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In Scotland, the base of the Ballagan Formation has traditionally been placed at the first grey mudstone within a contiguous Late Devonian to Carboniferous succession. This convention places the Devonian–Carboniferous boundary within the Old Red Sandstone (ORS) Kinnesswood Formation. The consequences of this placement are that tetrapods from the Ballagan Formation were dated as late Tournaisian in age and that the ranges of typically Devonian fish found in the Kinnesswood Formation continued into the Carboniferous. The Pease Bay specimen of the fish Remigolepis is from the Kinnesswood Formation. Comparisons with its range in Greenland, calibrated against spores, show it was Famennian in age. Detailed palynological sampling at Burnmouth from the base of the Ballagan Formation proves that the early Tournaisian spore zones (VI and HD plus Cl 1) are present. The Schopfites species that occurs through most of the succession is Schopfites delicatus rather than Schopfites claviger. The latter species defines the late Tournaisian CM spore zone. The first spore assemblage that has been found in Upper ‘ORS' strata underlying the Ballagan Formation (Preston, Whiteadder Water), contains Retispora lepidophyta and is from the early latest Famennian LL spore zone. The spore samples are interbedded with volcaniclastic debris, which shows that the Kelso Volcanic Formation is, in part, early latest Famennian in age. These findings demonstrate that the Ballagan Formation includes most of the Tournaisian with the Devonian–Carboniferous boundary positioned close to the top of the Kinnesswood Formation. The Stage 6 calcrete at Pease Bay can be correlated to the equivalent section at Carham, showing that it represents a time gap equivalent to the latest Famennian glaciation(s). Importantly, some of the recently described Ballagan Formation tetrapods are older than previously dated and now fill the key early part of Romer's Gap.
The lower Mississippian Ballagan Formation of northern Britain is one of only two successions worldwide to yield the earliest known tetrapods with terrestrial capability following the end-Devonian mass extinction event. Studies of the sedimentary environments and habitats in which these beasts lived have been an integral part of a major research project into how, why and under what circumstances this profound step in the evolution of life on Earth occurred. Here, a new palaeogeographic map is constructed from outcrop data integrated with new and archived borehole material. The map shows the extent of a very low-relief coastal wetland developed along the tropical southern continental margin of Laurussia. Coastal floodplains in the Midland Valley and Tweed basins were separated from the marginal marine seaway of the Northumberland–Solway Basin to the south by an archipelago of more elevated areas. A complex mosaic of sedimentary environments was juxtaposed, and included fresh and brackish to saline and hypersaline lakes, a diverse suite of floodplain palaeosols and a persistent fluvial system in the east of the region. The strongly seasonal climate led to the formation of evaporite deposits alternating with flooding events, both meteoric and marine. Storm surges drove marine floods from the SW into both the western Midland Valley and Northumberland–Solway Basin; marine water also flooded into the Tweed Basin and Tayside in the east. The Ballagan Formation is a rare example in the geological record of a tropical, seasonal coastal wetland that contains abundant, small-scale evaporite deposits. The diverse sedimentary environments and palaeosol types indicate a network of different terrestrial and aquatic habitats in which the tetrapods lived.
On 27 April 2015, Washington health authorities identified Escherichia coli O157:H7 infections associated with dairy education school field trips held in a barn 20–24 April. Investigation objectives were to determine the magnitude of the outbreak, identify the source of infection, prevent secondary illness transmission and develop recommendations to prevent future outbreaks. Case-finding, hypothesis generating interviews, environmental site visits and a case–control study were conducted. Parents and children were interviewed regarding event activities. Odds ratios (OR) and 95% confidence intervals (CI) were computed. Environmental testing was conducted in the barn; isolates were compared to patient isolates using pulsed-field gel electrophoresis (PFGE). Sixty people were ill, 11 (18%) were hospitalised and six (10%) developed haemolytic uremic syndrome. Ill people ranged in age from <1 year to 47 years (median: 7), and 20 (33%) were female. Twenty-seven case-patients and 88 controls were enrolled in the case–control study. Among first-grade students, handwashing (i.e. soap and water, or hand sanitiser) before lunch was protective (adjusted OR 0.13; 95% CI 0.02–0.88, P = 0.04). Barn samples yielded E. coli O157:H7 with PFGE patterns indistinguishable from patient isolates. This investigation provided epidemiological, laboratory and environmental evidence for a large outbreak of E. coli O157:H7 infections from exposure to a contaminated barn. The investigation highlights the often overlooked risk of infection through exposure to animal environments as well as the importance of handwashing for disease prevention. Increased education and encouragement of infection prevention measures, such as handwashing, can prevent illness.
