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The Astrobiology Graduate Conference (AbGradCon) is an annual conference both organized for and by early-career researchers, postdoctoral fellows, and students as a way to train the next generation of astrobiologists and develop a robust network of cohorts moving forward. AbGradCon 2021 was held virtually on 14–17 September 2021, hosted by the Earth-Life Science Institute (ELSI) of Tokyo Institute of Technology after postponement of the in-person event in 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The meeting consisted of presentations by 120 participants from a variety of fields, two keynote speakers, and other career-building events and workshops. Here, we report on the organizational and executional aspects of AbGradCon 2021, including the meeting participant demographics, various digital aspects introduced specifically for a virtual edition of the meeting, and the abstract submission and evaluation process. The abstract evaluation process of AbGradCon 2021 is unique in that all evaluations are done by the peers of the applicants, and as astrobiology is inherently a broad discipline, the abstract evaluation process revealed a number of trends related to multidisciplinarity of the astrobiology field. We believe that meetings like AbGradCon can provide a unique opportunity for students and early career researchers in astrobiology to experience community building, inter- and multidisciplinary collaboration, and career training and would be a welcome sight in other fields as well. We hope that this report provides inspiration and a basic roadmap for organizing future conferences in any field with similar goals.
In this study, an active defence cooperative guidance (ADCG) law that enables cheap and low-speed airborne defence missiles with low manoeuverability to accurately intercept fast and expensive attack missiles with high manoeuverability was designed to enhance the capability of aircraft for active defence. This guidance law relies on the line-of-sight (LOS) guidance method, and it realises active defence by adjusting the geometric LOS relationship involving an attack missile, a defence missile and an aircraft. We use a nonlinear integral sliding surface and an improved second-order sliding mode reaching law to design the guidance law. This can not only reduce the chattering phenomenon in the guidance command, but it can also ensure that the system can reach the sliding surface from any initial position in a finite time. Simulations were carried out to verify the proposed law using four cases: different manoeuvering modes of the aircraft, different speed ratios of the attack and defence missiles, different reaching laws applied to the ADCG law and a robustness analysis. The results show that the proposed guidance law can enable a defence missile to intercept an attack missile by simultaneously using information about the relative motions of the attack missile and the aircraft. It is also highly robust in the presence of errors and noise.
We investigate how a leader's perception of a follower's behaviours may impact the follower's perception of a leader's behaviours which in turn may relate to a leader's rating of the LMX quality. Multilevel multisource data were collected from 315 leader–member dyads in 27 military teams. At the dyadic level, a leader's perception of a follower was related to the follower's assessment of a leader's behaviours, which in turn, was positively related to how the leader rated their LMX quality. Finally, the leaders' emotional reappraisal moderated the link between a follower's perception of the leader's behaviours and leader rated LMX quality. LMX research continues to interrogate the role of the follower in the leader–follower process. The study sheds further light on how followers contribute to the leadership process.
The Hierarchical Taxonomy of Psychopathology (HiTOP) has emerged out of the quantitative approach to psychiatric nosology. This approach identifies psychopathology constructs based on patterns of co-variation among signs and symptoms. The initial HiTOP model, which was published in 2017, is based on a large literature that spans decades of research. HiTOP is a living model that undergoes revision as new data become available. Here we discuss advantages and practical considerations of using this system in psychiatric practice and research. We especially highlight limitations of HiTOP and ongoing efforts to address them. We describe differences and similarities between HiTOP and existing diagnostic systems. Next, we review the types of evidence that informed development of HiTOP, including populations in which it has been studied and data on its validity. The paper also describes how HiTOP can facilitate research on genetic and environmental causes of psychopathology as well as the search for neurobiologic mechanisms and novel treatments. Furthermore, we consider implications for public health programs and prevention of mental disorders. We also review data on clinical utility and illustrate clinical application of HiTOP. Importantly, the model is based on measures and practices that are already used widely in clinical settings. HiTOP offers a way to organize and formalize these techniques. This model already can contribute to progress in psychiatry and complement traditional nosologies. Moreover, HiTOP seeks to facilitate research on linkages between phenotypes and biological processes, which may enable construction of a system that encompasses both biomarkers and precise clinical description.
