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Some of the greatest successes in infectious disease control rest on empirically grounded models of human and livestock infections. In contrast, disease control in wildlife has not always been as successful. Timely translation of knowledge into proposed management actions remains a challenge in several wildlife disease systems, one of which is pneumonia management in bighorn sheep throughout the North American West. Although pneumonia was recognised as a major impediment to bighorn sheep conservation >80 years ago, a series of challenges stymied the management decision-making process. Despite past obstacles, recent advances from long-term, intensive studies of marked individual sheep have motivated new interest in research-driven strategies for disease management in this system. The system provides an unusual opportunity to study an emerging pathogen disproportionately impacting immature animals through infections that originate from asymptomatically infected adult hosts. We tell the story of bighorn sheep pneumonia, emphasising the obstacles that historically hindered decision-making, the biological or logistical constraints underlying each decision point, and the particular empirical insights that clarified each constraint.
The diet of most adults is low in fish and, therefore, provides limited quantities of the long-chain, omega-3 fatty acids (LCn-3FAs), eicosapentaenoic and docosahexaenoic acids (EPA, DHA). Since these compounds serve important roles in the brain, we sought to determine if healthy adults with low-LCn-3FA consumption would exhibit improvements in neuropsychological performance and parallel changes in brain morphology following repletion through fish oil supplementation.
In a randomized, controlled trial, 271 mid-life adults (30–54 years of age, 118 men, 153 women) consuming ⩽300 mg/day of LCn-3FAs received 18 weeks of supplementation with fish oil capsules (1400 mg/day of EPA and DHA) or matching placebo. All participants completed a neuropsychological test battery examining four cognitive domains: psychomotor speed, executive function, learning/episodic memory, and fluid intelligence. A subset of 122 underwent neuroimaging before and after supplementation to measure whole-brain and subcortical tissue volumes.
Capsule adherence was over 95%, participant blinding was verified, and red blood cell EPA and DHA levels increased as expected. Supplementation did not affect performance in any of the four cognitive domains. Exploratory analyses revealed that, compared to placebo, fish oil supplementation improved executive function in participants with low-baseline DHA levels. No changes were observed in any indicator of brain morphology.
In healthy mid-life adults reporting low-dietary intake, supplementation with LCn-3FAs in moderate dose for moderate duration did not affect neuropsychological performance or brain morphology. Whether salutary effects occur in individuals with particularly low-DHA exposure requires further study.
Nonhuman primate (NHP) studies are crucial to biomedical research. NHPs are the species most similar to humans in lifespan, body size, and hormonal profiles. Planning research requires statistical power evaluation, which is difficult to perform when lacking directly relevant preliminary data. This is especially true for NHP developmental programming studies, which are scarce. We review the sample sizes reported, challenges, areas needing further work, and goals of NHP maternal nutritional programming studies. The literature search included 27 keywords, for example, maternal obesity, intrauterine growth restriction, maternal high-fat diet, and maternal nutrient reduction. Only fetal and postnatal offspring studies involving tissue collection or imaging were included. Twenty-eight studies investigated maternal over-nutrition and 33 under-nutrition; 23 involved macaques and 38 baboons. Analysis by sex was performed in 19; minimum group size ranged from 1 to 8 (mean 4.7 ± 0.52, median 4, mode 3) and maximum group size from 3 to 16 (8.3 ± 0.93, 8, 8). Sexes were pooled in 42 studies; minimum group size ranged from 2 to 16 (mean 5.3 ± 0.35, median 6, mode 6) and maximum group size from 4 to 26 (10.2 ± 0.92, 8, 8). A typical study with sex-based analyses had group size minimum 4 and maximum 8 per sex. Among studies with sexes pooled, minimum group size averaged 6 and maximum 8. All studies reported some significant differences between groups. Therefore, studies with group sizes 3–8 can detect significance between groups. To address deficiencies in the literature, goals include increasing age range, more frequently considering sex as a biological variable, expanding topics, replicating studies, exploring intergenerational effects, and examining interventions.
Schmidt-hammer exposure-age dating (SHD) of boulders on cryoplanation terrace treads and associated bedrock cliff faces revealed Holocene ages ranging from 0 ± 825 to 8890 ± 1185 yr. The cliffs were significantly younger than the inner treads, which tended to be younger than the outer treads. Radiocarbon dates from the regolith of 3854 to 4821 cal yr BP (2σ range) indicated maximum rates of cliff recession of ~0.1 mm/yr, which suggests the onset of terrace formation before the last glacial maximum. Age, angularity, and size of clasts, together with planation across bedrock structures and the seepage of groundwater from the cliff foot, all support a process-based conceptual model of cryoplanation terrace development in which frost weathering leads to parallel cliff recession and, hence, terrace extension. The availability of groundwater during autumn freezeback is viewed as critical for frost wedging and/or the growth of segregation ice during prolonged winter frost penetration. Permafrost promotes cryoplanation by providing an impermeable frost table beneath the active layer, focusing groundwater flow, and supplying water for sediment transport by solifluction across the tread. Snow beds are considered an effect rather than a cause of cryoplanation terraces, and cryoplanation is seen as distinct from nivation.
The purpose of this study was to examine sex differences in neuropsychological functioning after sports-related concussion using several approaches to assess cognition: mean performance, number of impaired scores, and intraindividual variability (IIV).
