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Ecosystem modeling, a pillar of the systems ecology paradigm (SEP), addresses questions such as, how much carbon and nitrogen are cycled within ecological sites, landscapes, or indeed the earth system? Or how are human activities modifying these flows? Modeling, when coupled with field and laboratory studies, represents the essence of the SEP in that they embody accumulated knowledge and generate hypotheses to test understanding of ecosystem processes and behavior. Initially, ecosystem models were primarily used to improve our understanding about how biophysical aspects of ecosystems operate. However, current ecosystem models are widely used to make accurate predictions about how large-scale phenomena such as climate change and management practices impact ecosystem dynamics and assess potential effects of these changes on economic activity and policy making. In sum, ecosystem models embedded in the SEP remain our best mechanism to integrate diverse types of knowledge regarding how the earth system functions and to make quantitative predictions that can be confronted with observations of reality. Modeling efforts discussed are the Century ecosystem model, DayCent ecosystem model, Grassland Ecosystem Model ELM, food web models, Savanna model, agent-based and coupled systems modeling, and Bayesian modeling.
People living in precarious housing or homelessness have higher than expected rates of psychotic disorders, persistent psychotic symptoms, and premature mortality. Psychotic symptoms can be modeled as a complex dynamic system, allowing assessment of roles for risk factors in symptom development, persistence, and contribution to premature mortality.
The severity of delusions, conceptual disorganization, hallucinations, suspiciousness, and unusual thought content was rated monthly over 5 years in a community sample of precariously housed/homeless adults (n = 375) in Vancouver, Canada. Multilevel vector auto-regression analysis was used to construct temporal, contemporaneous, and between-person symptom networks. Network measures were compared between participants with (n = 219) or without (n = 156) history of psychotic disorder using bootstrap and permutation analyses. Relationships between network connectivity and risk factors including homelessness, trauma, and substance dependence were estimated by multiple linear regression. The contribution of network measures to premature mortality was estimated by Cox proportional hazard models.
Delusions and unusual thought content were central symptoms in the multilevel network. Each psychotic symptom was positively reinforcing over time, an effect most pronounced in participants with a history of psychotic disorder. Global connectivity was similar between those with and without such a history. Greater connectivity between symptoms was associated with methamphetamine dependence and past trauma exposure. Auto-regressive connectivity was associated with premature mortality in participants under age 55.
Past and current experiences contribute to the severity and dynamic relationships between psychotic symptoms. Interrupting the self-perpetuating severity of psychotic symptoms in a vulnerable group of people could contribute to reducing premature mortality.
There are sparse data on the outcomes of endoscopic stapling of pharyngeal pouches. The Mersey ENT Trainee Collaborative compared regional practice against published benchmarks.
A 10-year retrospective analysis of endoscopic pharyngeal pouch surgery was conducted and practice was assessed against eight standards. Comparisons were made between results from the tertiary centre and other sites.
A total of 225 procedures were performed (range of 1.2–9.2 cases per centre per year). All centres achieved 90 per cent resumption of oral intake within 2 days. All centres achieved less than 2-day hospital stays. Primary success (84 per cent (i.e. abandonment of endoscopic stapling in 16 per cent)), symptom resolution (83 per cent) and recurrence rates (13 per cent) failed to meet the standard across the non-tertiary centres.
Endoscopic pharyngeal pouch stapling is a procedure with a low mortality and brief in-patient stay. There was significant variance in outcomes across the region. This raises the question of whether this service should become centralised and the preserve of either tertiary centres or sub-specialist practitioners.
Radiocarbon (14C) ages cannot provide absolutely dated chronologies for archaeological or paleoenvironmental studies directly but must be converted to calendar age equivalents using a calibration curve compensating for fluctuations in atmospheric 14C concentration. Although calibration curves are constructed from independently dated archives, they invariably require revision as new data become available and our understanding of the Earth system improves. In this volume the international 14C calibration curves for both the Northern and Southern Hemispheres, as well as for the ocean surface layer, have been updated to include a wealth of new data and extended to 55,000 cal BP. Based on tree rings, IntCal20 now extends as a fully atmospheric record to ca. 13,900 cal BP. For the older part of the timescale, IntCal20 comprises statistically integrated evidence from floating tree-ring chronologies, lacustrine and marine sediments, speleothems, and corals. We utilized improved evaluation of the timescales and location variable 14C offsets from the atmosphere (reservoir age, dead carbon fraction) for each dataset. New statistical methods have refined the structure of the calibration curves while maintaining a robust treatment of uncertainties in the 14C ages, the calendar ages and other corrections. The inclusion of modeled marine reservoir ages derived from a three-dimensional ocean circulation model has allowed us to apply more appropriate reservoir corrections to the marine 14C data rather than the previous use of constant regional offsets from the atmosphere. Here we provide an overview of the new and revised datasets and the associated methods used for the construction of the IntCal20 curve and explore potential regional offsets for tree-ring data. We discuss the main differences with respect to the previous calibration curve, IntCal13, and some of the implications for archaeology and geosciences ranging from the recent past to the time of the extinction of the Neanderthals.
Cross-national studies have found, unexpectedly, that mental disorder prevalence is higher in high-income relative to low-income countries, but few rigorous studies have been conducted in very low-income countries. This study assessed mental disorders in Nepal, employing unique methodological features designed to maximize disorder detection and reporting.
In 2016–2018, 10714 respondents aged 15–59 were interviewed as part of an ongoing panel study, with a response rate of 93%. The World Mental Health version of the Composite International Diagnostic Interview (WMH-CIDI 3.0) measured lifetime and 12-month prevalence of selected anxiety, mood, alcohol use, and impulse control disorders. Lifetime recall was enhanced using a life history calendar.
