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There has been a fair amount of recent scholarly attention to the role and influence of law clerks at the Supreme Court of the United States. This new wave of systematic research began when Todd C. Peppers (2006) published Courtiers of the Marble Palace: The Rise and Influence of the Supreme Court Law Clerk at almost exactly the same time as Artemus Ward and David L. Weiden's (2006) Sorcerers' Apprentices: 100 Years of Law Clerks at the United States Supreme Court. Then Peppers and Ward (2012) teamed up to produce an edited volume, In Chambers: Stories of Supreme Court Law Clerks and Their Justices, in which each chapter focuses on the relationship of a specific justice and his or her clerks. Together these three works raise interesting questions about how one properly studies the role and power of law clerks at the US Supreme Court. How does one measure the influence of these temporary assistants to the justices? Should sociolegal scholars trust them to help us understand the approaches and behavior of the justices today or in the past or do they have an unrealistic and inflated view of their own contributions? This essay offers a broad overview of what scholars and journalists currently know about the role of clerks at the Supreme Court.
The Japanese Murrelet Synthliboramphus wumizusume is a rare, globally ‘Vulnerable’ seabird, endemic to Japan and South Korea. However, little is known of its at-sea distribution, habitat or threats. We conducted several years of at-sea surveys around Japan to model Japanese Murrelet density in relation to habitat parameters, and make spatial predictions to assess the adequacy of the current Japanese marine Important Bird and Biodiversity Area (IBA) network for the species. During a five-year period, 3,485 km of at-sea surveys recorded 3,161 Japanese Murrelets around four breeding locations. Maximum murrelet group size was 90 individuals with a mean group size of 2.9 ± 4.2 individuals. Models of Japanese Murrelet at-sea density around the two largest breeding locations predicted that almost all murrelets occur within 30 km of the breeding colony and most within 10 km. Murrelets were predicted closer to the colony in May than in April and closer to the colony at a neritic colony than at an offshore island colony. Additionally, murrelets breeding on an offshore island colony also commuted to mainland neritic habitat for foraging. The marine habitat used by Japanese Murrelets differed between each of the four surveyed colonies, however oceanographic variables offered little explanatory power in models. Models with colony, month and year generated four foraging radii (9–39 km wide) containing murrelet densities of > 0.5 birds/km2. Using these radii the Japanese marine IBA network was found to capture between 95% and 25% of Japanese Murrelet at-sea habitat while breeding and appears appropriately configured to protect near-colony murrelet distributions. Given the range of marine habitats that breeding murrelets inhabit, our simple models offer an applicable method for predicting to unsampled colonies and generating ecologically-informed seaward extension radii. However, data on colony populations and further at-sea surveys are necessary to refine models and improve predictions.
Externalizing disorders are known to be partly heritable, but the biological pathways linking genetic risk to the manifestation of these costly behaviors remain under investigation. This study sought to identify neural phenotypes associated with genomic vulnerability for externalizing disorders.
One-hundred fifty-five White, non-Hispanic veterans were genotyped using a genome-wide array and underwent resting-state functional magnetic resonance imaging. Genetic susceptibility was assessed using an independently developed polygenic score (PS) for externalizing, and functional neural networks were identified using graph theory based network analysis. Tasks of inhibitory control and psychiatric diagnosis (alcohol/substance use disorders) were used to measure externalizing phenotypes.
A polygenic externalizing disorder score (PS) predicted connectivity in a brain circuit (10 nodes, nine links) centered on left amygdala that included several cortical [bilateral inferior frontal gyrus (IFG) pars triangularis, left rostral anterior cingulate cortex (rACC)] and subcortical (bilateral amygdala, hippocampus, and striatum) regions. Directional analyses revealed that bilateral amygdala influenced left prefrontal cortex (IFG) in participants scoring higher on the externalizing PS, whereas the opposite direction of influence was observed for those scoring lower on the PS. Polygenic variation was also associated with higher Participation Coefficient for bilateral amygdala and left rACC, suggesting that genes related to externalizing modulated the extent to which these nodes functioned as communication hubs.
Findings suggest that externalizing polygenic risk is associated with disrupted connectivity in a neural network implicated in emotion regulation, impulse control, and reinforcement learning. Results provide evidence that this network represents a genetically associated neurobiological vulnerability for externalizing disorders.
Posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and stress/trauma exposure are cross-sectionally associated with advanced DNA methylation age relative to chronological age. However, longitudinal inquiry and examination of associations between advanced DNA methylation age and a broader range of psychiatric disorders is lacking. The aim of this study was to examine if PTSD, depression, generalized anxiety, and alcohol-use disorders predicted acceleration of DNA methylation age over time (i.e. an increasing pace, or rate of advancement, of the epigenetic clock).
Genome-wide DNA methylation and a comprehensive set of psychiatric symptoms and diagnoses were assessed in 179 Iraq/Afghanistan war veterans who completed two assessments over the course of approximately 2 years. Two DNA methylation age indices (Horvath and Hannum), each a weighted index of an array of genome-wide DNA methylation probes, were quantified. The pace of the epigenetic clock was operationalized as change in DNA methylation age as a function of time between assessments.
