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Arctic mining has a bad reputation because the extractive industry is often responsible for a suite of environmental problems. Yet, few studies explore the gap between untouched tundra and messy megaproject from a historical perspective. Our paper focuses on Advent City as a case study of the emergence of coal mining in Svalbard (Norway) coupled with the onset of mining-related environmental change. After short but intensive human activity (1904–1908), the ecosystem had a century to respond, and we observe a lasting impact on the flora in particular. With interdisciplinary contributions from historical archaeology, archaeozoology, archaeobotany and botany, supplemented by stable isotope analysis, we examine 1) which human activities initially asserted pressure on the Arctic environment, 2) whether the miners at Advent City were “eco-conscious,” for example whether they showed concern for the environment and 3) how the local ecosystem reacted after mine closure and site abandonment. Among the remains of typical mining infrastructure, we prioritised localities that revealed the subtleties of long-term anthropogenic impact. Significant pressure resulted from landscape modifications, the import of non-native animals and plants, hunting and fowling, and the indiscriminate disposal of waste material. Where it was possible to identify individual inhabitants, these shared an economic attitude of waste not, want not, but they did not hold the environment in high regard. Ground clearances, animal dung and waste dumps continue to have an effect after a hundred years. The anthropogenic interference with the fell field led to habitat creation, especially for vascular plants. The vegetation cover and biodiversity were high, but we recorded no exotic or threatened plant species. Impacted localities generally showed a reduction of the natural patchiness of plant communities, and highly eutrophic conditions were unsuitable for liverworts and lichens. Supplementary isotopic analysis of animal bones added data to the marine reservoir offset in Svalbard underlining the far-reaching potential of our multi-proxy approach. We conclude that although damaging human–environment interactions formerly took place at Advent City, these were limited and primarily left the visual impact of the ruins. The fell field is such a dynamic area that the subtle anthropogenic effects on the local tundra may soon be lost. The fauna and flora may not recover to what they were before the miners arrived, but they will continue to respond to new post-industrial circumstances.
Tuberculosis (TB) is generally considered a disease that principally afflicts the low-income segments of a population. In the Nanshan District of Shenzhen, China, with the economic transformation and a new Headquarters Economy (HE) emerging, there are now more cases in office workers than in manufacturing workers. To illustrate this trend, we describe a small TB outbreak in an office building located in the centre of the rapidly growing HE district. Two active pulmonary tuberculosis cases were found in workers who shared an office, and whole genome sequencing showed that the genetic distance between the strains of the two cases was just one single nucleotide polymorphism, consistent with intra-office transmission. Investigation of 30 other workers in the same or adjacent offices with interviews, interferon-gamma release assays (IGRAs) and chest X-rays, identified one new TB case and latent tuberculosis infection (LTBI) in 40.0% (12/30) of the contacts. The offices were under-ventilated. None of the IGRA positive, asymptomatic contacts agreed to receive treatment for LTBI, presumably due to TB stigma, and over the next 2 years 69.0% (20/29) of the contacts were lost to follow-up. Treatment for LTBI and stigma of TB remain challenges here. Office workers in the HE of rapidly economic developing areas should be targeted with increased vigilance by TB control programmes.
To investigate the association between parity and the risk of incident dementia in women.
We pooled baseline and follow-up data for community-dwelling women aged 60 or older from six population-based, prospective cohort studies from four European and two Asian countries. We investigated the association between parity and incident dementia using Cox proportional hazards regression models adjusted for age, educational level, hypertension, diabetes mellitus and cohort, with additional analysis by dementia subtype (Alzheimer dementia (AD) and non-Alzheimer dementia (NAD)).
Of 9756 women dementia-free at baseline, 7010 completed one or more follow-up assessments. The mean follow-up duration was 5.4 ± 3.1 years and dementia developed in 550 participants. The number of parities was associated with the risk of incident dementia (hazard ratio (HR) = 1.07, 95% confidence interval (CI) = 1.02–1.13). Grand multiparity (five or more parities) increased the risk of dementia by 30% compared to 1–4 parities (HR = 1.30, 95% CI = 1.02–1.67). The risk of NAD increased by 12% for every parity (HR = 1.12, 95% CI = 1.02–1.23) and by 60% for grand multiparity (HR = 1.60, 95% CI = 1.00–2.55), but the risk of AD was not significantly associated with parity.
Grand multiparity is a significant risk factor for dementia in women. This may have particularly important implications for women in low and middle-income countries where the fertility rate and prevalence of grand multiparity are high.
Childhood maltreatment (CM) plays an important role in the development of major depressive disorder (MDD). The aim of this study was to examine whether CM severity and type are associated with MDD-related brain alterations, and how they interact with sex and age.
