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Artificial intelligence (AI) is a widely discussed topic in many fields including law. Legal studies scholars, particularly in the domain of technology and internet law, have expressed their hopes and concerns regarding AI. This project aims to study how Canada's courts have referred to AI, given the importance of the reasonings of justices to the policy makers who determine society's rules for the usage of AI in the future. Decisions from all levels of both Canada's provincial and federal courts are used as the data sources for this research. The findings indicate that there are four legal contexts in which AI has been referred to in the Canadian caselaw including: legal research, investment tax credits, trademarks and access to government records. In this article the authors use these findings to make suggestions for legal information management professionals on how to develop collections and reference services that are in line with the new information needs of their users regarding AI and the rule of law.
Positive symptoms are a useful predictor of aggression in schizophrenia. Although a similar pattern of abnormal brain structures related to both positive symptoms and aggression has been reported, this observation has not yet been confirmed in a single sample.
To study the association between positive symptoms and aggression in schizophrenia on a neurobiological level, a prospective meta-analytic approach was employed to analyze harmonized structural neuroimaging data from 10 research centers worldwide. We analyzed brain MRI scans from 902 individuals with a primary diagnosis of schizophrenia and 952 healthy controls.
The result identified a widespread cortical thickness reduction in schizophrenia compared to their controls. Two separate meta-regression analyses revealed that a common pattern of reduced cortical gray matter thickness within the left lateral temporal lobe and right midcingulate cortex was significantly associated with both positive symptoms and aggression.
These findings suggested that positive symptoms such as formal thought disorder and auditory misperception, combined with cognitive impairments reflecting difficulties in deploying an adaptive control toward perceived threats, could escalate the likelihood of aggression in schizophrenia.
Glaciers on active volcanoes are subject to changes in both climate fluctuations and volcanic activity. Whereas many studies analysed changes on individual volcanoes, this study presents for the first time a comparison of glacier changes on active volcanoes on a continental scale. Glacier areas were mapped for 59 volcanoes across Latin America around 1986, 1999 and 2015 using a semi-automated band ratio method combined with manual editing using satellite images from Landsat 4/5/7/8 and Sentinel-2. Area changes were compared with the Smithsonian volcano database to analyse possible glacier–volcano interactions. Over the full period, the mapped area changed from 1399.3 ± 80 km2 to 1016.1 ± 34 km2 (−383.2 km2) or −27.4% (−0.92% a−1) in relative terms. Small glaciers, especially in tropical regions lost more of their area compared to large and extra–tropical glaciers. Interestingly, 46 out of 59 analysed glaciers (78%) showed a decelerating shrinkage rate in the second period (−1.20% a−1 before 1999 and −0.70% a−1 after 1999). We found a slightly higher (but statistically not significant) area loss rate (−1.03% a−1) for glaciers on volcanoes with eruptions than without (−0.86% a−1).
Leptin, a hormone produced by adipose tissue, has been linked to many regulatory pathways. Its role in the complex relationship between obesity and CVD is not yet clear. The aim of the present study was to evaluate whether leptin interferes directly with cardiac function regulation, altering its contractile force character, and hence contributing to different pathological processes. Muscle samples were obtained from human atrial myocardium. Each trial included two samples from the same patient. They were simultaneously electrically stimulated under sustained perfusion to perform isometric contractions. One sample was treated with a high concentration of human recombinant leptin (1 µg/ml). The other was treated with placebo and served as a control. The exhibited contraction forces (CF) and the contraction duration (CD) after 20 min of treatment were normalised by dividing them by the values before the treatment and reported as a percentage. A total of ten successful trials were conducted. Exposure to leptin did not yield a statistically significant variation in both CF and CF. In the treatment group, CF% measured 108 (95 % CI 91, 125) % and CD% measured 95 (95 % CI 90, 101) % after 20 min. In the control group, CF% measured 105 (90 % CI 84, 126) % and CD% measured 92 (95 % CI 80, 105) % after 20 min. We concluded that leptin does not alter the contractile character of human atrial tissues, even in supraphysiological dosage. These results suggest that leptin does not play a role in short-term cardiac regulation.
Wearable devices are fast evolving to address mobility and autonomy needs of elderly people who would benefit from physical assistance. Recent developments in soft robotics provide important opportunities to develop soft exoskeletons (also called exosuits) to enable both physical assistance and improved usability and acceptance for users. The XoSoft EU project has developed a modular soft lower limb exoskeleton to assist people with low mobility impairments. In this paper, we present the design of a soft modular lower limb exoskeleton to improve person’s mobility, contributing to independence and enhancing quality of life. The novelty of this work is the integration of quasi-passive elements in a soft exoskeleton. The exoskeleton provides mechanical assistance for subjects with low mobility impairments reducing energy requirements between 10% and 20%. Investigation of different control strategies based on gait segmentation and actuation elements is presented. A first hip–knee unilateral prototype is described, developed, and its performance assessed on a post-stroke patient for straight walking. The study presents an analysis of the human–exoskeleton energy patterns by way of the task-based biological power generation. The resultant assistance, in terms of power, was 10.9% ± 2.2% for hip actuation and 9.3% ± 3.5% for knee actuation. The control strategy improved the gait and postural patterns by increasing joint angles and foot clearance at specific phases of the walking cycle.
