Oxford University Research Archive

    Seroprotection against serogroup C meningococcal disease in adolescents in the United Kingdom: observational study

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    Objective: To determine the persistence of bactericidal antibody titres following immunisation with serogroup C meningococcal glycoconjugate vaccine at age 6-15 years in order to examine changes in persistence of antibodies with age. Design: Observational study. Setting: Secondary and tertiary educational institutions in the United Kingdom. Participants: Healthy adolescents aged 11-20 years previously immunised between 6 and 15 years of age with one of the three serogroup C meningococcal vaccines. Intervention: Serum obtained by venepuncture. Main outcome measures: Percentage of participants with (rabbit complement) serum bactericidal antibody titres of at least 1:8; geometric mean titres of serogroup C meningococcal serum bactericidal antibody. Results: Five years after immunisation, 84.1% (95% confidence interval 81.6% to 86.3%) of 987 participants had a bactericidal antibody titre of at least 1:8. Geometric mean titres of bactericidal antibody were significantly lower in 11-13 year olds (147, 95% confidence interval 115 to 188) than in 14-16 year olds (300, 237 to 380) and 17-20 year olds (360, 252 to 515) (P<0.0001 for both comparisons). Within these age bands, no significant difference in geometric mean titres of bactericidal antibody between recipients of the different serogroup C meningococcal vaccines was seen. More than 70% of participants had received a vaccine from one manufacturer; in this cohort, geometric mean titres were higher in those immunised at aged 10 years or above than in those immunised before the age of 10. Conclusions: Higher concentrations of bactericidal antibody are seen five years after immunisation with serogroup C meningococcal vaccine at age 10 years or above than in younger age groups, possibly owing to immunological maturation. This provides support for adolescent immunisation programmes to generate sustained protection against serogroup C meningococcal disease not only for the vaccine recipients but also, through the maintenance of herd immunity, for younger children.Citation: Snape, M. D. et al. (2008). 'Seroprotection against serogroup C meningococcal disease in adoloescents in the United Kingdom: observational study', BMJ, 336(7659), 1487-1491. [First published in the BMJ and available at http://www.bmj.com/cgi/content/full/336/7659/1487]

    Sound Day

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    There are many disciplines that work with sound. Each has developed its own set of methodologies over the years, often developing quickly with rapid advances in technology. The aim of this workshop is to bring together Oxford researchers who work on sound from different theoretical and methodological perspectives. The workshop will consist of several keynote lectures and a poster session. The main purpose is to discuss the methodologies used in different disciplines for analyzing speech, music, and related aspects of sound in social life. Some of the topics we expect to discuss are: * How do sound patterns relate to social meanings, ideologies, identities, divisions, and solidarities? * How are rhythmic structures best described? * How can one compare two recordings and describe similarities and differences and what novel methods can be borrowed across disciplines? * How can researchers make the best use of recordings in current projects, and how can we best collect and store the audio data for further research

    What does ‘Being “Graeco-Persian”’ mean? An introduction to the papers

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    Introduction to a group of papers presented during a session entitled 'Being "Graeco-Persian"', held at the 17th International Congress of Classical Archaeology (AIAC) in Rome, September 2008, and published in the first volume of the Bollentino di Archeologia Online in December 2010 (special inaugural online journal edition).Available online through Bollentino archeologia online, at:

    Heart rate variability in bipolar disorder and borderline personality disorder: a clinical review.

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    Heart rate variability (HRV) in psychiatric disorders has become an increasing area of interest in recent years following technological advances that enable non-invasive monitoring of autonomic nervous system regulation. However, the clinical interpretation of HRV features remain widely debated or unknown. Standardisation within studies of HRV in psychiatric disorders is poor, making it difficult to reproduce or build on previous work. Recently, a Guidelines for Reporting Articles on Psychiatry and Heart rate variability checklist has been proposed to address this issue. Here we assess studies of HRV in bipolar disorder and borderline personality disorder against this checklist and discuss the implication for ongoing research in this area

    Damaged fiber tracts of the nucleus basalis of Meynert in Parkinson's disease patients with visual hallucinations.

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    Damage to fiber tracts connecting the nucleus basalis of Meynert (NBM) to the cerebral cortex may underlie the development of visual hallucinations (VH) in Parkinson's disease (PD), possibly due to a loss of cholinergic innervation. This was investigated by comparing structural connectivity of the NBM using diffusion tensor imaging in 15 PD patients with VH (PD + VH), 40 PD patients without VH (PD - VH), and 15 age- and gender-matched controls. Fractional anisotropy (FA) and mean diffusivity (MD) of pathways connecting the NBM to the whole cerebral cortex and of regional NBM fiber tracts were compared between groups. In PD + VH patients, compared to controls, higher MD values were observed in the pathways connecting the NBM to the cerebral cortex, while FA values were normal. Regional analysis demonstrated a higher MD of parietal (p = 0.011) and occipital tracts (p = 0.027) in PD + VH, compared to PD - VH patients. We suggest that loss of structural connectivity between the NBM and posterior brain regions may contribute to the etiology of VH in PD. Future studies are needed to determine whether these findings could represent a sensitive marker for the hypothesized cholinergic deficit in PD + VH patients

