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We investigated a large multistate outbreak that occurred in the United States in 2015–2016. Epidemiologic, laboratory, and traceback studies were conducted to determine the source of the infections. We identified 907 case-patients from 40 states with illness onset dates ranging from July 3, 2015 to March 2, 2016. Sixty-three percent of case-patients reported consuming cucumbers in the week before illness onset. Ten illness sub-clusters linked to events or purchase locations were identified. All sub-clusters investigated received cucumbers from a single distributor which were sourced from a single grower in Mexico. Seventy-five cucumber samples were collected, 19 of which yielded the outbreak strain. Whole genome sequencing performed on 154 clinical isolates and 19 cucumber samples indicated that the sequenced isolates were closely related genetically to one another. This was the largest US foodborne disease outbreak in the last ten years and the third largest in the past 20 years. This was at least the fifth multistate outbreak caused by contaminated cucumbers since 2010. The outbreak is noteworthy because a recall was issued only 17 days after the outbreak was identified, which allowed for the removal of the contaminated cucumbers still available in commerce, unlike previous cucumber associated outbreaks. The rapid identification and response of multiple public health agencies resulted in preventing this from becoming an even larger outbreak.
Introduction: Alberta has one of the highest rates of domestic violence (DV) in the country. Emergency departments (EDs) and urgent care centres (UCCs) are significant points of opportunity to screen for DV and intervene. In Alberta, the Calgary Zone began a universal education and direct inquiry program for DV in EDs and UCCs for patients > = 14 years in 2003. The Calgary model is unique in that (a) it provides universal education in addition to screening and (b) screening is truly universal as it includes all age groups and genders. While considering expanding this model provincially, we engaged in the GRADE Adolopment process, to achieve multi-stakeholder consensus on a provincial approach to DV screening, as herewith described. Methods: Using GRADE, we synthesized and rated the quality of evidence on DV screening and presented it to an expert panel of stakeholders from the community, EDs, and Alberta Health Services. There was moderate certainty evidence that screening improved DV identification in antenatal clinics, maternal health services and EDs. There was no evidence of harm and low certainty evidence of improvement in patient-important outcomes. As per Adolopment, the expert panel reviewed the evidence in the context of: a) values and preferences b) benefits and harms, and c) acceptability, feasibility, and resource implications. Results: The panel came to a unanimous decision to conditionally recommend universal screening, i.e., screening all adults above 14 years of age in EDs and UCCs. By conditional, the panel noted that EDs and UCCs must have support resources in place for patients who screen positive to realize the full benefit of screening and avoid harm. The panel deemed universal screening to be a logistically easier recommendation, compared to training healthcare professionals to screen certain subpopulations or assess for specific symptoms associated with DV. The panel noted that despite absence of evidence that screening would impact patient-important outcomes, there was evidence that effective interventions following a positive screen could positively impact these outcomes. The panel stressed the importance of evidence creation in the context of absence of evidence. Conclusion: A GRADE Adolopment process achieved consensus on provincial expansion of an ED-based DV screening program. Moving forward, we plan to gather evidence on patient-important outcomes and understudied subpopulations (i.e. men and the elderly).
The majority of paediatric Clostridioides difficile infections (CDI) are community-associated (CA), but few data exist regarding associated risk factors. We conducted a case–control study to evaluate CA-CDI risk factors in young children. Participants were enrolled from eight US sites during October 2014–February 2016. Case-patients were defined as children aged 1–5 years with a positive C. difficile specimen collected as an outpatient or ⩽3 days of hospital admission, who had no healthcare facility admission in the prior 12 weeks and no history of CDI. Each case-patient was matched to one control. Caregivers were interviewed regarding relevant exposures. Multivariable conditional logistic regression was performed. Of 68 pairs, 44.1% were female. More case-patients than controls had a comorbidity (33.3% vs. 12.1%; P = 0.01); recent higher-risk outpatient exposures (34.9% vs. 17.7%; P = 0.03); recent antibiotic use (54.4% vs. 19.4%; P < 0.0001); or recent exposure to a household member with diarrhoea (41.3% vs. 21.5%; P = 0.04). In multivariable analysis, antibiotic exposure in the preceding 12 weeks was significantly associated with CA-CDI (adjusted matched odds ratio, 6.25; 95% CI 2.18–17.96). Improved antibiotic prescribing might reduce CA-CDI in this population. Further evaluation of the potential role of outpatient healthcare and household exposures in C. difficile transmission is needed.
