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In 2019, a 42-year-old African man who works as an Ebola virus disease (EVD) researcher traveled from the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), near an ongoing EVD epidemic, to Philadelphia and presented to the Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania Emergency Department with altered mental status, vomiting, diarrhea, and fever. He was classified as a “wet” person under investigation for EVD, and his arrival activated our hospital emergency management command center and bioresponse teams. He was found to be in septic shock with multisystem organ dysfunction, including circulatory dysfunction, encephalopathy, metabolic lactic acidosis, acute kidney injury, acute liver injury, and diffuse intravascular coagulation. Critical care was delivered within high-risk pathogen isolation in the ED and in our Special Treatment Unit until a diagnosis of severe cerebral malaria was confirmed and EVD was definitively excluded.
This report discusses our experience activating a longitudinal preparedness program designed for rare, resource-intensive events at hospitals physically remote from any active epidemic but serving a high-volume international air travel port-of-entry.
The rocky shores of the north-east Atlantic have been long studied. Our focus is from Gibraltar to Norway plus the Azores and Iceland. Phylogeographic processes shape biogeographic patterns of biodiversity. Long-term and broadscale studies have shown the responses of biota to past climate fluctuations and more recent anthropogenic climate change. Inter- and intra-specific species interactions along sharp local environmental gradients shape distributions and community structure and hence ecosystem functioning. Shifts in domination by fucoids in shelter to barnacles/mussels in exposure are mediated by grazing by patellid limpets. Further south fucoids become increasingly rare, with species disappearing or restricted to estuarine refuges, caused by greater desiccation and grazing pressure. Mesoscale processes influence bottom-up nutrient forcing and larval supply, hence affecting species abundance and distribution, and can be proximate factors setting range edges (e.g., the English Channel, the Iberian Peninsula). Impacts of invasive non-native species are reviewed. Knowledge gaps such as the work on rockpools and host–parasite dynamics are also outlined.
Hypertension prevalence is on the rise in low- and middle-income countries (LMICs) like South Africa, and migration and its concomitant urbanization are often considered to be associated with this rise. However, relatively little is known about the relationship between blood pressure (BP) and internal migration – a highly prevalent population process in LMICs. This study employed data for a group of 194 adult men and women from an original pilot dataset drawn from the Agincourt Health and Demographic Surveillance System in north-east South Africa conducted in 2012. Migrants in the sample were identified, tracked and interviewed. The relationship between BP and migration distance and the number of months an individual spent away from his/her home village was estimated using robust OLS regression, controlling for a series of socioeconomic, health and behavioural characteristics. It was found that migrants who moved a longer distance and for longer durations had significantly higher systolic and diastolic blood pressures compared with shorter-term migrants and those who remained nearby or in their home village. These associations remained robust and statistically significant when adjusting for measures of socioeconomic conditions, as well as body mass index and the number of meals consumed per day. Migration, both in terms of distance and time away, explained significant variation in the blood pressure of migrants in this typical South African context. The findings suggest the need for further studies of the nutritional and psycho-social factors associated with geographic mobility that may be important to understand rising hypertension levels in LMICs.
This study tested whether the association between interparental conflict and adolescent externalizing symptoms was moderated by a polygenic composite indexing low dopamine activity (i.e., 7-repeat allele of DRD4; Val alleles of COMT; 10-repeat variants of DAT1) in a sample of seventh-grade adolescents (Mean age = 13.0 years) and their parents. Using a longitudinal, autoregressive design, observational assessments of interparental conflict at Wave 1 predicted increases in a multi-informant measurement of youth externalizing symptoms 2 years later at Wave 3 only for children who were high on the hypodopaminergic composite. Moderation was expressed in a “for better” or “for worse” form hypothesized by differential susceptibility theory. Thus, children high on the dopaminergic composite experienced more externalizing problems than their peers when faced with more destructive conflicts but also fewer externalizing problems when exposed to more constructive interparental conflicts. Mediated moderation findings indicated that adolescent reports of their emotional insecurity in the interparental relationship partially explained the greater genetic susceptibility experienced by these children. More specifically, the dopamine composite moderated the association between Wave 1 interparental conflict and emotional insecurity 1 year later at Wave 2 in the same “for better” or “for worse” pattern as externalizing symptoms. Adolescent insecurity at Wave 2, in turn, predicted their greater externalizing symptoms 1 year later at Wave 3. Post hoc analyses further revealed that the 7-repeat allele of the dopamine receptor D4 (DRD4) gene was the primary source of plasticity in the polygenic composite. Results are discussed as to how they advance process-oriented Gene x Environment models of emotion regulation.
