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We summarize some of the past year's most important findings within climate change-related research. New research has improved our understanding of Earth's sensitivity to carbon dioxide, finds that permafrost thaw could release more carbon emissions than expected and that the uptake of carbon in tropical ecosystems is weakening. Adverse impacts on human society include increasing water shortages and impacts on mental health. Options for solutions emerge from rethinking economic models, rights-based litigation, strengthened governance systems and a new social contract. The disruption caused by COVID-19 could be seized as an opportunity for positive change, directing economic stimulus towards sustainable investments.
A synthesis is made of ten fields within climate science where there have been significant advances since mid-2019, through an expert elicitation process with broad disciplinary scope. Findings include: (1) a better understanding of equilibrium climate sensitivity; (2) abrupt thaw as an accelerator of carbon release from permafrost; (3) changes to global and regional land carbon sinks; (4) impacts of climate change on water crises, including equity perspectives; (5) adverse effects on mental health from climate change; (6) immediate effects on climate of the COVID-19 pandemic and requirements for recovery packages to deliver on the Paris Agreement; (7) suggested long-term changes to governance and a social contract to address climate change, learning from the current pandemic, (8) updated positive cost–benefit ratio and new perspectives on the potential for green growth in the short- and long-term perspective; (9) urban electrification as a strategy to move towards low-carbon energy systems and (10) rights-based litigation as an increasingly important method to address climate change, with recent clarifications on the legal standing and representation of future generations.
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Stronger permafrost thaw, COVID-19 effects and growing mental health impacts among highlights of latest climate science.
Gravitational waves from coalescing neutron stars encode information about nuclear matter at extreme densities, inaccessible by laboratory experiments. The late inspiral is influenced by the presence of tides, which depend on the neutron star equation of state. Neutron star mergers are expected to often produce rapidly rotating remnant neutron stars that emit gravitational waves. These will provide clues to the extremely hot post-merger environment. This signature of nuclear matter in gravitational waves contains most information in the 2–4 kHz frequency band, which is outside of the most sensitive band of current detectors. We present the design concept and science case for a Neutron Star Extreme Matter Observatory (NEMO): a gravitational-wave interferometer optimised to study nuclear physics with merging neutron stars. The concept uses high-circulating laser power, quantum squeezing, and a detector topology specifically designed to achieve the high-frequency sensitivity necessary to probe nuclear matter using gravitational waves. Above 1 kHz, the proposed strain sensitivity is comparable to full third-generation detectors at a fraction of the cost. Such sensitivity changes expected event rates for detection of post-merger remnants from approximately one per few decades with two A+ detectors to a few per year and potentially allow for the first gravitational-wave observations of supernovae, isolated neutron stars, and other exotica.
Microvascular health is a main determinant of coronary blood flow reserve and myocardial vascular resistance. Extracardiac capillary abnormality has been reported in subjects at increased coronary heart disease risk, such as prehypertension, hypertension, diabetes, hyperlipidemia, and atherosclerosis. We have reported cardiovascular dysfunction in a cohort of maternal nutrient reduction (MNR)-induced intrauterine growth restriction (IUGR) baboon offspring. Here we test the hypothesis that there is oral capillary rarefaction associated with MNR-induced IUGR. Capillary density was quantified using in vivo high-power capillaroscopy on seven middle-aged (~10.7 yr; human equivalent ~40 yr) male IUGR baboons and seven male age-matched controls in the lateral buccal and inferior labial mucosa. While no difference was found between groups in either area by fraction area or optical density for these vascular beds derived from fetal preductal vessels, further studies are needed on post-ductal vascular beds, retina, and function.
We describe four new species in the genus Cymatodera Gray (Coleoptera: Cleridae: Tillinae): Cymatodera acuminata and Cymatodera unica from Mexico, Cymatodera parva from El Salvador and Honduras, and Cymatodera magdalena from Colombia. A distribution map of the new species is given. All relevant diagnostic characters are extensively figured and discussed. Finally, we include some biogeographic and taxonomic remarks for selected species.
Despite established clinical associations among major depression (MD), alcohol dependence (AD), and alcohol consumption (AC), the nature of the causal relationship between them is not completely understood. We leveraged genome-wide data from the Psychiatric Genomics Consortium (PGC) and UK Biobank to test for the presence of shared genetic mechanisms and causal relationships among MD, AD, and AC.
Linkage disequilibrium score regression and Mendelian randomization (MR) were performed using genome-wide data from the PGC (MD: 135 458 cases and 344 901 controls; AD: 10 206 cases and 28 480 controls) and UK Biobank (AC-frequency: 438 308 individuals; AC-quantity: 307 098 individuals).
