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Decisions on the use of nature reflect the values and rights of individuals, communities and society at large. The values of nature are expressed through cultural norms, rules and legislation, and they can be elicited using a wide range of tools, including those of economics. None of the approaches to elicit peoples’ values are neutral. Unequal power relations influence valuation and decision-making and are at the core of most environmental conflicts. As actors in sustainability thinking, environmental scientists and practitioners are becoming more aware of their own posture, normative stance, responsibility and relative power in society. Based on a transdisciplinary workshop, our perspective paper provides a normative basis for this new community of scientists and practitioners engaged in the plural valuation of nature.
Chagas Disease is a zoonosis caused by the parasite Trypanosoma cruzi. Several high-resolution markers have subdivided T. cruzi taxon into at least seven lineages or Discrete Typing Units (DTUs) (TcI-TcVI and TcBat). Trypanosoma cruzi I is the most diverse and geographically widespread DTU. Recently a TcI genotype related to domestic cycles was proposed and named as TcIDOM. Herein, we combined traditional markers and housekeeping genes and applied a Multispecies Coalescent method to explore intra-TcI relationships, lineage boundaries and genetic diversity in a random set of isolates and DNA sequences retrieved from Genbank from different countries in the Americas. We found further evidence supporting TcIDOM as an independent and emerging genotype of TcI at least in Colombia and Venezuela. We also found evidence of high phylogenetic incongruence between parasite's gene trees (including introgression) and embedded species trees, and a lack of genetic structure among geography and hosts, illustrating the complex dynamics and epidemiology of TcI across the Americas. These findings provide novel insights into T. cruzi systematics and epidemiology and support the need to assess parasite diversity and lineage boundaries through hypothesis testing using different approaches to those traditionally employed, including the Bayesian Multispecies coalescent method.
This study is a dosimetric and acute toxicity comparison of endometrial cancer patients treated with either Axxent (Xoft, Inc., San José, CA, USA) electronic and interstitial brachytherapy versus interstitial high dose rate brachytherapy (HDRBT).
Materials and Methods
Between 2015 and 2017, 94 patients with postoperative endometrial cancer were treated in our centre with the Axxent electronic brachytherapy (eBT) system. The V150 and V200 are evaluated prospectively for each plan. The mean age of patients was 65.9 years (age range 33–84 years), with different tumour staging. Of the 94 patients, 37 received exclusive adjuvant brachytherapy (25 Gy in five sessions); the remaining patients received external beam radiotherapy (EBRT) with a regimen of 23 sessions of 2 Gy each to the entire pelvis, followed by eBT (15 Gy in three sessions). Additionally, the absorbed doses received by the organs at risk (OAR), urinary bladder, rectum and sigmoid colon were compared with HDRBT plans, evaluating D2cc, V50% and V35%. Median follow-up was done for each of the 94 patients to assess the toxicity of the treatment: vaginal mucosa toxicity, rectal and urinary toxicity; and results are presented for acute toxicity, toxicity at 1 month after the end of treatment and follow-up after 12 months for a portion of patients according to the Radiation Therapy Oncology Group (RTOG) toxicity criteria.
The doses in OAR for eBT plans were lower than that for HDRBT plans, both Ir-192 and Co-60 plans, whose doses were similar. The dose in bladder with eBT was 63.8% of the prescribed dose for D2cc versus 70.1% for HDRBT Ir-192, for V50% was 7.2% versus 12.7% and for V35% was 15.2% versus 28.2%. In rectum the D2cc was 61.2% versus 68.4%, for V50% was 7.9% versus 14.3% and for V35% was 16.7% versus 32%. Results demonstrated lower doses to OAR in all eBT plans. Acute toxicity in eBT was very low in cases of mucositis, with only one case of toxicity greater than grade 1, rectal toxicity and urinary toxicity; results at 1 month are equally good, toxicity symptoms disappeared and no relapses have occurred to date.
The results of treatment with the Axxent eBT unit for 94 patients are very good, as no recurrence has been observed and the toxicity of the treatment is very low. The increase in V150 and V200 has not produced an increase in vaginal mucosa toxicity, and the doses in the OAR are lower than in the plans implemented for HDRBT with Ir-192 or Co-60. eBT is a good alternative to treat endometrial cancer in centres without conventional HDR availability. To date, there are limited published studies reporting on outcomes from patients treated with eBT.
