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To assess trends of mortality attributable to child and maternal undernutrition (CMU), overweight/obesity and dietary risks of non-communicable diseases (NCD) in sub-Saharan Africa (SSA) using data from the Global Burden of Disease (GBD) Study 2015.
For each risk factor, a systematic review of data was used to compute the exposure level and the effect size. A Bayesian hierarchical meta-regression analysis was used to estimate the exposure level of the risk factors by age, sex, geography and year. The burden of all-cause mortality attributable to CMU, fourteen dietary risk factors (eight diets, five nutrients and fibre intake) and overweight/obesity was estimated.
All age groups and both sexes.
In 2015, CMU, overweight/obesity and dietary risks of NCD accounted for 826204 (95 % uncertainty interval (UI) 737346, 923789), 266768 (95 % UI 189051, 353096) and 558578 (95 % UI 453433, 680197) deaths, respectively, representing 10·3 % (95 % UI 9·1, 11·6 %), 3·3 % (95 % UI 2·4, 4·4 %) and 7·0 % (95 % UI 5·8, 8·3 %) of all-cause mortality. While the age-standardized proportion of all-cause mortality accounted for by CMU decreased by 55·2 % between 1990 and 2015 in SSA, it increased by 63·3 and 17·2 % for overweight/obesity and dietary risks of NCD, respectively.
The increasing burden of diet- and obesity-related diseases and the reduction of mortality attributable to CMU indicate that SSA is undergoing a rapid nutritional transition. To tackle the impact in SSA, interventions and international development agendas should also target dietary risks associated with NCD and overweight/obesity.
It has been more than 20 years since the raids on the premises at the Geneva Freeport were linked to Giacomo Medici. The seizure of photographic records led to a major investigation of acquisitions by museums and private collectors. This was expanded following the confiscation of archives from Robin Symes and Gianfranco Becchina. Over 350 items have been returned to Italy from North American public and private collections as well as auction houses and galleries. This article reviews the returns and identifies some of the major themes. It also notes some of the unresolved cases both in North America and in Europe and Japan.
Hill (Twin Research and Human Genetics, Vol. 21, 2018, 84–88) presented a critique of our recently published paper in Cell Reports entitled ‘Large-Scale Cognitive GWAS Meta-Analysis Reveals Tissue-Specific Neural Expression and Potential Nootropic Drug Targets’ (Lam et al., Cell Reports, Vol. 21, 2017, 2597–2613). Specifically, Hill offered several interrelated comments suggesting potential problems with our use of a new analytic method called Multi-Trait Analysis of GWAS (MTAG) (Turley et al., Nature Genetics, Vol. 50, 2018, 229–237). In this brief article, we respond to each of these concerns. Using empirical data, we conclude that our MTAG results do not suffer from ‘inflation in the FDR [false discovery rate]’, as suggested by Hill (Twin Research and Human Genetics, Vol. 21, 2018, 84–88), and are not ‘more relevant to the genetic contributions to education than they are to the genetic contributions to intelligence’.
The longstanding association between the major histocompatibility complex (MHC) locus and schizophrenia (SZ) risk has recently been accounted for, partially, by structural variation at the complement component 4 (C4) gene. This structural variation generates varying levels of C4 RNA expression, and genetic information from the MHC region can now be used to predict C4 RNA expression in the brain. Increased predicted C4A RNA expression is associated with the risk of SZ, and C4 is reported to influence synaptic pruning in animal models.
Based on our previous studies associating MHC SZ risk variants with poorer memory performance, we tested whether increased predicted C4A RNA expression was associated with reduced memory function in a large (n = 1238) dataset of psychosis cases and healthy participants, and with altered task-dependent cortical activation in a subset of these samples.
We observed that increased predicted C4A RNA expression predicted poorer performance on measures of memory recall (p = 0.016, corrected). Furthermore, in healthy participants, we found that increased predicted C4A RNA expression was associated with a pattern of reduced cortical activity in middle temporal cortex during a measure of visual processing (p < 0.05, corrected).
These data suggest that the effects of C4 on cognition were observable at both a cortical and behavioural level, and may represent one mechanism by which illness risk is mediated. As such, deficits in learning and memory may represent a therapeutic target for new molecular developments aimed at altering C4’s developmental role.
