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Decisions on the use of nature reflect the values and rights of individuals, communities and society at large. The values of nature are expressed through cultural norms, rules and legislation, and they can be elicited using a wide range of tools, including those of economics. None of the approaches to elicit peoples’ values are neutral. Unequal power relations influence valuation and decision-making and are at the core of most environmental conflicts. As actors in sustainability thinking, environmental scientists and practitioners are becoming more aware of their own posture, normative stance, responsibility and relative power in society. Based on a transdisciplinary workshop, our perspective paper provides a normative basis for this new community of scientists and practitioners engaged in the plural valuation of nature.
Alterations of the gut microbiome have been associated with obesity and metabolic disorders. The gut microbiota can be influenced by the intake of dietary fibres with prebiotic properties, such as inulin-type fructans. The present study tested the hypothesis that obese individuals subjected for 12 weeks to an inulin-enriched v. inulin-poor diet have differential faecal fermentation patterns. The fermentation of cellulose and inulin hydrolysates of six different inulin-rich and inulin-poor vegetables of both groups was analysed in vitro on faecal inocula. The results showed that the microbiota from obese patients who received a fructan-rich diet for 3 weeks produces more gas and total SCFA compared with the microbiota taken from the same individuals before the treatment. Obese individuals fed with a low-fructan diet produce less gas and less SCFA compared with the treated group. The present study highlighted profound changes in microbiota fermentation capacity obtained by prebiotic intervention in obese individuals, which favours the production of specific bioactive metabolites.
Despite established clinical associations among major depression (MD), alcohol dependence (AD), and alcohol consumption (AC), the nature of the causal relationship between them is not completely understood. We leveraged genome-wide data from the Psychiatric Genomics Consortium (PGC) and UK Biobank to test for the presence of shared genetic mechanisms and causal relationships among MD, AD, and AC.
Linkage disequilibrium score regression and Mendelian randomization (MR) were performed using genome-wide data from the PGC (MD: 135 458 cases and 344 901 controls; AD: 10 206 cases and 28 480 controls) and UK Biobank (AC-frequency: 438 308 individuals; AC-quantity: 307 098 individuals).
Positive genetic correlation was observed between MD and AD (rgMD−AD = + 0.47, P = 6.6 × 10−10). AC-quantity showed positive genetic correlation with both AD (rgAD−AC quantity = + 0.75, P = 1.8 × 10−14) and MD (rgMD−AC quantity = + 0.14, P = 2.9 × 10−7), while there was negative correlation of AC-frequency with MD (rgMD−AC frequency = −0.17, P = 1.5 × 10−10) and a non-significant result with AD. MR analyses confirmed the presence of pleiotropy among these four traits. However, the MD-AD results reflect a mediated-pleiotropy mechanism (i.e. causal relationship) with an effect of MD on AD (beta = 0.28, P = 1.29 × 10−6). There was no evidence for reverse causation.
This study supports a causal role for genetic liability of MD on AD based on genetic datasets including thousands of individuals. Understanding mechanisms underlying MD-AD comorbidity addresses important public health concerns and has the potential to facilitate prevention and intervention efforts.
One of the typical roles of industrial–organizational (I-O) psychologists working as practitioners is administering employee surveys measuring job satisfaction/engagement. Traditionally, this work has involved developing (or choosing) the items for the survey, administering the items to employees, analyzing the data, and providing stakeholders with summary results (e.g., percentages of positive responses, item means). In recent years, I-O psychologists moved into uncharted territory via the use of survey key driver analysis (SKDA), which aims to identify the most critical items in a survey for action planning purposes. Typically, this analysis involves correlating (or regressing) a self-report criterion item (e.g., “considering everything, how satisfied are you with your job”) with (or on) each of the remaining survey items in an attempt to identify which items are “driving” job satisfaction/engagement. It is also possible to use an index score (i.e., a scale score formed from several items) as the criterion instead of a single item. That the criterion measure (regardless of being a single item or an index) is internal to the survey from which predictors are drawn distinguishes this practice from linkage research. This methodology is not widely covered in survey methodology coursework, and there are few peer-reviewed articles on it. Yet, a number of practitioners are marketing this service to their clients. In this focal article, a group of practitioners with extensive applied survey research experience uncovers several methodological issues with SKDA. Data from a large multiorganizational survey are used to back up claims about these issues. One issue is that SKDA ignores the psychometric reality that item standard deviations impact which items are chosen as drivers. Another issue is that the analysis ignores the factor structure of survey item responses. Furthermore, conducting this analysis each time a survey is administered conflicts with the lack of situational and temporal specificity. Additionally, it is problematic to imply causal relationships from the correlational data seen in most surveys. Most surprisingly, randomly choosing items out of a hat yields validities similar to those from conducting the analysis. Thus, we recommend that survey providers stop conducting SKDA until they can produce science that backs up this practice. These issues, in concert with the lack of literature examining the practice, make rigorous evaluations of SKDA a timely inquiry.
Euclid is a Europe-led cosmology space mission dedicated to a visible and near infrared survey of the entire extra-galactic sky. Its purpose is to deepen our knowledge of the dark content of our Universe. After an overview of the Euclid mission and science, this contribution describes how the community is getting organized to face the data analysis challenges, both in software development and in operational data processing matters. It ends with a more specific account of some of the main contributions of the Swiss Science Data Center (SDC-CH).
