To send content items to your account,
please confirm that you agree to abide by our usage policies.
If this is the first time you use this feature, you will be asked to authorise Cambridge Core to connect with your account.
Find out more about sending content to .
To send content items to your Kindle, first ensure email@example.com
is added to your Approved Personal Document E-mail List under your Personal Document Settings
on the Manage Your Content and Devices page of your Amazon account. Then enter the ‘name’ part
of your Kindle email address below.
Find out more about sending to your Kindle.
Note you can select to send to either the @free.kindle.com or @kindle.com variations.
‘@free.kindle.com’ emails are free but can only be sent to your device when it is connected to wi-fi.
‘@kindle.com’ emails can be delivered even when you are not connected to wi-fi, but note that service fees apply.
Recent cases of acute kidney injury due to Seoul hantavirus infection from exposure to wild or pet fancy rats suggest this infection is increasing in prevalence in the UK. We conducted a seroprevalence study in England to estimate cumulative exposure in at-risk groups with contact with domesticated and wild rats to assess risk and inform public health advice. From October 2013 to June 2014, 844 individual blood samples were collected. Hantavirus seroprevalence amongst the pet fancy rat owner group was 34.1% (95% CI 23·9–45·7%) compared with 3·3% (95% CI 1·6–6·0) in a baseline control group, 2·4% in those with occupational exposure to pet fancy rats (95% CI 0·6–5·9) and 1·7% with occupational exposure to wild rats (95% CI 0·2–5·9). Variation in seroprevalence across groups with different exposure suggests that occupational exposure to pet and wild rats carries a very low risk, if any. However incidence of hantavirus infection among pet fancy rat owners/breeders, whether asymptomatic, undiagnosed mild viral illness or more severe disease may be very common and public health advice needs to be targeted to this at-risk group.
Resilience is the capacity of individuals to resist mental disorders despite exposure to stress. Little is known about its neural underpinnings. The putative variation of white-matter microstructure with resilience in adolescence, a critical period for brain maturation and onset of high-prevalence mental disorders, has not been assessed by diffusion tensor imaging (DTI). Lower fractional anisotropy (FA) though, has been reported in the corpus callosum (CC), the brain's largest white-matter structure, in psychiatric and stress-related conditions. We hypothesized that higher FA in the CC would characterize stress-resilient adolescents.
Three groups of adolescents recruited from the community were compared: resilient with low risk of mental disorder despite high exposure to lifetime stress (n = 55), at-risk of mental disorder exposed to the same level of stress (n = 68), and controls (n = 123). Personality was assessed by the NEO-Five Factor Inventory (NEO-FFI). Voxelwise statistics of DTI values in CC were obtained using tract-based spatial statistics. Regional projections were identified by probabilistic tractography.
Higher FA values were detected in the anterior CC of resilient compared to both non-resilient and control adolescents. FA values varied according to resilience capacity. Seed regional changes in anterior CC projected onto anterior cingulate and frontal cortex. Neuroticism and three other NEO-FFI factor scores differentiated non-resilient participants from the other two groups.
High FA was detected in resilient adolescents in an anterior CC region projecting to frontal areas subserving cognitive resources. Psychiatric risk was associated with personality characteristics. Resilience in adolescence may be related to white-matter microstructure.
Restoration in Mediterranean-climate grasslands is strongly impeded by lack of native propagules and competition with exotic grasses and forbs. We report on a study testing several methods for exotic plant control combined with planting native grasses to restore prairies in former agricultural land in coastal California. Specifically we compared tarping (shading out recently germinated seedlings with black plastic) once, tarping twice, topsoil removal, herbicide (glyphosate), and a control treatment in factorial combinations with or without wood mulch. Into each treatment we planted three native grass species (Elymus glaucus, Hordeum brachyantherum, and Stipa pulchra) and monitored plant survival and cover for three growing seasons. Survival of native grass species was high in all treatments, but was slightly lower in unmulched soil removal and control treatments in the first 2 yr. Mulching, tarping, and herbicide were all effective in reducing exotic grass cover and enhancing native grass cover for the first 2 yr, but by the third growing season cover of the plant guilds and bare ground had mostly converged, primarily because of the declining effects of the initial treatments. Mulching and tarping were both considerably more expensive than herbicide treatment. Topsoil removal was less effective in increasing native grass cover likely because soil removal altered the surface hydrology in this system. Our results show that several treatments were effective in enhancing native grass establishment, but that longer term monitoring is needed to evaluate the efficacy of restoration efforts. The most appropriate approach to controlling exotics to restore specific grassland sites will depend not only on the effectiveness, but also on relative costs and site constraints.
