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Despite the global significance of the Leach’s Storm-petrel Hydrobates leucorhous colony on Baccalieu Island, Newfoundland and Labrador, Canada, the estimate of 3.36 million breeding pairs reported for 1984 by Sklepkovych and Montevecchi stands as the single published population estimate for the world’s largest colony. This study increases knowledge of this population by analysing data from additional independent surveys conducted in 1984 and 1985, and by updating the population status with a survey conducted in 2013. Population estimates were derived by extrapolating occupied burrow densities to the estimated occupied area of four main habitat types (heath, forest, grass and fern), which in turn were based on proportions of habitats observed in plots (1984 and 1985) or by using a Geographic Information System approach (2013). Based on these surveys, the Leach’s Storm-petrel breeding population size on Baccalieu Island was estimated at 5.12 ± 0.73 (SE) and 4.60 ± 0.42 (SE) million pairs in 1984 and 1985 respectively, representing estimates 37–51% greater than the original 1984 survey. While discrepancies among these estimates were largely driven by the way occupied areas were estimated, our study confirms that Baccalieu Island hosts the largest Leach’s Storm-petrel colony in the world. Results from the 2013 survey estimate the current breeding Leach’s Storm-petrel population at 1.95 ± 0.14 (SE) million pairs, representing a 42% decline over 29 years (-1.4% per year), relative to the original published estimate of 3.36 ± 0.12 (SE) million pairs. The most prominent change has occurred in the density of storm-petrel burrows found in forest habitat which dropped by 70% despite forest remaining the second most abundant habitat available to nesting storm-petrels on Baccalieu Island. The cause of this decline remains unknown and is likely multi-faceted. Future research focusing on demographic studies is required to understand what is driving the population decline of this internationally important colony.
Negative interactions between people and large carnivores are common and will probably increase as the human population and livestock production continue to expand. Livestock predation by wild carnivores can significantly affect the livelihoods of farmers, resulting in retaliatory killings and subsequent conflicts between local communities and conservationists. A better understanding of livestock predation patterns could help guide measures to improve both human relationships and coexistence with carnivores. Environmental variables can influence the intensity of livestock predation, are relatively easy to monitor, and could potentially provide a useful predictive framework for targeting mitigation. We chose lion predation of livestock as a model to test whether variations in environmental conditions trigger changes in predation. Analysing 6 years of incident reports for Pandamatenga village in Botswana, an area of high human–lion conflict, we used generalized linear models to show that significantly more attacks coincided with lower moonlight levels and temperatures, and attack severity increased significantly with extreme minimum temperatures. Furthermore, we found a delayed effect of rainfall: lower rainfall was followed by a significantly increased severity of attacks in the following month. Our results suggest that preventative measures, such as introducing deterrents or changing livestock management, could be implemented adaptively based on environmental conditions. This could be a starting point for investigating similar effects in other large carnivores, to reduce livestock attacks and work towards wider human–wildlife coexistence.
Although the impact of diarrhoeal disease on paediatric health in Nigeria has decreased in recent years, it remains an important cause of morbidity and mortality in children under 5 years. Rotavirus is recognised as an important aetiological agent, but information on the contribution of intestinal protozoa to watery diarrhoea in this age group in Nigeria is scarce. In this cross-sectional study, faecal samples from children admitted to healthcare centres in Abakaliki, Nigeria with acute watery diarrhoea (N = 199) and faecal samples from age-matched controls (N = 37) were examined for Cryptosporidium and Giardia using immunofluorescent antibody testing and molecular methods. Cryptosporidium was identified in 13 case samples (6.5%) and no control samples. For three samples, molecular characterisation indicated C. hominis, GP60 subtypes IaA30R3, IaA14R3 and IdA11. Giardia was not detected in any samples. This contrast in prevalence between the two intestinal protozoa may reflect their variable epidemiologies and probably differing routes of infection. Given that these two parasitic infections are often bracketed together, it is key to realise that they not only have differing clinical spectra but also that the importance of each parasite is not the same in different age groups and/or settings.
