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The intersection of paleontology and biomechanics can be reciprocally illuminating, helping to improve paleobiological knowledge of extinct species and furthering our understanding of the generality of biomechanical principles derived from study of extant species. However, working with data gleaned primarily from the fossil record has its challenges. Building on decades of prior research, we outline and critically discuss a complete workflow for biomechanical analysis of extinct species, using locomotor biomechanics in the Triassic theropod dinosaur Coelophysis as a case study. We progress from the digital capture of fossil bone morphology to creating rigged skeletal models, to reconstructing musculature and soft tissue volumes, to the development of computational musculoskeletal models, and finally to the execution of biomechanical simulations. Using a three-dimensional musculoskeletal model comprising 33 muscles, a static inverse simulation of the mid-stance of running shows that Coelophysis probably used more upright (extended) hindlimb postures and was likely capable of withstanding a vertical ground reaction force of magnitude more than 2.5 times body weight. We identify muscle force-generating capacity as a key source of uncertainty in the simulations, highlighting the need for more refined methods of estimating intrinsic muscle parameters such as fiber length. Our approach emphasizes the explicit application of quantitative techniques and physics-based principles, which helps maximize results robustness and reproducibility. Although we focus on one specific taxon and question, many of the techniques and philosophies explored here have much generality to them, so they can be applied in biomechanical investigation of other extinct organisms.
Throughout their 250 Myr history, archosaurian reptiles have exhibited a wide array of body sizes, shapes, and locomotor habits, especially in regard to terrestriality. These features make Archosauria a useful clade with which to study the interplay between body size, shape, and locomotor behavior, and how this interplay may have influenced locomotor evolution. Here, digital volumetric models of 80 taxa are used to explore how mass properties and body proportions relate to each other and locomotor posture in archosaurs. One-way, nonparametric, multivariate analysis of variance, based on the results of principal components analysis, shows that bipedal and quadrupedal archosaurs are largely distinguished from each other on the basis of just four anatomical parameters (p < 0.001): mass, center of mass position, and relative forelimb and hindlimb lengths. This facilitates the development of a quantitative predictive framework that can help assess gross locomotor posture in understudied or controversial taxa, such as the crocodile-line Batrachotomus (predicted quadruped) and Postosuchus (predicted biped). Compared with quadrupedal archosaurs, bipedal species tend to have relatively longer hindlimbs and a more caudally positioned whole-body center of mass, and collectively exhibit greater variance in forelimb lengths. These patterns are interpreted to reflect differing biomechanical constraints acting on the archosaurian Bauplan in bipedal versus quadrupedal groups, which may have shaped the evolutionary histories of their respective members.
Existing research suggests walnut intake may be associated with better cognitive function in older adults, yet few studies utilise longitudinal data from observational studies of ageing populations. Our objective was to estimate the association between whole walnut intake and cognitive change in a representative sample of older Americans.
Secondary analysis of the Health and Retirement Study and Health Care and Nutrition Study. Walnut consumption was defined as a categorical measure (none, low intake (0·01–0·08 1 oz. servings per day) and moderate intake (>0·08 1 oz. servings per day)) and cognitive function was measured using the Telephone Interview for Cognitive Status. Latent growth modelling estimated the association between walnut consumption and trajectories of cognitive status over a 4-year observational period. Sensitivity analyses assessing non-random dropout and Monte Carlo power analyses were conducted to contextualise results.
A sample of 3632 US adults aged 65 years and older.
Those reporting any walnut consumption had greater cognitive scores at baseline than those not consuming walnuts (low walnut consumption, b = 1·53, se = 0·21, P < 0·001; moderate walnut consumption, b = 2·22, se = 0·27, P < 0·001), but walnut consumption was not associated with cognitive change. Walnut consumption was positively associated with socioeconomic status and health behaviours as well as intake of nutrients identified to have neuroprotective benefits.
We identified an association between walnut consumption and cognitive function in older adults, although we did not find that walnut consumption was protective against age-related cognitive decline.
The purpose of the study was to examine the association between dietary lutein and zeaxanthin (L + Z) intake and immediate word recall (IWR) and delayed word recall (DWR), and to identify the major contributors to dietary L + Z intake in a recent and representative sample of the older US population.
In this cross-sectional analysis, multivariate path analytic models estimated the association between L + Z consumption and cognitive performance while adjusting for covariates.
Observations were drawn from the 2014 Health and Retirement Study, a nationally representative panel study of older US adults, and the 2013 Health Care and Nutrition Study, which assessed dietary intake via FFQ in a subsample of respondents.
The analytic sample included 6390 respondents aged ≥50 years.
