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The Centre for Isotope Research (CIO) at the University of Groningen has operated a radiocarbon (14C) dating laboratory for almost 70 years. In 2017, the CIO received a major upgrade, which involved the relocation of the laboratory to new purpose-built premises, and the installation of a MICADAS accelerator mass spectrometer. This period of transition provides an opportunity to update the laboratory’s routine procedures. This article addresses all of the processes and quality checks the CIO has in place for registering, tracking and pretreating samples for radiocarbon dating. Complementary updates relating to radioisotope measurement and uncertainty propagation will be provided in other forthcoming publications. Here, the intention is to relay all the practical information regarding the chemical preparation of samples, and to provide a concise explanation as to why each step is deemed necessary.
Recently there has been a considerable rise in the frequency of metabolic diseases, such as obesity, due to changes in lifestyle and resultant imbalances between energy intake and expenditure. Whey proteins are considered as potentially important components of a dietary solution to the obesity problem. However, the roles of individual whey proteins in energy balance remain poorly understood. This study investigated the effects of a high-fat diet (HFD) containing α-lactalbumin (LAB), a specific whey protein, or the non-whey protein casein (CAS), on energy balance, nutrient transporters expression and enteric microbial populations. C57BL/6J mice (n 8) were given an HFD containing either 20 % CAS or LAB as protein sources or a low-fat diet containing CAS for 10 weeks. HFD-LAB-fed mice showed a significant increase in cumulative energy intake (P=0·043), without differences in body weight, energy expenditure, locomotor activity, RER or subcutaneous and epididymal white adipose tissue weight. HFD-LAB intake led to a decrease in the expression of glut2 in the ileum (P=0·05) and in the fatty acid transporter cd36 (P<0·001) in both ileum and jejunum. This suggests a reduction in absorption efficiency within the small intestine in the HFD-LAB group. DNA from faecal samples was used for 16S rRNA-based assessment of intestinal microbiota populations; the genera Lactobacillus, Parabacteroides and Bifidobacterium were present in significantly higher proportions in the HFD-LAB group. These data indicate a possible functional relationship between gut microbiota, intestinal nutrient transporters and energy balance, with no impact on weight gain.
Viscoelastic flow past a cylinder is a classic benchmark problem that is not completely understood. Using novel three-dimensional (3D) holographic particle velocimetry, we report three main discoveries of the elastic instability upstream of a single cylinder in viscoelastic channel flow. First, we observe that upstream vortices initiate at the corner between the cylinder and the wall, and grow with increasing flow rate. Second, beyond a critical Weissenberg number, the flow upstream becomes unsteady and switches between two bistable configurations, leading to symmetry breaking in the cylinder axis direction that is highly 3D in nature. Lastly, we find that the disturbance of the elastic instability propagates relatively far upstream via an elastic wave, and is weakly correlated with that in the cylinder wake. The wave speed and the extent of the instability increase with Weissenberg number, indicating an absolute instability in viscoelastic fluids.
BirdLife International´s Important Bird and Biodiversity Areas (IBA) Programme has identified, documented and mapped over 13,000 sites of international importance for birds. IBAs have been influential with governments, multilateral agreements, businesses and others in: (1) informing governments’ efforts to expand protected area networks (in particular to meet their commitments through the Convention on Biological Diversity); (2) supporting the identification of Ecologically or Biologically Significant Areas (EBSAs) in the marine realm, (3) identifying Wetlands of International Importance under the Ramsar Convention; (4) identifying sites of importance for species under the Convention on Migratory Species and its sister agreements; (5) identifying Special Protected Areas under the EU Birds Directive; (6) applying the environmental safeguards of international finance institutions such as the International Finance Corporation; (7) supporting the private sector to manage environmental risk in its operations; and (8) helping donor organisations like the Critical Ecosystems Partnership Fund (CEPF) to prioritise investment in site-based conservation. The identification of IBAs (and IBAs in Danger: the most threatened of these) has also triggered conservation and management actions at site level, most notably by civil society organisations and local conservation groups. IBA data have therefore been widely used by stakeholders at different levels to help conserve a network of sites essential to maintaining the populations and habitats of birds as well as other biodiversity. The experience of IBA identification and conservation is shaping the design and implementation of the recently launched Key Biodiversity Areas (KBA) Partnership and programme, as IBAs form a core part of the KBA network.
