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This article examines the main determinants of differences in ask prices set by investors for single malt whiskies from Islay in Scotland using an original dataset collected from a web trading platform specializing in whisky investment. We find strong evidence that the vintage age (the number of years between the distillation date and the data collection date) positively affects investor asking prices. More precisely, given that the characteristics of whisky, unlike wine, do not change over time once bottled, we disentangle the vintage age effect by subdividing the vintage age into whisky age (the time spent in the cask) and bottle age (the time spent in the bottle). Our results show that whisky age has a more pronounced impact (8.9% per year on average) than bottle age (6.7%). Other findings include the significant influence of distillery reputation, with a moderating effect for independent bottling (i.e., not in-house by the distiller itself) and a positive impact for cask strength whiskies compared to diluted ones. (JEL Classifications: G11, L15, Q11)
This study presents the first documented observations of a brachyuran crab's proactive fishing behaviour in conjunction with mangrove pneumatophores which are employed as prey-localization devices. All ecological data were recorded in situ using simple behavioural observations, visual census and field experiments. Field experiments were based on stimulus-response and ecological surveys on random displacement. Assemblages of Metopograpsus messor were observed daily performing a foraging/predatory tide-related cyclic behaviour pattern in an arid mangrove ecosystem which experiences challenging environmental conditions. Prey-localizing behaviour was observed during the flood tide when pneumatophore-borne vibrations were used to identify potential prey. The prey simulation field experiment (where a single pneumatophore was stimulated by knocking) showed that in >93% of instances a crab approached the exact pneumatophore being stimulated. As water levels increased during the tidal cycle M. messor was observed climbing pneumatophores. The crabs anchored themselves to the pneumatophore just above the water level with their pereiopods. The chelipeds were positioned in a pincher-like trap, and remained in a ‘capture-position’ waiting for prey to move within striking range. This characteristic fishing behaviour was performed daily by a population of M. messor. Ecological observations suggest that both these predatory behaviours are associated with the fish Aphanius dispar dispar in a direct prey–predator relation. Evidence suggests that these fishing behaviours evolved due to characteristics within the M. messor phylogeny (foraging in intertidal zones; daily displacement following tidal levels; high sensitivity to vibrations; and an opportunist diet) and its associated environment (presence of pneumatophores and high availability of a fish resource).
The role that vitamin D plays in pulmonary function remains uncertain. Epidemiological studies reported mixed findings for serum 25-hydroxyvitamin D (25(OH)D)–pulmonary function association. We conducted the largest cross-sectional meta-analysis of the 25(OH)D–pulmonary function association to date, based on nine European ancestry (EA) cohorts (n 22 838) and five African ancestry (AA) cohorts (n 4290) in the Cohorts for Heart and Aging Research in Genomic Epidemiology Consortium. Data were analysed using linear models by cohort and ancestry. Effect modification by smoking status (current/former/never) was tested. Results were combined using fixed-effects meta-analysis. Mean serum 25(OH)D was 68 (sd 29) nmol/l for EA and 49 (sd 21) nmol/l for AA. For each 1 nmol/l higher 25(OH)D, forced expiratory volume in the 1st second (FEV1) was higher by 1·1 ml in EA (95 % CI 0·9, 1·3; P<0·0001) and 1·8 ml (95 % CI 1·1, 2·5; P<0·0001) in AA (Prace difference=0·06), and forced vital capacity (FVC) was higher by 1·3 ml in EA (95 % CI 1·0, 1·6; P<0·0001) and 1·5 ml (95 % CI 0·8, 2·3; P=0·0001) in AA (Prace difference=0·56). Among EA, the 25(OH)D–FVC association was stronger in smokers: per 1 nmol/l higher 25(OH)D, FVC was higher by 1·7 ml (95 % CI 1·1, 2·3) for current smokers and 1·7 ml (95 % CI 1·2, 2·1) for former smokers, compared with 0·8 ml (95 % CI 0·4, 1·2) for never smokers. In summary, the 25(OH)D associations with FEV1 and FVC were positive in both ancestries. In EA, a stronger association was observed for smokers compared with never smokers, which supports the importance of vitamin D in vulnerable populations.
