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Paleoecological data from the Quaternary Period (2.6 million years ago to present) provides an opportunity for educational outreach for the earth and biological sciences. Paleoecology data repositories serve as technical hubs and focal points within their disciplinary communities and so are uniquely situated to help produce teaching modules and engagement resources. The Neotoma Paleoecology Database provides support to educators from primary schools to graduate students. In collaboration with pedagogical experts, the Neotoma Paleoecology Database team has developed teaching modules and model workflows. Early education is centered on discovery; higher-level educational tools focus on illustrating best practices for technical tasks. Collaborations among pedagogic experts, technical experts and data stewards, centered around data resources such as Neotoma, provide an important role within research communities, and an important service to society, supporting best practices, translating current research advances to interested audiences, and communicating the importance of individual research disciplines.
Oral anticoagulation (OAC) reduces stroke risk in patients with atrial fibrillation (AF) or atrial flutter (AFL). However, OAC initiation rates in patients discharged directly from the emergency department (ED) are low. We aimed to address this care gap by implementing a quality improvement intervention.
The study was performed in four Canadian urban EDs between 2015 and 2016. Patients were included if they had an electrocardiogram (ECG) documenting AF/AFL in the ED, were directly discharged from the ED, and were alive after 90 days. Baseline rates of OAC initiation were determined prior to the intervention. Between June and December 2016, we implemented our intervention in two EDs (ED-intervention), with the remaining sites acting as controls (ED-control). The intervention included a reminder statement prompting OAC initiation according to guideline recommendations, manually added to ECGs with a preliminary interpretation of AF/AFL, along with a decision-support algorithm that included a referral sheet. The primary outcome was the rate of OAC initiation within 90 days of the ED visit.
Prior to the intervention, 37.2% OAC-naïve patients with ECG-documented AF/AFL were initiated on OAC. Following implementation of the intervention, the rate of OAC initiation increased from 38.6% to 47.5% (absolute increase of 8.5%; 95% CI, 0.3% to 16.7%, p=0.04) among the ED-intervention sites, whereas the rate remained unchanged in ED-control sites (35.3% to 35.9%, p=0.9).
Implementation of a quality improvement intervention consisting of a reminder and decision-support tool increased initiation of OAC in high-risk patients. This support package can be readily implemented in other jurisdictions to improve OAC rates for AF/AFL.
Taphonomic factors may significantly alter faunal assemblages at varying scales. An exceptional record of late Holocene (<4000 yr old) mammal faunas establishes a firm baseline to investigate the effects of scale on taphonomy. Our sample contains 73 sites within four contiguous states (North Dakota, South Dakota, Iowa, and Illinois, USA) that transect a strong modern and late Holocene environmental gradient, the prairie–forest ecotone. We performed detrended correspondence (DCA) and non-metric multidimensional scaling (NMDS) analyses. Both DCA and NMDS analyses of the data sets produced virtually the same results, and both failed to reveal the known ecological gradient within each state. However, both DCA and NMDS analyses of the unfiltered multistate data set across the entire gradient clearly reflect an environmental, rather than taphonomic, signal. DCA tended to provide better separation of some clusters than did NMDS in most of the analyses. We conclude that a robust mammal data set collected across a strong environmental gradient will document species turnover without the removal of taphonomic factors. In other words, taphonomy exhibits varying scale-dependent effects.
The Neotoma Paleoecology Database is a community-curated data resource that supports interdisciplinary global change research by enabling broad-scale studies of taxon and community diversity, distributions, and dynamics during the large environmental changes of the past. By consolidating many kinds of data into a common repository, Neotoma lowers costs of paleodata management, makes paleoecological data openly available, and offers a high-quality, curated resource. Neotoma’s distributed scientific governance model is flexible and scalable, with many open pathways for participation by new members, data contributors, stewards, and research communities. The Neotoma data model supports, or can be extended to support, any kind of paleoecological or paleoenvironmental data from sedimentary archives. Data additions to Neotoma are growing and now include >3.8 million observations, >17,000 datasets, and >9200 sites. Dataset types currently include fossil pollen, vertebrates, diatoms, ostracodes, macroinvertebrates, plant macrofossils, insects, testate amoebae, geochronological data, and the recently added organic biomarkers, stable isotopes, and specimen-level data. Multiple avenues exist to obtain Neotoma data, including the Explorer map-based interface, an application programming interface, the neotoma R package, and digital object identifiers. As the volume and variety of scientific data grow, community-curated data resources such as Neotoma have become foundational infrastructure for big data science.
