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Can multicellular life be distinguished from single cellular life on an exoplanet? We hypothesize that abundant upright photosynthetic multicellular life (trees) will cast shadows at high sun angles that will distinguish them from single cellular life and test this using Earth as an exoplanet. We first test the concept using unmanned aerial vehicles at a replica moon-landing site near Flagstaff, Arizona and show trees have both a distinctive reflectance signature (red edge) and geometric signature (shadows at high sun angles) that can distinguish them from replica moon craters. Next, we calculate reflectance signatures for Earth at several phase angles with POLDER (Polarization and Directionality of Earth's reflectance) satellite directional reflectance measurements and then reduce Earth to a single pixel. We compare Earth to other planetary bodies (Mars, the Moon, Venus and Uranus) and hypothesize that Earth's directional reflectance will be between strongly backscattering rocky bodies with no weathering (like Mars and the Moon) and cloudy bodies with more isotropic scattering (like Venus and Uranus). Our modelling results put Earth in line with strongly backscattering Mars, while our empirical results put Earth in line with more isotropic scattering Venus. We identify potential weaknesses in both the modelled and empirical results and suggest additional steps to determine whether this technique could distinguish upright multicellular life on exoplanets.
In his influential text, William James (1890) devoted separate chapters to the self and to its habits. His chapter on the self focused on the malleability of self-views and the manner in which they are diverse, encompassing disparate aspects such as the material, social and spiritual selves. By contrast, his chapter on habits highlighted the ways in which an individual becomes more and more like a particular type of person, with a particular type of disposition, over time. Whether functional or dysfunctional, habits coalescence into personality traits, and these personality traits become relatively fixed by the age of thirty.
Outbreaks of cyclosporiasis, a food-borne illness caused by the coccidian parasite Cyclospora cayetanensis have increased in the USA in recent years, with approximately 2300 laboratory-confirmed cases reported in 2018. Genotyping tools are needed to inform epidemiological investigations, yet genotyping Cyclospora has proven challenging due to its sexual reproductive cycle which produces complex infections characterized by high genetic heterogeneity. We used targeted amplicon deep sequencing and a recently described ensemble-based distance statistic that accommodates heterogeneous (mixed) genotypes and specimens with partial genotyping data, to genotype and cluster 648 C. cayetanensis samples submitted to CDC in 2018. The performance of the ensemble was assessed by comparing ensemble-identified genetic clusters to analogous clusters identified independently based on common food exposures. Using these epidemiologic clusters as a gold standard, the ensemble facilitated genetic clustering with 93.8% sensitivity and 99.7% specificity. Hence, we anticipate that this procedure will greatly complement epidemiologic investigations of cyclosporiasis.
Carbapenem-resistant Enterobacterales (CRE) are common causes of healthcare-associated infections and are often multidrug resistant with limited therapeutic options. Additionally, CRE can spread within and between healthcare facilities, amplifying potential harms.
To better understand the burden, risk factors, and source of acquisition of carbapenemase genes in clinical Escherichia coli and Klebsiella spp isolates from patients in Washington to guide prevention efforts.
Multicenter prospective surveillance study.
Escherichia coli and Klebsiella spp isolates meeting the Washington state CRE surveillance case definition were solicited from clinical laboratories and tested at Washington Public Health Laboratories using polymerase chain reaction (PCR) for the 5 most common carbapenemase genes: blaKPC, blaNDM, blaIMP, blaVIM, and blaOXA-48. Case patients positive by PCR were investigated by the public health department.
From October 2012 through December 2017, 363 carbapenem-resistant E. coli and Klebsiella spp isolates were tested. Overall, 45 of 115 carbapenem-resistant K. pneumoniae (39%), 1 of 8 K. oxytoca (12.5%), and 28 of 239 carbapenem-resistant E. coli (11.7%) were carbapenemase positive. Of 74 carbapenemase-positive isolates, blaKPC was most common (47%), followed by blaNDM (30%), blaOXA-48 (22%), and blaIMP (1%). Although all cases had healthcare exposure, blaKPC acquisition was associated with US health care, whereas non-blaKPC acquisition was associated with international health care or travel.
We report that blaKPC, the most prevalent carbapenemase in the United States, accounts for nearly half of carbapenemase cases in Washington state and that most KPC-cases are likely acquired through in-state health care.
