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The concept of exoplanetary habitability is evolving. The driving force is a desire to define the biological potential of planets and identify which can host complex and possibly intelligent life. To assess this in a meaningful manner, climate models need to be applied to realistic surfaces. However, the vast majority of climate models are developed using generic aquaplanet, or swamp planet, scenarios that provide uniform, surface frictional coefficients. However, aside from planets with largely uniform oceans, these models are not obviously useful when it comes to understanding the impact of climate on biodiversity. Here, we show that contrary to expectation, the aquaplanet models can be directly applied to planets with a variety of land areas, with little need for modification. Using this premise, this paper provides a simple mathematical framework that may be applied to more complex planetary surfaces and identifies the majority of the climate-model components that are needed to accurately determine the biological potential of habitable exoplanets. As a proof-of-concept, an available climate model for Proxima b is used to determine its biological potential, given a suitable atmosphere.
Global institutions are afflicted by severe democratic deficits, while many of the major problems facing the world remain intractable. Against this backdrop, we develop a deliberative approach that puts effective, inclusive, and transformative communication at the heart of global governance. Multilateral negotiations, international organizations and regimes, governance networks, and scientific assessments can be rendered more deliberative and democratic. More thoroughgoing transformations could involve citizens' assemblies, nested forums, transnational mini-publics, crowdsourcing, and a global dissent channel. The deliberative role of global civil society is vital. We show how different institutional and civil society elements can be linked to good effect in a global deliberative system. The capacity of deliberative institutions to revise their own structures and processes means that deliberative global governance is not just a framework but also a reconstructive learning process. A deliberative approach can advance democratic legitimacy and yield progress on global problems such as climate change, violent conflict and poverty.
Neospora caninum is a commonly diagnosed cause of reproductive losses in farmed ruminants worldwide. This study examined 495 and 308 samples (brain, heart and placenta) which were collected from 455 and 119 aborted cattle and sheep fetuses, respectively. DNA was extracted and a nested Neospora ITS1 PCR was performed on all samples. The results showed that for bovine fetuses 79/449 brain [17.6% (14.2–21.4)], 7/25 heart [28.0% (12.1–49.4)] and 5/21 placenta [23.8% (8.2–47.2)] were PCR positive for the presence of Neospora DNA. Overall 82/455 [18.0% (14.6–21.7)] of the bovine fetuses tested positive for the presence of N. caninum DNA in at least one sample. None (0/308) of the ovine fetal samples tested positive for the presence of Neospora DNA in any of the tissues tested. The results show that N. caninum was associated with fetal losses in cattle (distributed across South-West Scotland), compared to sheep in the same geographical areas where no parasite DNA was found. Neospora is well distributed amongst cattle in South-West Scotland and is the potential cause of serious economic losses to the Scottish cattle farming community; however, it does not appear to be a problem amongst the Scottish sheep flocks.
The aim of this study was to estimate the effectiveness of first-line biologic disease modifying drugs(boDMARDs), and their approved biosimilars (bsDMARDs), compared with conventional (csDMARD) treatment, in terms of ACR (American College of Rheumatology) and EULAR (European League against Rheumatism) responses.
Systematic literature search, on eight databases to January 2017, sought ACR and EULAR data from randomized controlled trials (RCTs) of boDMARDs / bsDMARDs (in combination with csDMARDs, or monotherapy). Two adult populations: methotrexate (MTX)-naïve patients with severe active RA; and csDMARD-experienced patients with moderate-to-severe active RA. Network meta-analyses (NMA) were conducted using a Bayesian Markov chain Monte Carlo simulation using a random effects model with a probit link function for ordered categorical.
Forty-six RCTs met the eligibility criteria. In the MTX-naïve severe active RA population, no biosimilar trials meeting the inclusion criteria were identified. MTX plus methylprednisolone (MP) was most likely to achieve the best ACR response. There was insufficient evidence that combination boDMARDs was superior to intensive (two or more) csDMARDs. In the csDMARD-experienced, moderate-to-severe RA population, the greatest effects for ACR responses were associated with tocilizumab (TCZ) monotherapy, and combination therapy (plus MTX) with bsDMARD etanercept (ETN) SB4, boDMARD ETN and TCZ. These treatments also had the greatest effects on EULAR responses. No clear differences were found between the boDMARDs and their bsDMARDs.
In MTX-naïve patients, there was insufficient evidence that combination boDMARDs was superior to two or more csDMARDs. In csDMARD-experienced patients, boDMARDs and bsDMARDs were comparable and all combination boDMARDs / bsDMARDs were superior to single csDMARD.
