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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.
To provide baseline evidence of sugar-sweetened beverage (SSB) consumption in a sample of Irish children prior to the introduction of the SSB tax; to identify the energy contribution of SSB to daily energy intake; and to explore the association between SSB consumption and overweight/obesity.
Primary schools in Cork, Ireland in 2012.
1075 boys and girls aged 8–11 years. SSB consumption was assessed from 3-d food diaries. BMI was used to define obesity (International Obesity Taskforce definitions). Plausible energy reporters (n 724, 68 % of total sample) were classified using Schofield equation.
Eighty-two per cent of children with plausible energy intake consumed SSB. Mean energy intake from SSB was 485 kJ (6 % of total kJ). Mean kilojoules from SSB increased with weight status from 443 kJ for normal-weight children to 648 kJ for children with overweight/obesity (5·8 and 7·6 % of total kJ, respectively). Mean SSB intake was significantly higher in children with overweight/obesity than normal-weight children (383 and 315 ml/d). In adjusted analyses, children consuming >200 ml/d had an 80 % increased odds of overweight/obesity compared to those consuming <200 ml/d (OR 1·8, 95 % CI 1·0, 3·5). Family socioeconomic status and lifestyle determinants, including frequency of takeaway consumption and TV viewing, were also significantly associated with SSB consumption.
SSB account for a substantial proportion of daily energy intake and are significantly associated with child overweight/obesity. This study provides baseline data from a sample of children from which the impact of the SSB tax can be benchmarked.
Risk for emotional and behavioural problems are known to be high among children of depressed mothers, but little is known about the impact of antenatal and postnatal depression on the physical health of the infant. Our one-year prospective follow-up study of 320 mothers and their infants in rural Rawalpindi, Pakistan, shows that infants of antenatally depressed mothers have poorer growth than controls. The relative risk for being underweight (weight-for-age z-score < -2SD) is 4.0 (95%CI 2.1-7.7) at 6 months and 2.6 (95% CI 1.7-4.1) at 12 months, while the risks for stunting (length-for-age z-score < –2SD) is 4.4 (95%CI 1.7-11.4) at 6 months and 2.5 (95% CI 1.6-4.0) at 12 months. Relative risk for ≥5 diarrhoeal episodes per year is 2.4 (95% CI 1.7-3.3). Chronic depression carries a greater risk for poor outcome than episodic depression. The associations remain significant after adjustment for confounders by multivariate analyses. It is concluded that preventive and treatment strategies for maternal depression could benefit not only the mother's well-being but also the infant's physical health and development.
The association of MeHg exposure through fish consumption on human autoimmunity remains unclear. Fish also contain n-3 long chain polyunsaturated fatty acids (LCPUFA) that are known to regulate inflammation and mitigate autoimmune disease symptoms. We studied the association of low-level exposure to methylmercury (MeHg) through fish consumption in the SCDS. We examined this association at age 19 years in the SCDS Main Cohort (n = 497). We measured MeHg exposure at 3 time points [prenatal, weighted average (6 months to 19 years) and concurrent (19 years) and LCPUFA status and a panel of 13 autoimmune markers at age 19 years. The autoimmune markers included antinuclear antibodies (ANA), anti-dsDNA and anti-RNP, and total (non-specific) immunoglobulins (Ig) IgG, IgA, and IgM. A combined ANA variable was also calculated based on being within or above reference range for any of the ANA markers; 56% of the subjects met this criterion. Multivariable regression models adjusted for prenatal MeHg, sex and waist circumference, with and without adjustment for LCPUFA, were fit for the three MeHg exposure metrics and each immune marker. Mean (SD) prenatal, weighted average and concurrent MeHg was 6.84 (4.55), 7.46 (2.82), and 10.23 (6.02) ppm, respectively. Combined ANA was positively associated with concurrent MeHg following adjustment for the n6:n3 LCPUFA ratio (β = 0.036, 95%; CI: 0.001, 0.073). Prenatal and average MeHg exposures were not significantly associated with any individual ANA. IgM was negatively associated with concurrent (β = -0.016, 95%CI: -0.016, -0.002), and average (β = -0.042, 95%CI: -0.042, -0.009) MeHg exposure in the models adjusted for n-3, n-6 LCPUFA and when separately adjusted for the n6:n3 LCPUFA ratio. Total (19-year) n-3 PUFA status was negatively associated with anti-RNP (β = -20.355, 95%CI: -36.89, -4.34) and IgG (β = -1.384, 95%CI: -2.682, -0.087). Total n-3 LCPUFA was associated with lower markers of autoimmunity. MeHg exposure at 19 years was associated with higher ANA and lower IgM but only following adjustment for LCPUFA. The clinical significance of these findings is unclear and further research is warranted to determine if these associations precede autoimmune disease development.
