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In this chapter, the air pollution trends in historical London (1950 – 66) and contemporary Beijing (2000 – 16) are compared. In both cases, coal is the main source of air pollution, due to coal-fired electricity generation and coal-burning activities that provide heating. In London, the Clean Air Act of 1956 marked a successful milestone in the history of air pollution abatement in the UK. In Beijing, various policies have been introduced but air qualities in China have not been improved substantially. By examining the effectiveness of respective pollution control regulations/policies in a broader socioeconomic context, policy implications on respective jurisdictions are drawn. For effective implementation of air pollution control policies at the local level, it would be good for China to move beyond simply introducing stringent policies and regulations at the central or the provincial level. More resources can be re-directed to resolving the competing interests of stakeholders across different levels of jurisdictions.
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.
Personality neuroscience aims to find associations between brain measures and personality traits. Findings to date have been severely limited by a number of factors, including small sample size and omission of out-of-sample prediction. We capitalized on the recent availability of a large database, together with the emergence of specific criteria for best practices in neuroimaging studies of individual differences. We analyzed resting-state functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) data from 884 young healthy adults in the Human Connectome Project database. We attempted to predict personality traits from the “Big Five,” as assessed with the Neuroticism/Extraversion/Openness Five-Factor Inventory test, using individual functional connectivity matrices. After regressing out potential confounds (such as age, sex, handedness, and fluid intelligence), we used a cross-validated framework, together with test-retest replication (across two sessions of resting-state fMRI for each subject), to quantify how well the neuroimaging data could predict each of the five personality factors. We tested three different (published) denoising strategies for the fMRI data, two intersubject alignment and brain parcellation schemes, and three different linear models for prediction. As measurement noise is known to moderate statistical relationships, we performed final prediction analyses using average connectivity across both imaging sessions (1 hr of data), with the analysis pipeline that yielded the highest predictability overall. Across all results (test/retest; three denoising strategies; two alignment schemes; three models), Openness to experience emerged as the only reliably predicted personality factor. Using the full hour of resting-state data and the best pipeline, we could predict Openness to experience (NEOFAC_O: r=.24, R2=.024) almost as well as we could predict the score on a 24-item intelligence test (PMAT24_A_CR: r=.26, R2=.044). Other factors (Extraversion, Neuroticism, Agreeableness, and Conscientiousness) yielded weaker predictions across results that were not statistically significant under permutation testing. We also derived two superordinate personality factors (“α” and “β”) from a principal components analysis of the Neuroticism/Extraversion/Openness Five-Factor Inventory factor scores, thereby reducing noise and enhancing the precision of these measures of personality. We could account for 5% of the variance in the β superordinate factor (r=.27, R2=.050), which loads highly on Openness to experience. We conclude with a discussion of the potential for predicting personality from neuroimaging data and make specific recommendations for the field.
The arterial switch operation for transposition of the great arteries was initially believed to be an anatomical correction. Recent evidence shows reduced exercise capacity and left ventricular function in varying degrees in the long term after an arterial switch operation.
To perform a meta-analysis on long-term exercise capacity and left ventricular ejection fraction after an arterial switch operation.
A literature search was performed to cover all studies on patients who had undergone a minimum of 6 years of follow-up that reported either left ventricular ejection fraction, peak oxygen uptake, peak workload, and/or peak heart rate. A meta-analysis was performed if more than three studies reported the outcome of interest.
A total of 21 studies reported on the outcomes of interest. Oxygen uptake was consistently lower in patients who had undergone an arterial switch operation compared with healthy controls, with a pooled average peak oxygen uptake of 87.5±2.9% of predicted. The peak heart rate was also lower compared with that of controls, at 92±2% of predicted. Peak workload was significantly reduced in two studies. Pooled left ventricular ejection fraction was normal at 60.7±7.2%.
Exercise capacity is reduced and left ventricular ejection fraction is preserved in the long term after an arterial switch operation for transposition of the great arteries.