Analyses revealed that alcohol-use disorders (p = 0.001) and PTSD avoidance and numbing symptoms (p = 0.02) at Time 1 were associated with an increasing pace of the epigenetic clock over time, per the Horvath (but not the Hannum) index of cellular aging.
This is the first study to suggest that posttraumatic psychopathology is longitudinally associated with a quickened pace of the epigenetic clock. Results raise the possibility that accelerated cellular aging is a common biological consequence of stress-related psychopathology, which carries implications for identifying mechanisms of stress-related cellular aging and developing interventions to slow its pace.
To determine whether probiotic prophylaxes reduce the odds of Clostridium difficile infection (CDI) in adults and children.
Individual participant data (IPD) meta-analysis of randomized controlled trials (RCTs), adjusting for risk factors.
We searched 6 databases and 11 grey literature sources from inception to April 2016. We identified 32 RCTs (n=8,713); among them, 18 RCTs provided IPD (n=6,851 participants) comparing probiotic prophylaxis to placebo or no treatment (standard care). One reviewer prepared the IPD, and 2 reviewers extracted data, rated study quality, and graded evidence quality.
Probiotics reduced CDI odds in the unadjusted model (n=6,645; odds ratio [OR] 0.37; 95% confidence interval [CI], 0.25–0.55) and the adjusted model (n=5,074; OR, 0.35; 95% CI, 0.23–0.55). Using 2 or more antibiotics increased the odds of CDI (OR, 2.20; 95% CI, 1.11–4.37), whereas age, sex, hospitalization status, and high-risk antibiotic exposure did not. Adjusted subgroup analyses suggested that, compared to no probiotics, multispecies probiotics were more beneficial than single-species probiotics, as was using probiotics in clinical settings where the CDI risk is ≥5%. Of 18 studies, 14 reported adverse events. In 11 of these 14 studies, the adverse events were retained in the adjusted model. Odds for serious adverse events were similar for both groups in the unadjusted analyses (n=4,990; OR, 1.06; 95% CI, 0.89–1.26) and adjusted analyses (n=4,718; OR, 1.06; 95% CI, 0.89–1.28). Missing outcome data for CDI ranged from 0% to 25.8%. Our analyses were robust to a sensitivity analysis for missingness.
Moderate quality (ie, certainty) evidence suggests that probiotic prophylaxis may be a useful and safe CDI prevention strategy, particularly among participants taking 2 or more antibiotics and in hospital settings where the risk of CDI is ≥5%.
Laboratory experiments were performed on a geometrically scaled vertical-axis wind turbine model over an unprecedented range of Reynolds numbers, including and exceeding those of the full-scale turbine. The study was performed in the high-pressure environment of the Princeton High Reynolds number Test Facility (HRTF). Utilizing highly compressed air as the working fluid enabled extremely high Reynolds numbers while still maintaining dynamic similarity by matching the tip speed ratio (defined as the ratio of tip velocity to free stream,
) and Mach number (defined at the turbine tip,
). Preliminary comparisons are made with measurements from the full-scale field turbine. Peak power for both the field data and experiments resides around
. In addition, a systematic investigation of trends with Reynolds number was performed in the laboratory, which revealed details about the asymptotic behaviour. It was shown that the parameter that characterizes invariance in the power coefficient was the Reynolds number based on blade chord conditions (
). The power coefficient reaches its asymptotic value when
, which is higher than what the field turbine experiences. The asymptotic power curve is found, which is invariant to further increases in Reynolds number.
In this investigation, we reported the increase in emergency department and inpatient admission cases during the month of November 2012 post Hurricane Sandy as compared with baseline (November 2010, 2011, and 2013) for elderly patients aged 65 and up.
Medical claims data for patients aged 65 and over treated at emergency department and inpatient health care facilities in New Jersey were analyzed to examine the surge in frequencies of diagnoses treated immediately following Hurricane Sandy. The differences were quantified using gap analysis for 2 years before and 1 year after the event.
There was an average increase of 1700 cases for the month of November 2012 relative to baseline for the top 15 most frequently diagnosed emergency department medical conditions. On a daily basis, a volume increase by an average 57 cases could be expected, including significant numbers of limb fractures and other trauma cases for these most frequently encountered medical conditions.
Understanding the surge level in medical services needed in emergency departments and inpatient facilities during a natural disaster aftermath is critical for effective emergency preparation and response for the elderly population. (Disaster Med Public Health Preparedness. 2018;12:730-738)
On August 25, 2017, Hurricane Harvey made landfall near Corpus Christi, Texas. The ensuing unprecedented flooding throughout the Texas coastal region affected millions of individuals.1 The statewide response in Texas included the sheltering of thousands of individuals at considerable distances from their homes. The Dallas area established large-scale general population sheltering as the number of evacuees to the area began to amass. Historically, the Dallas area is one familiar with “mega-sheltering,” beginning with the response to Hurricane Katrina in 2005.2 Through continued efforts and development, the Dallas area had been readying a plan for the largest general population shelter in Texas. (Disaster Med Public Health Preparedness. 2019;13:33–37)
The seventh meeting of the World Congress of Pediatric Cardiology and Cardiac Surgery was an opportunity for healthcare professionals from around the world to meet and discuss current issues affecting patients with acquired and CHD. A dedicated anaesthesia track facilitated the exchange of ideas and fostered many new friendships. This review highlights the congenital cardiac anaesthesia track and the involvement of the Congenital Cardiac Anesthesia Society in the congress.
