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Studies suggest that alcohol consumption and alcohol use disorders have distinct genetic backgrounds.
We examined whether polygenic risk scores (PRS) for consumption and problem subscales of the Alcohol Use Disorders Identification Test (AUDIT-C, AUDIT-P) in the UK Biobank (UKB; N = 121 630) correlate with alcohol outcomes in four independent samples: an ascertained cohort, the Collaborative Study on the Genetics of Alcoholism (COGA; N = 6850), and population-based cohorts: Avon Longitudinal Study of Parents and Children (ALSPAC; N = 5911), Generation Scotland (GS; N = 17 461), and an independent subset of UKB (N = 245 947). Regression models and survival analyses tested whether the PRS were associated with the alcohol-related outcomes.
In COGA, AUDIT-P PRS was associated with alcohol dependence, AUD symptom count, maximum drinks (R2 = 0.47–0.68%, p = 2.0 × 10−8–1.0 × 10−10), and increased likelihood of onset of alcohol dependence (hazard ratio = 1.15, p = 4.7 × 10−8); AUDIT-C PRS was not an independent predictor of any phenotype. In ALSPAC, the AUDIT-C PRS was associated with alcohol dependence (R2 = 0.96%, p = 4.8 × 10−6). In GS, AUDIT-C PRS was a better predictor of weekly alcohol use (R2 = 0.27%, p = 5.5 × 10−11), while AUDIT-P PRS was more associated with problem drinking (R2 = 0.40%, p = 9.0 × 10−7). Lastly, AUDIT-P PRS was associated with ICD-based alcohol-related disorders in the UKB subset (R2 = 0.18%, p < 2.0 × 10−16).
AUDIT-P PRS was associated with a range of alcohol-related phenotypes across population-based and ascertained cohorts, while AUDIT-C PRS showed less utility in the ascertained cohort. We show that AUDIT-P is genetically correlated with both use and misuse and demonstrate the influence of ascertainment schemes on PRS analyses.
Seed dispersal is an important ecological process that structures plant communities and influences ecosystem functioning. Loss of animal dispersers therefore poses a serious threat to forest ecosystems, particularly in the tropics where zoochory predominates. A prominent example is the near-total extinction of seed dispersers on the tropical island of Guam following the accidental introduction of the invasive brown tree snake (Boiga irregularis), negatively impacting seedling recruitment and forest regeneration. We investigated frugivory by a remnant population of Såli (Micronesian starling – Aplonis opaca) on Guam and two other island populations (Rota, Saipan) to evaluate their ecological role as a seed disperser in the Mariana archipelago. Using a combination of behavioural observations, nest contents and fecal samples, we documented frugivory of 37 plant species. Native plants comprised the majority (66%) of all species and 90% of all seeds identified in fecal and nest contents. Diet was highly similar across age classes and sampling years. In addition, plant species consumed by Såli comprised 88% of bird-dispersed adult trees and 54% of all adult trees in long-term forest monitoring plots, demonstrating the Såli’s broad diet and potential for restoring native forests. Overall, we provide the most comprehensive assessment to date of frugivory by the Såli and confirm its importance as a seed disperser on Guam and throughout the Marianas.
We continue to investigate the design, synthesis, and characterization of electrically and ionically active conjugated polythiophene copolymers for integrating a variety of biomedical devices with living tissue. This paper will describe some of our most recent results, including the development of several new monomers that can tailor the surface chemistry, adhesion, and biointegration of these materials with neural cells. Our efforts have focused on copolymers of 3,4 ethylenedioxythiophene (EDOT), functionalized variants of EDOT (including EDOT-acid and the trifunctional EPh), and dopamine (DOPA). The resulting PEDOT-based copolymers have electrical, optical, mechanical, and adhesive properties that can be precisely tailored by fine tuning the chemical composition and structure. Here we present results on EDOT-dopamine bifunctional monomers and their corresponding polymers. We discuss the design and synthesis of an EDOT-cholesterol that combines the thiophene with a biological moiety known to exhibit surface-active behaviour. We will also introduce EDOT-aldehyde and EDOT-maleimide monomers and show how they can be used as the starting point for a wide variety of functionalized monomers and polymers.
