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A new fossil site in a previously unexplored part of western Madagascar (the Beanka Protected Area) has yielded remains of many recently extinct vertebrates, including giant lemurs (Babakotia radofilai, Palaeopropithecus kelyus, Pachylemur sp., and Archaeolemur edwardsi), carnivores (Cryptoprocta spelea), the aardvark-like Plesiorycteropus sp., and giant ground cuckoos (Coua). Many of these represent considerable range extensions. Extant species that were extirpated from the region (e.g., Prolemur simus) are also present. Calibrated radiocarbon ages for 10 bones from extinct primates span the last three millennia. The largely undisturbed taphonomy of bone deposits supports the interpretation that many specimens fell in from a rock ledge above the entrance. Some primates and other mammals may have been prey items of avian predators, but human predation is also evident. Strontium isotope ratios (87Sr/86Sr) suggest that fossils were local to the area. Pottery sherds and bones of extinct and extant vertebrates with cut and chop marks indicate human activity in previous centuries. Scarcity of charcoal and human artifacts suggests only occasional visitation to the site by humans. The fossil assemblage from this site is unusual in that, while it contains many sloth lemurs, it lacks ratites, hippopotami, and crocodiles typical of nearly all other Holocene subfossil sites on Madagascar.
A small pragmatic non-randomised controlled study investigated the feasibility and acceptability of a novel theory-informed community-based self-management programme targeting the biopsychosocial factors associated with chronic low back pain disability in a rural Nigerian primary care centre. Participants either received the programme, once weekly for 6 weeks, or usual care. The programme combined group exercise sessions with group/individual discussion sessions, informed by cognitive behavioural therapy and motivational interviewing. Recruitment rate, intervention delivery, proportion of planned treatment attended, retention/dropout rate, adherence to recommended self-management strategies and biopsychosocial outcomes were used to determine feasibility. Structured qualitative exit feedback interviews ascertained acceptability. Recruitment rate was 100%, treatment uptake was 83% and loss to follow-up was 8%. Greater benefits for the self-management group compared with control were observed for primary and secondary biopsychosocial outcomes. Although the programme appears promising, the exploratory design of this study warrants more rigorous intervention testing following suggested programme improvement.
Adolescence is a critical time point in the lifecourse. LifeLab is an educational intervention engaging adolescents in understanding Developmental Origins of Health and Disease (DOHaD) concepts and the impact of the early life environment on future health, benefitting both their long-term health and that of the next generation. We aimed to assess whether engaging adolescents with DOHaD concepts improves scientific literacy and whether engagement alone improves health behaviours.
Six schools were randomized, three to intervention and three to control. Outcome measures were changed in knowledge, and intended and actual behaviour in relation to diet and lifestyle. A total of 333 students completed baseline and follow-up questionnaires. At 12 months, intervention students showed greater understanding of DOHaD concepts. No sustained changes in behaviours were identified.
Adolescents’ engagement with DOHaD concepts can be improved and maintained over 12 months. Such engagement does not itself translate into behaviour change. The intervention has consequently been revised to include additional components beyond engagement alone.
Arachidonic acid (ARA) and DHA, supplied primarily from the mother, are required for early development of the central nervous system. Thus, variations in maternal ARA or DHA status may modify neurocognitive development. We investigated the relationship between maternal ARA and DHA status in early (11·7 weeks) or late (34·5 weeks) pregnancy on neurocognitive function at the age of 4 years or 6–7 years in 724 mother–child pairs from the Southampton Women’s Survey cohort. Plasma phosphatidylcholine fatty acid composition was measured in early and late pregnancy. ARA concentration in early pregnancy predicted 13 % of the variation in ARA concentration in late pregnancy (β=0·36, P<0·001). DHA concentration in early pregnancy predicted 21 % of the variation in DHA concentration in late pregnancy (β=0·46, P<0·001). Children’s cognitive function at the age of 4 years was assessed by the Wechsler Preschool and Primary Scale of Intelligence and at the age of 6–7 years by the Wechsler Abbreviated Scale of Intelligence. Executive function at the age of 6–7 years was assessed using elements of the Cambridge Neuropsychological Test Automated Battery. Neither DHA nor ARA concentrations in early or late pregnancy were associated significantly with neurocognitive function in children at the age of 4 years or the age of 6–7 years. These findings suggest that ARA and DHA status during pregnancy in the range found in this cohort are unlikely to have major influences on neurocognitive function in healthy children.