To determine the risk of Clostridium difficile transmission from index cases with C. difficile infection (CDI) to their household contacts and domestic pets.
A prospective study from April 2011 to June 2013.
Patients with CDI from Canadian tertiary care centers.
Patients with CDI, their household human contacts, and pets.
Epidemiologic information and stool or rectal swabs were collected from participants at enrollment and monthly for up to 4 months. Pulsed-field gel electrophoresis (PFGE) was performed on C. difficile isolates. Probable transmission was defined as the conversion of a C. difficile culture–negative contact to C. difficile culture–positive contact with a PFGE pattern indistinguishable or closely related to the index case. Possible transmission was defined as a contact with a positive C. difficile culture at baseline with a strain indistinguishable or closely related to the index case.
A total of 51 patients with CDI participated in this study; 67 human contacts and 15 pet contacts were included. Overall, 9 human contacts (13.4%) were C. difficile culture positive; 1 contact (1.5%) developed CDI; and 8 contacts were asymptomatic. Of 67 human contacts, probable transmission occurred in 1 human contact (1.5%) and possible transmission occurred in 5 human contacts (7.5%). Of 15 pet contacts, probable transmission occurred in 3 (20%) and possible transmission occurred in 1 (6.7%).
There was a high proportion of C. difficile culture positivity at 13.4% among human contacts and asymptomatic carriage of domestic pets reached 26.7%. These results suggest that household transmission of C. difficile may be a source of community-associated cases.
Metsulfuron is used for POST control of spotted spurge in many warm-season turfgrasses. A suspected resistant (R) biotype of spotted spurge was collected from turfgrass in Georgia with a history of exclusive metsulfuron use. Research was conducted to evaluate the resistance level of this biotype to metsulfuron, efficacy of other mechanisms of action for control, and the molecular basis for resistance. Compared with a susceptible (S) biotype, the R biotype required >90 and >135 times greater metsulfuron rates to reach 50% injury and reduce biomass 50% from the nontreated, respectively. The R biotype was also resistant to trifloxysulfuron but was injured equivalent to the S biotype from dicamba, glyphosate, and triclopyr. Gene sequencing of the R biotype revealed a Trp574 to Leu substitution that has conferred resistance to acetolactate synthase (ALS) inhibitors in previous research. This is the first report of ALS resistance in spotted spurge. More importantly, this is the first report of a herbicide-resistant broadleaf weed from a turfgrass system in the United States.
The fossil record displays remarkable stasis in many species over long time periods, yet studies of extant populations often reveal rapid phenotypic evolution and genetic differentiation among populations. Recent advances in our understanding of the fossil record and in population genetics and evolutionary ecology point to the complex geographic structure of species being fundamental to resolution of how taxa can commonly exhibit both short-term evolutionary dynamics and long-term stasis.
To determine whether real-time availability of rapid molecular results of Staphylococcus aureus would impact emergency department clinician antimicrobial selection for adults with cutaneous abscesses.
We performed a prospective, randomized controlled trial comparing a rapid molecular test with standard of care culture-based testing. Follow-up telephone calls were made at between 2 and 7 days, 1 month, and 3 months after discharge.
Two urban, academic emergency departments.
Patients at least 18 years old presenting with a chief complaint of abscess, cellulitis, or insect bite and receiving incision and drainage were eligible. Seven hundred seventy-eight people were assessed for eligibility and 252 met eligibility criteria.
Clinician antibiotic selection and clinical outcomes were evaluated. An ad hoc outcome of test performance was performed.
We enrolled 252 patients and 126 were randomized to receive the rapid test. Methicillin-susceptible S. aureus–positive patients receiving rapid test results were prescribed beta-lactams more often than controls (absolute difference, 14.5% [95% CI, 1.1%–30.1%]) whereas methicillin-resistant S. aureus–positive patients receiving rapid test results were more often prescribed anti–methicillin-resistant S. aureus antibiotics (absolute difference, 21.5% [95% CI, 10.1%–33.0%]). There were no significant differences between the 2 groups in 1-week or 3-month clinical outcomes.
Availability of rapid molecular test results after incision and drainage was associated with more-targeted antibiotic selection.
Pessoa (2013) makes a compelling case for conceiving of emotion and cognition as deeply integrated processes in the brain. We will begin our commentary by asking what implications this view of the brain has for an ontology of cognition – a theory of what cognition is and what cognitive processes exist. We will suggest that Pessoa's book, The Cognitive-Emotional Brain, provides strong support for an embodied theory of cognition. We end our commentary by offering some speculation about how Pessoa's arguments naturally extend to social cognition.