Objectives: The current study used a mixed-method design to qualitatively examine parents’ definitions of resilience and factors they believed optimized their child’s early outcome following neonatal brain injury. This was followed by quantitative analyses of early developmental and mental health outcomes and their relation to salient biopsychosocial factors. Methods: Participants were parents of children diagnosed with neonatal brain injury due to stroke or hypoxic-ischemic encephalopathy (N=51; age range of children 18 months to 8 years). The Parent Experiences Questionnaire (PEQ) was used to qualitatively analyze parents’ open-ended responses about their child’s early experiences and outcome. The Child Behavior Checklist (CBCL) and Scales of Independent Behaviour Early Developmental Form (SIB-ED) parent ratings were used to measure child resilience from a quantitative perspective, identifying “at-risk” and “resilient” children using standard cutoffs. “Resilient” and “at-risk” children were compared on biopsychosocial variables using univariate t tests and chi-square analyses. Results: Parents provided five unique definitions of their child’s positive outcomes, and many children demonstrated resilience based on parent perspectives and quantitative definitions. Supporting factors included close medical follow-up, early intervention, and intrinsic factors within the child and parent. Group comparisons of “resilient” and “at-risk” children highlighted the importance of parent mental health across these early developmental and mental health outcomes. Conclusions: Many children were described as resilient during the early years by parents using qualitative and quantitative approaches. Findings highlighted the importance of parent well-being in promoting optimal early outcomes. (JINS, 2019, 25, 390–402.)
Resilience thinking – an approach for understanding and managing change – is increasingly central to climate change adaptation law and policy. Yet the influence of adaptation law and policy on the distribution of climate impacts is often overlooked in studies of socio-ecological resilience to climate change. This article demonstrates how environmental justice scholarship helps to address this gap in the literature relating to adaptation law and resilience. Drawing on existing literature, the article identifies four principles to promote resilience and justice through climate adaptation laws. Climate adaptation laws must (i) prepare for, and respond to, change; (ii) address the distributive effects of climate change and adaptation; (iii) promote participation in adaptation processes; and (iv) cross sectors and scales. Each criterion can be implemented in part through existing legal processes, but might also be further supported by incremental law reform. Developing both resilience and justice dimensions will enhance the effectiveness of adaptation laws in addressing climate impacts.
Due to differences in the circulation of influenza viruses, distribution and antigenic drift of A subtypes and B lineages, and susceptibility to infection in the population, the incidence of symptomatic influenza infection can vary widely between seasons and age-groups. Our goal was to estimate the symptomatic infection incidence in the Netherlands for the six seasons 2011/2012 through 2016/2017, using Bayesian evidence synthesis methodology to combine season-specific sentinel surveillance data on influenza-like illness (ILI), virus detections in sampled ILI cases and data on healthcare-seeking behaviour. Estimated age-aggregated incidence was 6.5 per 1000 persons (95% uncertainty interval (UI): 4.7–9.0) for season 2011/2012, 36.7 (95% UI: 31.2–42.8) for 2012/2013, 9.1 (95% UI: 6.3–12.9) for 2013/2014, 41.1 (95% UI: 35.0–47.7) for 2014/2015, 39.4 (95% UI: 33.4–46.1) for 2015/2016 and 27.8 (95% UI: 22.7–33.7) for season 2016/2017. Incidence varied substantially between age-groups (highest for the age-group <5 years: 23 to 47/1000, but relatively low for 65+ years: 2 to 34/1000 over the six seasons). Integration of all relevant data sources within an evidence synthesis framework has allowed the estimation – with appropriately quantified uncertainty – of the incidence of symptomatic influenza virus infection. These estimates provide valuable insight into the variation in influenza epidemics across seasons, by virus subtype and lineage, and between age-groups.