An internationally approved and globally used classification scheme for the diagnosis of CHD has long been sought. The International Paediatric and Congenital Cardiac Code (IPCCC), which was produced and has been maintained by the International Society for Nomenclature of Paediatric and Congenital Heart Disease (the International Nomenclature Society), is used widely, but has spawned many “short list” versions that differ in content depending on the user. Thus, efforts to have a uniform identification of patients with CHD using a single up-to-date and coordinated nomenclature system continue to be thwarted, even if a common nomenclature has been used as a basis for composing various “short lists”. In an attempt to solve this problem, the International Nomenclature Society has linked its efforts with those of the World Health Organization to obtain a globally accepted nomenclature tree for CHD within the 11th iteration of the International Classification of Diseases (ICD-11). The International Nomenclature Society has submitted a hierarchical nomenclature tree for CHD to the World Health Organization that is expected to serve increasingly as the “short list” for all communities interested in coding for congenital cardiology. This article reviews the history of the International Classification of Diseases and of the IPCCC, and outlines the process used in developing the ICD-11 congenital cardiac disease diagnostic list and the definitions for each term on the list. An overview of the content of the congenital heart anomaly section of the Foundation Component of ICD-11, published herein in its entirety, is also included. Future plans for the International Nomenclature Society include linking again with the World Health Organization to tackle procedural nomenclature as it relates to cardiac malformations. By doing so, the Society will continue its role in standardising nomenclature for CHD across the globe, thereby promoting research and better outcomes for fetuses, children, and adults with congenital heart anomalies.
This paper discusses results from the second phase of the European Ice Sheet Modelling Initiative (EISMINT). It reports the intercomparison of ten operational ice-sheet models and uses a series of experiments to examine the implications of thermomechanical coupling for model behaviour. A schematic, circular ice sheet is used in the work which investigates both steady states and the response to stepped changes in climate. The major finding is that the radial symmetry implied in the experimental design can, under certain circumstances, break down with the formation of distinct, regularly spaced spokes of cold ice which extended from the interior of the ice sheet outward to the surrounding zone of basal melt. These features also manifest themselves in the thickness and velocity distributions predicted by the models. They appear to be a common feature to all of the models which took part in the intercomparison, and may stem from interactions between ice temperature, flow and surface form. The exact nature of these features varies between models, and their existence appears to be controlled by the overall thermal regime of the ice sheet. A second result is that there is considerable agreement between the models in their predictions of global-scale response to imposed climate change.
A robust marine radiocarbon (14C) reservoir correction (ΔR) is essential for calibrating 14C dates of marine mollusks and fish bones routinely found in archaeological sites as discarded food remains and bones of terrestrial animals (including humans) with an appreciable marine diet. New ΔR values are reported for the atoll archipelago of the Marshall Islands, eastern Micronesia. Atolls consist of biogenetic material—mostly coral and foraminifera—that can be directly dated for establishing sequences of atoll emergence and islet development. After sectioning and examination using scanning electron microscopy (SEM) to screen for sample diagenesis, 6 pristine branch coral samples were selected from the modern oceanside beach, 3 archaeological sites, and islet developmental facies from Ebon Atoll (4º34′N, 168º41′E). Each sample was analyzed by U-series and accelerator mass spectrometry (AMS) 14C showing no substantial temporal ΔR variations and yielding a weighted mean ΔR of 41±42 yr1 spanning ~500 yr before earliest human colonization (the period when islets first became habitable) through the entire 2000-yr occupation sequence. Reliable published ΔR values for Micronesia and Δ14C data for Palmyra Island, together with our results for Ebon Atoll, indicate that the Pacific North Equatorial Counter Current is almost stable for the past 2500 yr.
Advances in agricultural machinery, information and sensor technology have led to an increasing amount of data that is available spatially both pre and within season. The case is compelling for the spatialisation of existing, non-spatial (field-scale) crop models that can accommodate this ‘big data’ and lead to more precise predictions of yield and quality and an improved field management. This study explores the conceptual spatial models based on the potato crop models that simulate crop physical and physiological processes and predict yields and graded yields at a field-scale. Through exploring the possible spatial scales and model application approaches considering spatial variation an optimal and more effective solution is expected. Issues concerning model quality and uncertainty are also discussed.
