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New Zealand has a strategy of eliminating SARS-CoV-2 that has resulted in a low incidence of reported coronavirus-19 disease (COVID-19). The aim of this study was to describe the spread of SARS-CoV-2 in New Zealand via a nationwide serosurvey of blood donors. Samples (n = 9806) were collected over a month-long period (3 December 2020–6 January 2021) from donors aged 16–88 years. The sample population was geographically spread, covering 16 of 20 district health board regions. A series of Spike-based immunoassays were utilised, and the serological testing algorithm was optimised for specificity given New Zealand is a low prevalence setting. Eighteen samples were seropositive for SARS-CoV-2 antibodies, six of which were retrospectively matched to previously confirmed COVID-19 cases. A further four were from donors that travelled to settings with a high risk of SARS-CoV-2 exposure, suggesting likely infection outside New Zealand. The remaining eight seropositive samples were from seven different district health regions for a true seroprevalence estimate, adjusted for test sensitivity and specificity, of 0.103% (95% confidence interval, 0.09–0.12%). The very low seroprevalence is consistent with limited undetected community transmission and provides robust, serological evidence to support New Zealand's successful elimination strategy for COVID-19.
The Subglacial Antarctic Lakes Scientific Access (SALSA) Project accessed Mercer Subglacial Lake using environmentally clean hot-water drilling to examine interactions among ice, water, sediment, rock, microbes and carbon reservoirs within the lake water column and underlying sediments. A ~0.4 m diameter borehole was melted through 1087 m of ice and maintained over ~10 days, allowing observation of ice properties and collection of water and sediment with various tools. Over this period, SALSA collected: 60 L of lake water and 10 L of deep borehole water; microbes >0.2 μm in diameter from in situ filtration of ~100 L of lake water; 10 multicores 0.32–0.49 m long; 1.0 and 1.76 m long gravity cores; three conductivity–temperature–depth profiles of borehole and lake water; five discrete depth current meter measurements in the lake and images of ice, the lake water–ice interface and lake sediments. Temperature and conductivity data showed the hydrodynamic character of water mixing between the borehole and lake after entry. Models simulating melting of the ~6 m thick basal accreted ice layer imply that debris fall-out through the ~15 m water column to the lake sediments from borehole melting had little effect on the stratigraphy of surficial sediment cores.
Genetic susceptibility to late maturity alpha-amylase (LMA) in wheat (Triticum aestivum L.) results in increased alpha-amylase activity in mature grain when cool conditions occur during late grain maturation. Farmers are forced to sell wheat grain with elevated alpha-amylase at a discount because it has an increased risk of poor end-product quality. This problem can result from either LMA or preharvest sprouting, grain germination on the mother plant when rain occurs before harvest. Whereas preharvest sprouting is a well-understood problem, little is known about the risk LMA poses to North American wheat crops. To examine this, LMA susceptibility was characterized in a panel of 251 North American hard spring wheat lines, representing ten geographical areas. It appears that there is substantial LMA susceptibility in North American wheat since only 27% of the lines showed reproducible LMA resistance following cold-induction experiments. A preliminary genome-wide association study detected six significant marker-trait associations. LMA in North American wheat may result from genetic mechanisms similar to those previously observed in Australian and International Maize and Wheat Improvement Center (CIMMYT) germplasm since two of the detected QTLs, QLMA.wsu.7B and QLMA.wsu.6B, co-localized with previously reported loci. The Reduced height (Rht) loci also influenced LMA. Elevated alpha-amylase levels were significantly associated with the presence of both wild-type and tall height, rht-B1a and rht-D1a, loci in both cold-treated and untreated samples.
Cognitive behavior therapy (CBT) is effective for most patients with a social anxiety disorder (SAD) but a substantial proportion fails to remit. Experimental and clinical research suggests that enhancing CBT using imagery-based techniques could improve outcomes. It was hypothesized that imagery-enhanced CBT (IE-CBT) would be superior to verbally-based CBT (VB-CBT) on pre-registered outcomes.
A randomized controlled trial of IE-CBT v. VB-CBT for social anxiety was completed in a community mental health clinic setting. Participants were randomized to IE (n = 53) or VB (n = 54) CBT, with 1-month (primary end point) and 6-month follow-up assessments. Participants completed 12, 2-hour, weekly sessions of IE-CBT or VB-CBT plus 1-month follow-up.
Intention to treat analyses showed very large within-treatment effect sizes on the social interaction anxiety at all time points (ds = 2.09–2.62), with no between-treatment differences on this outcome or clinician-rated severity [1-month OR = 1.45 (0.45, 4.62), p = 0.53; 6-month OR = 1.31 (0.42, 4.08), p = 0.65], SAD remission (1-month: IE = 61.04%, VB = 55.09%, p = 0.59); 6-month: IE = 58.73%, VB = 61.89%, p = 0.77), or secondary outcomes. Three adverse events were noted (substance abuse, n = 1 in IE-CBT; temporary increase in suicide risk, n = 1 in each condition, with one being withdrawn at 1-month follow-up).
