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Important Bird and Biodiversity Areas (IBAs) are sites identified as being globally important for the conservation of bird populations on the basis of an internationally agreed set of criteria. We present the first review of the development and spread of the IBA concept since it was launched by BirdLife International (then ICBP) in 1979 and examine some of the characteristics of the resulting inventory. Over 13,000 global and regional IBAs have so far been identified and documented in terrestrial, freshwater and marine ecosystems in almost all of the world’s countries and territories, making this the largest global network of sites of significance for biodiversity. IBAs have been identified using standardised, data-driven criteria that have been developed and applied at global and regional levels. These criteria capture multiple dimensions of a site’s significance for avian biodiversity and relate to populations of globally threatened species (68.6% of the 10,746 IBAs that meet global criteria), restricted-range species (25.4%), biome-restricted species (27.5%) and congregatory species (50.3%); many global IBAs (52.7%) trigger two or more of these criteria. IBAs range in size from < 1 km2 to over 300,000 km2 and have an approximately log-normal size distribution (median = 125.0 km2, mean = 1,202.6 km2). They cover approximately 6.7% of the terrestrial, 1.6% of the marine and 3.1% of the total surface area of the Earth. The launch in 2016 of the KBA Global Standard, which aims to identify, document and conserve sites that contribute to the global persistence of wider biodiversity, and whose criteria for site identification build on those developed for IBAs, is a logical evolution of the IBA concept. The role of IBAs in conservation planning, policy and practice is reviewed elsewhere. Future technical priorities for the IBA initiative include completion of the global inventory, particularly in the marine environment, keeping the dataset up to date, and improving the systematic monitoring of these sites.
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.
Infection with STEC O157 is relatively rare but has potentially serious sequelae, particularly for children. Large outbreaks have prompted considerable efforts designed to reduce transmission primarily from food and direct animal contact. Despite these interventions, numbers of infections have remained constant for many years and the mechanisms leading to many sporadic infections remain unclear.
Here, we show that two-thirds of all cases reported in England between 2009 and 2015 were sporadic. Crude rates of infection differed geographically and were highest in rural areas during the summer months. Living in rural areas with high densities of cattle, sheep or pigs and those served by private water supplies were associated with increased risk. Living in an area of lower deprivation contributed to increased risk but this appeared to be associated with reported travel abroad. Fresh water coverage and residential proximity to the coast were not risk factors.
To reduce the overall burden of infection in England, interventions designed to reduce the number of sporadic infections with STEC should focus on the residents of rural areas with high densities of livestock and the effective management of non-municipal water supplies. The role of sheep as a reservoir and potential source of infection in humans should not be overlooked.
We compared sepsis “time zero” and Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) SEP-1 pass rates among 3 abstractors in 3 hospitals. Abstractors agreed on time zero in 29 of 80 (36%) cases. Perceived pass rates ranged from 9 of 80 cases (11%) to 19 of 80 cases (23%). Variability in time zero and perceived pass rates limits the utility of SEP-1 for measuring quality.
Current standard-of-care for glioblastoma (GBM) includes surgery, radiation and temozolomide. Most tumors recur within a year from diagnosis and median survival for recurrent GBM (rGBM) is 3-9 months. Unmethylated promoter status for O6-methylguanine-DNA-methyltransferase (MGMT) is a validated biomarker for temozolomide-resistance, exhibited by most GBM patients. VAL-083 is a DNA-targeting agent with a mechanism-of-action that is independent of MGMT. VAL-083 overcomes temozolomide-resistance in GBM cell-lines, cancer stem cells, and in vivo models. VAL-083 readily crosses the blood-brain barrier and accumulates in brain-tumor tissue. We recently completed a VAL-083 dose-escalation trial in temozolomide- and bevacizumab-refractory rGBM and determined that 40mg/m2/day given intravenously on days 1,2,3 of a 21-day cycle is generally well-tolerated. This dosing regimen was selected for subsequent GBM trials, including an ongoing single-arm, biomarker-driven Phase 2 trial (N=48) in temolozomide-refractory, bevacizumab-naïve rGBM , MGMT-unmethylated (Clinicaltrials.gov:NCT02717962). The primary objective of this study is to determine if VAL-083 improves OS compared to a historical control of 7.15 months for MGMT-unmethylated rGBM patients treated with lomustine (EORTC26101). In addition, another single-arm, biomarker-driven, Phase 2 study (N=25) of VAL-083 in combination with radiotherapy in newly diagnosed GBM, MGMT-unmethylated is ongoing (Clinicaltrials.gov:NCT03050736). This trial aims to determine a dose for further study of VAL-083 in combination with radiotherapy and explore if VAL-083 improves PFS and OS compared to historical results in newly diagnosed GBM. Enrollment and safety data updates will be provided at the meeting. The results of these studies, if successful, may support VAL-083 as part of a new chemotherapeutic treatment paradigm for GBM.