Salmonella is a leading cause of bacterial foodborne illness. We report the collaborative investigative efforts of US and Canadian public health officials during the 2013–2014 international outbreak of multiple Salmonella serotype infections linked to sprouted chia seed powder. The investigation included open-ended interviews of ill persons, traceback, product testing, facility inspections, and trace forward. Ninety-four persons infected with outbreak strains from 16 states and four provinces were identified; 21% were hospitalized and none died. Fifty-four (96%) of 56 persons who consumed chia seed powder, reported 13 different brands that traced back to a single Canadian firm, distributed by four US and eight Canadian companies. Laboratory testing yielded outbreak strains from leftover and intact product. Contaminated product was recalled. Although chia seed powder is a novel outbreak vehicle, sprouted seeds are recognized as an important cause of foodborne illness; firms should follow available guidance to reduce the risk of bacterial contamination during sprouting.
This study used a multidisciplinary approach to evaluate the potential for hydroponic production of vegetable amaranth (Amaranthus cruentus) in Kenya. Hydroponic systems have potential for increased efficiency in water and land use, but their potential has not been critically evaluated in many developing countries. To address this gap in knowledge, this study assessed the nutritional density and economic viability of hydroponic systems built from local materials. Specifically, vegetable amaranth was grown hydroponically and evaluated for increased nutritional density of key micronutrients. Manipulation of the nutrient solution used in hydroponic systems changed the bioaccumulation of zinc, iron and carotenoids, which are three of the most common micronutrients lacking in Kenyan diets. Economic viability was assessed with a benefit-cost analysis that compared three different hydroponic systems to soil-based production and purchasing vegetables from local markets. This analysis showed that none of the hydroponic systems were profitable under current conditions, but sensitivity analyses revealed certain scenarios where they could become so. Overall, hydroponic production has the potential to create nutrient-dense crops with high levels of zinc, iron, or carotenoids. However, hydroponic systems may be better suited to crops of higher value than amaranth, areas where soil-based production is not an option, or regions where vegetable markets are not available.
The Dark Energy Survey is undertaking an observational programme imaging 1/4 of the southern hemisphere sky with unprecedented photometric accuracy. In the process of observing millions of faint stars and galaxies to constrain the parameters of the dark energy equation of state, the Dark Energy Survey will obtain pre-discovery images of the regions surrounding an estimated 100 gamma-ray bursts over 5 yr. Once gamma-ray bursts are detected by, e.g., the Swift satellite, the DES data will be extremely useful for follow-up observations by the transient astronomy community. We describe a recently-commissioned suite of software that listens continuously for automated notices of gamma-ray burst activity, collates information from archival DES data, and disseminates relevant data products back to the community in near-real-time. Of particular importance are the opportunities that non-public DES data provide for relative photometry of the optical counterparts of gamma-ray bursts, as well as for identifying key characteristics (e.g., photometric redshifts) of potential gamma-ray burst host galaxies. We provide the functional details of the DESAlert software, and its data products, and we show sample results from the application of DESAlert to numerous previously detected gamma-ray bursts, including the possible identification of several heretofore unknown gamma-ray burst hosts.
We utilized a disease progression model to predict the number of viraemic infections, cirrhotic cases, and liver-related deaths in the state of Rhode Island (RI) under four treatment scenarios: (1) current HCV treatment paradigm (about 215 patients treated annually, Medicaid reimbursement criteria fibrosis stage ⩾F3); (2) immediate scale-up of treatment (to 430 annually) and less restrictive Medicaid reimbursement criteria (fibrosis stage ⩾F2); (3) immediate treatment scale-up and no fibrosis stage-specific Medicaid reimbursement criteria (⩾F0); (4) an ‘elimination’ scenario (i.e. a continued treatment scale-up needed to achieve >90% reduction in viraemic cases by 2030). Under current treatment models, the number of cirrhotic cases and liver-related deaths will plateau and peak by 2030, respectively. Treatment scale-up with ⩾F2 and ⩾F0 fibrosis stage treatment criteria could reduce the number of cirrhotic cases by 21·7% and 10·0%, and the number of liver-related deaths by 19·3% and 7·4%, respectively by 2030. To achieve a >90% reduction in viraemic cases by 2030, over 2000 persons will need to be treated annually by 2020. This strategy could reduce cirrhosis cases and liver-related deaths by 78·9% and 72·4%, respectively by 2030. Increased HCV treatment uptake is needed to substantially reduce the burden of HCV by 2030 in Rhode Island.