Important Bird and Biodiversity Areas (IBAs) are sites identified as being globally important for the conservation of bird populations on the basis of an internationally agreed set of criteria. We present the first review of the development and spread of the IBA concept since it was launched by BirdLife International (then ICBP) in 1979 and examine some of the characteristics of the resulting inventory. Over 13,000 global and regional IBAs have so far been identified and documented in terrestrial, freshwater and marine ecosystems in almost all of the world’s countries and territories, making this the largest global network of sites of significance for biodiversity. IBAs have been identified using standardised, data-driven criteria that have been developed and applied at global and regional levels. These criteria capture multiple dimensions of a site’s significance for avian biodiversity and relate to populations of globally threatened species (68.6% of the 10,746 IBAs that meet global criteria), restricted-range species (25.4%), biome-restricted species (27.5%) and congregatory species (50.3%); many global IBAs (52.7%) trigger two or more of these criteria. IBAs range in size from < 1 km2 to over 300,000 km2 and have an approximately log-normal size distribution (median = 125.0 km2, mean = 1,202.6 km2). They cover approximately 6.7% of the terrestrial, 1.6% of the marine and 3.1% of the total surface area of the Earth. The launch in 2016 of the KBA Global Standard, which aims to identify, document and conserve sites that contribute to the global persistence of wider biodiversity, and whose criteria for site identification build on those developed for IBAs, is a logical evolution of the IBA concept. The role of IBAs in conservation planning, policy and practice is reviewed elsewhere. Future technical priorities for the IBA initiative include completion of the global inventory, particularly in the marine environment, keeping the dataset up to date, and improving the systematic monitoring of these sites.
Rapid, non-destructive methods for measuring seed germination and vigour are valuable. Standard germination and seed vigour were determined using 81 soybean seed lots. From these data, seed lots were separated into high and low germinating seed lots as well as high, medium and low vigour seed lots. Near-infrared spectra (950–1650 nm) were collected for training and validation samples for each seed category and used to create partial least squares (PLS) prediction models. For both germination and vigour, qualitative models provided better discrimination of high and low performing seed lots compared with quantitative models. The qualitative germination prediction models correctly identified low and high germination seed lots with an accuracy between 85.7 and 89.7%. For seed vigour, qualitative predictions for the 3-category (low, medium and high vigour) models could not adequately separate high and medium vigour seeds. However, the 2-category (low, medium plus high vigour) prediction models could correctly identify low vigour seed lots between 80 and 100% and the medium plus high vigour seed lots between 96.3 and 96.6%. To our knowledge, the current study is the first to provide near-infrared spectroscopy (NIRS)-based predictive models using agronomically meaningful cut-offs for standard germination and vigour on a commercial scale using over 80 seed lots.
For this study, we adapted the Montgomery Borgatta Caregiver Burden Scale, used widely in the United States, to the Saudi Arabian context. To produce an Arabic, culturally sensitive version of the scale, we conducted semi-structured interviews with 20 Saudi family caregivers. The Arabic version of the scale was tested, and participants were asked to comment on the appropriateness of items for the construct of “caregiver burden” using the repertory grid technique and laddering procedure – two constructivist methods derived from personal construct theory. From interview findings, we examined the content of the items and the caregiver burden construct itself. Our findings suggest that the use of constructivist methods to refine constructs and quantitative instruments is highly informative. This strategy is feasible even when little is known about the investigated constructs in the target culture and further elucidates our understanding of cross-cultural variations or invariance of different versions of the scale.
Although hospital emergency preparedness efforts have been recognized as important, there has been growing pressure on cost containment, as well as consolidation within the US health care system. There is little data looking at what health care emergency preparedness functions have been, could be, or should be centrally coordinated at a system level.
We developed a questionnaire for academic health systems and asked about program funding, resources provided, governance, and activities. The questionnaire also queried managers’ opinions regarding the appropriate role for the system-level resources in emergency response, as well as about what is most helpful at the system-level supporting preparedness.
Fifty-two of 97 systems (54%) responded. The most frequently occurring system-wide activities included: creating trainings or exercise templates (75%), promoting preparedness for employees in the system (75%), providing access to specific subject matter experts (73%), and developing specific plans for individual member entities within their system (73%). The top resources provided included a common mass notification system (71%), arranging for centralized contracts for goods and services (71%), and providing subject matter expertise (69%).
