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There is a long history of exploitation of the South American river turtle Podocnemis expansa. Conservation efforts for this species started in the 1960s but best practices were not established, and population trends and the number of nesting females protected remained unknown. In 2014 we formed a working group to discuss conservation strategies and to compile population data across the species’ range. We analysed the spatial pattern of its abundance in relation to human and natural factors using multiple regression analyses. We found that > 85 conservation programmes are protecting 147,000 nesting females, primarily in Brazil. The top six sites harbour > 100,000 females and should be prioritized for conservation action. Abundance declines with latitude and we found no evidence of human pressure on current turtle abundance patterns. It is presently not possible to estimate the global population trend because the species is not monitored continuously across the Amazon basin. The number of females is increasing at some localities and decreasing at others. However, the current size of the protected population is well below the historical population size estimated from past levels of human consumption, which demonstrates the need for concerted global conservation action. The data and management recommendations compiled here provide the basis for a regional monitoring programme among South American countries.
The family physician is key to facilitating access to psychiatric treatment for young people with first-episode psychosis, and this involvement can reduce aversive events in pathways to care. Those who seek help from primary care tend to have longer intervals to psychiatric care, and some people receive ongoing psychiatric treatment from the family physician.
Our objective is to understand the role of the family physician in help-seeking, recognition and ongoing management of first-episode psychosis.
We will use a mixed-methods approach, incorporating health administrative data, electronic medical records (EMRs) and qualitative methodologies to study the role of the family physician at three points on the pathway to care. First, help-seeking: we will use health administrative data to examine access to a family physician and patterns of primary care use preceding the first diagnosis of psychosis; second, recognition: we will identify first-onset cases of psychosis in health administrative data, and look back at linked EMRs from primary care to define a risk profile for undetected cases; and third, management: we will examine service provision to identified patients through EMR data, including patterns of contacts, prescriptions and referrals to specialised care. We will then conduct qualitative interviews and focus groups with key stakeholders to better understand the trends observed in the quantitative data.
These findings will provide an in-depth description of first-episode psychosis in primary care, informing strategies to build linkages between family physicians and psychiatric services to improve transitions of care during the crucial early stages of psychosis.
Sufficiently strong electric fields in plasmas can accelerate charged particles to relativistic energies. In this paper we describe the dynamics of positrons accelerated in such electric fields, and calculate the fraction of created positrons that become runaway accelerated, along with the amount of radiation that they emit. We derive an analytical formula that shows the relative importance of the different positron production processes, and show that, above a certain threshold electric field, the pair production by photons is lower than that by collisions. We furthermore present analytical and numerical solutions to the positron kinetic equation; these are applied to calculate the fraction of positrons that become accelerated or thermalized, which enters into rate equations that describe the evolution of the density of the slow and fast positron populations. Finally, to indicate operational parameters required for positron detection during runaway in tokamak discharges, we give expressions for the parameter dependencies of detected annihilation radiation compared to bremsstrahlung detected at an angle perpendicular to the direction of runaway acceleration. Using the full leading-order pair-production cross-section, we demonstrate that previous related work has overestimated the collisional pair production by at least a factor of four.
Hill (Twin Research and Human Genetics, Vol. 21, 2018, 84–88) presented a critique of our recently published paper in Cell Reports entitled ‘Large-Scale Cognitive GWAS Meta-Analysis Reveals Tissue-Specific Neural Expression and Potential Nootropic Drug Targets’ (Lam et al., Cell Reports, Vol. 21, 2017, 2597–2613). Specifically, Hill offered several interrelated comments suggesting potential problems with our use of a new analytic method called Multi-Trait Analysis of GWAS (MTAG) (Turley et al., Nature Genetics, Vol. 50, 2018, 229–237). In this brief article, we respond to each of these concerns. Using empirical data, we conclude that our MTAG results do not suffer from ‘inflation in the FDR [false discovery rate]’, as suggested by Hill (Twin Research and Human Genetics, Vol. 21, 2018, 84–88), and are not ‘more relevant to the genetic contributions to education than they are to the genetic contributions to intelligence’.
