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High-energy and high-intensity lasers are essential for pushing the boundaries of science. Their development has allowed leaps forward in basic research areas, including laser–plasma interaction, high-energy density science, metrology, biology and medical technology. The Helmholtz International Beamline for Extreme Fields user consortium contributes and operates two high-peak-power optical lasers using the high energy density instrument at the European X-ray free electron laser (EuXFEL) facility. These lasers will be used to generate transient extreme states of density and temperature to be probed by the X-ray beam. This paper introduces the ReLaX laser, a short-pulse high-intensity Ti:Sa laser system, and discusses its characteristics as available for user experiments. It will also present the first experimental commissioning results validating its successful integration into the EuXFEL infrastructure and viability as a relativistic-intensity laser driver.
Patients’ experience of the quality of care received throughout their continuum of care can be used to direct quality improvement efforts in areas where they are most needed. This study aims to establish validity and reliability of the Healthcare Access and Patient Satisfaction Questionnaire (HAPSQ) – a tool that collects patients’ experience that quantifies aspect of care used to make judgments about quality from the perspective of the Alberta Quality Matrix for Health (AQMH).
The AQMH is a framework that can be used to assess and compare the quality of care in different healthcare settings. The AQMH provides a common language, understanding, and approach to assessing quality. The HAPSQ is one tool that is able to assess quality of care according to five of six AQMH’s dimensions.
This was a prospective methodologic study. Between March and October 2015, a convenience sample of patients presenting with chronic full-thickness rotator cuff tears was recruited prospectively from the University of Calgary Sport Medicine Centre in Calgary, Alberta, Canada. Reliability of the HAPSQ was assessed using test–retest reliability [interclass correlation coefficient (ICC)>0.70]. Validity was assessed through content validity (patient interviews, floor and ceiling effects), criterion validity (percent agreement >70%), and construct validity (hypothesis testing).
Reliability testing was completed on 70 patients; validity testing occurred on 96 patients. The mean duration of symptoms was three years (SD: 5.0, range: 0.1–29). Only out-of-pocket utilization possessed an ICC<0.70. Patients reported that items were relevant and appropriate to measuring quality of care. No floor or ceiling effects were present. Criterion validity was reached for all items assessed. A priori hypotheses were confirmed. The HAPSQ represents an inexpensive, reliable, and valid approach toward collecting clinical information across a patient’s continuum of care.
Landraces (including heritage varieties) are an important agrobiodiversity resource offering considerable value as a buffer against crop failures, as a crop for niche markets, and as a source of diversity for crop genetic improvement activities underpinning future food security. Home gardens are reservoirs of landrace diversity, but some of the accessions held in them are vulnerable or threatened with extinction. Those associated with seed saving networks have added security, for example, ca. 800 varieties are stored in the Heritage Seed Library (HSL) of Garden Organic, UK. In this study, Amplified Fragment Length Polymorphisms-based genetic analysis of accessions held in the HSL was used to (a) demonstrate the range of diversity in the collection, (b) characterize accessions to aid collection management and (c) promote broader use of the collection. In total, 171 accessions were included from six crops: Vicia faba L., Pisum sativum L., Daucus carota L., Cucumis sativus L., Lactuca sativa L. and Brassica oleracea L. var. acephala (DC.) Metzq. Average expected heterozygosity ranged from 0.18 to 0.28 in D. carota; 0.02–0.18 in P. sativum; 0.05–0.18 in L. sativa; 0.15–0.26 in B. oleracea var. acephala; 0.15–0.37 in C. sativus and 0.07–0.36 in V. faba. Genetic diversity and Fst values generally reflected the breeding system and cultivation history of the different crops. Comparisons of the diversity found in heritage varieties with that found in commercial varieties did not show a consistent pattern. Principal coordinates analysis and Unweighted Pair Group Method with Arithmetic Mean cluster analysis were used to identify four potential duplicate accession pairs.
Cognitive deficits in schizophrenia have major functional impacts. Modafinil is a cognitive enhancer whose effect in healthy volunteers is well-described, but whose effects on the cognitive deficits of schizophrenia appear to be inconsistent. Two possible reasons for this are that cognitive test batteries vary in their sensitivity, or that the phase of illness may be important, with patients early in their illness responding better.
A double-blind, randomised, placebo-controlled single-dose crossover study of modafinil 200 mg examined this with two cognitive batteries [MATRICS Consensus Cognitive Battery (MCCB) and Cambridge Neuropsychological Test Automated Battery (CANTAB)] in 46 participants with under 3 years’ duration of DSM-IV schizophrenia, on stable antipsychotic medication. In parallel, the same design was used in 28 age-, sex-, and education-matched healthy volunteers. Uncorrected p values were calculated using mixed effects models.