Group IE-CBT and VB-CBT were safe and there were no significant differences in outcomes. Both treatments were associated with very large within-group effect sizes and the majority of patients remitted following treatment.
Hydrogen lithography has been used to template phosphine-based surface chemistry to fabricate atomic-scale devices, a process we abbreviate as atomic precision advanced manufacturing (APAM). Here, we use mid-infrared variable angle spectroscopic ellipsometry (IR-VASE) to characterize single-nanometer thickness phosphorus dopant layers (δ-layers) in silicon made using APAM compatible processes. A large Drude response is directly attributable to the δ-layer and can be used for nondestructive monitoring of the condition of the APAM layer when integrating additional processing steps. The carrier density and mobility extracted from our room temperature IR-VASE measurements are consistent with cryogenic magneto-transport measurements, showing that APAM δ-layers function at room temperature. Finally, the permittivity extracted from these measurements shows that the doping in the APAM δ-layers is so large that their low-frequency in-plane response is reminiscent of a silicide. However, there is no indication of a plasma resonance, likely due to reduced dimensionality and/or low scattering lifetime.
Introduction: This was a prospective observational study involving a convenience sample of low-risk trauma patients presenting to a Level 1 Trauma Centre under spinal motion restriction (SMR). To our knowledge no prior studies have objectively measured head-neck (H-N) motion in trauma patients with suspected spine injuries during emergency department (ED) care. The goal was to establish the feasibility of deploying non-invasive motion sensors on trauma patients in the ED and to provide initial estimates for H-N kinematics under SMR during different phases of treatment. Methods: Low-risk adult patients treated by Winnipeg Fire Paramedic Service who sustained non-life threatening trauma with the potential for spine injury were eligible for inclusion. Participants received usual pre-hospital care; application of spine board and/or cervical collar, as determined by local practice protocol. Inertial measurement units (IMUs) were placed on participant's forehead, sternum and stretcher upon arrival to the ED. Data was collected during three phases of care: patient handling (log rolls, transfers, clothing removal); stretcher movement (to imaging, etc); stretcher stationary. IMUs were removed upon disposition decision by the attending physician. IMUs yielded data on H-N motion in terms of linear acceleration (resultant) and angular displacement (rotation + flexion-extension + side-flexion = total). Peak (M +/- SE) displacements and accelerations are reported, with comparisons across treatment phases using repeated measures ANOVA. Results: Eleven patients were enrolled in the study (age: 49 +/- 16 years; Injury Severity Score 13.4 +/- 9.9; female = 2). Substantial H-N motion was observed during ED care. Total H-N displacement (28.6 +/- 3.6 deg) and acceleration (7.8 +/- 1.0 m/s2) were higher during patient handling compared to stretcher moving (13.0 +/- 2.5 deg; 4.6 +/- 0.9 m/s2; p < .05) but not while the stretcher was stationary (18.9 +/- 3.4 deg; 5.4 +/- 1.2 m/s2; p > .06). Similar differences were detected for side-flexion and flexion-extension (p < .05), with peak displacements of 11.4+/-1.5 deg and 14.6 +/- 2.2 deg during patient handling, respectively. Conclusion: IMU use on trauma patients safely described H-N motion kinematics in a small sample of patients with different spectrums of illness during their care in the ED. Future studies utilizing IMUs could inform ED spine motion restriction protocols and compare movement of patients in specific subsets (intoxicated, spinal tenderness, injury severity etc.).
Every four years leading researchers gather to survey the latest developments in all aspects of group theory. Initially held in St Andrews, these meetings have become the premier forum for group theory across the whole of the UK. Since 1981, the proceedings of 'Groups St Andrews' have provided a regular snapshot of the state-of-the-art in group theory and helped to shape the direction of research in the field. This volume contains papers from the 2017 meeting held in Birmingham. It includes expository articles from the invited speakers, and further surveys contributed by the participants. Topics include: generation of finite simple groups, block theory, fusion systems, algebraic groups, one-relator groups, geometric group theory, and Beauville groups.
Indigenous women and children experience some of the most profound health disparities globally. These disparities are grounded in historical and contemporary trauma secondary to colonial atrocities perpetuated by settler society. The health disparities that exist for chronic diseases may have their origins in early-life exposures that Indigenous women and children face. Mechanistically, there is evidence that these adverse exposures epigenetically modify genes associated with cardiometabolic disease risk. Interventions designed to support a resilient pregnancy and first 1000 days of life should abrogate disparities in early-life socioeconomic status. Breastfeeding, prenatal care and early child education are key targets for governments and health care providers to start addressing current health disparities in cardiometabolic diseases among Indigenous youth. Programmes grounded in cultural safety and co-developed with communities have successfully reduced health disparities. More works of this kind are needed to reduce inequities in cardiometabolic diseases among Indigenous women and children worldwide.
