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Waterfall Bluff is a rock shelter in eastern Pondoland, South Africa, adjacent to a narrow continental shelf that limited coastline movements across glacial/interglacial cycles. The archaeological deposits are characterized by well-preserved stratigraphy, faunal, and botanical remains alongside abundant stone artifacts and other materials. A comprehensive dating protocol consisting of 5 optically stimulated luminescence ages and 51 accelerator mass spectrometry 14C ages shows that the record of hunter-gatherer occupations at Waterfall Bluff persisted from the late Pleistocene to the Holocene, spanning the last glacial maximum and the transition from the Pleistocene to the Holocene. Here, we provide detailed descriptions about the sedimentary sequence, chronology, and characteristics of the archaeological deposits at Waterfall Bluff. Remains of marine mollusks and marine fish also show, for the first time, that coastal foraging was a component of some hunter-gatherer groups’ subsistence practices during glacial phases in the late Pleistocene. The presence of marine fish and shellfish further demonstrates that hunter-gatherers selectively targeted coastal resources from intertidal and estuarine habitats. Our results therefore underscore the idea that Pondoland's coastline remained a stable and predictable point on the landscape over the last glacial/interglacial transition being well positioned for hunter-gatherers to access resources from the nearby coastline, narrow continental shelf, and inland areas.
Background: No standardized method of resident operative-case logging exists. Our study sought to develop a standardized form used by residents to log operative-cases. Methods: Members of the Canadian Neurosurgery Research Collaborative (CNRC), a national resident-led research organization have created a standardized document based on the current Royal College objectives for operative procedures (section 5). Modifications to structure and content will be guided via consensus from Canadian neurosurgery program-directors. Results: Program directors in each CNRC collaborative institution will be asked to modify the standardized form. The CNRC currently involves thirteen of the fourteen Canadian neurosurgery residency programs. Additional consensus, if necessary, can be reached at the Royal College meeting for program directors of neurosurgery March 20th 2017. Conclusions: A standardized operative-case log represents the first step in a prospective study towards compiling operative volume of all Canadian neurosurgical residents over one academic year. Such data will be essential to guide informed decisions with regard to Royal College requirements as Canadian neurosurgical programs transition to a competency based framework.
Background: Communicating with senior neurosurgical colleagues during residency necessitates a reliable and versatile smartphone. Smartphones and their apps are commonplace. They enhance communication with colleagues, provide the ability to access patient information and results, and allow access to medical reference applications. Patient data safety and compliance with the Personal Health Information Protection Act (PHIPA, 2004) in Canada remain a public concern that can significantly impact the way in which mobile smartphones are utilized by resident physicians Methods: Through the Canadian Neurosurgery Research Collaborative (CNRC), an online survey characterizing smartphone ownership and utilization of apps among Canadian neurosurgery residents and fellows was completed in April 2016. Results: Our study had a 47% response rate (80 surveys completed out of 171 eligible residents and fellows). Smartphone ownership was almost universal with a high rate of app utilization for learning and facilitating the care of patients. Utilization of smartphones to communicate and transfer urgent imaging with senior colleagues was common. Conclusions: Smartphone and app utilization is an essential part of neurosurgery resident workflow. In this study we characterize the smartphone and app usage within a specialized cohort of residents and suggest potential solutions to facilitate greater PHIPA adherence
Background: The Canadian Neurosurgery Research Collaborative (CNRC) was founded in November 2015 as a resident-led national network for multicentre research. We present an annual report of our activities. Methods: CNRC meetings and publications were reviewed and summarized. The status of ongoing and future studies was collected from project leaders. Results: In its first year, the CNRC produced two papers accepted for publication in the Canadian Journal of Neurological Sciences: A CNRC launch letter and a study of operative volume at Canadian neurosurgery residency programs. Three manuscripts are in preparation: 1) a study of the demographics of Canadian neurosurgery residents, 2) an assessment of mobile devices usage patterns and 3) a validation study of the most utilized neurosurgery mobile apps. In addition, protocols for two multi-centre studies are currently undergoing national Research Ethics Board review: A retrospective study of the incidence and predictors of cerebellar mutism and a prospective registry of external ventricular drain procedures and complications. The network is now a registered not-for-profit organization endorsed by the Canadian Neurosurgical Society. Conclusions: The CNRC is a feasibile, relevant and productive resident-led national research network. As the CNRC matures, we look forward to expanding the scope and impact of its projects.
