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Avian malaria is a mosquito-borne disease caused by Plasmodium spp. protozoa. Although these parasites have been extensively studied in North America and Eurasia, knowledge on the diversity of Plasmodium, its vectors and avian hosts in Africa is scarce. In this study, we report on natural malarial infections in free-ranging sparrows (Passer domesticus) sampled at Giza Governorate, Egypt. Parasites were morphologically characterized as Plasmodium cathemerium based on the examination of thin blood smears from the avian host. Sequencing a fragment of the mitochondrial cytochrome b gene showed that the parasite corresponded to lineage PADOM02. Phylogenetic analysis showed that this parasite is closely related to the lineages SERAU01 and PADOM09, both of which are attributed to P. cathemerium. Experimental infection of Culex pipiens complex was successful, with ookinetes first detected at 1-day post infection (dpi), oocysts at 4 dpi and sporozoites at 6 dpi. The massive infection of the salivary glands by sporozoites corroborates that Cx. pipiens complex is a competent vector of PADOM02. Our findings confirm that Plasmodium lineage PADOM02 infects sparrows in urban areas along the Nile River, Egypt, and corroborate that Cx. pipiens complex is a highly competent vector for these parasites. Furthermore, our results demonstrate that this lineage corresponds to the morphospecies P. cathemerium and not P. relictum as previously believed.
The importance of parasites as a selective force in host evolution is a topic of current interest. However, short-term ecological studies of host–parasite systems, on which such studies are usually based, provide only snap-shots of what may be dynamic systems. We report here on four surveys, carried out over a period of 12 years, of helminths of spiny mice (Acomys dimidiatus), the numerically dominant rodents inhabiting dry montane wadis in the Sinai Peninsula. With host age (age-dependent effects on prevalence and abundance were prominent) and sex (female bias in abundance in helminth diversity and in several taxa including Cestoda) taken into consideration, we focus on the relative importance of temporal and spatial effects on helminth infracommunities. We show that site of capture is the major determinant of prevalence and abundance of species (and higher taxa) contributing to helminth community structure, the only exceptions being Streptopharaus spp. and Dentostomella kuntzi. We provide evidence that most (notably the Spiruroidea, Protospirura muricola, Mastophorus muris and Gongylonema aegypti, but with exceptions among the Oxyuroidae, e.g. Syphacia minuta), show elements of temporal-site stability, with a rank order of measures among sites remaining similar over successive surveys. Hence, there are some elements of predictability in these systems.
Liability to substance use disorder (SUD) is largely nonspecific to particular drugs and is related to behavior dysregulation, including reduced cognitive control. Recent data suggest that cognitive mechanisms may be influenced by exposure to neurotropic infections, such as human herpesviruses. In this study, serological evidence of exposure to human herpesvirus Herpes simplex virus Type 1 (HSV-1), cytomegalovirus (CMV), and Epstein–Barr virus (EBV) as well as Toxoplasma gondii was determined in childhood (age ~11 years) in 395 sons and 174 daughters of fathers with or without SUD. Its relationships with a cognitive characteristic (IQ) in childhood and with risk for SUD in adulthood were examined using correlation, regression, survival, and path analyses. Exposure to HSV-1, EBV, and T. gondii in males and females, and CMV in males, was associated with lower IQ. Independent of that relationship, EBV in females and possibly in males, and CMV and possibly HSV-1 in females were associated with elevated risk for SUD. Therefore, childhood neurotropic infections may influence cognitive development and risk for behavior disorders such as SUD. The results may point to new avenues for alleviating cognitive impairment and SUD risk.
Based on seven measured sections from Svalbard, the marine strata of the Permian Kapp Starostin Formation are arranged into seven transgressive–regressive sequences (TR1–TR7) of c. 4–5 Ma average duration, each bound by a maximum regressive surface. Facies, including heterozoan-dominated limestones, spiculitic cherts, sandstones, siltstones and shales, record deposition within inner, middle and outer shelf areas. The lowermost sequence, TR1, comprises most of the basal Vøringen Member, which records a transgression across the Gipshuken Formation following a hiatus of unknown duration. Temperate to cold, storm-dominated facies established in inner to middle shelf areas between the latest Artinskian and Kungurian. Prolonged deepening during sequences TR2 and TR3 was succeeded by a long-term shallowing-upward trend that lasted until the latest Permian (TR4–TR7). A major depocentre existed in central and western Spitsbergen while to the north, Dickson Land remained a shallow platform, leading to a shallow homoclinal ramp in NE Spitsbergen and Nordaustlandet. The Middle Permian extinction (late Capitanian) is recorded near the base of TR6 in deeper parts of the basin only; elsewhere this sequence is not recorded. Likewise the youngest sequence, TR7, extending to the upper formational contact of latest Permian age, is found only in the basin depocentre. Comparison with age-equivalent strata in the Sverdrup Basin of Canada reveals a remarkably similar depositional history, with, for example, two (third-order) sea-level cycles recorded in the Late Permian of both regions, in keeping with the global record. Sequence stratigraphy may therefore be a powerful correlative tool for onshore and offshore Permian deposits across NW Pangaea.
