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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.
Sedentary behaviour is potentially a modifiable risk factor for anxiety disorders, a major source of global disability that typically starts during adolescence. This is the first prospective study of associations between repeated, device-based measures of sedentary behaviour and anxiety symptoms in adolescents.
A UK cohort with 4257 adolescents aged 12 at baseline (56% female). Main exposures were sedentary behaviour and physical activity measured using accelerometers for 7-days at ages 12, 14, and 16. Primary outcome was anxiety symptom scores at age 18 from a Clinical Interview Schedule-Revised. We used adjusted negative binomial regression and iso-temporal substitution methods to analyse the data.
We found a positive association between sedentary behaviour at ages 12, 14, and 16, with anxiety symptoms at age 18, independent of total physical activity volume. Theoretically replacing an hour of daily sedentary behaviour for light activity at ages 12, 14, and 16, was associated with lower anxiety symptoms by age 18 by 15.9% (95% CI 8.7–22.4), 12.1% (95% CI 3.4–20.1), and 14.7% (95% CI 4–24.2), respectively. Whereas, theoretically replacing an hour of sedentary behaviour with moderate-to-vigorous physical activity was not associated with differences in anxiety symptoms. These results were robust to a series of sensitivity analyses.
Sedentary behaviour is a possible risk factor for increasing anxiety symptoms during adolescence, independent of total physical activity volume. Instead of focusing on moderate-to-vigorous activity, replacing daily sedentary behaviour with light activity during adolescence could be a more suitable method of reducing future anxiety symptoms.
Externalizing disorders are known to be partly heritable, but the biological pathways linking genetic risk to the manifestation of these costly behaviors remain under investigation. This study sought to identify neural phenotypes associated with genomic vulnerability for externalizing disorders.
One-hundred fifty-five White, non-Hispanic veterans were genotyped using a genome-wide array and underwent resting-state functional magnetic resonance imaging. Genetic susceptibility was assessed using an independently developed polygenic score (PS) for externalizing, and functional neural networks were identified using graph theory based network analysis. Tasks of inhibitory control and psychiatric diagnosis (alcohol/substance use disorders) were used to measure externalizing phenotypes.
A polygenic externalizing disorder score (PS) predicted connectivity in a brain circuit (10 nodes, nine links) centered on left amygdala that included several cortical [bilateral inferior frontal gyrus (IFG) pars triangularis, left rostral anterior cingulate cortex (rACC)] and subcortical (bilateral amygdala, hippocampus, and striatum) regions. Directional analyses revealed that bilateral amygdala influenced left prefrontal cortex (IFG) in participants scoring higher on the externalizing PS, whereas the opposite direction of influence was observed for those scoring lower on the PS. Polygenic variation was also associated with higher Participation Coefficient for bilateral amygdala and left rACC, suggesting that genes related to externalizing modulated the extent to which these nodes functioned as communication hubs.
Findings suggest that externalizing polygenic risk is associated with disrupted connectivity in a neural network implicated in emotion regulation, impulse control, and reinforcement learning. Results provide evidence that this network represents a genetically associated neurobiological vulnerability for externalizing disorders.
Potentially modifiable risk factors for developing dementia have been identified. However, risk factors for increased mortality in patients with diagnosed dementia are not well understood. Identifying factors that influence prognosis would help clinicians plan care and address unmet needs.
To investigate diagnosed depression and sociodemographic factors as predictors of mortality in patients with dementia in UK secondary clinical care services.
We conducted a cohort study of patients with a dementia diagnosis in an electronic health records database in a UK National Health Service mental health trust.
In 3374 patients with 10 856 person-years of follow-up, comorbid depression was not associated with mortality (adjusted hazard ratio 0.94; 95% CI 0.71–1.24). Single patients had higher mortality than those who were married (adjusted hazard ratio 1.25; 95% CI 1.03–1.50). Patients of Asian ethnicity had lower mortality rates than White British patients (adjusted hazard ratio 0.50; 95% CI 0.34–0.73).
