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We investigate the spatial distribution, spectral properties and temporal variability of primary producers (e.g. communities of microbial mats and mosses) throughout the Fryxell basin of Taylor Valley, Antarctica, using high-resolution multispectral remote-sensing data. Our results suggest that photosynthetic communities can be readily detected throughout the Fryxell basin based on their unique near-infrared spectral signatures. Observed intra- and inter-annual variability in spectral signatures are consistent with short-term variations in mat distribution, hydration and photosynthetic activity. Spectral unmixing is also implemented in order to estimate mat abundance, with the most densely vegetated regions observed from orbit correlating spatially with some of the most productive regions of the Fryxell basin. Our work establishes remote sensing as a valuable tool in the study of these ecological communities in the McMurdo Dry Valleys and demonstrates how future scientific investigations and the management of specially protected areas could benefit from these tools and techniques.
For decades, political and private polling operations have informed about the public’s perceptions regarding a range of topics. In particular, universities (e.g., Marist and Quinnipiac) provide noteworthy research to inform and predict the outcomes of US elections. Yet, what role do our classrooms play in advancing the public opinion polling skills of our students? This article uses experiential learning as a descriptive framework to illustrate how a yearlong, immersive, and student-led public opinion polling experience, the Big Sky Poll, advances students’ social-science and data-fluency skills. Our findings suggest important insights into the future of public opinion polling from the vantage point of a rural Western state, which can be replicated in other academic institutions.
Despite its immense popularity at the time of publication in the 1730s, the marquis d'Argens's (Jean-Baptiste de Boyer) Lettres juives is largely overlooked by contemporary political theorists and the history of political thought. The Lettres’ contribution is noteworthy in its multilayered literary presentation incorporating many of the polemics and paradoxes of Enlightenment ideas. It is also significant as an early example of one way that post-Christian thought made use of imagined Jews and Judaism to articulate, debate, and popularize philosophical and political ideas. In this paper, I submit that d'Argens appropriated Christian figural Judaism in the service of secular philosophical inquiry. D'Argens's imagined “Jew in speech” proved to be a fertile ground upon which to conceptualize and debate post-Christian ideas about human nature and secular politics that subsequent diverse thinkers would make use of in the centuries that followed.
Disaster Medicine (DM) is a discipline arising from the marriage of emergency medicine and disaster management. The importance of DM has recently increased, with current wildfire situations throughout the world being examples of mass scale disasters with significant human morbidity and mortality. DM deals with preparedness, mitigation, response, recovery, and prevention of disasters (1).
To develop an educational strategy and reusable format for delivering undergraduate DM courses online. Man-made, weather-related, humanitarian, and technological disasters occur all around the globe annually, yet the majority of medical schools do not have an undergraduate DM program. This project developed an online course structure accessible to medical schools and students throughout the world.
Learning theories and models of learning were used to construct a course layout that encouraged students to be active learners, developed long-term retention strategies, and facilitated assessment for and of learning. This was accomplished through innovative educational modalities, including novel apps and external online resources. The course focuses heavily on outcome-based education with an emphasis on the development of applicable skills. Each lecture is divided into a series of learning objectives to allow students to master concepts sequentially, followed by questions to make use of the “testing effect” (2).
Focused review of current medical education literature reveals that students learn best when given short, outcome-focused “mini-lectures” followed by low-stakes assessment and feedback.
Medical schools without trained DM staff now have access to expert online material developed by educationalists with a focus on skills and knowledge retention.
The transition from adolescent to adult mental health services (AMHS) is associated with disengagement, poor continuity of care and patient dissatisfaction. The aim of this retrospective and descriptive study was to describe the ‘care pathways’ in an independent mental health service when adolescents reach age 18 and to investigate the level of engagement of those who transitioned to independent AMHS.
This is a retrospective, naturalistic and descriptive study in design. All patients discharged from the St Patrick’s Adolescent Mental Health Service aged 17 years and 6 months and older, during a 3-year period between January 2014 and December 2016, were included. Electronic records were used to collect socio-demographic and clinical details and to determine engagement rates in adolescents who transferred to independent adult services.
A total of 180 patients aged over 17 years and 6 months were discharged from the adolescent service. Of these, 45.6% were discharged to their GP, 28.9% to public mental health services and 25.6% to independent mental health services. The majority who transitioned to independent AMHS went to a Young Adult Service, which had high engagement rates at 3 and 12 months post-transition.
