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Radiocarbon (14C) ages cannot provide absolutely dated chronologies for archaeological or paleoenvironmental studies directly but must be converted to calendar age equivalents using a calibration curve compensating for fluctuations in atmospheric 14C concentration. Although calibration curves are constructed from independently dated archives, they invariably require revision as new data become available and our understanding of the Earth system improves. In this volume the international 14C calibration curves for both the Northern and Southern Hemispheres, as well as for the ocean surface layer, have been updated to include a wealth of new data and extended to 55,000 cal BP. Based on tree rings, IntCal20 now extends as a fully atmospheric record to ca. 13,900 cal BP. For the older part of the timescale, IntCal20 comprises statistically integrated evidence from floating tree-ring chronologies, lacustrine and marine sediments, speleothems, and corals. We utilized improved evaluation of the timescales and location variable 14C offsets from the atmosphere (reservoir age, dead carbon fraction) for each dataset. New statistical methods have refined the structure of the calibration curves while maintaining a robust treatment of uncertainties in the 14C ages, the calendar ages and other corrections. The inclusion of modeled marine reservoir ages derived from a three-dimensional ocean circulation model has allowed us to apply more appropriate reservoir corrections to the marine 14C data rather than the previous use of constant regional offsets from the atmosphere. Here we provide an overview of the new and revised datasets and the associated methods used for the construction of the IntCal20 curve and explore potential regional offsets for tree-ring data. We discuss the main differences with respect to the previous calibration curve, IntCal13, and some of the implications for archaeology and geosciences ranging from the recent past to the time of the extinction of the Neanderthals.
The purpose of the study is to describe changes in mental health among women following an oil spill and to examine their association with the Deepwater Horizon oil spill (DHOS).
The Women and Their Children’s Health study followed 2038 women in Louisiana after the DHOS. Subjects were interviewed in 2012-2014 and 2014-2016. Oil spill exposure was characterized using survey items about economic and physical exposures. Outcomes were depressive symptoms and mental distress.
After adjustment for relevant demographics, depressive symptoms increased over 2 time points following the DHOS, whereas symptoms of mental distress decreased. For every year increase in time since the DHOS, the rate ratio for depressive symptoms increased by a factor of 1.08. In contrast, the rate ratio for mental distress decreased by a factor of 0.97. In addition, initial associations between economic and physical exposure to the DHOS persisted up to 6 years after the spill; women who were more highly exposed experienced higher levels of depressive symptoms (rate ratios ranged from 1.08 to 1.11) and mental distress (rate ratios from 1.05 to 1.11) at each time point than women who were less exposed.
A better understanding of recovery patterns following an oil spill can help direct critical mental health response efforts. (Disaster Med Public Health Preparedness. 2019;13:183–190)
Extinction is the complete loss of a species, but the accuracy of that status depends on the overall information about the species. Dracaena umbraculifera was described in 1797 from a cultivated plant attributed to Mauritius, but repeated surveys failed to relocate it and it was categorized as Extinct on the IUCN Red List. However, several individuals labelled as D. umbraculifera grow in botanical gardens, suggesting that the species’ IUCN status may be inaccurate. The goal of this study was to understand (1) where D. umbraculifera originated, (2) which species are its close relatives, (3) whether it is extinct, and (4) the identity of the botanical garden accessions and whether they have conservation value. We sequenced a cpDNA region of Dracaena from Mauritius, botanical garden accessions labelled as D. umbraculifera, and individuals confirmed to be D. umbraculifera based on morphology, one of which is a living plant in a private garden. We included GenBank accessions of Dracaena from Madagascar and other locations and reconstructed the phylogeny using Bayesian and parsimony approaches. Phylogenies indicated that D. umbraculifera is more closely related to Dracaena reflexa from Madagascar than to Mauritian Dracaena. As anecdotal information indicated that the living D. umbraculifera originated from Madagascar, we conducted field expeditions there and located five wild populations; the species’ IUCN status should therefore be Critically Endangered because < 50 wild individuals remain. Although the identity of many botanical garden samples remains unresolved, this study highlights the importance of living collections for facilitating new discoveries and the importance of documenting and conserving the flora of Madagascar.
Epidemiological evidence regarding the association between carbohydrate intake, glycaemic load (GL) and glycaemic index (GI) and risk of ovarian cancer has been mixed. Little is known about their impact on ovarian cancer risk in African-American women. Associations between carbohydrate quantity and quality and ovarian cancer risk were investigated among 406 cases and 609 controls using data from the African American Cancer Epidemiology Study (AACES). AACES is an ongoing population-based case–control study of ovarian cancer in African-Americans in the USA. Cases were identified through rapid case ascertainment and age- and site-matched controls were identified by random-digit dialling. Dietary information over the year preceding diagnosis or the reference date was obtained using a FFQ. Multivariable logistic regression models were used to estimate odds ratios and 95 % CI adjusted for covariates. The OR comparing the highest quartile of total carbohydrate intake and total sugar intake v. the lowest quartile were 1·57 (95 % CI 1·08, 2·28; Ptrend=0·03) and 1·61 (95 % CI 1·12, 2·30; Ptrend<0·01), respectively. A suggestion of an inverse association was found for fibre intake. Higher GL was positively associated with the risk of ovarian cancer (OR 1·18 for each 10 units/4184 kJ (1000 kcal); 95 % CI 1·04, 1·33). No associations were observed for starch or GI. Our findings suggest that high intake of total sugars and GL are associated with greater risk of ovarian cancer in African-American women.