Consuming whey protein before a meal may reduce postprandial glucose excursions, however, optimising timing of supplementation is important to improve its clinical utility. A total of thirteen centrally obese, insulin-resistant males (waist circumference: 121 (sem 3) cm; homeostasis model assessment for insulin resistance (HOMA-IR): 6·4 (sem 1·2)) completed four experimental conditions in a single-blind, crossover design. Participants consumed mixed-macronutrient breakfast and lunch meals on all occasions, with 20 g whey protein consumed 15 min before (PRE), alongside (DUR) or 15 min post-breakfast (POST) or omitted (CON). Capillary glucose and plasma concentrations of insulin, TAG and NEFA, in addition to subjective appetite ratings, were collected for 180 min after each meal. PRE and DUR reduced post-breakfast glucose peak by 17·0 (sem 1·9) % (P<0·001) and 9·2 (sem 2·9) % (P=0·046), respectively, compared with CON. Post-breakfast glucose AUC was lower following PRE compared with POST and CON (PRE: 982 (sem 30) v. POST: 1031 (sem 36) and CON: 1065 (sem 37) mmol/l×180 min; P≤0·042) but similar to DUR (1013 (sem 32) mmol/l×180 min; P=0·77). Insulin was lower during PRE, when compared with POST and DUR (both P≤0·042) but similar to CON. There were no between-condition differences in measures of postprandial lipaemia or appetite, and no effect of condition post-lunch. Consumption of whey protein as a preload or alongside a mixed-macronutrient breakfast reduces postprandial glucose excursions in centrally obese, insulin-resistant males. Whey consumed as a preload has superior glycaemic-lowering effects. Supplementation at breakfast does not alter glycaemic responses to subsequent meals.
The maximum height trees can grow on Earth is around 122–130 m. The height is constrained by two factors: the availability of water, and where water is not limiting, the pressure available to drive the column of water along the xylem vessels against the pull of gravity (cohesion tension). In turn the height of trees impacts the biodiversity of the environment in a number of ways. On Earth the largest trees are found in maritime temperate environments along the Pacific Northwest coasts of northern California and southern Oregon. These forests provide a large number of secondary habitats for species and serve as moisture pumps that return significant volumes of water to the lower atmosphere. In this work, we apply simple mathematical rules to illustrate how super-terran planets will have significantly smaller trees, with concomitant effects on the habitability of the planet. We also consider the impact of varying tree height on climate models.
We review our current understanding of the interior structure and thermal evolution of Saturn, with a focus on recent results in the Cassini era. There has been important progress in understanding physical inputs, including equations of state of planetary materials and their mixtures, physical parameters like the gravity field and rotation rate, and constraints on Saturnian free oscillations. At the same time, new methods of calculation, including work on the gravity field of rotating fluid bodies, and the role of interior composition gradients, should help to better constrain the state of Saturn’s interior, now and earlier in its history. However, a better appreciation of modeling uncertainties and degeneracies, along with a greater exploration of modeling phase space, still leave great uncertainties in our understanding of Saturn’s interior. Further analysis of Cassini data sets, as well as precise gravity field measurements from the Cassini Grand Finale orbits, will further revolutionize our understanding of Saturn’s interior over the next few years.
Planets that orbit M-class dwarf stars in their habitable zones are expected to become tidally-locked in the first billion years of their history. Simulations of potentially habitable planets orbiting K and G-class stars also suggest that many will become tidally-locked or become pseudo-synchronous rotators in a similar time frame where certain criteria are fulfilled. Simple models suggest that such planets will experience climatic regions organized in broadly concentric bands around the sub-stellar point, where irradiation is maximal. Here, we develop some of the quantitative, as well as the qualitative impacts of such climate on the evolutionary potential of life on such worlds, incorporating the effects of topography and ocean currents on potential biological diversity. By comparing atmospheric circulation models with terrestrial circulation and biological diversity, we are able to construct viable thought models of biological potential. While we await the generation of atmospheric circulation models that incorporate topography and varying subaerial landscape, these models can be used as a starting point to determine the overall evolutionary potential of such worlds. The planets in these thought-models have significant differences in their distribution of habitability that may not be apparent from simple climate modelling.