Late Quaternary small mammal faunas document ecological change and biotic responses to past climates but are especially rare in some geographic regions such as the North American Great Plains. Don’s Gooseberry Pit (DGP), a cave in the southeastern Black Hills of South Dakota, USA, contains a fauna documenting small mammal community composition shifts and environmental change over the last 18,000 yr in this data-depauperate region. Although the stratigraphy of the cave appears to be primary, disparate radiocarbon dates indicate that there is mixing of the fauna throughout. A paleoenvironmental signal consistent with regional reconstructions still emerges from an analysis of the stratigraphically ordered fauna. Dated taxa from DGP record the ecological replacement of Dicrostonyx by Myodes and later Microtus in response to late Quaternary warming. Individually dated specimens of Dicrostonyx richardsoni confirm late survival of this cold-adapted taxon in the Black Hills (17,083 cal yr BP). Our results indicate that a coarse paleoecological signal is present in DGP, and that the Black Hills served as a “high-altitude” refugium for cold-adapted species following the end of the last glacial period.
Dietary strategies for alleviating health complications associated with type 2 diabetes (T2D) are being pursued as alternatives to pharmaceutical interventions. Berries such as bilberries (Vaccinium myrtillus L.) that are rich in polyphenols may influence carbohydrate digestion and absorption and thus postprandial glycaemia. In addition, berries have been reported to alter incretins as well as to have antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties that may also affect postprandial glycaemia. The present study investigated the acute effect of a standardised bilberry extract on glucose metabolism in T2D. Male volunteers with T2D (n 8; BMI 30 (sd 4) kg/m2) controlling their diabetes by diet and lifestyle alone were given a single oral capsule of either 0·47 g standardised bilberry extract (36 % (w/w) anthocyanins) which equates to about 50 g of fresh bilberries or placebo followed by a polysaccharide drink (equivalent to 75 g glucose) in a double-blinded cross-over intervention with a 2-week washout period. The ingestion of the bilberry extract resulted in a significant decrease in the incremental AUC for both glucose (P = 0·003) and insulin (P = 0·03) compared with the placebo. There was no change in the gut (glucagon-like peptide-1, gastric inhibitory polypeptide), pancreatic (glucagon, amylin) or anti-inflammatory (monocyte chemotactic protein-1) peptides. In addition there was no change in the antioxidant (Trolox equivalent antioxidant capacity, ferric-reducing ability of plasma) responses measured between the volunteers receiving the bilberry extract and the placebo. In conclusion the present study demonstrates for the first time that the ingestion of a concentrated bilberry extract reduces postprandial glycaemia and insulin in volunteers with T2D. The most likely mechanism for the lower glycaemic response involves reduced rates of carbohydrate digestion and/or absorption.
Digital signal processing is one of many valuable tools for suppressing unwanted signals or inter-ference. Building hardware processing engines seems to be the way to best implement some classes of interference suppression but is, unfortunately, expensive and time-consuming, especially if several miti-gation techniques need to be compared. Simulations can be useful, but are not a substitute for real data. CSIRO’s Australia Telescope National Facility has recently commenced a ‘software radio telescope’ project designed to fill the gap between dedicated hardware processors and pure simulation. In this approach, real telescope data are recorded coherently, then processed offline. This paper summarises the current contents of a freely available database of base band recorded data that can be used to experiment with signal processing solutions. It includes data from the following systems: single dish, multi-feed receiver; single dish with reference antenna; and an array of six 22 m antennas with and without a reference antenna. Astronomical sources such as OH masers, pulsars and continuum sources subject to interfering signals were recorded. The interfering signals include signals from the US Global Positioning System (GPS) and its Russian equivalent (GLONASS), television, microwave links, a low-Earth-orbit satellite, various other transmitters, and signals leaking from local telescope systems with fast clocks. The data are available on compact disk, allowing use in general purpose computers or as input to laboratory hardware prototypes.
As it was originally proposed, the extended phenotype comprised ‘all effects of a gene upon the world’ (Dawkins, 1989) and portrayed how the effects of a gene borne by an organism influenced its biotic and abiotic environments. The consideration of indirect genetic effects, in which an organism’s phenotype becomes part of the selective environment of conspecifics (Wolf et al., 1998), was developed rigorously in the population genetics context and the concept subsequently extended to include effects on heterospecifics (Whitham et al., 2003). The extended phenotype concept has been adopted as a framework by some evolutionary biologists and ecologists to study the roles of plant secondary metabolites (PSMs) since Whitham et al. (2003) used heritable variation in tissue tannin concentrations among Populus species and hybrids to develop the concept of community and ecosystem genetics (Antonovics, 1992).