Canada’s Truth and Reconciliation Commission Final Report (2015) highlighted the necessity of Indigenous self-determination in addressing the legacy of residential schools, yet Indigenous aging research remains dominated by Settlers. This Indigenist study by a Cree/Settler research team asked Indigenous Elders what is needed to support the wellness of the older adults in their communities. Elders shared that the healing of older survivors comes from reconnecting to the cultural knowledges that residential schools sought to eradicate. In resuming their traditional roles as transmitters of knowledge, older adults not only support their own healing, but also that of their whole communities. This understanding of the profoundly interrelational nature of Indigenous communities means that older adults’ wellness depends on first reclaiming their cultural identity and then on their roles as intergenerational transmitters of knowledge.
Apolipoprotein E (APOE) E4 is the main genetic risk factor for Alzheimer’s disease (AD). Due to the consistent association, there is interest as to whether E4 influences the risk of other neurodegenerative diseases. Further, there is a constant search for other genetic biomarkers contributing to these phenotypes, such as microtubule-associated protein tau (MAPT) haplotypes. Here, participants from the Ontario Neurodegenerative Disease Research Initiative were genotyped to investigate whether the APOE E4 allele or MAPT H1 haplotype are associated with five neurodegenerative diseases: (1) AD and mild cognitive impairment (MCI), (2) amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, (3) frontotemporal dementia (FTD), (4) Parkinson’s disease, and (5) vascular cognitive impairment.
Genotypes were defined for their respective APOE allele and MAPT haplotype calls for each participant, and logistic regression analyses were performed to identify the associations with the presentations of neurodegenerative diseases.
Our work confirmed the association of the E4 allele with a dose-dependent increased presentation of AD, and an association between the E4 allele alone and MCI; however, the other four diseases were not associated with E4. Further, the APOE E2 allele was associated with decreased presentation of both AD and MCI. No associations were identified between MAPT haplotype and the neurodegenerative disease cohorts; but following subtyping of the FTD cohort, the H1 haplotype was significantly associated with progressive supranuclear palsy.
This is the first study to concurrently analyze the association of APOE isoforms and MAPT haplotypes with five neurodegenerative diseases using consistent enrollment criteria and broad phenotypic analysis.
This essay advances a version of the flicker of freedom defense of the Principle of Alternative Possibilities (PAP) and shows that it is invulnerable to the major objections facing other versions of this defense. Proponents of the flicker defense argue that Frankfurt-style cases fail to undermine PAP because agents in these cases continue to possess alternative possibilities. Critics of the flicker strategy contend that the alternatives that remain open to agents in these cases are unable to rebuff Frankfurt-style attack on the grounds that they are insufficiently robust (that is, morally significant in a way that could ground ascriptions of moral responsibility). Once we see that omissions are capable of constituting robust alternatives, even when they are not intentional, it becomes clear that agents in these cases do indeed possess robust alternative possibilities—alternatives that are ineliminable from cases of this sort. The upshot is that Frankfurt-style cases are theoretically incapable of providing us with good grounds for rejecting PAP.
The US Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ) Evidence-based Practice Center (EPC) program sponsors the development of systematic reviews to inform clinical policy and practice. The EPC program sought to better understand how health systems identify and use this evidence.
Representatives from eleven EPCs, the EPC Scientific Resource Center, and AHRQ developed a semi-structured interview script to query a diverse group of nine Key Informants (KIs) involved in health system quality, safety and process improvement about how they identify and use evidence. Interviews were transcribed and qualitatively summarized into key themes.
All KIs reported that their organizations have either centralized quality, safety, and process improvement functions within their system, or they have partnerships with other organizations to conduct this work. There was variation in how evidence was identified, with larger health systems having medical librarians and central bureaus to gather and disseminate information and smaller systems having local chief medical officers or individual clinicians do this work. KIs generally prefer guidelines, especially those with treatment algorithms, because they are actionable. They like systematic reviews because they efficiently condense study results and reconcile conflicting data. They prefer information from systematic reviews to be presented as short digestible summaries with the full report available on demand. KIs preferred systematic reviews from reputable entities and those without commercial bias. Some of the challenges KIs reported include how to resolve conflicting evidence, the generalizability of evidence to local needs, determining whether the evidence is up-to-date, and the length of time required to generate reviews. The topics of greatest interest included predictive analytics, high-value care, advance care planning, and care coordination. To increase awareness of AHRQ EPC reviews, KIs suggest alerting people at multiple levels in a health-system when new evidence reports are available and making reports easier to find in common search engines.
Systematic reviews are valued by health system leaders. To be most useful they should be easy to locate and available in different formats targeted to the needs of different audiences.
A controversy at the 2016 IUCN World Conservation Congress on the topic of closing domestic ivory markets (the 007, or so-called James Bond, motion) has given rise to a debate on IUCN's value proposition. A cross-section of authors who are engaged in IUCN but not employed by the organization, and with diverse perspectives and opinions, here argue for the importance of safeguarding and strengthening the unique technical and convening roles of IUCN, providing examples of what has and has not worked. Recommendations for protecting and enhancing IUCN's contribution to global conservation debates and policy formulation are given.