Background: Brain tumors present unique challenges to patient and family quality of life (QOL). Cognitive dysfunction is common and functionally limiting, with no established treatments. These studies evaluate feasibility and preliminary efficacy of behavioral interventions developed for neuro-oncology patients. Study 1: A randomized controlled trial (N=25 primary brain tumor patients) compared an adapted version of Goal Management Training (GMT, a neuroscience-based integration of mindfulness and strategy training) and a newly-designed supportive psychoeducational intervention (Brain Health Program, BHP) to standard of care. Each intervention comprised 8 individual sessions and at-home practice between sessions. GMT patients’ executive functions improved immediately (p=.077, d=1.13), with maintenance at 4-month follow-up (p=.046, d=1.09). Both intervention groups reported improvements in everyday cognitive functioning immediately (p=.049; d’s GMT=0.43, BHP=0.79) and at follow-up (p=.001; d’s GMT=0.22, BHP=1.01). BHP patients also reported improved mood (p’s=.026 & .012, d’s=0.61 & 0.62). Study 2: Following a needs assessment about cognitive concerns and QOL in brain metastases patients (N=109) and caregivers (N=31), we developed a novel, brief (3 sessions + homework) Cognitive Support Program to provide education and strategy-training in key areas of concern: executive functions, memory, and communication. Options include caregiver co-training, and in-person or web-based delivery. Preliminary data from a pilot trial in progress demonstrate objective and subjective improvements. Conclusions: Cognitive rehabilitation may be a feasible and effective option for primary or metastatic brain tumor patients, addressing a need that is largely unmet in standard cancer care. Further development and larger trials appear warranted, with capacity for remote delivery recommended.
Ultraviolet (UV) Solar spectral Irradiance (SSI) has been measured from orbit on a regular basis since the beginning of the space age. These observations span four Solar Cycles, and they are crucial for our understanding of the Sun-Earth connection and space weather. SSI at these wavelengths are the main drivers for the upper atmosphere including the production and destruction of ozone in the stratosphere. The instruments that measure UV SSI not only require good preflight calibration, but also need a robust method to maintain that calibration on orbit. We will give an overview of the catalog of current and former UV SSI measurements along with the calibration philosophy of each instrument and an estimation of the uncertainties in the published irradiances.
The longstanding association between the major histocompatibility complex (MHC) locus and schizophrenia (SZ) risk has recently been accounted for, partially, by structural variation at the complement component 4 (C4) gene. This structural variation generates varying levels of C4 RNA expression, and genetic information from the MHC region can now be used to predict C4 RNA expression in the brain. Increased predicted C4A RNA expression is associated with the risk of SZ, and C4 is reported to influence synaptic pruning in animal models.
Based on our previous studies associating MHC SZ risk variants with poorer memory performance, we tested whether increased predicted C4A RNA expression was associated with reduced memory function in a large (n = 1238) dataset of psychosis cases and healthy participants, and with altered task-dependent cortical activation in a subset of these samples.
We observed that increased predicted C4A RNA expression predicted poorer performance on measures of memory recall (p = 0.016, corrected). Furthermore, in healthy participants, we found that increased predicted C4A RNA expression was associated with a pattern of reduced cortical activity in middle temporal cortex during a measure of visual processing (p < 0.05, corrected).
These data suggest that the effects of C4 on cognition were observable at both a cortical and behavioural level, and may represent one mechanism by which illness risk is mediated. As such, deficits in learning and memory may represent a therapeutic target for new molecular developments aimed at altering C4’s developmental role.