Fetal growth restriction (FGR) and preterm birth are frequent co-morbidities, both are independent risks for brain injury. However, few studies have examined the mechanisms by which preterm FGR increases the risk of adverse neurological outcomes. We aimed to determine the effects of prematurity and mechanical ventilation (VENT) on the brain of FGR and appropriately grown (AG, control) lambs. We hypothesized that FGR preterm lambs are more vulnerable to ventilation-induced acute brain injury. FGR was surgically induced in fetal sheep (0.7 gestation) by ligation of a single umbilical artery. After 4 weeks, preterm lambs were euthanized at delivery or delivered and ventilated for 2 h before euthanasia. Brains and cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) were collected for analysis of molecular and structural indices of early brain injury. FGRVENT lambs had increased oxidative cell damage and brain injury marker S100B levels compared with all other groups. Mechanical ventilation increased inflammatory marker IL-8 within the brain of FGRVENT and AGVENT lambs. Abnormalities in the neurovascular unit and increased blood–brain barrier permeability were observed in FGRVENT lambs, as well as an altered density of vascular tight junctions markers. FGR and AG preterm lambs have different responses to acute injurious mechanical ventilation, changes which appear to have been developmentally programmed in utero.
Depression and obesity are highly prevalent, and major impacts on public health frequently co-occur. Recently, we reported that having depression moderates the effect of the FTO gene, suggesting its implication in the association between depression and obesity.
To confirm these findings by investigating the FTO polymorphism rs9939609 in new cohorts, and subsequently in a meta-analysis.
The sample consists of 6902 individuals with depression and 6799 controls from three replication cohorts and two original discovery cohorts. Linear regression models were performed to test for association between rs9939609 and body mass index (BMI), and for the interaction between rs9939609 and depression status for an effect on BMI. Fixed and random effects meta-analyses were performed using METASOFT.
In the replication cohorts, we observed a significant interaction between FTO, BMI and depression with fixed effects meta-analysis (β=0.12, P = 2.7 × 10−4) and with the Han/Eskin random effects method (P = 1.4 × 10−7) but not with traditional random effects (β = 0.1, P = 0.35). When combined with the discovery cohorts, random effects meta-analysis also supports the interaction (β = 0.12, P = 0.027) being highly significant based on the Han/Eskin model (P = 6.9 × 10−8). On average, carriers of the risk allele who have depression have a 2.2% higher BMI for each risk allele, over and above the main effect of FTO.
This meta-analysis provides additional support for a significant interaction between FTO, depression and BMI, indicating that depression increases the effect of FTO on BMI. The findings provide a useful starting point in understanding the biological mechanism involved in the association between obesity and depression.
Our understanding of the complex relationship between schizophrenia symptomatology and etiological factors can be improved by studying brain-based correlates of schizophrenia. Research showed that impairments in value processing and executive functioning, which have been associated with prefrontal brain areas [particularly the medial orbitofrontal cortex (MOFC)], are linked to negative symptoms. Here we tested the hypothesis that MOFC thickness is associated with negative symptom severity.
This study included 1985 individuals with schizophrenia from 17 research groups around the world contributing to the ENIGMA Schizophrenia Working Group. Cortical thickness values were obtained from T1-weighted structural brain scans using FreeSurfer. A meta-analysis across sites was conducted over effect sizes from a model predicting cortical thickness by negative symptom score (harmonized Scale for the Assessment of Negative Symptoms or Positive and Negative Syndrome Scale scores).
Meta-analytical results showed that left, but not right, MOFC thickness was significantly associated with negative symptom severity (βstd = −0.075; p = 0.019) after accounting for age, gender, and site. This effect remained significant (p = 0.036) in a model including overall illness severity. Covarying for duration of illness, age of onset, antipsychotic medication or handedness weakened the association of negative symptoms with left MOFC thickness. As part of a secondary analysis including 10 other prefrontal regions further associations in the left lateral orbitofrontal gyrus and pars opercularis emerged.
Using an unusually large cohort and a meta-analytical approach, our findings point towards a link between prefrontal thinning and negative symptom severity in schizophrenia. This finding provides further insight into the relationship between structural brain abnormalities and negative symptoms in schizophrenia.