Although there is a growing interest for the effects of intermittent fasting on energy balance, this study aimed to compare appetite, energy intake and food reward responses with an energy depletion induced either by 24-h food restriction or an equivalent deficit with exercise in healthy males. In all, twelve healthy lean males (21·5 (sd 0·5) years old; BMI: 22·5 (sd 1·7) kg/m2) participated in this study. Body composition, aerobic capacity, food preferences and energy intake were assessed. They randomly completed three conditions: (i) no depletion (CON); (ii) full 24-h energy restrictions (Def-EI); and (iii) exercise condition (Def-EX). Ad libitum energy intake and food reward were assessed at the end of each session. Appetite feelings were assessed regularly. Ad libitum energy intake was higher on Def-EI (7330 (sd 2975) kJ (1752 (sd 711) kcal) compared with that on CON (5301 (sd 1205) kJ (1267 (sd 288) kcal)) (P<0·05), with no difference between CON and Def-EX (6238 (sd 1741) kJ (1491 (sd 416) kcal) (P=0·38) and between Def-EX and Def-EI (P=0·22). There was no difference in the percent energy ingested from macronutrients. Hunger was lower on CON and Def-EX compared with Def-EI (P<0·001). Satiety was higher on CON and Def-EI compared with that on Def-EX (P<0·001). There was a significant interaction condition × time for food choice fat bias (P=0·04), showing a greater preference for high-fat v. low-fat food during Def-EI and Def-EX. Although 24-h fasting leads to increased energy intake at the following test meal (without total daily energy intake difference), increased hunger profile and decreased post-meal food choice fat bias, such nutritional responses are not observed after a similar deficit induced by exercise.
Major depressive disorder (MDD) is underdiagnosed and undertreated in schizophrenia, and has been strongly associated with impaired quality of life.
To determine the prevalence and associated factors of MDD and unremitted MDD in schizophrenia, to compare treated and non-treated MDD.
Participants were included in the FondaMental Expert Centers for Schizophrenia and received a thorough clinical assessment. MDD was defined by a Calgary score ≥6. Non-remitted MDD was defined by current antidepressant treatment (unchanged for >8 weeks) and current Calgary score ≥6.
613 patients were included and 175 (28.5%) were identified with current MDD. MDD has been significantly associated with respectively paranoid delusion (odds ratio 1.8; P = 0.01), avolition (odds ratio 1.8; P = 0.02), blunted affect (odds ratio 1.7; P = 0.04) and benzodiazepine consumption (odds ratio 1.8; P = 0.02). Antidepressants were associated with lower depressive symptoms score (5.4 v. 9.5; P < 0.0001); however, 44.1% of treated patients remained in non-remittance MDD. Nonremitters were found to have more paranoid delusion (odds ratio 2.3; P = 0.009) and more current alcohol misuse disorder (odds ratio 4.8; P = 0.04). No antidepressant class or specific antipsychotic were associated with higher or lower response to antidepressant treatment. MDD was associated with Metabolic syndrome (31.4 v. 20.2%; P = 0.006) but not with increased C-reactive protein.
Antidepressant administration is associated with lower depressive symptom level in patients with schizophrenia and MDD. Paranoid delusions and alcohol misuse disorder should be specifically explored and treated in cases of non-remission under treatment. MetS may play a role in MDD onset and/or maintenance in patients with schizophrenia.
Individuals with Alzheimer's disease (AD) present poor immediate primacy recall accompanied by intact or exaggerated recency, which then tends to decline after a delay. Bruno et al. (Journal of Clinical and Experimental Neuropsychology, Vol. 38, 2016, pp. 967–973) have shown that higher ratio scores between immediate and delayed recency (i.e. the recency ratio; Rr) are associated with cognitive decline in high-functioning older individuals. We tested whether Rr predicted conversion to early mild cognitive impairment (early MCI) from a cognitively healthy baseline.
Data were analyzed longitudinally with binomial regression. Baseline scores were used to predict conversion to early MCI after approximately nine years. Setting: Data were collected at the Wisconsin Registry of Alzheimer's Prevention, in Madison, Wisconsin.
For the study, 427 individuals were included in the analysis; all participants were 50 years of age or older and cognitively intact at baseline, and were native English speakers.
Memory data were collected using the Rey's Auditory Verbal Learning Test, and the early MCI diagnosis was obtained via consensus conference.
Our results showed that higher Rr scores are correlated with greater risk of later early MCI diagnosis, and this association is independent of total recall performance.
Rr is an emerging cognitive marker of cognitive decline.