A 2018 workshop on the White Mountain Apache Tribe lands in Arizona examined ways to enhance investigations into cultural property crime (CPC) through applications of rapidly evolving methods from archaeological science. CPC (also looting, graverobbing) refers to unauthorized damage, removal, or trafficking in materials possessing blends of communal, aesthetic, and scientific values. The Fort Apache workshop integrated four generally partitioned domains of CPC expertise: (1) theories of perpetrators’ motivations and methods; (2) recommended practice in sustaining public and community opposition to CPC; (3) tactics and strategies for documenting, investigating, and prosecuting CPC; and (4) forensic sedimentology—uses of biophysical sciences to link sediments from implicated persons and objects to crime scenes. Forensic sedimentology served as the touchstone for dialogues among experts in criminology, archaeological sciences, law enforcement, and heritage stewardship. Field visits to CPC crime scenes and workshop deliberations identified pathways toward integrating CPC theory and practice with forensic sedimentology’s potent battery of analytic methods.
This study examined the interplay between a polygenic composite and cortisol activity as moderators of the mediational pathway among family adversity, youth negative emotional reactivity to family conflict, and their psychological problems. The longitudinal design contained three annual measurement occasions with 279 adolescents (Mean age = 13.0 years) and their parents. Latent difference score analyses indicated that observational ratings of adversity in interparental and parent–child interactions at Wave 1 predicted increases in a multimethod, multi-informant assessment of youth negative emotional reactivity to family conflict from Waves 1 to 2. Changes in youth negative emotional reactivity, in turn, predicted increases in a multi-informant (i.e., parents, adolescent, and teacher) assessment of psychological problems from Waves 1 to 3. Consistent with differential susceptibility theory, the association between family adversity and negative emotional reactivity was stronger for adolescents who carried more sensitivity alleles in a polygenic composite consisting of 5-HTTLPR, DRD4 VNTR, and BDNF polymorphisms. Analyses of adolescent cortisol in the period surrounding a family disagreement task at Wave 1 revealed that overall cortisol output, rather than cortisol reactivity, served as an endophenotype of the polygenic composite. Overall cortisol output was specifically associated with polygenic plasticity and moderated the association between family adversity and youth negative emotional reactivity in the same for better or for worse manner as the genetic composite. Finally, moderator-mediated-moderation analyses indicated that the moderating role of the polygenic plasticity composite was mediated by the moderating role of adolescent cortisol output in the association between family adversity and their emotional reactivity.
Household surveys are one of the most commonly used tools for generating insight into rural communities. Despite their prevalence, few studies comprehensively evaluate the quality of data derived from farm household surveys. We critically evaluated a series of standard reported values and indicators that are captured in multiple farm household surveys, and then quantified their credibility, consistency and, thus, their reliability. Surprisingly, even variables which might be considered ‘easy to estimate’ had instances of non-credible observations. In addition, measurements of maize yields and land owned were found to be less reliable than other stationary variables. This lack of reliability has implications for monitoring food security status, poverty status and the land productivity of households. Despite this rather bleak picture, our analysis also shows that if the same farm households are followed over time, the sample sizes needed to detect substantial changes are in the order of hundreds of surveys, and not in the thousands. Our research highlights the value of targeted and systematised household surveys and the importance of ongoing efforts to improve data quality. Improvements must be based on the foundations of robust survey design, transparency of experimental design and effective training. The quality and usability of such data can be further enhanced by improving coordination between agencies, incorporating mixed modes of data collection and continuing systematic validation programmes.
Objectives: To examine academic performance in dystrophinopathy as a function of dystrophin gene mutation position as well as intellectual function, executive skills, socioeconomic status (SES), behavior, and physical ability. Methods: In a cross-sectional study, boys with dystrophinopathy (ages 5–17; n=50) completed tests of academics (Woodcock-Johnson-III: spelling, reading, calculation and total scores), executive functioning (selective attention/inhibitory control, set shifting, working memory, and processing speed), single word comprehension and nonverbal reasoning. Motor skills were assessed and parents provided demographic information and child behavioral assessments. Dystrophin gene mutation positions were dichotomized into groups (upstream versus downstream of exon 43, location of isoforms previously linked to intellectual impairment). Genetic mutation groups were compared on measures of academic achievement, and multiple regression analyses examined unique and joint contributions of executive skills, intelligence quotient (IQ), SES, motor abilities, behavior, and mutation positions to academic outcomes. Results: Academic performance was slightly, yet significantly, lower than IQ and varied as a function of dystrophin gene position, wherein boys possessing the downstream mutation exhibited greater impairment than boys with the upstream mutation. Digit span forward (indexing verbal span), but no other measure of executive function, contributed significant variance to total academic achievement, spelling and calculation. Conclusions: Weak academic performance is associated with dystrophinopathy and is more common in downstream mutations. A specific deficit in verbal span may underlie inefficiencies observed in children with dystrophinopathy and may drive deficits impacting academic abilities. (JINS, 2018, 24, 928–938)
Objectives: Children with sickle cell anemia (SCA) are commonly reported to experience executive dysfunction. However, the development of executive function (EF) in preschool-age children without stroke in this patient population has not been investigated so it is unclear when and how these deficits emerge. Methods: This case-control study examines the feasibility of assessing the early development of executive functioning in 22 preschool children years with SCA in the domains of processing speed, working memory, attention, inhibitory control, and cognitive flexibility, as well as everyday function, in comparison to matched control children. Results: A pattern of potential deficits in early emerging executive skills was observed in the domains of inhibitory control and cognitive flexibility. Parents reported no differences for everyday EF and no significant differences were observed for working memory and processing speed. Conclusions: Results suggest that deficits in everyday executive difficulties, working memory, and processing speed, as commonly reported for older children with SCA, may not yet have emerged at this early developmental stage, despite specific deficits in cognitive flexibility and inhibitory control on behavioral measures. The feasibility of using available executive measures with preschool age children to characterize the development of early EF skills is discussed. (JINS, 2018, 24, 949–954)
In a survey of 471 patients, we collected self-reported weight and height data and asked about self-perceptions of provider support toward weight loss and other weight management concerns. Multivariable analysis found that respondents with higher body mass index (BMI) were more likely to report that a physician had told them that they were overweight (OR=3.49, 95% CI 2.06–5.89, P<0.001). However, this conversation was less likely to change their personal view of their weight (OR=0.62 per 5 kg/m2, 95% CI 0.45–0.86, P=0.004), or motivate them to lose weight (OR=0.67 per 5 kg/m2, 95% CI 0.50–0.91, P=0.009). Higher BMI was associated with higher weight-loss goals (P<0.001), while anticipated time to achieve those goals was increased (P<0.001). Physician involvement in weight management was important, but the patients’ needs and experiences differed by BMI. Approaches to addressing barriers and identifying resources for weight management should be tailored to individuals by considering BMI.