Many studies of how genetically determined variation in plant traits, including PSMs, drive associated community phenotypes and processes, have been based on differences between hybrids (Dungey et al., 2000; Hochwender & Fritz, 2004; Bailey et al., Chapter 14). Fewer studies have investigated the effects on extended phenotypes of continuously varying PSMs or between known genotypes within a species (Whitham et al., 2006; Schweitzer et al., 2008; Barbour et al., 2009; O’Reilly-Wapstra et al., Chapter 2). A convenient approach to identification and utilisation of genotypic variation for the study of multiple effects of PSMs is provided by the use of genetic polymorphisms. A polymorphism can be defined as occurring when a trait such as a morphological or biochemical character exists in two or more distinct forms in a randomly mating population within a species (Ford, 1975). The approach is particularly useful in species that cannot be readily cloned. Here, we review examples of how intra-specific variation in a particular group of PSMs, the monoterpenes, has informed our understanding of how PSMs can play multiple ecological roles and mediate the extended phenotype of plants. The monoterpenes are a group of low-molecular-weight, volatile terpenoids which form a very diverse group in terms of number of compounds, structure and function (Gershenzon & Dudareva, 2007). We use variation within species which are polymorphic for concentrations or presence of monoterpenes to provide an insight into their ecological ramifications and larger-scale consequences, against the background of intra-specific variation in other traits.
The formal commissioning of the IRWG occurred at the 1991 Buenos Aires General Assembly, following a Joint Commission meeting at the IAU GA in Baltimore in 1988 that identified the problems with ground-based infrared photometry. The meeting justification, papers, and conclusions, can be found in Milone (1989). In summary, the challenges involved how to explain the failure to achieve the milli-magnitude precision expected of infrared photometry and an apparent 3% limit on system transformability. The proposed solution was to redefine the broadband Johnson system, the passbands of which had proven so unsatisfactory that over time effectively different systems proliferated, although bearing the same “JHKLMNQ” designations; the new system needed to be better positioned and centered in the spectral windows of the Earth's atmosphere, and the variable water vapour content of the atmosphere needed to be measured in real time to better correct for atmospheric extinction.
Objectives: The objective of this study is to profile the health technology assessments (HTAs) produced in Canada and other selected countries and assess their potential to inform policy making about health systems in jurisdictions other than the ones for which they were produced, and to develop and pilot test prototypes for packaging and assessing the relevance of HTAs for health system managers and policy makers.
Methods: We compiled an inventory of all HTAs that were produced by nine HTA agencies between September 2003 and August 2006; coded the title and abstract of each HTA according to the technologies assessed, methods used, and whether or not context-specific actionable messages were provided; developed a prototype for a structured, decision-relevant HTA summary and for a relevance-assessment form; and pilot-tested the prototypes using semistructured telephone interviews with a purposive sample of Canadian healthcare managers and policy makers.
Results: Our review of the 223 HTAs identified that: (i) 44 HTAs addressed health system arrangements (20 percent); (ii) 205 incorporated a systematic review (92 percent), whereas only 12 incorporated a sociopolitical assessment using explicit methods (5 percent); and (iii) 50 contained context-specific actionable messages (22 percent). Our interviews identified significant support for both the general idea of an HTA summary and the prototype's specific elements, but mixed views about using peer assessments of relevance.
Conclusions: Those involved in supporting the use of HTAs in policy making about health systems may wish to produce structured decision-relevant summaries for their systematic review-containing HTAs to increase the prospects for their HTAs being used outside the jurisdiction for which they were produced.
The formal origin of the IRWG occured at the Buenos Aires General Assembly, following a Joint Commission meeting at the IAU GA in Baltimore in 1988 that identified the problems with ground-based infrared photometry. The situation is summarized in Milone (1989). In short, the challenges involved how to explain the failure to achieve the milli-magnitude precision expected of infrared photometry and an apparent 3% limit on system transformability. The proposed solution was to redefine the broadband Johnson system, the passbands of which had proven so unsatisfactory that over time effectively different systems proliferated, although bearing the same JHKLMNQ designations; the new system needed to be better positioned and centered in the atmospheric windows of the Earth's atmosphere, and the variable water vapour content of the atmosphere needed to be measured in real time to better correct for atmospheric extinction.
