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Autonomous weapons systems have been the subject of heated debate since 2010, when Philip Alston, then Special Rapporteur on Extrajudicial, Summary, or Arbitrary Executions, brought the issue to the international spotlight in his interim report to the United Nations (UN) General Assembly 65th Session. Alston affirmed that “automated technologies are becoming increasingly sophisticated, and artificial intelligence reasoning and decision-making abilities are actively being researched and receive significant funding. States’ militaries and defence industry developers are working to develop ‘fully autonomous capability’, such that technological advances in artificial intelligence will enable unmanned aerial vehicles to make and execute complex decisions, including the identification of human targets and the ability to kill them.”1 Later, in 2013, Christof Heyns, who was Special Rapporteur for Extrajudicial, Summary or Arbitrary Executions at the time, published a report that elaborated further on the issues raised by what he called “lethal autonomous robotics”.2 Following a recommendation by Advisory Board on Disarmament Matters at the UN General Assembly 68th Session, the Convention on Prohibitions or Restrictions on the Use of Certain Conventional Weapons Which May Be Deemed to Be Excessively Injurious or to Have Indiscriminate Effects, as amended on 21 December 2021, started discussing autonomous weapons systems in 2014. Then, the Group of Governmental Experts on Emerging Technologies in the Area of Lethal Autonomous Weapons Systems (GGE on LAWS)3 was created in 2016 to focus on this issue.4 While the group has kept meeting since then, no clear steps have been taken yet towards a normative framework on autonomous weapons as of September 2022.
In all these years, persons with disabilities – including conflict survivors – have not been included in discussions, nor has the disability perspective been reflected in international debate on autonomous weapons. Only recently has there been any effort to consider the rights of persons with disabilities when examining ethical questions related to artificial intelligence (AI). In this article, we will examine how and why autonomous weapons have a disproportionate impact on persons with disabilities, because of the discrimination that results from a combination of factors such as bias in AI, bias in the military and the police, barriers to justice and humanitarian assistance in situations of armed conflict, and the lack of consultation and participation of persons with disabilities and their representative organizations on issues related to autonomy in weapons systems.
The main idea of this work is to develop a chronological and descriptive historical review in a summarized form about content on astrobiology, which is a research area considered as an emerging science. This is exploratory research that was developed from document review from scientific articles and books, that related to the themes of astrobiology, exobiology and the search for life outside the Earth were used. Based on the research developed, it was possible to collect data related to the vision of other worlds beyond Earth from the ancient Greeks to the present day. Finally, it was possible to conclude that although astrobiology is a recent area of scientific research, the concept and search for life outside the Earth already existed long before the development of modern science.
The Dasylirion genus is highly represented in the arid and semi-arid regions of Mexico and USA, playing important ecological and economical roles. Inferring the evolutionary patterns of this group will eventually facilitate understanding biological phenomena and outlining conservation and usage strategies. We performed a molecular phylogenetic analysis based on two chloroplast DNA regions: maturase-K gene (matK) and the large subunit of ribulose-1,5-bisphosphate carboxylase gene (rbcL). We constructed a phylogenetic tree by maximum likelihood with GTR as the sequence substitution model and a relaxed clock, inferred diversification patterns by lineage through time and explored the diversification rates of Dasylirion by the Yule model. The study included 11 species of the genus, which represent 50% of all its known species. We used two calibration points to date the tree, one based on fossil records of Acorus gramineus, and the other on the estimated stem age of the Yucca genus. The combined sequences of the two partial genes comprised 1455 bp and 18 polymorphic sites. We estimated an average substitution rate of 0.0005 nucleotide per million years for the concatenated DNA sequences. The molecular dating analysis estimated that the Dasylirion genus appeared more than 5.46 million years ago, with a rate of diversification of 0.0466 net speciation events per million years. The estimated age represents a lower bound, since not all Dasylirion species are included. These findings are consistent with other origin and diversification hypotheses for arid-land Asparagaceae in the Mexican highlands as a result of geomorphological events in North America.
To examine the cross-sectional and longitudinal (2-year follow-up) associations between dietary diversity (DD) and depressive symptoms.
An energy-adjusted dietary diversity score (DDS) was assessed using a validated FFQ and was categorised into quartiles (Q). The variety in each food group was classified into four categories of diversity (C). Depressive symptoms were assessed with Beck Depression Inventory-II (Beck II) questionnaire and depression cases defined as physician-diagnosed or Beck II >= 18. Linear and logistic regression models were used.