The objective of this study was to assess the influence of nutritional regimens such as adequate feeding, restricted feeding, and underfeeding–refeeding on the follicle growth and development from caprine ovaries. Goats were divided into three different groups (n = 5 per group). For 24 weeks, goats received elephant grass plus concentrate to provide 1.5 (n = 5) and 0.72 (n = 10) times the energy requirements for maintenance of live weight. Underfed goats were subsequently refed for 6 weeks with the diet of the nourished group (1.5 times the energetic requirements of maintenance). Follicular morphology and morphometry, as well as granulosa cells mitotic index were assessed. Ovarian follicles were classified as small or large preantral follicles, or as small or large antral follicles. Ovarian volume was smaller in animals from both underfed and refed groups than in those animals from fed group. Although no difference in the total number of normal follicles was observed among the nutritional groups, underfed animals presented higher percentages of atretic preantral and small antral follicles when compared with fed animals. Large antral follicles from underfed and refed goats presented a lower mitotic index when compared with fed ones. In conclusion, ovaries from goats challenged with prolonged undernutrition will be functionally compromised, which is characterized by atresia of preantral and small antral follicles and decreased mitotic index of large antral follicles. Refeeding those animals will not recover ovarian function to a same level experienced by goats fed a diet with adequate energy requirements.
Sown-grass margin strips, historically established to limit pesticide drift and soil erosion, are now also promoted for enhancing floral diversity and associated ecosystem services. To better understand weed community assembly in grass margin strips, we performed floral surveys in 75 sown-grass margin strips in two regions in France and characterized each species using information from trait databases. We hypothesized that traits of dominant species would differ between newly sown-grass margin strips and older strips. Weed species were separated into functional groups based on their traits using multiple correspondence analysis and hierarchical ascendant classification. Functional group trajectories were investigated in sown-grass margin strips that differed in age using a space-for-time substitution approach. We found that geophyte, competitor, and monocotyledon species were more frequent and abundant in grass margin strips than therophyte, ruderal, and dicotyledon species. Results also showed that floral diversity was greatest in grass margin strips of intermediate age. Our findings have implications for optimizing diversity and ecosystem services on land enrolled in conservation programs and suggest that mowing later in the season and periodic soil disturbance can increase floral diversity. The analytical framework that we introduced in this research can also be used to explore weed community assembly in other systems.
The nature and timing of environmental changes throughout the last glacial-interglacial transition in the South Caucasus, and more widely in eastern Europe, are still not fully understood. According to certain pollen records, forest expansion occurred in many areas several millennia after what is considered worldwide as the onset of the Holocene. The current problem we face is that the time lag in forest expansion varies from one sequence to another, sometimes with no delay at all. Moreover, the potential forcing/controlling factors behind this complex pattern, contrary to the almost synchronous global Holocene warming, are still a matter for debate. Accordingly, we revisit the issue of forest expansion through vegetation history obtained in the South Caucasus using a new pollen record, retrieved from the Nariani paleolake (South Georgia). These data attest to a steppic phase, initially dominated by Amaranthaceae-Chenopodiaceae (12,700–10,500 cal yr BP), then by Poaceae (10,500–9000 cal yr BP), culminating with a more forested phase (9000–5000 calyrBP). Although some palaeoclimatic regional reconstructions show a wet early Holocene, we interpret the delay in forest expansion recorded in Nariani (2500 years) as the result of reduced spring precipitation, which would have limited forest development at that time.
The collective response of electrons in an ultrathin foil target irradiated by an ultraintense (
) laser pulse is investigated experimentally and via 3D particle-in-cell simulations. It is shown that if the target is sufficiently thin that the laser induces significant radiation pressure, but not thin enough to become relativistically transparent to the laser light, the resulting relativistic electron beam is elliptical, with the major axis of the ellipse directed along the laser polarization axis. When the target thickness is decreased such that it becomes relativistically transparent early in the interaction with the laser pulse, diffraction of the transmitted laser light occurs through a so called ‘relativistic plasma aperture’, inducing structure in the spatial-intensity profile of the beam of energetic electrons. It is shown that the electron beam profile can be modified by variation of the target thickness and degree of ellipticity in the laser polarization.
Herbivorous and deposit-feeding gastropods are a major component of archaeological shell middens worldwide. They provide a wealth of information about subsistence, economy, environment, and climate, but are generally considered to be less than ideal for radiocarbon dating because they can ingest sediment while they graze, inadvertently consuming terrestrial carbon in the process. However, few studies of 14C activity in herbivores or deposit-feeding gastropods have been conducted into this diverse range of animals that inhabit many environmental niches. Here, we present results investigating 14C variability in shells belonging to the families Strombidae and Potamididae from the Bogi 1 archaeological site, Caution Bay, southern coastal Papua New Guinea (PNG). These shells make up 39.3% of the shell MNI in the excavation units studied and some of these species are the most common taxa of neighboring sites. It would therefore be advantageous to establish if there are any 14C offsets associated with such animals, and identify those that can give reliable calendar ages. Our methodology combines a high-resolution excavation protocol, selection of short-lived samples identified to species level, and a triisotope approach using 14C, δ13C, and δ18O to evaluate the source of variability in shells. Our results indicate that considerable variation exists between different species of Strombidae with some inhabiting muddier environments that act as sinks for limestone-derived sediments with depleted 14C content. The magnitude of variation is, however, overshadowed by that measured in the mudwhelk, Cerithidea largillierti, which has the largest spread in 14C of any shellfish studied so far at Caution Bay. This animal ingests sediment within the estuary that contains 14C derived from both enriched and depleted sources.