Clinically diagnosed depression does not increase mortality in patients with dementia. Patients who are single are a potential high-mortality risk group. Lower mortality rates in Asian patients with dementia that have been reported in the USA also apply in the UK.
Bipolar disorder and schizophrenia are associated with increased mortality relative to the general population. There is an international emphasis on decreasing this excess mortality.
To determine whether the mortality gap between individuals with bipolar disorder and schizophrenia and the general population has decreased.
A nationally representative cohort study using primary care electronic health records from 2000 to 2014, comparing all patients diagnosed with bipolar disorder or schizophrenia and the general population. The primary outcome was all-cause mortality.
Individuals with bipolar disorder and schizophrenia had elevated mortality (adjusted hazard ratio (HR) = 1.79, 95% CI 1.67–1.88 and 2.08, 95% CI 1.98–2.19 respectively). Adjusted HRs for bipolar disorder increased by 0.14/year (95% CI 0.10–0.19) from 2006 to 2014. The adjusted HRs for schizophrenia increased gradually from 2004 to 2010 (0.11/year, 95% CI 0.04–0.17) and rapidly after 2010 (0.34/year, 95% CI 0.18–0.49).
The mortality gap between individuals with bipolar disorder and schizophrenia, and the general population is widening.
Tabanids are haematophagous flies feeding on livestock and wildlife. In the absence of information on the relationship of tabanid flies and protozoan parasites in South Africa and Zambia, the current study was aimed at characterizing tabanid flies collected in these two countries as well as detecting protozoan parasites they are harbouring. A total of 527 tabanid flies were collected whereby 70·2% were from South Africa and 29·8% were from Zambia. Morphological analysis revealed a total of five different genera collected from the sampled areas namely: Ancala, Atylotus, Haematopota, Philoliche and Tabanus. DNA extracted from South African Tabanus par and Tabanus taeniola tested positive for the presence of Trypanosoma congolense (Savannah) and Trypanosoma theileri whilst one member from T. par was positive for Trypanosoma brucei species. DNA extracted from Zambian tabanid flies tested positive for the presence of Besnoitia species at 1·27% (2/157), Babesia bigemina 5·73% (9/157), Theileria parva 30·11% (30/157) and 9·82% (14/157) for Trypanosoma evansi. This study is the first to report on relationship of Babesia and Theileria parasites with tabanid flies. Further investigations are required to determine the role of tabanids in transmission of the detected protozoan parasites in livestock and wildlife in South Africa and Zambia.
This study examined the response of forage crops to composted dairy waste (compost) applied at low rates and investigated effects on soil health. The evenness of spreading compost by commercial machinery was also assessed. An experiment was established on a commercial dairy farm with target rates of compost up to 5 t ha−1 applied to a field containing millet [Echinochloa esculenta (A. Braun) H. Scholz] and Pasja leafy turnip (Brassica hybrid). A pot experiment was also conducted to monitor the response of a legume forage crop (vetch; Vicia sativa L.) on three soils with equivalent rates of compost up to 20 t ha−1 with and without ‘additive blends’ comprising gypsum, lime or other soil treatments. Few significant increases in forage biomass were observed with the application of low rates of compost in either the field or pot experiment. In the field experiment, compost had little impact on crop herbage mineral composition, soil chemical attributes or soil fungal and bacterial biomass. However, small but significant increases were observed in gravimetric water content resulting in up to 22.4 mm of additional plant available water calculated in the surface 0.45 m of soil, 2 years after compost was applied in the field at 6 t ha−1 dried (7.2 t ha−1 undried), compared with the nil control. In the pot experiment, where the soil was homogenized and compost incorporated into the soil prior to sowing, there were significant differences in mineral composition in herbage and in soil. A response in biomass yield to compost was only observed on the sandier and lower fertility soil type, and yields only exceeded that of the conventional fertilizer treatment where rates equivalent to 20 t ha−1 were applied. With few yield responses observed, the justification for applying low rates of compost to forage crops and pastures seems uncertain. Our collective experience from the field and the glasshouse suggests that farmers might increase the response to compost by: (i) increasing compost application rates; (ii) applying it prior to sowing a crop; (iii) incorporating the compost into the soil; (iv) applying only to responsive soil types; (v) growing only responsive crops; and (vi) reducing weed burdens in crops following application. Commercial machinery incorporating a centrifugal twin disc mechanism was shown to deliver double the quantity of compost in the area immediately behind the spreader compared with the edges of the spreading swathe. Spatial variability in the delivery of compost could be reduced but not eliminated by increased overlapping, but this might represent a potential 20% increase in spreading costs.