Progesterone (P4) plays a key role in pregnancy establishment and maintenance; during early pregnancy, P4 stimulates the production and release of uterine secretions necessary for conceptus growth prior to implantation; therefore, exogenous P4 supplementation may improve embryo development. This study evaluated the effects of supplementation during early pregnancy with long-acting injectable progesterone or altrenogest on embryonic characteristics of sows and gilts. Thus, a total of 32 sows and 16 gilts were used. On day 6 of pregnancy sows and gilts were allocated to one of the following groups: non-supplemented; supplemented with 20 mg of altrenogest, orally, from days 6 to 12 of pregnancy; supplemented with 2.15 mg/kg of long-acting injectable progesterone on day 6 of pregnancy. Animals were killed on day 28 of pregnancy, and ovulation rate, embryo survival, embryo weight, crown-to-rump length, uterine glandular epithelium and endometrial vascularization were assessed. Treatments had no effect on pregnancy rate, embryo survival or endometrial vascular density (P > 0.05). Non-supplemented gilts presented larger and heavier embryos compared to gilts from supplemented groups (P < 0.05). Sows in the altrenogest group presented larger and heavier embryos compared to non-supplemented sows and sows supplemented with long-acting injectable progesterone. In conclusion, supplementation of sows and gilts with progestagen from day 6 of pregnancy can be used as a means to improve embryo survival without deleterious effects.
A range of stoichiometric and mixed A-site cation brannerite glass-ceramics have been synthesised and characterised. The formation of UTi2O6 in glass is reliant on ensuring all uranium remains tetravalent by processing in an inert atmosphere. ThTi2O6 forms in glass under both inert and oxidising atmospheres due to the lack of other easily available oxidation states. CeTi2O6 could not be made to form within this glass system. The formation of A0.5B0.5Ti2O6 phases depends strongly on the oxidation states of the A and B cations available in the process atmosphere, with the most successful compositions having an average final oxidation state of (A,B)4+. Mixed cation brannerite compositions that formed in argon include U0.75Th0.25Ti2O6 and U0.71Ce0.29Ti2O6. Those forming in air include U0.23Th0.77Ti2O6, Th0.37Ce0.63Ti2O6, and U0.41Ce0.59Ti2O6.
A zirconolite glass-ceramic material is a candidate wasteform for immobilisation of chlorine contaminated plutonium residues, in which plutonium and chlorine are partitioned to the zirconolite and aluminosilicate glass phase, respectively. A preliminary investigation of chlorine speciation was undertaken by analysis of Cl K-edge X-ray Absorption Near Edge Spectroscopy (XANES), to understand the incorporation mechanism. Cl was found to be speciated as the Cl- anion within the glass phase, according to the characteristic chemical shift of the X-ray absorption edge. By comparison with Cl K-edge XANES data acquired from reference compounds, the local environment of the Cl- anion is most closely approximated by the mineral marialite, in which Cl is co-ordinate to 4 x Na and/or Ca atoms.
Collective bargaining in the public sector is under attack. Since 2011, numerous states have eliminated or severely curtailed public employee collective bargaining. For example, Oklahoma repealed its statute that provided collective bargaining rights for employees of mid-sized cities. Tennessee repealed a statute that for more than three decades had provided collective bargaining rights for teachers. The most visible development was Wisconsin’s enactment which, among other things, prohibited bargaining on all subjects except for increases in base wages which were capped at the increase in the Consumer Price Index, prohibited dues checkoff, and required that exclusive bargaining representatives undergo annual elections and receive the votes of at least 51 percent of all employees in the bargaining unit to remain certified. In 2017, Iowa followed Wisconsin’s model, prohibiting dues check-off, requiring annual recertification elections, and making base wages the only mandatory subject of bargaining, but not prohibiting bargaining on other subjects.
Pulmonary hypertension is a complex and progressive condition that is either idiopathic or heritable, or associated with one or multiple health conditions, with or without congenital or acquired cardiovascular disease. Recent developments have tremendously increased the armamentarium of diagnostic and therapeutic approaches in children and young adults with pulmonary hypertension that is still associated with a high morbidity and mortality. These modalities include non-invasive imaging, pharmacotherapy, interventional and surgical procedures, and supportive measures. The optimal, tailored diagnostic and therapeutic strategies for pulmonary hypertension in the young are rapidly evolving but still face enormous challenges: Healthcare providers need to take the patient’s age, development, disease state, and family concerns into account when initiating advanced diagnostics and treatment. Therefore, there is a need for guidance on core and advanced medical training in paediatric pulmonary hypertension. The Association for European Paediatric and Congenital Cardiology working group “pulmonary hypertension, heart failure and transplantation” has produced this document as an expert consensus statement; however, all recommendations must be considered and applied in the context of the local and national infrastructure and legal regulations.
A taxonomic revision of Begonia veitchii Hook.f. is presented. Two taxa are newly recognised as synonyms of Begonia veitchii: B. baumannii Lemoine and B. clarkei Hook.f. Addditionally, two infraspecific taxa are newly described and illustrated: Begonia veitchii var. machupicchuensis Tebbitt, which is endemic to the Cusco Department of Peru, and B. veitchii var. lanatifolia Tebbitt, which is endemic to Chuquisaca Department, Bolivia. Begonia veitchii, as well as four taxa recognised as synonyms of B. veitchii – B. baumannii, B. rosaeflora Hook.f., B. coriacea A.DC. and B. clarkei – are lectotypified. A key, descriptions, distribution map and illustrations are provided for all the recognised infraspecific taxa of Begonia veitchii.
