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Upper Ordovician (Katian) strata of the Lake Simcoe region of Ontario record a spectacularly diverse and abundant echinoderm fauna known as the Brechin Lagerstätte. Despite recognition as the most taxonomically diverse Katian crinoid paleocommunity, the Brechin Lagerstätte has received relatively little taxonomic study since Frank Springer published his classic monograph on the “Kirkfield fauna” in 1911.
Using a new collection of exceptionally preserved material, we evaluate all dicyclic inadunate crinoids occurring in the Brechin Lagerstätte, which is predominantly comprised of cladids (Eucladida and Flexibilia). We document 15 species across 11 genera, including descriptions of two new genera and four new species. New taxa include Konieckicrinus brechinensis n. gen. n. sp., K. josephi n. gen. n. sp., Simcoecrinus mahalaki n. gen. n. sp., and Dendrocrinus simcoensis n. sp.
Although cladids are not commonly considered major components of the Early Paleozoic Crinoid Macroevolutionary Fauna, which is traditionally conceived as dominated by disparids and diplobathrid camerates, they are the most diverse major lineage of crinoids occurring in the Brechin Lagerstätte. This unexpected result highlights the important roles of specimen-based taxonomy and systematic revisions in the study of large-scale diversity patterns.
A new fossil site in a previously unexplored part of western Madagascar (the Beanka Protected Area) has yielded remains of many recently extinct vertebrates, including giant lemurs (Babakotia radofilai, Palaeopropithecus kelyus, Pachylemur sp., and Archaeolemur edwardsi), carnivores (Cryptoprocta spelea), the aardvark-like Plesiorycteropus sp., and giant ground cuckoos (Coua). Many of these represent considerable range extensions. Extant species that were extirpated from the region (e.g., Prolemur simus) are also present. Calibrated radiocarbon ages for 10 bones from extinct primates span the last three millennia. The largely undisturbed taphonomy of bone deposits supports the interpretation that many specimens fell in from a rock ledge above the entrance. Some primates and other mammals may have been prey items of avian predators, but human predation is also evident. Strontium isotope ratios (87Sr/86Sr) suggest that fossils were local to the area. Pottery sherds and bones of extinct and extant vertebrates with cut and chop marks indicate human activity in previous centuries. Scarcity of charcoal and human artifacts suggests only occasional visitation to the site by humans. The fossil assemblage from this site is unusual in that, while it contains many sloth lemurs, it lacks ratites, hippopotami, and crocodiles typical of nearly all other Holocene subfossil sites on Madagascar.
Subcutaneous adipose tissue (scAT) and peripheral blood mononuclear cells (PBMCs) play a significant role in obesity-associated systemic low-grade inflammation. High-fat diet (HFD) is known to induce inflammatory changes in both scAT and PBMCs. However, the time course of the effect of HFD on these systems is still unknown. The aim of the current study was to determine the time course of the effect of high fat diet (HFD) on PBMCs and scAT. New Zealand white rabbits were fed HFD for 5 or 10 weeks (i.e., HFD-5 and HFD-10), or regular chow (i.e., CNT-5 and CNT-10). Thereafter, metabolic and inflammatory parameters of PBMCs and scAT were quantitated. HFD induced hyperfattyacidemia in HFD-5 and HFD-10 groups, with the development of insulin resistance (IR) in HFD-10, while no changes were observed in scAT lipid metabolism and inflammatory status. HFD activated the inflammatory pathways in PBMCs of HFD-5 group, and induced modified autophagy in that of HFD-10. The rate of fat oxidation in PBMCs was directly associated with the expression of inflammatory markers; and tended to inversely associate with autophagosome formation markers in PBMCs. HFD affected systemic substrate metabolism, and the metabolic, inflammatory, and autophagy pathways in PBMCs in the absence of metabolic and inflammatory changes in scAT. Dietary approaches or interventions to avert HFD-induced changes in PBMCs could be essential in prevention of metabolic and inflammatory complications of obesity, and promote healthier living.
This paper presents a review of the current status of photodiode array systems adapted for Energy Dispersive EXAFS (EDE) using a synchrotron radiation source. The performance of a conventional Reticon PDA is compared with that of a hybrid CCD. The specification of a new detector system for EDE is discussed in the light of experience gained with current linear detectors.
