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We have found a class of circular radio objects in the Evolutionary Map of the Universe Pilot Survey, using the Australian Square Kilometre Array Pathfinder telescope. The objects appear in radio images as circular edge-brightened discs, about one arcmin diameter, that are unlike other objects previously reported in the literature. We explore several possible mechanisms that might cause these objects, but none seems to be a compelling explanation.
Macronutrient inputs to annual cropping systems can benefit weeds as well as crops, sometimes decreasing or eliminating the benefits of fertilization. This interaction between fertility management and integrated weed management is becoming increasingly important as these fields increase their focus on efficiency and prevention, respectively. The risk of increased weed competition reflects the fact that weed biomass and height may be highly responsive to nitrogen, phosphorus, and/or potassium. This generalization is supported by monoculture studies of species such as redroot pigweed (Amaranthus retroflexus L.), common lambsquarters (Chenopodium album L.), and barnyardgrass [Echinochloa crus-galli (L.) P. Beauv.] and by ecological theory. However, field studies indicate variation in the effects of macronutrients on weed–crop competition and crop yield, even within species groups. To address challenges in interpreting, comparing, and extrapolating from these diverse reports, we propose a conceptual framework that summarizes the mechanisms underlying observed variation within and between studies. This framework highlights functional traits and trends that help predict yield outcomes in binary weed–crop interactions. Important factors include timing of emergence, maximum heights of the weed and crop, and relative responsiveness to the added nutrient. We also survey recent work on the effects of nutrient source (e.g., the composition of organic amendments) on weed–crop competition. Because different sources vary in their nutrient release dynamics and supplied nutrient ratios, they may have dramatically different effects on weed–crop competition and crop yield. Finally, we offer a guide to best practices for studies of fertility effects on weed–crop competition. Although this review highlights several topics requiring further research, including fertility effects on multispecies interactions and interactions with other environmental factors, emerging methods offer considerable promise. Ultimately, an improved understanding of nutrient effects on weed–crop competition will contribute to the efficient and effective management of diverse cropping systems.
Families facing end-stage nonmalignant chronic diseases (NMCDs) are presented with similar symptom burdens and need for psycho-social–spiritual support as their counterparts with advanced cancers. However, NMCD patients tend to face more variable disease trajectories, and thus may require different anticipatory supports, delivered in familiar environments. The Life Rainbow Programme (LRP) provides holistic, transdisciplinary, community-based end-of-life care for patients with NMCDs and their caregivers. This paper reports on the 3-month outcomes using a single-group, pre–post comparison.
Patients with end-stage NMCDs were screened for eligibility by a medical team before being referred to the LRP. Patients were assessed at baseline (T0), 1 month (T1), and 3 months (T2) using the Integrated Palliative Outcome Scale (IPOS). Their hospital use in the previous month was also measured by presentations at accident and emergency services, admissions to intensive care units, and number of hospital bed-days. Caregivers were assessed at T0 and T2 using the Chinese version of the Modified Caregiver Strain Index, and self-reported health, psychological, spiritual, and overall well-being. Over-time changes in outcomes for patients, and caregivers, were tested using paired-sample t-tests, Wilcoxon-signed rank tests, and chi-square tests.
Seventy-four patients and 36 caregivers participated in this research study. Patients reported significant improvements in all IPOS domains at both 1 and 3 months [ranging from Cohen's d = 0.495 (nausea) to 1.793 (depression and information needs fulfilled)]. Average hospital bed-days in the previous month fell from 3.50 to 1.68, comparing baseline and 1 month (p < 0.05). At 3 months, caregiver strain was significantly reduced (r = 0.332), while spiritual well-being was enhanced (r = 0.333).
After receiving 3 month's LRP services, patients with end-stage NMCDs and their caregivers experienced significant improvements in the quality of life and well-being, and their hospital bed-days were reduced.
