664 research outputs found

    Multiple circulating cytokines are coelevated in chronic obstructive pulmonary disease

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    Inflammatory biomarkers, including cytokines, are associated with COPD, but the association of particular circulating cytokines with systemic pathology remains equivocal. To investigate this, we developed a protein microarray system to detect multiple cytokines in small volumes of serum. Fourteen cytokines were measured in serum from never-smokers, ex-smokers, current smokers, and COPD patients (GOLD stages 1–3). Certain individual circulating cytokines (particularly TNFa and IL-1b) were significantly elevated in concentration in the serum of particular COPD patients (and some current/ex-smokers without COPD) and may serve as markers of particularly significant systemic inflammation. However, numerous circulating cytokines were raised such that their combined, but not individual, elevation was significantly associated with severity of disease, and these may be further indicators of, and contributors to, the systemic inflammatory manifestations of COPD. The coelevation of numerous circulating cytokines in COPD is consistent with the insidious development, chronic nature, and systemic comorbidities of the disease

    Which Exercise Interventions Can Most Effectively Improve Reactive Balance in Older Adults? A Systematic Review and Network Meta-Analysis

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    Background: Reactive balance is the last line of defense to prevent a fall when the body loses stability, and beneficial effects of various exercise-based interventions on reactive balance in older adults have been reported. However, their pooled evidence on the relative effects has yet to be described. Objective: To review and evaluate the comparative effectiveness of various exercise-based interventions on reactive balance in older adults. Methods: Nine electronic databases and reference lists were searched from inception to August 2021. Eligibility criteria according to PICOS criteria were as follows: (1) population: older adults with the mean age of 65 years or above; (2) intervention and comparison: at least two distinct exercise interventions or one exercise intervention with no-exercise controlled intervention (NE) compared in each trial; (3) outcome: at least one measure of reactive balance; (4) study: randomized controlled trial. The main network meta-analysis was performed on data from the entire older adult population, involving all clinical conditions as well as healthy older adults. Subgroup analyses stratified by characteristics of participants (healthy only) and reactive balance outcomes (simulated slip or trip while walking, simulated forward falls, being pushed or pulled, and moveable platform) were also conducted. Results: Thirty-nine RCTs (n = 1388) investigating 17 different types of exercise interventions were included in the network meta-analysis. Reactive balance training as a single intervention presented the highest probability (surface under the cumulative ranking (SUCRA) score) of being the best intervention for improving reactive balance and the greatest relative effects vs. NE in the entire sample involving all clinical conditions [SUCRA = 0.9; mean difference (95% Credible Interval): 2.7 (1.0 to 4.3)]. The results were not affected by characteristics of participants (i.e., healthy older adults only) or reactive balance outcomes. Summary/Conclusion: The findings from the NMA suggest that a task-specific reactive balance exercise could be the optimal intervention for improving reactive balance in older adults, and power training can be considered as a secondary training exercise

    Energy transitions and uncertainty: creating low carbon investment opportunities in the UK electricity sector

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    This paper examines how actors in the UK electricity sector are attempting to deliver investment in low carbon generation. Low carbon technologies, because of their relative immaturity, capital intensity and low operational costs, do not readily fit with existing electricity markets and investment templates which were designed for fossil fuel based energy. We analyse key electricity market and infrastructure policies in the UK and highlight how these are aimed at making low carbon technologies ‘investable’ by reducing uncertainty, managing investment risks and repositioning actors within the electricity socio-technical ‘regime’. We argue that our study can inform contemporary debates on the politics and governance of sustainability transitions by empirically investigating the agency of incumbent regime actors in the face of uncertainty and by offering critical insights on the role of markets and finance in shaping socio-technical change

    Cardiovascular and inflammatory effects of simvastatin therapy in patients with COPD: a randomized controlled trial.