Fe is an essential nutrient for many bacteria, and Fe supplementation has been reported to affect the composition of the gut microbiota in both Fe-deficient and Fe-replete individuals outside pregnancy. This study examined whether the dose of Fe in pregnancy multivitamin supplements affects the overall composition of the gut microbiota in overweight and obese pregnant women in early pregnancy. Women participating in the SPRING study with a faecal sample obtained at 16 weeks’ gestation were included in this substudy. For each subject, the brand of multivitamin used was recorded. Faecal microbiome composition was assessed by 16S rRNA sequencing and analysed with the QIIME software suite. Dietary intake of Fe was assessed using a FFQ at 16 weeks’ gestation. Women were grouped as receiving low (<60 mg/d, n 94) or high (≥60 mg/d; n 65) Fe supplementation. The median supplementary Fe intake in the low group was 10 (interquartile range (IQR) 5–10) v. 60 (IQR 60–60) mg/d in the high group (P<0·001). Dietary Fe intake did not differ between the groups (10·0 (IQR 7·4–13·3) v. 9·8 (IQR 8·2–13·2) mg/d). Fe supplementation did not significantly affect the composition of the faecal microbiome at any taxonomic level. Network analysis showed that the gut microbiota in the low Fe supplementation group had a higher predominance of SCFA producers. Pregnancy multivitamin Fe content has a minor effect on the overall composition of the gut microbiota of overweight and obese pregnant women at 16 weeks’ gestation.
Nearly 300 species of landbirds, whose populations total billions, migrate between the Neotropics and North America. Many migratory populations are in steep decline, and migration is often identified as the greatest source of annual mortality. Identifying birds’ needs on migration is therefore central to designing conservation actions for Nearctic-Neotropical migratory birds; yet migration through the Neotropics is a significant knowledge gap in our understanding of the full annual cycle. Here, we synthesise current knowledge of Neotropical stopover regions and migratory bottlenecks, focusing on long-distance, migratory landbirds that spend the boreal winter in South America. We make the important distinction between “true” stopover—involving multi-day refuelling stops—and rest-roost stops lasting < 24 hours, citing a growing number of studies that show individual landbirds making long stopovers in just a few strategic areas, to accumulate large energy reserves for long-distance flights. Based on an exhaustive literature search, we found few published stopover studies from the Neotropics, but combined with recent tracking studies, they describe prolonged stopovers for multiple species in the Orinoco grasslands (Llanos), the Sierra Nevada de Santa Marta (Colombia), and the Yucatan Peninsula. Bottlenecks for diurnal migrants are well described, with the narrowing Central American geography concentrating millions of migrating raptors at several points in SE Mexico, Costa Rica, Panama and the Darién. However, diurnally migrating aerial insectivores remain understudied, and determining stopover/roost sites for this steeply declining group is a priority. Despite advances in our knowledge of migration in the Neotropics, we conclude that major knowledge gaps persist. To identify stopover sites and habitats and the threats they face, we propose a targeted and collaborative research agenda at an expanded network of Neotropical sites, within the context of regional conservation planning strategies.
Objectives: The worldwide spread of Parkinson’s disease (PD) calls for sensitive and specific measures enabling its early (or, ideally, preclinical) detection. Here, we use language measures revealing deficits in PD to explore whether similar disturbances are present in asymptomatic individuals at risk for the disease. Methods: We administered executive, semantic, verb-production, and syntactic tasks to sporadic PD patients, genetic PD patients with PARK2 (parkin) or LRRK2 (dardarin) mutation, asymptomatic first-degree relatives of the latter with similar mutations, and socio-demographically matched controls. Moreover, to detect sui generis language disturbances, we ran analysis of covariance tests using executive functions as covariate. Results: The two clinical groups showed impairments in all measures, most of which survived covariation with executive functions. However, the key finding concerned asymptomatic mutation carriers. While these subjects showed intact executive, semantic, and action-verb production skills, they evinced deficits in a syntactic test with minimal working memory load. Conclusions: We propose that this sui generis disturbance may constitute a prodromal sign anticipating eventual development of PD. Moreover, our results suggest that mutations on specific genes (PARK2 and LRRK2) compromising basal ganglia functioning may be subtly related to language-processing mechanisms. (JINS, 2017, 23, 150–158)
Basic numerical processing has been regularly assessed using numerical nonsymbolic and symbolic comparison tasks. It has been assumed that these tasks index similar underlying processes. However, the evidence concerning the reliability and convergent validity across different versions of these tasks is inconclusive. We explored the reliability and convergent validity between two numerical comparison tasks (nonsymbolic vs. symbolic) in school-aged children. The relations between performance in both tasks and mental arithmetic were described and a developmental trajectories’ analysis was also conducted. The influence of verbal and visuospatial working memory processes and age was controlled for in the analyses. Results show significant reliability (p < .001) between Block 1 and 2 for nonsymbolic task (global adjusted RT (adjRT): r = .78, global efficiency measures (EMs): r = .74) and, for symbolic task (adjRT: r = .86, EMs: r = .86). Also, significant convergent validity between tasks (p < .001) for both adjRT (r = .71) and EMs (r = .70) were found after controlling for working memory and age. Finally, it was found the relationship between nonsymbolic and symbolic efficiencies varies across the sample’s age range. Overall, these findings suggest both tasks index the same underlying cognitive architecture and are appropriate to explore the Approximate Number System (ANS) characteristics. The evidence supports the central role of ANS in arithmetic efficiency and suggests there are differences across the age range assessed, concerning the extent to which efficiency in nonsymbolic and symbolic tasks reflects ANS acuity.