Replacing a portion of a glucose challenge with whole eggs (EGG) or egg whites (WHITE) was shown to protect against glucose-induced impairments in vascular function. We hypothesised in the present study that previously observed vasoprotection following co-ingestion of EGG or WHITE with glucose was attributed to limiting postprandial hyperglycaemia-induced oxidative stress that improves NO∙ bioavailability. Prediabetic men completed a randomised, cross-over study in which they ingested isoenergetic meals containing 100 g glucose (GLU), or 75 g glucose with 1·5 EGG, seven WHITE or two egg yolks (YOLK). At 30 min intervals for 3 h, we assessed plasma NO∙ metabolites, the lipid peroxidation biomarker malondialdehyde, antioxidants, arginine and its methylated metabolites (asymmetric dimethylarginine and symmetric dimethylarginine), tetrahydrobiopterin redox status, vasoconstrictors and inflammatory markers. Compared with GLU, malondialdehyde was lower and NO∙ metabolites were greater in EGG and WHITE, but YOLK was not different from GLU. Malondialdehyde was inversely correlated with NO∙ metabolites and vascular function, whereas NO∙ metabolites were positively correlated with vascular function. Compared with GLU, arginine was greater, but asymmetric and symmetric dimethylarginine and angiotensin-II were lower in all egg-based meals. Antioxidants, tetrahydrobiopterin redox status and inflammatory markers did not differ among treatments. Thus, while each egg-based meal improved arginine metabolism, only EGG and WHITE limited lipid peroxidation. This suggests that vasoprotection mediated by EGG and WHITE likely occurs in an NO∙-dependent manner by improving arginine metabolism and attenuating oxidative stress that otherwise limit NO∙ biosynthesis and bioavailability to the vascular endothelium.
Herbicide resistance is ‘wicked’ in nature; therefore, results of the many educational efforts to encourage diversification of weed control practices in the United States have been mixed. It is clear that we do not sufficiently understand the totality of the grassroots obstacles, concerns, challenges, and specific solutions needed for varied crop production systems. Weed management issues and solutions vary with such variables as management styles, regions, cropping systems, and available or affordable technologies. Therefore, to help the weed science community better understand the needs and ideas of those directly dealing with herbicide resistance, seven half-day regional listening sessions were held across the United States between December 2016 and April 2017 with groups of diverse stakeholders on the issues and potential solutions for herbicide resistance management. The major goals of the sessions were to gain an understanding of stakeholders and their goals and concerns related to herbicide resistance management, to become familiar with regional differences, and to identify decision maker needs to address herbicide resistance. The messages shared by listening-session participants could be summarized by six themes: we need new herbicides; there is no need for more regulation; there is a need for more education, especially for others who were not present; diversity is hard; the agricultural economy makes it difficult to make changes; and we are aware of herbicide resistance but are managing it. The authors concluded that more work is needed to bring a community-wide, interdisciplinary approach to understanding the complexity of managing weeds within the context of the whole farm operation and for communicating the need to address herbicide resistance.
Seven half-day regional listening sessions were held between December 2016 and April 2017 with groups of diverse stakeholders on the issues and potential solutions for herbicide-resistance management. The objective of the listening sessions was to connect with stakeholders and hear their challenges and recommendations for addressing herbicide resistance. The coordinating team hired Strategic Conservation Solutions, LLC, to facilitate all the sessions. They and the coordinating team used in-person meetings, teleconferences, and email to communicate and coordinate the activities leading up to each regional listening session. The agenda was the same across all sessions and included small-group discussions followed by reporting to the full group for discussion. The planning process was the same across all the sessions, although the selection of venue, time of day, and stakeholder participants differed to accommodate the differences among regions. The listening-session format required a great deal of work and flexibility on the part of the coordinating team and regional coordinators. Overall, the participant evaluations from the sessions were positive, with participants expressing appreciation that they were asked for their thoughts on the subject of herbicide resistance. This paper details the methods and processes used to conduct these regional listening sessions and provides an assessment of the strengths and limitations of those processes.