In the study, 152 concussed college athletes were administered a battery of neuropsychological tests, on average, 10 days post-concussion (SD = 12.75; Mdn = 4 days; Range = 0–72 days). Mean performance was evaluated across 18 individual neuropsychological variables, and the total number of impaired test scores (>1.5 SD below the mean) was calculated for each athlete. Two measures of IIV were also computed: an intraindividual standard deviation (ISD) score and a maximum discrepancy (MD) score.
Analyses of covariance revealed that, compared with males, females had significantly more impaired scores and showed greater variability on both IIV indices (ISD and MD scores) after adjusting for time since injury and post-concussive symptoms. In contrast, no significant effects of sex were found when examining mean neuropsychological performance.
Although females and males demonstrated similar mean performance following concussion, females exhibited a greater level of cognitive impairment and larger inconsistencies in cognitive performance than males. These results suggest that evaluating cognitive indices beyond mean neuropsychological scores may provide valuable information when determining the extent of post-concussion cognitive dysfunction. (JINS, 2019, 00, 1–7)
Sintered tape-cast yttria-stabilized zirconia (YSZ) was evaluated for its elemental composition, crystal structure, and imaged with atomic force microscopy (AFM) and scanning electron microscopy (SEM). Human bone marrow stem cells (hBMSC) were cultured on the ceramic and differentiated into the osteoblast lineage; alkaline phosphatase (ALP) activity was tracked as a differentiation marker. The YSZ was composed of purely tetragonal grains with a median equivalent circular diameter of 283 nm. Zirconium, yttrium, oxygen, and adventitious carbon was detected on the substrate with no other elements in significant quantities detected. YSZ samples had an RMS roughness value of 27 nm, elastic modulus of 206 ± 14 GPa, and hardness of 14 ± 2 GPa. hBMSC were observed to attach and proliferate on the YSZ surfaces and had significantly increased ALP versus the undifferentiated control cultured on glass. This method for producing a YSZ ceramic yields a typical material of this type and supports attachment and differentiation of hBMSC; thus, making it useful as a bone implant material.
Network representations of systems from various scientific and societal domains are neither completely random nor fully regular, but instead appear to contain recurring structural features. These features tend to be shared by networks belonging to the same broad class, such as the class of social networks or the class of biological networks. Within each such class, networks describing similar systems tend to have similar features. This occurs presumably because networks representing similar systems would be expected to be generated by a shared set of domain-specific mechanisms, and it should therefore be possible to classify networks based on their features at various structural levels. Here we describe and demonstrate a new hybrid approach that combines manual selection of network features of potential interest with existing automated classification methods. In particular, selecting well-known network features that have been studied extensively in social network analysis and network science literature, and then classifying networks on the basis of these features using methods such as random forest, which is known to handle the type of feature collinearity that arises in this setting, we find that our approach is able to achieve both higher accuracy and greater interpretability in shorter computation time than other methods.
Irregular breakfast consumption and food timing patterns in relation to weight status and inflammation were investigated in a cross-sectional manner among 644 participants in the Cancer Prevention Study-3 Diet Assessment Sub-study. Breakfast consumption, and the individual means and the intra-individual standard deviation (isd) of time at first intake of the day, duration of daily intake window and midpoint of daily intake window were collected via six 24-h recalls and examined in relation to BMI, waist circumference (WC) and inflammation (glycoprotein acetyl (GlycA)). Compared with consuming breakfast on all six recalls, linear regression models showed those who consumed breakfast on 4 or 5 of the days had a 1·29 (95 % CI 0·19, 2·38) and 1·64 (95 % CI 0·12, 3·16) kg/m2 higher BMI; no association was found for consuming breakfast ≤3 d. At 1 h later, the average time of first intake was associated with a 0·44 (95 % CI 0·04, 0·84) kg/m2 higher BMI. A 1-h increase in the isd of first intake was associated with a 1·12 (95 % CI 0·49, 1·75) kg/m2 higher BMI; isd in duration and midpoint of intake window were significant prior to additional adjustment for isd in the first intake. One-hour increases in isd for the first intake time (β: 0·15; 95 % CI 0·04, 0·26) and the midpoint of intake window (β: 0·16; 95 % CI 0·02, 0·31) were associated with higher GlycA. No associations were observed for WC independent of BMI. The results provide evidence that irregularity in breakfast consumption and daily intake timing patterns, particularly early in the day, may be related to weight status and inflammation.
Organismal metabolic rates reflect the interaction of environmental and physiological factors. Thus, calcifying organisms that record growth history can provide insight into both the ancient environments in which they lived and their own physiology and life history. However, interpreting them requires understanding which environmental factors have the greatest influence on growth rate and the extent to which evolutionary history constrains growth rates across lineages. We integrated satellite measurements of sea-surface temperature and chlorophyll-a concentration with a database of growth coefficients, body sizes, and life spans for 692 populations of living marine bivalves in 195 species, set within the context of a new maximum-likelihood phylogeny of bivalves. We find that environmental predictors overall explain only a small proportion of variation in growth coefficient across all species; temperature is a better predictor of growth coefficient than food supply, and growth coefficient is somewhat more variable at higher summer temperatures. Growth coefficients exhibit moderate phylogenetic signal, and taxonomic membership is a stronger predictor of growth coefficient than any environmental predictor, but phylogenetic inertia cannot fully explain the disjunction between our findings and the extensive body of work demonstrating strong environmental control on growth rates within taxa. Accounting for evolutionary history is critical when considering shells as historical archives. The weak relationship between variation in food supply and variation in growth coefficient in our data set is inconsistent with the hypothesis that the increase in mean body size through the Phanerozoic was driven by increasing productivity enabling faster growth rates.