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Observational associations between cannabis and schizophrenia are well documented, but ascertaining causation is more challenging. We used Mendelian randomization (MR), utilizing publicly available data as a method for ascertaining causation from observational data.
We performed bi-directional two-sample MR using summary-level genome-wide data from the International Cannabis Consortium (ICC) and the Psychiatric Genomics Consortium (PGC2). Single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) associated with cannabis initiation (p < 10−5) and schizophrenia (p < 5 × 10−8) were combined using an inverse-variance-weighted fixed-effects approach. We also used height and education genome-wide association study data, representing negative and positive control analyses.
There was some evidence consistent with a causal effect of cannabis initiation on risk of schizophrenia [odds ratio (OR) 1.04 per doubling odds of cannabis initiation, 95% confidence interval (CI) 1.01–1.07, p = 0.019]. There was strong evidence consistent with a causal effect of schizophrenia risk on likelihood of cannabis initiation (OR 1.10 per doubling of the odds of schizophrenia, 95% CI 1.05–1.14, p = 2.64 × 10−5). Findings were as predicted for the negative control (height: OR 1.00, 95% CI 0.99–1.01, p = 0.90) but weaker than predicted for the positive control (years in education: OR 0.99, 95% CI 0.97–1.00, p = 0.066) analyses.
Our results provide some that cannabis initiation increases the risk of schizophrenia, although the size of the causal estimate is small. We find stronger evidence that schizophrenia risk predicts cannabis initiation, possibly as genetic instruments for schizophrenia are stronger than for cannabis initiation.
This paper briefly describes the principle of operation and science goals of the AMANDA high energy neutrino telescope located at the South Pole, Antarctica. Results from an earlier phase of the telescope, called AMANDA-BIO, demonstrate both reliable operation and the broad astrophysical reach of this device, which includes searches for a variety of sources of ultrahigh energy neutrinos: generic point sources, Gamma-Ray Bursts and diffuse sources. The predicted sensitivity and angular resolution of the telescope were confirmed by studies of atmospheric muon and neutrino backgrounds. We also report on the status of the analysis from AMANDA-II, a larger version with far greater capabilities. At this stage of analysis, details of the ice properties and other systematic uncertainties of the AMANDA-II telescope are under study, but we have made progress toward critical science objectives. In particular, we present the first preliminary flux limits from AMANDA-II on the search for continuous emission from astrophysical point sources, and report on the search for correlated neutrino emission from Gamma Ray Bursts detected by BATSE before decommissioning in May 2000. During the next two years, we expect to exploit the full potential of AMANDA-II with the installation of a new data acquisition system that records full waveforms from the in-ice optical sensors.
A segment of the debate surrounding the commercialization and use of glyphosate-resistant (GR) crops focuses on the theory that the implementation of these traits is an extension of the intensification of agriculture that will further erode the biodiversity of agricultural landscapes. A large field-scale study was initiated in 2006 in the United States on 156 different field sites with a minimum 3-yr history of GR-corn, -cotton or -soybean in the cropping system. The impact of cropping system, crop rotation, frequency of using the GR crop trait, and several categorical variables on seedbank weed population density and diversity was analyzed. The parameters of total weed population density of all species in the seedbank, species richness, Shannon's H′ and evenness were not affected by any management treatment. The similarity between the seedbank and aboveground weed community was more strongly related to location than management; previous year's crops and cropping systems were also important while GR trait rotation was not. The composition of the weed flora was more strongly related to location (geography) than any other parameter. The diversity of weed flora in agricultural sites with a history of GR crop production can be influenced by several factors relating to the specific method in which the GR trait is integrated (cropping system, crop rotation, GR trait rotation), the specific weed species, and the geographical location. Continuous GR crop, compared to fields with other cropping systems, only had greater species diversity (species richness) of some life forms, i.e., biennials, winter annuals, and prostrate weeds. Overall diversity was related to geography and not cropping system. These results justify further research to clarify the complexities of crops grown with herbicide-resistance traits to provide a more complete characterization of their culture and local adaptation to the weed seedbank.
A clearer understanding of the basis for the association between cannabis use and psychotic experiences (PEs) is required. Our aim was to examine the extent to which associations between cannabis and cigarette use and PEs are due to confounding.
A cohort study of 1756 adolescents with data on cannabis use, cigarette use and PEs.