In patients, modafinil significantly improved CANTAB Paired Associate Learning, non-significantly improved efficiency and significantly slowed performance of the CANTAB Stockings of Cambridge spatial planning task. There was no significant effect on any MCCB domain. In healthy volunteers, modafinil significantly increased CANTAB Rapid Visual Processing, Intra-Extra Dimensional Set Shifting and verbal recall accuracy, and MCCB social cognition performance. The only significant differences between groups were in MCCB visual learning.
As in earlier chronic schizophrenia studies, modafinil failed to produce changes in cognition in early psychosis as measured by MCCB. CANTAB proved more sensitive to the effects of modafinil in participants with early schizophrenia and in healthy volunteers. This confirms the importance of selecting the appropriate test battery in treatment studies of cognition in schizophrenia.
White matter (WM) impairments have been reported in patients with bipolar disorder (BD) and those at high familial risk of developing BD. However, the distribution of these impairments has not been well characterized. Few studies have examined WM integrity in young people early in the course of illness and in individuals at familial risk who have not yet passed the peak age of onset.
WM integrity was examined in 63 BD subjects, 150 high-risk (HR) individuals and 111 participants with no family history of mental illness (CON). All subjects were aged 12 to 30 years.
This young BD group had significantly lower fractional anisotropy within the genu of the corpus callosum (CC) compared with the CON and HR groups. Moreover, the abnormality in the genu of the CC was also present in HR participants with recurrent major depressive disorder (MDD) (n = 16) compared with CON participants.
Our findings provide important validation of interhemispheric abnormalities in BD patients. The novel finding in HR subjects with recurrent MDD – a group at particular risk of future hypo/manic episodes – suggests that this may potentially represent a trait marker for BD, though this will need to be confirmed in longitudinal follow-up studies.
As part of the Z-PAndAS Keck II DEIMOS survey of resolved stars in our neighboring galaxy, Andromeda (M31), we have built up a unique data set of measured velocities and chemistries for thousands of stars in the Andromeda stellar halo, particularly probing its rich and complex substructure. In this contribution, we will discuss the structural, dynamical and chemical properties of Andromeda's dwarf spheroidal galaxies, and how there is no observational evidence for a difference in the evolutionary histories of those found on and off M31's vast plane of satellites. We will also discuss a possible extension to the most significant merger event in M31 - the Giant Southern Stream - and how we can use this feature to refine our understanding of M31's mass profile, and its complex evolution.
Growth of GaN on Si(111) and Ge coated Si(111) using pulsed electron beam deposition (PED) process is reported. GaN was deposited on Si(111) and Ge/Si(111) at 600°C in an N2 environment without any surface pre-treatment such as pre-nitridation. X-ray diffraction confirmed that c-plane oriented GaN was grown. Photoluminescence showed near-band-edge emission, the intensity of which was improved with hydrogen passivation. Electrical characterization showed n-type conductivity with room temperature electron mobilities in the range of 300 cm2/V-sec.
Dogs participating in endurance exercise, including herding, hunting and racing have a greater energy requirement and may be more susceptible to nutrient depletion, electrolyte imbalance and metabolic stress. The objective of the present study was to investigate the acute response to unstructured mixed exercise in American Foxhounds fed a nutrient-fortified endurance diet. Thirty-nine adult Foxhound dogs (median age: 5·0, range: 2–10 years and median body weight (BW): 36·4, range: 24·9–49·5 kg) were allotted to a standard performance diet (Control) or nutrient-fortified endurance diet for adult dogs (Test). Dogs were balanced by sex, age, BW and athletic performance between diets. All male dogs were intact, whereas all the female dogs were spayed. After 80 d on diet, blood samples were collected via jugular puncture at baseline (0 h), and at 3 and 25 h post-exercise (mean: 17·7 (sem 0·92) km run over 2–3 h). Plasma taurine concentration and complete amino acid (AA) profile, serum chemistry and creatine kinase were measured. Serum chemistry profile remained within normal ranges throughout the study. A significant (P < 0·05) diet by time interaction was observed for calcium, alkaline phosphatase and most AA. Plasma taurine and most essential AA were increased (P < 0·05) after exercise and remained greater (P < 0·05) in dogs fed the Test diet, including the branched-chain AA (isoleucine, leucine and valine). Creatine kinase increased (P = 0·01) after 3 h and returned to baseline after 25 h post-exercise, but was not altered by diet. These data indicate that dogs undergoing a moderate bout of exercise did not suffer from electrolyte imbalance, and that a nutrient-fortified diet resulted in greater plasma taurine and essential AA concentrations.