‘Where is everybody?’ remarked Enrico Fermi, leading to the famous, and as yet unanswered ‘Fermi's Paradox’ as this remark has come to be known. While there are a number of possible solutions that vary from the distances are too great; the cost prohibitive or civilizations naturally decline or eliminate themselves before interstellar travel becomes possible, none of these are intellectually satisfying. More recently, Manasvi Lingam and Abraham Loeb suggested that for those planets orbiting red dwarfs, atmospheric erosion may be a partial solution to this ‘paradox’. Such planets may experience greater exposure to stellar winds and/or extreme ultraviolet and X-radiation (henceforth abbreviated to EUV). While this proposition is undeniably reasonable, it is likely incomplete. A more fundamental limitation on the development of biological complexity is imposed by plate tectonics: time. On asynchronously rotating planets, the habitable area for any species is defined by latitudinal bands that encompass the globe. Conversely, on synchronous rotators, the comparative habitable area is limited to broadly concentric regions surrounding the Sub-Stellar Point (SSP). Given that terrestrial mammals and from them humans evolved in tropical or subtropical regions, the geographical area subtended with these conditions is likely to be smaller and transected by suitable landmasses for shorter periods than on asynchronously rotating worlds. Habitable subaerial regions for individual species are therefore more limited in area. This leads to a greater limitation on the temporal intervals over which biological complexity can evolve.
A number of measurable physiological events characteristically occur and cause changes during the perioestrual period including the classical, diagnostic sign of standing behaviour. The onset of oestrus coincides with peak titres of oestradiol-17β that subsequently induce the preovulatory surge of LH within 1 to 3 h and ovulation of a mature follicle some 24 to 32 h after the onset of oestrus. Although detection efficiencies are consistently greater in higher producing herds, oestrus-detection efficiency generally has declined in recent years as herd size and milk production have increased. New technologies have introduced some needed assistance for detecting cows in oestrus. These include various in expensive heat mount detectors to more sophisticated electronic gadgetry, such aspedometry and radiotelemetric sensors that detect temperature, tissue impedance, and pressure. Oestrus detection aids are usually more efficient but not necessarily more accurate than visual observation. Differences in housing and environmental conditions, in addition to labor inputs, costs, and efficacies, result in variable acceptance of such technologies. Detection efficiency and accuracy can be improved by simultaneous use of synergistic technologies; those that compliment each other and monitor different indicators of oestrus. Combining technologies for simultaneous measurements of several physiological events associated specifically with the onset of oestrus and their radiotelemetrically signaling to a central computer for subsequent analysis should provide greater efficiency ofoestrus detection with fewer false positives. The ultimate goal of determining the onset of oestrus or ovulation is to predict the optimal timing for insemination. Ultimately, herd personnel must interpret information gathered by these technologies and judge whether or not and when to inseminate cows based on their visual inspection of identified cows.
On 27 April 2015, Washington health authorities identified Escherichia coli O157:H7 infections associated with dairy education school field trips held in a barn 20–24 April. Investigation objectives were to determine the magnitude of the outbreak, identify the source of infection, prevent secondary illness transmission and develop recommendations to prevent future outbreaks. Case-finding, hypothesis generating interviews, environmental site visits and a case–control study were conducted. Parents and children were interviewed regarding event activities. Odds ratios (OR) and 95% confidence intervals (CI) were computed. Environmental testing was conducted in the barn; isolates were compared to patient isolates using pulsed-field gel electrophoresis (PFGE). Sixty people were ill, 11 (18%) were hospitalised and six (10%) developed haemolytic uremic syndrome. Ill people ranged in age from <1 year to 47 years (median: 7), and 20 (33%) were female. Twenty-seven case-patients and 88 controls were enrolled in the case–control study. Among first-grade students, handwashing (i.e. soap and water, or hand sanitiser) before lunch was protective (adjusted OR 0.13; 95% CI 0.02–0.88, P = 0.04). Barn samples yielded E. coli O157:H7 with PFGE patterns indistinguishable from patient isolates. This investigation provided epidemiological, laboratory and environmental evidence for a large outbreak of E. coli O157:H7 infections from exposure to a contaminated barn. The investigation highlights the often overlooked risk of infection through exposure to animal environments as well as the importance of handwashing for disease prevention. Increased education and encouragement of infection prevention measures, such as handwashing, can prevent illness.
Accurate and reproducible patient positioning is a critical step in radiotherapy for breast cancer. This has seen the use of permanent skin markings becoming standard practice in many centres. Permanent skin markings may have a negative impact on long-term cosmetic outcome, which may in turn, have psychological implications in terms of body image. The aim of this study was to investigate the feasibility of using a semi-permanent tattooing device for the administration of skin marks for breast radiotherapy set-up.