Cognitive impairment among the elderly is an important concern worldwide. Evidence suggests that certain lifestyle behaviours may have a protective effect against cognitive decline. In this study we examined the relationship between a 5-component protective lifestyle behaviour score and cognitive function to determine whether the number of protective lifestyle behaviours is related to cognitive decline.
Materials and Methods
This was a cross-sectional analysis of the Mitchelstown Cohort Rescreen study, a random sample of men and women aged 51–77 years recruited from a single primary care centre. Cognitive function was assessed using the Mini Mental State Exam (MMSE) and cognitive data were available for 1,022 participants. Cognitive impairment was classified as an upper 75th percentile reversed MMSE score value for the study sample. We defined 5 low-risk protective lifestyle behaviours as never smoking, moderate alcohol intake, moderate to vigorous physical activity, a high-quality diet score (upper 40%) and a body mass index between 18.5 to 24.9 kg/m2. Linear and logistic regression analyses were used to test associations between a protective factor score and the MMSE.
There was a linear relationship between the number of protective lifestyle behaviours and mean cognitive score values and a significant inverse association was observed between a protective lifestyle score and the MMSE cognitive score (β = -0.20, 95% CI: -0.30, -0.10). Logistic regression suggested a dose-response relationship, with odds ratios of having poorer cognitive functioning being noticeably increased in subjects with 0 or 1 PLBs (OR = 2.18, 95% CI: 1.06, 4.52) when compared to participants with 4 or 5 PLBs in multivariable analysis.
These data imply that a combination of healthy lifestyle behaviours protects against cognitive impairment. As all of the examined factors are modifiable, small behavioural changes may help in preventing cognitive decline in an elderly population.
Cephalopods are important prey in the diet of top predators, such as marine mammals and seabirds. However, detailed information on their trophic relationships in the Patagonian marine ecosystem is scarce, including those cephalopod species with commercial interest. The aims of this study were to evaluate the composition of the cephalopod component in the diet of Otaria byronia and determine the habitat use and trophic levels of their main cephalopod prey by measuring the stable isotopic signature of cephalopod beaks. Between May 2005 and February 2009, fresh faecal samples were collected from two sea lions rookeries in San Matias Gulf. Cephalopods occurred in 39.4% of the 1112 samples collected during the whole period of study. The dominant prey species was Octopus tehuelchus, which occurred in 45.8% of scats containing cephalopod remains, and represented 58.7% in terms of numerical abundance and 52.0% in mass of cephalopods consumed. The second species most consumed was the myopsid Doryteuthis gahi. The significant higher δ15N values of O. tehuelchus beaks in comparison with those of D. gahi showed that these two species have different trophic levels while occupying similar habitat (δ13C values) in neritic waters of the Patagonian shelf.
To describe public health nurses’ (PHN) experiences of referring to, and families’ experiences of being referred to, a multicomponent, community-based, childhood weight management programme and to provide insight into families’ motivation to participate in and complete treatment.
Qualitative study using semi-structured interviews and the draw-and-write technique.
Two geographical regions in the south and west of Ireland.
Nine PHN involved in the referral process, as well as ten parents and nine children who were referred to and completed the programme, participated in the present study.
PHN were afraid of misclassifying children as obese and of approaching the subject of excess weight with parents. Peer support from other PHN as well as training in how best to talk about weight with parents were potential strategies suggested to alleviate these fears. Parents recalled the anxiety provoked by the ‘medical terminology’ used during referral and their difficulty interpreting what it meant for the health of their child. Despite initial fears, concern for their children’s future health was a major driver behind their participation. Children’s enjoyment, the social support experienced by parents as well as staff enthusiasm were key to programme completion.