In response to global economic duress and heightened consumer awareness of nutrition and health, sustainable and natural ingredients are in demand. Identification of alternative sources of nitrogen and amino acids, including taurine, may help meet dietary requirements while fostering sustainability and natural feeding approaches. Twenty plants, eighteen marine algae and five insect species were analysed. All samples were freeze-dried, hydrolysed and filtered prior to amino acid analysis. Samples for amino acids were analysed in duplicate and averaged. Nitrogen was analysed and crude protein (CP) determined by calculation. With the exception of taurine concentration in soldier fly larvae, all insects exceeded both the National Research Council's canine and feline minimal requirements (MR) for growth of all essential amino acids (EAA) and CP. Although some plants and marine algal species exceeded the canine and feline MR for growth for EAA and CP, only very low concentrations of taurine were found in plants. Taurine concentration in insects was variable but high, with the greatest concentration found in ants (6·42 mg/g DM) and adult flesh flies (3·33 mg/g DM). Taurine was also high in some macroalgae, especially the red algal species: Mazaella spp. (4·11 mg/g DM), Porphyra spp. (1·22 mg/g DM) and Chondracanthus spp. (6·28 mg/g DM). Preliminary results suggest that insects and some marine algal species may be practical alternatives to traditional protein and supplemental taurine sources in pet foods. Safety, bioavailability, palatability and source variability of alternative items as food ingredients should be investigated prior to incorporation into canine and feline diets.
The benefits of whole grain consumption have been studied in human subjects, but little research exists on their effects in dogs. The objective of the present study was to test the effects of resistant starch (RS) in the diet of healthy adult dogs. Twelve adult Miniature Schnauzer dogs (eight males, four females; mean age: 3·3 (1·6) years; mean body weight: 8·4 (1·2) kg; mean body condition score: D/ideal) were randomly allotted to one of three treatment groups, which consisted of different amounts of RS supplied in a biscuit format. Dogs received either 0, 10 or 20 g biscuits per d (estimated to be 0, 2·5 or 5 g RS per d) that were fed within their daily energetic allowance. A balanced Latin square design was used, with each treatment period lasting 21 d (days 0–17 adaptation; days 18–21 fresh and total faecal collection). All dogs were fed the same diet to maintain body weight throughout the study. Dogs fed 5 g RS per d had lower (P = 0·03) fat digestibility than dogs fed 0 gRS per d, but DM, organic matter and crude protein digestibilities were not affected. Faecal fermentative end-products, including SCFA and branched-chain fatty acids, ammonia, phenols and indoles, and microbial populations were not affected. The minor changes observed in the present study suggest the RS doses provided to the dogs were too low. Further work is required to assess the dose of RS required to affect gut health.
Geoengineering has been broadly and helpfully defined as “the intentional manipulation of the earth's climate to counteract anthropogenic climate change or its warming effects” (Corner and Pidgeon 2010, 26). Although there exists a rapidly growing literature on the ethics of geoengineering, very little has been written about its gender dimensions. The authors consider four contexts in which geoengineering appears to have important gender dimensions: (1) the demographics of those pushing the current agenda, (2) the overall vision of control it involves, (3) the design of the particular technologies, and (4) whom geoengineering will most affect and benefit. After detailing these four gender dimensions, we consider three ways in which the geoengineering discourse could be enriched if it became more sensitive to issues of gender. These include increasing the focus on the concrete other, recognizing the socially transformative potential of geoengineering technologies, and engaging in value‐sensitive design. Although ultimately remaining agnostic on the desirability of geoengineering, the paper brings gender considerations into a discussion from which they have been conspicuously absent.
Terrestrial analogue studies underpin almost all planetary missions and their use is essential in the exploration of our Solar system and in assessing the habitability of other worlds. Their value relies on the similarity of the analogue to its target, either in terms of their mineralogical or geochemical context, or current physical or chemical environmental conditions. Such analogue sites offer critical ground-truthing for astrobiological studies on the habitability of different environmental parameter sets, the biological mechanisms for survival in extreme environments and the preservation potential and detectability of biosignatures. The 33 analogue sites discussed in this review have been selected on the basis of their congruence to particular extraterrestrial locations. Terrestrial field sites that have been used most often in the literature, as well as some lesser known ones which require greater study, are incorporated to inform on the astrobiological potential of Venus, Mars, Europa, Enceladus and Titan. For example, the possibility of an aerial habitable zone on Venus has been hypothesized based on studies of life at high-altitudes in the terrestrial atmosphere. We also demonstrate why many different terrestrial analogue sites are required to satisfactorily assess the habitability of the changing environmental conditions throughout Martian history, and recommend particular sites for different epochs or potential niches. Finally, habitable zones within the aqueous environments of the icy moons of Europa and Enceladus and potentially in the hydrocarbon lakes of Titan are discussed and suitable analogue sites proposed. It is clear from this review that a number of terrestrial analogue sites can be applied to multiple planetary bodies, thereby increasing their value for astrobiological exploration. For each analogue site considered here, we summarize the pertinent physiochemical environmental features they offer and critically assess the fidelity with which they emulate their intended target locale. We also outline key issues associated with the existing documentation of analogue research and the constraints this has on the efficiency of discoveries in this field. This review thus highlights the need for a global open access database for planetary analogues.