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Diet is a modifiable risk factor for chronic disease and a potential modulator of telomere length (TL). The study aim was to investigate associations between diet quality and TL in Australian adults after a 12-week dietary intervention with an almond-enriched diet (AED). Participants (overweight/obese, 50–80 years) were randomised to an AED (n 62) or isoenergetic nut-free diet (NFD, n 62) for 12 weeks. Diet quality was assessed using a Dietary Guideline Index (DGI), applied to weighed food records, that consists of ten components reflecting adequacy, variety and quality of core food components and discretionary choices within the diet. TL was measured by quantitative PCR in samples of lymphocytes, neutrophils, and whole blood. There were no significant associations between DGI scores and TL at baseline. Diet quality improved with AED and decreased with NFD after 12 weeks (change from baseline AED + 9·8 %, NFD − 14·3 %; P < 0·001). TL increased in neutrophils (+9·6 bp, P = 0·009) and decreased in whole blood, to a trivial extent (–12·1 bp, P = 0·001), and was unchanged in lymphocytes. Changes did not differ between intervention groups. There were no significant relationships between changes in diet quality scores and changes in lymphocyte, neutrophil or whole blood TL. The inclusion of almonds in the diet improved diet quality scores but had no impact on TL mid-age to older Australian adults. Future studies should investigate the impact of more substantial dietary changes over longer periods of time.
Creativity appears to be an important part of cognitive capacities and problem solving. Creativity is one’s ability to generate ideas that are novel, surprising, and compelling (Kaufman and Sternberg, 2010). This chapter will focus on the creative-cognitive approach, which seeks to further understand how human minds produce creative ideas.
Rabies is endemic in Bangladesh. To identify risk factors, a case-control study was conducted based on hospital-reported rabid animal bite (RAB) cases in domestic ruminants, 2009 − 2018. RAB cases (n = 449) and three controls per case were selected. Dogs (87.8%) and jackals (12.2%) were most often identified as biting animals. In the final multivariable model, the risk of being a RAB case was significantly higher in cattle aged >0.5–2 years (odds ratio (OR) 2.89; 95% confidence interval (CI): 1.56–5.37), >2–5 years (OR 3.63; 95% CI: 1.97–6.67) and >5 years (OR 6.42; 95% CI: 3.39–12.17) compared to those aged <0.5 years. Crossbred cattle were at higher risk of being a RAB case (OR 5.48; 95% CI: 3.56–8.42) than indigenous. Similarly, female cattle were more likely to be a RAB case (OR 1.26; 95% CI: 1.15–2.29) than males. Cattle in rural areas (OR 39.48; 95% CI: 6.14–254.00) were at a much higher risk of being RAB cases than those in urban areas. Female, crossbred and older cattle, especially in rural areas should either be managed indoors during the dog breeding season (September and October) or vaccinated. A national rabies elimination program should prioritise rural dogs for mass vaccination. Jackals should also be immunised using oral bait vaccines. Prevention of rabies in rural dogs and jackals would also reduce rabies incidence in humans.
Systemic inflammation has been linked with mood disorder and cognitive impairment. The extent of this relationship remains uncertain, with the effects of serum inflammatory biomarkers compared to genetic predisposition toward inflammation yet to be clearly established.
We investigated the magnitude of associations between C-reactive protein (CRP) measures, lifetime history of bipolar disorder or major depression, and cognitive function (reaction time and visuospatial memory) in 84,268 UK Biobank participants. CRP was measured in serum and a polygenic risk score for CRP was calculated, based on a published genome-wide association study. Multiple regression models adjusted for sociodemographic and clinical confounders.
Increased serum CRP was significantly associated with mood disorder history (Kruskal–Wallis H = 196.06, p < 0.001, η2 = 0.002) but increased polygenic risk for CRP was not (F = 0.668, p = 0.648, η2 < 0.001). Compared to the lowest quintile, the highest serum CRP quintile was significantly associated with both negative and positive differences in cognitive performance (fully adjusted models: reaction time B = −0.030, 95% CI = −0.052, −0.008; visuospatial memory B = 0.066, 95% CI = 0.042, 0.089). More severe mood disorder categories were significantly associated with worse cognitive performance and this was not moderated by serum or genetic CRP level.
In this large cohort study, we found that measured inflammation was associated with mood disorder history, but genetic predisposition to inflammation was not. The association between mood disorder and worse cognitive performance was very small and did not vary by CRP level. The inconsistent relationship between CRP measures and cognitive performance warrants further study.