The ‘Landscapes of Production and Punishment’ project aims to examine how convict labour from 1830–1877 affected the built and natural landscapes of the Tasman Peninsula, as well as the lives of the convicts themselves.
In the above article (Paddick, 2017) The corresponding author's details were previously listed incorrectly. The correct details are; contact number +44 191 293 2709 and email address William.email@example.com. The original article has been updated with the correct contact details. The publishers apologise for any inconvenience and confusion this error has caused.
Cognitive stimulation therapy (CST) is a psychosocial group-based intervention for dementia shown to improve cognition and quality of life with a similar efficacy to cholinesterase inhibitors. Since CST can be delivered by non-specialist healthcare workers, it has potential for use in low-resource environments, such as sub-Saharan Africa (SSA). We aimed to assess the feasibility and clinical effectiveness of CST in rural Tanzania using a stepped-wedge design.
Participants and their carers were recruited through a community dementia screening program. Inclusion criteria were DSM-IV diagnosis of dementia of mild/moderate severity following detailed assessment. No participant had a previous diagnosis of dementia and none were taking a cholinesterase inhibitor. Primary outcomes related to the feasibility of conducting CST in this setting. Key clinical outcomes were changes in quality of life and cognition. The assessing team was blind to treatment group membership.
Thirty four participants with mild/moderate dementia were allocated to four CST groups. Attendance rates were high (85%) and we were able to complete all 14 sessions for each group within the seven week timeframe. Substantial improvements in cognition, anxiety, and behavioral symptoms were noted following CST, with smaller improvements in quality of life measures. The number needed to treat was two for a four-point cognitive (adapted Alzheimer's Disease Assessment Scale-Cognitive) improvement.
This intervention has the potential to be low-cost, sustainable, and adaptable to other settings across SSA, particularly if it can be delivered by non-specialist health workers.
To clarify the pathways between household livestock and child growth by assessing the relationships between consumption of animal-source foods (ASF) and child growth and evaluating the household livestock correlates of child consumption of ASF.
We conducted a longitudinal cohort study of anthropometry and 3 d feeding recalls among children <5 years old between June 2014 and May 2015. In addition, we collected data on wealth, livestock ownership and livestock diseases in the same households. We used linear and negative binomial mixed models to evaluate the relationships between household livestock characteristics, reported consumption of ASF and child growth.
An 1800-household surveillance catchment area in Western Kenya within the structure of human and animal health surveillance systems.
Children (n 874) <5 years old.
Among children >6 months old, reported frequency of egg and milk consumption was associated with increased monthly height gain (for each additional report of consumption over 3 d: adjusted β (95 % CI)=0·010 (0·002, 0·019) cm/month and 0·008 (0·004, 0·013) cm/month, respectively). Poultry ownership was associated with higher reported frequency of egg, milk and chicken consumption (adjusted incidence rate ratio (95 % CI)=1·3 (1·2, 1·4), 1·4 (1·1, 1·6) and 1·3 (1·1, 1·4), respectively). Some livestock diseases were associated with lower reported frequency of ASF intake (livestock digestive diseases-adjusted incidence rate ratio (95 % CI)=0·89 (0·78, 1·00)).
Child height gain was associated with milk and egg consumption in this cohort. ASF consumption was related to both household livestock ownership and animal health.
This study aimed to determine whether age at introduction of solid foods was associated with feeding difficulties at 3 years of age. The present study was carried out using data from the Southampton Women’s Survey (SWS). Women enrolled in the SWS who subsequently became pregnant were followed-up during pregnancy and postpartum, and the offspring have been studied through childhood. Maternal socio-demographic and anthropometric data and child anthropometric and feeding data were collected through interviews and self-administered questionnaires. When the children were 3 years of age, mothers/carers rated six potential child feeding difficulty questions on a four-point Likert scale, including one general question and five specific feeding difficulty questions. Age at introduction of solids as a predictor of feeding difficulties was examined in 2389 mother–child pairs, adjusting for child (age last breast fed, sex, gestation) and maternal characteristics (parity, pre-pregnancy BMI, age, education, employment, parenting difficulties, diet quality). The majority of mothers/carers (61 %) reported some feeding difficulties (general feeding difficulty question) at 3 years of age, specifically with their child eating enough food (61 %), eating the right food (66 %) and being choosy with food (74 %). Children who were introduced to solids ≥6 months had a lower risk of feeding difficulties (RR 0·73; 95 % CI 0·59, 0·91, P=0·004) than children who were introduced to solids between 4 and 6 months. No other significant associations were found. There were few associations between feeding difficulties in relation to age at introduction of solid foods. However, general feeding difficulties were less common among infants introduced to solid foods ≥6 months of age.