Spanish older adults with metabolic syndrome (MetS).
A total of 6625 adults aged 55–75 years from the PREDIMED-Plus study with overweight or obesity and MetS.
Total DDS was inversely and statistically significantly associated with depression in the cross-sectional analysis conducted; OR Q4 v. Q1 = 0·76 (95 % CI (0·64, 0·90)). This was driven by high diversity compared to low diversity (C3 v. C1) of vegetables (OR = 0·75, 95 % CI (0·57, 0·93)), cereals (OR = 0·72 (95 % CI (0·56, 0·94)) and proteins (OR = 0·27, 95 % CI (0·11, 0·62)). In the longitudinal analysis, there was no significant association between the baseline DDS and changes in depressive symptoms after 2 years of follow-up, except for DD in vegetables C4 v. C1 = (β = 0·70, 95 % CI (0·05, 1·35)).
According to our results, DD is inversely associated with depressive symptoms, but eating more diverse does not seem to reduce the risk of future depression. Additional longitudinal studies (with longer follow-up) are needed to confirm these findings.
The early clinical predictors of respiratory failure in Latin Americans with Guillain–Barré syndrome (GBS) have scarcely been studied. This is of particular importance since Latin America has a high frequency of axonal GBS variants that may imply a worse prognosis.
We studied 86 Mexican patients with GBS admitted to the Instituto Nacional de Ciencias Médicas y Nutrición Salvador Zubirán, a referral center of Mexico City, to describe predictors of invasive mechanical ventilation (IMV).
The median age was 40 years (interquartile range: 26–53.5), with 60.5% men (male-to-female ratio: 1.53). Most patients (65%) had an infectious antecedent (40.6% gastrointestinal). At admission, 38% of patients had a Medical Research Council (MRC) sum score <30. Axonal subtypes predominated (60.5%), with acute motor axonal neuropathy being the most prevalent (34.9%), followed by acute inflammatory demyelinating polyneuropathy (32.6%), acute motor sensory axonal neuropathy (AMSAN) (25.6%), and Fisher syndrome (7%). Notably, 15.1% had onset in upper limbs, 75.6% dysautonomia, and 73.3% pain. In all, 86% received either IVIg (9.3%) or plasma exchange (74.4%). IMV was required in 39.5% patients (72.7% in AMSAN). A multivariate model without including published prognostic scores yielded the time since onset to admission <15 days, axonal variants, MRC sum score <30, and bulbar weakness as independent predictors of IMV. The model including grading scales yielded lower limbs onset, Erasmus GBS respiratory insufficiency score (EGRIS) >4, and dysautonomia as predictors.
These results suggest that EGRIS is a good prognosticator of IMV in GBS patients with a predominance of axonal electrophysiological subtypes, but other early clinical data should also be considered.
The burden of depression is increasing worldwide, specifically in older adults. Unhealthy dietary patterns may partly explain this phenomenon. In the Spanish PREDIMED-Plus study, we explored (1) the cross-sectional association between the adherence to the Prime Diet Quality Score (PDQS), an a priori-defined high-quality food pattern, and the prevalence of depressive symptoms at baseline (cross-sectional analysis) and (2) the prospective association of baseline PDQS with changes in depressive symptomatology after 2 years of follow-up. After exclusions, we assessed 6612 participants in the cross-sectional analysis and 5523 participants in the prospective analysis. An energy-adjusted high-quality dietary score (PDQS) was assessed using a validated FFQ. The cross-sectional association between PDQS and the prevalence of depression or presence of depressive symptoms and the prospective changes in depressive symptoms were evaluated through multivariable regression models (logistic and linear models and mixed linear-effects models). PDQS was inversely associated with depressive status in the cross-sectional analysis. Participants in the highest quintile of PDQS (Q5) showed a significantly reduced odds of depression prevalence as compared to participants in the lowest quartile of PDQS (Q1) (OR (95 %) CI = 0·82 (0·68, 0·98))). The baseline prevalence of depression decreased across PDQS quintiles (Pfor trend = 0·015). A statistically significant association between PDQS and changes in depressive symptoms after 2-years follow-up was found (β (95 %) CI = −0·67 z-score (–1·17, −0·18). A higher PDQS was cross-sectionally related to a lower depressive status. Nevertheless, the null finding in our prospective analysis raises the possibility of reverse causality. Further prospective investigation is required to ascertain the association between PDQS and changes in depressive symptoms along time.