In this independent mental health service, less than half of adolescents who reach the transition age are referred onto AMHS. Engagement rates were found to be high among those referred on to a specialised young adult service.
Global climate change poses significant threats to the Caribbean islands. Yet, little is known about the long-term disturbance regimes in island ecosystems. This research investigates 2000 yr of natural and anthropogenic fire disturbance through the analysis of a latitudinal transect of sediment records from coastal salt ponds in the British Virgin Islands (BVI). The two research objectives in this study are (1) to determine the fire regime history for the BVI over the last 2000 yr and (2) to explore ecological impacts from anthropogenic landscape modification pre- and post-European settlement. The magnitude of anthropogenic landscape modification, including the introduction of agriculture, was investigated through a multiproxy approach using sedimentary records of fossil pollen and charcoal. Our results suggest fire regimes from Belmont Pond, Thatch Island, and Skeleton Pond have been influenced by human activity, particularly during the postsettlement era, from 500 cal yr BP to modern. Our results suggest that fire regimes during the Medieval Climate Anomaly were responding to changes in climate via dominant atmospheric drivers. The presettlement fire regimes from these islands suggest that fires occurred every 90 to 120 yr. This research represents a significant data contribution to a region with little disturbance and vegetation data available.
Individual-specific predispositions may precede the cultural evolution of shamanism and may be linked to it via principles of predictive coding. We have used these principles to identify commonalities between clinical and shaman-like non-clinical voice-hearers. The author may find this approach helpful in relating the experiences of shamans to those of their clients.
To describe the behavioural and psychiatric problems found in nursing home psychiatric referrals in the Dublin South city area.
We undertook two consecutive surveys of nursing home referrals to the St James’s Hospital psychiatry of old age service over a 2-year period. During the second survey a new clinical nurse specialist was specifically appointed to manage the seven nursing homes included in the study.
The most common reason for referral during survey one was uncooperative/aggressive behaviour (22%). For survey two, patients were most commonly referred for low mood (31%) or agitation (29%). During survey one, the majority of patients assessed were diagnosed with behavioural and psychological symptoms of dementia (41%). This was also a prevalent diagnosis during survey two, affecting 27% of those referred. Only 7% of patients were considered to be delirious during survey one. This rose to 31% the following year making it the most common diagnosis during survey two. Over the 2-year study period, 7% of referred patients were diagnosed with depression. In terms of prescribing practices, the discontinuation rate of antipsychotic mediation following psychiatric input was 13% in survey one. By survey two, this had risen to 47%.
Delirium is often undetected and untreated in nursing homes. Residents presenting with psychiatric symptoms should undergo routine bloods and urinalysis prior to psychiatric referral. Dedicated input from trained psychiatric nursing staff can lead to both an improvement in the recognition of delirium and reduced prescribing rates of antipsychotic medication.
Primary progressive aphasia (PPA) affects a range of language and cognitive domains that impact on conversation. Little is known about conversation breakdown in the semantic variant of PPA (svPPA, also known as semantic dementia). This study investigates conversation of people with svPPA.
Dyadic conversations about everyday activities between seven individuals with svPPA and their partners, and seven control pairs were video recorded and transcribed. Number of words, turns, and length of turns were measured. Trouble-indicating behaviors (TIBs) and repair behaviors were categorized and identified as successful or not for each participant in each dyad.
In general, individuals with svPPA were active participants in conversation, taking an equal proportion of turns, but indicating a great deal of more trouble in conversation, shown by the significantly higher number of TIBs than evidenced by partners or control participants. TIBs were interactive (asking for confirmation with a shorter repetition of the original utterance or a repetition which included a request for specific information) and non-interactive (such as failing to take up or continue the topic or a minimal response) and unlike those previously reported for people with other PPA variants and dementia of the Alzheimer type. Communication behaviors of the partner were critical to conversational success.
Examination of trouble and repair in 10-min conversations of individuals with svPPA and their important communication partners has potential to inform speech pathology interventions to enhance successful conversation, in svPPA and should be an integral part of the comprehensive care plan.
