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Palaeoecology has been prominent in studies of environmental change during the Holocene epoch in Scotland. These studies have been dominated by palynology (pollen, spore and related bio-and litho-stratigraphic analyses) as a key approach to multi- and inter-disciplinary investigations of topics such as vegetation, climate and landscape change. This paper highlights some key dimensions of the pollen- and vegetation-based archive, with a focus upon woodland dynamics, blanket peat, human impacts, biodiversity and conservation. Following a brief discussion of chronological, climatic, faunal and landscape contexts, the migration, survival and nature of the woodland cover through time is assessed, emphasising its time-transgressiveness and altitudinal variation. While agriculture led to the demise of woodland in lowland areas of the south and east, the spread of blanket peat was especially a phenomenon of the north and west, including the Western and Northern Isles. Almost a quarter of Scotland is covered by blanket peat and the cause(s) of its spread continue(s) to evoke recourse to climatic, topographic, pedogenic, hydrological, biotic or anthropogenic influences, while we remain insufficiently knowledgeable about the timing of the formation processes. Humans have been implicated in vegetational change throughout the Holocene, with prehistoric woodland removal, woodland management, agricultural impacts arising from arable and pastoral activities, potential heathland development and afforestation. The viability of many current vegetation communities remains a concern, in that Scottish data show reductions in plant diversity over the last 400 years, which recent conservation efforts have yet to reverse. Palaeoecological evidence can be used to test whether conservation baselines and restoration targets are appropriate to longer-term ecosystem variability and can help identify when modern conditions have no past analogues.
Molecular characterization of pediatric low-grade glioma (pLGG) over the last decade has identified recurrent alterations, most commonly involving BRAF, and less frequently other pathways including MYB and MYBL1. Many of these molecular markers have been exploited clinically to aid in diagnosis and treatment decisions. However, their frequency and prognostic significance remain unknown. Further, a significant portion of cases do not have any of these alterations and what underlies these cases remains unknown. To address this we compiled a cohort of 562 patients diagnosed at SickKids from 1990-2017. We identified molecular alterations in 454 cases (81% of the cohort). The most frequent events were those involving BRAF; either as fusions (most commonly with KIAA1549 (30%)) or V600E mutations (17%) and NF-1 (22%). Less frequently, we identified recurrent FGFR1 fusions and mutations (3%), MYB/MYBL alterations (2%), H3F3AK27M (2%) or IDH1R132H (0.5%) mutations, as well as other novel rare events. Survival analysis revealed significantly better progression-free survival (PFS) and overall survival (OS) of KIAA1549-BRAF fused patients compared to BRAFV600E with 10-year OS 97.7% (95%, CI 95.5-100) and 83.9% (95%, CI 72.5-95.6), respectively. In addition to survival, molecular alterations predicted differences in response to conventional therapeutics; BRAF fused patients showed a 46% response-rate, versus only 14% in V600E patients. pLGGs harboring H3F3AK27M progressed early with median PFS of 11 months. In patients with MYB/MYBL1, FGFR1/FGFR2 alterations, we observed only one death (FGFR1N546K case). The work here represents the largest cohort of pLGGs with molecular profiling and their impact on the clinical behaviour of the disease.
Water wave overwash of a step by small steepness, regular incident waves is analysed using a computational fluid dynamics (CFD) model and a mathematical model, in two spatial dimensions. The CFD model is based on the two-phase, incompressible Navier–Stokes equations, and the mathematical model is based on the coupled potential-flow and nonlinear shallow-water theories. The CFD model is shown to predict vortices, breaking and overturning in the region where overwash is generated, and that the overwash develops into fast-travelling bores. The mathematical model is shown to predict bore heights and velocities that agree with the CFD model, despite neglecting the complicated dynamics where the overwash is generated. Evidence is provided to explain the agreement in terms of the underlying agreement of mass and energy fluxes.
Tonsillectomy is a common procedure with significant post-operative pain. This study was designed to compare post-operative pain, returns to a normal diet and normal activity, and duration of regular analgesic use in Coblation and bipolar tonsillectomy patients.
A total of 137 patients, aged 2–50 years, presenting to a single institution for tonsillectomy or adenotonsillectomy were recruited. Pain level, diet, analgesic use, return to normal activity and haemorrhage data were collected.
