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Species distribution models (SDMs) are statistical tools used to develop continuous predictions of species occurrence. ‘Integrated SDMs’ (ISDMs) are an elaboration of this approach with potential advantages that allow for the dual use of opportunistically collected presence-only data and site-occupancy data from planned surveys. These models also account for survey bias and imperfect detection through the use of a hierarchical modelling framework that separately estimates the species–environment response and detection process. This is particularly helpful for conservation applications and predictions for rare species, where data are often limited and prediction errors may have significant management consequences. Despite this potential importance, ISDMs remain largely untested under a variety of scenarios. We performed an exploration of key modelling decisions and assumptions on an ISDM using the endangered Baird’s tapir (Tapirus bairdii) as a test species. We found that site area had the strongest effect on the magnitude of population estimates and underlying intensity surface and was driven by estimates of model intercepts. Selecting a site area that accounted for the individual movements of the species within an average home range led to population estimates that coincided with expert estimates. ISDMs that do not account for the individual movements of species will likely lead to less accurate estimates of species intensity (number of individuals per unit area) and thus overall population estimates. This bias could be severe and highly detrimental to conservation actions if uninformed ISDMs are used to estimate global populations of threatened and data-deficient species, particularly those that lack natural history and movement information. However, the ISDM was consistently the most accurate model compared to other approaches, which demonstrates the importance of this new modelling framework and the ability to combine opportunistic data with systematic survey data. Thus, we recommend researchers use ISDMs with conservative movement information when estimating population sizes of rare and data-deficient species. ISDMs could be improved by using a similar parameterization to spatial capture–recapture models that explicitly incorporate animal movement as a model parameter, which would further remove the need for spatial subsampling prior to implementation.
Most studies underline the contribution of heritable factors for psychiatric disorders. However, heritability estimates depend on the population under study, diagnostic instruments, and study designs that each has its inherent assumptions, strengths, and biases. We aim to test the homogeneity in heritability estimates between two powerful, and state of the art study designs for eight psychiatric disorders.
We assessed heritability based on data of Swedish siblings (N = 4 408 646 full and maternal half-siblings), and based on summary data of eight samples with measured genotypes (N = 125 533 cases and 208 215 controls). All data were based on standard diagnostic criteria. Eight psychiatric disorders were studied: (1) alcohol dependence (AD), (2) anorexia nervosa, (3) attention deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), (4) autism spectrum disorder, (5) bipolar disorder, (6) major depressive disorder, (7) obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD), and (8) schizophrenia.
Heritability estimates from sibling data varied from 0.30 for Major Depression to 0.80 for ADHD. The estimates based on the measured genotypes were lower, ranging from 0.10 for AD to 0.28 for OCD, but were significant, and correlated positively (0.19) with national sibling-based estimates. When removing OCD from the data the correlation increased to 0.50.
Given the unique character of each study design, the convergent findings for these eight psychiatric conditions suggest that heritability estimates are robust across different methods. The findings also highlight large differences in genetic and environmental influences between psychiatric disorders, providing future directions for etiological psychiatric research.
Footprints in Time: The Longitudinal Study of Indigenous Children (LSIC) is a national study of 1759 Australian Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children living across urban, regional and remote areas of Australia. The study is in its 11th wave of annual data collection, having collected extensive data on topics including birth and early life influences, parental health and well-being, identity, cultural engagement, language use, housing, racism, school engagement and academic achievement, and social and emotional well-being. The current paper reviews a selection of major findings from Footprints in Time relating to the developmental origins of health and disease for Australian Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples. Opportunities for new researchers to conduct further research utilizing the LSIC data set are also presented.
Little is known about the association of cortical Aβ with depression and anxiety among cognitively normal (CN) elderly persons.
We conducted a cross-sectional study derived from the population-based Mayo Clinic Study of Aging in Olmsted County, Minnesota; involving CN persons aged ≥ 60 years that underwent PiB-PET scans and completed Beck Depression Inventory-II (BDI-II) and Beck Anxiety Inventory (BAI). Cognitive diagnosis was made by an expert consensus panel. Participants were classified as having abnormal (≥1.4; PiB+) or normal PiB-PET (<1.4; PiB−) using a global cortical to cerebellar ratio. Multi-variable logistic regression analyses were performed to calculate odds ratios (OR) and 95% confidence intervals (95% CI) after adjusting for age and sex.
Of 1,038 CN participants (53.1% males), 379 were PiB+. Each one point symptom increase in the BDI (OR = 1.03; 1.00–1.06) and BAI (OR = 1.04; 1.01–1.08) was associated with increased odds of PiB-PET+. The number of participants with BDI > 13 (clinical depression) was greater in the PiB-PET+ than PiB-PET- group but the difference was not significant (OR = 1.42; 0.83–2.43). Similarly, the number of participants with BAI > 10 (clinical anxiety) was greater in the PiB-PET+ than PiB-PET− group but the difference was not significant (OR = 1.77; 0.97–3.22).