Lifetime prevalence ranged from 0.3% (95% CI 0.2–0.4) for bipolar disorder to 15.1% (95% CI 14.4–15.7) for major depressive disorder. The 12-month prevalences were low, ranging from 0.2% for panic disorder (95% CI 0.1–0.3) and bipolar disorder (95% CI 0.1–0.2) to 2.7% for depression (95% CI 2.4–3.0). Lifetime disorders were higher among those with less education and in the low-caste ethnic group. Gender differences were pronounced.
Although cultural effects on reporting cannot be ruled out, these low 12-month prevalences are consistent with reduced prevalence of mental disorders in other low-income countries. Identification of sociocultural factors that mediate the lower prevalence of mental disorders in low-income, non-Westernized settings may have implications for understanding disorder etiology and for clinical or policy interventions aimed at facilitating resilience.
There is a substantial proportion of patients who drop out of treatment before they receive minimally adequate care. They tend to have worse health outcomes than those who complete treatment. Our main goal is to describe the frequency and determinants of dropout from treatment for mental disorders in low-, middle-, and high-income countries.
Respondents from 13 low- or middle-income countries (N = 60 224) and 15 in high-income countries (N = 77 303) were screened for mental and substance use disorders. Cross-tabulations were used to examine the distribution of treatment and dropout rates for those who screened positive. The timing of dropout was examined using Kaplan–Meier curves. Predictors of dropout were examined with survival analysis using a logistic link function.
Dropout rates are high, both in high-income (30%) and low/middle-income (45%) countries. Dropout mostly occurs during the first two visits. It is higher in general medical rather than in specialist settings (nearly 60% v. 20% in lower income settings). It is also higher for mild and moderate than for severe presentations. The lack of financial protection for mental health services is associated with overall increased dropout from care.
Extending financial protection and coverage for mental disorders may reduce dropout. Efficiency can be improved by managing the milder clinical presentations at the entry point to the mental health system, providing adequate training, support and specialist supervision for non-specialists, and streamlining referral to psychiatrists for more severe cases.
Jamie Gundry’s dramatic image of a white-tailed eagle (Haliaeetus albicilla) on the cover of this book reflects the twisting changes in fortune experienced by this species, with a revival that can be attributed to a successful interplay of science, policy and practice. White-tailed eagles were historically much more widely distributed than they are today (Yalden, 2007), once breeding across much of Europe, but by the early twentieth century the species was extinct across much of western and southern Europe. The main cause of its decline was persecution by farmers and shepherds, who considered the eagles a threat to their livestock, but, along with other raptors, white-tailed eagles were also seriously affected by DDT in the 1960s and 1970s, which had disastrous effects on the breeding success of remaining populations.
In the Anthropocene, when our environment is changing rapidly and the windows of opportunity for action to prevent further biodiversity loss are narrow, conservation researchers are increasingly encouraged to think and operate beyond the traditional approaches of producing peer-reviewed papers and presenting results to other members of the research community. Indeed, the perception that researchers belong in their ivory tower, from which they deliver evidence for others to interpret, disseminate and use in decision-making, is thankfully now widely recognised as outdated. The rise of fake news, a deliberate lack of consideration for scientific evidence, and changes to the ways of assessing the value of researchers’ work probably all play a role in supporting this shift in perception. Moreover, for many researchers, the prospect of their work ‘making a difference’ and having an impact on wider society is at least as great a motivation for doing research as generating new knowledge, however interesting that may be.
Conservation research is essential for advancing knowledge but to make an impact scientific evidence must influence conservation policies, decision making and practice. This raises a multitude of challenges. How should evidence be collated and presented to policymakers to maximise its impact? How can effective collaboration between conservation scientists and decision-makers be established? How can the resulting messages be communicated to bring about change? Emerging from a successful international symposium organised by the British Ecological Society and the Cambridge Conservation Initiative, this is the first book to practically address these questions across a wide range of conservation topics. Well-renowned experts guide readers through global case studies and their own experiences. A must-read for practitioners, researchers, graduate students and policymakers wishing to enhance the prospect of their work 'making a difference'. This title is also available as Open Access on Cambridge Core.
Around a quarter of people suffering from psychotic conditions, like schizophrenia, continue to experience auditory hallucinations despite adequate drug treatment. In addition to medication, some help is also provided by psychological interventions, particularly cognitive behavioural therapy for psychosis (CBTp). AVATAR therapy is based on computer technology which enables each patient to create an avatar of the entity (human or non-human) that they believe is talking to them. The therapist promotes a dialogue between the patient and the avatar in which the avatar progressively comes under the patient's control. These sessions are audio recorded and provided to the patient on an MP3 player for continued use at home. In an initial pilot study, a maximum of 7 sessions lasting 30 minutes resulted in highly significant reductions in the patients’ hallucinations and the associated distress, enhancing the quality of their life (Leff et al., 2013). Our objective is to replicate the findings of this pilot study of the AVATAR therapy. We will carry out a randomised controlled evaluation of computer assisted voice therapy compared to supportive counselling to determine preliminary estimates of both effectiveness and cost-effectiveness. The study aims to recruit 142 people who have suffered from auditory hallucinations for at least 12 months despite taking medication regularly. Participants will complete a number of selfcompleted and interview based measures (on four assessment points: pre-treatment, post treatment, and then at 12 and 24 weeks follow-up) to assess the impact of interventions on outcomes and to explore potential mediators and modifiers of therapy.