Coblation tonsillectomy was associated with significantly less pain than bipolar tonsillectomy on post-operative days 1 (p = 0.005), 2 (p = 0.006) and 3 (p = 0.010). Mean pain scores were also significantly lower in the Coblation group (p = 0.039). Coblation patients had a significantly faster return to normal activity than bipolar tonsillectomy patients (p < 0.001).
Coblation tonsillectomy is a less painful technique compared to bipolar tonsillectomy in the immediate post-operative period and in the overall post-operative period. This allows a faster return to normal activity and decreased analgesic requirements.
Worldwide 350 million people suffer from major depression, with the majority of cases occurring in low- and middle-income countries. We examined the patterns, correlates and care-seeking behaviour of adults suffering from major depressive episode (MDE) in China.
A nationwide study recruited 512 891 adults aged 30–79 years from 10 provinces across China during 2004–2008. The 12-month prevalence of MDE was assessed by the Modified Composite International Diagnostic Interview-short form. Logistic regression yielded adjusted odds ratios (ORs) of MDE associated with socio-economic, lifestyle and health-related factors and major stressful life events.
Overall, 0.7% of participants had MDE and a further 2.4% had major depressive symptoms. Stressful life events were strongly associated with MDE [adjusted OR 14.7, 95% confidence interval (CI) 13.7–15.7], with a dose–response relationship with the number of such events experienced. Family conflict had the highest OR for MDE (18.9, 95% CI 16.8–21.2) among the 10 stressful life events. The risk of MDE was also positively associated with rural residency (OR 1.5, 95% CI 1.4–1.7), low income (OR 2.3, 95% CI 2.1–2.4), living alone (OR 2.6, 95% CI 2.3–3.0), smoking (OR 1.4, 95% CI 1.3–1.6) and certain other mental disorders (e.g. anxiety, phobia). Similar, albeit weaker, associations were observed with depressive symptoms. Among those with MDE, about 15% sought medical help or took psychiatric medication, 15% reported having suicidal ideation and 6% reported attempting suicide.
Among Chinese adults, the patterns and correlates of MDE were generally consistent with those observed in the West. The low rates of seeking professional help and treatment highlight the great gap in mental health services in China.
Approximately half of the variation in wellbeing measures overlaps with variation in personality traits. Studies of non-human primate pedigrees and human twins suggest that this is due to common genetic influences. We tested whether personality polygenic scores for the NEO Five-Factor Inventory (NEO-FFI) domains and for item response theory (IRT) derived extraversion and neuroticism scores predict variance in wellbeing measures. Polygenic scores were based on published genome-wide association (GWA) results in over 17,000 individuals for the NEO-FFI and in over 63,000 for the IRT extraversion and neuroticism traits. The NEO-FFI polygenic scores were used to predict life satisfaction in 7 cohorts, positive affect in 12 cohorts, and general wellbeing in 1 cohort (maximal N = 46,508). Meta-analysis of these results showed no significant association between NEO-FFI personality polygenic scores and the wellbeing measures. IRT extraversion and neuroticism polygenic scores were used to predict life satisfaction and positive affect in almost 37,000 individuals from UK Biobank. Significant positive associations (effect sizes <0.05%) were observed between the extraversion polygenic score and wellbeing measures, and a negative association was observed between the polygenic neuroticism score and life satisfaction. Furthermore, using GWA data, genetic correlations of -0.49 and -0.55 were estimated between neuroticism with life satisfaction and positive affect, respectively. The moderate genetic correlation between neuroticism and wellbeing is in line with twin research showing that genetic influences on wellbeing are also shared with other independent personality domains.
We describe the search for δ Scuti stars in the MACHO database of bulge fields. Concentrating on a sample of high amplitude δ Scutis, we examine the light curves and pulsation modes. We also discuss their spatial distribution and evolutionary status using mean colors and absolute magnitudes.