The present paper presents a fundamentally novel approach to model individual differences of persons with the same biologically heterogeneous mental disorder. Unlike prevalent case-control analyses, that assume a clear distinction between patient and control groups and thereby introducing the concept of an ‘average patient’, we describe each patient's biology individually, gaining insights into the different facets that characterize persistent attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD).
Using a normative modeling approach, we mapped inter-individual differences in reference to normative structural brain changes across the lifespan to examine the degree to which case-control analyses disguise differences between individuals.
At the level of the individual, deviations from the normative model were frequent in persistent ADHD. However, the overlap of more than 2% between participants with ADHD was only observed in few brain loci. On average, participants with ADHD showed significantly reduced gray matter in the cerebellum and hippocampus compared to healthy individuals. While the case-control differences were in line with the literature on ADHD, individuals with ADHD only marginally reflected these group differences.
Case-control comparisons, disguise inter-individual differences in brain biology in individuals with persistent ADHD. The present results show that the ‘average ADHD patient’ has limited informative value, providing the first evidence for the necessity to explore different biological facets of ADHD at the level of the individual and practical means to achieve this end.
The timing of the late Middle Paleolithic and late disappearance of Neanderthals in the Iberian Peninsula are hotly debated subjects in Paleolithic archeology. Several studies suggested a late survival in South and Central Iberia until about 32 ka, but were probably subject to significant age underestimation due to contamination of dating samples, undiagnostic lithic assemblages, and/or lack of stratigraphic integrity. We conducted a radiocarbon and luminescence-dating study backed by detailed sedimentological and micromorphological investigations at the newly discovered rock shelter sequence of Abrigo del Molino (Central Spain). Accumulation of the sediment sequence was rapid. It started with deposition of paleoflood slack-water deposits at around 48 ka and continued until about 41 ka with deposition of colluvial and detrital sediments. These contain two Mousterian levels, which place the latest Neanderthal occupation at around 45 to 41 ka, i.e., between Heinrich Stadials 5 and 4, and probably during a time of climate amelioration. Abrigo del Molino thus provides a detailed and chronologically well-constrained record of Late Neanderthal presence and morphodynamic change in Central Iberia during times of millennial-scale climate changes. The site gives further evidence for an early disappearance of Neanderthals in Central Iberia.
FFQ, food diaries and 24 h recall methods represent the most commonly used dietary assessment tools in human studies on nutrition and health, but food intake biomarkers are assumed to provide a more objective reflection of intake. Unfortunately, very few of these biomarkers are sufficiently validated. This review provides an overview of food intake biomarker research and highlights present research efforts of the Joint Programming Initiative ‘A Healthy Diet for a Healthy Life’ (JPI-HDHL) Food Biomarkers Alliance (FoodBAll). In order to identify novel food intake biomarkers, the focus is on new food metabolomics techniques that allow the quantification of up to thousands of metabolites simultaneously, which may be applied in intervention and observational studies. As biomarkers are often influenced by various other factors than the food under investigation, FoodBAll developed a food intake biomarker quality and validity score aiming to assist the systematic evaluation of novel biomarkers. Moreover, to evaluate the applicability of nutritional biomarkers, studies are presently also focusing on associations between food intake biomarkers and diet-related disease risk. In order to be successful in these metabolomics studies, knowledge about available electronic metabolomics resources is necessary and further developments of these resources are essential. Ultimately, present efforts in this research area aim to advance quality control of traditional dietary assessment methods, advance compliance evaluation in nutritional intervention studies, and increase the significance of observational studies by investigating associations between nutrition and health.
Most of the previous studies attempted to disentangle the relationship between disability and depressive symptoms were limited to observation periods of only few years. Moreover, evidence is missing regarding the complex co-occurrence of disability and depressive symptoms in old age in Germany. In order to close the research gap, we aimed at disentangling the complex co-occurrence of disability and depressive symptoms in old age in Germany over a longer time frame.
Based on data from a representative survey of the German general population aged 75 years and older, the course of disability as well as depressive symptoms was observed every 1.5 years over six waves. While disability was quantified by the Lawton and Brody Instrumental Activities of Daily Living scale, the Geriatric Depression Scale was used to measure depressive symptoms. Taking into account the complex co-occurrence of depressive symptoms and disability, a panel vector autoregressive model was used. By taking the first differences, unobserved heterogeneity was taken into account.
In the total sample and in both sexes, we revealed a robust positive association between an initial change in depressive symptoms and subsequent changes in disability. No robust association between an initial change in disability and a subsequent change in depressive symptoms was detected.
Our findings highlight the importance of changes in depressive symptoms for future changes in disability in old age.