Positive genetic correlation was observed between MD and AD (rgMD−AD = + 0.47, P = 6.6 × 10−10). AC-quantity showed positive genetic correlation with both AD (rgAD−AC quantity = + 0.75, P = 1.8 × 10−14) and MD (rgMD−AC quantity = + 0.14, P = 2.9 × 10−7), while there was negative correlation of AC-frequency with MD (rgMD−AC frequency = −0.17, P = 1.5 × 10−10) and a non-significant result with AD. MR analyses confirmed the presence of pleiotropy among these four traits. However, the MD-AD results reflect a mediated-pleiotropy mechanism (i.e. causal relationship) with an effect of MD on AD (beta = 0.28, P = 1.29 × 10−6). There was no evidence for reverse causation.
This study supports a causal role for genetic liability of MD on AD based on genetic datasets including thousands of individuals. Understanding mechanisms underlying MD-AD comorbidity addresses important public health concerns and has the potential to facilitate prevention and intervention efforts.
The ability of the aorta to buffer blood flow and provide diastolic perfusion (Windkessel function) is a determinant of cardiovascular health. We have reported cardiac dysfunction indicating downstream vascular abnormalities in young adult baboons who were intrauterine growth restricted (IUGR) at birth as a result of moderate maternal nutrient reduction. Using 3 T MRI, we examined IUGR offspring (eight male, eight female; 5.7 years; human equivalent 25 years) and age-matched controls (eight male, eight female; 5.6 years) to quantify distal descending aortic cross-section (AC) and distensibility (AD). ANOVA showed decreased IUGR AC/body surface area (0.9±0.05 cm2/m2v. 1.2±0.06 cm2/m2, M±s.e.m., P<0.005) and AD (1.7±0.2 v. 4.0±0.5×10−3/mmHg, P<0.005) without sex difference or group-sex interaction, suggesting intrinsic vascular pathology and impaired development persisting in adulthood. Future studies should evaluate potential consequences of these changes on coronary perfusion, afterload and blood pressure.
The Wisconsin Plasma Astrophysics Laboratory (WiPAL) is a flexible user facility designed to study a range of astrophysically relevant plasma processes as well as novel geometries that mimic astrophysical systems. A multi-cusp magnetic bucket constructed from strong samarium cobalt permanent magnets now confines a
, fully ionized, magnetic-field-free plasma in a spherical geometry. Plasma parameters of
provide an ideal testbed for a range of astrophysical experiments, including self-exciting dynamos, collisionless magnetic reconnection, jet stability, stellar winds and more. This article describes the capabilities of WiPAL, along with several experiments, in both operating and planning stages, that illustrate the range of possibilities for future users.
We conducted infrared spectroscopic observations of bright stars in the direction of the molecular clouds W33 and GMC G23.3 − 0.3. We compared stellar spectro-photometric distances with parallactic distances to these regions, and we were able to assess the association of the detected massive stars with these molecular complexes. The spatial and temporal distributions of the detected stars enabled us to locate sources of ionizing radiation and to gather precise information on the star formation history of these clouds. The studied clouds present different distributions of massive stars.
The public health burden of alcohol is unevenly distributed across the life course, with levels of use, abuse, and dependence increasing across adolescence and peaking in early adulthood. Here, we leverage this temporal patterning to search for common genetic variants predicting developmental trajectories of alcohol consumption. Comparable psychiatric evaluations measuring alcohol consumption were collected in three longitudinal community samples (N = 2,126, obs = 12,166). Consumption-repeated measurements spanning adolescence and early adulthood were analyzed using linear mixed models, estimating individual consumption trajectories, which were then tested for association with Illumina 660W-Quad genotype data (866,099 SNPs after imputation and QC). Association results were combined across samples using standard meta-analysis methods. Four meta-analysis associations satisfied our pre-determined genome-wide significance criterion (FDR < 0.1) and six others met our ‘suggestive’ criterion (FDR <0.2). Genome-wide significant associations were highly biological plausible, including associations within GABA transporter 1, SLC6A1 (solute carrier family 6, member 1), and exonic hits in LOC100129340 (mitofusin-1-like). Pathway analyses elaborated single marker results, indicating significant enriched associations to intuitive biological mechanisms, including neurotransmission, xenobiotic pharmacodynamics, and nuclear hormone receptors (NHR). These findings underscore the value of combining longitudinal behavioral data and genome-wide genotype information in order to study developmental patterns and improve statistical power in genomic studies.