Background: To determine whether exosomal microRNAs (miRNAs) in CSF of patients with FTD can serve as diagnostic biomarkers, we assessed miRNA expression in the Genetic FTD Initiative (GENFI) cohort and in sporadic FTD. Methods: GENFI participants were either carriers of a pathogenic mutation or at risk of carrying a mutation because a first-degree relative was a symptomatic mutation carrier. Exosomes were isolated from CSF of 23 -pre-symptomatic and 15 symptomatic mutation carriers, and 11 healthy non-mutation carriers. Expression of miRNAs was measured using qPCR arrays. MiRNAs differentially expressed in symptomatic compared to pre-symptomatic mutation carriers were evaluated in 17 patients with sporadic FTD, 13 patients with sporadic Alzheimer’s disease (AD), and 10 healthy controls (HCs). Results: In the GENFI cohort, miR-204-5p and miR-632 were significantly decreased in symptomatic compared to pre-symptomatic mutation carriers. Decrease of miR-204-5p and miR-632 revealed receiver operator characteristics with an area of 0.89 [90% CI: 0.79-0.98] and 0.81 [90% CI: 0.68-0.93], and when combined an area of 0.93 [90% CI: 0.87-0.99]. In sporadic FTD, only miR-632 was significantly decreased compared to sporadic AD and HCs. Decrease of miR-632 revealed an area of 0.89 [90% CI: 0.80-0.98]. Conclusions: Exosomal miR-204-5p and miR-632 have potential as diagnostic biomarkers for genetic FTD and miR-632 also for sporadic FTD.
Cognitive remediation (CR) training has emerged as a promising approach to improving cognitive deficits in schizophrenia and related psychosis. The limited availability of psychological services for psychosis is a major barrier to accessing this intervention however. This study investigated the effectiveness of a low support, remotely accessible, computerised working memory (WM) training programme in patients with psychosis.
Ninety patients were enrolled into a single blind randomised controlled trial of CR. Effectiveness of the intervention was assessed in terms of neuropsychological performance, social and occupational function, and functional MRI 2 weeks post-intervention, with neuropsychological and social function again assessed 3–6 months post-treatment.
Patients who completed the intervention showed significant gains in both neuropsychological function (measured using both untrained WM and episodic task performance, and a measure of performance IQ), and social function at both 2-week follow-up and 3–6-month follow-up timepoints. Furthermore, patients who completed MRI scanning showed improved resting state functional connectivity relative to patients in the placebo condition.
CR training has already been shown to improve cognitive and social function in patient with psychosis. This study demonstrates that, at least for some chronic but stable outpatients, a low support treatment was associated with gains that were comparable with those reported for CR delivered entirely on a 1:1 basis. We conclude that CR has potential to be delivered even in services in which psychological supports for patients with psychosis are limited.
In precision agriculture, the selection and use of appropriate sensors determine the type and quality of information that will feed decision-support models. A wide variety of sensors, spectral ranges, data collection and processing approaches are used, sometimes leading to confusion. Whether in transmission or reflectance mode, multispectral or hyperspectral, laboratory or field-based or even satellite-borne, in order to achieve meaningful and accurate measurements it is essential to have a clear understanding of which part of the electromagnetic spectrum the sensors relate to and how the corresponding radiation interacts with the substrate (e.g. soils, crops, livestock products). Sensors in the visible range (390-700 nm) use colour to identify certain properties of the substrate (e.g. chlorophyll and pigments in crops, organic matter contents in soil) and can be used to detect and quantify colour changes that could, in turn, be correlated with changes in those properties. Alternatively, radiation in the near (NIR, 750-2500 nm) and mid infrared (MIR, 2500-25 000 nm) interacts with the molecular bonds that constitute organic and inorganic matter and, therefore, sensors with detectors in these ranges provide different but interrelated information on the chemical composition of the substrate. Shorter wavelength radiation in the form of X-Rays (0.1-10 nm) induces fluorescence in the substrate and XRF sensors provide elemental atomic information that is highly applicable to the study of soils, sediments and fluids. At the James Hutton Institute, we have expertise in the use of all these types of sensors and are developing practical applications based on a thorough understanding of the processes involved. In this paper we provide an overview of the capabilities and applications of the different sensors used in precision agriculture, not only with a theoretical understanding, but also with an awareness of the practicalities involved.
Aberrant microbiota composition and function have been linked to several pathologies, including type 2 diabetes. In animal models, prebiotics induce favourable changes in the intestinal microbiota, intestinal permeability (IP) and endotoxaemia, which are linked to concurrent improvement in glucose tolerance. This is the first study to investigate the link between IP, glucose tolerance and intestinal bacteria in human type 2 diabetes. In all, twenty-nine men with well-controlled type 2 diabetes were randomised to a prebiotic (galacto-oligosaccharide mixture) or placebo (maltodextrin) supplement (5·5 g/d for 12 weeks). Intestinal microbial community structure, IP, endotoxaemia, inflammatory markers and glucose tolerance were assessed at baseline and post intervention. IP was estimated by the urinary recovery of oral 51Cr-EDTA and glucose tolerance by insulin-modified intravenous glucose tolerance test. Intestinal microbial community analysis was performed by high-throughput next-generation sequencing of 16S rRNA amplicons and quantitative PCR. Prebiotic fibre supplementation had no significant effects on clinical outcomes or bacterial abundances compared with placebo; however, changes in the bacterial family Veillonellaceae correlated inversely with changes in glucose response and IL-6 levels (r −0·90, P=0·042 for both) following prebiotic intake. The absence of significant changes to the microbial community structure at a prebiotic dosage/length of supplementation shown to be effective in healthy individuals is an important finding. We propose that concurrent metformin treatment and the high heterogeneity of human type 2 diabetes may have played a significant role. The current study does not provide evidence for the role of prebiotics in the treatment of type 2 diabetes.
