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A new fossil site in a previously unexplored part of western Madagascar (the Beanka Protected Area) has yielded remains of many recently extinct vertebrates, including giant lemurs (Babakotia radofilai, Palaeopropithecus kelyus, Pachylemur sp., and Archaeolemur edwardsi), carnivores (Cryptoprocta spelea), the aardvark-like Plesiorycteropus sp., and giant ground cuckoos (Coua). Many of these represent considerable range extensions. Extant species that were extirpated from the region (e.g., Prolemur simus) are also present. Calibrated radiocarbon ages for 10 bones from extinct primates span the last three millennia. The largely undisturbed taphonomy of bone deposits supports the interpretation that many specimens fell in from a rock ledge above the entrance. Some primates and other mammals may have been prey items of avian predators, but human predation is also evident. Strontium isotope ratios (87Sr/86Sr) suggest that fossils were local to the area. Pottery sherds and bones of extinct and extant vertebrates with cut and chop marks indicate human activity in previous centuries. Scarcity of charcoal and human artifacts suggests only occasional visitation to the site by humans. The fossil assemblage from this site is unusual in that, while it contains many sloth lemurs, it lacks ratites, hippopotami, and crocodiles typical of nearly all other Holocene subfossil sites on Madagascar.
A national need is to prepare for and respond to accidental or intentional disasters categorized as chemical, biological, radiological, nuclear, or explosive (CBRNE). These incidents require specific subject-matter expertise, yet have commonalities. We identify 7 core elements comprising CBRNE science that require integration for effective preparedness planning and public health and medical response and recovery. These core elements are (1) basic and clinical sciences, (2) modeling and systems management, (3) planning, (4) response and incident management, (5) recovery and resilience, (6) lessons learned, and (7) continuous improvement. A key feature is the ability of relevant subject matter experts to integrate information into response operations. We propose the CBRNE medical operations science support expert as a professional who (1) understands that CBRNE incidents require an integrated systems approach, (2) understands the key functions and contributions of CBRNE science practitioners, (3) helps direct strategic and tactical CBRNE planning and responses through first-hand experience, and (4) provides advice to senior decision-makers managing response activities. Recognition of both CBRNE science as a distinct competency and the establishment of the CBRNE medical operations science support expert informs the public of the enormous progress made, broadcasts opportunities for new talent, and enhances the sophistication and analytic expertise of senior managers planning for and responding to CBRNE incidents.
The Pueblo population of Chaco Canyon during the Bonito Phase (AD 800–1130) employed agricultural strategies and water-management systems to enhance food cultivation in this unpredictable environment. Scepticism concerning the timing and effectiveness of this system, however, remains common. Using optically stimulated luminescence dating of sediments and LiDAR imaging, the authors located Bonito Phase canal features at the far west end of the canyon. Additional ED-XRF and strontium isotope (87Sr/86Sr) analyses confirm the diversion of waters from multiple sources during Chaco’s occupation. The extent of this water-management system raises new questions about social organisation and the role of ritual in facilitating responses to environmental unpredictability.
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.
A trend toward greater body size in dizygotic (DZ) than in monozygotic (MZ) twins has been suggested by some but not all studies, and this difference may also vary by age. We analyzed zygosity differences in mean values and variances of height and body mass index (BMI) among male and female twins from infancy to old age. Data were derived from an international database of 54 twin cohorts participating in the COllaborative project of Development of Anthropometrical measures in Twins (CODATwins), and included 842,951 height and BMI measurements from twins aged 1 to 102 years. The results showed that DZ twins were consistently taller than MZ twins, with differences of up to 2.0 cm in childhood and adolescence and up to 0.9 cm in adulthood. Similarly, a greater mean BMI of up to 0.3 kg/m2 in childhood and adolescence and up to 0.2 kg/m2 in adulthood was observed in DZ twins, although the pattern was less consistent. DZ twins presented up to 1.7% greater height and 1.9% greater BMI than MZ twins; these percentage differences were largest in middle and late childhood and decreased with age in both sexes. The variance of height was similar in MZ and DZ twins at most ages. In contrast, the variance of BMI was significantly higher in DZ than in MZ twins, particularly in childhood. In conclusion, DZ twins were generally taller and had greater BMI than MZ twins, but the differences decreased with age in both sexes.
Targeted surveillance has focused on device-associated infections and surgical site infections (SSIs) and is often limited to healthcare-associated infections (HAIs) in high-risk areas. Longitudinal trends in all HAIs, including other types of HAIs, and HAIs outside of intensive care units (ICUs) remain unclear. We examined the incidences of all HAIs using comprehensive hospital-wide surveillance over a 12-year period (2001–2012).