Our objective was to determine whether a Symbol Search paradigm developed for functional magnetic resonance imaging (FMRI) is a reliable and valid measure of cognitive processing speed (CPS) in healthy older adults. As all older adults are expected to experience cognitive declines due to aging, and CPS is one of the domains most affected by age, establishing a reliable and valid measure of CPS that can be administered inside an MR scanner may prove invaluable in future clinical and research settings. We evaluated the reliability and construct validity of a newly developed FMRI Symbol Search task by comparing participants’ performance in and outside of the scanner and to the widely used and standardized Symbol Search subtest of the Wechsler Adult Intelligence Scale (WAIS). A brief battery of neuropsychological measures was also administered to assess the convergent and discriminant validity of the FMRI Symbol Search task. The FMRI Symbol Search task demonstrated high test–retest reliability when compared to performance on the same task administered out of the scanner (r=.791; p<.001). The criterion validity of the new task was supported, as it exhibited a strong positive correlation with the WAIS Symbol Search (r=.717; p<.001). Predicted convergent and discriminant validity patterns of the FMRI Symbol Search task were also observed. The FMRI Symbol Search task is a reliable and valid measure of CPS in healthy older adults and exhibits expected sensitivity to the effects of age on CPS performance. (JINS, 2015, 22, 1–8)
Increasing rates of young people not in education, employment or training (NEETs) are a cause of concern both in Ireland and internationally, but little longitudinal research has examined the link between psychiatric disorder in young people and NEET status.
The Challenging Times (CT) Study is a longitudinal, population-based study of psychopathology among 212 young Irish people. Clinical interviews were performed at two time points: 12–15 years and 19–24 years.
NEET status in young adulthood was associated with a sevenfold increased risk of current suicidal ideation. This result was independent of prior adolescent mental disorder. NEET young people had a fourfold increased odds of being diagnosed with a mental disorder in childhood or early adolescence compared with their economically active peers. NEET young people were at an almost threefold increased risk of any mental health disorder a twofold increased risk of anxiety disorder and threefold increased odds of suicide attempts over their lifetime compared with economically active peers.
NEET young people are at increased risk for mental disorder and suicidal ideation. The association is bidirectional, as prior mental disorder in adolescence appeared to account for much of the association between NEET status and current mental health problems. However, economic inactivity conveys an increased risk for suicidal ideation over and above that due to prior disorder. Our findings provide a compelling economic and societal argument for early intervention and treatment of mental disorder and the importance of vocational interventions for reducing suicide risk in young adults.
There is a lack of epidemiological research on the mental health of young adults in Ireland.
To determine prevalence of psychiatric disorders in a cohort of young Irish adults.
The Challenging Times study was a landmark study of the prevalence of psychiatric disorders in adolescents in North Dublin, Ireland: 212 school children aged 12-15 years were recruited through schools and interviewed using the K-SADS semi-structured diagnostic instrument. This cohort was traced again at age 19-24 years (mean age 20.8 years) and interviewed using SCID I & II. Main outcome measures were current and lifetime Axis I and Axis II psychiatric disorders.
Follow-up rate was 80%. Using a weighted population prevalence analysis 19.8% of the cohort had a current mental disorder, 56.0% had a lifetime mental disorder of whom 28.4% had mood disorders, 27.1% had anxiety disorders, 22.7% had substance use disorders; 25.4% had lifetime multi-morbidity. Cluster A personality disorders were found in 2.3%. Lifetime prevalence of binge-drinking was 75.0%, cannabis use 65% and 17% of young adults had fulfilled criteria for an alcohol use disorder at sometime in their life. Lifetime prevalence of suicidal thoughts/behaviour was 21.1%.
Lifetime prevalence of psychiatric disorder and substance use were high in this sample of young Irish adults. Mental Health service provision for this age group is a priority. Larger studies of nationally representative samples are needed to inform service development.
Altered corticostriatothalamic encoding of reinforcement is a core feature of depression. Here we examine reinforcement learning in late-life depression in the theoretical framework of the vascular depression hypothesis. This hypothesis attributes the co-occurrence of late-life depression and poor executive control to prefrontal/cingulate disconnection by vascular lesions.
Our fMRI study compared 31 patients aged ⩾60 years with major depression to 16 controls. Using a computational model, we estimated neural and behavioral responses to reinforcement in an uncertain, changing environment (probabilistic reversal learning).
Poor executive control and depression each explained distinct variance in corticostriatothalamic response to unexpected rewards. Depression, but not poor executive control, predicted disrupted functional connectivity between the striatum and prefrontal cortex. White-matter hyperintensities predicted diminished corticostriatothalamic responses to reinforcement, but did not mediate effects of depression or executive control. In two independent samples, poor executive control predicted a failure to persist with rewarded actions, an effect distinct from depressive oversensitivity to punishment. The findings were unchanged in a subsample of participants with vascular disease. Results were robust to effects of confounders including psychiatric comorbidities, physical illness, depressive severity, and psychotropic exposure.
Contrary to the predictions of the vascular depression hypothesis, altered encoding of rewards in late-life depression is dissociable from impaired contingency learning associated with poor executive control. Functional connectivity and behavioral analyses point to a disruption of ascending mesostriatocortical reward signals in late-life depression and a failure of cortical contingency encoding in elderly with poor executive control.