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Epidemiological and clinical evidence highlight the benefit of dietary fibre consumption on body weight. This benefit is partly attributed to the interaction of dietary fibre with the gut microbiota. Dietary fibre possesses a complex food structure which resists digestion in the upper gut and therefore reaches the distal gut where it becomes available for bacterial fermentation. This process yields SCFA which stimulate the release of appetite-suppressing hormones glucagon-like peptide-1 and peptide YY. Food structures can further enhance the delivery of fermentable substrates to the distal gut by protecting the intracellular nutrients during upper gastrointestinal digestion. Domestic and industrial processing can disturb these food structures that act like barriers towards digestive enzymes. This leads to more digestible products that are better absorbed in the upper gut. As a result, less resistant material (fibre) and intracellular nutrients may reach the distal gut, thus reducing substrates for bacterial fermentation and its subsequent benefits on the host metabolism including appetite suppression. Understanding this link is essential for the design of diets and food products that can promote appetite suppression and act as a successful strategy towards obesity management. This article reviews the current evidence in the interplay between food structure, bacterial fermentation and appetite control.
The use of biological control insects is a promising option for suppressing spotted knapweed, a nonindigenous perennial forb that infests more than 3 million hectares of North American rangeland. Efficacy increases when spotted knapweed is attacked by more than one phytophagous insect; however, combined herbivory by biological control insects has not achieved widespread suppression of spotted knapweed in North America. Here we expand the concept of combined herbivory beyond two or more species of biological control insects to include a vertebrate herbivore, specifically targeted grazing by domestic sheep. Our experiment on foothill rangeland in northwestern Montana evaluated spotted knapweed response to three treatments: (1) biological control insects only, (2) biological control insects + targeted sheep grazing applied in late July (spotted knapweed in late bud–early flower stage), and (3) biological control insects + targeted sheep grazing applied in mid-August (spotted knapweed in full-flower stage). We combined targeted sheep grazing with herbivory by three species of biological control insects: knapweed flower weevil, knapweed root weevil, and sulfur knapweed root moth. Treatments were applied during four consecutive years (2009 to 2012). Spotted knapweed fitness was suppressed more where targeted sheep grazing and biological control insects were combined vs. areas treated with biological control insects alone. Combined herbivory was effective when targeted sheep grazing was applied during either late July or mid-August, but July grazing was more effective. Spotted knapweed produced 96 to 99% fewer viable seeds in sheep-grazed areas. After 4 yr of treatment, total spotted knapweed plant density (seedlings, juvenile, and adult plants) was 86% less in July-grazed areas and 61% less in August-grazed areas than in areas treated with biological control insects alone. Combined herbivory by targeted sheep grazing and biological control insects reduced adult plant density and prevented compensatory recruitment of spotted knapweed, but treatment with biological control insects alone did not.
The main objective of our target article was to sketch the empirical case for the importance of selection at the level of groups on cultural variation. Such variation is massive in humans, but modest or absent in other species. Group selection processes acting on this variation is a framework for developing explanations of the unusual level of cooperation between non-relatives found in our species. Our case for cultural group selection (CGS) followed Darwin's classic syllogism regarding natural selection: If variation exists at the level of groups, if this variation is heritable, and if it plays a role in the success or failure of competing groups, then selection will operate at the level of groups. We outlined the relevant domains where such evidence can be sought and characterized the main conclusions of work in those domains. Most commentators agree that CGS plays some role in human evolution, although some were considerably more skeptical. Some contributed additional empirical cases. Some raised issues of the scope of CGS explanations versus competing ones.
In this study the putative protective seroprevalence (PPS) of IgG antibodies to the 27-kDa and 15/17-kDa Cryptosporidium antigens in sera of healthy participants who were and were not exposed to Cryptosporidium oocysts via surface water-derived drinking water was compared. The participants completed a questionnaire regarding risk factors that have been shown to be associated with infection. The PPS was significantly greater (49−61%) in settlements where the drinking water originated from surface water, than in the control city where riverbank filtration was used (21% and 23%). Logistic regression analysis on the risk factors showed an association between bathing/swimming in outdoor pools and antibody responses to the 15/17-kDa antigen complex. Hence the elevated responses were most likely due to the use of contaminated water. Results indicate that waterborne Cryptosporidium infections occur more frequently than reported but may derive from multiple sources.
Human cooperation is highly unusual. We live in large groups composed mostly of non-relatives. Evolutionists have proposed a number of explanations for this pattern, including cultural group selection and extensions of more general processes such as reciprocity, kin selection, and multi-level selection acting on genes. Evolutionary processes are consilient; they affect several different empirical domains, such as patterns of behavior and the proximal drivers of that behavior. In this target article, we sketch the evidence from five domains that bear on the explanatory adequacy of cultural group selection and competing hypotheses to explain human cooperation. Does cultural transmission constitute an inheritance system that can evolve in a Darwinian fashion? Are the norms that underpin institutions among the cultural traits so transmitted? Do we observe sufficient variation at the level of groups of considerable size for group selection to be a plausible process? Do human groups compete, and do success and failure in competition depend upon cultural variation? Do we observe adaptations for cooperation in humans that most plausibly arose by cultural group selection? If the answer to one of these questions is “no,” then we must look to other hypotheses. We present evidence, including quantitative evidence, that the answer to all of the questions is “yes” and argue that we must take the cultural group selection hypothesis seriously. If culturally transmitted systems of rules (institutions) that limit individual deviance organize cooperation in human societies, then it is not clear that any extant alternative to cultural group selection can be a complete explanation.