The present study identifies the difficulties of referring families to community weight management programmes and provides practical suggestions on how to support practitioners in making referrals. It also identifies key positive factors influencing parents’ decisions to enrol in community weight management programmes. These should be maximised by staff and policy makers when developing similar programmes.
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)
This study aimed to: describe the incidence of thyroid gland involvement in advanced laryngeal cancer, analyse patterns of spread to the thyroid and elucidate predictors of thyroid involvement.
A retrospective review was performed on patients who underwent laryngectomy from 1991 to 2015 as a primary or salvage treatment for squamous cell carcinoma of the larynx, hypopharynx or base of tongue. The incidence of thyroidectomy during total laryngectomy, type of thyroidectomy, incidence of gland involvement, route of spread, and positive predictors of spread were analysed and reported.
A total of 188 patients fit the inclusion criteria. Of these, 125 (66 per cent) underwent thyroidectomy. The thyroid was involved in 10 of the 125 patients (8 per cent), 9 by direct extension and 1 by metastasis. Cartilage invasion was a predictor of thyroid gland involvement, with a positive predictive value of 26 per cent.
There is a low incidence of thyroid gland involvement in laryngeal carcinoma. Most cases of gland involvement occurred by direct extension. Thyroidectomy during laryngectomy should be considered for advanced stage tumours with cartilage invasion.
Data from the in-school sample of the PROSPER preventive intervention dissemination trial were used to investigate associations between alcohol dehydrogenase genes and alcohol use across adolescence, and whether substance misuse interventions in the 6th and 7th grades (targeting parenting, family functioning, social norms, youth decision making, and peer group affiliations) modified associations between these genes and adolescent use. Primary analyses were run on a sample of 1,885 individuals and included three steps. First, we estimated unconditional growth curve models with separate slopes for alcohol use from 6th to 9th grade and from 9th to 12th grade, as well as the intercept at Grade 9. Second, we used intervention condition and three alcohol dehydrogenase genes, 1B (ADH1B), 1C (ADH1C), and 4 (ADH4) to predict variance in slopes and intercept. Third, we examined whether genetic influences on model slopes and intercepts were moderated by intervention condition. The results indicated that the increase in alcohol use was greater in early adolescence than in middle adolescence; two of the genes, ADH1B and ADH1C, significantly predicted early adolescent slope and Grade 9 intercept, and associations between ADH1C and both early adolescent slope and intercept were significantly different across control and intervention conditions.
Objectives: Adaptive interaction with the environment requires the ability to predict both human and non-biological motion trajectories. Prior accounts of the neurocognitive basis for prediction of these two motion classes may generally be divided into those that posit that non-biological motion trajectories are predicted using the same motor planning and/or simulation mechanisms used for human actions, and those that posit distinct mechanisms for each. Using brain lesion patients and healthy controls, this study examined critical neural substrates and behavioral correlates of human and non-biological motion prediction. Methods: Twenty-seven left hemisphere stroke patients and 13 neurologically intact controls performed a visual occlusion task requiring prediction of pantomimed tool use, real tool use, and non-biological motion videos. Patients were also assessed with measures of motor strength and speed, praxis, and action recognition. Results: Prediction impairment for both human and non-biological motion was associated with limb apraxia and, weakly, with the severity of motor production deficits, but not with action recognition ability. Furthermore, impairment for human and non-biological motion prediction was equivalently associated with lesions in the left inferior parietal cortex, left dorsal frontal cortex, and the left insula. Conclusions: These data suggest that motor planning mechanisms associated with specific loci in the sensorimotor network are critical for prediction of spatiotemporal trajectory information characteristic of both human and non-biological motions. (JINS, 2017, 23, 171–184)
Research indicates that intake of sugar-sweetened beverages (SSB) may be associated with negative health consequences. However, differences between assessment methods can affect the comparability of intake data across studies. The current review aimed to identify methods used to assess SSB intake among children and adults in pan-European studies and to inform the development of the DEDIPAC (DEterminants of DIet and Physical Activity) toolbox of methods suitable for use in future European studies.
A literature search was conducted using three electronic databases and by hand-searching reference lists. English-language studies of any design which assessed SSB consumption were included in the review.
