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To investigate the association between suicide death and serum cholesterol levels as measured at times close to suicide death.
We conducted a nested case-control study of 41 cases of suicide deaths and 205 matched controls with serum total cholesterol (TC) levels till 3 years before suicide death in a large cohort of Japanese workers.
Individuals in the lowest versus highest tertile/predefined category of TC in a Japanese working population had a three- to four-fold greater risk of suicide death. Each 10 mg/dl decrement of average TC was associated with an 18% increased chance of suicide death (95% confidence interval, 2–35%). Similar results were found for TC levels at each year.
These results suggest that a low serum TC level in recent past is associated with an increased risk of suicide death.
This study exhibits that there exists generative ethics in which ethical thinking will allow us to change our perspectives to consider the artifacts’ social effects in design, thereby enhancing our activity to generate novel and practical design ideas.
As an example of practicing the generative ethics, a case for addressing the increasing requirement to properly introduce “artificial intelligence” (AI) systems in society was considered. We applied the ethical design theory to promote the practice of ethical AI design by engineers. To achieve this, we implemented a creativity support tool that can be used based on the knowledge base of AI ethics.
To confirm the validity of the theory and the tool, we conducted user experiments in which the AI research students had to consider the effects of their own research projects with using the tool. We could confirm that the tool actually induced the users to consider social impacts. Some students revealed in response to the questionnaire that the experiment provided them with an opportunity to reconsider their own research theme.
In this study, the ethical design theory and tool will be briefly reviewed, and the experiments will be discussed.
Translational regulation of mRNAs is crucial for promoting various cellular and developmental processes. Pumilio1 (Pum1) has been shown to play key roles in translational regulation of target mRNAs in many systems of diverse organisms. In zebrafish immature oocytes, Pum1 was shown to bind to cyclin B1 mRNA and promote the formation of cyclin B1 RNA granules. This Pum1-mediated RNA granule formation seemed critical to determine the timing of translational activation of cyclin B1 mRNA during oocyte maturation, leading to activation of maturation/M-phase-promoting factor (MPF) at the appropriate timing. Despite its fundamental importance, the mechanisms of translational regulation by Pum1 remain elusive. In this study, we examined the phosphorylation of Pum1 as a first step to understand the mechanisms of Pum1-mediated translation. SDS-PAGE analyses and phosphatase treatments showed that Pum1 was phosphorylated at multiple sites during oocyte maturation. This phosphorylation began in an early period after induction of oocyte maturation, which preceded the polyadenylation of cyclin B1 mRNA. Interestingly, depolymerization of actin filaments in immature oocytes caused phosphorylation of Pum1, disassembly of cyclin B1 RNA granules, and polyadenylation of cyclin B1 mRNA but not translational activation of the mRNA. Overexpression of the Pum1 N-terminus prevented the phosphorylation of Pum1, disassembly of cyclin B1 RNA granules, and translational activation of the mRNA even after induction of oocyte maturation. These results suggest that Pum1 phosphorylation in the early period of oocyte maturation is one of the key processes for promoting the disassembly of cyclin B1 RNA granules and translational activation of target mRNA.
A controversy at the 2016 IUCN World Conservation Congress on the topic of closing domestic ivory markets (the 007, or so-called James Bond, motion) has given rise to a debate on IUCN's value proposition. A cross-section of authors who are engaged in IUCN but not employed by the organization, and with diverse perspectives and opinions, here argue for the importance of safeguarding and strengthening the unique technical and convening roles of IUCN, providing examples of what has and has not worked. Recommendations for protecting and enhancing IUCN's contribution to global conservation debates and policy formulation are given.
This study examines the effects of borrowing for public services that increase households' utility (i.e., utility-generating government services) in an AK endogenous growth model. We assume that the government has a target debt ratio. The European Union and the United Kingdom adopt such debt policy rules. We find that application of a debt policy rule into utility-generating government spending causes indeterminacy of the transition path. We point out that the level of the target debt ratio, the tax rate, and the household utility parameters are important determinants of indeterminacy when considering utility-generating government services.
An X-ray transmission method has been developed to obtain a continuous profile of bulk densities of ice cores. Intensities of X-rays transmitted through an ice-core sample were continuously measured by an X-ray detector during translation of the sample across the X-ray beam. A thick section of an ice core with a constant thickness was prepared by band-sawing followed by microtome planing. The X-ray intensity profile obtained was converted to a density profile using a calibration curve for X-ray absorption vs ice thickness. Using this method, spatial resolution of the density profile was down to 1 mm. X-ray radiographs were also taken on a two-dimensional detector imaging plate, in order to observe layer structures of the ice cores.