The analysis of morphological disparity and of morphospace occupation through the macroevolutionary history of clades is now a major research program in paleobiology, and increasingly so in organismal and comparative biology. Most studies have focused on the relationship between taxonomic diversity and morphological disparity, and on ecological or developmental controls. However, the geographic context of diversification has remained understudied. Here we address geography quantitatively. Diversity, disparity, and paleogeographic dispersion are used to describe the evolutionary history of an extinct echinoderm clade, the class Stylophora (cornutes, mitrates), from the Middle Cambrian to the Middle Devonian (about 128 Myr subdivided into 12 stratigraphic intervals). Taxonomic diversity is estimated from a representative sample including 73.3% of described species and 92.4% of described genera. Stylophoran morphology is quantified on the basis of seven morphometric parameters derived from image analysis of homologous skeletal regions. Three separate principal coordinates analyses (PCO) are performed for thecal outlines, plates from the lower thecal surface, and plates from the upper thecal surface, respectively. PCO scores from these three separate analyses are then used as variables for a single, global, meta-PCO. For each time interval, disparity is calculated as the sum of variance in the multidimensional morphospace defined by the meta-PCO axes. For each time interval, a semiquantitative index of paleogeographic dispersion is calculated, reflecting both global (continental) and local (regional) aspects of dispersion.
Morphospace occupation of cornutes and mitrates is partly overlapping, suggesting some morphologic convergences between the two main stylophoran clades, probably correlated to similar modes of life (e.g., symmetrical cornutes and primitive mitrocystitids). Hierarchical clustering allowed the identification of three main morphological sets (subdivided into 11 subsets) within the global stylophoran morphospace. These morphological sets are used to analyze the spatiotemporal variations of disparity. The initial radiation of stylophorans is characterized by a low diversity and a rapid increase in disparity (Middle Cambrian–Tremadocian). The subsequent diversification involved filling and little expansion of morphospace (Arenig–Middle Ordovician). Finally, both stylophoran diversity and disparity decreased relatively steadily from the Late Ordovician to the Middle Devonian, with the exception of a second (lower) peak in the Early Devonian. Such a pattern is comparable to that of other Paleozoic marine invertebrates such as blastozoans and orthid brachiopods. During the Lower to Middle Ordovician, the most dramatic diversification of stylophorans took place with a paleogeographic dispersion essentially limited to the periphery of Gondwana. In the Late Ordovician, stylophorans steadily extended toward lower paleolatitudes, and new environmental conditions, where some of them radiated, and finally survived the end-Ordovician mass extinction (e.g., anomalocystitids). This pattern of paleobiogeographic dispersion is comparable to that of other examples of Paleozoic groups of marine invertebrates, such as bivalve mollusks.
For decades, theoretical morphological studies of different groups of organisms have been successfully pursued in biological, paleontological, and computational contexts, often with distinct modeling approaches and research questions. A regular influx of new perspectives and varied expertise has contributed to the emergence of a veritable multidisciplinary outlook for theoretical morphology. The broadening of this discipline is reflected in a substantial increase in the number of models, leading to a bewildering diversity that has yet to be scrutinized. In this work, we tackle this issue in a synthetic fashion, with a quantitative meta-analysis that allows an objective comparison of theoretical morphological models treated as entities. By analogy with empirical morphospace analyses of actual organisms, we performed a multivariate ordination of a representative sample of models, producing a metaspace of models in which patterns of similarity and difference are visualized. A phenetic tree was used to characterize the relationships between models. Four major groups have been identified, and their disparity analyzed. We suggest this typology as a useful starting point to identify a core set of fundamental principles and protocols for better interpretation of the plethora of current models and for more efficient construction of models in the future. This in turn can help in diversifying the scope of macroevolutionary, developmental, and bioenvironmental questions in theoretical morphology.
