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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.
Cognitive impairment is a core feature of psychotic disorders, but the profile of impairment across adulthood, particularly in African-American populations, remains unclear.
Using cross-sectional data from a case–control study of African-American adults with affective (n = 59) and nonaffective (n = 68) psychotic disorders, we examined cognitive functioning between early and middle adulthood (ages 20–60) on measures of general cognitive ability, language, abstract reasoning, processing speed, executive function, verbal memory, and working memory.
Both affective and nonaffective psychosis patients showed substantial and widespread cognitive impairments. However, comparison of cognitive functioning between controls and psychosis groups throughout early (ages 20–40) and middle (ages 40–60) adulthood also revealed age-associated group differences. During early adulthood, the nonaffective psychosis group showed increasing impairments with age on measures of general cognitive ability and executive function, while the affective psychosis group showed increasing impairment on a measure of language ability. Impairments on other cognitive measures remained mostly stable, although decreasing impairments on measures of processing speed, memory and working memory were also observed.
These findings suggest similarities, but also differences in the profile of cognitive dysfunction in adults with affective and nonaffective psychotic disorders. Both affective and nonaffective patients showed substantial and relatively stable impairments across adulthood. The nonaffective group also showed increasing impairments with age in general and executive functions, and the affective group showed an increasing impairment in verbal functions, possibly suggesting different underlying etiopathogenic mechanisms.
There is an unprecedented demand for bushmeat in large cities in sub-Saharan Africa, and this is a major threat to many species. We conducted 2,040 interviews in six cities in four West African countries, in forest and savannah settings. We analysed age- and sex-related differences in the frequency of bushmeat consumption. Overall, we found similar patterns in all cities: 62.2% of men and 72.1% of women said they would never eat bushmeat, whereas 12.8% of men and 8.8% of women said they liked bushmeat and ate it regularly. Younger generations of both sexes tended not to eat bushmeat, regardless of their city of origin. This study of the effects of age, gender and geographical location on bushmeat consumption in African cities provides insights regarding which population groups to target in campaigns to change behaviours.
The aims of this study were to develop and validate a prediction equation of fat-free mass (FFM) based on bioelectrical impedance analysis (BIA) and anthropometry using air-displacement plethysmography (ADP) as a reference in Asian neonates and to test the applicability of the prediction equations in an independent Western cohort. A total of 173 neonates at birth and 140 at two weeks of age were included. Multiple linear regression analysis was performed to develop the prediction equations in a two-third randomly selected subset and validated on the remaining one-third subset at each time point and in an independent Queensland cohort. FFM measured by ADP was the dependent variable, and anthropometric measures, sex and impedance quotient (L2/R50) were independent variables in the model. Accuracy of prediction equations was assessed using intra-class correlation and Bland–Altman analyses. L2/R50 was the significant predictor of FFM at week two but not at birth. Compared with the model using weight, sex and length, including L2/R50 slightly improved the prediction with a bias of 0·01 kg with 2 sd limits of agreement (LOA) (0·18, −0·20). Prediction explained 88·9 % of variation but not beyond that of anthropometry. Applying these equations to the Queensland cohort provided similar performance at the appropriate age. However, when the Queensland equations were applied to our cohort, the bias increased slightly but with similar LOA. BIA appears to have limited use in predicting FFM in the first few weeks of life compared with simple anthropometry in Asian populations. There is a need for population- and age-appropriate FFM prediction equations.
The holotype partial skull of Agorophius pygmaeus (the monotypic form for both the genus Agorophius and the Family Agorophiidae) has been missing for approximately 140 years. Since the discovery of Agorophius pygmaeus, many additional taxa and specimens have been placed in the Family Agorophiidae, only to be reclassified and removed later. This has created confusion as to what is and what is not an agorophiid and a lack of clarity as to what characteristics delimit the Agorophiidae. A newly discovered skull of an agorophiid recently collected from an underwater cliff face of the Ashley River, South Carolina, USA, is assigned to Agorophius pygmaeus. It derives from the base of the Ashley Formation (early Oligocene). The new specimen consists of most of the skull and periotics, which are well preserved and described for the first time in an agorophiid. The new specimen provides an opportunity to diagnose the Agorophiidae and place the genus and species within the phylogenetic context of the early odontocete radiation in the Oligocene, along with other taxa such as the Ashleycetidae, Mirocetidae, Patriocetidae, Simocetidae, Waipatiidae, and Xenorophidae. Based on this new understanding, Agorophiidae are known with certainty only from the early Oligocene of South Carolina, with other undescribed, potential agorophiid specimens from the Oligocene of the North Pacific region (Japan, Mexico, and Washington State).
