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Despite the global significance of the Leach’s Storm-petrel Hydrobates leucorhous colony on Baccalieu Island, Newfoundland and Labrador, Canada, the estimate of 3.36 million breeding pairs reported for 1984 by Sklepkovych and Montevecchi stands as the single published population estimate for the world’s largest colony. This study increases knowledge of this population by analysing data from additional independent surveys conducted in 1984 and 1985, and by updating the population status with a survey conducted in 2013. Population estimates were derived by extrapolating occupied burrow densities to the estimated occupied area of four main habitat types (heath, forest, grass and fern), which in turn were based on proportions of habitats observed in plots (1984 and 1985) or by using a Geographic Information System approach (2013). Based on these surveys, the Leach’s Storm-petrel breeding population size on Baccalieu Island was estimated at 5.12 ± 0.73 (SE) and 4.60 ± 0.42 (SE) million pairs in 1984 and 1985 respectively, representing estimates 37–51% greater than the original 1984 survey. While discrepancies among these estimates were largely driven by the way occupied areas were estimated, our study confirms that Baccalieu Island hosts the largest Leach’s Storm-petrel colony in the world. Results from the 2013 survey estimate the current breeding Leach’s Storm-petrel population at 1.95 ± 0.14 (SE) million pairs, representing a 42% decline over 29 years (-1.4% per year), relative to the original published estimate of 3.36 ± 0.12 (SE) million pairs. The most prominent change has occurred in the density of storm-petrel burrows found in forest habitat which dropped by 70% despite forest remaining the second most abundant habitat available to nesting storm-petrels on Baccalieu Island. The cause of this decline remains unknown and is likely multi-faceted. Future research focusing on demographic studies is required to understand what is driving the population decline of this internationally important colony.
Negative interactions between people and large carnivores are common and will probably increase as the human population and livestock production continue to expand. Livestock predation by wild carnivores can significantly affect the livelihoods of farmers, resulting in retaliatory killings and subsequent conflicts between local communities and conservationists. A better understanding of livestock predation patterns could help guide measures to improve both human relationships and coexistence with carnivores. Environmental variables can influence the intensity of livestock predation, are relatively easy to monitor, and could potentially provide a useful predictive framework for targeting mitigation. We chose lion predation of livestock as a model to test whether variations in environmental conditions trigger changes in predation. Analysing 6 years of incident reports for Pandamatenga village in Botswana, an area of high human–lion conflict, we used generalized linear models to show that significantly more attacks coincided with lower moonlight levels and temperatures, and attack severity increased significantly with extreme minimum temperatures. Furthermore, we found a delayed effect of rainfall: lower rainfall was followed by a significantly increased severity of attacks in the following month. Our results suggest that preventative measures, such as introducing deterrents or changing livestock management, could be implemented adaptively based on environmental conditions. This could be a starting point for investigating similar effects in other large carnivores, to reduce livestock attacks and work towards wider human–wildlife coexistence.
The likelihood that Palaeolithic artisans sometimes used natural objects as models for their image-making has long been suggested, yet well-contextualized and stratified examples have remained rare. This study examines a series of natural and fabricated items from the Natufian settlement of Wadi Hammeh 27 in Jordan (12,000–12,500 cal. bc) to propose that the site occupants collected a variety of found objects such as fossils, unusually shaped stones and animal bones, which they utilized as templates in the production of geometric art pieces. Natural and fabricated objects were woven into complex schemes of relation by Natufian artisans. Existing patterns were copied and applied to a variety of representational images. Found objects were sometimes subtly modified, whereas at other times they were transformed into finished artefacts. The scute pattern on the tortoise carapace, in particular, appears to have formed the basis of important ritual beliefs across the Natufian culture area. At Wadi Hammeh 27, it was evoked in various media and at various scales to form interrelating tableaux of representation.