Chamber sampling is a common method for measuring nitrous oxide (N2O) emissions from agricultural soils. However, for grazed pastures, the patchy nature of urine deposition results in very high levels of spatial variability in N2O emissions. In the present study, the behaviour of the sample mean was examined by simulating a large number (9999) of random N2O chamber samples under different assumptions regarding the underlying N2O distribution. Using sample sizes of up to 100 chambers, the Central Limit Theorem did not apply. The distribution of the sample mean was always right-skewed with a standard deviation varying between 12·5 and 135% of the true mean. However, the arithmetic mean was an unbiased estimator and the mean of the sample mean distribution was close to the true mean of the simulated N2O distribution. The properties of the sample mean distribution (variance, skewness) were affected significantly by the assumed distribution of the emission factor, but not by distribution of the urine patch concentration. The geometric mean was also investigated as a potential alternative estimator. However, although its distribution had lower variance, it was also biased. Two methods for bias correcting the mean were investigated. These methods reduced the bias, but at the cost of increasing the variance. Neither of the bias-corrected estimators were consistently better than the arithmetic mean in terms of skewness and variance. To improve the estimation of N2O emissions from a grazed pasture using chambers, techniques need to be developed to identify urine patch and non-urine patch areas before sampling.
Both maternal 25-hydroxyvitamin D (25(OH)D) concentrations during pregnancy and
placental amino acid transporter gene expression have been associated with
development of the offspring in terms of body composition and bone structure.
Several amino acid transporter genes have vitamin D response elements in their
promoters suggesting the possible linkage of these two mechanisms. We aimed to
establish whether maternal 25(OH)D and vitamin D-binding protein (VDBP) levels
relate to expression of placental amino acid transporters. RNA was extracted
from 102 placental samples collected in the Southampton Women's Survey,
and gene expression was analysed using quantitative real-time PCR. Gene
expression data were normalised to the geometric mean of three housekeeping
genes, and related to maternal factors and childhood body composition. Maternal
serum 25(OH)D and VDBP levels were measured by radioimmunoassay. Maternal
25(OH)D and VDBP levels were positively associated with placental expression of
specific genes involved in amino acid transport. Maternal 25(OH)D and VDBP
concentrations were correlated with the expression of specific placental amino
acid transporters, and thus may be involved in the regulation of amino acid
transfer to the fetus. The positive correlation of VDBP levels and placental
transporter expression suggests that delivery of vitamin D to the placenta may
be important. This exploratory study identifies placental amino acid
transporters which may be altered in response to modifiable maternal factors and
provides a basis for further studies.
Pregnancy and birth cohorts have been utilised extensively to investigate the developmental origins of health and disease, particularly in relation to understanding the aetiology of obesity and related cardiometabolic disorders. Birth and pregnancy cohorts have been utilised extensively to investigate this area of research. The aim of the present review was twofold: first to outline the necessity of measuring cardiometabolic risk in children; and second to outline how it can be assessed. The major outcomes thought to have an important developmental component are CVD, insulin resistance and related metabolic outcomes. Conditions such as the metabolic syndrome, type 2 diabetes and CHD all tend to have peak prevalence in middle-aged and older individuals but assessments of cardiometabolic risk in childhood and adolescence are important to define early causal factors and characterise preventive measures. Typically, researchers investigating prospective cohort studies have relied on the thesis that cardiovascular risk factors, such as dyslipidaemia, hypertension and obesity, track from childhood into adult life. The present review summarises some of the evidence that these factors, when measured in childhood, may be of value in assessing the risk of adult cardiometabolic disease, and as such proceeds to describe some of the methods for assessing cardiometabolic risk in children.
