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Indigenous women and children experience some of the most profound health disparities globally. These disparities are grounded in historical and contemporary trauma secondary to colonial atrocities perpetuated by settler society. The health disparities that exist for chronic diseases may have their origins in early-life exposures that Indigenous women and children face. Mechanistically, there is evidence that these adverse exposures epigenetically modify genes associated with cardiometabolic disease risk. Interventions designed to support a resilient pregnancy and first 1000 days of life should abrogate disparities in early-life socioeconomic status. Breastfeeding, prenatal care and early child education are key targets for governments and health care providers to start addressing current health disparities in cardiometabolic diseases among Indigenous youth. Programmes grounded in cultural safety and co-developed with communities have successfully reduced health disparities. More works of this kind are needed to reduce inequities in cardiometabolic diseases among Indigenous women and children worldwide.
The longstanding association between the major histocompatibility complex (MHC) locus and schizophrenia (SZ) risk has recently been accounted for, partially, by structural variation at the complement component 4 (C4) gene. This structural variation generates varying levels of C4 RNA expression, and genetic information from the MHC region can now be used to predict C4 RNA expression in the brain. Increased predicted C4A RNA expression is associated with the risk of SZ, and C4 is reported to influence synaptic pruning in animal models.
Based on our previous studies associating MHC SZ risk variants with poorer memory performance, we tested whether increased predicted C4A RNA expression was associated with reduced memory function in a large (n = 1238) dataset of psychosis cases and healthy participants, and with altered task-dependent cortical activation in a subset of these samples.
We observed that increased predicted C4A RNA expression predicted poorer performance on measures of memory recall (p = 0.016, corrected). Furthermore, in healthy participants, we found that increased predicted C4A RNA expression was associated with a pattern of reduced cortical activity in middle temporal cortex during a measure of visual processing (p < 0.05, corrected).
These data suggest that the effects of C4 on cognition were observable at both a cortical and behavioural level, and may represent one mechanism by which illness risk is mediated. As such, deficits in learning and memory may represent a therapeutic target for new molecular developments aimed at altering C4’s developmental role.
The discovery of the first electromagnetic counterpart to a gravitational wave signal has generated follow-up observations by over 50 facilities world-wide, ushering in the new era of multi-messenger astronomy. In this paper, we present follow-up observations of the gravitational wave event GW170817 and its electromagnetic counterpart SSS17a/DLT17ck (IAU label AT2017gfo) by 14 Australian telescopes and partner observatories as part of Australian-based and Australian-led research programs. We report early- to late-time multi-wavelength observations, including optical imaging and spectroscopy, mid-infrared imaging, radio imaging, and searches for fast radio bursts. Our optical spectra reveal that the transient source emission cooled from approximately 6 400 K to 2 100 K over a 7-d period and produced no significant optical emission lines. The spectral profiles, cooling rate, and photometric light curves are consistent with the expected outburst and subsequent processes of a binary neutron star merger. Star formation in the host galaxy probably ceased at least a Gyr ago, although there is evidence for a galaxy merger. Binary pulsars with short (100 Myr) decay times are therefore unlikely progenitors, but pulsars like PSR B1534+12 with its 2.7 Gyr coalescence time could produce such a merger. The displacement (~2.2 kpc) of the binary star system from the centre of the main galaxy is not unusual for stars in the host galaxy or stars originating in the merging galaxy, and therefore any constraints on the kick velocity imparted to the progenitor are poor.
Functional neurological disorders (FNDs), also known as conversion disorder, are unexplained neurological symptoms unrelated to a neurological cause. The disorder is common, yet poorly understood. The symptoms are experienced as involuntary but have similarities to voluntary processes. Here we studied intention awareness in FND.
A total of 26 FND patients and 25 healthy volunteers participated in this functional magnetic resonance study using Libet's clock.
FND is characterized by delayed awareness of the intention to move relative to the movement itself. The reporting of intention was more precise, suggesting that these findings are reliable and unrelated to non-specific attentional deficits. That these findings were more prominent with aberrant positive functional movement symptoms rather than negative symptoms may be relevant to impairments in timing for an inhibitory veto process. Attention towards intention relative to movement was associated with lower right inferior parietal cortex activity in FND, a region early in the processing of intention. During rest, aberrant functional connectivity was observed with the right inferior parietal cortex and other motor intention regions.