In the autumn of 2018, an outbreak of cryptosporidiosis affected adult employees from the same company in Western Norway. The organism was Cryptosporidium parvum, GP60 subtype IIaA14G1R1. All those infected had drunk from the same container of self-pressed apple juice. Incubation period (1 week) and clinical signs were similar among those infected, although some experienced a more prolonged duration of symptoms (up to 2–3 weeks) than others. The infections resulted after consumption from only one of 40 containers of juice and not from any of the other containers. It seems that although Cryptosporidium oocysts were detected in a sample from another container, the contamination did not affect the whole batch. This is perhaps indicative of a restricted contamination event, either from contaminated ground in the orchard, or during collection of the fruit, or during processing. Although outbreaks of food-borne cryptosporidiosis have previously been associated with consumption of contaminated apple juice, most of the more recent outbreaks of food-borne cryptosporidiosis have been associated with salad vegetables or herbs. This outbreak, the first outside USA reported to be associated with apple juice, is a timely reminder that such juice is a suitable transmission vehicle for Cryptosporidium oocysts, and that appropriate hygienic measures are essential in the production of such juice, including artisanal (non-commercial) production.
Objectives: Long-term neurological response to treatment after a severe traumatic brain injury (sTBI) is a dynamic process. Failure to capture individual heterogeneity in recovery may impact findings from single endpoint sTBI randomized controlled trials (RCT). The present study re-examined the efficacy of erythropoietin (Epo) and transfusion thresholds through longitudinal modeling of sTBI recovery as measured by the Disability Rating Scale (DRS). This study complements the report of primary outcomes in the Epo sTBI RCT, which failed to detect significant effects of acute treatment at 6 months post-injury. Methods: We implemented mixed effects models to characterize the recovery time-course and to examine treatment efficacy as a function of time post-injury and injury severity. Results: The inter-quartile range (25th–75th percentile) of DRS scores was 20–28 at week1; 8–24 at week 4; and 3–17 at 6 months. TBI severity group was found to significantly interact with Epo randomization group on mean DRS recovery curves. No significant differences in DRS recovery were found in transfusion threshold groups. Conclusions: This study demonstrated the value of taking a comprehensive view of recovery from sTBI in the Epo RCT as a temporally dynamic process that is shaped by both treatment and injury severity, and highlights the importance of the timing of primary outcome measurement. Effects of Epo treatment varied as a function of injury severity and time. Future studies are warranted to understand the possible moderating influence of injury severity on treatment effects pertaining to sTBI recovery. (JINS, 2019, 25, 293–301)
Improving quality of life (QOL) for people with dementia is a priority. In care homes, we often rely on proxy ratings from staff and family but we do not know if, or how, they differ in care homes.
We compared 1056 pairs of staff and family DEMQOL-Proxy ratings from 86 care homes across England. We explored factors associated with ratings quantitatively using multilevel modelling and, qualitatively, through thematic analysis of 12 staff and 12 relative interviews.
Staff and family ratings were weakly correlated (ρs = 0.35). Median staff scores were higher than family's (104 v. 101; p < 0.001). Family were more likely than staff to rate resident QOL as ‘Poor’ (χ2 = 55.91, p < 0.001). Staff and family rated QOL higher when residents had fewer neuropsychiatric symptoms and severe dementia. Staff rated QOL higher in homes with lower staff:resident ratios and when staff were native English speakers. Family rated QOL higher when the resident had spent longer living in the care home and was a native English. Spouses rated residents’ QOL higher than other relatives. Qualitative results suggest differences arise because staff felt good care provided high QOL but families compared the present to the past. Family judgements centre on loss and are complicated by decisions about care home placement and their understandings of dementia.
Proxy reports differ systematically between staff and family. Reports are influenced by the rater:staff and family may conceptualise QOL differently.
Although the impact of diarrhoeal disease on paediatric health in Nigeria has decreased in recent years, it remains an important cause of morbidity and mortality in children under 5 years. Rotavirus is recognised as an important aetiological agent, but information on the contribution of intestinal protozoa to watery diarrhoea in this age group in Nigeria is scarce. In this cross-sectional study, faecal samples from children admitted to healthcare centres in Abakaliki, Nigeria with acute watery diarrhoea (N = 199) and faecal samples from age-matched controls (N = 37) were examined for Cryptosporidium and Giardia using immunofluorescent antibody testing and molecular methods. Cryptosporidium was identified in 13 case samples (6.5%) and no control samples. For three samples, molecular characterisation indicated C. hominis, GP60 subtypes IaA30R3, IaA14R3 and IdA11. Giardia was not detected in any samples. This contrast in prevalence between the two intestinal protozoa may reflect their variable epidemiologies and probably differing routes of infection. Given that these two parasitic infections are often bracketed together, it is key to realise that they not only have differing clinical spectra but also that the importance of each parasite is not the same in different age groups and/or settings.