Carbonate glasses can be formed routinely in the system K2CO3–MgCO3. The enthalpy of formation for one such 0.55K2CO3–0.45MgCO3 glass was determined at 298 K to be 115.00 ± 1.21 kJ/mol by drop solution calorimetry in molten sodium molybdate (3Na2O·MoO3) at 975 K. The corresponding heat of formation from oxides at 298 K was −261.12 ± 3.02 kJ/mol. This ternary glass is shown to be slightly metastable with respect to binary crystalline components (K2CO3 and MgCO3) and may be further stabilized by entropy terms arising from cation disorder and carbonate group distortions. This high degree of disorder is confirmed by 13C MAS NMR measurement of the average chemical shift tensor values, which show asymmetry of the carbonate anion to be significantly larger than previously reported values. Molecular dynamics simulations show that the structure of this carbonate glass reflects the strong interaction between the oxygen atoms in distorted carbonate anions and potassium cations.
The design of government portfolios – that is, the distribution of competencies among government ministries and office holders – has been largely ignored in the study of executive and coalition politics. This article argues that portfolio design is a substantively and theoretically relevant phenomenon that has major implications for the study of institutional design and coalition politics. The authors use comparative data on portfolio design reforms in nine Western European countries since the 1970s to demonstrate how the design of government portfolios changes over time. Specifically, they show that portfolios are changed frequently (on average about once a year) and that such shifts are more likely after changes in the prime ministership or the party composition of the government. These findings suggest a political logic behind these reforms based on the preferences and power of political parties and politicians. They have major implications for the study of institutional design and coalition politics.
The rocky shores of the north-east Atlantic have been long studied. Our focus is from Gibraltar to Norway plus the Azores and Iceland. Phylogeographic processes shape biogeographic patterns of biodiversity. Long-term and broadscale studies have shown the responses of biota to past climate fluctuations and more recent anthropogenic climate change. Inter- and intra-specific species interactions along sharp local environmental gradients shape distributions and community structure and hence ecosystem functioning. Shifts in domination by fucoids in shelter to barnacles/mussels in exposure are mediated by grazing by patellid limpets. Further south fucoids become increasingly rare, with species disappearing or restricted to estuarine refuges, caused by greater desiccation and grazing pressure. Mesoscale processes influence bottom-up nutrient forcing and larval supply, hence affecting species abundance and distribution, and can be proximate factors setting range edges (e.g., the English Channel, the Iberian Peninsula). Impacts of invasive non-native species are reviewed. Knowledge gaps such as the work on rockpools and host–parasite dynamics are also outlined.
Although executive and other cognitive deficits have been found in patients with borderline personality disorder (BPD), whether these have brain functional correlates has been little studied. This study aimed to examine patterns of task-related activation and de-activation during the performance of a working memory task in patients with the disorder.
Sixty-seven DSM-IV BPD patients and 67 healthy controls underwent fMRI during the performance of the n-back task. Linear models were used to obtain maps of within-group activations and areas of differential activation between the groups.
On corrected whole-brain analysis, there were no activation differences between the BPD patients and the healthy controls during the main 2-back v. baseline contrast, but reduced activation was seen in the precentral cortex bilaterally and the left inferior parietal cortex in the 2-back v. 1-back contrast. The patients showed failure of de-activation affecting the medial frontal cortex and the precuneus, plus in other areas. The changes did not appear to be attributable to previous history of depression, which was present in nearly half the sample.
In this study, there was some, though limited, evidence for lateral frontal hypoactivation in BPD during the performance of an executive task. BPD also appears to be associated with failure of de-activation in key regions of the default mode network.
Longitudinal studies of first episode of psychosis (FEP) patients are critical to understanding the dynamic clinical factors influencing functional outcomes; negative symptoms and verbal memory (VM) deficits are two such factors that remain a therapeutic challenge. This study uses white-gray matter contrast at the inner edge of the cortex, in addition to cortical thickness, to probe changes in microstructure and their relation with negative symptoms and possible intersections with verbal memory.
T1-weighted images and clinical data were collected longitudinally for patients (N = 88) over a two-year period. Cognitive data were also collected at baseline. Relationships between baseline VM (immediate/delayed recall) and rate of change in two negative symptom dimensions, amotivation and expressivity, were assessed at the behavioral level, as well as at the level of brain structure.
VM, particularly immediate recall, was significantly and positively associated with a steeper rate of expressivity symptom decline (r = 0.32, q = 0.012). Significant interaction effects between baseline delayed recall and change in expressivity were uncovered in somatomotor regions bilaterally for both white-gray matter contrast and cortical thickness. Furthermore, interaction effects between immediate recall and change in expressivity on cortical thickness rates were uncovered across higher-order regions of the language processing network.