Within the ENIGMA-MDD network, severity and subtypes of CM using the Childhood Trauma Questionnaire were assessed and structural magnetic resonance imaging data from patients with MDD and healthy controls were analyzed in a mega-analysis comprising a total of 3872 participants aged between 13 and 89 years. Cortical thickness and surface area were extracted at each site using FreeSurfer.
CM severity was associated with reduced cortical thickness in the banks of the superior temporal sulcus and supramarginal gyrus as well as with reduced surface area of the middle temporal lobe. Participants reporting both childhood neglect and abuse had a lower cortical thickness in the inferior parietal lobe, middle temporal lobe, and precuneus compared to participants not exposed to CM. In males only, regardless of diagnosis, CM severity was associated with higher cortical thickness of the rostral anterior cingulate cortex. Finally, a significant interaction between CM and age in predicting thickness was seen across several prefrontal, temporal, and temporo-parietal regions.
Severity and type of CM may impact cortical thickness and surface area. Importantly, CM may influence age-dependent brain maturation, particularly in regions related to the default mode network, perception, and theory of mind.
Implementation of a novel experimental approach using a bright source of narrowband x-ray emission has enabled the production of a photoionized argon plasma of relevance to astrophysical modelling codes such as Cloudy. We present results showing that the photoionization parameter ζ = 4πF/ne generated using the VULCAN laser was ≈ 50 erg cm s−1, higher than those obtained previously with more powerful facilities. Comparison of our argon emission-line spectra in the 4.15 - 4.25 Å range at varying initial gas pressures with predictions from the Cloudy code and a simple time-dependent code are also presented. Finally we briefly discuss how this proof-of-principle experiment may be scaled to larger facilities such as ORION to produce the closest laboratory analogue to a photoionized plasma.
We study the mixing in low-intermediate massive stars using eclipsing binaries. We compute stellar evolutionary models with a varying convective core overshooting parameter and different rotation rates. Using a Bayesian estimation method, we found that the coexistence of the two phenomena may be a reasonable explanation of the observed extra-mixing.
We present very detailed images of the photosphere of an AGB star obtained with the PIONIER instrument, installed at the Very Large Telescope Interferometer (VLTI). The images show a well defined stellar disc populated by a few convective patterns. Thanks to the high precision of the observations we are able to derive the contrast and granulation horizontal scale of the convective pattern for the first time in a direct way. Such quantities are then compared with scaling relations between granule size, effective temperature, and surface gravity that are predicted by simulations of stellar surface convection.
We derive azimuthally-averaged surface-brightness profiles of 16 AGB stars in the far-IR and sub-mm with the aim of studying the resolved historic mass loss in the extended circumstellar envelope. The PSF-subtracted extended component fluxes were found to be ∼40% of the total source flux. By fitting SEDs at each radial point we derive the dust temperature, column density and spectral index of emissivity via Bayesian inference. The measured dust-to-gas ratios were somewhat consistent with canonical values however with a large scatter.
AGB stars are important contributors of processed matter to the ISM. However, the physical and chemical mechanisms involved in its ejection are still poorly known. This process is expected to have remarkable effects in the innermost envelope, where the dust grains are formed, the gas is accelerated, the chemistry is active, and the radiative excitation becomes important. A good tracer of this region in C-rich stars is SiS, an abundant refractory molecule that can display maser lines, very sensitive to changes in the physical conditions. We present high angular resolution interferometer observations (HPBW ≳0.″.25) of the v = 0 J = 14 – 13 and 15 – 14 SiS maser lines towards the archetypal AGB star IRC+10216, carried out with CARMA and ALMA to explore the inner 1” region around the central star. We also present an ambitious monitoring of these lines along one single pulsation period carried out with the IRAM 30 m telescope.
Silicon carbide together with amorphous carbon are the main components of dust grains in the atmospheres of C-rich AGB stars. Small gaseous Si-C bearing molecules (such as SiC, SiCSi, and SiC2) are efficiently formed close to the stellar photosphere. They likely condense onto dust seeds owing to their highly refractory nature at the lower temperatures (i.e., below about 2500 K) in the dust growth zone which extends a few stellar radii from the photosphere. Beyond this region, the abundances of Si-C bearing molecules are expected to decrease until they are eventually reformed in the outer shells of the circumstellar envelope, owing to the interaction between the gas and the interstellar UV radiation field. Our goal is to understand the time-dependent chemical evolution of Si-C bond carriers probed by molecular spectral line emission in the circumstellar envelope of IRC+10216 at millimeter wavelengths.