The ability to discriminate biogenic from abiogenic calcium carbonate (CaCO3) would be useful in the search for extant or extinct life, since CaCO3 can be produced by both biotic and abiotic processes on Earth. Bioprecipitated CaCO3 material was produced during the growth of heterotrophic microbial isolates on medium enriched with calcium acetate or calcium citrate. These biologically produced CaCO3, along with natural and synthetic non-biologically produced CaCO3 samples, were analysed by reflectance spectroscopy (0.35–2.5 μm), Raman spectroscopy (532 and 785 nm), and laser-induced fluorescence spectroscopy (365 and 405 nm excitation). Optimal instruments for the discrimination of biogenic from abiogenic CaCO3 were determined to be reflectance spectroscopy, and laser-induced fluorescence spectroscopy. Multiple absorption features in the visible light region occurred in reflectance spectra for most biogenic CaCO3 samples, which are likely due to organic pigments. Multiple fluorescence peaks occurred in emission spectra (405 nm excitation) of biogenic CaCO3 samples, which also are best attributed to the presence of organic compounds; however, further analyses must be performed in order to better determine the cause of these features to establish criteria for confirming the origin of a given CaCO3 sample. Raman spectroscopy was not useful for discrimination since any potential Raman peaks in spectra of biogenic carbonates collected by both the 532 and 785 nm lasers were overwhelmed by fluorescence. However, this also suggests that biogenic carbonates may be identified by the presence of this organic-associated fluorescence. No reliable spectroscopic differences in terms of parameters such as positions or widths of carbonate-associated absorption bands were found between the biogenic and abiogenic carbonate samples. These results indicate that the presence or absence of organic matter intimately associated with carbonate minerals is the only potentially useful spectral discriminator for the techniques that were examined, and that multiple spectroscopic techniques are capable of detecting the presence of associated organic materials. However, the presence or absence of intimately associated organic matter is not, in itself, an indicator of biogenicity.
Our previous work identified deficits in interference processing and learning/memory in past suicide attempters who were currently depressed and medication-free. In this study, we extend this work to an independent sample studied at various stages of illness and treatment (mild symptoms, on average) to determine if these deficits in past suicide attempters are evident during a less severe clinical state.
A total of 80 individuals with a past history of major depression and suicide attempt were compared with 81 individuals with a history of major depression and no lifetime suicide attempts on a battery of neurocognitive measures assessing attention, memory, abstract/contingent learning, working memory, language fluency and impulse control.
Past attempters performed more poorly in attention, memory and working memory domains, but also in an estimate of pre-morbid intelligence. After correction for this estimate, tests that had previously distinguished past attempters – a computerized Stroop task and the Buschke Selective Reminding Test – remained significantly worse in attempters. In a secondary analysis, similar differences were found among those with the lowest levels of depression (Hamilton Depression Rating Scale score <10), suggesting that these deficits may be trait markers independent of current symptomatology.
Deficits in interference processing and learning/memory constitute an enduring defect in information processing that may contribute to poor adaptation, other higher-order cognitive impairments and risk for suicidal behavior.