Perfectionism, low self-esteem and external locus of control are psychological constructs linked to insomnia, anxiety and depression. Examining how these constructs impact mental health and serve as risk factors for the development of clinically significant symptoms may help direct psychological support resources and preventative measures for university students.
To longitudinally examine associations between the aforementioned psychological constructs and symptoms of insomnia, anxiety and depression in a large representative sample of first-year university students.
Electronic surveys including validated measures of the predictors and outcomes were emailed to all first-year undergraduate students at entry to a major Canadian university, and followed up on at conclusion of the academic year.
Compared with healthy sleepers, students screening positive for insomnia had lower self-esteem, higher self-evaluative perfectionism and increased external locus of control (all P < 0.001). Self-evaluative perfectionism (standardised β = 0.13, P < 0.01), self-esteem (β = −0.30, P < 0.001) and external locus of control (β = 0.07, P = 0.02) measured at entry were significantly associated with insomnia symptoms at follow-up. Insomnia symptoms at entry were strong predictors of symptoms of depression (β = 0.15, P < 0.001) and anxiety (β = 0.16, P < 0.001) at follow-up, even after controlling for baseline symptoms of those disorders.
Perfectionism, low self-esteem and external locus of control may predispose the development of insomnia symptoms in university students. In turn, insomnia symptoms appear to be robust predictors for depressive and anxiety symptoms. Sleep may be an important prevention target in university students.
To examine the association between adherence to plant-based diets and mortality.
Prospective study. We calculated a plant-based diet index (PDI) by assigning positive scores to plant foods and reverse scores to animal foods. We also created a healthful PDI (hPDI) and an unhealthful PDI (uPDI) by further separating the healthy plant foods from less-healthy plant foods.
The VA Million Veteran Program.
315 919 men and women aged 19–104 years who completed a FFQ at the baseline.
We documented 31 136 deaths during the follow-up. A higher PDI was significantly associated with lower total mortality (hazard ratio (HR) comparing extreme deciles = 0·75, 95 % CI: 0·71, 0·79, Ptrend < 0·001]. We observed an inverse association between hPDI and total mortality (HR comparing extreme deciles = 0·64, 95 % CI: 0·61, 0·68, Ptrend < 0·001), whereas uPDI was positively associated with total mortality (HR comparing extreme deciles = 1·41, 95 % CI: 1·33, 1·49, Ptrend < 0·001). Similar significant associations of PDI, hPDI and uPDI were also observed for CVD and cancer mortality. The associations between the PDI and total mortality were consistent among African and European American participants, and participants free from CVD and cancer and those who were diagnosed with major chronic disease at baseline.
A greater adherence to a plant-based diet was associated with substantially lower total mortality in this large population of veterans. These findings support recommending plant-rich dietary patterns for the prevention of major chronic diseases.
To investigate the downstream rim seal gas ingestion characteristics of a 1.5-stage turbine, the URANS equations were solved numerically using the SST turbulence model. The effects of different purge flow rates and the second vane on the ingestion characteristics of the aft cavity and the nonuniform fluctuations of the main gas path pressure are analysed. The results showed that the aft cavity is affected by the combined effects of the blade and the second vane, and the potential field at the leading edge of the second vane greatly influence the airflow variation in the aft cavity, which enhances the ingress of the mainstream into the wheel-space. The front purge flow weakens the egress between the suction side of the blade and the suction side of the second vane. The potential field at the leading edge of the second vane suppresses the nonuniform distribution of airflow in the aft cavity caused by the rotational effect of the blade.