The Dicyemida and Orthonectida are two groups of tiny, simple, vermiform parasites that have historically been united in a group named the Mesozoa. Both Dicyemida and Orthonectida have just two cell layers and appear to lack any defined tissues. They were initially thought to be evolutionary intermediates between protozoans and metazoans but more recent analyses indicate that they are protostomian metazoans that have undergone secondary simplification from a complex ancestor. Here we describe the first almost complete mitochondrial genome sequence from an orthonectid, Intoshia linei, and describe nine and eight mitochondrial protein-coding genes from Dicyema sp. and Dicyema japonicum, respectively. The 14 247 base pair long I. linei sequence has typical metazoan gene content, but is exceptionally AT-rich, and has a unique gene order. The data we have analysed from the Dicyemida provide very limited support for the suggestion that dicyemid mitochondrial genes are found on discrete mini-circles, as opposed to the large circular mitochondrial genomes that are typical of the Metazoa. The cox1 gene from dicyemid species has a series of conserved, in-frame deletions that is unique to this lineage. Using cox1 genes from across the genus Dicyema, we report the first internal phylogeny of this group.
Background: To determine whether exosomal microRNAs (miRNAs) in CSF of patients with FTD can serve as diagnostic biomarkers, we assessed miRNA expression in the Genetic FTD Initiative (GENFI) cohort and in sporadic FTD. Methods: GENFI participants were either carriers of a pathogenic mutation or at risk of carrying a mutation because a first-degree relative was a symptomatic mutation carrier. Exosomes were isolated from CSF of 23 -pre-symptomatic and 15 symptomatic mutation carriers, and 11 healthy non-mutation carriers. Expression of miRNAs was measured using qPCR arrays. MiRNAs differentially expressed in symptomatic compared to pre-symptomatic mutation carriers were evaluated in 17 patients with sporadic FTD, 13 patients with sporadic Alzheimer’s disease (AD), and 10 healthy controls (HCs). Results: In the GENFI cohort, miR-204-5p and miR-632 were significantly decreased in symptomatic compared to pre-symptomatic mutation carriers. Decrease of miR-204-5p and miR-632 revealed receiver operator characteristics with an area of 0.89 [90% CI: 0.79-0.98] and 0.81 [90% CI: 0.68-0.93], and when combined an area of 0.93 [90% CI: 0.87-0.99]. In sporadic FTD, only miR-632 was significantly decreased compared to sporadic AD and HCs. Decrease of miR-632 revealed an area of 0.89 [90% CI: 0.80-0.98]. Conclusions: Exosomal miR-204-5p and miR-632 have potential as diagnostic biomarkers for genetic FTD and miR-632 also for sporadic FTD.
Cognitive remediation (CR) training has emerged as a promising approach to improving cognitive deficits in schizophrenia and related psychosis. The limited availability of psychological services for psychosis is a major barrier to accessing this intervention however. This study investigated the effectiveness of a low support, remotely accessible, computerised working memory (WM) training programme in patients with psychosis.
Ninety patients were enrolled into a single blind randomised controlled trial of CR. Effectiveness of the intervention was assessed in terms of neuropsychological performance, social and occupational function, and functional MRI 2 weeks post-intervention, with neuropsychological and social function again assessed 3–6 months post-treatment.
Patients who completed the intervention showed significant gains in both neuropsychological function (measured using both untrained WM and episodic task performance, and a measure of performance IQ), and social function at both 2-week follow-up and 3–6-month follow-up timepoints. Furthermore, patients who completed MRI scanning showed improved resting state functional connectivity relative to patients in the placebo condition.
