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Hunter-gatherers collected and used various woody species depending on the landscape, availability of plant communities, and sociocultural considerations. With extensive paleo-wetlands and groundwater-fed oases, the Atacama Desert was interspersed with riparian woodlands that provided vital resources (fuel, water, and game) at the end of the Pleistocene in areas such as the Pampa del Tamarugal (PdT) basin. We use anthracological analyses to determine the fuel management strategies of hunter-gatherer societies in this hyperarid environment and explore whether the “Principle of Least Effort” applies. First, we present the combustion qualities and characteristics of woody taxa from the Atacama and analyze possible exploitation strategies. Second, we use anthracological analyses from Quebrada Maní 12 (QM12), a late Pleistocene archaeological site (dated from 12,750 to 11,530 cal B.P.) located in the PdT basin, to show the prevalence of two woody species that were either freshly collected or gathered (very likely on purpose) from subfossil wood. Our results suggest that fuel selection strategies were based on prior knowledge of the qualities of these woody taxa and how they burned. Thus we conclude that fuel management was part of a number of social and economic decisions that allowed for effective colonization of this region. Furthermore, we stress the need for caution when using charcoal to exclusively date archaeological sites located in desert environments.
The Dark Energy Survey is undertaking an observational programme imaging 1/4 of the southern hemisphere sky with unprecedented photometric accuracy. In the process of observing millions of faint stars and galaxies to constrain the parameters of the dark energy equation of state, the Dark Energy Survey will obtain pre-discovery images of the regions surrounding an estimated 100 gamma-ray bursts over 5 yr. Once gamma-ray bursts are detected by, e.g., the Swift satellite, the DES data will be extremely useful for follow-up observations by the transient astronomy community. We describe a recently-commissioned suite of software that listens continuously for automated notices of gamma-ray burst activity, collates information from archival DES data, and disseminates relevant data products back to the community in near-real-time. Of particular importance are the opportunities that non-public DES data provide for relative photometry of the optical counterparts of gamma-ray bursts, as well as for identifying key characteristics (e.g., photometric redshifts) of potential gamma-ray burst host galaxies. We provide the functional details of the DESAlert software, and its data products, and we show sample results from the application of DESAlert to numerous previously detected gamma-ray bursts, including the possible identification of several heretofore unknown gamma-ray burst hosts.
The different incidence rates of, and risk factors for, depression in different countries argue for the need to have a specific risk algorithm for each country or a supranational risk algorithm. We aimed to develop and validate a predictD-Spain risk algorithm (PSRA) for the onset of major depression and to compare the performance of the PSRA with the predictD-Europe risk algorithm (PERA) in Spanish primary care.
A prospective cohort study with evaluations at baseline, 6 and 12 months. We measured 39 known risk factors and used multi-level logistic regression and inverse probability weighting to build the PSRA. In Spain (4574), Chile (2133) and another five European countries (5184), 11 891 non-depressed adult primary care attendees formed our at-risk population. The main outcome was DSM-IV major depression (CIDI).
Six variables were patient characteristics or past events (sex, age, sex×age interaction, education, physical child abuse, and lifetime depression) and six were current status [Short Form 12 (SF-12) physical score, SF-12 mental score, dissatisfaction with unpaid work, number of serious problems in very close persons, dissatisfaction with living together at home, and taking medication for stress, anxiety or depression]. The C-index of the PSRA was 0.82 [95% confidence interval (CI) 0.79–0.84]. The Integrated Discrimination Improvement (IDI) was 0.0558 [standard error (s.e.)=0.0071, Zexp=7.88, p<0.0001] mainly due to the increase in sensitivity. Both the IDI and calibration plots showed that the PSRA functioned better than the PERA in Spain.
The PSRA included new variables and afforded an improved performance over the PERA for predicting the onset of major depression in Spain. However, the PERA is still the best option in other European countries.
BMI is commonly used as a sole indicator for the assessment of nutritional status. While it is a good predictor of morbidity and mortality among young and middle-aged adults, its predictive ability among the oldest old remains unclear. The objective of the present study was to investigate the relationship between BMI and risk of falls, fractures and all-cause mortality among older Australians in residential aged care facilities. One thousand eight hundred and forty-six residents of fifty-two nursing homes and thirty hostels in northern Sydney, Australia, participated in the present study. Baseline weight and height were measured and BMI (kg/m2) calculated. For 2 years following the baseline measurements, incidence and date of all falls and fractures were recorded by research nurses who visited the facilities regularly and date of death was documented based on the participants' records at each facility. Cox proportional hazards regression models were calculated to determine the relationship between baseline BMI and time to fall, fracture or death, within 2 years following the baseline measures taken to be the censoring date. After adjustments were made for age, sex and level of care, low BMI ( < 22 kg/m2) increased the risk of fracture by 38 % (hazard ratio = 1·38, 95 % CI 1·11, 1·73) and all-cause mortality by 52 % (hazard ratio = 1·52, 95 % CI 1·30, 1·79). The magnitude of this effect was only slightly reduced when adjustments were further made to incorporate cognition, number of medications, falls and fracture in the subsequent 2-year period. In conclusion, BMI has predictive ability in the area of fracture and all-cause mortality for residents of aged care facilities. It is a simple and rapid indicator of nutritional status rendering it a useful nutrition screen and goal for nutrition intervention.