Whether monozygotic (MZ) and dizygotic (DZ) twins differ from each other in a variety of phenotypes is important for genetic twin modeling and for inferences made from twin studies in general. We analyzed whether there were differences in individual, maternal and paternal education between MZ and DZ twins in a large pooled dataset. Information was gathered on individual education for 218,362 adult twins from 27 twin cohorts (53% females; 39% MZ twins), and on maternal and paternal education for 147,315 and 143,056 twins respectively, from 28 twin cohorts (52% females; 38% MZ twins). Together, we had information on individual or parental education from 42 twin cohorts representing 19 countries. The original education classifications were transformed to education years and analyzed using linear regression models. Overall, MZ males had 0.26 (95% CI [0.21, 0.31]) years and MZ females 0.17 (95% CI [0.12, 0.21]) years longer education than DZ twins. The zygosity difference became smaller in more recent birth cohorts for both males and females. Parental education was somewhat longer for fathers of DZ twins in cohorts born in 1990–1999 (0.16 years, 95% CI [0.08, 0.25]) and 2000 or later (0.11 years, 95% CI [0.00, 0.22]), compared with fathers of MZ twins. The results show that the years of both individual and parental education are largely similar in MZ and DZ twins. We suggest that the socio-economic differences between MZ and DZ twins are so small that inferences based upon genetic modeling of twin data are not affected.
The northern New England region includes the states of Vermont, New Hampshire, and Maine and encompasses a large degree of climate and edaphic variation across a relatively small spatial area, making it ideal for studying climate change impacts on agricultural weed communities. We sampled weed seedbanks and measured soil physical and chemical characteristics on 77 organic farms across the region and analyzed the relationships between weed community parameters and select geographic, climatic, and edaphic variables using multivariate procedures. Temperature-related variables (latitude, longitude, mean maximum and minimum temperature) were the strongest and most consistent correlates with weed seedbank composition. Edaphic variables were, for the most part, relatively weaker and inconsistent correlates with weed seedbanks. Our analyses also indicate that a number of agriculturally important weed species are associated with specific U.S. Department of Agriculture plant hardiness zones, implying that future changes in climate factors that result in geographic shifts in these zones will likely be accompanied by changes in the composition of weed communities and therefore new management challenges for farmers.
Weed resistance to herbicides occurs when herbicides are overused and can be mitigated by reducing their use. Consensus on herbicide resistance management strategies is problematic given strong industrial profit motive links in the weed science discipline.
The U.S. Geological Survey is using Landsat imagery from the early 1970s and mid- to late 1980s/early 1990s to analyze glaciological features, compile a glacier inventory, measure surface velocities of outlet glaciers, ice streams and ice shelves, determine coastline change and calculate the area and volume of iceberg calving in Antarctica.
Ice-surface velocities in Marie Byrd and Ellsworth Lands, West Antarctica, range from the fast-moving Thwaites, Pine Island, Land and DeVicq Glaciers to the slower-moving ice shelves. The average ice-front velocity during the time interval of Landsat imagery, for the faster-moving outlet glaciers, was 2.9 km a-1 for Thwaites Glacier, 2.4 km a-1 for Pine Island Glacier, 2.0 km a-1 for Land Glacier and 1.4 km a-1 for DeVicq Glacier.
Evaluation of coastal change from the early 1970s to the early 1990s shows advance of the floating ice front in some coastal areas and recession in others, with an overall small average advance in the entire coastal study area, but no major trend towards advance or retreat. Comparison of average ice-surface velocities with changes in the ice front has yielded estimates of iceberg calving. The total iceberg calving from the Marie Byrd Land and Ellsworth Land coasts during the study period was greater than 8500 km2 (estimated volume of about 2400 km-3) or an average of about 550 km3 a-1 (more than 150 km2 a-1). Almost 70% of this discharge is contributed by Thwaites and Pine Island Glaciers.