Large-sized clinical trials have failed to show an overall benefit of surgery over medical treatment in managing spontaneous intracerebral hemorrhages (ICH); less invasive techniques have shown to decrease brain injury caused by surgical manipulation in the standard open approach improving the clinical outcomes of patients. Thereby, we propose a low-cost 3D-printed endoport for a less invasive ICH evacuation. In this study, the authors compare the clinical outcomes of early surgical evacuation using a 3D-printed endoport vs. a standard open surgery (OS).
A retrospective analysis was conducted comparing patients who underwent early evacuation of a deep hypertensive ICH through an endoport vs. OS at a single center from August 2017 to March 2019. Demographic, clinical, and radiologic data were reviewed. The primary outcomes were the 90-day post-stroke functional outcome and mortality.
A total of 36 patients were included. The two cohorts (18 endoport; 18 OS) showed no statistically significant differences in demographic, clinical, and radiologic characteristics, including median admission hemorrhage volume, Glasgow Coma Scale, and ICH scores. At 90-day post-stroke, 44% of patients in the endoport group and 17% in the OS group had a favorable functional outcome (mRS 0–3) (p = 0.039); moreover, the endoport group showed lower mortality (33% vs. 72%, p = 0.019).
This study suggests that an endoport-assisted ICH evacuation may have better functional outcomes and lower mortality than OS. The proposed device could provide a safe, low-cost alternative for ICH’s surgical treatment. More rigorous research is hence needed to assess the potential benefits of this technique.
In the present study, the influence of three sex ratios (1:1, 1:2, and 1:3; female:male) of the mirid Engytatus varians (Distant) (Hemiptera) on different biological parameters and on its offspring was evaluated. The prey preference of different developmental stages of this predator for different nymphal instars (N) of Bactericera cockerelli (Sulcer) (Hemiptera: Triozidae) was also evaluated. The fertility was significantly higher (24 nymphs/female) in the 1:3 sex ratio than in the 1:1 and 1:2 sex ratios (14 and 16 nymphs/female, respectively). The females in the 1:1 and 1:2 sex ratios lived 1.14 and 1.43 days more (27 and 28 days, respectively) than those in the 1:3 sex ratio (26 days). The nymphs derived from the females of the three sex ratios (first filial generation, F1) had five instars and a duration of 17 or 18 days. The ratio of the F1 generation females was not affected by the sex ratio of their parents. In choice tests, independent of whether the preys were placed on a single or multiple tomato (Solanum lycopersicum L.) leaflets, the consumption of females and males and N3, N4, and N5 nymphs of E. varians on B. cockerelli, generally showed the order of N2>N3>N4>N5. In conclusion, the findings revealed in this study can help to improve the rearing methodology for increasing populations of E. varians. In addition, they can serve as a guideline for releasing this predator in times when there is an abundance of early instar nymphs of B. cockerelli.
The novel coronavirus, severe acute respiratory syndrome-coronavirus-2 (SARS-CoV-2), is the causative agent of the 2020 worldwide coronavirus pandemic. Antibody testing is useful for diagnosing historic infections of a disease in a population. These tests are also a helpful epidemiological tool for predicting how the virus spreads in a community, relating antibody levels to immunity and for assessing herd immunity. In the present study, SARS-CoV-2 viral proteins were recombinantly produced and used to analyse serum from individuals previously exposed, or not, to SARS-CoV-2. The nucleocapsid (Npro) and spike subunit 2 (S2Frag) proteins were identified as highly immunogenic, although responses to the former were generally greater. These two proteins were used to develop two quantitative enzyme-linked immunosorbent assays (ELISAs) that when used in combination resulted in a highly reliable diagnostic test. Npro and S2Frag-ELISAs could detect at least 10% more true positive coronavirus disease-2019 (COVID-19) cases than the commercially available ARCHITECT test (Abbott). Moreover, our quantitative ELISAs also show that specific antibodies to SARS-CoV-2 proteins tend to wane rapidly even in patients who had developed severe disease. As antibody tests complement COVID-19 diagnosis and determine population-level surveillance during this pandemic, the alternative diagnostic we present in this study could play a role in controlling the spread of the virus.