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    BACKGROUND: There is excess cardiovascular mortality in patients with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease. Aortic stiffness, an independent predictor of cardiovascular risk, and systemic and airway inflammation are increased in patients with the disease. Statins modulate aortic stiffness and have anti-inflammatory properties. A proof-of-principle, double-blind, randomized trial determined if 6 weeks of simvastatin 20 mg once daily reduced aortic stiffness and systemic and airway inflammation in patients with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease. METHODS: Stable patients (n=70) were randomized to simvastatin (active) or placebo. Pre-treatment and post-treatment aortic stiffness, blood pressure, spirometry, and circulating and airway inflammatory mediators and lipids were measured. A predefined subgroup analysis was performed where baseline aortic pulse wave velocity (PWV) was >10 m/sec. RESULTS: Total cholesterol dropped in the active group. There was no significant change in aortic PWV between the active group and the placebo group (-0.7 m/sec, P=0.24). In those with aortic stiffness >10 m/sec (n=22), aortic PWV improved in the active group compared with the placebo group (-2.8 m/sec, P=0.03). Neither systemic nor airway inflammatory markers changed. CONCLUSION: There was a nonsignificant improvement in aortic PWV in those taking simvastatin 20 mg compared with placebo, but in those with higher baseline aortic stiffness (a higher risk group) a significant and clinically relevant reduction in PWV was shown

    Infrastructure transformation as a socio-technical process - Implications for the governance of energy distribution networks in the UK

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    This paper seeks to uncover and examine the complex set of governance challenges associated with transforming energy distribution networks, which play a key enabling role in a low carbon energy transition. We argue that, although the importance of such infrastructure networks to sustainability and low carbon transitions in the energy, water and mobility sectors is clear, there is relatively little understanding of the social and institutional dimension of these systems and appropriate governance strategies for their transformation. This may be because the prevalent model of infrastructure governance in the energy and other sectors has prioritised short term time horizons and static efficiencies. In this paper we draw on the social shaping of technology literature to develop a broader understanding of infrastructure change as a dynamic socio-technical process. The empirical focus of the paper is on the development of more flexible and sustainable energy distribution systems as key enablers for the UK's low carbon transition. Focusing on electricity and heat networks we identify a range of governance challenges along different phases of the 'infrastructure lifecycle', and we draw lessons for the development of governance frameworks for the transformation of energy infrastructure more generally

    Evolution of the Most Massive Galaxies to z ~ 0.6: II. The link between radio AGN activity and star formation

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    We analyze the optical spectra of massive (log M*/Msun > 11.4) radio-loud galaxies at z~0.2 and z~0.6. By comparing stellar population parameters of these radio-loud samples with radio-quiet control samples, we investigate how the presence of a radio-emitting jet relates to the recent star formation history of the host galaxy. We also investigate how the emission-line properties of the radio galaxies evolve with redshift by stacking their spectra. Our main results are the following. (1) Both at low and at high redshift, half as many radio-loud as radio-quiet galaxies have experienced significant star formation in the past Gyr. (2) The Balmer absorption line properties of massive galaxies that have experienced recent star formation show that star formation occurred as a burst in many of these systems. (3) Both the radio and the emission-line luminosity of radio AGN evolve significantly with redshift. However, radio galaxies with similar stellar population parameters, have similar emission-line properties both at high- and at low-redshift. These results suggest that massive galaxies experience cyclical episodes of gas accretion, star formation and black hole growth, followed by the production of a radio jet that shuts down further activity. The behaviour of galaxies with log M*/Msun > 11.4 is the same at z = 0.6 as it is at z = 0.2, except that higher redshift galaxies experience more star formation and black hole growth and produce more luminous radio jets during each accretion cycle.Comment: 14 pages, 12 figures, submitted to MNRA

    The Multi-Object, Fiber-Fed Spectrographs for SDSS and the Baryon Oscillation Spectroscopic Survey