Background: Surgery to remove dumbbell nerve sheath tumors (NST) is complex, and is accompanied by significant operative and perioperative challenges. Historically, resection of dumbbell NST required large operations involving opening the chest and laminectomy, often accompanied by instrumentation. We describe a case series of 5 patients who underwent single stage thorascopic-guided resection of dumbbell schwannoma at our institution. Methods: 5 cases presented consisted of moderate to large NST, which contained intraforaminal components. Tumor location ranged from T3-T9, with most tumors spanning 2-3 vertebral bodies. Presentation ranged from discomfort/pain (most common) to one presentation of neurologic deficit with difficulty with ambulation. Results: Thorascopic assisted resection accomplished gross total resection in 4 of the 5 cases. In all cases there was no significant neurologic deficit, although one patient reported transient numbness following the operation and all patients made significant improvement post operatively. The length of stay for these cases ranged from 1-6 days. Conclusions: Thorascopic assisted resection of dumbbell NST can be performed safely and with good outcomes by using the corridor the tumor produces. This approach reduces the need for instrumentation, length of stay and post operative complication rates relative to traditional approaches. To perform this approach effectively, good co-operation between the neurosurgeon and thoracic surgeon needs to be present.
The existence of a frontotemporal dementia phenocopy (phFTD) syndrome remains controversial. Opinions differ on whether the phenocopy presentation represents the neuropsychological manifestation of a mid-life decompensation in vulnerable pre-morbid personalities or an indolent prodrome of behavioral-variant FTD (bvFTD). Literature on this topic is sparse and clinicians and patients have little guidance around prognosis and management.
To describe the demographic, neuropsychological and biomarker profiles of a case series of phFTD patients, attending the memory clinic and review relevant literature.
Retrospective review of all cases diagnosed with phFTD.
Eleven cases were identified (male = 9, female = 2). Mean age 55.8 years. Subjective complaints comprised memory and language difficulties. Collateral reports described apathy, aggression, impulsivity, disinhibition, hyperorality. Function was relatively preserved though motivation or supervision for higher-level tasks was sometimes required. All had non-neurodegenerative MRI and PET scans. Neuropsychological test (NPT) findings predominantly showed executive dysfunction and fluency impairment. A total of 3/11 had non-amnestic memory impairment. Follow-up imaging and NPT were invariably unchanged; 1/11 had a pre-morbid psychiatric diagnosis; 5/11 had unusual personality traits pre-morbidly. Major psychosocial stressors were documented in 7/11. Management consisted of psychosocial interventions to support function and interpersonal relationships.
The literature describes the phFTD syndrome as predominantly affecting males though we include 2 females who meet the criteria. In keeping with our findings, personality traits and psychosocial stressors may be more common in phFTD than bvFTD. More severe symptoms, memory impairment at presentation and C9ORF72 gene mutation may predict eventual progression. Those who do not progress have minimal long-term functional impairment though behavioral symptoms persist.
Disclosure of interest
The authors have not supplied their declaration of competing interest.
Methanol is ubiquitous in star-forming regions, and has recently been detected in a protoplanetary disk. Astrochemical models have shown that methanol photolysis contributes to complex organic chemistry in interstellar ices. While some methanol photolysis branching ratios have been measured, infrared condensed-phase measurements rely on assumptions about the chemistry, and mass spectrometric measurements cannot distinguish structural isomers. To address these challenges, we are using pure rotational spectroscopy to quantitatively probe the methanol photolysis products. We use a VUV laser to dissociate methanol in the throat of a supersonic expansion, and probe the products downstream after cooling is complete. We then use a rotational diagram analysis to determine the relative density of each product relative to methanol. We have detected the methoxy, hydroxymethyl, and formaldehyde photolysis products. We present here the experimental setup and the initial results and discuss these results in the context of interstellar chemistry.
Major depressive disorder (MDD) is a common and disabling condition with well-established heritability and environmental risk factors. Gene–environment interaction studies in MDD have typically investigated candidate genes, though the disorder is known to be highly polygenic. This study aims to test for interaction between polygenic risk and stressful life events (SLEs) or childhood trauma (CT) in the aetiology of MDD.
The RADIANT UK sample consists of 1605 MDD cases and 1064 controls with SLE data, and a subset of 240 cases and 272 controls with CT data. Polygenic risk scores (PRS) were constructed using results from a mega-analysis on MDD by the Psychiatric Genomics Consortium. PRS and environmental factors were tested for association with case/control status and for interaction between them.