Both maternal 25-hydroxyvitamin D (25(OH)D) concentrations during pregnancy and
placental amino acid transporter gene expression have been associated with
development of the offspring in terms of body composition and bone structure.
Several amino acid transporter genes have vitamin D response elements in their
promoters suggesting the possible linkage of these two mechanisms. We aimed to
establish whether maternal 25(OH)D and vitamin D-binding protein (VDBP) levels
relate to expression of placental amino acid transporters. RNA was extracted
from 102 placental samples collected in the Southampton Women's Survey,
and gene expression was analysed using quantitative real-time PCR. Gene
expression data were normalised to the geometric mean of three housekeeping
genes, and related to maternal factors and childhood body composition. Maternal
serum 25(OH)D and VDBP levels were measured by radioimmunoassay. Maternal
25(OH)D and VDBP levels were positively associated with placental expression of
specific genes involved in amino acid transport. Maternal 25(OH)D and VDBP
concentrations were correlated with the expression of specific placental amino
acid transporters, and thus may be involved in the regulation of amino acid
transfer to the fetus. The positive correlation of VDBP levels and placental
transporter expression suggests that delivery of vitamin D to the placenta may
be important. This exploratory study identifies placental amino acid
transporters which may be altered in response to modifiable maternal factors and
provides a basis for further studies.
Studies have suggested that maternal PUFA status during pregnancy may influence early childhood allergic diseases, although findings are inconsistent. We examined the relationship between maternal PUFA status and risk of allergic diseases in early childhood in an Asian cohort. Maternal plasma samples from the Growing Up in Singapore Towards Healthy Outcomes mother–offspring cohort were assayed at 26–28 weeks of gestation for relative abundance of PUFA. Offspring (n 960) were followed up from 3 weeks to 18 months of age, and clinical outcomes of potential allergic diseases (rhinitis, eczema and wheezing) were assessed by repeated questionnaires. Skin prick testing (SPT) was also performed at the age of 18 months. Any allergic disease with positive SPT was defined as having any one of the clinical outcomes plus a positive SPT. The prevalence of a positive SPT, rhinitis, eczema, wheezing and any allergic disease with positive SPT was 14·1 % (103/728), 26·5 % (214/808), 17·6 % (147/833), 10·9 % (94/859) and 9·4 % (62/657), respectively. After adjustment for confounders, maternal total n-3, n-6 PUFA status and the n-6:n-3 PUFA ratio were not significantly associated with offspring rhinitis, eczema, wheezing, a positive SPT and having any allergic disease with positive SPT in the offspring (P>0·01 for all). A weak trend of higher maternal n-3 PUFA being associated with higher risk of allergic diseases with positive SPT in offspring was observed. These findings do not support the hypothesis that the risk of early childhood allergic diseases is modified by variation in maternal n-3 and n-6 PUFA status during pregnancy in an Asian population.
We have completed a Chandra snapshot survey of 54 radio jets that are extended on arcsec scales. These are associated with flat spectrum radio quasars spanning a redshift range z=0.3 to 2.1. X-ray emission is detected from the jet of approximately 60% of the sample objects. We assume minimum energy and apply conditions consistent with the original Felten-Morrison calculations in order to estimate the Lorentz factors and the apparent Doppler factors. This allows estimates of the enthalpy fluxes, which turn out to be comparable to the radiative luminosities.
We have used the broadband backend available at the ATCA to study the fast interstellar scintillation (ISS) of quasar PKS 1257–326, resolving the core shift as a function of frequency on scales less than 10 microarcseconds. In this short paper we discuss the jet direction implied from the microarcsecond-scale core shift in PKS 1257–326.
To examine changes in food consumption during pregnancy and the postpartum period in women of major Asian ethnic groups.
Using interviewer-administered questionnaires, we assessed changes in food consumption during pregnancy (26–28 weeks’ gestation) and the postpartum period (3 weeks after delivery) as compared with the usual pre-pregnancy diet.