The spatio-temporal variation of leaf chlorophyll content is an important crop phenotypic trait that is of great significance for evaluating crop productivity. This study used a soil-plant analysis development (SPAD) chlorophyll meter for non-destructive monitoring of leaf chlorophyll dynamics to characterize the patterns of spatio-temporal variation in the nutritional status of maize (Zea mays L.) leaves under three nitrogen treatments in two cultivars. The results showed that nitrogen levels could affect the maximum leaf SPAD reading (SPADmax) and the duration of high SPAD reading. A rational model was used to measure the changes in SPAD readings over time in single leaves. This model was suitable for predicting the dynamics of the nutrient status for each leaf position under different nitrogen treatments, and model parameter values were position dependent. SPADmax at each leaf decreased with the reduction of nitrogen supply. Leaves at different positions in both cultivars responded differently to higher nitrogen rates. Lower leaves (8th–10th positions) were more sensitive than the other leaves in response to nitrogen. Monitoring the SPAD reading dynamic of lower leaves could accurately characterize and assess the nitrogen supply in plants. The lower leaves in nitrogen-deficient plants had a shorter duration of high SPAD readings compared to nitrogen-sufficient plants; this physiological mechanism should be studied further. In summary, the spatio-temporal variation of plant nitrogen status in maize was analysed to determine critical leaf positions for potentially assisting in the identification of appropriate agronomic management practices, such as the adjustment of nitrogen rates in late fertilization.
To study the effectiveness of unilateral cochlear implantation, binaural-bimodal hearing devices, and bilateral cochlear implantation in children with inner-ear malformation.
This study comprised 261 patients who were allocated to inner-ear malformation or control groups. Twenty-four months after surgery, aided sound-field thresholds were tested, and the Meaningful Auditory Integration Scale, Infant-Toddler Meaningful Auditory Integration Scale, Meaningful Use of Speech Scale, Categories of Auditory Performance scale and Speech Intelligibility Rating test were completed.
Aided sound-field thresholds were significantly better for bilateral cochlear implantation patients than for unilateral cochlear implantation or binaural-bimodal hearing device patients. There was no significant difference in Meaningful Auditory Integration Scale, Infant-Toddler Meaningful Auditory Integration Scale, or Categories of Auditory Performance scores among the three groups. The binaural-bimodal hearing device patients outperformed unilateral cochlear implantation patients on both Meaningful Use of Speech Scale and Speech Intelligibility Rating scores. No statistical difference was observed between the two subgroups.
Children who received bilateral cochlear implants have the best auditory awareness in a quiet environment. Children with binaural-bimodal hearing devices have better voice control and verbal skills than unilateral cochlear implantation patients, and people are more likely to understand them. Children with inner-ear malformations benefit from cochlear implantation.
The epidemic of tuberculosis has posed a serious burden in Qinghai province, it is necessary to clarify the epidemiological characteristics and spatial-temporal distribution of TB for future prevention and control measures. We used descriptive epidemiological methods and spatial statistical analysis including spatial correlation and spatial-temporal analysis in this study. Furthermore, we applied an exponential smoothing model for TB epidemiological trend forecasting. Of 43 859 TB cases, the sex ratio was 1.27:1 (M:F), and the average annual TB registered incidence was 70.00/100 000 of 2009–2019. More cases were reported in March and April, and the worst TB stricken regions were the prefectures of Golog and Yushu. High TB registered incidences were seen in males, farmers and herdsmen, Tibetans, or elderly people. 7132 cases were intractable, which were recurrent, drug resistant, or co-infected with other infections. Three likely cases clusters with significant high risk were found by spatial-temporal scan on data of 2009–2019. The exponential smoothing winters' additive model was selected as the best-fitting model to forecast monthly TB cases in the future. This research indicated that TB in Qinghai is still a serious threaten to the local residents' health. Multi-departmental collaboration and funds special for TB treatments and control are still needed, and the exponential smoothing model is promising which could be applied for forecasting of TB epidemic trend in this high-altitude province.
While ethics has been identified as a core component of health technology assessment (HTA), there are few examples of practical, systematic inclusion of ethics analysis in HTA. Some attribute the scarcity of ethics analysis in HTA to debates about appropriate methodology and the need for ethics frameworks that are relevant to local social values. The “South African Values and Ethics for Universal Health Coverage” (SAVE-UHC) project models an approach that countries can use to develop HTA ethics frameworks that are specific to their national contexts.