Studies have suggested that maternal PUFA status during pregnancy may influence early childhood allergic diseases, although findings are inconsistent. We examined the relationship between maternal PUFA status and risk of allergic diseases in early childhood in an Asian cohort. Maternal plasma samples from the Growing Up in Singapore Towards Healthy Outcomes mother–offspring cohort were assayed at 26–28 weeks of gestation for relative abundance of PUFA. Offspring (n 960) were followed up from 3 weeks to 18 months of age, and clinical outcomes of potential allergic diseases (rhinitis, eczema and wheezing) were assessed by repeated questionnaires. Skin prick testing (SPT) was also performed at the age of 18 months. Any allergic disease with positive SPT was defined as having any one of the clinical outcomes plus a positive SPT. The prevalence of a positive SPT, rhinitis, eczema, wheezing and any allergic disease with positive SPT was 14·1 % (103/728), 26·5 % (214/808), 17·6 % (147/833), 10·9 % (94/859) and 9·4 % (62/657), respectively. After adjustment for confounders, maternal total n-3, n-6 PUFA status and the n-6:n-3 PUFA ratio were not significantly associated with offspring rhinitis, eczema, wheezing, a positive SPT and having any allergic disease with positive SPT in the offspring (P>0·01 for all). A weak trend of higher maternal n-3 PUFA being associated with higher risk of allergic diseases with positive SPT in offspring was observed. These findings do not support the hypothesis that the risk of early childhood allergic diseases is modified by variation in maternal n-3 and n-6 PUFA status during pregnancy in an Asian population.
We have completed a Chandra snapshot survey of 54 radio jets that are extended on arcsec scales. These are associated with flat spectrum radio quasars spanning a redshift range z=0.3 to 2.1. X-ray emission is detected from the jet of approximately 60% of the sample objects. We assume minimum energy and apply conditions consistent with the original Felten-Morrison calculations in order to estimate the Lorentz factors and the apparent Doppler factors. This allows estimates of the enthalpy fluxes, which turn out to be comparable to the radiative luminosities.
Preliminary specifications for the Square Kilometre Array (SKA) call for 25% of the total collecting area of the dish array to be located at distances greater than 180 km from the core, with a maximum baseline of at least 3000 km. The array will provide angular resolution θ ≲ 40–2 mas at 0.5–10 GHz with image sensitivity reaching ≲50 nJy beam−1 in an 8-hour integration with 500-MHz bandwidth. Given these specifications, the high-angular-resolution component of the SKA will be capable of detecting brightness temperatures ≲200K with milliarcsecond-scale angular resolution. The aim of this article is to bring together in one place a discussion of the broad range of new and important high-angular-resolution science that will be enabled by the SKA, and in doing so, address the merits of long baselines as part of the SKA. We highlight the fact that high angular resolution requiring baselines greater than 1000 km provides a rich science case with projects from many areas of astrophysics, including important contributions to key SKA science.
The Shapley-Owen value (SOV, Owen and Shapley 1989, Optimal location of candidates in ideological space. International Journal of Game Theory 125–42), a generalization of the Shapley-Shubik value applicable to spatial voting games, is an important concept in that it takes us away from a priori concepts of power to notions of power that are directly tied to the ideological proximity of actors. SOVs can also be used to locate the spatial analogue to the Copeland winner, the strong point, the point with smallest win-set, which is a plausible solution concept for games without cores. However, for spatial voting games with many voters, until recently, it was too computationally difficult to calculate SOVs, and thus, it was impossible to find the strong point analytically. After reviewing the properties of the SOV, such as the result proven by Shapley and Owen that size of win sets increases with the square of distance as we move away from the strong point along any ray, we offer a computer algorithm for computing SOVs that can readily find such values even for legislatures the size of the U.S. House of Representatives or the Russian Duma. We use these values to identify the strong point and show its location with respect to the uncovered set, for several of the U.S. congresses analyzed in Bianco, Jeliazkov, and Sened (2004, The limits of legislative actions: Determining the set of enactable outcomes given legislators preferences. Political Analysis 12:256–76) and for several sessions of the Russian Duma. We then look at many of the experimental committee voting games previously analyzed by Bianco et al. (2006, A theory waiting to be discovered and used: A reanalysis of canonical experiments on majority-rule decision making. Journal of Politics 68:838–51) and show how outcomes in these games tend to be points with small win sets located near to the strong point. We also consider how SOVs can be applied to a lobbying game in a committee of the U.S. Senate.