L + Z intake was 2·44 ± 2·32 mg/d on average, and L + Z intake differed significantly across quartiles (P < 0·001). For example, average L + Z intake in Q1 was 0·74 ± 0·23 mg/d and in Q4 was 5·46 ± 2·88 mg/d. In covariate adjusted models, older adults in the highest quartiles of L + Z intake had significantly greater IWR and DWR scores than those in the lowest quartile. Leafy vegetables, cruciferous vegetables, dark yellow vegetables, fish and seafood, legumes, eggs and fruit were significant and meaningful predictors of dietary L + Z intake.
A high consumption of vegetables, fish and seafood, legumes, eggs and fruit is associated with a higher intake of L + Z and greater word recall among older adults.
To estimate latent dietary profiles in a community-dwelling sample of older Americans and identify associations between dietary profile membership and individual demographic, socio-economic and health characteristics.
Secondary analysis of the 2012 Health and Retirement Study (HRS) and linked 2013 Health Care and Nutrition Study (HCNS). Latent profile analysis identified mutually exclusive subgroups of dietary intake and bivariate analyses examined associations between dietary profile membership, participant characteristics and nutrient intakes.
An analytic sample of 3558 adults aged 65 years or older.
Four dietary profiles were identified with 15·5 % of the sample having a ‘Healthy’ diet, 42·0 % consuming a ‘Western’ diet, 29·7 % having a diet consisting of high intake of all food groups and 12·7 % reporting relatively low intake of all food groups. Members of the ‘Healthy’ profile reported the greatest socio-economic resources and health, and members of the ‘Low Intake’ profile had the fewest resources and worst health outcomes. Macronutrient and micronutrient intakes varied across profile although inadequate and excessive intakes of selected nutrients were observed for all profiles.
We identified dietary patterns among older Americans typified by either selective intake of foods or overall quantity of foods consumed, with those described as ‘Low Intake’ reporting the fewest socio-economic resources, greatest risk of food insecurity and the worst health outcomes. Limitations including the presence of measurement error in dietary questionnaires are discussed. The causes and consequences of limited dietary intake among older Americans require further study and can be facilitated by the HRS and HCNS.
Tree-ring reconstructions of temperature often target trees at altitudinal or latitudinal tree line where annual growth is broadly expected to be limited by and respond to temperature variability. Based on this principal, regions with sparse tree line would seem to be restricted in their potential to reconstruct past temperatures. In the northeastern United States, there are only two published temperature reconstructions. Previous work in the region reconstructing moisture availability, however, has shown that using a greater diversity of species can improve reconstruction model skill. Here, we use a network of 228 tree-ring records composed of 29 species to test the hypothesis that an increase in species diversity among the pool of predictors improves reconstructions of past temperatures. Chamaecyparis thyoides alone explained 31% of the variability in observed cool-season minimum temperatures, but a multispecies model increased the explained variance to 44%. Liriodendron tulipifera, a species not previously used for temperature reconstructions, explained a similar amount of variance as Chamaecyparis thyoides (12.9% and 20.8%, respectively). Increasing the species diversity of tree proxies has the potential for improving reconstruction of paleotemperatures in regions lacking latitudinal or elevational tree lines provided that long-lived hardwood records can be located.
A power MOSFET-based push–pull configuration nanosecond-pulse generator has been designed, constructed, and characterized to permeabilize cells for biological and medical applications. The generator can deliver pulses with durations ranging from 80 ns up to 1 µs and pulse amplitudes up to 1.4 kV. The unit has been tested for in vitro experiments on a medulloblastoma cell line. Following the exposure of cells to 100, 200, and 300 ns electric field pulses, permeabilization tests were carried out, and viability tests were conducted to verify the performance of the generator. The maximum temperature rise of the biological load was also calculated based on Joule heating energy conservation and experimental validation. Our results indicate that the developed device has good capabilities to achieve well-controlled electro-manipulation in vitro.
This paper considers the timing and mechanisms of deforestation in the Western Isles of Scotland, focusing in particular on the landscape around the Calanais stone circles, one of the best preserved late Neolithic/early Bronze Age monumental landscapes in north-west Europe. We present new archaeological and palaeoenvironmental evidence from a soil and peat sequence at the site of Aird Calanais, which spans the main period of use of the Calanais circles. We then draw on a new synthesis of archaeobotanical and palynological evidence from across the Western Isles and a review of comparable data from the wider North Atlantic zone, before assessing the role of early farming communities in clearing the wooded landscapes of the region. Pollen and radiocarbon dating at the site of Aird Calanais reveal that a layer of birch branches, dating to the late Neolithic (2912–2881 cal bc), was contemporaneous with a decline in woodland at the site, as well as with the major phase of Neolithic activity at the Calanais stone circle complex. However, our synthesis of the pollen and plant macrofossil evidence from across the Western Isles suggests that the picture across these islands was altogether more complex: woodlands declined both before, as well as during, the Neolithic and deciduous woodlands remained sufficiently abundant for Neolithic fuel procurement. Finally, we consider the implications of the results for understanding the interactions between first farmers and woodlands in the wider North Atlantic region.