Medicine-related research includes numerous studies on the hazards of mortality and what risk factors are associated with these hazards, such as diseases and treatments. These hazards are estimated in a sample of people and summarised over the observed period. From these observations, inferences can be made about the underlying population and consequently inform medical guidelines for intervention. New health interventions are usually based on these estimated hazards obtained from clinical trials. A lengthy lead time would be needed to observe their effect on population longevity. This paper shows how estimated mortality hazards can be translated to hypothetical changes in life expectancies at the individual and population levels. For an individual, the relative hazards are translated into the number of years gained or lost in “effective age”, which is the average chronological age with the same risk profile. This translation from hazard ratio to effective age could be used to explain to individuals the consequences of various diseases and lifestyle choices and as a result persuade clients in life and health insurance to pursue a healthier lifestyle. At the population level, a period life expectancy is a weighted average of component life expectancies associated with the particular risk profiles, with the weights defined by the prevalences of the risk factor of interest and the uptake of the relevant intervention. Splitting the overall life expectancy into these components allows us to estimate hypothetical changes in life expectancy at the population level at different morbidity and uptake scenarios. These calculations are illustrated by two examples of medical interventions and their impact on life expectancy, which are beta blockers in heart attack survivors and blood pressure treatment in hypertensive patients. The second example also illustrates the dangers of applying the results from clinical trials to much wider populations.
Cancer-related fatigue (CRF) is one of the most commonly reported disease- and treatment-related side effects that impede quality of life. This systematic review and meta-analysis describes the effects of nutrition therapy on CRF and quality of life in people with cancer and cancer survivors. Studies were identified from four electronic databases until September 2017. Eligibility criteria included randomised trials in cancer patients and survivors; any structured dietary intervention describing quantities, proportions, varieties and frequencies of food groups or energy and macronutrient consumption targets; and measures of CRF and quality of life. Standardised mean differences (SMD) were pooled using random-effects models. The American Dietetic Association’s Evidence Analysis Library Quality Checklist for Primary Research was used to evaluate the methodological quality and risk of bias. A total of sixteen papers, of fifteen interventions, were included, comprising 1290 participants. Nutrition therapy offered no definitive effect on CRF (SMD 0·18 (95 % CI –0·02, 0·39)) or quality of life (SMD 0·07 (95 % CI –0·10, 0·24)). Preliminary evidence indicates plant-based dietary pattern nutrition therapy may benefit CRF (SMD 0·62 (95 % CI 0·10, 1·15)). Interventions using the patient-generated subjective global assessment tool and prescribing hypermetabolic energy and protein requirements may improve quality of life. However, the heterogeneity seen in study design, nutrition therapies, quality-of-life measures and cancer types impede definitive dietary recommendations to improve quality of life for cancer patients. There is insufficient evidence to determine the optimal nutrition care plan to improve CRF and/or quality of life in cancer patients and survivors.
The aim of this study was to compare the effect of Hurricane Maria on internalizing and posttraumatic stress disorders (PTSD) among Puerto Ricans who moved to Florida after the storm versus those who stayed on the island.
In March through April 2018 (6 months after Hurricane Maria), an online survey was used to assess the effects of the storm on mental health. A sample of 213 displaced Puerto Ricans living in urban and rural/suburban areas in Florida, as well as urban and rural areas of Puerto Rico, participated in the study.
Rates of PTSD were high in both sites (Florida, 65.7%; Puerto Rico, 43.6%); however, participants in Florida were far more likely than those in Puerto Rico to meet diagnostic criteria for PTSD (OR, 2.94; 95% CI, 1.67-5.26). Among participants in both Florida and Puerto Rico, those living in urban areas were more likely than those in rural/suburban areas to meet criteria for PTSD and generalized anxiety disorder.