Materials and methods
This was designed as a phase II double-blinded randomised-controlled study comparing our standard permanent tattoos with the Precision Plus Micropigmentation (PPMS) device method. Patients referred for radical breast radiotherapy were eligible for the study. Each study participant had three marks applied using a randomised combination of the standard permanent and PPMS methods and was blinded to the type of each mark. Follow up was at routine appointments until 24 months post radiotherapy. Participants and a blind assessor were invited to score the visibility of each tattoo at each follow-up using a Visual Analogue Scale. Tattoo scores at each time point and change in tattoo scores at 24 months were analysed by a general linear model using the patient as a fixed effect and the type of tattoo (standard or research) as covariate. A simple questionnaire was used to assess radiographer feedback on using the PPMS.
In total, 60 patients were recruited to the study, of which 55 were available for follow-up at 24 months. Semi-permanent tattoos were more visible at 24 months than the permanent tattoos. Semi-permanent tattoos demonstrated a greater degree of fade than the permanent tattoos at 24 months (final time point) post completion of radiotherapy. This was not statistically significant, although it was more apparent for the patient scores (p=0·071) than the blind assessor scores (p=0·27). No semi-permanent tattoos required re-marking before the end of radiotherapy and no adverse skin reactions were observed.
The PPMS presents a safe and feasible alternative to our permanent tattooing method. An extended period of follow-up is required to fully assess the extent of semi-permanent tattoo fade.
A planet may be defined as habitable if it has an atmosphere and is warm enough to support the existence of liquid water on its surface. Such a world has the basic set of conditions that allow it to develop life similar to ours, which is carbon-based and has water as its universal solvent. While this definition is suitably vague to allow a fairly broad range of possibilities, it does not address the question as to whether any life that does form will become either complex or intelligent. In this paper, we seek to synthesize a qualitative definition of which subset of these ‘habitable worlds’ might develop more complex and interesting life forms. We identify two key principles in determining the capacity of life to breach certain transitions on route to developing intelligence. The first is the number of potential niches a planet provides. Secondly, the complexity of life will reflect the information density of its environment, which in turn can be approximated by the number of available niches. We seek to use these criteria to begin the process of placing the evolution of terrestrial life in a mathematical framework based on environmental information content. This is currently testable on Earth and will have clear application to the worlds that we are only beginning to discover. Our model links the development of complex life to the physical properties of the planet, something which is currently lacking in all evolutionary theory.
Limitations of access have long restricted exploration and investigation of the cavities beneath ice shelves to a small number of drillholes. Studies of sea-ice underwater morphology are limited largely to scientific utilization of submarines. Remotely operated vehicles, tethered to a mother ship by umbilical cable, have been deployed to investigate tidewater-glacier and ice-shelf margins, but their range is often restricted. The development of free-flying autonomous underwater vehicles (AUVs) with ranges of tens to hundreds of kilometres enables extensive missions to take place beneath sea ice and floating ice shelves. Autosub2 is a 3600 kg, 6.7 m long AUV, with a 1600 m operating depth and range of 400 km, based on the earlier Autosub1 which had a 500 m depth limit. A single direct-drive d.c. motor and five-bladed propeller produce speeds of 1–2 m s−1. Rear-mounted rudder and stern-plane control yaw, pitch and depth. The vehicle has three sections. The front and rear sections are free-flooding, built around aluminium extrusion space-frames covered with glass-fibre reinforced plastic panels. The central section has a set of carbon-fibre reinforced plastic pressure vessels. Four tubes contain batteries powering the vehicle. The other three house vehicle-control systems and sensors. The rear section houses subsystems for navigation, control actuation and propulsion and scientific sensors (e.g. digital camera, upward-looking 300 kHz acoustic Doppler current profiler, 200 kHz multibeam receiver). The front section contains forward-looking collision sensor, emergency abort, the homing systems, Argos satellite data and location transmitters and flashing lights for relocation as well as science sensors (e.g. twin conductivity–temperature–depth instruments, multibeam transmitter, sub-bottom profiler, AquaLab water sampler). Payload restrictions mean that a subset of scientific instruments is actually in place on any given dive. The scientific instruments carried on Autosub are described and examples of observational data collected from each sensor in Arctic or Antarctic waters are given (e.g. of roughness at the underside of floating ice shelves and sea ice).