Currently, there is wide variation in the resources, capabilities, and programs used to support and coordinate system-level emergency preparedness among academic health systems. (Disaster Med Public Health Preparedness. 2018;12:574–577)
Whether monozygotic (MZ) and dizygotic (DZ) twins differ from each other in a variety of phenotypes is important for genetic twin modeling and for inferences made from twin studies in general. We analyzed whether there were differences in individual, maternal and paternal education between MZ and DZ twins in a large pooled dataset. Information was gathered on individual education for 218,362 adult twins from 27 twin cohorts (53% females; 39% MZ twins), and on maternal and paternal education for 147,315 and 143,056 twins respectively, from 28 twin cohorts (52% females; 38% MZ twins). Together, we had information on individual or parental education from 42 twin cohorts representing 19 countries. The original education classifications were transformed to education years and analyzed using linear regression models. Overall, MZ males had 0.26 (95% CI [0.21, 0.31]) years and MZ females 0.17 (95% CI [0.12, 0.21]) years longer education than DZ twins. The zygosity difference became smaller in more recent birth cohorts for both males and females. Parental education was somewhat longer for fathers of DZ twins in cohorts born in 1990–1999 (0.16 years, 95% CI [0.08, 0.25]) and 2000 or later (0.11 years, 95% CI [0.00, 0.22]), compared with fathers of MZ twins. The results show that the years of both individual and parental education are largely similar in MZ and DZ twins. We suggest that the socio-economic differences between MZ and DZ twins are so small that inferences based upon genetic modeling of twin data are not affected.
We are acquiring a large-area sample of faint, high-latitude carbon star candidates for the study of halo dynamics by using an intermediate-band color system with CCDs in efficient survey modes. Except for one odd dwarf carbon (C) star, G77-61, it has long been assumed that these faint C stars are distant giants. However, we recently demonstrated that three more faint C stars are high proper motion objects, and therefore dwarfs. Now we are completing a proper motion survey of known faint high-latitude C stars to search for additional C dwarfs. The CCD and proper motion surveys together will place significant limits on the space density of C stars, be they dwarfs or giants.
The young stellar object SVS 13 has been proposed as the powering source of the HH 7-11 objects. Recent observations have revealed that in the radio continuum (3.6-cm) the source is a binary separated by about 0.3 in the east-west direction. We present Very Large Array observations, made in the highest angular resolution A configuration, of H2O maser emission toward this source. Our data show that the H2O spots appear to be segregated in two velocity groups: a group with radial velocity similar to that of the ambient cloud (VLSR ⋍ 8 km s−1) that is associated with the western radio source, and a blueshifted (by ∼20 km s−1) velocity group that is associated with the eastern radio source. We discuss the possible implications of this observation.
Patient experience is becoming a central focus of healthcare. A broad range of studies on how to increase patient satisfaction ratings exists; however, they lack the specificity to adequately guide physicians and hospitals on how to improve patient experience. The objective of this study was to define the aspects of patient experience within paediatric cardiologist practices that can serve as predictors of excellent patient satisfaction. From 1 January, 2013 to 28 February, 2015 (26 months), outpatients who visited paediatric cardiologists were asked to complete a 39-question patient satisfaction survey regarding their experience. Surveys were collected over a 26-month period by Press Ganey, an independent provider of patient satisfaction surveys. Participants were asked to rate their experience on a 1–5 Likert-scale: a score of 1 demonstrated a “poor” experience, whereas a score of 5 demonstrated a “very good” experience. This retrospective study of 2468 responses determined that cheerfulness of the practice (r=0.85, p<0.001), a cohesive staff (r=0.83, p<0.001), and a care provider explaining problems and conditions (r=0.81, p<0.001) were key aspects of a paediatric cardiologist’s practice that can be used as predictors of overall patient satisfaction. Awareness of how doctors can personalise a patient’s experience is vital to achieve greater patient satisfaction and, ultimately, better patient outcomes.
Oxtotitlán Cave paintings have been considered among the earliest in Mesoamerica on stylistic grounds, but confirmation of this hypothesis through absolute dating has not been attempted until now. We describe the application of advanced radiocarbon strategies developed for situations such as caves with high carbon backgrounds. Using a low-temperature plasma oxidation system, we dated both the ancient paint and the biogenic rock coatings that cover the paint layers at Oxtotitlán. Our research has significantly expanded the time frame for the production of polychrome rock paintings encompassing the Early Formative and Late Formative/Early Classic periods, statistically spanning a long era from before ca. 1500 cal B.C. to cal A.D. 600.