The Numeniini is a tribe of 13 wader species (Scolopacidae, Charadriiformes) of which seven are Near Threatened or globally threatened, including two Critically Endangered. To help inform conservation management and policy responses, we present the results of an expert assessment of the threats that members of this taxonomic group face across migratory flyways. Most threats are increasing in intensity, particularly in non-breeding areas, where habitat loss resulting from residential and commercial development, aquaculture, mining, transport, disturbance, problematic invasive species, pollution and climate change were regarded as having the greatest detrimental impact. Fewer threats (mining, disturbance, problematic native species and climate change) were identified as widely affecting breeding areas. Numeniini populations face the greatest number of non-breeding threats in the East Asian-Australasian Flyway, especially those associated with coastal reclamation; related threats were also identified across the Central and Atlantic Americas, and East Atlantic flyways. Threats on the breeding grounds were greatest in Central and Atlantic Americas, East Atlantic and West Asian flyways. Three priority actions were associated with monitoring and research: to monitor breeding population trends (which for species breeding in remote areas may best be achieved through surveys at key non-breeding sites), to deploy tracking technologies to identify migratory connectivity, and to monitor land-cover change across breeding and non-breeding areas. Two priority actions were focused on conservation and policy responses: to identify and effectively protect key non-breeding sites across all flyways (particularly in the East Asian- Australasian Flyway), and to implement successful conservation interventions at a sufficient scale across human-dominated landscapes for species’ recovery to be achieved. If implemented urgently, these measures in combination have the potential to alter the current population declines of many Numeniini species and provide a template for the conservation of other groups of threatened species.
Identifying youth who may engage in future substance use could facilitate early identification of substance use disorder vulnerability. We aimed to identify biomarkers that predicted future substance use in psychiatrically un-well youth.
LASSO regression for variable selection was used to predict substance use 24.3 months after neuroimaging assessment in 73 behaviorally and emotionally dysregulated youth aged 13.9 (s.d. = 2.0) years, 30 female, from three clinical sites in the Longitudinal Assessment of Manic Symptoms (LAMS) study. Predictor variables included neural activity during a reward task, cortical thickness, and clinical and demographic variables.
Future substance use was associated with higher left middle prefrontal cortex activity, lower left ventral anterior insula activity, thicker caudal anterior cingulate cortex, higher depression and lower mania scores, not using antipsychotic medication, more parental stress, older age. This combination of variables explained 60.4% of the variance in future substance use, and accurately classified 83.6%.
These variables explained a large proportion of the variance, were useful classifiers of future substance use, and showed the value of combining multiple domains to provide a comprehensive understanding of substance use development. This may be a step toward identifying neural measures that can identify future substance use disorder risk, and act as targets for therapeutic interventions.
The fact that crime and disorder are concentrated at a few places is interesting and deserves an explanation. It is also interesting that places show up in other criminological theories and in other disciplines. And it is useful to understand the methods for studying places. However, a primary reason we are interested in high-crime places is that it might be possible to do something about crime by addressing these places. We are convinced that focusing on places can substantially reduce crime and disorder. Our conviction is not a matter of faith, but is based on over twenty-five years of accumulating evidence.
This chapter summarizes the research evidence examining whether focusing on crime places reduces crime. We first discuss a broad range of place-based prevention strategies examined by Eck and Guerrette (2012). This review provides strong evidence for a place-based approach to crime prevention. We then turn to a specific form of place-based crime prevention – hot spots policing (Sherman and Weisburd 1995). Again, we have a strong body of evidence supporting a place-based approach. Having reviewed hot spots policing, we turn to the importance of place managers and third parties in controlling problem places. We then examine an extension of the third-party approach to argue that a place-based approach to crime may free crime control policy from the police monopoly. Then we describe how a place-based approach to crime could be incorporated in community corrections to improve probation and parole outcomes. Finally, we review the larger body of research on the potential threat of crime displacement, and its opposite, the diffusion of crime control benefits. Consistently, the evidence described in this chapter clearly shows the substantial utility of a place-based approach for reducing crime.