The development of an economic capital model requires a decision to be made regarding how to aggregate capital requirements for the individual risk factors while taking into account the effects of diversification. Under the Individual Capital Adequacy Standards framework, UK life insurers have commonly adopted a correlation matrix approach due to its simplicity and ease in communication to the stakeholders involved, adjusting the result, where appropriate, to allow for non-linear interactions. The regulatory requirements of Solvency II have been one of the principal drivers leading to an increased use of more sophisticated aggregation techniques in economic capital models. This paper focusses on a simulation-based approach to the aggregation of capital requirements using copulas and proxy models. It describes the practical challenges in parameterising a copula including how allowance may be made for tail dependence. It also covers the challenges associated with fitting and validating a proxy model. In particular, the paper outlines how insurers could test, communicate and justify the choices made through the use of some examples.
Untreated maternal depression during the postpartum period can have a profound impact on the short- and long-term psychological and physical well-being of children. There is, therefore, an imperative for increased understanding of the determinants of depression and depression-related healthcare access during this period.
Respondents were 11 089 mothers of 9-month-old infants recruited to the Growing Up in Ireland study. Of this sample, 10 827 had complete data on all relevant variables. Respondents provided sociodemographic, socioeconomic and household information, and completed the Center for Epidemiologic Studies Depression Scale (CESD).
11.1% of mothers scored above the CESD threshold for depression. 10.0% of depressed mothers and 25.4% of depressed fathers had depressed partners. Among depressed mothers, 73.1% had not attended a healthcare professional for a mental health problem since the birth of the cohort infant. In the adjusted model, the likelihood of depression was highest in mothers who: had lower educational levels (odds ratio (OR) 1.26; 95% confidence intervals (CIs) 1.08, 1.46); were unemployed (OR 1.27; 95% CIs 1.10, 1.47); reported previous mental health problems (OR 6.55; 95% CIs 5.68, 7.56); reported that the cohort child was the result of an unintended pregnancy (OR 1.43; 95% CIs 1.22, 1.68), was preterm (OR 1.35; 95% CIs 1.07, 1.70), or had health/developmental problems (OR 1.20; 95% CIs 1.04, 1.39); had no partner in the household (OR 1.33; 95% CIs 1.04, 1.70) or were living with a depressed partner (OR 2.66; 95% CIs 1.97, 3.60); reported no family living nearby (OR 1.33; 95% CIs 1.16, 1.54); were in the lowest income group (OR 1.60; 95% CIs 1.21, 2.12). The primary determinant of not seeking treatment for depression was being of non-white ethnicity (OR 2.21; 95% CIs 1.18, 4.13).
Results highlight the prevalence of maternal depression in the later postpartum period, particularly for lower socioeconomic groups, those with previous mental health problems, and those with limited social support. The large proportion of unmet need in depressed mothers, particularly among ethnic minority groups, emphasises the need for a greater awareness of postpartum mental health problems and increased efforts by healthcare professionals to ensure that mothers can access the required services.
There is a paucity of information on the risk from potable water in non-passenger merchant vessels (NPMVs) particularly with regard to Legionella and other bacteria. This retrospective study examined water samples from 550 NPMVs docked in eight UK ports. A total of 1027 samples from 412 NPMVs were examined for total aerobic colony counts (ACC), coliforms, Escherichia coli and enterococci; 41% of samples yielded ACC above the action level (>1 × 103 c.f.u./ml) and 4·5% contained actionable levels (>1 c.f.u./100 ml) of faecal indicator bacteria. Eight hundred and three samples from 360 NPMVs were cultured specifically for Legionella and 58% of vessels proved positive for these organisms with 27% of samples showing levels greater than the UK upper action limit of 1 × 103 c.f.u./l. Cabin showers (49%) and hospital shower (45%) were frequently positive. A subset of 106 samples was analysed by quantitative polymerase chain reaction for Legionella and identified a further 11 Legionella-positive NPMVs, returning a negative predictive value of 100%. There was no correlation between NPMV age or size and any microbial parameters (P > 0·05). Legionella pneumophila serogroup 1 was isolated from 46% of NPMVs and sequence-based typing of 17 isolates revealed four sequence types (STs) previously associated with human disease. These data raise significant concerns regarding the management of microbial and Legionella risks on board NPMVs and suggest that better guidance and compliance are required to improve control.
As we enter the era of gravitational wave astronomy, we are beginning to collect observations which will enable us to explore aspects of astrophysics of massive stellar binaries which were previously beyond reach. In this paper we describe COMPAS (Compact Object Mergers: Population Astrophysics and Statistics), a new platform to allow us to deepen our understanding of isolated binary evolution and the formation of gravitational-wave sources. We describe the computational challenges associated with their exploration, and present preliminary results on overcoming them using Gaussian process regression as a simulation emulation technique.