Advanced imaging techniques are enhancing research capacity focussed on the developmental origins of adult health and disease (DOHaD) hypothesis, and consequently increasing awareness of future health risks across various subareas of DOHaD research themes. Understanding how these advanced imaging techniques in animal models and human population studies can be both additively and synergistically used alongside traditional techniques in DOHaD-focussed laboratories is therefore of great interest. Global experts in advanced imaging techniques congregated at the advanced imaging workshop at the 2019 DOHaD World Congress in Melbourne, Australia. This review summarizes the presentations of new imaging modalities and novel applications to DOHaD research and discussions had by DOHaD researchers that are currently utilizing advanced imaging techniques including MRI, hyperpolarized MRI, ultrasound, and synchrotron-based techniques to aid their DOHaD research focus.
The aim of the current study was to explore the changing interrelationships among clinical variables through the stages of schizophrenia in order to assemble a comprehensive and meaningful disease model.
Twenty-nine centers from 25 countries participated and included 2358 patients aged 37.21 ± 11.87 years with schizophrenia. Multiple linear regression analysis and visual inspection of plots were performed.
The results suggest that with progression stages, there are changing correlations among Positive and Negative Syndrome Scale factors at each stage and each factor correlates with all the others in that particular stage, in which this factor is dominant. This internal structure further supports the validity of an already proposed four stages model, with positive symptoms dominating the first stage, excitement/hostility the second, depression the third, and neurocognitive decline the last stage.
The current study investigated the mental organization and functioning in patients with schizophrenia in relation to different stages of illness progression. It revealed two distinct “cores” of schizophrenia, the “Positive” and the “Negative,” while neurocognitive decline escalates during the later stages. Future research should focus on the therapeutic implications of such a model. Stopping the progress of the illness could demand to stop the succession of stages. This could be achieved not only by both halting the triggering effect of positive and negative symptoms, but also by stopping the sensitization effect on the neural pathways responsible for the development of hostility, excitement, anxiety, and depression as well as the deleterious effect on neural networks responsible for neurocognition.
Research exploring the longitudinal course of posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) symptoms has documented four modal trajectories (low, remitting, high, and delayed), with proportions varying across studies. Heterogeneity could be due to differences in trauma types and patient demographic characteristics.
This analysis pooled data from six longitudinal studies of adult survivors of civilian-related injuries admitted to general hospital emergency departments (EDs) in six countries (pooled N = 3083). Each study included at least three assessments of the clinician-administered PTSD scale in the first post-trauma year. Latent class growth analysis determined the proportion of participants exhibiting various PTSD symptom trajectories within and across the datasets. Multinomial logistic regression analyses examined demographic characteristics, type of event leading to the injury, and trauma history as predictors of trajectories differentiated by their initial severity and course.
Five trajectories were found across the datasets: Low (64.5%), Remitting (16.9%), Moderate (6.7%), High (6.5%), and Delayed (5.5%). Female gender, non-white race, prior interpersonal trauma, and assaultive injuries were associated with increased risk for initial PTSD reactions. Female gender and assaultive injuries were associated with risk for membership in the Delayed (v. Low) trajectory, and lower education, prior interpersonal trauma, and assaultive injuries with risk for membership in the High (v. Remitting) trajectory.
The results suggest that over 30% of civilian-related injury survivors admitted to EDs experience moderate-to-high levels of PTSD symptoms within the first post-trauma year, with those reporting assaultive violence at increased risk of both immediate and longer-term symptoms.
Perinatal depression is a depressive illness that affects 10–15% of women in the UK with an estimated cost of £1.8 billion/year. Zinc deficiency is associated with the development of mood disorders and zinc supplementation has been shown to help reduce the symptoms of depression. Women who are pregnant and breastfeeding are at risk of lower levels of zinc because of the high demand from the developing and feeding baby. However, studies in the perinatal period are limited. With a long-term aim of designing a randomised controlled trial (RCT) to examine if zinc supplementation reduces depressive symptoms in pregnant and lactating women;the objective of this review was to systematically evaluate previous RCTs assessing zinc supplementation and depressive symptoms, in order to establish a zinc dosing regimen with regards to Galenic formulation, unit dose and frequency. The review was conducted by independent reviewers in accordance with PRISMA guidelines and is registered at Prospero (CRD42017059205). The Allied and Complimentary Medicine, CINAHL, Embase, MEDLINE, PsycINFO, PubMed, and Cochrane databases were searched since records began, with no restrictions, for intervention trials assessing Galenic formulation, unit dose and frequency of zinc supplementation to reduce the symptoms of depression. From a total of 66 identified records, 7 articles met the inclusion and exclusion criteria; all assessed the effect of zinc supplementation on mood. Risk of bias was independently assessed using the standard ‘Cochrane risk of bias tool’. Overall, 5 of the 7 papers were rated as high-quality trials; of the other two, one was rated poor and the other fair but both had a number of learning points. Preliminary findings indicate at the end of supplementing zinc, depression scores were reduced significantly. In one study, the Beck score decreased in the placebo group, but this reduction was not significant compared to the baseline. In two of the studies there was a significant correlation between serum zinc and self-reported mood questionnaires. Results also suggest that 25 mg zinc supplementation combined with antidepressant drugs can be effective in the treatment of major depression in women. This supports other work where researchers supplemented 25 mg of elemental zinc for 12 weeks or longer and found a reduction of symptoms in both pregnant and non-pregnant women. Thus, an early conclusion is that 25 mg of elemental zinc is an effective dose for improving low mood and is achievable in a trial setting.