It has been suggested that in addition to genetic factors, fetal and post-natal growth influence cognition in early adulthood. However, most studies have been in developed populations, so it is unclear if the same findings would be seen in other, less developed, settings, and have used testing tools not applicable to an Australia Aboriginal population. This study investigated the relationships between cognitive function in early adulthood and birth weight and contemporary height. Simple reaction time (SRT), choice reaction time (CRT) and working memory (WM) were assessed using the CogState battery. A significant association was seen between birth weight and SRT in early adulthood, but not with the other two cognitive measures. Urban dwellers had significantly shorter SRT and CRT than their remote counterparts. Contemporary body mass index and maternal age were associated with CRT. Only fetal growth restriction was associated with WM, with greater WM in those with restricted growth. No associations were seen with contemporary height. These results suggest that fetal growth may be more important than the factors influencing post-natal growth in terms of cognition in early adulthood in this population, but that the associations may be inconsistent between cognitive outcomes. Further research is required to identify whether similar associations are seen in other, similar, populations and to assess why differences in cognitive outcome measures are seen.
Spring and evaporite deposits are considered two of the most promising environments for past habitability on Mars and preservation of biosignatures. Manitoba, Canada hosts the East German Creek (EGC) hypersaline spring complex, and the post impact evaporite gypsum beds of the Lake St. Martin (LSM) impact. The EGC complex has microbial mats, sediments, algae and biofabrics, while endolithic communities are ubiquitous in the LSM gypsum beds. These communities are spectrally detectable based largely on the presence of a chlorophyll absorption band at 670 nm; however, the robustness of this feature under Martian surface conditions was unclear. Biological and biology-bearing samples from EGC and LSM were exposed to conditions similar to the surface of present day Mars (high UV flux, 100 mbar, anoxic, CO2 rich) for up to 44 days, and preservation of the 670 nm chlorophyll feature and chlorophyll red-edge was observed. A decrease in band depth of the 670 nm band ranging from ∼16 to 80% resulted, with correlations seen in the degree of preservation and the spatial proximity of samples to the spring mound and mineral shielding effects. The spectra were deconvolved to Mars Exploration Rover (MER) Pancam and Mars Science Laboratory (MSL) Mastcam science filter bandpasses to investigate the detectability of the 670 nm feature and to compare with common mineral features. The red-edge and 670 nm feature associated with chlorophyll can be distinguished from the spectra of minerals with features below ∼1000 nm, such as hematite and jarosite. However, distinguishing goethite from samples with the chlorophyll feature is more problematic, and quantitative interpretation using band depth data makes little distinction between iron oxyhydroxides and the 670 nm chlorophyll feature. The chlorophyll spectral feature is observable in both Pancam and Mastcam, and we propose that of the proposed EXOMARS Pancam filters, the PHYLL filter is best suited for its detection.
In light of increasing global protein prices and with the need to reduce environmental impact of contemporary systems of milk production, the current review seeks to assess the feasibility of reducing levels of dietary CP in dairy cow diets. At CP levels between 140 and 220 g/kg DM there is a strong positive relationship between CP concentration and dry matter intake (DMI). However, such effects are modest and reductions in DMI when dietary CP is below 180 g/kg DM can be at least partially offset by improving the digestibility and amino acid profile of the undegradable protein (UDP) component of the diet or by increasing rumen fermentable energy. Level and balance of intestinally absorbable amino acids, in particular methionine and lysine, may become limiting at lower CP concentrations. In general the amino acid composition of microbial protein is superior to that of UDP, so that dietary strategies that aim to promote microbial protein synthesis in the rumen may go some way to correcting for amino acid imbalances in low CP diets. For example, reducing the level of NDF, while increasing the proportion of starch, can lead to improvements in nitrogen (N) utilisation as great as that achieved by reducing dietary CP to below 150 g/kg. A systematic review and meta-analysis of responses to rumen protected forms of methionine and lysine was conducted for early/mid lactation cows fed diets containing ⩽150 g CP/kg DM. This analysis revealed a small but significant (P=0.002) increase in milk protein yield when cows were supplemented with these rumen protected amino acids. Variation in milk and milk protein yield responses between studies was not random but due to differences in diet composition between studies. Cows fed low CP diets can respond to supplemental methionine and lysine so long as DMI is not limiting, metabolisable protein (MP) is not grossly deficient and other amino acids such as histidine and leucine do not become rate limiting. Whereas excess dietary protein can impair reproduction and can contribute to lameness, there is no evidence to indicate that reducing dietary CP levels to around 140 to 150 g CP/kg DM will have any detrimental effect on either cow fertility or health. Contemporary models that estimate MP requirements of dairy cows may require refinement and further validation in order to predict responses with low CP diets.