Real-time detection of microlensing has moved from proof of concept in 1994 (Udalski et al. 1994a, Alcock et al. 1994) to a steady stream of events this year. Global dissemination of these events by the MACHO and OGLE collaborations has made possible intensive photometric and spectroscopic follow up from widely dispersed sites confirming the microlensing hypothesis (Benetti 1995). Improved photometry and increased temporal resolution from follow up observations greatly increases the possibility of detecting deviations from the standard point-source, point-lens, inertial motion microlensing model. These deviations are crucial in understanding individual lensing systems by breaking the degeneracy between lens mass, position and velocity. We report here on GMAN (Global Microlensing Alert Network), the coordinated follow up of MACHO alerts.
The MACHO data base has been used to examine light curves of all red giant stars brighter than Mbol ∼ −2 in a 0.5° × 0.5° area of the LMC bar. Periods, often multiple, have been searched for in all stars found to be variable. Five distinct period-luminosity sequences have been found on the low mass (M ≲ 2.25M⊙) giant branch. Comparison of observed periods, luminosities and period ratios with theoretical models identifies Miras unambiguously as radial fundamental mode pulsators, while semi-regular variables can be pulsating in the 1st, 2nd or 3rd overtone, or even the fundamental. All these variables lie on just 3 of the 5 distinct sequences, and they all appear to be on the AGB.
The fourth sequence contains red giants on the first giant branch (FGB) or at the red end of the core-helium burning loops of intermediate mass stars (M ≳ 2.25M⊙). The light curves of these stars strongly suggest that they are contact binaries, and they make up ∼0.5% of stars within 1 mag. of the FGB tip. Stars on the fifth sequence show semi-regular, eclipse-like light curves. The light curves and periods of these stars suggest that they are in semi-detached binaries, transfering mass to an invisible companion via a stellar wind or Roche lobe overflow. They make up ∼25% of AGB stars. If the existence of these red giant contact and semi-detached binaries is confirmed, then extant theories of binary star evolution will require substantial modification.
We have analyzed a sample of 1150 type ab, and 550 type c RR Lyrae stars found in 24 of 94 bulge fields of the MACHO database. These fields cover a range in Galactocentric distances from 0.3 to 1.6 kpc. In combination with the data on the outer bulge fields of Alard (1997) and Wesselink (1987), here we present the surface density distribution of bulge RR Lyrae between 0.3 and 3 kpc.
Gravitational microlensing is the most straightforward interpretation of the stellar brightenings that have been observed by our team and other experiments. These data have provided some of the most stringent limits to date on the nature of the Galaxy's dark matter halo. The number of events seen towards the LMC indicate that our Galaxy is not surrounded by a “standard” halo of MACHOs in the mass range of 10–6 to 0.3 solar masses. The observed optical depth towards the Galactic Center is an important constraint on the distribution of mass in the plane of the Galaxy.
The MACHO microlensing experiment's time-sampled photometry database contains blue and red lightcurves for nearly 9 million stars in the central bar region of the Large Magellanic Cloud (LMC). We have identified known LMC Planetary Nebulae (PN) in the database and find one, Jacoby 5, to be variable. We additionally present data on the “parent populations” of LMC PN, and discuss the star formation history of the LMC bar.
A review of the properties of Type II Cepheids and RV Tauri stars in the Magellanic Clouds is presented. In the behaviour of their light and colour curves, the RV Tauri stars appear to be a direct extension of the Type II Cepheids to longer periods. A single P – L – C relationship describes both the Type II Cepheids and RV Tauri stars in the LMC. The derived high intrinsic magnitudes for the RV Tauri variables supports the proposition that these objects are luminous stars evolving off the AGB. Preliminary analysis of the long time-series MACHO photometry indicates one star (MACHO*05:37:45.0–69:54:16) has an obvious ‘period-quadrupled’ periodicity, which is supporting evidence for a period-doubling bifurcation transition to chaotic pulsations.
We present optical photometry of the eclipsing supersoft source, CAL 87. We find the eclipse structure to be stable over ~ 4 y, derive an improved ephemeris of To = HJD 2450111.5144(3)+0.442674(7)E, and see new structure in the light curve morphology.
We present the first results of the analysis of 22 Blazhko stars. We find: 1) Blazhko RRab stars that are nearly pure amplitude modulators; 2) Blazhko RRab stars that have both amplitude and phase modulation; 3) A Blazhko RRab star that has an abrupt period change; 4) Proof of the Blazhko effect in RRc stars. Our data show the character of the amplitude and phase modulations of the light curves over the Blazhko cycles far better than has been previously possible.