The morphological study of architectural features, the building arrangement within urban spaces, and multiscalar variation are critical for understanding urbanism as a process. Building types and architectural typologies form the foundational blocks of urban morphology and are essential for identifying architectural patterning. We use a process-typological approach to present an architectural typology from the ancient Purépecha (Tarascan) city of Angamuco, located in the Lake Pátzcuaro Basin, Michoacán, Mexico. Using archaeological survey, lidar analysis, and excavation, we analyze building foundations from houses and public structures; storage facilities; monumental architecture such as pyramids, altars, and public buildings; and landscape features such as plazas, roads, terraces, and raised roadways locally known as huatziri. Our typology enhances understanding of the dense urban environment of this important prehispanic city during and after the formation of the Purépecha Empire.
BACKGROUND: IGTS is a rare phenomenon of paradoxical germ cell tumor (GCT) growth during or following treatment despite normalization of tumor markers. We sought to evaluate the frequency, clinical characteristics and outcome of IGTS in patients in 21 North-American and Australian institutions. METHODS: Patients with IGTS diagnosed from 2000-2017 were retrospectively evaluated. RESULTS: Out of 739 GCT diagnoses, IGTS was identified in 33 patients (4.5%). IGTS occurred in 9/191 (4.7%) mixed-malignant GCTs, 4/22 (18.2%) immature teratomas (ITs), 3/472 (0.6%) germinomas/germinomas with mature teratoma, and in 17 secreting non-biopsied tumours. Median age at GCT diagnosis was 10.9 years (range 1.8-19.4). Male gender (84%) and pineal location (88%) predominated. Of 27 patients with elevated markers, median serum AFP and Beta-HCG were 70 ng/mL (range 9.2-932) and 44 IU/L (range 4.2-493), respectively. IGTS occurred at a median time of 2 months (range 0.5-32) from diagnosis, during chemotherapy in 85%, radiation in 3%, and after treatment completion in 12%. Surgical resection was attempted in all, leading to gross total resection in 76%. Most patients (79%) resumed GCT chemotherapy/radiation after surgery. At a median follow-up of 5.3 years (range 0.3-12), all but 2 patients are alive (1 succumbed to progressive disease, 1 to malignant transformation of GCT). CONCLUSION: IGTS occurred in less than 5% of patients with GCT and most commonly after initiation of chemotherapy. IGTS was more common in patients with IT-only on biopsy than with mixed-malignant GCT. Surgical resection is a principal treatment modality. Survival outcomes for patients who developed IGTS are favourable.
Different diagnostic interviews are used as reference standards for major depression classification in research. Semi-structured interviews involve clinical judgement, whereas fully structured interviews are completely scripted. The Mini International Neuropsychiatric Interview (MINI), a brief fully structured interview, is also sometimes used. It is not known whether interview method is associated with probability of major depression classification.
To evaluate the association between interview method and odds of major depression classification, controlling for depressive symptom scores and participant characteristics.
Data collected for an individual participant data meta-analysis of Patient Health Questionnaire-9 (PHQ-9) diagnostic accuracy were analysed and binomial generalised linear mixed models were fit.