In spite of their importance to global climate and sea level, the mass balance of the Antarctic ice sheet and the dynamics of the coast of Antarctica are largely unknown. In 1990, the U.S. Geological Survey, in cooperation with the Scott Polar Research Institute. U.K., began a long-term coastal mapping project in Antarctica that is based on analysis of Landsat images and ancillary sources. The project has live objectives: (1) to determine coastline changes that have occurred between the mid-1970s and the late 1980s/early 1990s; (2) to establish an accurate base-line series of 24 1: 1 000 000 scale maps that define the glaciological characteristics of the coastline: (3) to determine velocities of outlet glaciers, ice streams and ice shelves: (4) to compile a comprehensive inventory of outlet glaciers and ice streams: and (5) to compile a 1: 5 000 000 scale map of Antarctica derived from the 24 maps. Analysis of images used in producing the first five of the 24 maps has shown that ice fronts, iceberg tongues and glacier tongues are the most dynamic and changeable features in the coastal regions of Antarctica. Seaward of the grounding line of outlet glaciers, ice streams and ice shelves, the floating margin is subject to frequent, large calving events and rapid flow. Although calving does occur along ice walls, the magnitude of their change on an annual to decadal basis is generally not discernible on Landsat images; therefore, ice walls can be used as relatively stable reference features for measuring other changes along the coast. Velocities of outlet glaciers, ice streams and ice shelves range from 0.1 to several kilometers per year.
Because individuals develop dementia as a manifestation of neurodegenerative or neurovascular disorder, there is a need to develop reliable approaches to their identification. We are undertaking an observational study (Ontario Neurodegenerative Disease Research Initiative [ONDRI]) that includes genomics, neuroimaging, and assessments of cognition as well as language, speech, gait, retinal imaging, and eye tracking. Disorders studied include Alzheimer’s disease, amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, frontotemporal dementia, Parkinson’s disease, and vascular cognitive impairment. Data from ONDRI will be collected into the Brain-CODE database to facilitate correlative analysis. ONDRI will provide a repertoire of endophenotyped individuals that will be a unique, publicly available resource.
With improvements in early survival following congenital heart surgery, it has become increasingly important to understand longer-term outcomes; however, routine collection of these data is challenging and remains very limited. We describe the development and initial results of a collaborative programme incorporating standardised longitudinal follow-up into usual care at the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia (CHOP) and University of Michigan (UM).
We included children undergoing benchmark operations of the Society of Thoracic Surgeons. Considerations regarding personnel, patient/parent engagement, funding, regulatory issues, and annual data collection are described, and initial follow-up rates are reported.
The present analysis included 1737 eligible patients undergoing surgery at CHOP from January 2007 to December 2014 and 887 UM patients from January 2010 to December 2014. Overall, follow-up data, of any type, were obtained from 90.8% of patients at CHOP (median follow-up 4.3 years, 92.2% survival) and 98.3% at UM (median follow-up 2.8 years, 92.7% survival), with similar rates across operations and institutions. Most patients lost to follow-up at CHOP had undergone surgery before 2010. Standardised questionnaires assessing burden of disease/quality of life were completed by 80.2% (CHOP) and 78.4% (UM) via phone follow-up. In subsequent pilot testing of an automated e-mail system, 53.4% of eligible patients completed the follow-up questionnaire through this system.
Standardised follow-up data can be obtained on the majority of children undergoing benchmark operations. Ongoing efforts to support automated electronic systems and integration with registry data may reduce resource needs, facilitate expansion across centres, and support multi-centre efforts to understand and improve long-term outcomes in this population.
Global nitrous oxide (N2O) inventory estimates for pasture systems are refined based on measurements of N2O loss from simulated urine patches. A variety of methods are used for patch simulation but they frequently use a uniform wetted area (UWA), often smaller than a bovine urine patch. However, natural patches follow non-uniform infiltration patterns expanding naturally from a point of deposit with a non-wetted zone of influence. Using 2 litres of urine the UWA method was compared, using a 0·156 m2 collar, with a naturally expanding effective area (NEEA) method, using a 0·462 m2 collar under high (HL) and low (LL) N2O loss conditions. The method chosen affects urine nitrogen (N) loading to the soil. Under HL the UWA method induced a N2O-N loss of 280·6 mg/patch, significantly less than the 434·8 mg/patch loss for the NEEA method, for the same simulated urination. Under LL there was no method effect. Efforts should be made to employ patch simulation methods, which mimic natural deposits and can be achieved, at least in part, by: (a) Using a urine volume and N content similar to that of the animal of interest. (b) Allowing natural infiltration of the chosen urine volume to permit tapering towards the edges. (c) Measuring from the zone of influence in addition to the wetted area, i.e. the patch effective area.