A hybrid asymptotic-numerical method is developed to approximate the mean first passage time (MFPT) and the splitting probability for a Brownian particle in a bounded two-dimensional (2D) domain that contains absorbing disks, referred to as “traps”, of asymptotically small radii. In contrast to previous studies that required traps to be spatially well separated, we show how to readily incorporate the effect of a cluster of closely spaced traps by adapting a recently formulated least-squares approach in order to numerically solve certain local problems for the Laplacian near the cluster. We also provide new asymptotic formulae for the MFPT in 2D spatially periodic domains where a trap cluster is centred at the lattice points of an oblique Bravais lattice. Over all such lattices with fixed area for the primitive cell, and for each specific trap set, the average MFPT is smallest for a hexagonal lattice of traps.
The Scaling-up Health-Arts Programme: Implementation and Effectiveness Research (SHAPER) project is the world's largest hybrid study on the impact of the arts on mental health embedded into a national healthcare system. This programme, funded by the Wellcome Trust, aims to study the impact and the scalability of the arts as an intervention for mental health. The programme will be delivered by a team of clinicians, research scientists, charities, artists, patients and healthcare professionals in the UK's National Health Service (NHS) and the community, spanning academia, the NHS and the charity sector. SHAPER consists of three studies – Melodies for Mums, Dance for Parkinson's, and Stroke Odysseys – which will recruit over 800 participants, deliver the interventions and draw conclusions on their clinical impact, implementation effectiveness and cost-effectiveness. We hope that this work will inspire organisations and commissioners in the NHS and around the world to expand the remit of social prescribing to include evidence-based arts interventions.
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.
This study describes a procedural blank assessment of the ultraviolet photochemical oxidation (UV oxidation) method that is used to measure carbon isotopes of dissolved organic carbon (DOC) at the National Ocean Sciences Accelerator Mass Spectrometry Facility (NOSAMS). A retrospective compilation of Fm and δ13C results for secondary standards (OX-II, glycine) between 2009 and 2018 indicated that a revised blank correction was required to bring results in line with accepted values. The application of a best-fit mass-balance correction yielded a procedural blank of 22.0 ± 6.0 µg C with Fm of 0.30 ± 0.20 and δ13C of –32.0 ± 3.0‰ for this period, which was notably higher and more variable than previously reported. Changes to the procedure, specifically elimination of higher organic carbon reagents and improved sample and reactor handling, reduced the blank to 11.0 ± 2.75 µg C, with Fm of 0.14 ± 0.10 and δ13C of –31.0 ± 5.5‰. A thorough determination of the entire sample processing blank is required to ensure accurate isotopic compositions of seawater DOC using the UV oxidation method. Additional efforts are needed to further reduce the procedural blank so that smaller DOC samples can be analyzed, and to increase sample throughput.
Background: Infection prevention surveillance for cross transmission is often performed by manual review of microbiologic culture results to identify geotemporally related clusters. However, the sensitivity and specificity of this approach remains uncertain. Whole-genome sequencing (WGS) analysis can help provide a gold-standard for identifying cross-transmission events. Objective: We employed a published WGS program, the Philips IntelliSpace Epidemiology platform, to compare accuracy of two surveillance methods: (i.) a virtual infection practitioner (VIP) with perfect recall and automated analysis of antibiotic susceptibility testing (AST), sample collection timing, and patient location data and (ii) a novel clinical matching (CM) algorithm that provides cluster suggestions based on a nuanced weighted analysis of AST data, timing of sample collection, and shared location stays between patients. Methods: WGS was performed routinely on inpatient and emergency department isolates of Enterobacter cloacae, Enterococcus faecium, Klebsiella pneumoniae, and Pseudomonas aeruginosa at an academic medical center. Single-nucleotide variants (SNVs) were compared within core genome regions on a per-species basis to determine cross-transmission clusters. Moreover, one unique strain per patient was included within each analysis, and duplicates were excluded from the final results. Results: Between May 2018 and April 2019, clinical data from 121 patients were paired with WGS data from 28 E. cloacae, 21 E. faecium, 61 K. pneumoniae, and 46 P. aeruginosa isolates. Previously published SNV relatedness thresholds were applied to define genomically related isolates. Mapping of genomic relatedness defined clusters as follows: 4 patients in 2 E. faecium clusters and 2 patients in 1 P. aeruginosa cluster. The VIP method identified 12 potential clusters involving 28 patients, all of which were “pseudoclusters.” Importantly, the CM method identified 7 clusters consisting of 27 patients, which included 1 true E. faecium cluster of 2 patients with genomically related isolates. Conclusions: In light of the WGS data, all of the potential clusters identified by the VIP were pseudoclusters, lacking sufficient genomic relatedness. In contrast, the CM method showed increased sensitivity and specificity: it decreased the percentage of pseudoclusters by 14% and it identified a related genomic cluster of E. faecium. These findings suggest that integrating clinical data analytics and WGS is likely to benefit institutions in limiting expenditure of resources on pseudoclusters. Therefore, WGS combined with more sophisticated surveillance approaches, over standard methods as modeled by the VIP, are needed to better identify and address true cross-transmission events.
Funding: This study was supported by Philips Healthcare.