To date, Ireland has been a leading light in the provision of youth mental health services. However, cognisant of the efforts of governmental and non-governmental agencies working in youth mental health, there is much to be done. Barriers into care as well as discontinuity of care across the spectrum of services remain key challenges. This editorial provides guidance for the next stage of development in youth mental care and support that will require significant national engagement and resource investment.
We present a multi-frequency study of the intermediate spiral SAB(r)bc type galaxy NGC 6744, using available data from the Chandra X-Ray telescope, radio continuum data from the Australia Telescope Compact Array and Murchison Widefield Array, and Wide-field Infrared Survey Explorer infrared observations. We identify 117 X-ray sources and 280 radio sources. Of these, we find nine sources in common between the X-ray and radio catalogues, one of which is a faint central black hole with a bolometric radio luminosity similar to the Milky Way’s central black hole. We classify 5 objects as supernova remnant (SNR) candidates, 2 objects as likely SNRs, 17 as H ii regions, 1 source as an AGN; the remaining 255 radio sources are categorised as background objects and one X-ray source is classified as a foreground star. We find the star-formation rate (SFR) of NGC 6744 to be in the range 2.8–4.7 M⊙~yr − 1 signifying the galaxy is still actively forming stars. The specific SFR of NGC 6744 is greater than that of late-type spirals such as the Milky Way, but considerably less that that of a typical starburst galaxy.
Early detection of karyotype abnormalities, including aneuploidy, could aid producers in identifying animals which, for example, would not be suitable candidate parents. Genome-wide genetic marker data in the form of single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) are now being routinely generated on animals. The objective of the present study was to describe the statistics that could be generated from the allele intensity values from such SNP data to diagnose karyotype abnormalities; of particular interest was whether detection of aneuploidy was possible with both commonly used genotyping platforms in agricultural species, namely the Applied BiosystemsTM AxiomTM and the Illumina platform. The hypothesis was tested using a case study of a set of dizygotic X-chromosome monosomy 53,X sheep twins. Genome-wide SNP data were available from the Illumina platform (11 082 autosomal and 191 X-chromosome SNPs) on 1848 male and 8954 female sheep and available from the AxiomTM platform (11 128 autosomal and 68 X-chromosome SNPs) on 383 female sheep. Genotype allele intensity values, either as their original raw values or transformed to logarithm intensity ratio (LRR), were used to accurately diagnose two dizygotic (i.e. fraternal) twin 53,X sheep, both of which received their single X chromosome from their sire. This is the first reported case of 53,X dizygotic twins in any species. Relative to the X-chromosome SNP genotype mean allele intensity values of normal females, the mean allele intensity value of SNP genotypes on the X chromosome of the two females monosomic for the X chromosome was 7.45 to 12.4 standard deviations less, and were easily detectable using either the AxiomTM or Illumina genotype platform; the next lowest mean allele intensity value of a female was 4.71 or 3.3 standard deviations less than the population mean depending on the platform used. Both 53,X females could also be detected based on the genotype LRR although this was more easily detectable when comparing the mean LRR of the X chromosome of each female to the mean LRR of their respective autosomes. On autopsy, the ovaries of the two sheep were small for their age and evidence of prior ovulation was not appreciated. In both sheep, the density of primordial follicles in the ovarian cortex was lower than normally found in ovine ovaries and primary follicle development was not observed. Mammary gland development was very limited. Results substantiate previous studies in other species that aneuploidy can be readily detected using SNP genotype allele intensity values generally already available, and the approach proposed in the present study was agnostic to genotype platform.
This paper will review a new technique of detecting companion stars in LMXBs and X-ray transients in outburst using the Bowen fluorescence NIII lines at 4634-4640. These lines are very efficiently reprocessed in the atmospheres of the companion stars and, thereby, provide estimates of the K2 velocities and mass functions. The method has been applied to Sco X-1, X1822-371 and GX339-4 which, in the latter case, provides dynamical evidence for the presence of an accreting black hole. Preliminary results from a VLT campaign on V801 Ara, V926 Sco and XTE J1814-338 are also presented.
We present first results from a coordinated multiwavelength study of the neutron star low-mass X-ray binary EXO 0748 676. Fast UV, X-ray, and optical data were obtained including both spectral and timing information. We discuss how this study allows us to probe the temperature distribution within the binary and hence the geometry and efficiency of X-ray irradiation.