Background: The Canadian Neurosurgery Research Collaborative (CNRC) is a new consortium of neurosurgery residency programs set-up to facilitate the planning and implementation of multi-center studies. As a trainee-led organization, it will focus on resident-initiated, resident-driven projects. The goal of this study is to assess the demographics of Canadian neurosurgery residents, with particular focus on their academic and subspecialty interests. Methods: After approval by the CNRC, an online survey will be sent to all Canadian neurosurgery residents and fellows with reminders at 2, 4 and 6 weeks. Anonymous, basic demographic data will be collected. Specific interest towards the various subspecialties, research and academic vs community practice will be measured. The data will be crossed with the ongoing Canadian Neurosurgery Operative Landscape study to assess the impact of case volume on academic and subspecialty interests. Results: This is the first study providing a snapshot of Canadian neurosurgery residents at all levels of training. The study is ongoing and the official results will be presented at the meeting. As one of the first CNRC studies, it will also demonstrate the effectiveness of the collaborative. Conclusions: Understanding the demographics and interests of Canadian neurosurgery residents will allow the CNRC to better fulfill its mission.
Background: The Canadian Neurosurgery Research Collaborative (CNRC) is a trainee-led multi-centre collaboration made up of representatives from 12 of 14 neurosurgical centres with residency programs. To demonstrate the potential of this collaborative network, we gathered administrative operative data from each centre in order to provide a snapshot of the operative landscape in Canadian neurosurgery. Methods: Residents from each training program provided adult neurosurgical operative data for the 2014 calendar year, including the number of surgeries in the subcategories cranial, spinal, and peripheral nerve. Because some residency programs have surgeries distributed among more than one hospital, we calculated mean case load per residency program and per hospital. Results: Interim results from 6 neurosurgery residency programs are presented (with data from other programs forthcoming). Overall, there were on average 2,352 operative cases per residency program (n=6) and 1,176 operative cases per adult hospital (n=12). Among 5 programs with more detailed operative data, the mean numbers of cranial, spinal, peripheral nerve, and miscellaneous surgeries per residency program were 757 (47%), 487 (30%), 47 (3%), and 319 (20%) respectively. Conclusions: We show as a proof-of-concept that a trainee-led nation-wide research collaborative can generate meaningful data in a Canadian context.
Background: The goals of evidence-based neurosurgery are to improve surgical outcomes, reduce complications, and provide an objective basis for altering practice. The need for higher quality studies, typically prospective and multicentre, has been growing especially in light of the evolving complexity of neurosurgical interventions and heterogeneity of patient populations. In the United Kingdom (UK), trainee-led research collaboratives have been established to tackle this problem. Therefore, we sought to evaluate the potential role for a resident-led research collaborative in neurosurgery in Canada based on the UK experience. Methods: A literature review of trainee-led collaboratives was conducted utilizing PubMed and Medline. Identified articles were reviewed for study quality and clinical relevance to explore the potential benefits of collaboratives. Results: In the UK, 27 collaboratives have been established in various specialties by trainees. Some published high quality trials with implications on their clinical fields. Evidence suggests that such endeavors improves trainees’ research skills and may help cultivate a research culture tailored towards clinical trials. Conclusions: Given the growing evidence for research collaboratives in the UK, we propose launching the Canadian Neurosurgery Research Collaborative (CNRC) which currently represents 12 out of 14 neurosurgery programs in Canada, and planning its first multicenter prospective study.
Biological electron transfers often occur between metal-containing cofactors that are separated by very large molecular distances. Employing photosensitizer-modified iron and copper proteins, we have shown that single-step electron tunneling can occur on nanosecond to microsecond timescales at distances between 15 and 20 Å. We also have shown that charge transport can occur over even longer distances by hole hopping (multistep tunneling) through intervening tyrosines and tryptophans. In this perspective, we advance the hypothesis that such hole hopping through Tyr/Trp chains could protect oxygenase, dioxygenase, and peroxidase enzymes from oxidative damage. In support of this view, by examining the structures of P450 (CYP102A) and 2OG-Fe (TauD) enzymes, we have identified candidate Tyr/Trp chains that could transfer holes from uncoupled high-potential intermediates to reductants in contact with protein surface sites.