Introduction: The 2015 CanMEDS framework requires all residency programs to increase their focus on Quality Improvement and Patient Safety (QIPS). We created a longitudinal (4-year), modular QIPS curriculum for FRCP emergency medicine residents at the University of Toronto (UT) using multiple educational methods. The curriculum addresses three levels of QIPS training: knowledge, practical skills at the microsystem level, and practical skills at the organization level. Aim Statement: To increase the UT FRCP emergency medicine residents absolute score on the QIKAT-R (Quality Improvement Knowledge Application Tool Revised) by 10% after the completion of the QIPS curriculum. Methods: Physicians and other healthcare professionals with QI expertise collaboratively designed and taught the curriculum. We used the QIKAT-R as the outcome measure to evaluate QI knowledge and its applicability. The QIKAT-R is a validated measure that assesses an individuals ability to decipher a QI issue within the healthcare context, and propose a change initiative to address it. The first cohort of residents completed the QIKAT-R prior to the first session in 2014 (pre) and at the completion of the curriculum in 2017 (post). Each response was anonymized and scored by physicians with QI expertise. The QIKAT-R scores and comments from course evaluations are used to make yearly iterative curriculum changes. Results: The QIPS curriculum was implemented in September 2014. All nine residents in the first cohort completed the curriculum; they demonstrated an absolute increase of 19.6% (5.3/27) in the mean QIKAT-R score (13.0 +/− 3.3 pre vs. 18.3 +/− 3.8 post, p=0.001). Of the pre-test responses, 26% were categorized as poor, 70% as good, and 4% as excellent, whereas of the post-test 11% of responses were categorized as poor, 37% as good, and 52% as excellent (p<0.001). Two iterative curriculum changes were made at the end of each academic year since 2014: (1) The time between sessions were decreased to promote knowledge retention, and (2) different PGY3 QI practical project options were provided to suit residents individual QI interests. QIKAT-R scores and resident feedback were used to evaluate the impact of the curriculum changes. Conclusion: A collaborative, modular, longitudinal QIPS curriculum for UT FRCP emergency medicine residents that met CanMEDS requirements was created using multiple educational methods. The first resident cohort that completed the curriculum demonstrated an absolute increase in QI knowledge and its applicability (as measured by the QIKAT-R) by 19.6%. Two PDSA cycles were completed to improve the curriculum with the change ideas generated from resident feedback. Ongoing challenges include limited staff availability to teach and supervise resident QI projects. Future directions include incentivising staff participation and providing mentorship for residents with a career interest in QI beyond what is offered by the curriculum.
Vaccination programmes are considered a main contributor to the decline of infectious diseases over the 20th century. In recent years, the national vaccination coverage in the Netherlands has been declining, highlighting the need for continuous monitoring and evaluation of vaccination programmes. Our aim was to quantify the impact of long-standing vaccination programmes on notified cases in the Netherlands. We collected and digitised previously unavailable monthly case notifications of diphtheria, poliomyelitis, mumps and rubella in the Netherlands over the period 1919–2015. Poisson regression models accounting for seasonality, multi-year cycles, secular trends and auto-correlation were fit to pre-vaccination periods. Cases averted were calculated as the difference between observed and expected cases based on model projections. In the first 13 years of mass vaccinations, case notifications declined rapidly with 82.4% (95% credible interval (CI): 74.9–87.6) of notified cases of diphtheria averted, 92.9% (95% CI 85.0–97.2) cases of poliomyelitis, and 79.1% (95% CI 67.1–87.4) cases of mumps. Vaccination of 11-year-old girls against rubella averted 49.9% (95% CI 9.3–73.5) of cases, while universal vaccination averted 68.1% (95% CI 19.4–87.3) of cases. These findings show that vaccination programmes have contributed substantially to the reduction of infectious diseases in the Netherlands.
Eggs attenuate postprandial hyperglycaemia (PPH), which transiently impairs vascular endothelial function (VEF). We hypothesised that co-ingestion of a glucose challenge with egg-based meals would protect against glucose-induced impairments in VEF by attenuating PPH and oxidative stress. A randomised, cross-over study was conducted in prediabetic men (n 20) who ingested isoenegertic meals (1674 kJ (400 kcal)) containing 100 g glucose (GLU), or 75 g glucose with 1·5 whole eggs (EGG), seven egg whites (WHITE) or two egg yolks (YOLK). At 30 min intervals for 3 h, brachial artery flow-mediated dilation (FMD), plasma glucose, insulin, cholecystokinin (CCK), lipids (total, LDL- and HDL-cholesterol; TAG), F2-isoprostanes normalised to arachidonic acid (F2-IsoPs/AA), and methylglyoxal were assessed. In GLU, FMD decreased at 30–60 min and returned to baseline levels by 90 min. GLU-mediated decreases in FMD were attenuated at 30–60 min in EGG and WHITE. Compared with GLU, FMDAUC was higher in EGG and WHITE only. Relative to baseline, glucose increased at 30–120 min in GLU and YOLK but only at 30–90 min in EGG and WHITE. GlucoseAUC and insulinAUC were also lower in EGG and WHITE only. However, CCKAUC was higher in EGG and WHITE compared with GLU. Compared with GLU, F2-IsoPs/AAAUC was lower in EGG and WHITE but unaffected by YOLK. Postprandial lipids and methylglyoxal did not differ between treatments. Thus, replacing a portion of a glucose challenge with whole eggs or egg whites, but not yolks, limits postprandial impairments in VEF by attenuating increases in glycaemia and lipid peroxidation.