The economic hardship of dairy producers has worsened in the last decade because of increasing costs of production. A field survey with 51 dairy farmers was conducted to explore strategies to mitigate economic hardship. Factor and cluster analyses were conducted to characterize the farmers and their farms. Differences among groups regarding changes adopted to increase incomes, to reduce costs, and to pay bills were tested using Fisher’s exact test. Four factors explained 76.2% of the cumulative variance and four groups were identified: “stagnant farms” were in group 1, with the lowest daily income over concentrate feed cost (DIOCFC) and the least number of changes, “effectively management farms” were in group 2, with the highest DIOCFC and the highest number of income-increasing changes, the “cost reducing farms” were in group 3, with the smallest in size with a focus on cutting cost, and the “mixed strategy farms” were in group 4, with the largest herd size. Most prevalent income-increasing strategies included attempts to improve cow nutritional balance and milk composition, whereas the most prevalent cost-reducing strategies included reductions in input purchases of inputs (concentrates and fertilizers) and selected household expenses. Selling cows was a common strategy to generate cash in acute hardship situations. In conclusion, responses to economic hardship varied substantially among groups of farms, cost-reducing strategies were linked to lower cow productivity and lower technological levels, but income-increasing strategies were linked to higher cow productivity and higher DIOCFC. Our findings may contribute to the design of extension initiatives to promote useful strategies to help mitigate economic hardship on dairy farms.
ABSTRACT IMPACT: The impact of this study is that the results may lead to the development of effective educational programs and a comprehensive cancer control program while verifying patients and medical care providers adherence and compliance with cancer clinical guidelines. OBJECTIVES/GOALS: The objective of this study is to assess risk factors, preventive measures, and screening practices for human papilloma virus (HPV) associated cancers in a sub-population in Central-Eastern Puerto Rico (PR). METHODS/STUDY POPULATION: This is a sub-analysis from an annual descriptive cross-sectional questionnaire of risk factors, preventive measures, and screening practices for cancer in PR administered at a private hospital campus using a convenience sample of healthy and non-healthy adults. RESULTS/ANTICIPATED RESULTS: Out of 345 enrolled subjects in 2019 for the questionnaire, 67 were enrolled by the first author, from which 66 (19%) subjects qualified for this sub-analysis for completing the study: 79% females. When analyzing HPV risk factors, 5% of the participants were smokers. Eleven percent of the subjects received the preventive HPV vaccine. Among those non-vaccinated and eligible for vaccination, 95% were willing to get it. Seventy one percent of females 21-29 years old and 97% of 30-65 years olds had age-appropriate cervical cancer screening. DISCUSSION/SIGNIFICANCE OF FINDINGS: Despite the low prevalence of HPV vaccination, almost all of the subjects within the age range for HPV vaccination were willing to get it. Also, there was a lower prevalence of cervical cancer screening in females 21-29 years old when compared with 30-45 years old. In conclusion, there is a need for more education about HPV associated cancers and vaccine.
Platelet serotonin-binding (Bmax), using tritiated-seroionin as the ligand, was determined in 75 patients suffering from major depression with melancholia and in 26 patients diagnosed from dysthymic disorder. Twenty-five normal subjects were used as a control group. The melancholic group had significantly lower Bmax values (mean: 6.7 ± 6.1 pmol/108 platelets) than either dysthymic (9.3 ± 3.9 pmol/108 platelets) or control (9.2 ± 4.8 pmol/108 platelets) groups, while there were no significant differences between the two latter groups. There was also a significant difference on postdexamethasone Cortisol between melancholic (6.3 ± 7.1 μg/dL) and dysthymic (1.4 ± 1.4 μg/dL) groups, with a higher rate of nonsuppressors in melancholic groups. Although both tests were abnormal in the melancholic group, no relationship was found between platelet serotonin-binding and the dexaniethasone suppression test.
Encephalitis due to anti-N-methyl-D-aspartate receptor antibodies (ANMDARE) is the most frequent immune-mediated encephalitis. It is distinguished by the subacute onset of neuropsychiatric symptoms.
To evaluate the characteristic neuropsychiatric symptoms and their outcome in patients diagnosed with ANMDARE.