The method was applied to Dome Fuji (Antarctica) ice cores from the surface to 110 m depth. From the density profile obtained we calculated the power spectrum of the density variation by the discrete Fourier transform, and obtained several peaks at different frequencies. The center period in the spectrum was close to the annual accumulation thickness at the drill site.
To better understand how ice fabric evolves in polar ice sheets, we use X-ray diffraction to measure ice crystal orientations. X-ray measurement equipment which can measure the orientation of the c axis and a axis of each crystal in a thin section with high measurement accuracy was developed. In this study, we present a-axes orientation distribution of the deep part of the GRIP (Greenland summit) ice core. At some depths, we find an anisotropic distribution of a-axes orientation. Long-term uniaxial compression tests are also carried out on the GRIP ice core to investigate the ice fabric evolution process. The c-axis orientation distribution develops into a stronger single maximum as the strain increases up to about 20% strain. We find that the a axes of each grain also tend to cluster close to nearly a mutual direction. We discuss the development process of ice fabrics, taking into consideration the distribution of the a-axis orientations. It is suggested that these fabrics may be attributed to a local simple shear deformation in the deep part of an ice sheet.
We performed X-ray diffraction measurements on eight ice samples taken between 3200 and 3611 m depth of the Vostok (Antarctica) ice core to observe lattice distortions of ice crystals. Selected samples represent three distinct sections of the core: (i) glacier (meteoric) ice with well-preserved climatic record (down to 3310 m), (ii) ‘shear zone’ at the base of the glacier ice (3450– 3537 m) within which the climatic record is disturbed by ice deformation, and (iii) accretion ice formed by freezing of subglacial Vostok lake waters at the base of the ice sheet (from about 3537 m depth to the bottom of the core). The dislocation density decreases from 1012 to 108m–2 with increasing depth. In the accretion ice, lattice distortion tends to decrease with depth. However, the dislocation density does not reach a level typical for laboratory-grown columnar ice even at 3610 m. This reflects plastic deformation which accretion ice has undergone after its formation.
Detrimental effects of ultraviolet (UV) light on living organisms are well understood, little is known about the effects of blue light irradiation. Although a recent study revealed that blue light caused more harmful effects on insects than UV light and blue light irradiation killed insect pests of various orders including Diptera, the effects of blue light on physiology of insects are still largely unknown. Here we studied the effects of blue light irradiation on cuticular melanin in larval and the immune response in adult stage of Bactrocera dorsalis. We also evaluated the effects of blue light exposure in larval stage on various age and mass at metamorphosis and the mediatory role of cuticular melanin in carryover effects of larval stressors across metamorphosis. We found that larvae exposed to blue light decreased melanin contents in their exoskeleton with smaller mass and delayed metamorphosis than insects reared without blue light exposure. Across metamorphosis, lower melanotic encapsulation response and higher susceptibility to Beauveria bassiana was detected in adults that had been exposed to blue light at their larval stage, thereby constituting the first evidence that blue light impaired adult immune function in B. dorsalis as a carryover effect of larval exposure.
Recent studies have detected similarities between autism spectrum disorder and schizophrenia. We investigated structural abnormalities associated with autistic-like traits in patients with schizophrenia by voxel-based morphometry.
Patients with schizophrenia and healthy subjects were evaluated by the adult version of the social responsiveness scale (SRS-A), which is sensitive to autistic traits and symptoms even under subthreshold conditions, and magnetic resonance imaging.
There were significant decreases in the anterior cingulate cortex, bilateral hippocampi, cerebellums, and right insula of patients with schizophrenia, compared with healthy subjects. We found significant negative correlations of the social communication and interaction (SCI) score, a subscale of SRS-A, with grey matter volume in the left posterior superior temporal region of schizophrenia patients. When subscales of SCI were examined separately in schizophrenic patients, negative correlations were observed between the social cognition score and the volumes of the left posterior superior temporal region, and between social motivation and the posterior cingulate cortex.
We found significant negative correlation between the SCI score and the grey matter volume in the left posterior superior temporal region of schizophrenia patients. This area was the region affected in previous studies of autistic spectrum disorders. Further, this area was associated with the theory of mind. Schizophrenia patients not necessarily show the impairment of SCI, nor this correlated region was not always the point with schizophrenia-specific change. However, we reveal the relationship between the left posterior superior temporal gyrus and the severity of the SCI in schizophrenia by using with SRS-A.