To address the molecular diversity and occurrence of pathogenic species of the genus Entamoeba spp. in wild non-human primates (NHP) we conducted molecular-phylogenetic analyses on Entamoeba from wild chimpanzees living in the Issa Valley, Tanzania. We compared the sensitivity of molecular [using a genus-specific polymerase chain reaction (PCR)] and coproscopic detection (merthiolate-iodine-formaldehyde concentration) of Entamoeba spp. We identified Entamoeba spp. in 72 chimpanzee fecal samples (79%) subjected to species-specific PCRs for six Entamoeba species/groups (Entamoeba histolytica, Entamoeba nuttalli, Entamoeba dispar, Entamoeba moshkovskii, Entamoeba coli and Entamoeba polecki ST2). We recorded three Entamoeba species: E. coli (47%), E. dispar (16%), Entamoeba hartmanni (51%). Coproscopically, we could only distinguish the cysts of complex E. histolytica/dispar/moshkovskii/nuttalli and E. coli. Molecular prevalence of entamoebas was higher than the prevalence based on the coproscopic examination. Our molecular phylogenies showed that sequences of E. dispar and E. coli from Issa chimpanzees are closely related to sequences from humans and other NHP from GenBank. The results showed that wild chimpanzees harbour Entamoeba species similar to those occurring in humans; however, no pathogenic species were detected. Molecular-phylogenetic methods are critical to improve diagnostics of entamoebas in wild NHP and for determining an accurate prevalence of Entamoeba species.
Homalozoans include four classes of non-pentamerous Paleozoic echinoderms: Homostelea (cinctans), Ctenocystoidea (ctenoid-bearing homalozoans), Homoiostelea (solutes), and Stylophora (cornutes and mitrates). Their atypical morphologies have historically made it difficult to relate them to other classes. Therefore, their systematic positions have been represented by two hypotheses (H): as stem taxa to echinoderms (H1) or as stem taxa to chordates (H2). These conclusions rest on previous inability to recognize synapomorphies with more crownward echinoderms, resulting in a forcing of the homalozoans down the phylogenetic tree that is more artifactual than evolutionary. The Extraxial-Axial Theory (EAT) identifies body-wall homologies, common ontogenetic patterns, and major events in bodyplan evolution. Therefore, the EAT can identify synapomorphies among even the most disparate of echinoderms. Application of the EAT undermines both H1 and H2 and strongly suggests that the bizarre asymmetry of homalozoans is a derived characteristic, and not indicative of plesiomorphic morphology for either chordates or echinoderms. Each of the four homalozoan clades and their major features are reexamined using the EAT. New findings are presented concerning homologies of thecal body wall, but we focus on stems, arms, and brachioles, which are recognized as very distinct products of independent evolutionary events. The results support a new interpretation (H3) of homalozoans as a polyphyletic assemblage that can be parsed out into other, clearly echinoderm clades. The Homoiostelea and Homostelea share the blastozoan synapomorphy of a brachiole. The enigmatic Ctenocystoidea also seem to have brachioles. The Stylophora have an arm as in crinoids. H3 is also more congruent with the known fossil record. Although they are stratigraphically early echinoderms, homalozoans are not indicative of the plesiomorphic morphology of the phylum.
We detected the general level of knowledge about the early diagnosis of Alzheimer's disease (AD) and subsequent care in general practitioners (GPs) from Southern Italy. We explored also the GP perception about their knowledge and training on diagnosis and management of AD.
On a sample of 131 GPs, we administered two questionnaires: the GP-Knowledge, evaluating GPs’ expertise about AD epidemiology, differential diagnosis, and available treatments, and the GP-QUestionnaire on Awareness of Dementia (GP-QUAD), assessing the GPs’ attitudes, awareness, and practice regarding early diagnosis of dementia.
Specific screening tests or protocols to diagnose and manage dementia were not used by 53% of our GPs. The training on the recognition of early AD signs and symptoms was considered inadequate by 55% of the participants. Females were more likely to consider their training insufficient (58%) compared to males (53%). Female GPs were less likely to prescribe antipsychotic drugs to control neuropsychiatric symptoms (NPS) and suggest specialist advice in late stage of cognitive impairment. Multiple Correspondence Analysis (MCA) performed only on GP-QUAD suggested two dimensions explaining 26.1% (“GP attitude”) and 20.1% (“GP knowledge”) of the inertia for a total of 46.2%,
In our survey on GP clinical practice, several problems in properly recognizing early AD symptoms and subsequently screening patients to be referred to secondary/tertiary care centers for diagnosis confirmation have emerged. In the future, specific training programs and educational projects for GPs should be implemented also in Italy to improve detection rates and management of dementia in primary care.
The design community has growing familiarity with the concept of affordances and with the utility of this concept in many areas of design. Less emphasis has been placed on natural processes by which people acquire knowledge about affordances. Consequently, little is known about how design might be optimized to enable users to detect the actions that are available in a given human–machine system. We review scientific research about what people do to obtain information about affordances. We discuss implications of this research for design.