PRS significantly predicted depression, explaining 1.1% of variance in phenotype (p = 1.9 × 10−6). SLEs and CT were also associated with MDD status (p = 2.19 × 10−4 and p = 5.12 × 10−20, respectively). No interactions were found between PRS and SLEs. Significant PRSxCT interactions were found (p = 0.002), but showed an inverse association with MDD status, as cases who experienced more severe CT tended to have a lower PRS than other cases or controls. This relationship between PRS and CT was not observed in independent replication samples.
CT is a strong risk factor for MDD but may have greater effect in individuals with lower genetic liability for the disorder. Including environmental risk along with genetics is important in studying the aetiology of MDD and PRS provide a useful approach to investigating gene–environment interactions in complex traits.
It is unknown whether prodromal services improve outcomes in those who go on to develop psychosis, and whether these patients are demographically different from the overall first-episode population.
To compare sociodemographic features, duration of untreated psychosis, hospital admission and frequency of compulsory treatment in the first year after the onset of psychosis in patients who present to prodromal services with patients who did not present to services until the first episode of psychosis.
We compared two groups of patients with first-episode psychosis: one who made transition after presenting in the prodromal phase and the other who had presented with a first episode.
The patients who had presented before the first episode were more likely to be employed and less likely to belong to an ethnic minority group. They had a shorter duration of untreated psychosis, and were less likely to have been admitted to hospital and to have required compulsory treatment.
Patients who develop psychosis after being engaged in the prodromal phase have a better short-term clinical outcome than patients who do not present until the first episode. Patients who present during first episodes may be more likely to have sociodemographic features associated with relatively poor outcomes.
Strategies to dissect phenotypic and genetic heterogeneity of major depressive disorder (MDD) have mainly relied on subphenotypes, such as age at onset (AAO) and recurrence/episodicity. Yet, evidence on whether these subphenotypes are familial or heritable is scarce. The aims of this study are to investigate the familiality of AAO and episode frequency in MDD and to assess the proportion of their variance explained by common single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNP heritability).
For investigating familiality, we used 691 families with 2–5 full siblings with recurrent MDD from the DeNt study. We fitted (square root) AAO and episode count in a linear and a negative binomial mixed model, respectively, with family as random effect and adjusting for sex, age and center. The strength of familiality was assessed with intraclass correlation coefficients (ICC). For estimating SNP heritabilities, we used 3468 unrelated MDD cases from the RADIANT and GSK Munich studies. After similarly adjusting for covariates, derived residuals were used with the GREML method in GCTA (genome-wide complex trait analysis) software.
Significant familial clustering was found for both AAO (ICC = 0.28) and episodicity (ICC = 0.07). We calculated from respective ICC estimates the maximal additive heritability of AAO (0.56) and episodicity (0.15). SNP heritability of AAO was 0.17 (p = 0.04); analysis was underpowered for calculating SNP heritability of episodicity.
AAO and episodicity aggregate in families to a moderate and small degree, respectively. AAO is under stronger additive genetic control than episodicity. Larger samples are needed to calculate the SNP heritability of episodicity. The described statistical framework could be useful in future analyses.
Breastfeeding has been an important survival trait during human history, though it has long been recognized that individuals differ in their exact breastfeeding behavior. Here our aims were, first, to explore to what extent genetic and environmental influences contributed to the individual differences in breastfeeding behavior; second, to detect possible genetic variants related to breastfeeding; and lastly, to test if the genetic variants associated with breastfeeding have been previously found to be related with breast size. Data were collected from a large community-based cohort of Australian twins, with 3,364 women participating in the twin modelling analyses and 1,521 of them included in the genome-wide association study (GWAS). Monozygotic (MZ) twin correlations (rMZ = 0.52, 95% CI 0.46–0.57) were larger than dizygotic (DZ) twin correlations (rDZ = 0.35, 95% CI 0.25–0.43) and the best-fitting model was the one composed by additive genetics and unique environmental factors, explaining 53% and 47% of the variance in breastfeeding behavior, respectively. No breastfeeding-related genetic variants reached genome-wide significance. The polygenic risk score analyses showed no significant results, suggesting breast size does not influence breastfeeding. This study confers a replication of a previous one exploring the sources of variance of breastfeeding and, to our knowledge, is the first one to conduct a GWAS on breastfeeding and look at the overlap with variants for breast size.