Studies involving two or more European countries were included in the review.
Healthy, free-living children and adults.
The review identified twenty-three pan-European studies which assessed intake of SSB. The FFQ was the most commonly used (n 24), followed by the 24 h recall (n 6) and diet records (n 1). There were several differences between the identified FFQ, including the definition of SSB used. In total, seven instruments that were tested for validity were selected as potentially suitable to assess SSB intake among adults (n 1), adolescents (n 3) and children (n 3).
The current review highlights the need for instruments to use an agreed definition of SSB. Methods that were tested for validity and used in pan-European populations encompassing a range of countries were identified. These methods should be considered for use by future studies focused on evaluating consumption of SSB.
Evidence suggests that health benefits are associated with consuming recommended amounts of fruits and vegetables (F&V), yet standardised assessment methods to measure F&V intake are lacking. The current review aims to identify methods to assess F&V intake among children and adults in pan-European studies and inform the development of the DEDIPAC (DEterminants of DIet and Physical Activity) toolbox of methods suitable for use in future European studies.
A literature search was conducted using three electronic databases and by hand-searching reference lists. English-language studies of any design which assessed F&V intake were included in the review.
Studies involving two or more European countries were included in the review.
Healthy, free-living children or adults.
The review identified fifty-one pan-European studies which assessed F&V intake. The FFQ was the most commonly used (n 42), followed by 24 h recall (n 11) and diet records/diet history (n 7). Differences existed between the identified methods; for example, the number of F&V items on the FFQ and whether potatoes/legumes were classified as vegetables. In total, eight validated instruments were identified which assessed F&V intake among adults, adolescents or children.
The current review indicates that an agreed classification of F&V is needed in order to standardise intake data more effectively between European countries. Validated methods used in pan-European populations encompassing a range of European regions were identified. These methods should be considered for use by future studies focused on evaluating intake of F&V.
To examine the association between protective lifestyle behaviours (PLB) and depression in middle-aged Irish adults.
Secondary analysis of a cross-sectional study. PLB (non-smoker, moderate alcohol, physical activity, adequate fruit and vegetable intake) were assessed using a general health and lifestyle questionnaire and a validated FFQ. Depression was assessed using the Center for Epidemiologic Studies Depression Scale. A score of 15–21 indicates mild/moderate depression and a score of 22 or more indicates a possibility of major depression. Binary logistic regression was used to examine the association between PLB and depression.
Livinghealth Clinic, Mitchelstown, North Cork, Republic of Ireland.
Men and women aged 50–69 years were selected at random from a list of patients registered at the clinic (n 2047, 67 % response rate).
Over 8 % of participants engaged in zero or one PLB, 24 % and 39 % had two and three PLB respectively, while 28 % had four PLB. Those who practised three/four PLB were significantly more likely to be female, have a higher level of education and were categorised as having no depressive symptoms. Engaging in zero or one PLB was significantly associated with an increased odds of depression compared with four PLB. Results remained significant after adjusting for several confounders, including age, gender, education and BMI (OR=2·2; 95 % CI 1·2, 4·0; P for trend=0·001).
While causal inference cannot be established in a cross-sectional study, the findings suggest that healthy behaviours may play a vital role in the promotion of positive mental health or, at a minimum, are associated with lower levels of depression.
The Darwin region in northern Australia has experienced rapid population growth in recent years, and with it, an increased incidence of melioidosis. Previous studies in Darwin have associated the environmental presence of Burkholderia pseudomallei, the causative agent of melioidosis, with anthropogenic land usage and proximity to animals. In our study, we estimated the occurrence of B. pseudomallei and Burkholderia spp. relatives in faecal matter of wildlife, livestock and domestic animals in the Darwin region. A total of 357 faecal samples were collected and bacteria isolated through culture and direct DNA extraction after enrichment in selective media. Identification of B. pseudomallei, B. ubonensis, and other Burkholderia spp. was carried out using TTS1, Bu550, and recA BUR3–BUR4 quantitative PCR assays, respectively. B. pseudomallei was detected in seven faecal samples from wallabies and a chicken. B. cepacia complex spp. and Pandoraea spp. were cultured from wallaby faecal samples, and B. cenocepacia and B. cepacia were also isolated from livestock animals. Various bacteria isolated in this study represent opportunistic human pathogens, raising the possibility that faecal shedding contributes to the expanding geographical distribution of not just B. pseudomallei but other Burkholderiaceae that can cause human disease.