Information on morbidity burden of seasonal influenza in China is limited. A multiplier model was used to estimate the incidence and number of outpatient visits for seasonal influenza by age group for the 2015–2016 season in Beijing, the capital of China, based on reported numbers of influenza-like illness consultations and proportions of positive cases from influenza surveillance systems in Beijing, general consultation rates and other parameters from previous studies, surveys and surveillance systems. An estimated total of 1 190 200 (95% confidence interval (CI) 830 400–1 549 900) cases of influenza virus infections occurred in Beijing, 2015–2016 season, with an attack rate of 5·5% (95% CI 3·9–7·2%). These infections resulted in an estimated 468 280 (95% CI 70 700–606 800) outpatient visits, with an attack rate of 2·2% (95% CI 0·3–2·8%). The attack rate of influenza virus infections was highest among children aged 0–4 years (31·9% (95% CI 21·9–41·9%)), followed by children aged 5–14 years (18·7% (95% CI 12·9–24·5%)). Our study demonstrated a substantial influenza-related morbidity in Beijing, China, especially among the preschool- and school-aged children. This suggests that development or modification of seasonal influenza targeted vaccination strategies need to recognize that incidence is highest in children.
A range of endophenotypes characterise psychosis, however there has been limited work understanding if and how they are inter-related.
This multi-centre study includes 8754 participants: 2212 people with a psychotic disorder, 1487 unaffected relatives of probands, and 5055 healthy controls. We investigated cognition [digit span (N = 3127), block design (N = 5491), and the Rey Auditory Verbal Learning Test (N = 3543)], electrophysiology [P300 amplitude and latency (N = 1102)], and neuroanatomy [lateral ventricular volume (N = 1721)]. We used linear regression to assess the interrelationships between endophenotypes.
The P300 amplitude and latency were not associated (regression coef. −0.06, 95% CI −0.12 to 0.01, p = 0.060), and P300 amplitude was positively associated with block design (coef. 0.19, 95% CI 0.10–0.28, p < 0.001). There was no evidence of associations between lateral ventricular volume and the other measures (all p > 0.38). All the cognitive endophenotypes were associated with each other in the expected directions (all p < 0.001). Lastly, the relationships between pairs of endophenotypes were consistent in all three participant groups, differing for some of the cognitive pairings only in the strengths of the relationships.
The P300 amplitude and latency are independent endophenotypes; the former indexing spatial visualisation and working memory, and the latter is hypothesised to index basic processing speed. Individuals with psychotic illnesses, their unaffected relatives, and healthy controls all show similar patterns of associations between endophenotypes, endorsing the theory of a continuum of psychosis liability across the population.
We have previously shown that the minor alleles of vascular endothelial growth factor A (VEGFA) single-nucleotide polymorphism rs833069 and superoxide dismutase 2 (SOD2) single-nucleotide polymorphism rs2758331 are both associated with improved transplant-free survival after surgery for CHD in infants, but the underlying mechanisms are unknown. We hypothesised that one or both of these minor alleles are associated with better systemic ventricular function, resulting in improved survival.
This study is a follow-up analysis of 422 non-syndromic CHD patients who underwent neonatal cardiac surgery with cardiopulmonary bypass. Echocardiographic reports were reviewed. Systemic ventricular function was subjectively categorised as normal, or as mildly, moderately, or severely depressed. The change in function was calculated as the change from the preoperative study to the last available study. Stepwise linear regression, adjusting for covariates, was performed for the outcome of change in ventricular function. Model comparison was performed using Akaike’s information criterion. Only variables that improved the model prediction of change in systemic ventricular function were retained in the final model.