The MACHO Collaboration’s search for baryonic dark matter via its gravitational microlensing signature has generated a massive database of time ordered photometry of millions of stars in the LMC and the bulge of the Milky Way. The search’s experimental design and capabilities are reviewed and the dark matter results are briefly noted. Preliminary analysis of the ~ 39,000 variable stars discovered in the LMC database is presented and examples of periodic variables are shown. A class of a periodically variable Be star is described which is the closest background to microlensing which has been found. Plans for future work on variable stars using the MACHO data are described.
We present the preliminary results of a frequency analysis of 1457 fundamental mode RR Lyrae (RR0) stars in the Large Magellanic Cloud (LMC) from MACHO Project photometry. We find the same classes of pulsational behavior as were found in our earlier survey of first overtone RR Lyrae (RR1) stars. Variables whose prewhitened power spectra contain one or two peaks close to the main frequency component in the original power spectra are commonly known as Blazhko-type variables. The present analysis shows the overall frequency of Blazhko-type stars in the total RR0 population analysed to date to be ≈ 10%. This is lower than the often cited Galactic field/globular rate of 20-30% (Szeidl, 1988).
The incidence rate of Blazhko-type variability in the LMC appears to be about three times higher in RR0 stars than in RR1 stars. This puts important constraints on possible models of the Blazhko effect.
We present the first massive frequency analysis of the 1200 first overtone RR Lyrae stars in the Large Magellanic Cloud observed in the first 4.3 yr of the MACHO project. Besides the many new double-mode variables, we also discovered stars with closely spaced frequencies. These variables are most probably nonradial pulsators.
The Quaternary ice ages were paced by astronomical cycles with periodicities of 20–100 k.y. (Milankovitch cycles). These cycles have been present throughout earth history. The Quaternary fossil record, marine and terrestrial, near to and remote from centers of glaciation, shows that communities of plants and animals are temporary, lasting only a few thousand years at the most. Response of populations to the climatic changes of Quaternary Milankovitch cycles can be taken as typical of the way populations have behaved throughout earth history. Milankovitch cycles thus force an instability of climate and other aspects of the biotic and abiotic environment on time scales much less than typical species durations (1–30 m.y.). Any microevolutionary change that accumulates on a time scale of thousands of years is likely to be lost as communities are reorganized following climatic changes. A four-tier hierarchy of time scales for evolutionary processes can be constructed as follows: ecological time (thousands of years), Milankovitch cycles (20–100 k.y.), geological time (millions of years), mass extinctions (approximately 26 m.y.). “Ecological time” and “geological time” are defined temporally as the intervals between events of the second and fourth tiers, respectively. Gould's (1985) “paradox of the first tier” can be resolved, at least in part, through the undoing of Darwinian natural selection at the first tier by Milankovitch cycles at the second tier.
Major depressive disorder (MDD) is moderately heritable, however genome-wide association studies (GWAS) for MDD, as well as for related continuous outcomes, have not shown consistent results. Attempts to elucidate the genetic basis of MDD may be hindered by heterogeneity in diagnosis. The Center for Epidemiological Studies Depression (CES-D) scale provides a widely used tool for measuring depressive symptoms clustered in four different domains which can be combined together into a total score but also can be analysed as separate symptom domains.
We performed a meta-analysis of GWAS of the CES-D symptom clusters. We recruited 12 cohorts with the 20- or 10-item CES-D scale (32 528 persons).
One single nucleotide polymorphism (SNP), rs713224, located near the brain-expressed melatonin receptor (MTNR1A) gene, was associated with the somatic complaints domain of depression symptoms, with borderline genome-wide significance (pdiscovery = 3.82 × 10−8). The SNP was analysed in an additional five cohorts comprising the replication sample (6813 persons). However, the association was not consistent among the replication sample (pdiscovery+replication = 1.10 × 10−6) with evidence of heterogeneity.
Despite the effort to harmonize the phenotypes across cohorts and participants, our study is still underpowered to detect consistent association for depression, even by means of symptom classification. On the contrary, the SNP-based heritability and co-heritability estimation results suggest that a very minor part of the variation could be captured by GWAS, explaining the reason of sparse findings.