Producers are often faced with information from industry touting a generic return on investment of precision agriculture technologies that are inflated through the use of simple techniques that ignore the time value of money. The economics of precision technologies are as site-specific as the technology. Therefore, educating producers (and agribusiness) on how to determine the return on investment by following the correct investment analysis techniques within a proper decision-making framework helps ensure an accurate site-specific return on investment for precision agriculture technologies.
The chemical composition of soil from the Glasgow (UK) urban area was used to identify the controls on the availability of potentially harmful elements (PHEs) in soil to humans. Total and bioaccessible concentrations of arsenic (As), chromium (Cr) and lead (Pb) in 27 soil samples, collected from different land uses, were coupled to information on their solid-phase partitioning derived from sequential extraction data. The total element concentrations in the soils were in the range <0.1–135mgkg–1 for As; 65–3680mgkg–1 for Cr and 126–2160mgkg–1 for Pb, with bioaccessible concentrations averaging 27, 5 and 27% of the total values, respectively. Land use does not appear to be a predictor of contamination; however, the history of the contamination is critically important. The Chemometric Identification of Substrates and Element Distribution (CISED) sequential chemical extraction and associated self-modelling mixture resolution analysis identified three sample groupings and 16 geochemically distinct phases (substrates). These were related to iron (n=3), aluminium–silicon (Al–Si; n=2), calcium (n=3), phosphorus (n=1), magnesium (Mg; n=3), manganese (n=1) and easily extractable (n=3), which was predominantly made up of sodium and sulphur. As, Cr and Pb were respectively found in 9, 10 and 12 of the identified phases, with bioaccessible As predominantly associated with easily extractable phases, bioaccessible Cr with the Mg-dominated phases and bioaccessible Pb with both the Mg-dominated and Al–Si phases. Using a combination of the Unified Barge Method to measure the bioaccessibility of PHEs and CISED to identify the geochemical sources has allowed a much better understanding of the complexity of PHE mobility in the Glasgow urban environment. This approach can be applied to other urban environments and cases of soil contamination, and made part of land-use planning.
Recent technological progress in high-speed planting (HSP) warrants economic analysis of its potential. A whole farm optimization model of a 1000 ha Kentucky, USA corn and soybean operation finds that operating cost savings (labor, fuel, tractor repairs) and yield increases couple in recovering annual ownership costs of HSP technology. Changes in farm net returns are positive for all 12-row planter scenarios and all double speed cases for the 16-row planter but not for a 50% increase in speed with the 16-row planter. The greatest profit potential occurred when adopting the combination of HSP and variable rate application (VRA), with increased net returns of up to 6.57% compared to conventional speed no VRA for the 12-row planter.
Data from the in-school sample of the PROSPER preventive intervention dissemination trial were used to investigate associations between alcohol dehydrogenase genes and alcohol use across adolescence, and whether substance misuse interventions in the 6th and 7th grades (targeting parenting, family functioning, social norms, youth decision making, and peer group affiliations) modified associations between these genes and adolescent use. Primary analyses were run on a sample of 1,885 individuals and included three steps. First, we estimated unconditional growth curve models with separate slopes for alcohol use from 6th to 9th grade and from 9th to 12th grade, as well as the intercept at Grade 9. Second, we used intervention condition and three alcohol dehydrogenase genes, 1B (ADH1B), 1C (ADH1C), and 4 (ADH4) to predict variance in slopes and intercept. Third, we examined whether genetic influences on model slopes and intercepts were moderated by intervention condition. The results indicated that the increase in alcohol use was greater in early adolescence than in middle adolescence; two of the genes, ADH1B and ADH1C, significantly predicted early adolescent slope and Grade 9 intercept, and associations between ADH1C and both early adolescent slope and intercept were significantly different across control and intervention conditions.