The objective of this experiment was to establish the effect of low-concentrate (LC) and high-concentrate (HC) supplementation in the early and late periods of lactation on milk production and cow traffic in a pasture-based automatic milking (AM) system. In total, 40 cows (10 primiparous and 30 multiparous) were randomly assigned to one of the two treatments. The experimental periods for the early and late lactation trials extended from 23 February to 12 April 2015 and 31 August to 18 October 2015, respectively (49 days in each trial period). The early lactation supplement levels were 2.3 and 4.4 kg/cow per day for LC and HC, respectively, whereas the late lactation supplement levels were 0.5 and 2.7 kg/cow per day for LC and HC, respectively. Variables measured included milking frequency, milking interval, milking outcome and milking characteristics, milk yield/visit and per day, wait time/visit and per day, return time/visit and the distribution of gate passes. As the herd was seasonal (spring) calving, the experimental periods could not run concurrently and as a result no statistical comparison between the periods was conducted. There was no significant effect of treatment in the early lactation period on any of the milk production, milking characteristics or cow traffic variables. However, treatment did significantly affect the distribution of gate passes, with the HC cows recording significantly more gate passes in the hours preceding the gate time change such as hours 7 (P<0.01), 15 (P<0.05), 20, 21 (P<0.001), and 22 (P<0.05), whereas the LC treatment recorded significantly more gate passes in the hours succeeding the gate time change, such as time points 2 (P<0.01) and 10 (P<0.05). There was a significant effect of treatment in late lactation, with HC having a greater milk yield (P<0.01), milking duration and activity/day (P<0.05), while also having a significantly shorter milking interval (P<0.05) and return time/visit (P<0.01). The distribution of gate passes were similar to the early lactation period, with HC also recording a significantly greater number of gate passes during the early morning period (P<0.01) when visitations were at their lowest. Any decision regarding the supplementing of dairy cows with concentrates needs to be examined from an economic perspective, to establish if the milk production and cow traffic benefits displayed in late lactation outweigh the cost of the concentrate; thereby ensuring that the decision to supplement is financially prudent.
The insurance hypothesis is a reasonable explanation for the current obesity epidemic. One alternative explanation is that the marketing of high-sugar foods, especially sugar-sweetened beverages, drives the rise in obesity. Another prominent hypothesis is that obesity spreads through social influence. We offer a framework for estimating the extent to which these different models explain the rise in obesity.
Elevated birth weight is linked to glucose intolerance and obesity health-related complications later in life. No studies have examined if infant birth weight is associated with gene expression markers of obesity and inflammation in a tissue that comes directly from the infant following birth. We evaluated the association between birth weight and gene expression on fetal programming of obesity. Foreskin samples were collected following circumcision, and gene expression analyzed comparing the 15% greatest birth weight infants (n=7) v. the remainder of the cohort (n=40). Multivariate linear regression models were fit to relate expression levels on differentially expressed genes to birth weight group with adjustment for variables selected from a list of maternal and infant characteristics. Glucose transporter type 4 (GLUT4), insulin receptor substrate 2 (IRS2), leptin receptor (LEPR), lipoprotein lipase (LPL), low-density lipoprotein receptor-related protein 1 (LRP1), matrix metalloproteinase 2 (MMP2), plasminogen activator inhibitor-1 (PAI-1) and transcription factor 7-like 2 (TCF7L2) were significantly upregulated and histone deacetylase 1 (HDAC1) and thioredoxin (TXN) downregulated in the larger birth weight neonates v. controls. Multivariate modeling revealed that the estimated adjusted birth weight group difference exceeded one standard deviation of the expression level for eight of the 10 genes. Between 25 and 50% of variation in expression level was explained by multivariate modeling for eight of the 10 genes. Gene expression related to glycemic control, appetite/energy balance, obesity and inflammation were altered in tissue from babies with elevated birth weight, and these genes may provide important information regarding fetal programming in macrosomic babies.