Background: Pathophysiological mechanisms that contribute to neurodegeneration in Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS) include oxidative stress and inflammation. We conducted a preliminary study to explore these mechanisms, to discuss their link in ALS, and to determine the feasibility of incorporating this combined analysis into current biomarkers research. Methods: We enrolled 10 ALS patients and 10 controls. We measured the activities of glutathione peroxidase, glutathione reductase, superoxyde dismutase (SOD), and the levels of serum total antioxidant status (TAS), malondialdehyde (MDA), 8-hydroxy-2’-deoxyguanosine (8-OHdG), and glutathione status (e.g. glutathione disulfide, GSSG/reduced glutathione, GSH). We analysed the concentrations of homocysteine, several cytokines, vitamins and metals by standard methods used in routine practice. Results: There was a significant decrease in TAS levels (p=0.027) and increase in 8-OHdG (p=0.014) and MDA (p=0.011) levels in ALS patients. We also observed a significantly higher GSSG/GSH ratio (p=0.022), and IL-6 (p=0.0079) and IL-8 (p=0.009) concentrations in ALS patients. Correlations were found between biological and clinical markers (homosysteine vs. clinical status at diagnosis, p=0.02) and between some biological markers such as IL-6 vs. GSSG/GSH (p=0.045) or SOD activity (p=0.017). Conclusion: We confirmed the systemic alteration of both the redox and the inflammation status in ALS patients, and we observed a link with some clinical parameters. These promising results encourage us to pursue this study with collection of combined oxidative stress and inflammatory markers.
We have mapped cold atomic gas in 21cm line H i self-absorption (HISA) at arcminute resolution over more than 90% of the Milky Way's disk. To probe the formation of H2 clouds, we have compared our HISA distribution with CO J = 1-0 line emission. Few HISA features in the outer Galaxy have CO at the same position and velocity, while most inner-Galaxy HISA has overlapping CO. But many apparent inner-Galaxy HISA-CO associations can be explained as chance superpositions, so most inner-Galaxy HISA may also be CO-free. Since standard equilibrium cloud models cannot explain the very cold H i in many HISA features without molecules being present, these clouds may instead have significant CO-dark H2.
We present a simple and robust method to acquire quantitative maps of compositional fluctuations in nanostructures from low magnification high-angle annular dark field (HAADF) micrographs calibrated by energy-dispersive X-ray (EDX) spectroscopy in scanning transmission electron microscopy (STEM) mode. We show that a nonuniform background in HAADF-STEM micrographs can be eliminated, to a first approximation, by use of a suitable analytic function. The uncertainty in probe position when collecting an EDX spectrum renders the calibration of HAADF-STEM micrographs indirect, and a statistical approach has been developed to determine the position with confidence. Our analysis procedure, presented in a flowchart to facilitate the successful implementation of the method by users, was applied to discontinuous InGaN/GaN quantum wells in order to obtain quantitative determinations of compositional fluctuations on the nanoscale.
Empirical data on contacts between individuals in social contexts play an important role in providing information for models describing human behavior and how epidemics spread in populations. Here, we analyze data on face-to-face contacts collected in an office building. The statistical properties of contacts are similar to other social situations, but important differences are observed in the contact network structure. In particular, the contact network is strongly shaped by the organization of the offices in departments, which has consequences in the design of accurate agent-based models of epidemic spread. We consider the contact network as a potential substrate for infectious disease spread and show that its sparsity tends to prevent outbreaks of rapidly spreading epidemics. Moreover, we define three typical behaviors according to the fraction f of links each individual shares outside its own department: residents, wanderers, and linkers. Linkers (f ~ 50%) act as bridges in the network and have large betweenness centralities. Thus, a vaccination strategy targeting linkers efficiently prevents large outbreaks. As such a behavior may be spotted a priori in the offices' organization or from surveys, without the full knowledge of the time-resolved contact network, this result may help the design of efficient, low-cost vaccination or social-distancing strategies.
The present study investigated the impact of a Lactobacillus rhamnosus CGMCC1.3724 (LPR) supplementation on weight loss and maintenance in obese men and women over 24 weeks. In a double-blind, placebo-controlled, randomised trial, each subject consumed two capsules per d of either a placebo or a LPR formulation (1·6 × 108 colony-forming units of LPR/capsule with oligofructose and inulin). Each group was submitted to moderate energy restriction for the first 12 weeks followed by 12 weeks of weight maintenance. Body weight and composition were measured at baseline, at week 12 and at week 24. The intention-to-treat analysis showed that after the first 12 weeks and after 24 weeks, mean weight loss was not significantly different between the LPR and placebo groups when all the subjects were considered. However, a significant treatment × sex interaction was observed. The mean weight loss in women in the LPR group was significantly higher than that in women in the placebo group (P= 0·02) after the first 12 weeks, whereas it was similar in men in the two groups (P= 0·53). Women in the LPR group continued to lose body weight and fat mass during the weight-maintenance period, whereas opposite changes were observed in the placebo group. Changes in body weight and fat mass during the weight-maintenance period were similar in men in both the groups. LPR-induced weight loss in women was associated not only with significant reductions in fat mass and circulating leptin concentrations but also with the relative abundance of bacteria of the Lachnospiraceae family in faeces. The present study shows that the Lactobacillus rhamnosus CGMCC1.3724 formulation helps obese women to achieve sustainable weight loss.