Obesity is a risk factor for psychiatric diseases. Recently, a number of single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) have been shown to be related to body mass index (BMI). In this study, we investigated the association of BMI-related SNPs with psychiatric diseases and one of their endophenotypes, memory performance, in a Japanese population.
The subjects were 1624 patients with one of three psychiatric diseases (799 patients with major depressive disorder, 594 with schizophrenia, and 231 with bipolar disorder) and 1189 healthy controls. Memory performance was assessed using the Wechsler Memory Scale – Revised (WMS-R). Genomic DNA was prepared from venous blood and used to genotype 23 BMI-related SNPs using the TaqMan 5′-exonuclease allelic discrimination assay. We then analysed the relationships between the SNPs and psychiatric disease and various subscales of the WMS-R.
Three SNPs (rs11142387, rs12597579, and rs6548238) showed significant differences in the genotype or allele frequency between patients with any psychiatric diseases and controls. Furthermore, six SNPs (rs11142387, rs12597579, rs2815752, rs2074356, rs4776970, and rs2287019) showed significant differences in at least one subscale of the WMS-R depending on the genotypes of the healthy controls. Interestingly, rs11142387 near the Kruppel-like factor 9 (KLF9) was significantly associated with psychiatric disease and poor memory function.
We identified three and six BMI-related SNPs associated with psychiatric disease and memory performance, respectively. In particular, carrying the A allele of rs11142387 near KLF9 was found to be associated with psychiatric disease and poor memory performance, which warrants further investigations.
We construct an endogenous growth model that includes productive public capital and government debt. We assume that the government debt-to-GDP ratio is gradually adjusted to a target level, reflecting the permanent commitment rules in the Stability and Growth Pact or the Maastricht Treaty in the European Union (i.e., the well-known 60% rule). These rules affect government borrowing and public investment. Here, we examine the welfare implications of the permanent commitment rules. We find that fiscal consolidation based on the rules improves social welfare. Moreover, the improvement in welfare accelerates as fiscal consolidation progresses more rapidly. Last, we also discuss and derive the optimal long-run debt-to-GDP ratio.
We report statistical features of 49 eruptive prominences observed near solar maximum (1999-2000) with Nobeyama Radiohelograph. Here we focus on the location and related phenomena of the prominence activity. By using white light synoptic maps from LASCO C2 coronagraph, we found that most of the events are associated with some heating process taking place around the prominence site, and occur along pre-existing streamers associated with CMEs as well as small mass ejections. These features suggest that streamers connect the activity on the solar surface toward the outer corona.
In order to better understand the densification of polar firn, firn cores from the three sites within ~10 km of Dome Fuji, Antarctica, were investigated using surrogates of density: dielectric permittivities εv and εh at microwave frequencies with electrical fields in the vertical and horizontal planes respectively. Dielectric anisotropy Δε (=εv − εh) was then examined as a surrogate of the anisotropic geometry of firn. We find that layered densification is explained as a result of complex effects of two phenomena that commonly occur at the three sites. Basically, layers with initially smaller density and smaller geometrical anisotropy deform preferentially throughout the densification process due to textural effects. Second, layers having a higher concentration of Cl− ions deform preferentially during a limited period from the near surface depths until smoothing out of layered Cl− ions by diffusion. We hypothesize that Cl− ions dissociated from sea salts soften firn due to modulation of dislocation movement. Moreover, firn differs markedly across the three sites in terms of strength of geometrical anisotropy, mean rate of densification and density fluctuation. We hypothesize that these differences are caused by textural effects resulting from differences in depositional conditions within various spatial scales.
Wood density and wood chemical traits are strong predictors of tree performance, carbon stock, and wood decomposition, which play important roles in ecosystem processes and carbon and nutrient cycling in forests. However, it remains unknown how root wood traits are related to stem wood traits. We examined the relationships of wood density and wood chemical traits (lignin and nitrogen concentrations, carbon-to-nitrogen ratio) between the stems and coarse roots of 90 individuals representing 53 tropical tree species in Malaysian Borneo. We developed regression equations of each wood trait using the standardized major axis method. Each root wood trait was highly correlated with the corresponding stem wood trait, and most regression equations fitted well (R2 > 0.5). The lignin concentration of roots was significantly greater than that of stems. We conclude that root wood traits can be estimated from the corresponding stem wood traits in South-East Asian tropical trees. Further analysis of coarse root decomposability will provide more accurate estimates of carbon and nutrient fluxes in tropical forest ecosystems.