SITUATIONAL CRIME PREVENTION AT PLACES
In Chapter 3 we argued for the importance of social disorganization theories for understanding crime places. This is an area where basic research suggests promise (e.g., see Weisburd et al. 2012; Weisburd et al. 2014), but where there is little evidence of effectiveness of specific practices. Such evidence is beginning to be developed, but we can say little at this juncture. In contrast, the evidence regarding opportunity reduction and crime has grown systematically over the last few decades.
Take a moment to imagine a crime occurring – perhaps a street robbery or a bag snatch. When you do this, it is difficult not to visualize the crime occurring in a particular setting or place. So, you might imagine a dark street corner with dim street lighting or seating in the outside area of a public bar. It seems intuitively sensible to analyze and understand crime at this unit of analysis – in other words, to investigate how criminals behave and crime concentrates at small microplaces. However, engaging in such microlevel analysis has tended to be a more recent criminological undertaking, and there are still many fruitful avenues to explore in terms of advancing both our knowledge and the sophistication of the methods that we use in this research area.
In this chapter, we raise and endeavor to answer a number of questions concerning the appropriate scale of analysis of criminological enquiry. To do this, we will start by defining what we mean by place and how this differs from other geographic concepts. Next, we highlight what has become the key catalyst for the criminology of place – the tremendous concentration of crime at microgeographic units of analysis. The strong and consistent concentration of crime at addresses, street segments, and other microgeographic units across cities is key to understanding why it is important to study the criminology of place and why it has such strong policy implications. We then turn to some additional statistical benefits of studying crime at microgeographic units that have to do with what is often termed “spatial interaction effects.” Finally, we examine problems that crime and place researchers will need to consider, and recommend some future directions for research exploring crime concentration at places.
PLACE AND SPACE
Geographic concepts are sometimes used in criminological research without a clear understanding of their meaning. Place and space are two such concepts. The subtle difference between them is important to keep in mind, as they can be a guide to establishing a carefully constructed study and influence the interpretation of findings. Furthermore, as will become apparent later in this chapter, a confusion of these concepts can mislead the reader in the interpretation of an argument. For example, it is important to keep in mind that place does not necessarily mean small units of analysis, nor does space necessarily refer to large areas.
Over the last two decades, there has been increased interest in the distribution of crime and other antisocial behavior at lower levels of geography. The focus on micro geography and its contribution to the understanding and prevention of crime has been called the 'criminology of place'. It pushes scholars to examine small geographic areas within cities, often as small as addresses or street segments, for their contribution to crime. Here, the authors describe what is known about crime and place, providing the most up-to-date and comprehensive review available. Place Matters shows that the study of criminology of place should be a central focus of criminology in the twenty-first century. It creates a tremendous opportunity for advancing our understanding of crime, and for addressing it. The book brings together eighteen top scholars in criminology and place to provide comprehensive research expanding across different themes.
This chapter explores the importance of place in theory and research in both mainstream criminology and other disciplines. As we noted in earlier chapters, traditional criminology has focused primarily on understanding why people commit crime. This focus on criminality has generally inhibited study of microgeographies and their role in producing crime. However, more recently there has been a trend toward integrating microgeographic places into traditional theorizing about criminality. In the first part of the chapter we discuss this trend, focusing on some recent innovations in understanding criminality that have incorporated place-based perspectives. In the second part of the chapter we focus on how other disciplines have influenced thinking in this area, focusing in particular on contributions in psychology, economics, and public health. Finally, we explore how trends in other disciplines might influence future directions of study in the criminology of place.
THE GROWING ROLE OF MICROGEOGRAPHIC PLACES IN TRADITIONAL THEORIZING OF CRIMINALITY
As we noted in Chapter 1, places, at least at a macro level, played a key part in the development of criminology in the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. But despite the role of place in crime in empirical study in Europe and theoretical development in the Chicago School through social disorganization theory, microgeographic places were mostly ignored. This was not because early criminologists failed to recognize the role of place in crime. Crime occurs in specific environments, and this was apparent to observers of the crime problem. Nonetheless, as we noted in Chapter 1, early criminologists did not see “crime places” – small discrete areas within communities – as a relevant focus of criminological study. This was the case, in part, because crime opportunities provided by places were assumed to be so numerous as to make concentration on specific places of little utility for theory or policy. What is the point of focusing theory or research on the opportunities offered by specific places if such opportunities can be found throughout the urban context?