Dans le cadre des travaux de transposition en droit français de la directive 97/43 Euratom relative à la radioprotection des patients, une campagne nationale de dosimétrie en radiodiagnostic s’est déroulée entre avril 2001 et février 2003, à l’initiative conjointe des sociétés savantes et professionnelles, de la Direction générale de la Sûreté nucléaire et de la radioprotection (DGSNR) et de l’Institut de radioprotection et de sûreté nucléaire (IRSN). Son objectif était d’associer des niveaux de doses aux procédures radiologiques standardisées, élaborées dans une étape précédente par la Société française de radiologie, et d’engager une première étude pour la détermination de niveaux de référence diagnostiques (NRD) français. Sur la base de protocoles de mesures et de fiches d’informations établis par l’IRSN et la Société française de physique médicale, la campagne a reposé sur des équipes pluridisciplinaires (radiologue, physicien, technicien), dans 24 services de radiologie volontaires. Son organisation pratique, la centralisation des données et le traitement des résultats ont été assurés par l’IRSN. Pour les 8 examens sélectionnés (4 en radiologie classique et 4 en scanographie), dans chaque service, 20 sujets d’âge adulte et de morphologie moyenne devaient faire l’objet d’une dosimétrie. En radiologie classique, la dose à l’entrée a été mesurée par dosimètres thermoluminescents placés à la peau, pour 1231 patients. En scanographie l’indice de dose de scanographie pondéré et le produit dose × longueur ont été déterminés pour 667 patients à partir des paramètres de l’examen et des données de base du scanner. Pour chaque type d’examen les valeurs moyennes de chacune de ces grandeurs ainsi que celles du 75e percentile ont été calculées. Pour la grande majorité des examens et des centres ayant participé à l’étude, il apparaît que ces valeurs se situent en dessous des NRD proposés par la Commission européenne en 1996. Ces résultats, analysés en fonction des facteurs d’influence sur la dose et des limites méthodologiques de l’étude (volontariat des services participant), prouvent la faisabilité et le grand intérêt d’une campagne nationale de mesures de doses en radiologie, à plus grande échelle, qui permettrait d’établir des NRD spécifiques à la pratique française, de prévoir leur révision périodique et de définir les démarches d’optimisation appropriées.
Selenium (Se) intake in human is rather low in many countries (Combs 2001). Different strategies to increase human selenium intake were summarized recently by Lyons et al (2003). Selenium fertilization of crops and grass based on the Finnish experiment of the early 80 trebled Se intakes and nearly doubled plasma Se concentration within 3 years of programme’s initiation. Meat from Se supplemented animals contains Se at a high level so that such a meat contributes to a large extent of Se supply for man. The aim of the present work was to assess the effect of selenium enriched winter barley in fattening bulls with large muscle development.
Selenium (Se) is a trace element of large importance owing to its implications in many metabolisms both in animals and in humans. Se participates in the antioxidant protection of cells and shows profound effects on health as e.g. cancer protection, antiviral effect, cardiomyopathy prevention,… in men (see review by Lyon et al 2003) and as prevention of metritis, mastitis or myopathies in cattle (Jukola et al, 1996). There are areas -Belgium e.g.- in which the Se content of feedstuff for cattle is rather low. Se is available for plants from the soil. The aim of the present work was to increase the Se content in grass silage and winter barley using Se enriched fertilizers for young growing bulls.
Le concept de niveau de référence diagnostique (NRD) introduit dans la CIPR 73
“ Protection et sûreté radiologique en médecine ” est spécifique aux expositions
médicales. Dans ce domaine, en effet, l'un des trois principes de la radioprotection,
la limitation réglementaire des doses, ne peut s'appliquer comme pour les
expositions professionnelles et publiques. Les niveaux de référence ne sont ni des
“ limites de dose ”, ni des “ doses optimales ”, ce sont des outils pour l'optimisation.