As expected, depression and anxiety levels were low in this community-dwelling sample, which likely reduced our statistical power. However, we observed an informative albeit weak association between increased BDI and BAI scores and elevated cortical amyloid deposition. This observation needs to be tested in a longitudinal cohort study.
Alcohol relapse is often occurring to regulate negative affect during withdrawal. On the neurobiological level, alcoholism is associated with gray matter (GM) abnormalities in regions that regulate emotional experience such as the orbitofrontal cortex (OFC). However, no study to our knowledge has investigated the neurobiological unpinning of affect in alcoholism at early withdrawal and the associations of OFC volume with long-term relapse risk.
One hundred and eighty-two participants were included, 95 recently detoxified alcohol dependent patients (ADP) and 87 healthy controls (HC). We measured affective states using the positive and negative affect schedule (PANAS). We collected T1-weighted brain structural images and performed Voxel-based morphometry (VBM).
Findings revealed GM volume decrease in alcoholics in the prefrontal cortex (including medial OFC), anterior cingulate gyrus, and insula. GM volume in the medial OFC was positively associated with NA in the ADP group. Cox regression analysis predicted that risk to heavy relapse at 6 months increases with decreased GM volume in the medial OFC.
Negative affect during alcohol withdrawal was positively associated with OFC volume. What is more, increased GM volume in the OFC also moderated risk to heavy relapse at 6 months. Reduced GM in the OFC poses as risk to recovery from alcohol dependence and provides valuable insights into transient negative affect states during withdrawal that can trigger relapse. Implications exist for therapeutic interventions signifying the OFC as a neurobiological marker to relapse and could explain the inability of ADP to regulate internal negative affective states.
Astrobiology seeks to understand the limits of life and to determine the physiology of organisms in order to better assess the habitability of other worlds. To successfully achieve these goals we require microorganisms from environments on Earth that approximate to extraterrestrial environments in terms of physical and/or chemical conditions. The most challenging of these environments with respect to sample collection, isolation and cultivation of microorganisms are anoxic environments. In this paper, an approach to this challenge was implemented within the European Union's MASE (Mars Analogues for Space Exploration) project. In this review paper, we aim to provide a set of methods for future field work and sampling campaigns. A number of anoxic environment based on characteristics that make them analogous to past and present locations on Mars were selected. They included anoxic sulphur-rich springs (Germany), the salt-rich Boulby Mine (UK), a lake in a basaltic context (Iceland), acidic sediments in the Rio Tinto (Spain), glacier samples (Austria) and permafrost samples (Russia and Canada). Samples were collected under strict anoxic conditions to be used for cultivation and genomic community analysis. Using the samples, a culturing approach was implemented to enrich anaerobic organisms using a defined medium that would allow for organisms to be grown under identical conditions in future physiological comparisons. Anaerobic microorganisms were isolated and deposited with the DSMZ (Deutsche Sammlung von Mikroorganismen und Zellkulturen GmbH) culture collection to make them available to other scientists. In MASE, the selected organisms are studied with respect to survival and growth under Mars relevant stresses. They are artificially fossilized and the resulting biosignatures studied and used to investigate the efficacy of life detection instrumentation for planetary missions. Some of the organisms belong to genera with medical and environmental importance such as Yersinia spp., illustrating how astrobiology field research can be used to increase the availability of microbial isolates for applied terrestrial purposes.
Large floods bringing significant sediments into the coastal oceans have not been observed in Antarctica. We report evidence of a large flood event depositing over 50 cm of sediment onto the nearshore benthic habitat at Salmon Bay, Antarctica, between 1990 and 2010. Besides direct observations of the sedimentation, the evidence involves a debris flow covering old tyre tracks from the early 1960s, as well as evidence of a considerable amount of sediment transported onto the Salmon Creek delta. We believe that the flood was sourced from the Salmon Glacier and possibly the smaller Blackwelder Glacier. Such floods will be more common in the future and it is important to better understand their ecological impacts with good monitoring programmes.
The development and maintenance of an alcohol addiction is a complex interaction between genetic and environmental factors. Genetic effects seem to contribute substantially to the risk of developing an addiction, but also to its course and patients’ responses to different treatments. Recent studies identified associations between polymorphisms in the genes of glutamate and μ-opioid receptors and addiction risk. Those receptors are of special interest, because they are targets of therapeutic agents, such as acamprosate and topiramate.
Objectives and aims
Several studies were conducted, in order to further determine the effects of genetic polymorphisms in glutamate and opioid receptor genes on addictive behavior, neural response to alcohol cues and relapse risk.
Genetic effects were investigated in samples of alcohol-dependent patients using functional imaging techniques, neuropsychological tests and follow-up investigation after standard clinical treatment. Data on clinical parameters, neuronal response to alcohol cues, functional neuronal connectivity and relapse risk were collected and analyzed.