This study shows common neural correlates of language-related brain areas underlying expressivity and VM in FEP, suggesting deficits in these domains may be more linked to speech production rather than general cognitive capacity. Together, white-gray matter contrast and cortical thickness may optimally inform clinical investigations aiming to capture peri-cortical microstructural changes.
Before drawing conclusions on the contribution of an effective intervention to daily practice and initiating dissemination, its quality and implementation in daily practice should be optimal. The aim of this process evaluation was to study these aspects alongside a randomized controlled trial investigating the effects of a multidisciplinary biannual medication review in long-term care organizations (NTR3569).
Process evaluation with multiple measurements.
Thirteen units for people with dementia in six long-term care organizations in the Netherlands.
Physicians, pharmacists, and nursing staff of participating units.
The PROPER intervention is a structured and biannually repeated multidisciplinary medication review supported by organizational preparation and education, evaluation, and guidance.
Web-based questionnaires, interviews, attendance lists of education sessions, medication reviews and evaluation meetings, minutes, evaluation, and registration forms.
Participation rates in education sessions (95%), medication reviews (95%), and evaluation meetings (82%) were high. The intervention’s relevance and feasibility and applied implementation strategies were highly rated. However, the education sessions and conversations during medication reviews were too pharmacologically oriented for several nursing staff members. Identified barriers to implementation were required time, investment, planning issues, and high staff turnover; facilitators were the positive attitude of professionals toward the intervention, the support of higher management, and the appointment of a local implementation coordinator.
Implementation was successful. The commitment of both higher management and professionals was an important factor. This may partly have been due to the subject being topical; Dutch long-term-care organizations are pressed to lower inappropriate psychotropic drug use.
More than 130 late Pleistocene trackway sites from the coastal eolianites and beach deposits of the Cape south coast, South Africa, have previously mostly yielded tracks of large mammals and birds. However, two sites east of Still Bay, and a third near Garden Route National Park, yield distinctive trackways of hatchling sea turtles, made during the short posthatching (postemergence) interval when the trackmakers headed for the sea. One assemblage of approximately parallel trackways indicates smaller loggerhead turtle hatchlings, with alternating gaits, and contrasts with a wider trackway indicating a leatherback turtle hatchling. These are the world's first reports of fossil traces that document this brief “run-for the-sea” phenomenon. They help delineate late Pleistocene sea turtle breeding ranges and indicate climatic conditions along the Cape south coast. Ichnotaxonomically defined swim tracks of large adult sea turtles are known from a few Mesozoic sites. Likewise, walking and swim traces of terrestrial freshwater turtles are also known from the Mesozoic and Cenozoic. However, as no ichnotaxonomy exists for these diagnostic hatchling trails, we assign the trackways of the inferred loggerheads to the new ichnotaxon Australochelichnus agulhasii ichnogen. et ichnosp. nov., and the inferred leatherback trackway to Marinerichnus latus ichnogen. et ichnosp. nov.
The Hkakabo Razi region located in northern Myanmar is an Important Bird Area and part of the Eastern Himalayan Biodiversity Hotspot. Within the framework of the World Heritage Convention to enlist the site under criterion (ix) and (x), we conducted a biodiversity assessment for passerine birds using DNA barcoding and other molecular markers. Of the 441 bird species recorded, we chose 16 target species for a comparative phylogeographic study. Genetic analysis was performed for a larger number of species and helped identifying misidentified species. We found phylogeographic structure in all but one of the 16 study species. In 13 species, populations from northern Myanmar were genetically distinctive and local mitochondrial lineages differed from those found in adjacent regions by 3.9–9.9% uncorrected genetic distances (cytochrome-b). Since the genetic distinctiveness of study populations will be corroborated by further differences in morphology and song as in other South-East Asian passerines, many of them will be candidates for taxonomic splits, or in case an older taxon name is not available, for the scientific description of new taxa. Considering the short time frame of our study we predict that a great part of undetected faunal diversity in the Hkakabo Razi region will be discovered.
In recent years, the discovery of massive quasars at
has provided a striking challenge to our understanding of the origin and growth of supermassive black holes in the early Universe. Mounting observational and theoretical evidence indicates the viability of massive seeds, formed by the collapse of supermassive stars, as a progenitor model for such early, massive accreting black holes. Although considerable progress has been made in our theoretical understanding, many questions remain regarding how (and how often) such objects may form, how they live and die, and how next generation observatories may yield new insight into the origin of these primordial titans. This review focusses on our present understanding of this remarkable formation scenario, based on the discussions held at the Monash Prato Centre from November 20 to 24, 2017, during the workshop ‘Titans of the Early Universe: The Origin of the First Supermassive Black Holes’.