Between 2008 and 2011, the head of 150 Euthynnus alletteratus (Osteichthyes: Scombridae) caught inshore off the southeastern Iberian coast (western Mediterranean Sea) were examined for parasites. Two monogeneans, four didymozoid trematodes and four copepods were found. Parasite abundance showed a positive relationship with the annual sea surface temperature, except for Pseudocycnus appendiculatus, but negative with the sea depth (Capsala manteri, Neonematobothrium cf. kawakawa and Caligus bonito). Prevalences and mean abundances differed significantly among sampling areas, except for C. manteri, Oesophagocystis sp. 2 and Ceratocolax euthynni, and sampling years (Melanocystis cf. kawakawa, N.cf. kawakawa, P. appendiculatus and Unicolax collateralis). Results indicate that the parasite abundances of E. alletteratus in the western Mediterranean Sea depend mainly on regional environmental variables, which can show interannual variations. The presence of pelagic parasites, i.e. didymozoids and P. appendiculatus, could indicate that E. alletteratus migrates between inshore and offshore pelagic domains. The different parasite faunas reported in E. alletteratus populations from the western Atlantic Ocean and the Mediterranean Sea appear to point out the geographical host isolation. These results suggest that E. alletteratus inhabiting the western Mediterranean Sea performs inshore-offshore small-scale migrations, and not transoceanic migrations between the western Atlantic Ocean and Mediterranean Sea.
This paper provides an overview of the U.S. Department of Energy’s (DOE) hydrogen and fuel cell activities within the Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy (EERE), focusing on key targets, progress towards meeting those targets, and materials-related issues that need to be addressed. The most recent, state-of-the-art data on metrics such as cost, durability, and performance of fuel cell and hydrogen technologies are presented. Key technical accomplishments to date include a 50% reduction in the modeled high volume cost of fuel cells since 2006, and an 80% cost reduction for electrolyzers since 2002. The statuses of various hydrogen production, delivery, and storage technologies are also presented along with a summary of materials-related challenges for hydrogen infrastructure technologies such as compression, dispensing, seals, pipeline materials/embrittlement, and storage materials. Specific examples and areas requiring more research are discussed. Finally, future plans including EERE’s lab consortium approach such as HyMARC (Hydrogen Storage Materials Advanced Research Consortium) and FC-PAD (Fuel Cell Performance and Durability) Consortia, are summarized.
The emergence of hydrogen and fuel cell technologies in transportation and stationary power sectors offers the world important and potentially transformative environmental and energy security benefits. In recent years, research supported by the U.S. Department of Energy’s (DOE) Fuel Cell Technologies Office has contributed substantially to the development of these technologies. Enhanced performance and reduced cost in automotive fuel cells are important examples of achievement. The research investments are clearly paying off, as commercial fuel-cell electric vehicles (FCEVs) are being rolled out by major car manufacturers today. With increasing market penetration of FCEVs, enabling technologies for the affordable and widespread production, storage and delivery of renewable hydrogen are becoming increasingly important. Long term commercial viability of hydrogen and fuel cells in the commercial marketplace will rely on continued materials research on several important fronts. Examples include the discovery and development of: (1) non-platinum-group-metal catalysts for next-generation fuel cells; (2) durable, high-performance photocatalytic materials systems for direct solar water splitting; (3) advanced materials-based systems for low-pressure, high-volumetric-density hydrogen storage; and (4) low-cost, hydrogen-compatible pipeline materials for hydrogen delivery and distribution. Research innovations in macro-, meso- and nano-scale materials are all needed for pushing forward the state-of-the-art in these areas. New approaches in accelerated materials development facilitated by a national Energy Materials Network of advanced scientific resources in theory, computation and experimentation are being adopted at DOE. Application of these approaches to address the key materials challenges in hydrogen and fuel cell technologies are discussed.