There are no existing longitudinal studies of inflammatory markers and atopic disorders in childhood and risk of hypomanic symptoms in adulthood. This study examined if childhood: (1) serum interleukin-6 (IL-6) and C-reactive protein (CRP); and (2) asthma and/or eczema are associated with features of hypomania in young adulthood.
Participants in the Avon Longitudinal Study of Parents and Children, a prospective general population UK birth cohort, had non-fasting blood samples for IL-6 and CRP measurement at the age of 9 years (n = 4645), and parents answered a question about doctor-diagnosed atopic illness before the age of 10 years (n = 7809). These participants completed the Hypomania Checklist at age 22 years (n = 3361).
After adjusting for age, sex, ethnicity, socio-economic status, past psychological and behavioural problems, body mass index and maternal postnatal depression, participants in the top third of IL-6 values at 9 years, compared with the bottom third, had an increased risk of hypomanic symptoms by age 22 years [adjusted odds ratio 1.77, 95% confidence interval (CI) 1.10–2.85, p < 0.001]. Higher IL-6 levels in childhood were associated with adult hypomania features in a dose–response fashion. After further adjustment for depression at the age of 18 years this association remained (adjusted odds ratio 1.70, 95% CI 1.03–2.81, p = 0.038). There was no evidence of an association of hypomanic symptoms with CRP levels, asthma or eczema in childhood.
Higher levels of systemic inflammatory marker IL-6 in childhood were associated with hypomanic symptoms in young adulthood, suggesting that inflammation may play a role in the pathophysiology of mania. Inflammatory pathways may be suitable targets for the prevention and intervention for bipolar disorder.
Aging is associated with performance reductions in executive function and episodic memory, although there is substantial individual variability in cognition among older adults. One factor that may be positively associated with cognition in aging is physical activity. To date, few studies have objectively assessed physical activity in young and older adults, and examined whether physical activity is differentially associated with cognition in aging. Young (n=29, age 18–31 years) and older adults (n=31, ages 55–82 years) completed standardized neuropsychological testing to assess executive function and episodic memory capacities. An experimental face-name relational memory task was administered to augment assessment of episodic memory. Physical activity (total step count and step rate) was objectively assessed using an accelerometer, and hierarchical regressions were used to evaluate relationships between cognition and physical activity. Older adults performed more poorly on tasks of executive function and episodic memory. Physical activity was positively associated with a composite measure of visual episodic memory and face-name memory accuracy in older adults. Physical activity associations with cognition were independent of sedentary behavior, which was negatively correlated with memory performance. Physical activity was not associated with cognitive performance in younger adults. Physical activity is positively associated with episodic memory performance in aging. The relationship appears to be strongest for face-name relational memory and visual episodic memory, likely attributable to the fact that these tasks make strong demands on the hippocampus. The results suggest that physical activity relates to cognition in older, but not younger adults. (JINS, 2015, 21, 780–790)
The stellar content of young massive star clusters emit large amounts of Lyman continuum photons and inject momentum into the inter stellar medium (ISM) by the strong stellar winds of the most massive stars in the cluster. When the most massive stars explode as supernovae, large amounts of mechanical energy are injected in the ISM. A detailed study of the ISM around these massive cluster provides insights on the effect of cluster feedback.