Genetic and echocardiographic data were available for 335/422 subjects (79%). Of them, 33 (9.9%) developed worse systemic ventricular function during a mean follow-up period of 13.5 years. After covariate adjustment, the presence of the VEGFA minor allele was associated with preserved ventricular function (p=0.011).
These data support the hypothesis that the mechanism by which the VEGFA single-nucleotide polymorphism rs833069 minor allele improves survival may be the preservation of ventricular function. Further studies are needed to validate this genotype–phenotype association and to determine whether this mechanism is related to increased vascular endothelial growth factor production.
The search for extraterrestrial habitable planets will require long observation times and the intelligent selection of appropriate parent stars and target biosignatures. While life can certainly develop in the absence of photosynthesis, such life forms on earth exhibit metabolic rates several orders of magnitude less than the activity accompanying a photosynthetic-driven ecosystem. The most accessible spectral biosignatures are those accompanying a system driven away from thermodynamic equilibrium by photosynthetic activity. For example, the co-existence in a planetary atmosphere of significant amounts of ozone, oxygen, and methane would be a strong indication of biotic activity. Investigating the issue of the Habitable Zone from the standpoint of the constraints inherent in photosynthesis it appears that the absorption characteristics of photosynthetic microorganisms on this planet make it likely that photosynthetic activity can exist on planets orbiting stars to red-ward of the Sun on the H-R diagram. Such a possibility is encouraging for terrestrial planet finder efforts since stars classified red-ward of our sun (G3 to K7) account for more than 55% of our nearest neighbors.
Our understanding of the complex relationship between schizophrenia symptomatology and etiological factors can be improved by studying brain-based correlates of schizophrenia. Research showed that impairments in value processing and executive functioning, which have been associated with prefrontal brain areas [particularly the medial orbitofrontal cortex (MOFC)], are linked to negative symptoms. Here we tested the hypothesis that MOFC thickness is associated with negative symptom severity.
This study included 1985 individuals with schizophrenia from 17 research groups around the world contributing to the ENIGMA Schizophrenia Working Group. Cortical thickness values were obtained from T1-weighted structural brain scans using FreeSurfer. A meta-analysis across sites was conducted over effect sizes from a model predicting cortical thickness by negative symptom score (harmonized Scale for the Assessment of Negative Symptoms or Positive and Negative Syndrome Scale scores).
Meta-analytical results showed that left, but not right, MOFC thickness was significantly associated with negative symptom severity (βstd = −0.075; p = 0.019) after accounting for age, gender, and site. This effect remained significant (p = 0.036) in a model including overall illness severity. Covarying for duration of illness, age of onset, antipsychotic medication or handedness weakened the association of negative symptoms with left MOFC thickness. As part of a secondary analysis including 10 other prefrontal regions further associations in the left lateral orbitofrontal gyrus and pars opercularis emerged.
Using an unusually large cohort and a meta-analytical approach, our findings point towards a link between prefrontal thinning and negative symptom severity in schizophrenia. This finding provides further insight into the relationship between structural brain abnormalities and negative symptoms in schizophrenia.
In northern Turkey, the Intra-Pontide suture zone represents one of the first-order tectonic structures located between the Istanbul–Zonguldak and the Sakarya continental terranes. It consists of an E–W-trending assemblage of deformed and variably metamorphosed tectonic units, including sedimentary rocks and ophiolites derived from a Neo-Tethyan oceanic basin, known as the Intra-Pontide oceanic basin. One of these units is represented by the Daday Unit that consists of a block-in-matrix assemblage derived from supra-subduction oceanic crust and related deep-sea sedimentary cover of Middle Jurassic age. This setting was acquired during Late Jurassic time by tectonic underplating at a depth of 35–42 km associated with blueschist-facies metamorphism (D1 phase). The following D2, D3 and D4 phases produced the exhumation of the Daday Unit up to shallower structural levels in a time span running from the Albian to late Paleocene. The high geothermal gradient detected during the D2 phase indicates that the Daday Unit was exhumed during a continent–arc collisional setting. The tectonic structures of the Intra-Pontide suture zone, resulting from the previously described tectonic history, are unconformably sealed by the upper Paleocene – Eocene deposits. This tectonic setting was intensely reworked by the activity of the North Anatolian Fault Zone, producing the present-day geometrical relationships of the Intra-Pontide suture zone of the Central Pontides.