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Questions remain regarding whether genetic influences on early life psychopathology overlap with cognition and show developmental variation.
Using data from 9,421 individuals aged 8–21 from the Philadelphia Neurodevelopmental Cohort, factors of psychopathology were generated using a bifactor model of item-level data from a psychiatric interview. Five orthogonal factors were generated: anxious-misery (mood and anxiety), externalizing (attention deficit hyperactivity and conduct disorder), fear (phobias), psychosis-spectrum, and a general factor. Genetic analyses were conducted on a subsample of 4,662 individuals of European American ancestry. A genetic relatedness matrix was used to estimate heritability of these factors, and genetic correlations with executive function, episodic memory, complex reasoning, social cognition, motor speed, and general cognitive ability. Gene × Age analyses determined whether genetic influences on these factors show developmental variation.
Externalizing was heritable (h2 = 0.46, p = 1 × 10−6), but not anxious-misery (h2 = 0.09, p = 0.183), fear (h2 = 0.04, p = 0.337), psychosis-spectrum (h2 = 0.00, p = 0.494), or general psychopathology (h2 = 0.21, p = 0.040). Externalizing showed genetic overlap with face memory (ρg = −0.412, p = 0.004), verbal reasoning (ρg = −0.485, p = 0.001), spatial reasoning (ρg = −0.426, p = 0.010), motor speed (ρg = 0.659, p = 1x10−4), verbal knowledge (ρg = −0.314, p = 0.002), and general cognitive ability (g)(ρg = −0.394, p = 0.002). Gene × Age analyses revealed decreasing genetic variance (γg = −0.146, p = 0.004) and increasing environmental variance (γe = 0.059, p = 0.009) on externalizing.
Cognitive impairment may be a useful endophenotype of externalizing psychopathology and, therefore, help elucidate its pathophysiological underpinnings. Decreasing genetic variance suggests that gene discovery efforts may be more fruitful in children than adolescents or young adults.
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.
The systems ecology paradigm (SEP) is presented as the right science and analytical approach at the right time for resolving many of the Earth’s natural resource, environmental, and societal challenges. SEP embodies two major parts. One, the systems ecology approach, which is the holistic, systems thinking perspective and methodology developed for the rigorous study of ecosystems, including humans. Two, the use of ecosystem science, the vast body of scientific knowledge, much of which has been assembled using the ecosystem and systems ecology approaches. The fundamental philosophy, evolution, and application of the SEP are defined in this chapter. The organizing principles of the SEP include: many problems are complex and complicated and may have multiple causes; precise definitions of problems and their spatial, temporal, and organizational hierarchical scales are critical; collaborative decision making including scientists, technical and administrative staff members, and essential stakeholders is essential; transparent, honest, and effective communication is required; globalization of collaboration within interdisciplinary networks has been a hallmark of the paradigm; and integration of simulation modeling, field and laboratory studies has proven indispensable for many scientific breakthroughs. A call for integration of transdisciplinary science, policy making, and management is presented.
Ecosystem science and the systems ecology paradigm co-evolved starting in the late 1960s within the milieu of substantial research funding from the US National Science Foundation-supported US International Biological Program (IBP). Nationally, educational programs focusing on ecosystem structure and functioning, and mathematical modeling, were slow to develop except at Colorado State University (CSU). There, leaders in the Natural Resource Ecology Laboratory (NREL) and the Department of Range Science (DRS) established internationally recognized interdisciplinary programs and outreach in basic and applied ecosystem science and systems ecology. Operating from the sound research base within a major Land Grant University (CSU), the NREL, with IBP funding, supported many graduate students housed in the academic DRS. As the systems ecology approach expanded, other ecosystem-focused research programs developed, and graduate students entered other academic departments. Outgrowths from the early diffused educational training were innovative cross-departmental and cross-college programs addressing the systems ecology paradigm. Recently, a new Department of Ecosystem Science and Sustainability was established housing both graduate and undergraduate programs. As formal academic training developed on-campus, environmental literacy efforts were developed, including: training programs for K-12 students and teachers; online distance education programs; Citizen Science training; and numerous institutes, short courses, and workshops.