We have assembled a new sample of some of the most FIR-luminous galaxies in the Universe and have imaged them in 1.1 mm dust emission and measured their redshifts 1 < z < 4 via CO emission lines using the 32-m Large Millimeter Telescope / Gran Telescopio Milimétrico (LMT/GTM). Our sample of 31 submm galaxies (SMGs), culled from the Planck and Herschel all-sky surveys, includes 14 of the 21 most luminous galaxies known, with LFIR > 1014L⊙ and SFR > 104M⊙/yr. These extreme inferred luminosities – and multiple / extended 1.1 mm images – imply that most or all are strongly gravitationally lensed, with typical magnification μ ~ 10 × . The gravitational lensing provides two significant benefits: (1) it boosts the S/N, and (2) it allows investigation of star formation and gas processes on sub-kpc scales.
As scholars have rushed to either prove or refute cultural group selection (CGS), the debate lacks sufficient consideration of CGS's potential moderators. We argue that pressures for CGS are particularly strong when groups face ecological and human-made threat. Field, experimental, computational, and genetic evidence are presented to substantiate this claim.
Due to its favourable properties, in particular, low permeability and swelling capacity, bentonite has been favoured as an engineered-barrier and backfill material for the geological storage of radioactive waste. To ensure its safe long-term performance it is important to understand any changes in these properties when the material is subject to heat-emitting waste. As such, this study investigates the hydraulic response of bentonite under multi-step thermal loading subject to a constant-volume boundary condition, to represent a barrier system used in a crystalline or other hard-rock host rock. The experimental set up allows continuous measurement of the hydraulic and mechanical responses during each phase of the thermal cycle. After the initial hydration of the bentonite, the temperature was raised in 20°C increments from 20 to 80°C followed by a final step to reach 120°C. Each temperature was held constant for at least 7–10 days to allow the hydraulic transients to equilibrate. The data suggest that the permeability of bentonite appears to be sensitive to changes in temperature which may extend beyond those explained by simple changes in water viscosity. However, permeability may be boundary-condition dependent and this should be considered when designing experiments or applying these results to other repository host rocks. Either way, the magnitude of the change in permeability observed in this study is minor and its impact on the hydraulic performance of the barrier is negligible.
One of the most challenging aspects of understanding the flow of gas and water during testing in clay-rich low-permeability materials is the difficulty in visualizing localized flow. Whilst understanding has been increased using X-ray Computed-tomography (CT) scanning, synchrotron X-ray imaging and Nuclear Magnetic Resonance (NMR) imaging, real-time testing is problematic under realistic in situ conditions confining pressures, which require steel pressure vessels. These methods tend not to have the nano-metre scale resolution necessary for clay mineral visualization, and are generally not compatible with the long duration necessary to investigate flow in such materials. Therefore other methods are necessary to visualize flow paths during post-mortem analysis of test samples. Several methodologies have been established at the British Geological Survey (BGS), in order to visualize flow paths both directly and indirectly. These include: (1) the injection of fluorescein-stained water or deuterium oxide; (2) the introduction of nanoparticles that are transported by carrier gas; (3) the use of radiologically tagged gas; and (4) the development of apparatus for the direct visualization of clay. These methodologies have greatly increased our understanding of the transport of water and gas through intact and fractured clay-rich materials. The body of evidence for gas transport through the formation of dilatant pathways is now considerable. This study presents observations using a new apparatus to directly visualize the flow of gas in a kaolinite paste. The results presented provide an insight into the flow of gas in clay-rich rocks. The flow of gas through dilatant pathways has been shown in a number of argillaceous materials (Angeli et al., 2009; Autio et al., 2006; Cuss et al., 2014; Harrington et al., 2012). These pathways are pressure induced and an increase in gas pressure leads to the dilation of pathways. Once the gas breakthrough occurs, pressure decreases and pathways begin to close. This new approach is providing a unique insight into the complex processes involved during the onset, development and closure of these dilatant gas pathways.