Results demonstrate effects of genetic polymorphisms in glutamate and opioid receptors on neuronal response to alcohol cues in frontal and mesolimbic brain areas, subjective craving and time to first relapse. Current findings will be discussed in the light of existing evidence on the contribution of genetic effects to treatment outcome and patient stratification.
The investigation of genetic risk factors and mechanisms by which they affect addiction related phenotypes seems to be a promising tool to identify molecular treatment targets and predictors for successful treatment strategies.
Disclosure of interest
The authors have not supplied their declaration of competing interest.
We studied the effect of a cross-conjugated bridging group (χC) on charge-transfer in a push-pull chromophore system. The hyperpolarizability of such molecules was found to be comparable to that of a fully π-conjugated molecule (πC) with the same donor and acceptor. The cross-conjugated moiety was then applied as a pendant to a fully π-conjugated chromophore containing a tricyanopyrroline acceptor (TCP). The addition of a χC moiety did not alter the intrinsic hyperpolarizability and provides an avenue for extending and aiding πC systems. The molecules were examined by X-ray diffraction (XRD), hyper-Raleigh scattering (HRS) and UV-visible (UV-vis) spectroscopy. Experimental results were compared with the predictions of density functional theory (DFT). Cross-conjugated molecules have comparable β values, relative to πC molecules, due to reduced spatial overlap between the highest occupied molecular orbital (HOMO) and lowest unoccupied molecular orbital (LUMO). Thus, the χC architecture could facilitate independent modification of donor and acceptor strengths while minimizing unfavorable effects on electronic transitions and dipole moments.
The use of organic nonlinear optical (ONLO) materials in electro-optic (EO) modulators requires that the active molecular components (chromophores) be acentrically oriented. The fundamental molecular constituents are in a condensed, glassy phase. Molecular orientation in such systems is typically achieved by applying a DC poling field to the glassy material. We are developing efficient coarse-grained classical Monte Carlo (MC) methods to simulate the order of such systems. The most challenging aspects of these simulations are convergence to an experimentally relevant equilibrium ensemble and verification of simulation accuracy. We use a variety of molecular descriptions and a variety of MC methods to achieve proper order in the shortest number of computational cycles possible. Herein, we illustrate a few examples of the types of calculations and compare with experimental results with representative amorphous organic materials, including electro-optic chromophores.
To prepare cholesteric liquid crystalline nonlinear optical materials with ability to be vitrified on cooling and form long time stability cholesteric glasses at room temperature, a series of platinum acetylide complexes modified with cholesterol has been synthesized. The materials synthesized have the formula trans-Pt(PR3)(cholesterol (3 or 4)-ethynyl benzoate)(1-ethynyl-4-X-benzene), where R = Et, Bu or Oct and X = H, F, OCH3 and CN. A cholesteric liquid crystal phase was observed in the complexes R = Et, and X = F, OCH3 and CN but not in any of the other complexes. When X = CN, a cholesteric glass was observed at room temperature which remained stable up to 130 °C, then converted to a mixed crystalline/cholesteric phase and completely melted to an isotropic phase at 230 °C. When X = F or OCH3 the complexes were crystalline at room temperature with conversion to the cholesteric phase upon heating to 190 and 230 °C, respectively. In the series X = CN, OCH3 and F, the cholesteric pitch was determined to be 1.7, 3.4 and 9.0 µ, respectively.
High-redshift quasars are unique probes of the evolution of supermassive black holes and the intergalactic medium at the end of the epoch of reionization. We present the optical spectra of eight new z ~ 6 quasars selected from the Panoramic Survey Telescope & Rapid Response System 1 (Pan-STARRS1). Details of the selection strategy can be found in Bañados et al. (2014). With this work we increase the number of known quasars at z < 5.7 by more than 10%. The quasars discovered here span a large range of luminosities (19.6 ≤ zP1 ≤ 21.2) and are remarkably heterogeneous in their spectral features: half of them show bright emission lines whereas the other half show weak or no Lyα emission line. We find a larger fraction of weak–line emission quasars than in lower redshift studies, although still based on low number statistics, this may imply that the quasar population could be more diverse than previously thought.
The time scales in the s process appears to be an approriate aspect to discuss at the occasion of Roberto's 70th anniversary, the more as this subject has been repeatedly addressed during the 20 years of collaboration between Torino and Karlsruhe. The two chronometers presented in this text were selected to illustrate the intense mutual stimulation of both groups. Based on a reliable set of accurate stellar (n, γ) cross sections determined mostly at FZK, the Torino group succeeded to develop a comprehensive picture of the various s-process scenarios, which are most valuable for understanding the composition of the solar system as well as for the interpretation of an increasing number of astronomical observations.