This study aims to investigate the climate–malaria associations in nine cities selected from malaria high-risk areas in China. Daily reports of malaria cases in Anhui, Henan, and Yunnan Provinces for 2005–2012 were obtained from the Chinese Center for Disease Control and Prevention. Generalized estimating equation models were used to quantify the city-specific climate–malaria associations. Multivariate random-effects meta-regression analyses were used to pool the city-specific effects. An inverted-U-shaped curve relationship was observed between temperatures, average relative humidity, and malaria. A 1 °C increase of maximum temperature (Tmax) resulted in 6·7% (95% CI 4·6–8·8%) to 15·8% (95% CI 14·1–17·4%) increase of malaria, with corresponding lags ranging from 7 to 45 days. For minimum temperature (Tmin), the effect estimates peaked at lag 0 to 40 days, ranging from 5·3% (95% CI 4·4–6·2%) to 17·9% (95% CI 15·6–20·1%). Malaria is more sensitive to Tmin in cool climates and Tmax in warm climates. The duration of lag effect in a cool climate zone is longer than that in a warm climate zone. Lagged effects did not vanish after an epidemic season but waned gradually in the following 2–3 warm seasons. A warming climate may potentially increase the risk of malaria resurgence in China.
Lithium sulfur (Li–S) batteries have the potential to provide higher energy storage density at lower cost than conventional lithium ion batteries. A key challenge for Li–S batteries is the loss of sulfur to the electrolyte during cycling. This loss can be mitigated by sequestering the sulfur in nanostructured carbon–sulfur composites. The nanoscale characterization of the sulfur distribution within these complex nanostructured electrodes is normally performed by electron microscopy, but sulfur sublimates and redistributes in the high-vacuum conditions of conventional electron microscopes. The resulting sublimation artifacts render characterization of sulfur in conventional electron microscopes problematic and unreliable. Here, we demonstrate two techniques, cryogenic transmission electron microscopy (cryo-TEM) and scanning electron microscopy in air (airSEM), that enable the reliable characterization of sulfur across multiple length scales by suppressing sulfur sublimation. We use cryo-TEM and airSEM to examine carbon–sulfur composites synthesized for use as Li–S battery cathodes, noting several cases where the commonly employed sulfur melt infusion method is highly inefficient at infiltrating sulfur into porous carbon hosts.
To determine the impact of total household decolonization with intranasal mupirocin and chlorhexidine gluconate body wash on recurrent methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) infection among subjects with MRSA skin and soft-tissue infection.
Three-arm nonmasked randomized controlled trial.
Five academic medical centers in Southeastern Pennsylvania.
Adults and children presenting to ambulatory care settings with community-onset MRSA skin and soft-tissue infection (ie, index cases) and their household members.
Enrolled households were randomized to 1 of 3 intervention groups: (1) education on routine hygiene measures, (2) education plus decolonization without reminders (intranasal mupirocin ointment twice daily for 7 days and chlorhexidine gluconate on the first and last day), or (3) education plus decolonization with reminders, where subjects received daily telephone call or text message reminders.
MAIN OUTCOME MEASURES
Owing to small numbers of recurrent infections, this analysis focused on time to clearance of colonization in the index case.
Of 223 households, 73 were randomized to education-only, 76 to decolonization without reminders, 74 to decolonization with reminders. There was no significant difference in time to clearance of colonization between the education-only and decolonization groups (log-rank P=.768). In secondary analyses, compliance with decolonization was associated with decreased time to clearance (P=.018).
Total household decolonization did not result in decreased time to clearance of MRSA colonization among adults and children with MRSA skin and soft-tissue infection. However, subjects who were compliant with the protocol had more rapid clearance
To identify risk factors for recurrent methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) colonization.
Prospective cohort study conducted from January 1, 2010, through December 31, 2012.
Five adult and pediatric academic medical centers.
Subjects (ie, index cases) who presented with acute community-onset MRSA skin and soft-tissue infection.
Index cases and all household members performed self-sampling for MRSA colonization every 2 weeks for 6 months. Clearance of colonization was defined as 2 consecutive sampling periods with negative surveillance cultures. Recurrent colonization was defined as any positive MRSA surveillance culture after clearance. Index cases with recurrent MRSA colonization were compared with those without recurrence on the basis of antibiotic exposure, household demographic characteristics, and presence of MRSA colonization in household members.
The study cohort comprised 195 index cases; recurrent MRSA colonization occurred in 85 (43.6%). Median time to recurrence was 53 days (interquartile range, 36–84 days). Treatment with clindamycin was associated with lower risk of recurrence (odds ratio, 0.52; 95% CI, 0.29–0.93). Higher percentage of household members younger than 18 was associated with increased risk of recurrence (odds ratio, 1.01; 95% CI, 1.00–1.02). The association between MRSA colonization in household members and recurrent colonization in index cases did not reach statistical significance in primary analyses.
A large proportion of patients initially presenting with MRSA skin and soft-tissue infection will have recurrent colonization after clearance. The reduced rate of recurrent colonization associated with clindamycin may indicate a unique role for this antibiotic in the treatment of such infection.
Infect. Control Hosp. Epidemiol. 2015;36(7):786–793