Thunnus alalunga is an important commercial tuna species widely distributed in the three major oceans and the Mediterranean Sea. The Mediterranean population is currently classified as a data-poor stock and little is known about its basic life history parameters. This study provides the first detailed information on some aspects of the reproductive biology of T. alalunga from the western Mediterranean Sea. A total of 16 104 specimens were measured between 2005 and 2012. The overall sex ratio of females to males was 1.1:1, although the ratio was female biased in fish <70 cm fork length (LF) and male biased in those >75 cm LF. Histological analysis of the ovaries (N = 587) and the monthly variation of the gonadosomatic index for both sexes showed that spawning occurred from June to August, which is a much shorter period than the 7 months reported for T. alalunga in tropical oceanic waters. Thunnus alalunga caught during June and July are capable of spawning daily. The gonadosomatic index values for T. alalunga from the western Mediterranean were up to eight times higher than those of T. alalunga from other oceans. Histological examination of the ovaries showed that the minimum length at sexual maturity of females was 56 cm LF, which is considerably smaller than those estimated for other stocks.
Time plays an essential role in the diffusion of information, influence, and disease over networks. In many cases we can only observe when a node is activated by a contagion—when a node learns about a piece of information, makes a decision, adopts a new behavior, or becomes infected with a disease. However, the underlying network connectivity and transmission rates between nodes are unknown. Inferring the underlying diffusion dynamics is important because it leads to new insights and enables forecasting, as well as influencing or containing information propagation. In this paper we model diffusion as a continuous temporal process occurring at different rates over a latent, unobserved network that may change over time. Given information diffusion data, we infer the edges and dynamics of the underlying network. Our model naturally imposes sparse solutions and requires no parameter tuning. We develop an efficient inference algorithm that uses stochastic convex optimization to compute online estimates of the edges and transmission rates. We evaluate our method by tracking information diffusion among 3.3 million mainstream media sites and blogs, and experiment with more than 179 million different instances of information spreading over the network in a one-year period. We apply our network inference algorithm to the top 5,000 media sites and blogs and report several interesting observations. First, information pathways for general recurrent topics are more stable across time than for on-going news events. Second, clusters of news media sites and blogs often emerge and vanish in a matter of days for on-going news events. Finally, major events, for example, large scale civil unrest as in the Libyan civil war or Syrian uprising, increase the number of information pathways among blogs, and also increase the network centrality of blogs and social media sites.
A multiscale approach combining phase-contrast X-ray micro- and nanotomography is applied for imaging a Cretaceous fossil inflorescence in the resolution range from 0.75 μm to 50 nm. The wide range of scale views provides three-dimensional reconstructions from the external gross morphology of the inflorescence fragment to the finest exine sculptures of in situ pollen. This approach enables most of the characteristics usually observed under light microscopy, or with low magnification under scanning and transmission electron microscopy, to be obtained nondestructively. In contrast to previous tomography studies of fossil and extant flowers that used resolutions down to the micron range, we used voxels with a 50 nm side in local tomography scans. This high level of resolution enables systematic affinities of fossil flowers to be established without breaking or slicing specimens.
We describe an opinion mining system which classifies the polarity of Spanish texts. We propose an NLP approach that undertakes pre-processing, tokenisation and POS tagging of texts to then obtain the syntactic structure of sentences by means of a dependency parser. This structure is then used to address three of the most significant linguistic constructions for the purpose in question: intensification, subordinate adversative clauses and negation. We also propose a semi-automatic domain adaptation method to improve the accuracy of our system in specific application domains, by enriching semantic dictionaries using machine learning methods in order to adapt the semantic orientation of their words to a particular field. Experimental results are promising in both general and specific domains.