Ils sont établis pour des examens standardisés et des patients types, et ne devraient
pas être dépassés sans justification, pour des procédures courantes. Les NRD sont
des indicateurs dosimétriques de la qualité des pratiques destinés à identifier les
situations nécessitant une action corrective. Dans le cadre de la transposition de la
directive 97/43 Euratom, le directeur général de la santé a confié à l'OPRI, en 1999,
une mission spécifique pour la mise en œuvre des niveaux de référence, en
concertation avec les sociétés savantes et professionnelles concernées. La méthode
recommandée par la Commission européenne, dite du 75e percentile, basée sur le
traitement statistique d'enquêtes dosimétriques représentatives, est à l'heure
actuelle inopérante en France en raison de l'insuffisance des données. Une démarche
spécifique a donc été définie. Dans un premier temps, un travail de standardisation
des procédures radiologiques avec adoption des niveaux de référence européens
comme point de départ a été effectué. Dans un second temps, une campagne
nationale de mesures de doses co-pilotée par l'OPRI (actuellement l'IRSN et la
DGSNR), la SFR et la SFPM est en cours de réalisation pour établir des NRD
We analysed a strain collection representative of the overall Neisseria meningitidis population circulating in an open community (46000 inhabitants, Spain) during an endemic period (30 isolates from patients and 191 from throat cultures of healthy individuals) by both phenotypic and molecular techniques. Almost all patient isolates were assigned to three hyper-virulent lineages (ET-5 complex, ET-37 complex and cluster A4) by both multilocus enzyme electrophoresis (MEE) and pulsed-field gel electrophoresis (PFGE). In contrast, MEE and PFGE assigned 20% and 15% respectively of carrier isolates to the hyper-virulent clones (4% for both methods together). There was also a higher correlation between PFGE and phenotypes associated with virulent clones. These notable differences between the two molecular methods were further observed in more than half the carrier isolates, suggesting that the associations between these strains were distorted by recombination events. However, almost one-third of total endemic strains from symptom-free carriers and almost all patient strains belonged to clones defined by MEE and PFGE, with no known epidemiological connection. These data indicate low transmission and a weak clonal structure for N. meningitidis.
Phytate (inositol hexaphosphate; InsP6) was determined in rat tissues fed on diets with different phytate contents, using a GC–mass detection methodology that permitted the evaluation of the total amount of this substance present in such tissues. The highest InsP6 concentrations were found in brain (5·89×10-2 (SE 5·7×10-3) MG/G DM), WHEREAS THE CONCENTRATIONS DETECTED IN KIDNEYS, LIVER AND BONE WERE SIMILAR TO EACH OTHER (1·96×10-3 (se 0·20×10-3), 3·11×10-3 (se 0·24×10-3), 1·77×10-3 (se 0·17×10-3) mg/g DM respectively) and 10-fold less than those detected in brain. When rats were fed on a purified diet in which InsP6 was undetectable, the InsP6 levels of the organs mentioned earlier decreased dramatically (9·0×10-4, 3·8×10-5, 1·4×10-5 mg/g DM in brain, kidneys and liver respectively) and in some cases became undetectable (bone). The addition of InsP6 to this purified diet led to the increase of InsP6 levels in these tissues. This clearly demonstrated that the majority of the InsP6 found in organs and tissues has a dietary origin and is not a consequence of endogenous synthesis. Consequently, considering that InsP6 could be involved in some important biological roles, the value of any diet on supplying this substance is noteworthy.
Several studies have indicated that additional genes in the major histocompatibility complex
(MHC) region, other than the class II genes HLA-DQB1 and -DRB1 (the IDDM1 locus), may
contribute to susceptibility and resistance to type 1 diabetes. The relative magnitude of these non-
DR/DQ effects is uncertain and their map location is unknown owing to the extraordinary linkage
disequilibrium that extends over the 3.5 Mb of the MHC. The homozygous parent test has been
proposed as a method for detection of additional risk factors conditional on HLA-DQB1 and -DRB1.
However, this method is inefficient since it uses only parents homozygous for the primary disease
locus, the DQB1-DRB1 haplotype. To overcome this limitation, Conditional ETDT was used in the
present report to test for association conditional on the DQB1-DRB1 haplotype, thereby allowing all
parents to be included in the analysis. First, we confirm in UK and Sardinian type 1 diabetic families
that allelic variation at HLA-DRB1 has a very significant effect on the association of DQB1 and vice
versa. The Conditional ETDT was then applied to the HLA TNF (tumour necrosis factor) region and
microsatellite marker D6S273 region, both of which have been reported to contribute to IDDM1
independent of the HLA-DQB1-DRB1 genes. We found no evidence for a major role for either of these
two regions in IDDM1.
The risk of Borrelia burgdorferi infection and the value
of antibiotic prophylaxis after tick bite
are controversial. In this study, performed in two areas of southwestern
Germany, ticks were
collected from 730 patients and examined by the polymerase chain reaction
B. burgdorferi. To assess whether transmission of B.
burgdorferi occurred, the patients were
clinically and serologically examined after tick removal and during follow-up
Data from all tick bites gave a total transmission rate of 2·6%
(19 patients). Eighty-four ticks
(11·3%) were PCR positive. Transmission occurred to 16
(26·7%) of 60 patients who were
initially seronegative and could be followed up after the bite of
an infected tick. These results
indicate that the transmission rate from infected ticks in Europe is higher
assumed. Examination of ticks and antibiotic prophylaxis in the case of
positivity appears to