Calcium is considered important in buffering excess stomach acid in mammals, including horses. Control of stomach acid is important in preventing the development of ulcers within the stomach lining, which, in horses, are considered to be caused by acid splashing. Algae supplements contain various minerals which are in natural form, as seen in all plant and feedstuffs. The current trial was conducted to examine if a high calcium algae supplement had any impact on gastric ulceration in horses, which may be due to buffering stomach acid, reducing the pH in a gradual manner, without resorting to medication. Ten horses, of either thoroughbred, standardbred or sport horse breed, were selected on the basis of the presence of ulcers in their stomach, as ascertained by endoscopy. The average ulceration score before algae supplementation was 2.2 ± 0.75 according to the EGUC scoring system. The horses were then maintained on their normal diet (unchanged from the initial ulcer scoring) by the owner with the addition of 40 g per day of the high calcium, algae based Maxia Complete® (Seahorse Supplements Ltd, Christchurch, NZ) for thirty days (T30). All horses were then re endoscoped to assess any change in ulceration score. All horses showed a significant improvement in ulcer score, with seven having a score of zero (fully healed, no evidence of further ulceration) and two with a score of one (some residual inflammation or keratinosis in areas of healed ulcers). This resulted in a mean score of 0.3 ± 0.48 (P < 0.0001: T0 versus T30) at the end of the study. This trial demonstrated that feeding an organic form of high calcium from algae reduced ulceration in horses.
Traditional and advanced magnetic resonance imaging techniques are often unable to differentiate progressive central nervous system neoplasm from post-treatment radiation effect (PTRE). 18F-fluorodeoxyglucose positron emission tomography (FDG-PET) with delayed imaging has been shown to increase the specificity of PET imaging for cerebral neoplasm in small studies. We sought to further evaluate the potential diagnostic benefits of delayed imaging at 5 hours versus standard imaging at 1 hour to differentiate progressive disease (PD) from PTRE in patients with primary or metastatic brain tumors treated with radiation therapy.
Ten patients with primary (n=4) and metastatic (n=6) brain tumors were identified, with diagnostic confirmation of PD or PTRE provided by pathology or>3 month clinical and radiographic follow-up. Maximum standard uptake values (SUV) were calculated for suspicious areas of abnormal contrast enhancement (lesion) and compared to contralateral normal appearing brain (background) at both early and delayed time points. Seven patients were classified as having PD and 3 as having PTRE based pathology or clinical/radiographic follow up. The average lesion to background ratio (L/B) at the early time point (1.16+0.50) was significantly different than L/B for the later time point (1.72+1.10), p=0.030. The mean L/B for PD was 2.17+1.01 at the later time point compared to 0.65+0.06 for PTRE (p=0.010). For the earlier time point, L/B for PD was 1.40+0.42, compared to the L/B for PTRE which was 0.61+0.10 (p=0.003).L/B ratios at early and delayed time points successfully differentiated between patients with PD and PTRE, with significantly greater L/B ratios seen at delayed time points. These initial results are promising and further investigation is underway to evaluate the contribution of delayed imaging in differentiating PD from PTRE.
Late-life depression (LLD) is associated with a decline in physical activity. Typically this is assessed by self-report questionnaires and, more recently, with actigraphy. We sought to explore the utility of a bespoke activity monitor to characterize activity profiles in LLD more precisely.
The activity monitor was worn for 7 days by 29 adults with LLD and 30 healthy controls. Subjects underwent neuropsychological assessment and quality of life (QoL) (36-item Short-Form Health Survey) and activities of daily living (ADL) scales (Instrumental Activities of Daily Living Scale) were administered.
Physical activity was significantly reduced in LLD compared with controls (t = 3.63, p < 0.001), primarily in the morning. LLD subjects showed slower fine motor movements (t = 3.49, p < 0.001). In LLD patients, activity reductions were related to reduced ADL (r = 0.61, p < 0.001), lower QoL (r = 0.65, p < 0.001), associative learning (r = 0.40, p = 0.036), and higher Montgomery–Åsberg Depression Rating Scale score (r = −0.37, p < 0.05).
Patients with LLD had a significant reduction in general physical activity compared with healthy controls. Assessment of specific activity parameters further revealed the correlates of impairments associated with LLD. Our study suggests that novel wearable technology has the potential to provide an objective way of monitoring real-world function.
A radiochemical 71Ga−71 Ge experiment to determine the integral flux of neutrinos from the sun has been constructed at the Baksan Neutrino Observatory in the USSR. Measurements have begun with 30 tonnes of gallium. The experiment is being expanded with the addition of another 30 tonnes. The motivation, experimental procedures, and present status of this experiment are presented.
The variability of CD-24 7599 (V=11.48 mag) was discovered by JCC during observing run XCOV7 of the Whole Earth Telescope (WET, Nather et al. 1990) network in February, 1992. The star was observed as an additional target and 117 hours of high-quality temporal spectroscopic observations were obtained.
Our analysis of these data revealed the presence of 7 independent pulsation modes between 27.0 and 38.1 cycles per day (313 – 441 μHz) with semiamplitudes of 2.1 – 10.2 milli-modulation amplitudes (mma). We showed that peaks at linear combination frequencies detected in the power spectra were not due to eigenmodes excited to visible amplitude by resonant mode coupling.