As we have noted before, the WG-IR was created following a Joint Commission Meeting at the IAU General Assembly in Baltimore in 1988, a meeting that provided both diagnosis and prescription for the perceived ailments of infrared photometry at the time. The results were summarized in Milone (1989). The challenges involve how to explain the failure to systematically achieve the milli-magnitude precision expected of infrared photometry and an apparent 3% limit on system transformability. The proposed solution was to re-define the broadband Johnson system, the passbands of which had proven so unsatisfactory that over time effectively different systems proliferated although bearing the same JHKLMNQ designations; the new system needed to be better positioned and centered in the atmospheric windows of the Earth's atmosphere, and the variable water vapour content of the atmosphere needed to be measured in real time to better correct for atmospheric extinction.
Cave, a lava tube cave on St. Paul Island in the Pribilofs, has recently produced a mid-Holocene vertebrate faunal assemblage including woolly mammoth, polar bear, caribou, and Arctic fox. Several dates on the mammoth remains converge on 5700 14C yr BP. These dates, ~ 2300 yr younger than mammoth dates previously published from the Pribilof Islands, make these the youngest remains of proboscideans, and of non-extinct Quaternary megafauna, recovered from North America. Persistence of mammoths on the Pribilofs is most parsimoniously explained by the isolation of the Pribilofs and the lack of human presence in pre-Russian contact times, but an additional factor may have been the local existence of high-quality forage in the form of grasses enriched by nutrients derived from local Holocene tephras. This interpretation is reinforced by stable carbon and nitrogen isotope values obtained from the mammoth remains. The endpoint of mammoth survival in the Pribilofs is unknown, but maybe coterminous with the arrival of polar bears whose remains in the cave date to the Neoglacial cold period of ~ 4500 to 3500 14C yr BP. The polar bear record corroborates a widespread cooling of the Bering Sea region at that time.
The WG-IR was created following a Joint Commission Meeting at the IAU General Assembly in Baltimore in 1988, a meeting that provided both diagnosis and prescription for the perceived ailments of infrared photometry at the time. The results were summarized in Milone (1989). The challenges involve how to explain the failure to systematically achieve the milli-magnitude precision expected of infrared photometry and an apparent 3% limit on system transformability. The proposed solution was to redefine the broadband Johnson system, the passbands of which had proven so unsatisfactory that over time effectively different systems proliferated although bearing the same JHKLMNQ designations; the new system needed to be better positioned and centered in the atmospheric windows of the Earth's atmosphere, and the variable water vapour content of the atmosphere needed to be measured in real time to better correct for atmospheric extinction.
This paper reports on the contribution made by the first cohort of Primary Care Graduate Mental Health Workers (PCGMHW) employed in the Southwest of England. The PCGMHW is one of the new roles envisaged as part of the NHS plan. Aimed at enabling quick access to a range of time-limited therapies, while at the same time engaging in public health strategies to promote mental health in communities, the PCGMHW is at the cutting edge of modernizing primary care mental health. This study demonstrated that PCGMHWs trained in time-limited therapy approaches such as facilitated self-help moved quickly into situations were they were treating people with mild to moderate mental health problems, with evidence of clinical effectiveness. However, the community development aspect of the role was slower to develop, possibly as a reflection of the preference for one to one work in mental health or, alternatively, as an indication of the nebulous nature of public health work. The study identifies a number of key areas for consideration. First is the role of the PCGMHW in signposting people to services or resources. Second, the role of referral protocols in developing service models that profit from the presence of PCGMHWs. Third, the need to develop the role in relation to public health, stigma and social exclusion. However, to achieve this greater clarity over the role is required in Primary Care Trusts and urgent consideration of continuing professional development needs of PCGMHWs.
Frequent and repeated climate fluctuations of the late Quaternary serve as a “natural experiment” for the response of species to environmental change. Analysis of the FAUNMAP database documents individualistic shifts in the geographic distributions for late Quaternary mammals. However, because the individualistic response is not necessarily random and because many species share similar niche parameters, it is possible that some species appear to form coherent groups of core species. In reality their dispersals are individualistic with regard to rate and timing. The individualistic response of mammals, as well as that of other organisms, has created late Quaternary communities without modern analogues. This concept has profound implications for the design of biological reserves and for land use management with respect to future global climate change. However, the relevance of non-analogue mammal communities has been challenged by Alroy (1999), who claims that non-analogue associations were not common in the Quaternary and that they appeared to occur in both the Pleistocene and Holocene. Reexamination of his analysis shows that he employed a different definition for non-analogue faunas and that his methods of analyses created artificially low counts of non-analogue communities and consequently an underestimate of their importance.