Understanding the nutritional demands on serving military personnel is critical to inform training schedules and dietary provision. Troops deployed to Afghanistan face austere living and working environments. Observations from the military and those reported in the British and US media indicated possible physical degradation of personnel deployed to Afghanistan. Therefore, the present study aimed to investigate the changes in body composition and nutritional status of military personnel deployed to Afghanistan and how these were related to physical fitness. In a cohort of British Royal Marines (n 249) deployed to Afghanistan for 6 months, body size and body composition were estimated from body mass, height, girth and skinfold measurements. Energy intake (EI) was estimated from food diaries and energy expenditure measured using the doubly labelled water method in a representative subgroup. Strength and aerobic fitness were assessed. The mean body mass of volunteers decreased over the first half of the deployment ( − 4·6 (sd 3·7) %), predominately reflecting fat loss. Body mass partially recovered (mean +2·2 (sd 2·9) %) between the mid- and post-deployment periods (P< 0·05). Daily EI (mean 10 590 (sd 3339) kJ) was significantly lower than the estimated daily energy expenditure (mean 15 167 (sd 1883) kJ) measured in a subgroup of volunteers. However, despite the body mass loss, aerobic fitness and strength were well maintained. Nutritional provision for British military personnel in Afghanistan appeared sufficient to maintain physical capability and micronutrient status, but providing appropriate nutrition in harsh operational environments must remain a priority.
Many species respond to risks and benefits of dispersal that vary over the short term through condition-dependent dispersal. We used wind tunnels to investigate how abiotic factors, spiderling age, and indicators of environmental quality affect aerial dispersal behaviour of spiderlings in Dolomedes triton (Walckenaer) (Araneae: Pisauridae), a denizen of temporary habitats. More than half of all spiderlings exhibited preballooning, ballooning, or spanning behaviours. Warm temperatures (>22.5 °C) and low wind speeds (<2.0 m/second) increased aerial dispersal. Aerial dispersal behaviour increased significantly until 5 days after hatch, after which it decreased, coinciding with the onset of active hunting by spiderlings. In contrast, cues about ambient food availability (egg sac number and food limitation of the mother) and potential resource competition or risk of cannibalism (conspecific density) did not affect aerial dispersal propensity. Offspring from different females ballooned in different proportions, except at the peak of dispersal, but a female's reproductive output and propensity of her offspring to balloon were uncorrelated. Thus, it appears that spiderlings of D. triton adopt a fixed strategy of high dispersal rate under optimal abiotic conditions, rather than reducing dispersal in response to cues about local food availability or conspecific density.
Antipsychotic drugs are increasingly used in children and adolescents to treat a variety of psychiatric disorders. However, little is known about the long-term effects of early life antipsychotic drug (APD) treatment. Most APDs are potent antagonists or partial agonists of dopamine (DA) D2 receptors; atypical APDs also have multiple serotonergic activities. DA and serotonin regulate many neurodevelopmental processes. Thus, early life APD treatment can, potentially, perturb these processes, causing long-term behavioural and neurobiological sequelae. We treated adolescent, male rats with olanzapine (Ola) on post-natal days 28–49, under dosing conditions that approximate those employed therapeutically in humans. As adults, they exhibited enhanced conditioned place preference for amphetamine, as compared to vehicle-treated rats. In the nucleus accumbens core, DA D1 receptor binding was reduced, D2 binding was increased and DA release evoked by electrical stimulation of the ventral tegmental area was reduced. Thus, adolescent Ola treatment enduringly alters a key behavioural response to rewarding stimuli and modifies DAergic neurotransmission in the nucleus accumbens. The persistence of these changes suggests that even limited periods of early life Ola treatment may induce enduring changes in other reward-related behaviours and in behavioural and neurobiological responses to therapeutic and illicit psychotropic drugs. These results underscore the importance of improved understanding of the enduring sequelae of paediatric APD treatment as a basis for weighing the benefits and risks of adolescent APD therapy, especially prophylactic treatment in high-risk, asymptomatic patients.
The new 1 m f/4 fast-slew Zadko Telescope was installed in June 2008 about 70 km north of Perth, Western Australia. It is the only metre-class optical facility at this southern latitude between the east coast of Australia and South Africa, and can rapidly image optical transients at a longitude not monitored by other similar facilities. We report on first imaging tests of a pilot program of minor planet searches, and Target of Opportunity observations triggered by the Swift satellite. In 12 months, 6 gamma-ray burst afterglows were detected, with estimated magnitudes; two of them, GRB 090205 (z = 4.65) and GRB 090516 (z = 4.11), are among the most distant optical transients imaged by an Australian telescope. Many asteroids were observed in a systematic 3-month search. In September 2009, an automatic telescope control system was installed, which will be used to link the facility to a global robotic telescope network; future targets will include fast optical transients triggered by high-energy satellites, radio transient detections, and LIGO gravitational wave candidate events. We also outline the importance of the facility as a potential tool for education, training, and public outreach.