Cannabis use and cigarette use at age 16 were both associated, to a similar degree, with PEs at age 18 [odds ratio (OR) 1.48, 95% confidence interval (CI) 1.18–1.86 for cannabis and OR 1.61, 95% CI 1.31–1.98 for cigarettes]. Adjustment for cigarette smoking frequency (OR 1.27, 95% CI 0.91–1.76) or other illicit drug use (OR 1.25, 95% CI 0.91–1.73) substantially attenuated the relationship between cannabis and PEs. The attenuation was to a lesser degree when cannabis use was adjusted for in the cigarette PE association (OR 1.42, 95% CI 1.05–1.92). However, almost all of the participants used cannabis with tobacco, including those who classed themselves as non-cigarette smokers.
Teasing out the effects of cannabis from tobacco is highly complex and may not have been dealt with adequately in studies to date, including this one. Complementary methods are required to robustly examine the independent effects of cannabis, tobacco and other illicit drugs on PEs.
An argument often used to support the view that psychotic experiences (PEs) in general population samples are a valid phenotype for studying the aetiology of schizophrenia is that risk factors for schizophrenia show similar patterns of association with PEs. However, PEs often co-occur with depression, and no study has explicitly tested whether risk factors for schizophrenia are shared between PEs and depression, or are psychopathology specific, while jointly modelling both outcomes.
We used data from 7030 subjects from a birth cohort study. Depression and PEs at age 18 years were assessed using self-report questionnaires and semi-structured interviews. We compared the extent to which risk factors for schizophrenia across sociodemographic, familial, neurodevelopmental, stress–adversity, emotional–behavioural and substance use domains showed different associations with PEs and depression within bivariate models that allowed for their correlation.
Most of the exposures examined were associated, to a similar degree, with an increased risk of both outcomes. However, whereas female sex and family history of depression showed some discrimination as potential risk factors for depression and PEs, with stronger associations in the former, markers of abnormal neurodevelopment showed stronger associations with PEs.
The argument that PEs are valid markers for studying the aetiology of schizophrenia, made simply on the basis that they share risk factors in common, is not well supported. PEs seem to be a weak index of genetic and environmental risk for schizophrenia; however, studies disentangling aetiological pathways to PEs from those impacting upon co-morbid psychopathology might provide important insights into the aetiology of psychotic disorders.
To assess the prevalence and risk factors for colonization with Staphylococcus aureus in inmates entering two maximum-security prisons in New York State, USA, inmates (N = 830) were interviewed and anterior nares and oropharyngeal samples collected. Isolates were characterized using spa typing. Overall, 50·5% of women and 58·3% of men were colonized with S. aureus and 10·6% of women and 5·9% of men were colonized with MRSA at either or both body sites. Of MSSA isolates, the major subtypes were spa type 008 and 002. Overall, risk factors for S. aureus colonization varied by gender and were only found in women and included younger age, fair/poor self-reported general health, and longer length of prior incarceration. Prevalence of MRSA colonization was 8·2%, nearly 10 times greater than in the general population. Control of epidemic S. aureus in prisons should consider the constant introduction of strains by new inmates.
Poor fetal growth is associated with later-life changes in adult body composition and decrements in muscle strength and morphology. Few studies have investigated the association of poor fetal growth with whole-body exercise. The purpose of this study was to investigate the association of poor fetal growth with the maximal oxygen consumption (VO2max), lactate levels during exercise and the response to aerobic training. Thirty-six college-aged men and women (aged 20.8 ± 0.3 years), born to term (37–42 weeks gestation), were recruited to participate in an 8-week training program. Participants comprised two groups, high ponderal index (HIGHPI) and low ponderal index (LOWPI) (n = 18/group), identified as falling above and below the 10th percentile of the ponderal index (g/cm3)-for-gestational age distribution, respectively. The HIGHPI and LOWPI were matched pair-wise on age, sex, body mass index and pre-study physical activity patterns. The LOWPI and HIGHPI did not differ significantly before training, after training or with a change (Δ) in training VO2max (l/min or ml/min kg/fat-free mass (FFM)). However, LOWPI had significantly lower pre-training lactate levels at similar levels of relative work output (P = 0.016), and significantly smaller decreases in lactate at a fixed level of absolute work after training (P = 0.044). These differences were independent of pre-training aerobic fitness, the change in fitness with training, diet and fuel substrate choice. The lower lactate of untrained LOWPI subjects during exercise could reflect metabolic reprograming due to intrauterine growth restriction, or could be secondary to muscle morphological and/or fiber-type distribution changes that also associate with poor fetal growth.