Results suggest that post-Hurricane Maria adjustment and adaptation may have been more psychologically taxing for Puerto Ricans who moved to Florida than it was for those who remained on the island, and more difficult for those in urban areas than it was for those in suburban or rural areas. (Disaster Med Public Health Preparedness. 2019;13:24–27)
Locally acquired hepatitis A infection is re-emerging in Australia owing to person-to-person outbreaks among men who have sex with men and imported frozen produce. This paper describes a multi-state foodborne outbreak in the first half of 2018. Enhanced human epidemiological investigation including a case–control study, as well as microbial surveillance and trace-back investigations concluded that the outbreak was caused by consumption of imported frozen pomegranate arils. A total of 30 cases of hepatitis A infection, genotype IB with identical sequences met the outbreak case definition, including 27 primary cases and three secondary cases. Twenty-five (83%) of the cases were hospitalised for their illness and there was one death. Imported frozen pomegranate arils from Egypt were strongly implicated as the source of infection through case interviews (19 of 26 primary cases) as well as from a case–control study (adjusted odds ratio 43.4, 95% confidence interval 4.2–448.8, P = 0.002). Hepatitis A virus (HAV) was subsequently detected by polymerase chain reaction in two food samples of the frozen pomegranate aril product. This outbreak was detected and responded to promptly owing to routine genetic characterisation of HAVs from all hepatitis A infections in Australia as part of a national hepatitis A enhanced surveillance project. This is now the third outbreak of hepatitis A in Australia from imported frozen fruits. A re-assessment of the risk of these types of imported foods is strongly recommended.
We implemented a cross-sectional study in Tana River County, Kenya, a Rift Valley fever (RVF)-endemic area, to quantify the strength of association between RVF virus (RVFv) seroprevalences in livestock and humans, and their respective intra-cluster correlation coefficients (ICCs). The study involved 1932 livestock from 152 households and 552 humans from 170 households. Serum samples were collected and screened for anti-RVFv immunoglobulin G (IgG) antibodies using inhibition IgG enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA). Data collected were analysed using generalised linear mixed effects models, with herd/household and village being fitted as random variables. The overall RVFv seroprevalences in livestock and humans were 25.41% (95% confidence interval (CI) 23.49–27.42%) and 21.20% (17.86–24.85%), respectively. The presence of at least one seropositive animal in a household was associated with an increased odds of exposure in people of 2.23 (95% CI 1.03–4.84). The ICCs associated with RVF virus seroprevalence in livestock were 0.30 (95% CI 0.19–0.44) and 0.22 (95% CI 0.12–0.38) within and between herds, respectively. These findings suggest that there is a greater variability of RVF virus exposure between than within herds. We discuss ways of using these ICC estimates in observational surveys for RVF in endemic areas and postulate that the design of the sentinel herd surveillance should consider patterns of RVF clustering to enhance its effectiveness as an early warning system for RVF epidemics.
Cryo-electron microscopy (cryo-EM) is a powerful tool for macromolecular to near-atomic resolution structure determination in the biological sciences. The specimen is maintained in a near-native environment within a thin film of vitreous ice and imaged in a transmission electron microscope. The images can then be processed by a number of computational methods to produce three-dimensional information. Recent advances in sample preparation, imaging, and data processing have led to tremendous growth in the field of cryo-EM by providing higher resolution structures and the ability to investigate macromolecules within the context of the cell. Here, we review developments in sample preparation methods and substrates, detectors, phase plates, and cryo-correlative light and electron microscopy that have contributed to this expansion. We also have included specific biological applications.
Accurate assessments of population sizes and trends are fundamental for effective species conservation, particularly for social and long-lived species in which low reproductive rates, aging demographic structure and Allee effects could interact to drive rapid population declines. In the parrots (Order Psittaciformes) these life history characteristics have combined with habitat loss and capture for the pet trade to lead to widespread endangerment, with over 40% of species classified under some level of threat. Here we report the results of a population survey of one such species, the Yellow-naped Amazon, Amazona auropalliata, that is classified as ‘Endangered’ on the IUCN Red List. We conducted a comprehensive survey in June and July of 2016 of 44 night roosts of the populations in contiguous Pacific lowlands of northern Costa Rica and southern Nicaragua and compared numbers in Costa Rica to those found in a similar survey conducted in June 2005. In 2016 we counted 990 birds across 25 sites surveyed in Costa Rica and 692 birds across 19 sites surveyed in Nicaragua for a total population estimate of only 1,682 birds. Comparisons of 13 sites surveyed in both 2005 and 2016 in Costa Rica showed a strong and statistically significant decline in population numbers over the 11-year period. Assessment of group sizes approaching or leaving roosts indicated that less than 25% of groups consisted of three or more birds; there was a significantly higher proportion of these putative family groups observed in Nicaragua than Costa Rica. Taken together, these results are cause for substantial concern for the health of this species in a region that has previously been considered its stronghold, and suggest that stronger conservation action should be undertaken to protect remaining populations from capture for the pet trade and loss of key habitat.