Executive dysfunction, distinct from other cognitive deficits in depression, has been associated with suicidal behavior. However, this dysfunction is not found consistently across samples.
Medication-free subjects with DSM-IV major depressive episode (major depressive disorder and bipolar type I disorder) and a past history of suicidal behavior (n = 72) were compared to medication-free depressed subjects with no history of suicidal behavior (n = 80) and healthy volunteers (n = 56) on a battery of tests assessing neuropsychological functions typically affected by depression (motor and psychomotor speed, attention, memory) and executive functions reportedly impaired in suicide attempters (abstract/contingent learning, working memory, language fluency, impulse control).
All of the depressed subjects performed worse than healthy volunteers on motor, psychomotor and language fluency tasks. Past suicide attempters, in turn, performed worse than depressed non-attempters on attention and memory/working memory tasks [a computerized Stroop task, the Buschke Selective Reminding Task (SRT), the Benton Visual Retention Test (VRT) and an N-back task] but not on other executive function measures, including a task associated with ventral prefrontal function (Object Alternation). Deficits were not accounted for by current suicidal ideation or the lethality of past attempts. A small subsample of those using a violent method in their most lethal attempt showed a pattern of poor executive performance.
Deficits in specific components of attention control, memory and working memory were associated with suicidal behavior in a sample where non-violent attempt predominated. Broader executive dysfunction in depression may be associated with specific forms of suicidal behavior, rather than suicidal behavior per se.
National and international policies have encouraged the establishment of a representative network of marine protected areas (MPAs) in South Africa, with the aim of protecting marine biodiversity. The extent to which these marine and estuarine protected areas (EPAs) represent marine fish species and communities was assessed by comparing their species compositions with those of exploited areas, as sampled using four fishing techniques. Seven hundred fish species were sampled, representing one-third of South Africa's marine fishes. MPAs in coastal habitats scored c. 40% on the Bray-Curtis measure of similarity for species representativeness, but this score declined markedly for offshore ‘trawlable’ fishing grounds. The combined effects of sampling error, temporal variation and the effects of fishing on relative abundance suggest that 80% similarity would be the maximum achieveable. Forty-nine per cent of all fish species that were recorded were found in the 14 MPAs sampled. Redundancy in the MPA network was low, with fish species most commonly being represented in only one MPA or absent. There was greater redundancy in the 33 EPAs, with 40% of species being found in two or more EPAs, but many of these estuaries were adjacent to each other and embedded in large MPAs. Deep water fish communities (>80 m deep) and communities located on the west and south-east coasts of South Africa were most poorly represented by MPAs. Routine fishery surveys provide a robust and repeatable opportunity to assess species representativeness in MPAs, and the method used could form the basis of an operational definition of ‘representative’. In contrast to an assessment based on presence-absence data, this analysis of quantitative data presents a more pessimistic assessment of protection.
Selection designs and futility designs offer investigators a way to screen potential therapies in early phase clinical research with fewer patients than would be required for a traditional phase 3 trial for each candidate. There are some avoidable-pitfalls when planning a futility study. The first is that if the sample size is too small, a rather awkward situation can arise. The last pitfall relates to the use of historical control data in the single-arm design. Selection procedures offer an attractive approach to the problem of screening potentially good treatments. There are many different procedures for general ranking and selection goals such as selection from among more than two treatments, selection of best subsets of treatments, and ranking treatments in order of efficacy. Although selection procedures efficiently achieve their goal of selecting best treatments, the desire to 'test something' with an accompanying statement of statistical significance seems irresistible.