The SAVE-UHC approach consisted of two phases. In Phase I, the research team convened and facilitated a national multistakeholder working group to develop a provisional ethics framework through a collaborative, engagement-driven process. In Phase II, the research team refined the model framework by piloting it through three simulated HTA appraisal committee meetings. Each simulated committee reviewed two case studies of sample health interventions: opioid substitution therapy and either a novel contraceptive implant or seasonal influenza immunization for children under five.
The methodology was fit-for-purpose, resulting in a context-specified ethics framework and producing relevant findings to inform application of the framework for the given HTA context.
The SAVE-UHC approach provides a model for developing, piloting, and refining an ethics framework for health priority-setting that is responsive to national social values. This approach also helps identify key facilitators and challenges for integrating ethics analysis into HTA processes.
Root-lesion nematodes (Pratylenchus spp.) are a group of economically important pathogens that have caused serious economic losses in many crops. In 2019, root-lesion nematodes were recovered from tomato (Solanum lycopersicum) root samples collected from Sichuan Province, People's Republic of China (PRC). Extracted nematodes were disinfected, and one individual female was cultured on a carrot disc for propagation at 25 °C by parthenogenesis and designated the SC isolate. Afterwards, the isolate was identified on the basis of morphometric and molecular markers. Both morphometric characters and molecular analysis of the internal transcribed spacer region gene (ITS) of ribosomal DNA, the D2-D3 expansion region of the 28S rDNA gene and the mitochondrial cytochrome oxidase I (mtDNA-COI) gene revealed that the species of root-lesion nematode was Pratylenchus scribneri. The Bayesian tree inferred from the ITS rDNA, 28S rDNA and mtDNA-COI gene sequences also showed that this isolate formed a highly supported clade with other P. scribneri isolates. The pathogenicity of the root-lesion nematode SC isolate on tomato was assessed, showing that tomato was a suitable host for P. scribneri. To the best of our knowledge, this is the first report of P. scribneri on tomato in Sichuan Province, PRC. These are also the first molecular data obtained from P. scribneri on tomato in the PRC, and the pathogenicity of P. scribneri to tomato was studied for the first time. This study provides scientific data for the detection, identification and control of tomato root-lesion nematode disease.
Adolescence is associated with heightened vulnerability to symptoms of depression and anxiety. In-person and computerised cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT) are effective treatment options, yet uptake and engagement remain low. Smartphone delivery of CBT offers an alternative, highly accessible method of delivering CBT. However, there is no freely available CBT smartphone application (app) specifically designed to reduce depression and anxiety symptoms in adolescents. The aim of this study was to design a new CBT smartphone app (ClearlyMe) that targets depressive and anxiety symptoms in adolescents. We engaged in a rigorous co-design process with adolescents (n=36), parents (n=15), and mental health professionals (n=32). Co-design involved: (1) discovery of users’ needs, views and preferences by conducting focus groups, (2) defining app features through ideation workshops and user consultations, (3) designing therapeutic CBT content and visual features, and (4) testing prototypes. Users were involved at every step and the process was iterative, with findings carried forward to ensure continued refinement of concepts and features. We found a preference for vibrant, cheerful colours and illustrations and non-endorsement of gamification and chatbots, which contrasted with findings from other studies. Preferences were largely consistent between the three user groups. However, adolescents preferred an app that could be used autonomously without professional support, whereas mental health professionals desired a product for use as a therapy adjunct to support CBT skill development. The importance of co-design, and particularly the inclusion of all stakeholders throughout the entire co-design process, is discussed in relation to the design of ClearlyMe.
Key learning aims
(1) To understand the co-design process that underpins the development of a new CBT smartphone app for youth with elevated symptoms of depression and anxiety.
(2) To understand adolescent, parent and mental health professionals’ key preferences regarding the features and functionality of a CBT smartphone app for adolescents with elevated symptoms of depression and anxiety.
(3) To understand how ClearlyMe has been designed as both a therapy adjunct and stand-alone program, and how it can be incorporated into day-to-day clinical practice.