The results converge with observations of low inferior parietal activity comparing involuntary with voluntary movement in FND, emphasizing core deficiencies in intention. Heightened precision of this impaired intention is consistent with Bayesian theories of impaired top-down priors that might influence the sense of involuntariness. A primary impairment in voluntary motor intention at an early processing stage might explain clinical observations of slowed effortful voluntary movement, heightened self-directed attention and underlie functional movements. These findings further suggest novel therapeutic targets.
Dietary patterns are a major risk factor for cardiovascular morbidity and mortality; however, few studies have examined this relationship in older adults. We examined prospective associations between dietary patterns and the risk of CVD and all-cause mortality in 3226 older British men, aged 60–79 years and free from CVD at baseline, from the British Regional Heart Study. Baseline FFQ data were used to generate thirty-four food groups. Principal component analysis identified dietary patterns that were categorised into quartiles, with higher quartiles representing higher adherence to the dietary pattern. Cox proportional hazards examined associations between dietary patterns and risk of all-cause mortality and cardiovascular outcomes. We identified three interpretable dietary patterns: ‘high fat/low fibre’ (high in red meat, meat products, white bread, fried potato, eggs), ‘prudent’ (high in poultry, fish, fruits, vegetables, legumes, pasta, rice, wholemeal bread, eggs, olive oil) and ‘high sugar’ (high in biscuits, puddings, chocolates, sweets, sweet spreads, breakfast cereals). During 11 years of follow-up, 899 deaths, 316 CVD-related deaths, 569 CVD events and 301 CHD events occurred. The ‘high-fat/low-fibre’ dietary pattern was associated with an increased risk of all-cause mortality only, after adjustment for confounders (highest v. lowest quartile; hazard ratio 1·44; 95 % CI 1·13, 1·84). Adherence to a ‘high-sugar’ diet was associated with a borderline significant trend for an increased risk of CVD and CHD events. The ‘prudent’ diet did not show a significant trend with cardiovascular outcomes or mortality. Avoiding ‘high-fat/low-fibre’ and ‘high-sugar’ dietary components may reduce the risk of cardiovascular events and all-cause mortality in older adults.
Here is an exercise to try with your students or colleagues regarding wildlife conservation and management. Tell them they are managing an area containing a population of an endangered, charismatic, flagship wildlife species, say mountain nyala in Bale Mountains National Park, Ethiopia. Invite them to write down the one or two things they would most want to know in order to best manage the population. The answers will vary. Some may inquire into the population size or density; others may want to know what the nyala are eating; others may want to know about the nyalas’ levels of genetic heterozygosity. But what we really want to know is “what is the state of the population in terms of growth rate and relationship to resource density?” “what are the threats to the population?” and “what are the population's prospects for the future?” Are these questions we can answer? Will knowledge of population size or genetics or diet allow us to answer these? Or can answers best be obtained from other information? If so, how can such information be acquired? What are the best indicators?
Ideally, indicators of population well-being must be reliable. Further, they should be easy to measure, respond quickly to environmental change and forecast the future. Measurements of population sizes are frequently used in management decisions and may excel in identifying when small population issues are of concern, but are woefully inadequate as indicators of population processes. Such metrics do not necessarily respond quickly to environmental change. Most populations experience time-lagged dynamics. But time lags mean that density is a trailing indicator of current conditions. We must search elsewhere for leading indicators – indicators that predict the future rather than simply recapitulating the past. Perhaps we can find our indicators in the traits of organisms that have been shaped by evolution (Grafen 1982, Lucas & Grafen 1985, Mitchell & Valone 1990). One attractive class of characteristics comes from foraging theory and measures of behavior (Stephens & Krebs 1986). These can be classified into behavioral indicators based on diet, patch use or habitat selection.
Consider indicators of population well-being further. An example involving the Baltic tellin (Macoma balthica) illustrates this well. Baltic tellins, benthic bivalves from the Dutch Wadden Sea, suffer predation from red knots (Calidris canutus) (van Gils et al. 2009).
A K-band (18-25 GHz) reflected-wave ruby maser (Moore and Clauss 1979) has been borrowed from the National Radio Astronomy Observatory for radio astronomy use on the NASA 64-m antenna of the Deep Space Network at the Tidbinbilla Tracking Station, near Canberra. The purpose of the installation is to provide additional sensitive spectral line, continuum, and VLBI capabilities in the southern hemisphere. Previous measurements at 22.3 GHz (λ = 13.5 mm) determined that the Tidbinbilla 64-m antenna has a peak aperture efficiency of ˜22%, a well-behaved beam shape and consistent pointing (Fourikis and Jauncey 1979). Before installing the maser on the antenna a cooled (circulator) switch was added to provide a beam-switching capability, and a spectral line receiver following the maser was incorporated. The system was assembled and tested at JPL in late 1980 and installed at Tidbinbilla early in 1981. We give here a brief description and present some of the first line observations made in February and March 1981. Extensive line and continuum observations are planned with the present system and a program is under way to determine the telescope pointing characteristics.