Experiments on the National Ignition Facility show that multi-dimensional effects currently dominate the implosion performance. Low mode implosion symmetry and hydrodynamic instabilities seeded by capsule mounting features appear to be two key limiting factors for implosion performance. One reason these factors have a large impact on the performance of inertial confinement fusion implosions is the high convergence required to achieve high fusion gains. To tackle these problems, a predictable implosion platform is needed meaning experiments must trade-off high gain for performance. LANL has adopted three main approaches to develop a one-dimensional (1D) implosion platform where 1D means measured yield over the 1D clean calculation. A high adiabat, low convergence platform is being developed using beryllium capsules enabling larger case-to-capsule ratios to improve symmetry. The second approach is liquid fuel layers using wetted foam targets. With liquid fuel layers, the implosion convergence can be controlled via the initial vapor pressure set by the target fielding temperature. The last method is double shell targets. For double shells, the smaller inner shell houses the DT fuel and the convergence of this cavity is relatively small compared to hot spot ignition. However, double shell targets have a different set of trade-off versus advantages. Details for each of these approaches are described.
Because of its central role in the global carbon cycle, quantifying the biomass of photosynthetic microalgae in the oceans is crucial to our ability to estimate the oceans’ carbon drawdown. Many traditional methods of primary production assessment have proven to be extremely time consuming and, consequently, have handled only very small sample sizes. The recent advent of in situ bio-optical sensors, such as the water quality monitor (WQM), is now providing lower cost and higher throughput data on these crucial biological communities. These WQMs, however, only quantify the total fluorescence of all individual cells within their optical sample windows, irrespective of size. In this paper, we further develop an established model, based on Pareto random variables, of the size structure of the microalgae community to understand the effect of the WQMs’ sampling and data pooling on their estimates of algal biomass. Unfortunately, evaluating sums of Pareto variables is a notoriously difficult problem. Here, we utilize an approximation for the right-tail of the resulting distribution to derive parameter estimates for the underlying size structure of the microalgae community.
Metabolic syndrome (MetS) is a clustering of vascular risk factors and is associated with increased risk of cardiovascular disease. Less is known about the relationship between MetS and cognition. We examined component vascular risk factors of MetS as correlates of different cognitive domains. The Northern Manhattan Study (NOMAS) includes 1290 stroke-free participants from a largely Hispanic multi-ethnic urban community. We used structural equation modeling (SEM) to model latent variables of MetS, assessed at baseline and an average of 10 years later, at which time participants also underwent a full cognitive battery. The two four-factor models, of the metabolic syndrome (blood pressure, lipid levels, obesity, and fasting glucose) and of cognition (language, executive function, psychomotor, and memory), were each well supported (CFI=0.97 and CFI=0.95, respectively). When the two models were combined, the correlation between metabolic syndrome and cognition was −.31. Among the metabolic syndrome components, only blood pressure uniquely predicted all four cognitive domains. After adjusting for age, gender, race/ethnicity, education, smoking, alcohol, and risk factor treatment variables, blood pressure remained a significant correlate of all domains except memory. In this stroke-free race/ethnically diverse community-based cohort, MetS was associated with cognitive function suggesting that MetS and its components may be important predictors of cognitive outcomes. After adjusting for sociodemographic and vascular risk factors, blood pressure was the strongest correlate of cognitive performance. Findings suggest MetS, and in particular blood pressure, may represent markers of vascular or neurodegenerative damage in aging populations. (JINS, 2014, 20, 1–10)
Rapid economic development and subsequent changes in lifestyle and disease burdens (‘health transition’) is associated with increasing prevalence of obesity among both adults and children. However, because of continued infectious diseases and undernutrition during the early stages of transition, monitoring childhood obesity has not been prioritized in many countries and the scope of the problem is unknown. Therefore we sought to characterize patterns of childhood overweight and obesity in an early transitional area, the South Pacific archipelago of Vanuatu.
We completed an anthropometric survey among children from three islands with varying levels of economic development, from rural areas (where adult obesity prevalence is low) to urban areas (where adult obesity prevalence is high).
The islands of Ambae (rural), Aneityum (rural with tourism) and Efate (urban).
Boys and girls (n 513) aged 6–17 years.
Height-, weight- and BMI-for-age did not vary among islands, and prevalence of overweight/obesity based on BMI was low. However, girls from Aneityum – a rural island where the tourism industry increased rapidly after malaria eradication – had increased central adiposity compared with girls from the other islands. This is contrary to adult patterns, which indicate higher obesity prevalence in urban areas. Multiple factors might contribute, including stunting, biological responses after malaria control, sleeping patterns, diet and physical activity levels.
Measures of central adiposity highlight an emerging obesity risk among girls in Vanuatu. The data highlight the synergistic relationship among infectious diseases, undernutrition and obesity during the early stages of health transition.