This retrospective observational study was conducted at the University of North Carolina (UNC) Hospitals, a tertiary care academic facility. All HAIs, including 5 major infections with 14 specific infection sites as defined using CDC criteria, were ascertained through comprehensive hospital-wide surveillance. Generalized linear models were used to examine the incidence rate difference by infection type over time.
A total of 16,579 HAIs included 6,397 cases in ICUs and 10,182 cases outside ICUs. The incidence of overall HAIs decreased significantly hospital-wide (−3.4 infections per 1,000 patient days), in ICUs (−8.4 infections per 1,000 patient days), and in non-ICU settings (−1.9 infections per 1,000 patient days). The incidences of bloodstream infection, urinary tract infection, and pneumonia in hospital-wide settings decreased significantly, but the incidences of SSI and lower respiratory tract infection remained unchanged. The incidence of Clostridium difficile infection (CDI) increased remarkably. The outcomes were estimated to include 700 overall HAIs prevented, 40 lives saved, and cost savings in excess of $10 million.
We demonstrated success in reducing overall HAIs over a 12-year period. Our data underscore the necessity for surveillance and infection prevention interventions outside of the ICUs, for non–device-associated HAIs, and for CDI.
Infect Control Hosp Epidemiol 2015;36(10):1139–1147
For over 100 years, the genetics of human anthropometric traits has attracted scientific interest. In particular, height and body mass index (BMI, calculated as kg/m2) have been under intensive genetic research. However, it is still largely unknown whether and how heritability estimates vary between human populations. Opportunities to address this question have increased recently because of the establishment of many new twin cohorts and the increasing accumulation of data in established twin cohorts. We started a new research project to analyze systematically (1) the variation of heritability estimates of height, BMI and their trajectories over the life course between birth cohorts, ethnicities and countries, and (2) to study the effects of birth-related factors, education and smoking on these anthropometric traits and whether these effects vary between twin cohorts. We identified 67 twin projects, including both monozygotic (MZ) and dizygotic (DZ) twins, using various sources. We asked for individual level data on height and weight including repeated measurements, birth related traits, background variables, education and smoking. By the end of 2014, 48 projects participated. Together, we have 893,458 height and weight measures (52% females) from 434,723 twin individuals, including 201,192 complete twin pairs (40% monozygotic, 40% same-sex dizygotic and 20% opposite-sex dizygotic) representing 22 countries. This project demonstrates that large-scale international twin studies are feasible and can promote the use of existing data for novel research purposes.
Burn injuries are a common source of morbidity and mortality in the United States, with an estimated 450,000 burn injuries requiring medical treatment, 40,000 requiring hospitalization, and 3,400 deaths from burns annually in the United States. Patients with severe burns are at high risk for local and systemic infections. Furthermore, burn patients are immunosuppressed, as thermal injury results in less phagocytic activity and lymphokine production by macrophages. In recent years, multidrug-resistant (MDR) pathogens have become major contributors to morbidity and mortality in burn patients.
Since only limited data are available on the incidence of both device- and nondevice-associated healthcare-associated infections (HAIs) in burn patients, we undertook this retrospective cohort analysis of patients admitted to our burn intensive care unit (ICU) from 2008 to 2012.
The miconia (Miconia calvescens) invasion of the East Maui Watershed (EMW) started from a single introduction over 40 yr ago, establishing a nascent patch network spread across 20,000 ha. In 2012, an accelerated intervention strategy was implemented utilizing the Herbicide Ballistic Technology (HBT) platform in a Hughes 500D helicopter to reduce target densities of seven nascent patches in the EMW. In a 14-mo period, a total of 48 interventions eliminated 4,029 miconia targets, with an estimated 33% increase in operations and 168% increase in recorded targets relative to the adjusted means from 2005 to 2011 data (prior to HBT adoption). This sequence of interventions covered a total net area of 1,138 ha, creating a field mosaic of overlapping search coverage (saturation) for each patch (four to eight interventions per patch). Target density reduction for each patch fit exponential decay functions (R2 > 0.88, P < 0.05), with a majority of the target interventions spatially assigned to the highest saturation fields. The progressive decay in target density led to concomitant reductions in search efficiency (min ha−1) and herbicide use rate (grams ae ha−1) in subsequent interventions. Mean detection efficacy (± SE) between overlapping interventions (n = 41) was 0.62 ± 0.03, matching closely with the probability of detection for a random search operation and verifying imperfect (albeit precise) detection. The HBT platform increases the value of aerial surveillance operations with 98% efficacy in target elimination. Applying coverage saturation with an accelerated intervention schedule to known patch locations is an adaptive process for compensating imperfect detection and building intelligence with spatial and temporal relevance to the next operation.