these herbicides were ineffective by
the final 2 yr on the basis of weed counts from soil cores. The lowest
population of Palmer amaranth was observed when glyphosate plus dicamba were
applied regardless of PRE herbicides or inclusion of acetochlor POST.
Frequency of GR Palmer amaranth was 8% or less when the experiment was
initiated. Frequency of GR Palmer amaranth varied by herbicide program
during 2012 but was similar among all herbicide programs in 2013 and 2014.
Similar frequency of GR Palmer amaranth across all treatments at the end of
the experiment most likely resulted from pollen movement from Palmer
amaranth treated with glyphosate only to any surviving female plants
regardless of PRE or POST treatment. These data suggest that GR Palmer
amaranth can be controlled by dicamba and that dicamba is an effective
alternative mode of action to glyphosate in fields where GR Palmer amaranth
To design effective food safety programmes we need to estimate how many sporadic foodborne illnesses are caused by specific food sources based on case-control studies. Logistic regression has substantive limitations for analysing structured questionnaire data with numerous exposures and missing values. We adapted random forest to analyse data of a case-control study of Salmonella enterica serotype Enteritidis illness for source attribution. For estimation of summary population attributable fractions (PAFs) of exposures grouped into transmission routes, we devised a counterfactual estimator to predict reductions in illness associated with removing grouped exposures. For the purpose of comparison, we fitted the data using logistic regression models with stepwise forward and backward variable selection. Our results show that the forward and backward variable selection of logistic regression models were not consistent for parameter estimation, with different significant exposures identified. By contrast, the random forest model produced estimated PAFs of grouped exposures consistent in rank order with results obtained from outbreak data, with egg-related exposures having the highest estimated PAF (22·1%, 95% confidence interval 8·5–31·8). Random forest might be structurally more coherent and efficient than logistic regression models for attributing Salmonella illnesses to sources involving many causal pathways.
The link between the experience of peer victimization (PV) and future psychological maladjustment has been consistently documented; however, little is known about intermediary cognitive processes that underlie this relation or how these processes vary across childhood. The present study examined the prospective relations between physical and relational PV and the development of negative and positive automatic thoughts and self-cognitions. Self-reports of cognitions and peer nomination measures of victimization were obtained from 1,242 children and young adolescents (Grades 3 through 6) in a two-wave longitudinal study. The results revealed that PV predicted significant increases in negative views of the self, world, and future and decreases in self-perceived competence for girls under 11 years of age, with the effect being stronger for younger girls. PV was not significantly associated with changes in positive or negative self-cognitions for older girls or for boys of any age. These findings support the hypothesis that PV may be linked to future psychopathology through its influence on self-cognitions, but only for girls.
As part of an ongoing effort to increase image reproducibility and fidelity in addition to improving cross-instrument consistency, we have proposed using four separate instrument quality tests to augment the ones we have previously reported. These four tests assessed the following areas: (1) objective lens quality, (2) resolution, (3) accuracy of the wavelength information from spectral detectors, and (4) the accuracy and quality of spectral separation algorithms. Data were received from 55 laboratories located in 18 countries. The largest source of errors across all tests was user error which could be subdivided between failure to follow provided protocols and improper use of the microscope. This truly emphasizes the importance of proper rigorous training and diligence in performing confocal microscopy experiments and equipment evaluations. It should be noted that there was no discernible difference in quality between confocal microscope manufactures. These tests, as well as others previously reported, will help assess the quality of confocal microscopy equipment and will provide a means to track equipment performance over time. From 62 to 97% of the data sets sent in passed the various tests demonstrating the usefulness and appropriateness of these tests as part of a larger performance testing regiment.
The first direct detection of gravitational waves may be made through observations of pulsars. The principal aim of pulsar timing-array projects being carried out worldwide is to detect ultra-low frequency gravitational waves (f ∼ 10−9–10−8 Hz). Such waves are expected to be caused by coalescing supermassive binary black holes in the cores of merged galaxies. It is also possible that a detectable signal could have been produced in the inflationary era or by cosmic strings. In this paper, we review the current status of the Parkes Pulsar Timing Array project (the only such project in the Southern hemisphere) and compare the pulsar timing technique with other forms of gravitational-wave detection such as ground- and space-based interferometer systems.
A ‘pulsar timing array’ (PTA), in which observations of a large sample of pulsars spread across the celestial sphere are combined, allows investigation of ‘global’ phenomena such as a background of gravitational waves or instabilities in atomic timescales that produce correlated timing residuals in the pulsars of the array. The Parkes Pulsar Timing Array (PPTA) is an implementation of the PTA concept based on observations with the Parkes 64-m radio telescope. A sample of 20 ms pulsars is being observed at three radio-frequency bands, 50 cm (~700 MHz), 20 cm (~1400 MHz), and 10 cm (~3100 MHz), with observations at intervals of two to three weeks. Regular observations commenced in early 2005. This paper describes the systems used for the PPTA observations and data processing, including calibration and timing analysis. The strategy behind the choice of pulsars, observing parameters, and analysis methods is discussed. Results are presented for PPTA data in the three bands taken between 2005 March and 2011 March. For 10 of the 20 pulsars, rms timing residuals are less than 1 μs for the best band after fitting for pulse frequency and its first time derivative. Significant ‘red’ timing noise is detected in about half of the sample. We discuss the implications of these results on future projects including the International Pulsar Timing Array and a PTA based on the Square Kilometre Array. We also present an ‘extended PPTA’ data set that combines PPTA data with earlier Parkes timing data for these pulsars.
We report on novel liquid crystals with extremely large flexoelectric coefficients in a range of ultra-fast photonic modes, namely 1) the uniform lying helix, that leads to in-plain switching, birefringence phase devices with 100 μs switching times at low fields, i.e.2-5 V/μm, and analogue or grey scale capability, 2) the uniform standing helix, using planar surface alignment and in-plane fields, with sub ms response times and optical contrasts in excess of 5000:1 with a perfect optically isotropic or black “off state”, 3) the wide temperature range blue phase that leads to field controlled reflective color, 4) chiral nematic optical reflectors electric field tunable over a wide wavelength range and 5) high slope efficiency, wide wavelength range tunable narrow linewidth microscopic liquid crystal lasers.
Physical inactivity poses a major risk for obesity and chronic disease, and is influenced by both genetic and environmental factors. However, the genetic association between physical activity (PA) level and obesity is not well characterized. Our aims were to: (i) estimate the extent of additive genetic influences on physical activity while adjusting for household effects; and (ii) determine whether physical activity and adiposity measures share common genetic effects.
The sample included 521 (42 % male) adult relatives, 18–86 years of age, from five large families in the Southwest Ohio Family Study.
Sport, leisure and work PA were self-reported (Baecke Questionnaire of Habitual Physical Activity). Total body and trunk adiposity, including percentage body fat (%BF), were measured using dual-energy X-ray absorptiometry. Abdominal visceral and subcutaneous adipose tissue mass were measured using MRI.
Heritabilities for adiposity and PA traits, and the genetic, household and environmental correlations among them, were estimated using maximum likelihood variance components methods. Significant genetic effects (P < 0·05) were found for sport (h2 = 0·26) and leisure PA (h2 = 0·17). Significant (P < 0·05) household effects existed for leisure PA (c2 = 0·25). Sport PA had a negative genetic correlation with central adiposity measurements adjusted for height (ρG > |−0·40|). Sport and leisure PA had negative genetic correlations with %BF (ρG > |−0·46|).
The results suggest that the association of sport and leisure PA with lower adiposity is due, in part, to a common genetic inheritance of both reduced adiposity and the predisposition to engage in more physical activity.