The deep subsurface of other planetary bodies is of special interest for robotic and human exploration. The subsurface provides access to planetary interior processes, thus yielding insights into planetary formation and evolution. On Mars, the subsurface might harbour the most habitable conditions. In the context of human exploration, the subsurface can provide refugia for habitation from extreme surface conditions. We describe the fifth Mine Analogue Research (MINAR 5) programme at 1 km depth in the Boulby Mine, UK in collaboration with Spaceward Bound NASA and the Kalam Centre, India, to test instruments and methods for the robotic and human exploration of deep environments on the Moon and Mars. The geological context in Permian evaporites provides an analogue to evaporitic materials on other planetary bodies such as Mars. A wide range of sample acquisition instruments (NASA drills, Small Planetary Impulse Tool (SPLIT) robotic hammer, universal sampling bags), analytical instruments (Raman spectroscopy, Close-Up Imager, Minion DNA sequencing technology, methane stable isotope analysis, biomolecule and metabolic life detection instruments) and environmental monitoring equipment (passive air particle sampler, particle detectors and environmental monitoring equipment) was deployed in an integrated campaign. Investigations included studying the geochemical signatures of chloride and sulphate evaporitic minerals, testing methods for life detection and planetary protection around human-tended operations, and investigations on the radiation environment of the deep subsurface. The MINAR analogue activity occurs in an active mine, showing how the development of space exploration technology can be used to contribute to addressing immediate Earth-based challenges. During the campaign, in collaboration with European Space Agency (ESA), MINAR was used for astronaut familiarization with future exploration tools and techniques. The campaign was used to develop primary and secondary school and primary to secondary transition curriculum materials on-site during the campaign which was focused on a classroom extra vehicular activity simulation.
Background: When measuring young Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy (DMD) patients’ health-related quality of life (HRQoL), parent-proxy reports are heavily relied on. Therefore, it is imperative that the relationship between parent-proxy and child self-report HRQoL is understood. This study examined the level of agreement between children and their parent-proxy rating of the child’s HRQoL. Methods: We used FOR-DMD clinical trial baseline data. HRQoL, measured using the PedsQL inventory, was reported by 178 parent and child (ages 4 to 7 years) dyads. Intracorrelation coefficients (ICC) measured absolute agreement while paired t-tests determined differences in the average HRQoL ratings between groups. Results: The level of agreement between child and parent-proxy ratings of HRQoL was poor for the generic PedsQL scale (ICC: 0.29) and its subscales; and, similarly low for the neuromuscular disease module (ICC:0.16). On average, parents rated their child’s HRQoL as poorer than the children rated themselves in all scales except for psychosocial and school functioning. Conclusions: Child and parent-proxy HRQoL ratings are discordant in this study sample, as occurs in other chronic pediatric diseases. This should be taken into account when interpreting clinical and research HRQoL findings in this population. Future studies should examine reasons for parents’ perception of poorer HRQoL than that reported by their children.
Background: Spinal Muscular Atrophy (SMA) is an autosomal recessive neurodegenerative disease. In June 2017, Health Canada approved Nusinersen, currently the only available drug for SMA. Since 2016, patients in Ontario have been treated clinically with Nusinersen through different access programs. Methods: Retrospective case series of patients with SMA treated clinically with Nusinersen in Ontario, describing clinical characteristics and logistics of intrathecal Nusinersen administration. Results: Twenty patients have been treated across four centres. To date, we have reviewed 8 cases at one centre (seven SMA Type I, one SMA Type II). Age at first dose ranged from 3-156 months and disease duration 9-166 months. Patients had received 4-7 doses at last evaluation. Three patients with scoliosis (2 with spinal rods) required fluoroscopy-guided radiologist administration, and 4 required general anesthesia. No complications/adverse events were reported. At last follow up, 5/8 families reported improved daily activities. Of 5 patients with baseline and follow up motor function testing, 3 demonstrated improved scores. One patient died due to respiratory decline at age 9 months, despite improved motor outcome scores. Conclusions: We describe the first Canadian post-marketing experience with Nusinersen. Timely dissemination of this information is needed to guide clinicians, hospital administrators, and policy-makers.