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    We present the design and performance of the multi-object fiber spectrographs for the Sloan Digital Sky Survey (SDSS) and their upgrade for the Baryon Oscillation Spectroscopic Survey (BOSS). Originally commissioned in Fall 1999 on the 2.5-m aperture Sloan Telescope at Apache Point Observatory, the spectrographs produced more than 1.5 million spectra for the SDSS and SDSS-II surveys, enabling a wide variety of Galactic and extra-galactic science including the first observation of baryon acoustic oscillations in 2005. The spectrographs were upgraded in 2009 and are currently in use for BOSS, the flagship survey of the third-generation SDSS-III project. BOSS will measure redshifts of 1.35 million massive galaxies to redshift 0.7 and Lyman-alpha absorption of 160,000 high redshift quasars over 10,000 square degrees of sky, making percent level measurements of the absolute cosmic distance scale of the Universe and placing tight constraints on the equation of state of dark energy. The twin multi-object fiber spectrographs utilize a simple optical layout with reflective collimators, gratings, all-refractive cameras, and state-of-the-art CCD detectors to produce hundreds of spectra simultaneously in two channels over a bandpass covering the near ultraviolet to the near infrared, with a resolving power R = \lambda/FWHM ~ 2000. Building on proven heritage, the spectrographs were upgraded for BOSS with volume-phase holographic gratings and modern CCD detectors, improving the peak throughput by nearly a factor of two, extending the bandpass to cover 360 < \lambda < 1000 nm, and increasing the number of fibers from 640 to 1000 per exposure. In this paper we describe the original SDSS spectrograph design and the upgrades implemented for BOSS, and document the predicted and measured performances.Comment: 43 pages, 42 figures, revised according to referee report and accepted by AJ. Provides background for the instrument responsible for SDSS and BOSS spectra. 4th in a series of survey technical papers released in Summer 2012, including arXiv:1207.7137 (DR9), arXiv:1207.7326 (Spectral Classification), and arXiv:1208.0022 (BOSS Overview

    Machine learning and synthetic outcome estimation for individualised antimicrobial cessation.

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    The decision on when it is appropriate to stop antimicrobial treatment in an individual patient is complex and under-researched. Ceasing too early can drive treatment failure, while excessive treatment risks adverse events. Under- and over-treatment can promote the development of antimicrobial resistance (AMR). We extracted routinely collected electronic health record data from the MIMIC-IV database for 18,988 patients (22,845 unique stays) who received intravenous antibiotic treatment during an intensive care unit (ICU) admission. A model was developed that utilises a recurrent neural network autoencoder and a synthetic control-based approach to estimate patients' ICU length of stay (LOS) and mortality outcomes for any given day, under the alternative scenarios of if they were to stop vs. continue antibiotic treatment. Control days where our model should reproduce labels demonstrated minimal difference for both stopping and continuing scenarios indicating estimations are reliable (LOS results of 0.24 and 0.42 days mean delta, 1.93 and 3.76 root mean squared error, respectively). Meanwhile, impact days where we assess the potential effect of the unobserved scenario showed that stopping antibiotic therapy earlier had a statistically significant shorter LOS (mean reduction 2.71 days, p -value <0.01). No impact on mortality was observed. In summary, we have developed a model to reliably estimate patient outcomes under the contrasting scenarios of stopping or continuing antibiotic treatment. Retrospective results are in line with previous clinical studies that demonstrate shorter antibiotic treatment durations are often non-inferior. With additional development into a clinical decision support system, this could be used to support individualised antimicrobial cessation decision-making, reduce the excessive use of antibiotics, and address the problem of AMR

    Follow-up observations at 16 and 33 GHz of extragalactic sources from WMAP 3-year data: I - Spectral properties

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    We present follow-up observations of 97 point sources from the Wilkinson Microwave Anisotropy Probe (WMAP) 3-year data, contained within the New Extragalactic WMAP Point Source (NEWPS) catalogue between declinations of -4 and +60 degrees; the sources form a flux-density-limited sample complete to 1.1 Jy (approximately 5 sigma) at 33 GHz. Our observations were made at 16 GHz using the Arcminute Microkelvin Imager (AMI) and at 33 GHz with the Very Small Array (VSA). 94 of the sources have reliable, simultaneous -- typically a few minutes apart -- observations with both telescopes. The spectra between 13.9 and 33.75 GHz are very different from those of bright sources at low frequency: 44 per cent have rising spectra (alpha < 0.0), where flux density is proportional to frequency^-alpha, and 93 per cent have spectra with alpha < 0.5; the median spectral index is 0.04. For the brighter sources, the agreement between VSA and WMAP 33-GHz flux densities averaged over sources is very good. However, for the fainter sources, the VSA tends to measure lower values for the flux densities than WMAP. We suggest that the main cause of this effect is Eddington bias arising from variability.Comment: 12 pages, 13 figures, submitted to MNRA
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