This was a prospective, longitudinal study in patients with a diagnostic suspicion of ANMDARE that presented to the National Institute of Neurology from March 2018 to February 2019. A comparative analysis of two groups (positive N-methyl-D-aspartate receptor [NMDAR] vs. negative NMDAR antibodies in cerebrospinal fluid [CSF]) was done on admission and at discharge. Neuropsychiatric systematic assessments included the Neuropsychiatric Inventory Questionnaire, the Bush Francis Catatonia Rating Scale, the Confusion Assessment Method Severity, the Montreal Cognitive Assessment, and the Overt Agitation Severity Scale.
24 individuals were analysed: 14 had positive NMDAR antibodies, and 10 had negative NMDAR antibodies in CSF. On admission, agitation/aggression, euphoria/exaltation, and disinhibition were more common in patients with positive antibodies. Excited catatonia and delirium were diagnosed more frequently in patients with positive antibodies. At discharge, there was an important decrease in neuropsychiatric symptoms, but substantial cognitive impairment remained. The mean hospitalisation length was 41.71 (SD 39.33) days for patients with definitive ANMDARE (p 0.259).
Neuropsychiatric symptoms profile in ANMDARE was associated with the early onset of euphoria/exaltation and disinhibition, accompanied by marked psychomotor agitation. When ANMDARE was suspected, the presence of excited-type catatonia and delirium showed a tendency to predict definitive ANMDARE. At discharged, most patients recovered from catatonia, delirium, and psychosis, but marked cognitive symptoms, anxiety, and depression persisted at discharge.
Lifestyles are involved in the pathogenesis of depression and many of these factors can be modified for the potential prevention of depression. Our aim was to assess the association between a healthy-lifestyle score, that includes some less-studied lifestyle indicators, and the risk of depression.
We followed 14,908 participants initially free of any history of depression in the “Seguimiento Universidad de Navarra” (SUN) cohort. Information was collected biennially from 1999 to December 2016. We calculated a healthy-lifestyle score (0–10 points), previously associated with cardioprotection, by giving one point to each of the following components: never smoking, physical activity (> 20 METs-h/week), Mediterranean diet adherence (≥ 4 points), healthy body mass index (≤ 22 kg/m2), moderate alcohol consumption (women 0.1–5 g/d; men 0.1–10 g/d of ethanol), avoidance of binge drinking (never more than 5 alcoholic drinks in a row), low television exposure (≤ 2 h/d), short afternoon nap (≤ 30 min/day), time spent with friends (>1 h/d) and working at least 40 h/week.
During a median follow-up of 10.4 years, we observed 774 new cases of major depression among participants initially free of depression. The highest category (8–10 factors) showed a significant inverse association with a 32% relative risk reduction for depression compared to the lowest category (0–3 factors) (multivariable-adjusted hazard ratio: 0.68; 95% CI:0.49-0.95) (p for trend = 0.010).
Adopting a healthy-lifestyle was associated with a lower risk of incident depression in the SUN cohort. This index, including ten simple healthy lifestyle habits, may be useful for a more integrative approach to depression prevention.
The purpose of this article is to describe the process of developing and implementing a transdisciplinary community-based research center, the Center for Health Equity Research (CHER) Chicago, to offer a model for designing and implementing research centers that aim to address structural causes of health inequality.
Scholars from diverse backgrounds and disciplines formed a multidisciplinary team for the Center and adopted the structural violence framework as the organizing conceptual model. All Center activities were based on community partnership. The Center activities were organized within three cores: administrative, investigator development, and community engagement and dissemination cores. The key activities during the first year were to develop a pilot grant program for early-stage investigators (ESIs) and to establish community partnership mechanisms.
CHER provided more than 60 consultations for ESIs, which resulted in 31 pilot applications over the three application cycles. Over 200 academic and community partners attended the community symposium and discussed community priority. Some challenges encountered were to improve communication among investigators, to clarify roles and responsibilities of the three cores, and to build consensus on the definition and operationalization of the concept of structural violence.
There is an increasing need for local hubs to facilitate transdisciplinary collaboration and community engagement to effectively address health inequity. Building consensus around a shared vision among partners is a difficult and yet important step toward achieving equity.
History, Maths and Astronomy are all mixed up in an innovative educational project that is being carried out in the Faculty of Education of the Universidad de La Laguna, in Spain. Students learn how to teach (to primary school students) about the shape of the Earth, the distances to the Moon, the Sun and other planets, collecting their own data with simple instrumentation and, most important, to connect ideas and different disciplines. The structure and contents of this project are presented, as well as examples of the activities that are carried out.