A total of 17 158 participants (2287 with major depression) from 57 primary studies were analysed. Among fully structured interviews, odds of major depression were higher for the MINI compared with the Composite International Diagnostic Interview (CIDI) (odds ratio (OR) = 2.10; 95% CI = 1.15–3.87). Compared with semi-structured interviews, fully structured interviews (MINI excluded) were non-significantly more likely to classify participants with low-level depressive symptoms (PHQ-9 scores ≤6) as having major depression (OR = 3.13; 95% CI = 0.98–10.00), similarly likely for moderate-level symptoms (PHQ-9 scores 7–15) (OR = 0.96; 95% CI = 0.56–1.66) and significantly less likely for high-level symptoms (PHQ-9 scores ≥16) (OR = 0.50; 95% CI = 0.26–0.97).
The MINI may identify more people as depressed than the CIDI, and semi-structured and fully structured interviews may not be interchangeable methods, but these results should be replicated.
Declaration of interest
Drs Jetté and Patten declare that they received a grant, outside the submitted work, from the Hotchkiss Brain Institute, which was jointly funded by the Institute and Pfizer. Pfizer was the original sponsor of the development of the PHQ-9, which is now in the public domain. Dr Chan is a steering committee member or consultant of Astra Zeneca, Bayer, Lilly, MSD and Pfizer. She has received sponsorships and honorarium for giving lectures and providing consultancy and her affiliated institution has received research grants from these companies. Dr Hegerl declares that within the past 3 years, he was an advisory board member for Lundbeck, Servier and Otsuka Pharma; a consultant for Bayer Pharma; and a speaker for Medice Arzneimittel, Novartis, and Roche Pharma, all outside the submitted work. Dr Inagaki declares that he has received grants from Novartis Pharma, lecture fees from Pfizer, Mochida, Shionogi, Sumitomo Dainippon Pharma, Daiichi-Sankyo, Meiji Seika and Takeda, and royalties from Nippon Hyoron Sha, Nanzando, Seiwa Shoten, Igaku-shoin and Technomics, all outside of the submitted work. Dr Yamada reports personal fees from Meiji Seika Pharma Co., Ltd., MSD K.K., Asahi Kasei Pharma Corporation, Seishin Shobo, Seiwa Shoten Co., Ltd., Igaku-shoin Ltd., Chugai Igakusha and Sentan Igakusha, all outside the submitted work. All other authors declare no competing interests. No funder had any role in the design and conduct of the study; collection, management, analysis and interpretation of the data; preparation, review or approval of the manuscript; and decision to submit the manuscript for publication.
Radiation therapy, widely used in the treatment of a variety of malignancies in the pelvic area, is associated with inevitable damage to the surrounding healthy tissues. We have applied atomic force microscopy (AFM) to track the early damaging effects of ionizing radiation on the collagen structures in the experimental animals’ bladder and rectum. The first signs of the low-dose radiation (2 Gy) effect were detected by AFM as early as 1 week postirradiation. The observed changes were consistent with initial radiation destruction of the protein matrix. The alterations in the collagen fibers’ packing 1 month postirradiation were indicative of the onset of fibrotic processes. The destructive effect of higher radiation doses was probed 1 day posttreatment. The severity of the radiation damage was proportional to the dose, from relatively minor changes in the collagen packing at 8 Gy to the growing collagen matrix destruction at higher doses and complete three-dimensional collagen network restructuring towards fibrotic-type architecture at the dose of 22 Gy. The AFM study appeared superior to the optical microscopy-based studies in its sensitivity to early radiation damage of tissues, providing valuable additional information on the onset and development of the collagen matrix destruction and remodeling.
The Food and Drug Administration (FDA), as a matter of long-standing policy, does not inform the public of instances whereby applications for new drugs or new indications for existing drugs have been rejected by the agency or withdrawn from consideration, nor does it disclose the agency’s analyses of the data submitted with such applications. This lack of transparency is unjustified and prevents patients, researchers, and healthcare providers from gaining insight into why a drug’s application was not approved. The FDA’s policy is particularly troubling in cases where the agency has found a currently marketed drug to be ineffective or unsafe for a newly proposed indication. Disclosure of the FDA’s findings in such cases would promote public health by encouraging healthcare providers to avoid prescribing drugs for unapproved (off-label) uses that the agency has deemed to be potentially dangerous or ineffective. The FDA’s counterpart agencies in Europe and Canada have demonstrated the feasibility of disclosing information on rejected and withdrawn drug marketing applications. The FDA should follow suit and allow the American public to know when a drug is deemed unsafe or ineffective for a certain use.