Glacier surface mass-balance measurements on Greenland started more than a century ago, but no compilation exists of the observations from the ablation area of the ice sheet and local glaciers. Such data could be used in the evaluation of modelled surface mass balance, or to document changes in glacier melt independently from model output. Here, we present a comprehensive database of Greenland glacier surface mass-balance observations from the ablation area of the ice sheet and local glaciers. The database spans the 123 a from 1892 to 2015, contains a total of ~3000 measurements from 46 sites, and is openly accessible through the PROMICE web portal (http://www.promice.dk). For each measurement we provide X, Y and Z coordinates, starting and ending dates as well as quality flags. We give sources for each entry and for all metadata. Two thirds of the data were collected from grey literature and unpublished archive documents. Roughly 60% of the measurements were performed by the Geological Survey of Denmark and Greenland (GEUS, previously GGU). The data cover all regions of Greenland except for the southernmost part of the east coast, but also emphasize the importance of long-term time series of which there are only two exceeding 20 a. We use the data to analyse uncertainties in point measurements of surface mass balance, as well as to estimate surface mass-balance profiles for most regions of Greenland.
For more than one century, the textural B-horizon of the last interglacial soil and its cover deposits have been standing out in Europe as an important pedostratigraphic marker. The complexity of this horizon was well illustrated since the seventies, though its pedological and stratigraphic significance remained doubtful. Macro-, meso- and micromorphological data gathered by the authors at various key-sites in Europe and the sequential correlation principle have resulted in a better understanding of the high complexity of the pedosedimentary and stratigraphical evolution of the last interglacial and early glacial loess succession. The present study identifies four megacyclic pedosedimentary intervals that show a general trend towards dry and continental climatic conditions.
A consistent correlation exists between pedosedimentary evolution and vegetation, as recorded in the Grande Pile pollen record. The picture obtained in the present study is similar for both the Western and the Eastern European loess palaeosol successions. The so-called ‘last interglacial soil’, with three major soil-forming processes, belongs to the Eemian and Saint-Germain I (MIS substages 5e and 5c), whereas the humiferous sediments and soils on top are linked to Melisey II, Saint-Germain II and Ognon I (MIS substages 5b and 5a).The overlying loess, colluvial sediments and humiferous soils that end the palaeosol succession belong to the Ognon II and III interstadials; they record the onset of the early Pleniglacial (MIS stage 4) characterized by a significant increase in aeolian sedimentation.
At the end of 2013 the real yields that the UK government had to pay on its debt were negative over the whole curve. Several possible explanations are available for this phenomenon – central bank action, regulatory changes, demographic developments and economic conditions. The first two can result from deliberate interaction by the state into the financial markets and can be labelled as financial repression. We explain the historic precedents for Governments to use financial repression to manage their debt, look into the influence of regulation on asset allocation for insurers and pension funds, and introduce the concept of a balance-sheet recession.
The potential of various quantitative lateral flow (LF) based assays utilizing up-converting phosphor (UCP) reporters for the diagnosis of schistosomiasis is reviewed including recent developments. Active infections are demonstrated by screening for the presence of regurgitated worm antigens (genus specific polysaccharides), whereas anti-Schistosoma antibodies may indicate ongoing as well as past infections. The circulating anodic antigen (CAA) in serum or urine (and potentially also saliva) is identified as the marker that may allow detection of single-worm infections. Quantitation of antigen levels is a reliable method to study effects of drug administration, worm burden and anti-fecundity mechanisms. Moreover, the ratio of CAA and circulating cathodic antigen (CCA) is postulated to facilitate identification of either Schistosoma mansoni or Schistosoma haematobium infections. The UCP-LF assays allow simultaneous detection of multiple targets on a single strip, a valuable feature for antibody detection assays. Although antibody detection in endemic regions is not a useful tool to diagnose active infections, it gains potential when the ratio of different classes of antibody specific for the parasite/disease can be determined. The UCP-LF antibody assay format allows this type of multiplexing, including testing a linear array of up to 20 different targets. Multiple test spots would allow detection of specific antibodies, e.g. against different Schistosoma species or other pathogens as soil-transmitted helminths. Concluding, the different UCP-LF based assays for diagnosis of schistosomiasis provide a collection of tests with relatively low complexity and high sensitivity, covering the full range of diagnostics needed in control programmes for mapping, screening and monitoring.