Background: The availability of virtual reality (VR) surgical simulators affords the opportunity to assess the influence of stress on neurosurgical operative performance in a controlled laboratory environment. This study sought to examine the effect of a stressful VR neurosurgical task on the subjective anxiety ratings of participants with varying levels of surgical expertise. Methods: Twenty four participants comprised of six staff neurosurgeons, six senior neurosurgical residents (PGY4-6), six junior neurosurgical residents (PGY1-3), and six senior medical students took part in a bimanual VR tumor removal task with a component of sudden uncontrollable intra-operative bleeding. State Trait Anxiety Inventory (STAI) questionnaires were completed immediately pre and post the stress stimulus. The STAI questionnaire consisted of six items (calm, tense, upset, relaxed, content and worried) measured on a Likert scale. Results: Significant increases in subjective anxiety ratings were noted in junior residents (p=0.005) and medical students (p=0.025) while no significant changes were observed for staff and senior neurosurgical residents. Conclusions: Staff and senior residents more effectively mitigate stress compared to junior colleagues in a VR operative environment. Further physiological correlates are needed to determine whether this increased anxiety is paralleled by physiological arousal and altered surgical performance.
The use of water isotopes in polar regions is essential for reconstructing past climate over glacial-interglacial cycles. In addition to δD or δ18O, linearly related to condensation temperature, the second-order parameters, d-excess and 17O-excess, provide important information on the climatic conditions of the source of precipitations. In order to best interpret the glacial-interglacial records of d-excess and 17O-excess in polar ice cores, it is important to document their present variability, especially in remote and cold regions of East Antarctica. Indeed, the current climatic conditions encountered in these regions provide a good analogy with glacial climatic conditions in a large part of Antarctica. Here we present the first seasonal variations of 17O-excess and d-excess at Vostok station on an event basis (i.e. samples were collected immediately after each precipitation event) over 1 year. These records show strong correlation between 17O-excess and δ18O over the course of the year, with an amplitude 40 per meg (10-3%) in the 17O-excess seasonal cycle, and strong anticorrelation between d-excess and δ18O, with d-excess variations up to 20%. The d-excess and 17O-excess variations can be explained by the influence of kinetic fractionation at very low temperatures. The comparison with simple isotopic models confirms this explanation, but cannot explain the link between 17O-excess, d-excess and temperature without (1) a particular relationship between condensation and surface temperature and/or (2) seasonal changes in the climatic conditions of the source regions
Traumatized individuals and particularly post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) patients are characterized by memory disturbances that suggest altered memory control. The present study investigated the issue using an item method, directed forgetting (DF) paradigm in 51 civil war victims in Uganda. All participants had been exposed to severe traumatic stress and 26 additionally suffered from PTSD.
In an item cued, DF paradigm photographs were presented, each followed by an instruction to either remember or forget it. A recognition test for all initially presented photographs and thematically similar distracters followed. DF patterns were compared between the non-PTSD and the PTSD groups. Post-experimental ratings of picture valence and arousal were collected and correlated with DF.
Results revealed DF, that is, reduced recognition for ‘to-be-forgotten’ items in the non-PTSD but not in the PTSD group. Moreover, in the non-PTSD, but not in the PTSD group, false alarms were reduced for ‘to-be-remembered’ items. Finally, DF was reduced in those participants who rated the pictures as more arousing, the PTSD group giving, on average, higher arousal ratings.
Data indicate that DF is reduced in PTSD and that the reduction is related to stimulus arousal. Furthermore, individuals with PTSD are characterized by a more global encoding style than individuals without PTSD, reflected in a higher false alarm rate. In sum, traumatized individuals with (but not without) PTSD are impaired in their ability to selectively control episodic memory encoding. This impairment may contribute to clinical features of the disorder such as intrusions and flashbacks.