The public health burden of alcohol is unevenly distributed across the life course, with levels of use, abuse, and dependence increasing across adolescence and peaking in early adulthood. Here, we leverage this temporal patterning to search for common genetic variants predicting developmental trajectories of alcohol consumption. Comparable psychiatric evaluations measuring alcohol consumption were collected in three longitudinal community samples (N = 2,126, obs = 12,166). Consumption-repeated measurements spanning adolescence and early adulthood were analyzed using linear mixed models, estimating individual consumption trajectories, which were then tested for association with Illumina 660W-Quad genotype data (866,099 SNPs after imputation and QC). Association results were combined across samples using standard meta-analysis methods. Four meta-analysis associations satisfied our pre-determined genome-wide significance criterion (FDR < 0.1) and six others met our ‘suggestive’ criterion (FDR <0.2). Genome-wide significant associations were highly biological plausible, including associations within GABA transporter 1, SLC6A1 (solute carrier family 6, member 1), and exonic hits in LOC100129340 (mitofusin-1-like). Pathway analyses elaborated single marker results, indicating significant enriched associations to intuitive biological mechanisms, including neurotransmission, xenobiotic pharmacodynamics, and nuclear hormone receptors (NHR). These findings underscore the value of combining longitudinal behavioral data and genome-wide genotype information in order to study developmental patterns and improve statistical power in genomic studies.
In cats, the incidence of obesity and diabetes is increasing, and little is known about specific aspects of the endocrine control of food intake in this species. Recent data suggest that ghrelin has an important role in the control of insulin secretion and vice versa, but this role has never been demonstrated in cats. Here we aimed to improve our understanding about the relationship between insulin, amylin and ghrelin secretion in response to a nutrient load in overweight cats. After a 16 h fast, weekly, six overweight male cats underwent randomly one of the four testing sessions: saline, glucose, arginine and TAG. All solutions were isoenergetic and isovolumic, and were injected intravenously as a bolus. Glucose, insulin, acylated ghrelin (AG), amylin and prolactin were assayed in plasma before and 10, 20, 40, 60, 80 and 100 min after the nutrient load. A linear mixed-effects model was used to assess the effect of bolus and time on the parameters. A parenteral bolus of glucose or arginine increased insulin and ghrelin concentrations in cats. Except for with the TAG bolus, no suppression of ghrelin was observed. The absence of AG suppression after the intravenous load of arginine and glucose may suggest: (1) that some nutrients do not promote satiation in overweight cats; or that (2) AG may be involved in non-homeostatic consumption mechanisms. However, the role of ghrelin in food reward remains to be assessed in cats.
Motivated by repeated price spikes and crashes over the last decade, we investigate whether the growing market shares of futures speculators destabilize commodity spot prices. We approximate conditional volatility and analyze how it is affected by speculative open interest. In this context, we split our sample into two equally long subperiods and document whether the speculative impact on conditional volatility increases. With respect to six heavily traded agricultural and energy commodities, we do not find robust evidence that this is the case. We thus conclude that the financialization of raw material markets does not make them more volatile.
A robust processing route at low cost is an essential requirement for high-temperature materials used in automotive engines. Because of their excellent high-temperature properties, their low density, high elastic modulus as well as high specific strength, intermetallic γ-TiAl based alloys are potential candidates for application in advanced automotive turbochargers. So-called 3rd generation alloys, such as TNM™ alloys with a nominal composition of Ti-43.5Al-4Nb-1Mo-0.1B (in at%), are multi-phase alloys consisting of γ-TiAl, α2-Ti3Al and a low volume fraction of βo-TiAl phase. In this paper a novel hot-processing route, which is a combination of a one-shot hot-forging step and a controlled cooling treatment, leads to mechanical properties required for turbocharger turbine wheels. The observed strength can be attributed to the small lamellar spacing within the α2/γ colonies of the nearly lamellar microstructure. In order to analyze the microstructure and the prevailing phase fractions microscopic examinations and X-ray diffraction measurements were conducted. The mechanical properties were determined by hardness measurements as well as tensile and creep tests. The evolution of the microstructure during the hot-forming process is described and its relation to the obtained mechanical properties.
Epidemiological data link adolescent cannabis use to psychosis and schizophrenia, but its contribution to schizophrenia neuropathology remains controversial. First-episode schizophrenia (FES) patients show regional cerebral grey- and white-matter changes as well as a distinct pattern of regional grey-matter loss in the vermis of the cerebellum. The cerebellum possesses a high density of cannabinoid type 1 receptors involved in the neuronal diversification of the developing brain. Cannabis abuse may interfere with this process during adolescent brain maturation leading to ‘schizophrenia-like’ cerebellar pathology. Magnetic resonance imaging and cortical pattern matching techniques were used to investigate cerebellar grey and white matter in FES patients with and without a history of cannabis use and non-psychiatric cannabis users. In the latter group we found lifetime dose-dependent regional reduction of grey matter in the right cerebellar lobules and a tendency for more profound grey-matter reduction in lobule III with younger age at onset of cannabis use. The overall regional grey-matter differences in cannabis users were within the normal variability of grey-matter distribution. By contrast, FES subjects had lower total cerebellar grey-matter:total cerebellar volume ratio and marked grey-matter loss in the vermis, pedunculi, flocculi and lobules compared to pair-wise matched healthy control subjects. This pattern and degree of grey-matter loss did not differ from age-matched FES subjects with comorbid cannabis use. Our findings indicate small dose-dependent effects of juvenile cannabis use on cerebellar neuropathology but no evidence of an additional effect of cannabis use on FES cerebellar grey-matter pathology.