Oldowan sites in primary geological context are rare in the archaeological record. Here we describe the depositional environment of Oldowan occurrences at Kanjera South, Kenya, based on field descriptions and granulometric analysis. Excavations have recovered a large Oldowan artefact sample as well as the oldest substantial sample of archaeological fauna. The deposits at Kanjera South consist of 30 m of fluvial, colluvial and lacustrine sediments. Magneto- and biostratigraphy indicate the Kanjera South Member of the Kanjera Formation was deposited during 2.3–1.92 Ma, with 2.0 Ma being a likely age for the archaeological occurrences. Oldowan artefacts and associated fauna were deposited in the colluvial and alluvial silts and sands of beds KS1–3, in the margins of a lake basin. Field descriptions and granulometric analysis of the sediment fine fraction indicate that sediments from within the main archaeological horizon were emplaced as a combination of tractional and hyperconcentrated flows with limited evidence of debris-flow deposition. This style of deposition is unlikely to significantly erode or disturb the underlying surface, and therefore promotes preservation of surface archaeological accumulations. Hominins were repeatedly attracted to the site locale, and rapid sedimentation, minimal bone weathering and an absence of bone or artefact rounding further indicate that fossils and artefacts were quickly buried.
The Pueblo population of Chaco Canyon during the Bonito Phase (AD 800–1130) employed agricultural strategies and water-management systems to enhance food cultivation in this unpredictable environment. Scepticism concerning the timing and effectiveness of this system, however, remains common. Using optically stimulated luminescence dating of sediments and LiDAR imaging, the authors located Bonito Phase canal features at the far west end of the canyon. Additional ED-XRF and strontium isotope (87Sr/86Sr) analyses confirm the diversion of waters from multiple sources during Chaco’s occupation. The extent of this water-management system raises new questions about social organisation and the role of ritual in facilitating responses to environmental unpredictability.
Introduction: Optimal discharge communication between healthcare providers and parents who present to the emergency department (ED) with their children is not well understood. Current research regarding discharge communication is equivocal and predominantly focused on evaluating different delivery formats or strategies with little attention given to communication behaviours or the context in which the communication occurs. The objective of this study was to characterize the process and structure of discharge communication in a pediatric ED context. Methods: Real-time video observation and follow-up surveys were used in two academic pediatric EDs in Canada. Parents who presented with their child to the ED with one of six illness presentations, a Canadian Triage Acuity Score of 3-5 were eligible to participate. All ED physicians, learners, and staff members were also eligible. Provider-parent communication was analyzed using the Roter Interaction Analysis System (RIAS) to code each utterance. Parent health literacy and anxiety were measured upon admission to the ED. Parent recall of important discharge information and satisfaction with communication was assessed within 72 hours of discharge. Results: A total of 107 ED patient visits were video recorded and a total of 70,000 utterances were coded across six illness presentations: abdominal pain (n=23), asthma (n=7), bronchiolitis (n=4), diarrhea/vomiting (n=20), fever (n=27), and minor head injury (n=26). The average length of stay for participants was 3 hours, with an average of three provider interactions per visit. Interactions ranged in time from less than one minute up to 29 minutes, with an average of six minutes per interaction. The majority of visits were first episodes for the presenting illness (63.2%). Physician utterances coded most commonly involved giving medical information (22.9%), whereas nurses most commonly gave orientation instructions (20.9%). Learners were most likely to employ active listening techniques (14.2%). Communication that provided post-discharge instructions for parents comprised 8.5% of all utterances. Overall, providers infrequently assessed parental understanding of information (2.0%). Only 26% of parents recalled receiving important discharge information deemed relevant to their childs disposition. Yet, parent satisfaction with the amount of information communicated during the ED visit was generally high (89.6% agreed or strongly agreed). Conclusion: This is the first study of ED discharge communication to be conducted in a pediatric setting using video observation methods. Provider-parent communication was predominantly characterized by giving medical information, with little time devoted to preparing families to care for their child at home. Greater assessment of parent comprehension of discharge communication is needed to ensure that parents understand important instructions and know when to seek further care.
Avifaunal remains from archaeological sites have a largely unrecognized explanatory potential. Archaeological, ethnohistoric, and ethnographic records have shown that, especially in Mesoamerica, birds and their products have served a wide range of utilitarian, decorative, and symbolic purposes. Despite their ability to inform research on many aspects of prehistoric life, avifaunal remains from archaeological contexts remain under-studied. This paper demonstrates how a holistic approach to their analysis—one that explores several types of human-bird interaction—can move beyond studies of subsistence. A previously reported and newly updated avifaunal collection was reanalyzed to shed light on the relationship between the many uses of birds and the establishment of hereditary inequality at Paso de la Amada, an Early Formative period ceremonial center on the Pacific coast of Chiapas, Mexico. Results indicate that Early Formative people used birds as a source of food, feathers, and bone, and that the ritual use of birds was an important component of status display. Even at this early date, birds were symbolically valuable and played a role in ritual performance, suggesting that their later significance in Mesoamerican ritual, religion, and iconography has an antecedent beginning no later than 1700 BC.