Radiocarbon dating of marine samples requires a local marine reservoir correction, or ΔR value, for accurate age calibrations. For the Samoan Archipelago in the central Pacific, ΔR values have been proposed previously, but, unlike some Polynesian archipelagoes, ΔR values seem not to vary spatially and temporally. Here, we demonstrate such variability by reporting a ΔR of –101±72 ΔR for the Manu‘a Group—the eastern-most islands in the archipelago—for the colonization period. This value is based on accelerator mass spectrometry (AMS) 14C and uranium-thorium (U-Th) series dating of individual coral branches from pre-2300 cal BP archaeological contexts. This figure differs from the previously proposed modern ΔR of 28±26 yr derived from dated historic, pre-1950, shell samples from the western islands of Samoa. Consequently, we recommend using the ΔR of –101±72 yr for the 1st millennium BC in Manu‘a, and 28±26 yr for calibrating dates within the 2nd millennium AD in the western islands (Savai‘i to Tutuila). Until more data from across the archipelago and from throughout the entire culture-historical sequence document ΔR variability, we recommend that researchers use both of these ΔR values to evaluate how the dates of marine-derived samples compare with AMS dates on identified, short-lived wood charcoal.
The first application of U-series dating and accelerator mass spectrometry (AMS) assay of Polynesian archaeological Pocillopora spp. branch corals for deriving a precise local marine reservoir correction (ΔR) is described. Known-age corals were selected that spanned the entire culture-historical sequence for the Hawaiian Islands, thus eliminating the problem of not having known-age dated samples that cover the period of direct relevance to prehistorians; in this case, about AD 700–1800. Dating coral samples from windward and leeward coastlines of Moloka'i Island, with different offshore conditions such as upwelling, currents, wind patterns, coastal topography, and straight or embayed shorelines, provides insights into possible variations of local conditions on the same island—something that has never been attempted. In this regard, there was no spatial variability in ΔR during the 17th century. We report a weighted average ΔR value for Moloka'i Island of 52 ± 25 yr using 12 pair-dated dedicatory branch corals from religious archaeological sites and demonstrate that there is no significant temporal variability in ΔR between about AD 700 to 1800. In combination with 4 selected previously published ΔR values based on pre-bomb known-age marine shells, a revised ΔR of 66 ± 54 yr is established for the Hawaiian Islands. However, future research should examine the archipelago-wide spatial variability in ΔR with the analysis of additional dated archaeological coral samples.
Laboratory-based surveillance data is essential for monitoring trends in the incidence of enteric disease. Current Canadian human enteric surveillance systems report only confirmed cases of human enteric disease and are often unable to capture the number of negative test results. Data from 9116 hospital stool specimens from the Waterloo Region in Canada, with a mixed urban and rural population of about 500 000 were analysed to investigate the use of stool submission data and its role in reporting bias when determining the incidence of enteric disease. The proportion of stool specimens positive for Campylobacter spp. was highest in the 15–29 years age group, and in the 5–14 years age group for Salmonella spp. and E. coli O157:H7. By contrast, the age-specific incidence rates were highest for all three pathogens in the 0–4 years age group which also had the highest stool submission rate. This suggests that variations in age-specific stool submission rates are influencing current interpretation of surveillance data.
By reprocessing the NICMOS coronagraphic archive using improved PSF subtraction methods, we have obtained new images of 5 debris disks, all previously unseen using classical PSF subtractions. Three of the disks are edge on and two appear to be ring like, one of which is extremely asymmetric.
Their stellar hosts are nearby, young F and G type stars (40-90 pc, 12–30 Myr), including one that is a close analog to the young sun at roughly the age at which terrestrial planets were assembling. This is a 25% increase in the sample of debris disks seen in scattered light. Analysis and modeling of the disk geometries is in process. Given these systems' youth, proximity, and brightness (V = 7.2 to 8.5), these will be superb targets for investigating planet formation, and are perfect targets for studies with GPI, SPHERE and JWST.
The release and migration of gaseous carbon-14 has been identified as a key issue for geological disposal of intermediate-level radioactive wastes in the UK. A significant fraction of carbon-14 in the UK inventory is in irradiated graphite. This paper describes measurements of gaseous carbon-14 releases from irradiated graphite on immersion in alkaline solution. Apparatus has been developed to discriminate organic and inorganic (14CO/14CO2) species in the gas phase by means of selective oxidation and capture. In the initial experiment, small amounts of gaseous carbon-14 (∼4 Bq) were released from 9 g of crushed graphite within a two-week period. In a long-term experiment, cumulative releases were measured periodically from an intact specimen of graphite over a 14 month period. A small fraction of the graphite carbon-14 inventory was released to the gas phase (∼0.004% as CO/CO2 and ∼0.001% associated with organic compounds). A larger quantity of carbon-14, about 0.1%, was released to the solution phase and was thought to be mainly 14CO2, with some possible organic component. In general, the rate of gaseous carbon-14 release decreased with time. The results suggest a small initial release of relatively labile, accessible carbon-14, with longer term release occurring at a much slower rate. Tritium (T) releases were also measured.