Pregnant women (n 1027) of Chinese, Malay and Indian ethnicity (mean age 30·4 (sd 5·2) years) who participated in the Growing Up in Singapore Towards healthy Outcomes (GUSTO) study.
During pregnancy, participants tended to increase their consumption of milk, fruit and vegetables and decrease their consumption of tea, coffee, soft drinks and seafood (all P < 0·001). Most participants reported adherence to traditional restrictions (‘confinement’) during the early postpartum period (Chinese: 94·8 %, Malay: 91·6 %, Indian: 79·6 %). During the postpartum period, participants tended to increase their consumption of fish and milk-based drinks and decrease their consumption of noodles, seafood, and chocolates and sweets (all P < 0·001). Ethnic differences in food consumption were pronounced during the postpartum period. For example, most Chinese participants (87·2 %) increased their ginger consumption during the postpartum period as compared with smaller percentages of Malays (31·8 %) and Indians (40·8 %; P for ethnic difference <0·001). Similar ethnic differences were observed for cooking wine/alcohol, herbs and spices, and herbal tea consumption.
Marked changes in food consumption that reflect both modern dietary recommendations and the persistence of traditional beliefs were observed in Singaporean women during pregnancy and the postpartum period. Traditional beliefs should be considered in interventions to improve dietary intakes during these periods.
Background: The gold standard for determining the left ventricular ejection fraction is cardiac magnetic resonance imaging. Other parameters for determining the ejection fraction such as M-mode echocardiography are operator-dependant and often inaccurate. Assessment of the displacement of the mitral valve annulus using two-dimensional speckle tracking echocardiography may provide an accurate and simple method of determining the left ventricular ejection fraction in children. Method: We retrospectively studied 70 healthy 9-year-old children with no history of cardiovascular disease who had been assessed using cardiac magnetic resonance imaging and two-dimensional transthoracic echocardiography. Mitral displacement was determined using the tissue motion annular displacement (TMAD) feature of Philips QLAB version 9. The midpoint displacement of the mitral valve was calculated, and the predicted left ventricular ejection fraction was compared with magnetic resonance imaging-derived and M-mode-derived ejection fractions. Results: The mean ejection fraction derived from magnetic resonance imaging (64.5 (4.6)) was similar to that derived from the TMAD midpoint (60.9 (2.7), p = 0.001) and the M-mode (61.9 (7), p = 0.012). The TMAD midpoint correlated strongly with the magnetic resonance imaging-derived ejection fraction (r = 0.69, p < 0.001), as did the predicted fraction (r = 0.67, p < 0.001). The M-mode ejection fraction showed a poor linear correlation with both magnetic resonance imaging-derived and TMAD-derived fractions (r = 0.33 and 0.04, respectively). Conclusion: TMAD of the mitral valve is a simple, effective, and highly reproducible method of assessing the ejection fraction in normal children. It shows a strong linear correlation with magnetic resonance imaging-derived ejection fraction and is superior to M-mode-derived ejection fractions.
We study the contents of an apparent void in the distribution of Lyα emitting galaxies at redshift 2.38. We show that this void is not empty, but contains a damped Lyα absorption-line system, seen in absorption against background QSO 2138-4427. Imaging does not reveal any galaxy associated with this absorption-line system, but it contains metals (Fe/H ∼ −1.3), and its large velocity range (∼180 km s−1) implies a significant mass.
Preliminary specifications for the Square Kilometre Array (SKA) call for 25% of the total collecting area of the dish array to be located at distances greater than 180 km from the core, with a maximum baseline of at least 3000 km. The array will provide angular resolution θ ≲ 40–2 mas at 0.5–10 GHz with image sensitivity reaching ≲50 nJy beam−1 in an 8-hour integration with 500-MHz bandwidth. Given these specifications, the high-angular-resolution component of the SKA will be capable of detecting brightness temperatures ≲200K with milliarcsecond-scale angular resolution. The aim of this article is to bring together in one place a discussion of the broad range of new and important high-angular-resolution science that will be enabled by the SKA, and in doing so, address the merits of long baselines as part of the SKA. We highlight the fact that high angular resolution requiring baselines greater than 1000 km provides a rich science case with projects from many areas of astrophysics, including important contributions to key SKA science.