The main limitation for determining feed efficiency of freely grazing ruminants is measurement of daily individual feed intake. This paper describes an investigation that assessed a method for estimating intake of forage based on changes in BW of ewes. A total of 24 dry and non-pregnant Romane ewes (12 hoggets, HOG; mean±SD 51.8±2.8 kg BW; body condition score (BCS) 2.6±0.2; and 12 adults, ADU; 60.4±8.5 kg BW; BCS 2.7±0.8) were selected for the study and moved from their rangeland system to a confined pen with controlled conditions and equipped with individual automatic feeders. The experiment lasted for 28 days (21 days adaptation and 7 days feed intake measurement). Ewes were fed hay and trained to use the electronic feeders (one feeding station per ewe) in which actual daily intake (Hintake24) was measured. The pens were designed to maximize movement of trained ewes through an automated Walk-over-Weighing device, by using water and mineral salts as attractants. Total individual intake of hay measured in the automatic feeder at each meal (Hintake) was compared with indirect estimates of feed intake determined using differences in the BW of the ewes (∆BW) before and 1 h following morning and afternoon feeding at fixed times. The BW, BCS, Hintake, Hintake24, as well as plasma non-esterified fatty acids (NEFA), glucose and insulin profiles were determined. The BW was higher in ADU v. HOG but BCS was not affected by parity. The Hintake24 was affected by day of experiment as a consequence of reduced availability and intake of water on one day. Plasma glucose, NEFA and insulin were not affected by parity or day of experiment. The HIntake was and ∆BW tended to be higher in the morning in HOG, whereas Hintake was and ∆BW tended to be higher in ADU at the afternoon meal. Irrespective of parity or feeding time, there was very strong correlation (r2=0.93) between Hintake and ∆BW. This relationship confirms that our indirect method of estimating individual forage intake was reliable within the strictly controlled conditions of the present experiment. The method appears suitable for use in short-term intensive group feeding situations, and has potential to be further developed for longer-term forage intake studies, with a view to developing a method for freely grazing ruminants.
The Public Health England (PHE; United Kingdom) Real-Time Syndromic Surveillance Team (ReSST) currently operates four national syndromic surveillance systems, including an emergency department system. A system based on ambulance data might provide an additional measure of the “severe” end of the clinical disease spectrum. This report describes the findings and lessons learned from the development and preliminary assessment of a pilot syndromic surveillance system using ambulance data from the West Midlands (WM) region in England.
Is an Ambulance Data Syndromic Surveillance System (ADSSS) feasible and of utility in enhancing the existing suite of PHE syndromic surveillance systems?
An ADSSS was designed, implemented, and a pilot conducted from September 1, 2015 through March 1, 2016. Surveillance cases were defined as calls to the West Midlands Ambulance Service (WMAS) regarding patients who were assigned any of 11 specified chief presenting complaints (CPCs) during the pilot period. The WMAS collected anonymized data on cases and transferred the dataset daily to ReSST, which contained anonymized information on patients’ demographics, partial postcode of patients’ location, and CPC. The 11 CPCs covered a broad range of syndromes. The dataset was analyzed descriptively each week to determine trends and key epidemiological characteristics of patients, and an automated statistical algorithm was employed daily to detect higher than expected number of calls. A preliminary assessment was undertaken to assess the feasibility, utility (including quality of key indicators), and timeliness of the system for syndromic surveillance purposes. Lessons learned and challenges were identified and recorded during the design and implementation of the system.
The pilot ADSSS collected 207,331 records of individual ambulance calls (daily mean=1,133; range=923-1,350). The ADSSS was found to be timely in detecting seasonal changes in patterns of respiratory infections and increases in case numbers during seasonal events.
Further validation is necessary; however, the findings from the assessment of the pilot ADSSS suggest that selected, but not all, ambulance indicators appear to have some utility for syndromic surveillance purposes in England. There are certain challenges that need to be addressed when designing and implementing similar systems.
TodkillD, LoveridgeP, ElliotAJ, MorbeyRA, EdeghereO, Rayment-BishopT, Rayment-BishopC, ThornesJE, SmithG. Utility of Ambulance Data for Real-Time Syndromic Surveillance: A Pilot in the West Midlands Region, United Kingdom. Prehosp Disaster Med. 2017;32(6):667–672.