The attributes and influencers that have allowed of the Natural Resource Ecology Laboratory (NREL) to exist and thrive for over five decades are described in this chapter. The chapter has two primary goals: (1) record lessons learned so other institutions wanting to establish or reinvigorate research organizations can glean ideas to help them avoid some of the pitfalls that will inevitably arise in their development, and (2) inform scientists, young and older, that when doing research using the systems ecology paradigm they do not work in organizational isolation. They stand on the shoulders of those who came before them and they depend on those around them to hold them up. Measures of success needed to be competitive, gain extramural funding support, and thrive are within organizational scientific leadership; teamwork; collaborative research; organizational pride; institutional and external influencer support; administrative functions sharing; and within-institution détente. A narrative by an organizational/industrial psychologist, who over a span of more than 25 years consulted with NREL staff on matters ranging from strategic planning and organizational management to interpersonal conflicts is presented. For developing organizations and existing organizations needing reinvigoration, ignoring his observations and insights about organizational behavior will be done at their own peril.
The Systems Ecology Paradigm (SEP) incorporates humans as integral parts of ecosystems and emphasizes issues that have significant societal relevance such as grazing land, forestland, and agricultural ecosystem management, biodiversity and global change impacts. Accomplishing this societally relevant research requires cutting-edge basic and applied research. This book focuses on environmental and natural resource challenges confronting local to global societies for which the SEP methodology must be utilized for resolution. Key elements of SEP are a holistic perspective of ecological/social systems, systems thinking, and the ecosystem approach applied to real world, complex environmental and natural resource problems. The SEP and ecosystem approaches force scientific emphasis to be placed on collaborations with social scientists and behavioral, learning, and marketing professionals. The SEP has given environmental scientists, decision makers, citizen stakeholders, and land and water managers a powerful set of tools to analyse, integrate knowledge, and propose adoption of solutions to important local to global problems.
The first demonstration of laser action in ruby was made in 1960 by T. H. Maiman of Hughes Research Laboratories, USA. Many laboratories worldwide began the search for lasers using different materials, operating at different wavelengths. In the UK, academia, industry and the central laboratories took up the challenge from the earliest days to develop these systems for a broad range of applications. This historical review looks at the contribution the UK has made to the advancement of the technology, the development of systems and components and their exploitation over the last 60 years.
We examined demographic, clinical, and psychological characteristics of a large cohort (n = 368) of adults with dissociative seizures (DS) recruited to the CODES randomised controlled trial (RCT) and explored differences associated with age at onset of DS, gender, and DS semiology.
Prior to randomisation within the CODES RCT, we collected demographic and clinical data on 368 participants. We assessed psychiatric comorbidity using the Mini-International Neuropsychiatric Interview (M.I.N.I.) and a screening measure of personality disorder and measured anxiety, depression, psychological distress, somatic symptom burden, emotional expression, functional impact of DS, avoidance behaviour, and quality of life. We undertook comparisons based on reported age at DS onset (<40 v. ⩾40), gender (male v. female), and DS semiology (predominantly hyperkinetic v. hypokinetic).
Our cohort was predominantly female (72%) and characterised by high levels of socio-economic deprivation. Two-thirds had predominantly hyperkinetic DS. Of the total, 69% had ⩾1 comorbid M.I.N.I. diagnosis (median number = 2), with agoraphobia being the most common concurrent diagnosis. Clinical levels of distress were reported by 86% and characteristics associated with maladaptive personality traits by 60%. Moderate-to-severe functional impairment, high levels of somatic symptoms, and impaired quality of life were also reported. Women had a younger age at DS onset than men.
Our study highlights the burden of psychopathology and socio-economic deprivation in a large, heterogeneous cohort of patients with DS. The lack of clear differences based on gender, DS semiology and age at onset suggests these factors do not add substantially to the heterogeneity of the cohort.