Universal screening for postpartum depression is recommended in many countries. Knowledge of whether the disclosure of depressive symptoms in the postpartum period differs across cultures could improve detection and provide new insights into the pathogenesis. Moreover, it is a necessary step to evaluate the universal use of screening instruments in research and clinical practice. In the current study we sought to assess whether the Edinburgh Postnatal Depression Scale (EPDS), the most widely used screening tool for postpartum depression, measures the same underlying construct across cultural groups in a large international dataset.
Ordinal regression and measurement invariance were used to explore the association between culture, operationalized as education, ethnicity/race and continent, and endorsement of depressive symptoms using the EPDS on 8209 new mothers from Europe and the USA.
Education, but not ethnicity/race, influenced the reporting of postpartum depression [difference between robust comparative fit indexes (∆*CFI) < 0.01]. The structure of EPDS responses significantly differed between Europe and the USA (∆*CFI > 0.01), but not between European countries (∆*CFI < 0.01).
Investigators and clinicians should be aware of the potential differences in expression of phenotype of postpartum depression that women of different educational backgrounds may manifest. The increasing cultural heterogeneity of societies together with the tendency towards globalization requires a culturally sensitive approach to patients, research and policies, that takes into account, beyond rhetoric, the context of a person's experiences and the context in which the research is conducted.
Epidemiology formed the basis of ‘the Barker hypothesis’, the concept of ‘developmental programming’ and today’s discipline of the Developmental Origins of Health and Disease (DOHaD). Animal experimentation provided proof of the underlying concepts, and continues to generate knowledge of underlying mechanisms. Interventions in humans, based on DOHaD principles, will be informed by experiments in animals. As knowledge in this discipline has accumulated, from studies of humans and other animals, the complexity of interactions between genome, environment and epigenetics, has been revealed. The vast nature of programming stimuli and breadth of effects is becoming known. As a result of our accumulating knowledge we now appreciate the impact of many variables that contribute to programmed outcomes. To guide further animal research in this field, the Australia and New Zealand DOHaD society (ANZ DOHaD) Animals Models of DOHaD Research Working Group convened at the 2nd Annual ANZ DOHaD Congress in Melbourne, Australia in April 2015. This review summarizes the contributions of animal research to the understanding of DOHaD, and makes recommendations for the design and conduct of animal experiments to maximize relevance, reproducibility and translation of knowledge into improving health and well-being.
Historically, alloy development with better radiation performance has been focused on traditional alloys with one or two principal element(s) and minor alloying elements, where enhanced radiation resistance depends on microstructural or nanoscale features to mitigate displacement damage. In sharp contrast to traditional alloys, recent advances of single-phase concentrated solid solution alloys (SP-CSAs) have opened up new frontiers in materials research. In these alloys, a random arrangement of multiple elemental species on a crystalline lattice results in disordered local chemical environments and unique site-to-site lattice distortions. Based on closely integrated computational and experimental studies using a novel set of SP-CSAs in a face-centered cubic structure, we have explicitly demonstrated that increasing chemical disorder can lead to a substantial reduction in electron mean free paths, as well as electrical and thermal conductivity, which results in slower heat dissipation in SP-CSAs. The chemical disorder also has a significant impact on defect evolution under ion irradiation. Considerable improvement in radiation resistance is observed with increasing chemical disorder at electronic and atomic levels. The insights into defect dynamics may provide a basis for understanding elemental effects on evolution of radiation damage in irradiated materials and may inspire new design principles of radiation-tolerant structural alloys for advanced energy systems.
Many adults with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) remain undiagnosed. Specialist assessment clinics enable the detection of these cases, but such services are often overstretched. It has been proposed that unnecessary referrals to these services could be reduced by prioritizing individuals who score highly on the Autism-Spectrum Quotient (AQ), a self-report questionnaire measure of autistic traits. However, the ability of the AQ to predict who will go on to receive a diagnosis of ASD in adults is unclear.