The deep region lying between the Scottish and Irish continental shelves and the Rockall Bank is known by two names, the Rockall Channel and the Rockall Trough. Nansen (1913) refers to the Rockall Channel as the route of the “Gulf Stream” (Krummel's Irish Current) northeastwards through the Faeroe-Shetland Channel. The name “Rockall Trough” was adopted later, principally by the geologists and is in more general use today by all disciplines. The term is given precedence in this Bibliography.
The effects of salient testing parameters on four-point adhesion measurements of thin-film structures on silicon substrates were systematically studied. These included specimen geometry, applied displacement rate, and load point separation. Measured fracture energy values, Gc, were observed to increase as the ratio of applied moment arm to specimen thickness was decreased beyond a value of ∼4, particularly for specimens with Gc > 5 J/m2. Testing parameters that affect the steady-state crack velocity were also found to affect reported Gc values. The resulting trends in Gc values are shown to be related to loading-point friction and environmentally assisted cracking effects. Good practice testing guidelines are suggested to improve the accuracy and precision of four-point bend measurements.
The susceptibility of Pseudomonas aeruginosa (PA01) bacteria to ultraviolet-A (UV-A) light in photocatalytic and non-photocatalytic systems was investigated. Thin films of TiO2 were deposited on glass slides using a dip-coating method. Disinfection of both planktonic and biofilm bacterial cells was studied over both coated and uncoated slides exposed to low intensity (1.0 mW/cm2) UV-A irradiation. Photocatalytic treatment of planktonic PA01 cultures pro-vided a 4-log reduction in the number of viable cells in 3 h whereas UV light alone produced a 1-log reduction. For biofilm bacteria, photocatalytic treatment did not enhance killing relative to UV treatment alone; however, the UV illumination resulted in a 2- to 3-log reduction in viable cells as compared with non-illuminated controls. Possible explanations for the discrepancy between susceptibility of planktonic and biofilm bacteria to photocatalytic oxidation are discussed.
Predicting the threat of extinction aids efficient distribution of conservation resources. This paper utilises a comparative macroecological approach to investigate the threat of extinction in Neotropical birds. Data on ecological variables for 1708 species are analysed using stepwise regression to produce minimum adequate models, first using raw species values and then using independent contrasts (to control for phylogenetic effects). The models differ, suggesting phylogeny has significant effects. The raw species analysis reveals that number of zoogeographical regions occupied, elevational range and utilisation of specialised microhabitats were negatively associated with threat, while minimum elevation and body mass were positively associated, whereas the independent contrasts analysis only identifies zoogeographical regions as important. Confining the analysis to the 582 species restricted to a single zoogeographical region reveals elevational range and number of habitats occupied to be negatively correlated with threat whether the analysis is based on the raw data or on independent contrasts. Analysis of four contrasting zoogeographical regions highlights regional variation in the models. In two Andean regions the threat of extinction declines as the elevation range across which the species occurs increases. In the presence of substantial human populations on high Andean plateaus, a species with a greater elevational range may be more likely to persist at some (relatively) unsettled altitudes. In Central South America, the strongest predictor of threat is minimum elevation of occurrence: species with a lower minimum are less threatened. The minimum elevation result suggests that lowland species experiencing an ecological limit to their minimum elevation (min. elevation >0 m) may be more at risk than those not experiencing such a limit (min. elevation = 0 m). Finally, in southern Amazonia, where there is little altitudinal variation, the only weak predictors of threat are body size, larger species being more threatened, and number of habitats, species occupying more habitats being less threatened. These contrasting results emphasise the importance of undertaking extinction risk analyses at an appropriate geographical scale. Since the models explained only a low percentage of total variance in the data, the effects of human-mediated habitat disturbance across a wide range of habitats may be important.
Estimation of variance components with the finite polygenic model (FPM) was evaluated.
Phenotypic data for a 6300-pedigree simulated under a wide range of additive genetic models were
analysed with constant homozygote difference across loci using deterministic Maximum Likelihood
(DML) and a Bayesian method implemented via Gibbs sampling (BGS). Results indicate that
under no selection, both DML and BGS accurately estimated the variance components, with a
FPM of 5 loci or more. When both analysis methods were applied to equivalent data sets on
populations that had undergone selection, the DML method produced upward biased estimates of
additive genetic variation and heritability due to its use of pedigree loop cutting, while BGS
provided more accurate estimation. BGS was extended to non-additive FPMs with variable
homozygote differences and dominance effect across loci. This method was used to analyse data
simulated under two genetic models with positive, completely dominant gene action at all loci.