We present high quality integral field spectroscopy taken with VLT/MUSE of two starburst galaxies: ESO 338-IG04 and Haro 11. Both galaxies contain a significant number of super star clusters. The MUSE data provide us with an unprecedented view of the state and kinematics of the ionized gas in the galaxy allowing us to study the effect of stellar feedback on small and large spatial scales. We present our recent results on studying the ISM state of these two galaxies. The data of both galaxies show that the mechanical and ionization feedback of the super star clusters in the galaxy modify the state and kinematics of the ISM substancially by creating highly ionized bubbles around the cluster, making the central part of the galaxy highly ionized. This shows that the HII regions around the individual clusters are density bounded, allowing the ionizing photons to escape and ionize the ISM further out.
The presence of an atmosphere, initially suggested based on limb darkening by Sola (1904) and later by the presence of methane spectral lines by Kuiper (1944), has long given Titan a special place in the minds of planetary geologists. The first close-up images were obtained by Pioneer 11 in 1979 (Gehrels et al., 1980), confirming a substantial atmosphere. These early observations led to the diversion of the trajectory of the Voyager I spacecraft to a closer encounter with Titan in 1980. Although the visible cameras on Voyager also had difficulty seeing Titan's surface (Richardson et al., 2004), radio occultation experiments suggested a surface pressure of 1.5 bars and temperature near 95 K (Lindal et al., 1983). These results were exciting because, for a methane mixing ratio of a few percent at the surface (Hunten, 1978), they placed methane's partial pressure near its triple point. Thus, like water on Earth, solid, liquid, and gaseous methane could potentially exist in Titan's environment. Ethane, which is the main product of methane photolysis, can also be liquid under these conditions. The presence of condensable volatiles in Titan's thick atmosphere opens the door for active fluvial, lacustrine, and pluvial processes that can shape its landscape with similar morphologies to those we find on Earth.
Prompted by the exciting results of the Voyager mission and the nearly two decades of Earth-based imaging campaigns that followed, NASA/ESA launched the Cassini-Huygens mission to Saturn in 1997. To penetrate Titan's thick atmosphere, Cassini is equipped with a Ku-band radar capable of obtaining images of the surface at a scale of 300 meters.
Thick (>150 μm) beryllium coatings are studied as an ablator material of interest for fusion fuel capsules for the National Ignition Facility. DC magnetron sputtering is used because of the relative controllability of the processing temperature and energy of the deposits. However, coatings produced by DC magnetron sputtering leak the fuel gas D2. By using ion-assisted DC magnetron, sputtered coatings can be made that are leak-tight. Transmission electron microscopy (TEM) studies revealed microstructural changes that lead to leak-tight coating. Ultrasmall angle x-ray spectroscopy is used to characterize the void distribution and volume along the spherical surface along with a combination of focused ion beam, scanning electron microscope, and TEM. An in situ multibeam optical stress sensor was used to measure the stress behavior of thick beryllium coatings on flat substrates as the material was being deposited.
Ewing's sarcoma is a rare, malignant tumour predominantly affecting young adolescent males. We describe a unique case of an isolated extra-skeletal metastasis from a skeletal Ewing's sarcoma primary, arising in the right sinonasal cavity of a young man who presented with severe epistaxis and periorbital cellulitis.
Histologically, the lesion comprised closely packed, slightly diffuse, atypical cells with round, hyperchromatic nuclei, scant cytoplasm and occasional mitotic figures, arranged in a sheet-like pattern. Immunohistochemical analysis showed positive staining only for cluster of differentiation 99 glycoprotein. Fluorescent in situ hybridisation identified the Ewing's sarcoma gene, confirming the diagnosis.
Complete surgical resection was achieved via a minimally invasive endoscopic transnasal approach; post-operative radiotherapy. Ten months post-operatively, there were no endoscopic or radiological signs of disease.
Metastatic Ewing's sarcoma within the head and neck is incredibly rare and can pose significant diagnostic and therapeutic challenges. An awareness of different clinical presentations and distinct histopathological features is important to enable early diagnosis. This case illustrates one potential management strategy, and reinforces the evolving role of endoscopic transnasal approaches in managing sinonasal cavity and anterior skull base tumours.