Because of recent concerns about the replication of published results in the behavioral and biomedical sciences (Ioannidis, PLoS Medicine, Vol. 2, 2005, p. e124; Open Science Collaboration, Science, Vol. 349, 2015, p. 943; Pashler & Wagenmakers, Perspectives on Psychological Science, Vol. 7, 2012, pp. 528–530), we have conducted a replication of our recently published analyses of longitudinal reading performance and attention deficit-hyperactivity disorder data from twin pairs selected for reading difficulties (Wadsworth et al., Twin Research and Human Genetics, Vol. 18, 2015, pp. 755–761). Results obtained from univariate and bivariate (DeFries & Fulker, Behavior Genetics, Vol. 15, 1985, pp. 467–473; Acta Geneticae Medicae et Gemellologiae: Twin Research, Vol. 37, 1988, pp. 205–216) analyses of data from a subset of twin pairs tested in the International Longitudinal Twin Study of Early Reading Development at post-4th grade, and its continuation into high school at post-9th grade, were compared to those from our previous report. Similar measures of reading performance, the same measures of inattention and hyperactivity/impulsivity, and similar selection criteria were used in the two studies. In general, the patterns of results obtained from these two independent studies were highly similar. Thus, these results clearly illustrate the principle that findings from studies in quantitative behavioral genetics often replicate (Plomin et al., Perspectives on Psychological Science, Vol. 11, 2016, pp. 3–23).
Compressive Sensing is an emerging technology for data compression and simultaneous data acquisition. This is an enabling technique for significant reduction in data bandwidth, and transmission power and hence, can greatly benefit space-flight instruments. We apply this process to detect exoplanets via gravitational microlensing. We experiment with various impact parameters that describe microlensing curves to determine the effectiveness and uncertainty caused by Compressive Sensing. Finally, we describe implications for space-flight missions.
The fragmented ecosystems along the Niagara Escarpment World Biosphere Reserve provide important habitats for biota including lichens. Nonetheless, the Reserve is disturbed by dense human populations and associated air pollution. Here we investigated patterns of lichen diversity within urban and rural sites at three different locations (Niagara, Hamilton, and Owen Sound) along the Niagara Escarpment in Ontario, Canada. Our results indicate that both lichen species richness and community composition are negatively correlated with increasing human population density and air pollution. However, our quantitative analysis of community composition using canonical correspondence analysis (CCA) indicates that human population density and air pollution is more independent than might be assumed. The CCA analysis suggests that the strongest environmental gradient (CCA1) associated with lichen community composition includes regional pollution load and climatic variables; the second gradient (CCA2) is associated with local pollution load and human population density factors. These results increase the knowledge of lichen biodiversity for the Niagara Escarpment and urban and rural fragmented ecosystems as well as along gradients of human population density and air pollution; they suggest a differential influence of regional and local pollution loads and population density factors. This study provides baseline knowledge for further research and conservation initiatives along the Niagara Escarpment World Biosphere Reserve.
The radiocarbon calibration curve IntCal04 extends back to 26 cal kyr B P. While several high-resolution records exist beyond this limit, these data sets exhibit discrepancies of up to several millennia. As a result, no calibration curve for the time range 26–50 cal kyr BP can be recommended as yet, but in this paper the IntCal04 working group compares the available data sets and offers a discussion of the information that they hold.
The IntCal04 and Marine04 radiocarbon calibration curves have been updated from 12 cal kBP (cal kBP is here defined as thousands of calibrated years before AD 1950), and extended to 50 cal kBP, utilizing newly available data sets that meet the IntCal Working Group criteria for pristine corals and other carbonates and for quantification of uncertainty in both the 14C and calendar timescales as established in 2002. No change was made to the curves from 0–12 cal kBP. The curves were constructed using a Markov chain Monte Carlo (MCMC) implementation of the random walk model used for IntCal04 and Marine04. The new curves were ratified at the 20th International Radiocarbon Conference in June 2009 and are available in the Supplemental Material at www.radiocarbon.org.