Socio-economic gradients in diet quality are well established. However, the influence of material socio-economic conditions particularly in childhood, and the use of multiple disaggregated socio-economic measures on diet quality have been little studied in the elderly. In the present study, we examined childhood and adult socio-economic measures, and social relationships, as determinants of diet quality cross-sectionally in 4252 older British men (aged 60–79 years). A FFQ provided data on daily fruit and vegetable consumption and the Elderly Dietary Index (EDI), with higher scores indicating better diet quality. Adult and childhood socio-economic measures included occupation/father's occupation, education and household amenities, which combined to create composite scores. Social relationships included social contact, living arrangements and marital status. Both childhood and adult socio-economic factors were independently associated with diet quality. Compared with non-manual social class, men of childhood manual social class were less likely to consume fruit and vegetables daily (OR 0·80, 95 % CI 0·66, 0·97), as were men of adult manual social class (OR 0·65, 95 % CI 0·54, 0·79), and less likely to be in the top EDI quartile (OR 0·73, 95 % CI 0·61, 0·88), similar to men of adult manual social class (OR 0·66, 95 % CI 0·55, 0·79). Diet quality decreased with increasing adverse adult socio-economic scores; however, the association with adverse childhood socio-economic scores diminished with adult social class adjustment. A combined adverse childhood and adulthood socio-economic score was associated with poor diet quality. Diet quality was most favourable in married men and those not living alone, but was not associated with social contact. Diet quality in older men is influenced by childhood and adulthood socio-economic factors, marital status and living arrangements.
This volume contains contributions that consider new approaches to three areas: the documentation of rock art; its interpretation using indigenous knowledge; and the presentation of rock art. Working with Rock Art is the first edited volume to consider each of these areas in a theoretical rather than a technical fashion, and it therefore makes a significant contribution to the discipline. The volume aims to promote the sharing of new experiences between leading researchers in the field. While the geographic focus is truly global, there is a dominant north-south axis with strong representation from researchers in southern Africa and northern Europe, two leading centres for new approaches in rock art research. Working with Rock Art opens up a long overdue dialogue about shared experiences between these two centres, and a number of the chapters are the first published results of new collaborative research. Since this volume covers the recording, interpretation and presentation of rock art, it will attract a wide audience of researchers, heritage managers and students, as well as anyone interested in the field of rock art studies.
Working with Rock Art presents the outcomes of the first ever collaboration between South Africa and Scandinavia in the field of rock art studies. The particular focus was on hunter-gatherer rock arts. Norway and South Africa are two countries that are famous for their ancient rock engravings and rock paintings. Both have rock art of such great international significance that they are registered on the UNESCO World Heritage List. In both countries therefore, rock art has a high public profile and both governments have made rock art research, conservation and rock art tourism national priorities. However, the research traditions in each region have followed vastly different trajectories.
Our collaboration therefore sought to bring together a series of teams from each region to share their experiences on how we work with rock art. We hoped that our different experiences would prove mutually challenging, and they did. It caused a series of profound debates about what constitutes best practice in the field of rock art studies and these have changed the way we work in tangible ways. We challenged all of the collaborators to report their perspectives at a joint conference in Kimberley, South Africa in 2006 and then to engage in further discussions and workshops before writing up these experiences for this volume. This volume therefore represents the consolidated findings of a prolonged engagement of research and debate in rock art practice. It is therefore predominantly a book about method, and this has great importance in itself, because rock art studies is a growing discipline but one in which we have no internationally agreed upon methods or standards of practice.
We divide the book into three parts, each reflecting one of the core foci of our collaboration:
METHODS OF DOCUMENTING AND RECORDING ROCK ART
All of us face a common problem in our rock art data capture: how do we reduce rock art on a three dimensional surface to a two-dimensional recording in a manner that does not damage the art in any way and without losing any three-dimensional features that may prove vital to interpretation? In both Norway and South Africa research has shown that natural rock features such as cracks and hollows played a fundamental role in determining the placement of rock art imagery.