    Farming, inequality and urbanization: a comparative analysis of late prehistoric northern Mesopotamia and south-west Germany

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    Childe’s sequence of Neolithic Revolution succeeded by Urban Revolution presented a progressive narrative of farming development and increasing social inequality (Childe 1929, 1950, 1957) that was influential across the social sciences (e.g. Boserup 1965, Lenski 1966) (see also Chapter 1). Childe’s work was valuable in pointing to the relationship of farming and emergent inequality: farmed land is a key form of unequally held material wealth that is transmitted across generations in many farming societies (e.g. Borgerhoff Mulder et al. 2009; Shenk et al. 2010), and its ownership and use is therefore of fundamental importance for assessing the relation of farming to inequality

    Weakly-supervised evidence pinpointing and description

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    We propose a learning method to identify which specific regions and features of images contribute to a certain classification. In the medical imaging context, they can be the evidence regions where the abnormalities are most likely to appear, and the discriminative features of these regions supporting the pathology classification. The learning is weakly-supervised requiring only the pathological labels and no other prior knowledge. The method can also be applied to learn the salient description of an anatomy discriminative from its background, in order to localise the anatomy before a classification step. We formulate evidence pinpointing as a sparse descriptor learning problem. Because of the large computational complexity, the objective function is composed in a stochastic way and is optimised by the Regularised Dual Averaging algorithm. We demonstrate that the learnt feature descriptors contain more specific and better discriminative information than hand-crafted descriptors contributing to superior performance for the tasks of anatomy localisation and pathology classification respectively. We apply our method on the problem of lumbar spinal stenosis for localising and classifying vertebrae in MRI images. Experimental results show that our method when trained with only target labels achieves better or competitive performance on both tasks compared with strongly-supervised methods requiring labels and multiple landmarks. A further improvement is achieved with training on additional weakly annotated data, which gives robust localisation with average error within 2 mm and classification accuracies close to human performance

    Introducing the ESAT-6 free IGRA, a companion diagnostic for TB vaccines based on ESAT-6.

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    There is a need for an improved vaccine for tuberculosis. ESAT-6 is a cardinal vaccine antigen with unique properties and is included in several vaccine candidates in development. ESAT-6 is also the core antigen in the IFN-γ release assays (IGRA) used to diagnose latent infection, rendering IGRA tests unspecific after vaccination. This challenge has prompted the development of a companion diagnostic for ESAT-6 based vaccines, an ESAT-6 free IGRA. We screened a panel of seven potential new diagnostic antigens not recognized in BCG vaccinated individuals. Three highly recognized antigens EspC, EspF and Rv2348c were identified and combined with CFP10 in an ESAT-6 free antigen cocktail. The cocktail was prepared in a field-friendly format, lyophilized with heparin in ready-to-use vacutainer tubes. The diagnostic performance of the ESAT-6 free IGRA was determined in a cross-validation study. Compared IGRA, the ESAT-6 free IGRA induced a comparable magnitude of IFN-γ release, and the diagnostic performance was on par with Quantiferon (sensitivity 84% vs 79%; specificity 99% vs 97%). The comparable performance of the ESAT-6 free IGRA to IGRA suggests potential as companion diagnostic for ESAT-6 containing vaccines and as adjunct test for latent infection

    Income and population dynamics in deprived neighbourhoods: Measuring the poverty turnover rate using administrative data

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    Many studies of neighbourhood deprivation have confirmed that there is more continuity than change in the geography of deprivation. This stable geography can lead to an unwarranted inference that the households living on low incomes in these areas comprise a relatively static population. This paper develops the use of administrative data for the longitudinal observation of low income families in small areas, which is underdeveloped despite the widespread use of administrative data in the cross-sectional measurement of neighbourhood deprivation. An empirical measure of local poverty dynamics - the poverty turnover rate – is introduced, and created for small areas using housing benefit data for the city of Oxford between 2010 and 2014. A high turnover of poor families is observed and the poverty turnover rate is able to identify small areas with higher and lower turnover rates than the average for the city. The high turnover rates discovered in this study suggest that in this city it is primarily the flows of people in and out of the area, and in and out of low income, that maintains the concentration of poor families, rather than a static population of poor families. This approach can be used to provide a richer understanding of the population and income dynamics that underpin stability and change in the geography of poverty, of use to regeneration policy and the academic studies of gentrification, health inequalities and neighbourhood effects

    Yangian symmetry for the tree amplituhedron

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    Tree-level scattering amplitudes in planar N = 4 super Yang-Mills are known to be Yangian-invariant. It has been shown that integrability allows obtaining a general, explicit method to find such invariants. The uplifting of this result to the amplituhedron construction has been an important open problem. In this paper, with the help of methods proper to integrable theories, we successfully fill this gap and clarify the meaning of Yangian invariance for the tree-level amplituhedron. In particular, we construct amplituhedron volume forms from an underlying spin chain. As a by-product of this construction, we also propose a new on-shell diagrammatics for the amplituhedron
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