The Brechin Lagerstätte (Katian, Ordovician) from the Lake Simcoe region of Ontario, Canada contains a diverse array of echinoderms. Here, we describe seven disparid and two hybocrinid crinoids (subclass Pentacrinoidea, infraclass Inadunata), including a new disparid species belonging to the Anomalocrinidae (order Homocrinida). In total, the disparids include Anomalocrinus astrictus n. sp.; Cremacrinus guttenbergensis Kolata, 1975; C. inaequalis Billings, 1859; Daedalocrinus bellevillensis Billings, 1883; Eustenocrinus springeri Ulrich, 1925; Iocrinus trentonensis Walcott, 1883; and Isotomocrinus tenuis Billings, 1857b. The hybocrinids include Hybocrinus tumidus Billings, 1857a and Hybocystites problematicus Wetherby, 1880. Previously known from only the holotype, three additional specimens of E. springeri expand our understanding of this unusual crinoid. Nomenclatural acts include: (1) the recommended designation of D. kirki Ulrich, 1925 as a junior synonym of D. bellevillensis is followed; (2) Hybocrinus pristinus Billings, 1858 is designated as a junior synonym of H. tumidus, and previous decisions are followed to retain Hybocystites eldonensis (Parks, 1908) as a junior synonym of H. problematicus; (3) although probably assignable to Anomalocrinus Meek and Worthen, 1865, the aberrant crinoid Glaucocrinus falconeri Parks and Alcock, 1912, and its genus Glaucocrinus Parks and Alcock, 1912, are designated as nomena dubia; (4) Iocrinus similis (Billings, 1857) is also designated as a nomen dubium; and (5) Iocrinus subcrassus torontoensis Fritz, 1925 is designated a junior synonym of I. subcrassus Meek and Worthen, 1865.
BACKGROUND: IGTS is a rare phenomenon of paradoxical germ cell tumor (GCT) growth during or following treatment despite normalization of tumor markers. We sought to evaluate the frequency, clinical characteristics and outcome of IGTS in patients in 21 North-American and Australian institutions. METHODS: Patients with IGTS diagnosed from 2000-2017 were retrospectively evaluated. RESULTS: Out of 739 GCT diagnoses, IGTS was identified in 33 patients (4.5%). IGTS occurred in 9/191 (4.7%) mixed-malignant GCTs, 4/22 (18.2%) immature teratomas (ITs), 3/472 (0.6%) germinomas/germinomas with mature teratoma, and in 17 secreting non-biopsied tumours. Median age at GCT diagnosis was 10.9 years (range 1.8-19.4). Male gender (84%) and pineal location (88%) predominated. Of 27 patients with elevated markers, median serum AFP and Beta-HCG were 70 ng/mL (range 9.2-932) and 44 IU/L (range 4.2-493), respectively. IGTS occurred at a median time of 2 months (range 0.5-32) from diagnosis, during chemotherapy in 85%, radiation in 3%, and after treatment completion in 12%. Surgical resection was attempted in all, leading to gross total resection in 76%. Most patients (79%) resumed GCT chemotherapy/radiation after surgery. At a median follow-up of 5.3 years (range 0.3-12), all but 2 patients are alive (1 succumbed to progressive disease, 1 to malignant transformation of GCT). CONCLUSION: IGTS occurred in less than 5% of patients with GCT and most commonly after initiation of chemotherapy. IGTS was more common in patients with IT-only on biopsy than with mixed-malignant GCT. Surgical resection is a principal treatment modality. Survival outcomes for patients who developed IGTS are favourable.
There is remarkably little documented information in the scientific literature on any of the 18 species of buttonquail as they are very difficult to observe in the wild. This lack of information has hampered informed conservation decision making. We undertook the first biome-wide survey for the fynbos endemic Hottentot Buttonquail Turnix hottentottus, using flush transect surveys covering 275 km. We used location data for sightings as well as from records reported by the bird-watching community and modelled distribution using MaxEnt. Encounters were restricted to the fynbos biome, and the top contributors to our prediction of suitable habitat were habitat transformation, slope and time since fire. We obtained a density estimate of 0.032 individuals per hectare which, across an estimated median range of 27,855 km2, provides a population estimate of 89,136 individuals. Given the extent of the range and the population estimate we suggest the IUCN Red List status could be ‘Vulnerable’, rather than ‘Endangered’. Agricultural and alien-vegetation encroachment means that the future of the species is certainly under threat and further studies are needed to inform conservation management.