Moreover, criminologists did not see the utility in focusing in on situational opportunities when criminal motivation was the key to understanding crime rates. Criminologists traditionally assumed that situational factors played a relatively minor role in explaining crime as compared with the “driving force of criminal dispositions” (Clarke and Felson 1993, 4; Trasler 1993).
In the previous chapter, we showed that crime is concentrated at very small geographic units, substantially smaller than neighborhoods, and that these concentrations, on average, are relatively stable. This is true whether examining high- or low-crime neighborhoods. Although high-crime places do cluster, they seldom form a homogeneous block of high-crime places. Rather, interspersed within concentrations of high-crime places are many low- and modest-crime places.
Why is crime concentrated in a relatively small number of places? Standard criminology has not asked this question, largely because standard criminology focuses on criminality and implicitly assumes that the density of offenders explains crime density. Recognition that place characteristics matter is the starting point for this chapter. We look at two perspectives on crime place characteristics. We use the term “perspective” because each type of explanation is comprised of multiple theories linked by a common orientation. The first perspective arises from opportunity theories of crime. The second perspective arises from social disorganization theories of crime.
We begin by contrasting two ways of thinking about how a place becomes a crime hot spot and suggest that the process by which high-crime places evolve must involve place characteristics. In the next sections, we examine opportunity and social disorganization explanations. In the final section of the chapter, we examine possible ways researchers might link these two perspectives.
PROCESSES THAT CREATE CRIME PLACES
Before we look for explanations of why places become hot spots of crime it is important to consider two processes that might lead to such an outcome. Criminologists have generally proposed two generic models to account for the processes that lead to variation in place susceptibility to crime. One model suggests that places may start with reasonably similar risks of an initial criminal attack, but once attacked the risk of a subsequent attack on the place rises. Over time, places diverge in their crime risk, and consequently in their crime counts. This temporal contagion model is also known as a boost model (see Chapter 2) or a state-dependence model. It puts the emphasis on offenders’ willingness to return to a previously successful crime site (Johnson et al. 2007; Townsley et al. 2000). It suggests that irrespective of initial crime risk the occurrence of a crime will lead to changes in risk of crime at a place.
We began this book by noting that criminologists have largely ignored the involvement of microgeographic places in crime. Mainstream criminologists have focused on “who done it?” and not “where done it?” (Sherman 1995). At least for the last century the key inquiries of crime and the key prevention approaches have looked to doing something about criminal motivation (Sutherland 1947; Reiss 1981). Why people commit crime has been the main focus of criminology (Brantingham and Brantingham 1990; Weisburd 2002), and catching and processing offenders has been the main focus of crime prevention (Weisburd 2008). In contrast, the criminology of place (Sherman et al. 1989; Weisburd et al. 2012), which began to develop in the 1980s and 1990s (Brantingham and Brantingham 1981; 1984; Eck 1994; Eck and Weisburd 1995; Roncek and Bell 1981; Weisburd and Green 1995a), provides an alternative vision of how we can understand crime and the crime problem. Like the emergence of community criminology during the same period (Bursik 1988; Morenoff et al. 2001; Sampson 2008; Sampson et al. 1997) the criminology of place has offered a new set of mechanisms for crime study and a new set of methods for doing something about the crime problem.
Theory has been a driving force in criminological study, and as we note below, we think that more not less attention to theory is important for advancing the criminology of place. However, theories are about something and try to explain something. When we change the unit of analysis, we are changing the target for theory. The criminology of place proposes a new target. It focuses on places, rather than people. Its goal is to explain the criminal involvement of microgeographic units rather than trying to explain the criminal involvement of people. This does not mean we ignore the role of individuals in the crime problem. But it does mean that we begin our inquiries with the place and see the individuals as only one part of the crime equation at places.
We have illustrated in the preceding chapters the extent to which theory, method, and empirical evidence about crime places have been developing over the last three decades. In this concluding chapter, we want to draw from our review of what is known some key themes that we think our work has identified, and key questions that still need to be answered.