Results indicate that the estimates of additive and dominance variances slowly increase as the
number of loci in the FPM for analysis increases, while accuracy of predicting individual breeding
values and dominance deviations remains unaffected. For the simulated pedigree structure, a FPM
with 10 loci or slightly fewer appears to be appropriate for variance component estimation in the
presence of dominance.
The astropectinid asteroid Plutonaster bifrons (Wyville Thomson) occurs on the continental slope of the north-east Atlantic between 1000 and 2500 m depths. As in most deepsea animals, the factors limiting bathymetric distribution of this species are unknown. Eggs were fertilized in vitro and incubated through the early embryonic cleavage stages at pressures that correspond to depths from 0 to 3000 m. The highest percentage of normal development occurred near the peak of the species distribution (2000 m), and virtually no normal development occurred at a pressure corresponding to 3000 m depth. Develop-mental rate was retarded at pressures higher and lower than those found near 2000 m. These experiments indicate that embryonic pressure tolerances could determine both the upper and lower bathymetric limits of distribution for this species.
We evaluated the effects of free-range chickens and geese on insect pests and weeds in an experimental, nonchemical agroecosystem consisting of an apple orchard with intercropped potatoes. The objective was to assess the potential of these domestic bird species as biological control agents. Four insect pests were studied: plum curculio, apple maggot, Japanese beetle, and Colorado potato beetle. Chickens fed on several potential crop pests, including Japanese beetle. Although Japanese beetles were less abundant on apple trees when chickens were present, the proportion of damaged fruit was not reduced. Furthermore, chickens did not affect weed abundance or crop productivity. In contrast, geese were effective weeders. Their activities reduced weed abundance and increased potato plant growth and yields compared with a minimally weeded control. In addition, the activities of geese indirectly reduced apple fruit damage by plum curculio and increased the proportion of pest-free fruit, possibly because removal of vegetation by the geese reduced humidity at the soil surface and therefore reduced the activity of plum curculio.
We evaluated free-range domestic chickens and geese as components of a nonchemical apple orchard intercropped with potato. Chickens and geese were compatible with the system but provided different benefits and had different requirements. Chickens were omnivorous and highly active throughout the day, and dispersed throughout the available area. In contrast, geese were strictly herbivorous and less active, and usually remained close to their coop and water source. Geese substantially reduced vegetation biomass under the trees and around the potatoes without damaging either crop. Chickens reduced noncrop vegetation biomass slightly but also consumed several insect species, including Japanese beetle and Colorado potato beetle. Factors influencing the feasibility of integrating domestic chickens or geese into agroecosystems are discussed.
Examination of the reproductive biology of the abyssal seastar Dytaster grandis taken at different times of the year in the NE Atlantic suggests seasonal reproduction that is related to the seasonal pulse of phytodetritus to the deep-sea floor. Although this seastar is an omnivore, the availability of this labile organic material may fuel vitellogenesis during the summer and autumn months. The egg size suggests planktotrophic larval development. Spawning occurs in the early part of each year to allow the zygote to develop into a feeding larva to coincide with the downward flux of phytodetritus. Thus the flux of detritus may constitute an environmental forcing pressure at least at two points in the life history of D. grandis.
The Molpadiida is an order of sea cucumbers identified by their stout body, the posterior region narrowing to simulate a tail and the absence of tubefeet. Typically they inhabit muddy environments from shallow water to abyssal depths. In the past the great variability in the taxonomic characters of this order has led to the formation of many genera and species (Heding, 1931, 1935), but more recently it has become apparent that many diagnostic characters change markedly during the life history of these holothurians and as a result fewer species are now recognised (Deichmann, 1940; Pawson, 1977). In a revision of the Atlantic molpadiids Deichmann (1940) recorded just three species from the north-east Atlantic (Molpadia blakei, M. musculus and Hedingia albicans) with a further three species from the Arctic Ocean and Norwegian Sea (M. arctica, M. borealis and Eupyrgus scaber). To these Sibuet (1974) added the new genus and species Cherbonniera utriculus found in the Bay of Biscay.