A significant minority of people presenting with a major depressive episode (MDE) experience co-occurring subsyndromal hypo/manic symptoms. As this presentation may have important prognostic and treatment implications, the DSM–5 codified a new nosological entity, the “mixed features specifier,” referring to individuals meeting threshold criteria for an MDE and subthreshold symptoms of (hypo)mania or to individuals with syndromal mania and subthreshold depressive symptoms. The mixed features specifier adds to a growing list of monikers that have been put forward to describe phenotypes characterized by the admixture of depressive and hypomanic symptoms (e.g., mixed depression, depression with mixed features, or depressive mixed states [DMX]). Current treatment guidelines, regulatory approvals, as well the current evidentiary base provide insufficient decision support to practitioners who provide care to individuals presenting with an MDE with mixed features. In addition, all existing psychotropic agents evaluated in mixed patients have largely been confined to patient populations meeting the DSM–IV definition of “mixed states” wherein the co-occurrence of threshold-level mania and threshold-level MDE was required. Toward the aim of assisting clinicians providing care to adults with MDE and mixed features, we have assembled a panel of experts on mood disorders to develop these guidelines on the recognition and treatment of mixed depression, based on the few studies that have focused specifically on DMX as well as decades of cumulated clinical experience.
Beta-gallium oxide (β-Ga2O3) is of increasing interest to the optoelectronic community for transparent conductor and power electronic applications. Considerable variability exists in the literature on the growth and doping of Ga2O3 films, especially as a function of growth approach, temperature, and oxygen partial pressure. Here pulsed laser deposition (PLD) was used to grow high-quality β-Ga2O3 films on (0001) sapphire and (−201) Ga2O3 single crystals and to explore the growth, stability, and dopability of these films as function of temperature and oxygen partial pressure. There is a strong temperature dependence to the phase formation, morphology, and electronic properties of β-Ga2O3 from 350 to 550 °C.
Dioscorea bulbifera is a serious invader of various ecosystems in Florida, where plants generated by its two morphotypes climb aggressively and smother supporting vegetation. There is a dearth of published research on its invasive biological attributes including vine growth and biomass production by plants generated from bulbils. Herein, we assessed these parameters in common garden studies by planting bulbils from four biomass categories (PBBCs I–IV) of both morphotypes. Vine lengths, longevity-based growth rates (VLGR), biomass, and quantities of leaves and daughter bulbils in both morphotypes showed positive correlation with the biomass of planted parental bulbils. This indicated similarity between corresponding attributes in two morphotypes. Total vine length showed strong positive correlation with VLGR, biomass, and quantities of leaves and bulbils. Overall vine longevity among plants from PBBCs I–IV did not significantly differ whereas the total vine lengths, VLGRs, number of branches, and quantities of leaves and bulbils increased with the biomass of the parental bulbils. Plants recruited by smaller bulbils allocated more biomass to leaves and tubers compared to stems and bulbils, whereas the plants recruited by larger bulbils allocated more biomass to leaves and bulbils compared to tubers and stems. Higher proportion of biomass allocation to leaves and bulbils presumably ensures immediate faster growth, longer vines, and a greater number of daughter bulbils for future recruitment of new plants. Vine length (associated with faster growth rate, capable of blanketing supporting structures and producing large quantities of bulbils) has been noted as the primary invasive biological attribute that facilitates D. bulbifera's status as a noxious exotic weed in Florida. Control measure that can reduce vine length should reduce or eliminate the invasive behavior of D. bulbifera in Florida.
AMS radiocarbon results from the World Ocean Circulation Experiment in the Pacific Ocean show dramatic changes in the inventory and distribution of bomb-produced 14C since the time of the GEOSECS survey (8/73–6/74). Near-surface Δ14C values for the eastern portion of both the northern and southern subtropical gyres decreased by 25–50‰, with the change being greater in the north. Equatorial near-surface values have increased by ca. 25‰. Changes in the 250–750-m depth range are dramatically different between the northern and southern basins. The intermediate and mode waters of the southern basin have increased by as much as 75‰ since GEOSECS. Waters of similar density in the northern hemisphere are not exposed to the Southern Ocean circulation regime and are significantly less ventilated, showing maximum changes of ca. 50‰.