Given the profound public health and economic ramifications of decisions made by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, the degree to which FDA activities should reflect an approach founded on complete transparency versus one focused on preserving confidentiality of information deserves public discussion. On one hand, reasonable requirements for transparency are critical to stimulating effective innovation, knowledge dissemination, and good business practice. On the other, ensuring the vitality of the medical products industry requires protecting legitimately proprietary information. With current standards reflecting a lengthy accumulation of legal, regulatory, and practical precedent, recent significant changes in the environment in which the FDA operates should prompt a critical examination of current practices. In this article, I comment on Sharfstein and colleagues’ “Blueprint for Transparency,” which calls for multiple specific actions to increase transparency at the agency across five key areas, including interactions between FDA and industry, public disclosure of internal FDA analyses, deliberations concerning generics and biosimilars, expanded access to raw study data, and approaches to countering misleading information in the public sphere. I evaluate these recommendations in light of my experience as a clinician, researcher, and former FDA Commissioner, and reflect on possible outcomes that could result from enacting these practices.
Transparency requires more than disclosure of data. It requires a mechanism and policy for conveying information to the public. In order for the aims of the excellent report of the FDA Transparency Working Group to be realized, a publicity initiative will need to accompany the plan of action. The FDA will need to actively convey information about the evidence concerning benefit-risk profiles of drugs, sometimes pointing out misleading claims by manufacturers or sponsors. In other cases, the FDA will need to make available its procedures, including possible conflicts of interest, not only in drug approval, but also in guidance documents and in rulemaking. Transparency as a process of letting the public see into the agency should be accompanied by a proactive strategy of distributing information about the products regulated by the agency.
The market can produce skewed information about investigational products awaiting FDA approval. But the FDA rarely steps in to correct such misleading information, despite statutory authority to do so. This article evaluates a recommendation by the FDA Transparency Working Group that FDA more clearly signal when and how it will correct misleading information about investigational products, and why such a recommendation is particularly important after the 21st Century Cures Act.
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) traditionally has kept confidential significant amounts of information relevant to the approval or non-approval of specific drugs, devices, and biologics and about the regulatory status of such medical products in FDA’s pipeline.
To develop practical recommendations for FDA to improve its transparency to the public that FDA could implement by rulemaking or other regulatory processes without further congressional authorization. These recommendations would build on the work of FDA’s Transparency Task Force in 2010.
In 2016-2017, we convened a team of academic faculty from Harvard Medical School, Brigham and Women’s Hospital, Yale Medical School, Yale Law School, and Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health to develop recommendations through an iterative process of reviewing FDA’s practices, considering the legal and policy constraints on FDA in expanding transparency, and obtaining insights from independent observers of FDA.
The team developed 18 specific recommendations for improving FDA’s transparency to the public. FDA could adopt all these recommendations without further congressional action.
The development of the Blueprint for Transparency at the U.S. Food and Drug Administration was funded by the Laura and John Arnold Foundation.
Ethical, evidence-informed decision making is undermined by the grave concerns that have emerged over the trustworthiness of clinical trials published in biomedical journals. The inescapable conclusion from this growing body of research is that what we see, even in the most highly regarded peer-reviewed journals, cannot be trusted at face value. Concerns of inaccurate, biased, and insufficient reporting of trials are impossible to resolve without access to underlying trial data. Access to such data, including things like clinical study reports—huge, unabridged, detailed reports of clinical trials—would minimise the risk of distortions and selective publication. But the FDA, the world’s greatest custodian of those data, just sits on them. We see no reason why FDA should not publicly release clinical study reports with minimal redactions. The European regulator is already doing this, but FDA’s holdings are far greater. Data transparency is not simply an “opportunity” FDA might consider, but rather an ethical imperative. The Blueprint is good but does not go far enough. We do not need gates, barriers and committees between us and access to aggregate reports on drugs and other interventions which we are prescribing or using daily. Let’s leave the nannies at home.