We studied 476 adults, seen consecutively at a national ASD diagnostic referral service for suspected ASD. We tested AQ scores as predictors of ASD diagnosis made by expert clinicians according to International Classification of Diseases (ICD)-10 criteria, informed by the Autism Diagnostic Observation Schedule-Generic (ADOS-G) and Autism Diagnostic Interview-Revised (ADI-R) assessments.
Of the participants, 73% received a clinical diagnosis of ASD. Self-report AQ scores did not significantly predict receipt of a diagnosis. While AQ scores provided high sensitivity of 0.77 [95% confidence interval (CI) 0.72–0.82] and positive predictive value of 0.76 (95% CI 0.70–0.80), the specificity of 0.29 (95% CI 0.20–0.38) and negative predictive value of 0.36 (95% CI 0.22–0.40) were low. Thus, 64% of those who scored below the AQ cut-off were ‘false negatives’ who did in fact have ASD. Co-morbidity data revealed that generalized anxiety disorder may ‘mimic’ ASD and inflate AQ scores, leading to false positives.
The AQ's utility for screening referrals was limited in this sample. Recommendations supporting the AQ's role in the assessment of adult ASD, e.g. UK NICE guidelines, may need to be reconsidered.
The Molonglo Observatory Synthesis Telescope (MOST), which at present images a fully synthesised 70′ field in 12 h, is being converted to enable observing modes which extend the field size to 160′. The new observing modes will allow the MOST to survey completely the sky south of δ = −30° to a (5σ) sensitivity limit of about 5 mJy. The result will be a catalogue of over 400,000 radio sources with a spatial density of less than 1 source per 100 beam areas, providing the foundation for a number of novel astronomical and cosmological investigations. The conversion involves construction of 352 low-noise HEMT preamplifiers, 88 digitally controlled UHF quad phase shifters, 88 mixers and IF sections, a new communication and control system, and several other new sub-systems. The project has been funded and developments are well advanced.
We present preliminary results from a programme designed to produce deep images of radio source fields drawn from the Parkes 2700 MHz and Molongolo 408 MHz catalogues using the charge-coupled-device (CCD) camera system built at the Institute of Astronomy, Cambridge. The programme is directed at a search both for faint extensions and nebulosity around radio QSOs and BL Lac objects and for faint objects in otherwise empty radio source fields; a detailed examination of the morphology of selected radio galaxies is also included.
The radio source PKS 0511-48 is among the hundred strongest southern sources at low frequencies. It was catalogued in the Parkes survey (Ekers 1969) and mapped with the Molonglo Cross at 408 MHz by Schilizzi and McAdam (1975) with a resolution of 2′ .6 arc. It appeared in that work as a complex source, with an integrated flux density of 8.8 Jy. A search for optical identifications was made by Tritton and Schilizzi (1973), but none were found to a level of B ~ 19. We have inspected the field on the ESO B survey film, and find a group of ~ 20 faint galaxies (approximately 19-20 mag).
The objective of this study was to assess the use of statistical algorithms in identifying significant clusters of Salmonella spp. across different sectors of the food chain within an integrated surveillance programme. Three years of weekly Salmonella serotype data from farm animals, meat, and humans were used to create baseline models (first two years) and identify weeks with counts higher than expected using surveillance algorithms in the third (test) year. During the test year, an expert working group identified events of interest reviewing descriptive analyses of same data. The algorithms did not identify Salmonella events presenting as gradual increases or seasonal patterns as identified by the working group. However, the algorithms did identify clusters for further investigation, suggesting they could be a valuable complementary tool within an integrated surveillance system.
Several outbreaks of hepatitis A in men who have sex with men (MSM) were reported in the 1980s and 1990s in Australia and other countries. An effective hepatitis A virus (HAV) vaccine has been available in Australia since 1994 and is recommended for high-risk groups including MSM. No outbreaks of hepatitis A in Australian MSM have been reported since 1996. In this study, we aimed to estimate HAV transmissibility in MSM populations in order to inform targets for vaccine coverage in such populations. We used mathematical models of HAV transmission in a MSM population to estimate the basic reproduction number (R0) and the probability of an HAV epidemic occurring as a function of the immune proportion. We estimated a plausible range for R0 of 1·71–3·67 for HAV in MSM and that sustained epidemics cannot occur once the proportion immune to HAV is greater than ~70%. To our knowledge this is the first estimate of R0 and the critical population immunity threshold for HAV transmission in MSM. As HAV is no longer endemic in Australia or in most other developed countries, vaccination is the only means of maintaining population immunity >70%. Our findings provide impetus to promote HAV vaccination in high-risk groups such as MSM.