Excavations at Abreu Garcia provide a detailed case study of a mound and enclosure mortuary complex used by the southern proto-Jê in the southern Brazilian highlands. The recovery of 16 secondary cremation deposits within a single mound allows an in-depth discussion of spatial aspects of mortuary practices. A spatial division in the placement of the interments adds another level of duality to the mortuary landscape, which comprises: (1) paired mound and enclosures, (2) twin mounds within a mound and enclosure, and (3) the dual division in the mound interior. The multiple levels of nested asymmetric dualism evoke similarities to the moiety system that characterizes modern southern Jê groups, highlighting both the opposition and the complementarity of the social system. The findings offer deeper insight into fundamental aspects of southern proto-Jê social organization, including the dual nature of the community, the manifestation of social structure in the landscape, and its incorporation into mortuary ritual. The results have implications for research design and developing appropriate methodologies to answer culture-specific questions. Furthermore, the parallels among archaeology, ethnohistory, and ethnography enable an understanding of the foundation of modern descendent groups and an assessment of the continuity in indigenous culture beyond European contact.
Stonehenge is a site that continues to yield surprises. Excavation in 2009 added a new and unexpected feature: a smaller, dismantled stone circle on the banks of the River Avon, connected to Stonehenge itself by the Avenue. This new structure has been labelled ‘Bluestonehenge’ from the evidence that it once held a circle of bluestones that were later removed to Stonehenge. Investigation of the Avenue closer to Stonehenge revealed deep periglacial fissures within it. Their alignment on Stonehenge's solstitial axis (midwinter sunset–midsummer sunrise) raises questions about the early origins of this ritual landscape.
Library consortia navigate a course between providing benefit to their member institutions through a range of collaborative activities and opportunities and, in return, requiring financial and in-kind commitments to sustain the consortium. Deriving benefit from library collaboration usually entails obligations from each participant, such as long-term commitment to programmes, active engagement of library leadership and staff in the management and co-ordination of activities, and both direct and indirect financial commitments to the consortium and the programmes it operates on members’ behalf.
The commitment implicit in any form of formal library collaboration can be twofold. On the one hand, members of a consortium have a commitment to the entity or organization set up to manage and co-ordinate a collaborative enterprise on their behalf, while on the other hand there is a commitment directly to the other participants in the collaborative activity. For example, a certain level of spending commitment may be required for a library to participate in a consortial acquisitions exercise, or a commitment to provide access to library collections may be a prerequisite of a collaborative resource-sharing or inter-lending programme. Such commitment may demand that a participating library undertake not just a share in the consortium's costs or management, but a degree of compromise and risk in committing and adhering to collaborative programmes and activities in the long term. Potentially, there is an inherent risk in collaboration, in so far as the object of the collaboration or the actions taken to achieve it may fail or may depart from the original aims. There is also a potential for compromise, in that an individual member may need to make concessions so as to accommodate the broader needs or interests of the group.
The value of collaborative library activity may also vary over time as the assumptions on which a joint enterprise is undertaken are undermined, for example, by systemic changes to the types of resources and services that the library offers and the way in which these are delivered, or by the opportunities that arise from technological or environmental changes and their potential to supersede the collaborative enterprise, or by the demands and imperatives set by parent institutions to demonstrate value and return on investment.
Understanding who is most vulnerable during an earthquake will help health care responders prepare for future disasters. We analyzed the demography of casualties from the Christchurch earthquake in New Zealand.
The demography of the total deceased, injured, and hospitalized casualties of the Christchurch earthquake was compared with that of the greater Christchurch population, the Christchurch central business district working population, and patients who presented to the single acute emergency department on the same month and day over the prior 10 years. Sex data were compared to scene of injury, context of injury, clinical characteristics of injury, and injury severity scores.
Significantly more females than males were injured or killed in the entire population of casualties (P<0.001). Most of the deceased and hospitalized casualties were injured in the central business district (171/182 deceased [94%]; 33/91 hospitalized [36.2%]). Approximately half of both sexes were injured at home (1002/2032 males [49%]; 2390/4627 females [52%]) and >20% were injured at commercial or service localities (444/2032 males [22%]; 1105/4627 females [24%]). Adults aged between 20 and 69 years (1639/2032 males [81%]; 3717/4627 females [80%]) were most frequently injured.
Where people were and what they were doing at the time of the earthquake influenced their risk of injury. (Disaster Med Public Health Preparedness. 2016;10:67-73)