CR training has already been shown to improve cognitive and social function in patient with psychosis. This study demonstrates that, at least for some chronic but stable outpatients, a low support treatment was associated with gains that were comparable with those reported for CR delivered entirely on a 1:1 basis. We conclude that CR has potential to be delivered even in services in which psychological supports for patients with psychosis are limited.
Most optical and IR spectra are now acquired using detectors with finite-width pixels in a square array. Each pixel records the received intensity integrated over its own area, and pixels are separated by the array pitch. This paper examines the effects of such pixellation, using computed simulations to illustrate the effects which most concern the astronomer end-user. It is shown that coarse sampling increases the random noise errors in wavelength by typically 10–20 % at 2 pixels per Full Width at Half Maximum, but with wide variation depending on the functional form of the instrumental Line Spread Function (i.e. the instrumental response to a monochromatic input) and on the pixel phase. If line widths are determined, they are even more strongly affected at low sampling frequencies. However, the noise in fitted peak amplitudes is minimally affected by pixellation, with increases less than about 5%. Pixellation has a substantial but complex effect on the ability to see a relative minimum between two closely spaced peaks (or relative maximum between two absorption lines). The consistent scale of resolving power presented by Robertson to overcome the inadequacy of the Full Width at Half Maximum as a resolution measure is here extended to cover pixellated spectra. The systematic bias errors in wavelength introduced by pixellation, independent of signal/noise ratio, are examined. While they may be negligible for smooth well-sampled symmetric Line Spread Functions, they are very sensitive to asymmetry and high spatial frequency sub-structure. The Modulation Transfer Function for sampled data is shown to give a useful indication of the extent of improperly sampled signal in an Line Spread Function. The common maxim that 2 pixels per Full Width at Half Maximum is the Nyquist limit is incorrect and most Line Spread Functions will exhibit some aliasing at this sample frequency. While 2 pixels per Full Width at Half Maximum is nevertheless often an acceptable minimum for moderate signal/noise work, it is preferable to carry out simulations for any actual or proposed Line Spread Function to find the effects of various sampling frequencies. Where spectrograph end-users have a choice of sampling frequencies, through on-chip binning and/or spectrograph configurations, it is desirable that the instrument user manual should include an examination of the effects of the various choices.
Close pairs of QSOs (separations ≲ 1–5 arcmin) provide a powerful approach to the study of narrow absorption lines in QSO spectra. By looking for absorption in the spectrum of the higher-redshift QSO at the redshift of the other (“associated absorption”), or absorption in both spectra at the same redshift (“common absorption”), one may address several issues: the cosmological nature of QSO redshifts, the origin of the narrow absorption lines of high redshift and excitation (intrinsic or intervening), the clustering of absorbing systems (with each other, and with QSOs), the sizes of the absorbing regions (for metal absorption lines and for Lyα lines; absorption cross-sections of individual galaxies and of clusters of galaxies), and the presence and nature of gaseous halos around QSOs.
The Southern Hemisphere VLBI Experiment (or SHEVE) was a joint US-Australian-South African venture with both astronomy and geodesy goals. The principle astronomy goal was to make models or maps of the following sources: at 2.3 GHz (with six antennas and 9 usable baselines) – Centaurus A (the nearest active galaxy), Circinus X-1 (a flaring binary), the VELA pulsar, and 26 other active galactic nuclei and quasars; at 8.4 GHz (only one baseline) – Centaurus A and the galactic center.
VLBI observations at 2.3 GHz of SN1987A on 28 February 1987 yielded no fringes, implying, for an optically thin shell, a lower bound on the (outer) diameter of 1.9 mas. From the comparison of the VLBI and optical results, we infer that the radiosphere of SN1987A was either about equal to, or larger than, the photosphere of the supernova five days after the explosion.
Six radio telescopes were operated as the first southern hemisphere VLBI array in April and May 1982. Observations were made at 2.3 and 8.4 Ghz. This array produced VLBI images of 28 southern hemisphere radio sources, high accuracy VLBI geodesy between southern hemisphere sites, and subarcsecond radio astrometry of celestial sources south of declination −45 degrees. This paper discusses only the astrophysical aspects of the experiment.