Nighttime eating is often associated with a negative impact on weight management and cardiometabolic health. However, data from recent acute metabolic studies have implicated a benefit of ingesting a bedtime snack for weight management. The present study compared the impact of ingesting a milk snack containing either 10 (BS10) or 30 g (BS30) protein with a non-energetic placebo (BS0) 30 min before bedtime on next morning metabolism, appetite and energy intake in mildly overweight males (age: 24·3 (sem 0·8) years; BMI: 27·4 (sem 1·1) kg/m2). Next morning measurements of RMR, appetite and energy intake were measured using indirect calorimetry, visual analogue scales and an ad libitum breakfast, respectively. Bedtime milk ingestion did not alter next morning RMR (BS0: 7822 (sem 276) kJ/d, BS10: 7482 (sem 262) kJ/d, BS30: 7851 (sem 261) kJ/d, P=0·19) or substrate utilisation as measured by RER (P=0·64). Bedtime milk ingestion reduced hunger (P=0·01) and increased fullness (P=0·04) during the evening immediately after snack ingestion, but elicited no effect the next morning. Next morning breakfast (BS0: 2187 (sem 365) kJ, BS10: 2070 (sem 336) kJ, BS30: 2582 (sem 384) kJ, P=0·21) and 24 h post-trial (P=0·95) energy intake was similar between conditions. To conclude, in mildly overweight adults, compared with a non-energetic placebo, a bedtime milk snack containing 10 or 30 g of protein does not confer changes in next morning whole-body metabolism and appetite that may favour weight management.
The effect of transportation and lairage on the faecal shedding and post-slaughter contamination of carcasses with Escherichia coli O157 and O26 in young calves (4–7-day-old) was assessed in a cohort study at a regional calf-processing plant in the North Island of New Zealand, following 60 calves as cohorts from six dairy farms to slaughter. Multiple samples from each animal at pre-slaughter (recto-anal mucosal swab) and carcass at post-slaughter (sponge swab) were collected and screened using real-time PCR and culture isolation methods for the presence of E. coli O157 and O26 (Shiga toxin-producing E. coli (STEC) and non-STEC). Genotype analysis of E. coli O157 and O26 isolates provided little evidence of faecal–oral transmission of infection between calves during transportation and lairage. Increased cross-contamination of hides and carcasses with E. coli O157 and O26 between co-transported calves was confirmed at pre-hide removal and post-evisceration stages but not at pre-boning (at the end of dressing prior to chilling), indicating that good hygiene practices and application of an approved intervention effectively controlled carcass contamination. This study was the first of its kind to assess the impact of transportation and lairage on the faecal carriage and post-harvest contamination of carcasses with E. coli O157 and O26 in very young calves.
At the QEII Health Sciences Centre Emergency Department (ED) in Halifax, Nova Scotia, advanced care paramedics (ACPs) perform procedural sedation and analgesia (PSA) for many indications, including orthopedic procedures. We have begun using ACPs as sedationists for emergent upper gastrointestinal (UGI) endoscopy. This study compares ACP-performed ED PSA for UGI endoscopy and orthopedic procedures in terms of adverse events, airway intervention, vasopressor requirement, and PSA medication use.
A data set was built from an ED PSA quality control database matching 61 UGI endoscopy PSAs to 183 orthopedic PSAs by propensity scores calculated using age, gender, and the American Society of Anesthesiologists (ASA) classification. Outcomes assessed were hypotension (systolic BP<100 mm Hg or a 15% decrease from baseline), hypoxia (SaO2<90%), apnea (>30 sec), vomiting, arrhythmias, death, airway intervention, vasopressor requirement, and PSA medication use.
UGI endoscopy patients experienced hypotension more frequently than orthopedic patients (OR=4.11, CI: 2.05-8.22) and required airway repositioning less often (OR=0.24, CI: 0.10-0.59). They received ketamine more frequently (OR=15.7, CI: 4.75-67.7) and fentanyl less often (OR=0.30, CI: 0.15-0.63) than orthopedic patients. Four endoscopy patients received phenylephrine, and one required intubation. No patient died in either group.
In ACP-led sedation for UGI endoscopy and orthopedic procedures, adverse events were rare with the notable exception of hypotension, which was more frequent in the endoscopy group. Only endoscopy patients required vasopressor treatment and intubation. We provide preliminary evidence that ACPs can manage ED PSA for emergent UGI endoscopy, although priorities must shift from pain control to hemodynamic optimization.
Prevalence of skin sores and scabies in remote Australian Aboriginal communities remains unacceptably high, with Group A Streptococcus (GAS) the dominant pathogen. We aim to better understand the drivers of GAS transmission using mathematical models. To estimate the force of infection, we quantified the age of first skin sores and scabies infection by pooling historical data from three studies conducted across five remote Aboriginal communities for children born between 2001 and 2005. We estimated the age of the first infection using the Kaplan–Meier estimator; parametric exponential mixture model; and Cox proportional hazards. For skin sores, the mean age of the first infection was approximately 10 months and the median was 7 months, with some heterogeneity in median observed by the community. For scabies, the mean age of the first infection was approximately 9 months and the median was 8 months, with significant heterogeneity by the community and an enhanced risk for children born between October and December. The young age of the first infection with skin sores and scabies reflects the high disease burden in these communities.